A couple of weeks ago Christine Paintner contacted me about reviewing her new book Lectio Divina – the Sacred Art. To be honest I did not want to do it. I was too busy and feeling a little overwhelmed by all the books that kept appearing in the post. Fortunately Christine persevered and this week I have avidly been devouring her book. It is one that I have decided I am too busy NOT to read.
Christine takes Lectio Divina far beyond our usual understanding of using it as a tool to contemplate on scripture. She envites readers to expand this practice beyond scripture to a sacred reading of the world through image, sound, nature and life experience. As she comments
In our daily patterns of loving, caring, and working, we are following a spiritual path of sorts, whether we are conscious of it or not. The shape of our lives reflects our priorities and ultimate values. We nurture intentional and conscious choices about how to shape these patterns and ways of being through commitment to regular spiritual practices of prayer. We can help shape the persons we are becoming by the practices we choose to commit ourselves to and live into as they transform us. Such practices are used to regulate and shape our lives, on the assumption that changing our habits can change our perceptions and ideas as well.
Some evangelical protestants may struggle with some of the language that Christine used in her book – using the term sacred texts rather than scriptures for example. But for me that was just part of the stretching process, recognizing that terms I sometimes think of as outside the Christian understanding of faith are still ones that we can learn from.
I heartily recommend this book to all who are looking for a deeper walk with God and a faith that embraces every aspect of life.