I have started two new books for my morning read. As I think about the idea of writing a book, I think that perhaps I could share my reflections on so many of the books I have read over the years. I approach books as though I were having a conversation with a friend. I read, listening to what the author has to say. I ponder their words. Then I respond with my own thoughts, as I would with a friend sitting with me over a cup of coffee, I may agree or disagree with them. I often share from my own experience. If someone were to ask me what I journal about, this interaction with authors comprise much of what I put on the page. One reason I might consider using this idea for my first book is to broaden the conversation, to invite others to the table and offer them a cup of coffee. But the second reason is to introduce the idea they themselves might want to read interactively as I have learned to do. .
There is a process of Biblical reflection known as “Lectio Divina”. It is a Benedictine practice, a way of reflecting on the scriptures. I came in contact with this method years ago when I was involved in a Catholic program for preparing adults for membership in the Church. As I recall, the circle of candidates and their sponsors would read a passage from the bible together. The passage we read was always for the upcoming Sunday, the one assigned in the Lectionary by the powers that be. After the reading and some reflection time, we would go around the circle and share what part of the reading stood out for us. Then we would go around again sharing what it was about that sentence or phrase that touched us. The idea was to let the words speak to us personally in our own lives, or to listen to what God had to say to each of us.
I think, in a way, this is how I approach all of my reading. It is really quite intimate. The wonderful thing is that I don’t have to limit my conversations to those who are alive or to those who occupy my neighborhood. Mahatma Gandhi, Peace Pilgrim, Richard Rohr, and the Dalai Lama are among my circle of friends. How fortunate I am!