Posts Tagged ‘Elisabeth Koenig’

One of the many excuses – I MEAN REASONS – I have for not blogging as much as I would like to is now up and running at Faith and Leadership, a new online magazine published by Duke Divinity School in Durham, N.C. I contributed an article about the spiritual practices of several Christian leaders and a couple of  sidebars, one detailing these leaders’ spiritual practices, and one on a successful book about Christian spiritual practices.

I really enjoyed working on this piece because prayer beads are, of course, a spiritual practice. But I was mildly surprised to learn that only one of the leaders I interviewed – Phyllis Tickle, who I have written about here before – actually uses prayer beads. (Phyllis greatly helped me with Bead One, Pray Too)I guess maybe I can’t see the forest for the prayer beads  – they loom very large to me.

What I loved about reporting this story was getting ask leaders I really admire – Jim Wallis, Anthony Campolo, Richard Land and Phyllis – about how they regularly and routinely spend time with the Divine every day. I particularly admire those who perform the prayer of examen at night. You have to be really brave to tackle this – not afraid to face all your failings and shorcomings on a daily basis – and then find sleep right afterwards! Yikes.

I also interviewed a couple of university and seminary professors for the piece, and in the process turned up some great resources for people interested in Christian spiritual practices, of which prayer beads are a form. One of the profs is Dorothy Bass, director of the Project on Education and Formation of People in Faith at Valparaiso University. Bass contributed to and edited Practicing Our Faith, a book about Christian spiritual practices that is the subject of one of the sidebars. Be sure and check out the website she maintains about Christian spiritual practices – it has tremendous resources. I also spoke with Elisabeth Koenig, a professor of ascetical theology at General Theological Seminary. She teaches course for seminary students about spiritual practices, including the Anglican rosary. I particularly liked what she had to say in the story about how  it is important for seminarians to spend time in spiritual practices while studying or their entire seminary education can be one cerebral expercise – not good preparation for a life serving the church.

One of my favorite parts of the interview process was asking these leaders why Protestants are returning to spiritual practices. I for one am not unhappy about the repudiation of some forms of Calvinism. John Calvin does not seem like I a guy I would want to sit next to in a church pew, you know? I think it’s a good thing to bounce back a bit from that extreme.

Take a look at the stories and the entire issue of Faith and Leadership and let me know what you think.

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