Archives For Joan Chittister

 

A Calm and Quiet Presence
 
A Feature Review of 
 

Radical Spirit: 12 Ways to Live a Free and Authentic Life
Joan Chittister

Hardback: Convergent Books, 2017
Buy Now: [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]
 
 
 Reviewed by Alexander Steward
 
 
We are a people that search. We search for the things we have lost. We search for the latest and greatest item that will make our life that much easier. These searches tend to focus upon the outward self and what will benefit us as individuals the most. The search that is easily avoided because it takes too much time and a lot of patience, is the search for the inward self. The self that is called to be in relationship with God. It is in this search that we are able to grow as individuals and nurture our relationship with God.

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Here are a few new book releases from this week that are worth checking out:

(Where possible, we have also tried to include a review/interview related to the book…)

   

Anything Is Possible: A Novel

Elizabeth Strout

Read a review from NPR

NEXT BOOK >>>>>

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Here are a few new book releases from this week that are worth checking out:

(Where possible, we have also tried to include a review/interview related to the book…)

See a book here that you’d like to review for us?
Contact us, and we’ll talk about the possibility of a review.

The Fringe Hours: Making Time for You

By Jessica N. Turner

Watch the book trailer for this book

NEXT BOOK >>>>>

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Here are a few new book releases from this week that are worth checking out:

(Where possible, we have also tried to include a review/interview related to the book…)

See a book here that you’d like to review for us?
Contact us, and we’ll talk about the possibility of a review.

> > > >
Next Book

Professor Borges: A Course on English Literature

Read a review from The Guardian

*** Other Books by Jose Luis Borges

 

“To Become More Fully Human”

A Review of
Two New Books on Christian Spirituality

Reviewed by Kevin Book Satterlee.


Monastery of the Heart - Joan ChittisterThe Monastery of the Heart:
An Invitation to a Meaningful Life

Joan Chittister.
Hardback: Bluebridge, 2011.
Buy now:
[ Amazon ]


Soulful Spirituality:
Becoming Fully Alive
and Deeply Human
David G. Benner
Paperback: Brazos Press, 2011.
Buy now:
[ ChristianBook.com ]
[ Amazon – Kindle ]


SOULFUL SPIRITUALITY - BennerAlthough Christianity has long been understood as by many as a set of doctrines confining people into a religion in which God and Jesus became life-depleting and discipleship was a soulless death, there has always been an undercurrent of life-giving, fulfilling Christian spirituality.  Thomas Merton helped many Christians to reimagine a life-giving spiritual pursuit over doctrinal stuffiness.  There are still many skeptics, but the publishing industry is pumping out new Christian spiritual books on a monthly basis.  Spirituality is en vogue in pop culture, especially in Christian pop sub-culture, but many of the resources are valuable.

Sister Joan Chittister’s newest book, The Monastery of the Heart:  An Invitation to a Meaningful Life, (BlueBridge) and David G. Benner’s book, Soulful Spirituality:  Becoming Fully Alive and Deeply Human, (Brazos) are two new books for 2011 about life-giving and distinctly human spiritualities.  Chittister is a Benedictine nun and writes from her half-century in the monastic life.  Benner is a professor of psychology at Richmont Graduate University, whose work focuses on psychology and spirituality.

While the two books are about spirituality, they take very different approaches.  Benner writes about the psychology of spirituality and the spirituality of psychology.  He is a clinical therapist and applies the principles of spirituality to psychological health.  He comes from a Christian background and writes with Christian influence, however his pluralism of spirituality also dramatically influences his writing.  Chittister’s work, on the other hand, is a poetic commentary on St. Benedict’s monastic rule.  She is thoroughly Christian in her approach.

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“Wisdom for the Ages… And the Aging”

A review of
The Gift of Years: Growing Older Gracefully.

By Joan Chittister.

Reviewed by Michelle Van Loon.

The Gift of Years: Growing Older Gracefully.
Joan Chittister.

Hardback: BlueBridge, 2010.

Buy now: [ ChristianBook.com ]

The Gift of Years - Joan ChittisterIf I had been born in 1900, my average life expectancy would have been forty-nine years. Statisticians tell me if I’d been born in 2000, I could expect to live to age eighty. We are living longer, but I’m not sure we understand how to use the gift of these additional years.

Many of us carry negative images of aging: Sunbelt residents living in sprawling condo developments who spend their days golfing and arguing about condo by-laws (think of Jerry’s parents on Seinfeld); sad, shriveled people trapped in permanent longing for their good old days and endlessly rehearsing the saga of their declining physical condition.

Joan Chittister, a Benedictine nun who writes and speaks on topics of spiritual formation, justice, and women’s issues, insists that old age is not any of those things. Instead, she explains in The Gift Of Years that old age is a developmental stage rich with both challenge and blessing. Thinking of the retirement years and beyond as the last stage of life presents an incomplete picture of what is happening both inside and around us. In fact, she says, we are entering a new stage of life. Old age is a time to grow, not wither. Chittister writes:

“What is the purpose of all these extra years, the ones out of the systems, beyond the corporate institutions. Is this the dying time? Is it only about waiting to be gone? And if so, how can we possibly face it with any kind of joy, any kind of dignity?…Each period of life has its own purpose. This later one gives me the time to assimilate all the others. The task of this period of life…is not simply to endure the coming of the end of time. It is to come alive in ways I have never been alive before.”

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The Season of Lent is a time on the Church’s Calendar when we through prayer and fasting reflect upon our desires and submit ourselves to the transforming power of God.

Here are six recent books — one for each week of Lent — that reflect the Lenten spirit or that challenge us to take a deeper look at the seasons of the Christian year.


Fasting
(Ancient Practices Series)

by Scot McKnight.
Thomas Nelson, 2009.
[ Our Review ] [ Buy the Book ]

——

Seasons of Celebration:
Meditations on the Cycle of Liturgical Feasts
.
By Thomas Merton.
Ave Maria Press, 2009.
[ Our Review ] [ Buy the Book ]


Being Consumed:
Economics and Christian Desire

by Bill Cavanuagh.
Eerdmans, 2008.
[ Our Review ] [ Buy the Book ]

—–

The Liturgical Year
(Ancient Practices Series)

By Joan Chittister
Thomas Nelson, 2009.
[ Our Review ] [ Buy the Book ]


Enough: Contentment in An Age of Excess.
By Will Samson.
David C. Cook, 2009.

[ Our Review ] [ Buy the Book ]
—–
Living the Christian Year:
Time to Inhabit the Story of God
.
By Bobby Gross.
IVP Books, 2007.
[ Our Review ] [ Buy the Book ]

 

Full of the energy of the universe,
fearless, full of faith and sure of more joy to come

A Review of
The Liturgical Year:
The Spiraling Adventure of the Spiritual Life
(Ancient Practices Series)
.
By Sr. Joan Chittister.

Reviewed by Chris Smith.

The Liturgical Year:
The Spiraling Adventure of the Spiritual Life
(Ancient Practices Series)
.
By Sr. Joan Chittister.

Hardback: Thomas Nelson, 2009.
Buy now: [ ChristianBook.com ]

The Liturgical Year - Joan ChittisterFrom her place in a community of Benedictine Sisters in Erie, PA, Sr. Joan Chittister has a prime vantage point for exploring the church’s liturgical year.   For many years, this cycle of seasons has been an intimate part of her life as a Benedictine, and now she reflects on the rhythm of the liturgical year in her new book in Thomas Nelson’s “Ancient Practices” series: The Liturgical Year: The Spiraling Adventure of Spiritual Life.  Early on in the book, she captures the essence of the church’s calendar:

Like the rings on a tree, the cycles of Christian feasts are meant to mark the levels of our spiritual growth from one stage to another in the process of human growth.  They add layer after layer to the meaning of life, to the sense of what it entails to live beyond the immediate and into the significant dimensions of human existence.  The seasons and feasts, the fasts and solemnities, if we are open and alert to them, lead us deeper and deeper into the self, beyond the pull of the present (6-7).

Indeed, Chittister spends the first quarter of the book reflecting on the meaning of time and calendars.  She proposes here that our transformation into the image of Christ extends even to the way in which we understand and experience time.  The civic calendar, which begins on January 1 and which we learn as children at home and school, Chittister argues is for the Church not our primary means to mark the passage of time, nor is it “the narrative of our spiritual lives” (5).  This idea that time is a way of narrating our lives is key to Chittister’s case for the primacy of the liturgical year, and is a theme that she often returns to over the course of the book.  Although Chittister primarily focuses on seasons as the basic unit of the liturgical calendar, she does spend one chapter examining weekly life, choosing to focus in specifically on Sunday, which “to the Christian mind is a ‘little Easter,’”  (33) a time to gather and celebrate the resurrection of Jesus that is central to our lives.

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