Wednesday, February 25, 2009

What do you want?

I am presently reading: Howard E.Friend, Jr., Gifts of an Uncommon Life (Herendon: The Alban Institute, 2008).

Came across it on a 'Mennonite' inspired book site. Know next to nothing about the author except that he appears to be one who has lived an uncommon life. Was interested in its central idea that contemplation and activism are not two opposites poles on the spectrum but instead belong together in an integrated way of living. Indeed Friend argues that if a person is 'contemplative', yearning to celebrate the divine presence in all creation, and to welcome Christ deeply into their life then they will be 'inevitably, intrinsically, an activist as well'.

Ground to a halt early on in reading though. Not because the book is bad but because the author told me to. For early on Friend says, put this book down and go away and ask yourself, really ask yourself and take the time to consider:

'What do you want? Really, profoundly, urgently, want? Personally and professionally? What is your "pearl of greatest price," the "hidden treasure" you search for tirelessly? What do you yearn for? Long for?'

Now in my experience, Christians like me, are masters in giving the clichéd responses to such questions. Lent I think is a period for rejecting the cliché, for exorcisng its seductive promise, for lingering a bit in the wilderness of the question...I am living with this one and with this book' which thankfully allows you to read the chapters in any way that you want - 'Prophets Wanted: The Gift of Outrage' was a good chapter.

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