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The Journey of Anne Rice August 29, 2008

Posted by sensawunda in Books, Other Sites, Spirituality.
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Of all the interviews with Anne Rice I’ve heard since her “Christ the Lord” series hit bookstores, Dick Staub’s is the best.

Her return to faith is truly miraculous. In addition, they discuss the history & scholarship that inspired her, her surprise at the chord her new novels have struck, the spiritual symbolism in her vampire novels… Staub and Rice just have a great conversation, and we get to listen in.

Tune in at www.thekindlings.com — the interview was posted on Aug. 28, 2008.

Imagination and Story August 16, 2008

Posted by sensawunda in Other Sites, Quotes, Sensawunda 101, Spirituality.
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Here is an excellent post on the place of imagination in Christian life, our need for Story:

Hayhow’s Review.

Surprised by Wonder April 20, 2008

Posted by sensawunda in Other Sites, Quotes, Spirituality.
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 I haven’t been reading much fiction lately, or watching many movies or TV shows. But I keep finding, in the most surprising places, passages in my non-fiction reading that pertain to sense of wonder.

The title of this post might make you think I’m going to write about C.S. Lewis. Actually, the author in question is John Piper, but I don’t think he’d mind; he likes to quote Lewis.

This quote comes from page 192 of When I Don’t Desire God by John Piper:

The Power of Human Words to Make the World a Cause of Joy

It is not a mistake that so much of the Bible is written in poetry. Nor is it a mistake that there are so many biblical metaphors and similes. The lesson is that God has ordained for language to pierce and portray what colorless language cannot do. The human heart moves irrepressibly toward poetry because it knows intuitively that the natural world is not all there is. The heart may not even believe that the heavens are telling the glory of God. But it knows, deep down, that they are telling something more than meets the physical eye.

Therefore, in our fight for joy it may often be helpful to read penetrating literature and see powerful drama. Not because they can ever rival or replace the Scriptures, but because they are part of the God-revealing creation and its reflection. God did not put us in the world to ignore it, but to use it wisely. From the beginning, human beings have discovered that the reflection of the world in human art wakens us to the world itself and what the world is saying about God. Echoes can waken us to the shout of reality, and poetry can give us eyes to see. If we weren’t afflicted with persistent sleepiness of soul, we might see all the glory there is in nature. But as it is, we need help from creative artists.

You can read John Piper’s book Desiring God, its sequel When I Don’t Desire God, and a number of Piper’s other books online—free!

Listening to the Spirit April 24, 2006

Posted by sensawunda in Spirituality.
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“Be Still” is an instructional DVD on the subject of Christian contemplative prayer and meditation.

It has several segments, most of which involve interviews with a number of contemporary Christian writers such as Beth Moore and Max Lucado. There’s background—what contemplative prayer is and why it’s an important practice, and thumbnail bios of famous contemplatives in church history, like Teresa of Avila.

Then you get to how-tos—how to carve out a time and place for the practice, a suggested individual method, and a suggested small-group method.

One segment addresses the difference between Eastern meditation and Christian meditation. In Eastern meditation, the goal is to dissolve the self. But in Christianity, the individual is important, and the goal is to establish and strengthen a personal relationship with the Lord. (Historically, it’s actually because of the influence of Christianity that Western thought considers individuality important!)

They don’t try to sell any guarantees that you’ll see visions and dream dreams… there’s no vending-machine god here. The point is simply that if you’re trying to have a relationship with someone, it’s a good thing to stop talking (praying) once in a while and listen, just in case the other party might have something to say.

I’ve been trying the individual method and, just as they say, sometimes it’s hard to concentrate, sometimes I don’t seem to get much out of it (except 20 minutes of relaxing on my porch, which is nothing to sneeze at)… but some days I gain a profound insight. And that’s a sensation of true wonder.

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