It’s Lent and I’m Here, God. Where are You?

Dark Night Book Cover

When God Walks Away Cover

 

I wrote When God Walks Away to be a compassionate companion in a reader’s Dark Night. Employing Holy Week as a metaphor for the Dark Night, the book moves the reader through suffering and relinquishment into acceptance, loss, and then into surprising new life.

The work cannot be called a self-help book, for the lesson of the Night is that our help comes from God alone—even when what we have experienced as God has seemingly vanished. I hope readers will consider this text a silent friend in holy mystery. When God Walks Away contains no solutions for the Dark Night. We cannot ward off the Night as we would an insect attack. There is no repellant we can apply. Neither, if we are wise, would we so choose.

Rather, I hope this book serves as something readers can tuck under their arms as they foray into the Night’s adventure: a reminder that no one is alone in the Night’s private agony.  The Dark Night of the Soul is a mystery as profound as God, its initiator. No amount of study could produce a writer equal to describing it. I feel rather like a blindfolded woman valiantly trying to describe an elephant by feeling only one of its legs. I can report in great detail what I know only in part! Therefore, in an effort at balance, the book includes the thoughts and imagery of souls across the centuries who participated in its mystery—souls like C. S. Lewis, Mother Teresa, the Psalmists, and Jesus. We will welcome their guidance as we navigate the Night’s blind terrain. Whatever wisdom resides between the book’s covers reflects first the searching work of God, and then the testimonies of a great cloud of witnesses.

Sprinkled throughout the text are practices that helped me, or other Dark-Night journeyers, survive the Night by keeping an open line to God. At one point I suggest an art gallery trip, at another some musical expression, at still another journal writing as a way to bear the pain. Readers can consider each practice as an item on a cafeteria line of nutritious selections. Some will suit their taste and some will not. Sample at will.

We have one task in the Dark Night: to endure. God will do the rest.

To learn more about the book this Lenten season, visit Barnes & Noble or Amazon.

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2 More Deadlies!

7 Deadlies - Lust (small)                                                  7 Deadlies - Vanity (small) (transparent)

 

 

The 7 Deadly Sins have a long and serious theological history; I decided, with these “Deadly Designs,” to apply a dose of good humor to each menace. Why? Because nothing (including our own fearful faults) seems so bad once we can chuckle at it. Humor raises awareness, broadens perspectives, and disarms even the most fearsome baddies.

7 Deadlies

7 Deadlies - Envy (small)

7 Deadlies – Envy

 

The 7 Deadly Sins have a long and serious theological history; I decided, with these “Deadly Designs,” to apply a dose of good humor to each menace. Why? Because nothing (including our own fearful faults) seems so bad once we can chuckle at it. Humor raises awareness, broadens perspectives, and disarms even the most frightening baddies.

 

Here Am I–Wired

“Here am I”: it’s a commitment of attentiveness and compliance expressed by psalmists, prophets,  Mary, and Jesus.

Ash Wednesday—today—begins the Lenten season, challenging us to risk “Here I am” ourselves.  Some say “Here am I” by discarding practices that get between them and their availability to God. Others say “Here am I” by adopting practices that  foster that connection.

We live out our Lenten commitments in a wired world. So I’m thinking of ways that wiredness might contribute to our “Here I Am-ness.” Some ideas:

1. Real-Time Prayers: Check the Internet world news, then offer informed intercessory prayers for persons across the globe;

2. YouTube It: Access music, stories, and talk shows from around the world. Learn about other cultures and discover how our culture is perceived by others. In celebrating diversity, in fearlessly examining our preconceptions, we expand our souls;

3. Reflect & Text: Offer a friend encouragement by texting a hopeful quote, a humorous photo, or a funny emoji; and

4. Art & More Art: Thanks to the Internet, we can view the Sistine Chapel, listen to Mozart, sit front row center at a Shakespeare play. Whatever feeds our souls nourishes our relationship with God. Enjoy!

How might you live into wired “Here I Am-ness” during Lent—and thereafter? I’d love to hear your thoughts!