A Word on Spiritual Reading

pshenrinouwenlrgIf you have not read Henri J.M. Nouwen's writing before, let me strongly suggest you begin. The books In the Name of Jesus and Life of the Beloved are both touchstones for me in my life and ministry. Nouwen was a fractured, complicated, compassionate, and brilliant human being. He wrestled with anger, singleness and sexuality for most of his life and yet in the midst of the soil of his life being tilled he was able to bring out some beautiful fruit that we'd be wise to consider.

Here's a word on spiritual reading, that may be helpful for you today:

Reading often means gathering information, acquiring new insight and knowledge, and mastering a new field.  It can lead us to degrees, diplomas, and certificates.   Spiritual reading, however, is different.  It means not simply reading about spiritual things but also reading about spiritual things in a spiritual way.  That requires a willingness not just to read but to be read, not just to master but to be mastered by words.  As long as we read the Bible or a spiritual book simply to acquire knowledge, our reading does not help us in our spiritual lives.  We can become very knowledgeable about spiritual matters without becoming truly spiritual people.

As we read spiritually about spiritual things, we open our hearts to God's voice.  Sometimes we must be willing to put down the book we are reading and just listen to what God is saying to us through its words.

May we put the book down, lock the Kindle, and listen for the still small voice of God today. Amen.