The New Year is coming and I have been taking this time to reflect back not just on this year but on the last four (since I quit my previous job – but that’s another post). This year brought some happy endings but also some painful ones. I graduated with my BA from Tyndale University but there were also deaths in the family. I’ve started thinking about how I want to structure my spiritual life. My wife and I are taking next semester off of our studies (we’re both working towards our Master of Divinity at different colleges: her at Tyndale and me at Wycliffe) to recharge our batteries and reconnect with God. So, here’s a brief sketch of a few goals I’m setting personally and some resources that you may find helpful.
Most of us don’t need another Devotional. If you’re like us you have a shelf full of them and couldn’t possibly actually use them all. I got the Celtic Daily Prayer book for my birthday in November and I have finally got around to reading the “How to use this book” instructions and am excited to start using this. It’s a based on the prayer life of the Northumbria community in Ireland. If you don’t have the book or can’t afford it, they have the daily readings on their website.
Good things are coming out of Ireland these days. The Irish Jesuits have a great website for daily prayers: Sacred Space. They also have another website where you can download a daily podcast of the readings. And you might wish to also check out the daily examen, breathing and body awareness meditation tracks.
Now that I’m off school I can read whatever I want (no more teachers, no more books…), but I want to develop some guidelines to help me round out what I’m reading. So, here’s my first attempt at the “guidelines” for individual reading.
- Read old books – C.S. Lewis wrote about the importance of reading old books in this essay [PDF]
- Rotate history, pastoral theology, and theology – the idea of rotating subject areas is from John Stott and I first became aware of it on another friends blog
- Read fiction – I’ve never really been a fiction reader, but I changed this in early 2012 and I think it helps my mind relax between the heavier stuff and increased my creativity by making my mind work in other ways.
- Read opposite opinions to my own – This is just common sense but it makes most of us uncomfotable. If we are in the search for truth however it is important, though it will be in the minority.
- Read through books with my wife – We are planning on always having one book on the go that we are both reading through and intentionally get together to discuss. We’re starting with Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas and will probably follow that up with The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy Keller. I’m looking forward to the discussions that these books will prompt, I think it’s going to great.
That’s it. I hope some aspect of the above is helpful to you. Do you have any goals around your spiritual life for the coming year, especially around spiritual reading? Share in the comments.