Friday, July 3, 2009

Functional Spirituality

Every time I go to a conference, I'm tempted by all the books there for sale, especially the ones I can have autographed by the authors who are plenary speakers. I restrained myself to three books at the CSC, and this is one of them--Barbara Brown Taylor's An Altar in the World.

Here's what the publishers have to say about this book:

From simple practices such as walking, working, and getting lost to deep meditations on topics like prayer and pronouncing blessings, Taylor reveals concrete ways to discover the sacred in the small things we do and see. Something as ordinary as hanging clothes on a clothesline becomes an act of devotion if we pay attention to what we are doing and take time to attend to the sights, smells, and sounds around us. Making eye contact with the cashier at the grocery store becomes a moment of true human connection. Allowing yourself to get lost leads to new discoveries. Under Taylor's expert guidance, we come to question conventional distinctions between the sacred and the secular, learning that no physical act is too earthbound or too humble to become a path to the divine. As we incorporate these practices into our daily lives, we begin to discover altars everywhere we go, in nearly everything we do.

In the Introduction, Taylor herself says this:

I have no idea what you'll see when you look at your life--but if you are tired of arguing about religion, tired of reading about spirituality, tired of talk-talk-talking about things that matter without doing a single thing that matters yourself, then the pages that follow are dedicated to you. My hope is that reading them will help you recognize . . . some of the altars in this world.

This is definitely my next read. See what I meant about synchronicity?

P.S. Happy Anniversary, Mom & Dad!

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