Featured Reviews, VOLUME 6

Christine Sine – Return to Our Senses [Feature Review]

[easyazon-image align=”none” asin=”B00A3KIIL0″ locale=”us” height=”110″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51vby3mA-BL._SL110_.jpg” width=”73″]Page 2: Christine Sine – Return to Our Senses



Sine writes about how this practice of thanksgiving flows into other techniques for prayerfully engaging with the world through media, such as the nightly news. So often, people watch the news and feel helpless about and even numbed to the pain and hurt they see in the world, powerless to evoke meaningful change. Sine offers the possibility of listening to the news in a prayerful manner in which one watches for God’s work in stories (often seen through the helpers in tragic situations), pays attention to personal pulls and senses of being drawn to engage topics further, and finds even in challenging stories potential opportunities to be lead to make small and large changes, according to ability. The practice she offers is a way to transform tragedy into hope and helplessness into sacred empowerment.


Sine also offers other, less direct but perhaps equally powerful, methods of engaging the world more fully. For example, she takes prayer methods that her audience may already know and expands them in refreshing ways that challenge readers to take a new look at the world around them. Readers may have previously experienced the profound effects of sacred reading of scripture through the practice of lectio divina (Latin for “divine reading”). This process is a deep, prayerful reading of texts in a way that allows people to let the “still small voice of God” speak to them through the text, without preconceptions. Sine describes the process in her book. But then she takes the practice a few steps further, offering an unexpected exercise for readers to try: Take the sacred Benedictine-originated process of lectio divina and apply it to reading urban graffiti. Through a sacred reading of graffiti, what may a person be led to understand about pain, process, people, and community? Sine challenges readers to allow the graffiti to “become God’s word to [them] touching and affecting [them] at [their] deepest levels.”


The transitions between the sacred and profane are central to Sine’s book, with a key point being that the sacred is everywhere in a creation that is interrelated. Our prayers and practices shape our selves, inspire our imaginations, and open the way for the work of God’s love. Sine writes, “During a season of change and turmoil…we carry the responsibility to do all that is possible to ensure that the new that emerges is healthy, more humane, more compassionate and more loving towards neighbors near and far.” The prayer techniques that Christine Sine provides in her book offer tangible steps toward such a transformed world, beginning with the transformation of our consciousness.



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C. Christopher Smith is the founding editor of The Englewood Review of Books. He is also author of a number of books, including most recently How the Body of Christ Talks: Recovering the Practice of Conversation in the Church (Brazos Press, 2019). Connect with him online at: C-Christopher-Smith.com

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