It seems people everywhere are seeking God these days. Despite dwindling numbers in Mainline denominations, increasingly we find independent churches packed to the gills on Sunday mornings and even throughout the week. Bookstore shelves are lined with books of spirituality, spiritual living, and a mind-boggling array of spirit-related subjects, whether they are from the Christian perspective or other faith traditions.
Without a doubt, we are a God-hungry people and this hunger is not just an American phenomenon. Spiritual pursuits are rampant around the world and are growing at a rate far beyond what was predicted just a few short years ago. Pundits of the mid-Twentieth Century were saying that we were witnessing the death throes of a God-based worldview. It seems the opposite has happened and, in my mind, this is both a positive and inevitable trend. As Augustine said so many centuries ago, we have a space inside that only God can fill.
From a Christian perspective, we have traditionally been told that the primary place that we can find God is in the Bible. Scripture has been called the foundation of our faith and some denominations within Christianity have, although they would never admit it, elevated the Bible to the level of Deity. Whether or not this is a positive thing is debatable and not the purpose of this blog entry. Scripture, whether one considers the Bible to be the literal Word of God or something of a lesser authority, created by human hands, remains central to the Christian experience. Our faith, without the scriptures, would be like a river without banks. In a word, Christianity would be a swamp.
I mention all of this because I have recently undertaken a writing project that has been, for me, a journey of discovery and growth. Those of you who are writers will understand what I mean when I say that the process of writing a book about spirituality is often more valuable than the finished product. The process of putting the thoughts down on paper often triggers new, powerful trains of thoughts that take the writer to places he or she never envisioned. Even more beneficial is when God reveals a new insight to the writer that can change his or her life in remarkable ways. As I have undertaken this new project, I have found these positive realities to be true once again and for this I am highly thankful.
With all that said, let me tell you a little about the project. It is a short book, around 180 pages I expect, on the subject of how we, as Christians, can discover valuable things about the nature of God in places beyond the Bible. This is not to downplay the significance or importance of scripture, but to remind sincere Christians desiring a deeper walk of faith of several venues through which God may be discovered, experienced, and, at least to a marginal degree, understood. Again, these pages are not designed to replace scripture but to augment it. The Bible is, and should always remain, the cornerstone for the Christian’s spiritual journey.
In brief, the sections in the book are as follows:
Sacred Silence is an exploration of the value of contemplative prayer and other methods of getting quiet enough to engage our own Sacred Mind, the Holy Spirit, and that blessed “Sacred Sanctuary” where God resides within us. Sacred Study involves the reading and serious reflection on the works of Christian writers, both old and new, and discovering how they experienced God and what their message is for us. Sacred Story actually centers on the study of Scripture, but not in an analytical or systematic way. Instead, it involves discovering God’s story of redemption and restoration as revealed in the pages of scripture. Further, the focus is mostly on what this unfolding story tells us about the nature of God.
Sacred Surroundings is an attempt to discover God through focusing on where he has planted us. It involves discovering God through the natural, created world, through our family and friends, and through our spiritual community. And finally, we explore how to discover God through carrying out our mandate to serve others, just as Jesus did.
My progress is slow but steady so far. A project of this kind takes a significant amount of research and note taking over and above the actual writing of the book. My progress is also somewhat hampered by my work as a staff writer at a local newspaper (got to put bread on the table) and maintaining this web site, the Prayer Pagoda, and the construction of a new web site for LifeBrook Ministries that will exist independent of the blog. I also have a fairly hectic teaching schedule, so I do have other things to do. Most importantly, I am a husband and the father of a four-year-old daughter and this is my No. One job.
Still, by the grace of God and a few late nights each week, progress is being made. If you feel so led, I would humbly request your prayers in support of the successful completion of this project. I need all the prayer I can get.
(c) L.D. Turner 2008/All Rights Reserved