620: Lenten Resources—Great books, films, web links for you and your group

wo billion Christians around the world are entering Lent, a time of reflection, prayer and compassionate outreach! Christians prepare for their most important holiday: Easter.
    At ReadTheSpirit, we know: You want choices. This Lenten Resources page is “our” page for sharing great ideas.
    Please, email us proposed additions at [email protected] Tell us about a good book you’re planning to read, or a wonderful film, a helpful Web site, etc. We’ll select the best reader recommendations and add them, right here, day by day. Together, we’ll create an array of choices.

    You may be surprised to learn that the single most common question we’re getting from readers, this year, concerns fasting. And, we’ve got 2 terrific books to recommend:
    FOR CATHOLICS: Protestants and Orthodox Christians may find this book helpful, too. But, it’s primarily aimed at Catholics—and that’s wonderful because more than 1 billion Christians around the world are Catholic.
    Click Here to order “The Spirituality of Fasting: Rediscovering a Christian Practice” from Amazon.

    Here’s an example of author Charles M. Murphy’s fresh approach to this seemingly somber tradition. He writes, “Lent in the Catholic liturgy is called ‘this joyful season,’ and in the Orthodox liturgy is referred to as a time of ‘bright sadness.’ Why such paradox? A penitential season can be joyful and bright because it is done communally, a group effort of mutual support and encouragement, and, more importantly, because it redirects our attention away form ourselves and toward God.”
    FOR PROTESTANTS: Other Christians may enjoy this second book, by Scot McKnight, but Scot’s book is aimed especially at Protestants. Here’s a link to our interview with Scot in which he talks about why this spiritual discipline is a big challenge in the Protestant world right now.

    Thanks readers for these ideas …
    FROM SOUP TO PUPS: Here’s a terrific resource from the Humane Society of the United States (a group that ReadTheSpirit has encouraged through stories like this earlier interview with Mutts cartoonist Patrick McDonnell). Karen L. Allanach,
Associate Director for Faith Outreach, called our attention to this wonderful Lenten-recipes page focusing on recipes for Christians observing traditional Lenten fasts.

    VIEW FROM INDIA: Thanks “Sandhi” for this—read how the Times of India, the world’s largest English-language newspaper, introduces Lent.
    POPE & JUSTICE: Thanks Marie Cavandar in Chicago for this link to Pope Benedict’s Lent 2010 message on the Vatican Web site. His theme is “justice” and there are a couple of “quotable” lines in the text, including: “The Christian is moved to contribute to creating just societies, where all receive what is necessary to live according to the dignity proper to the human person and where justice is enlivened by love.
    CARBON FAST: Finally, thanks to several readers for asking us to add a link to Tearfund and the proposed 2010 Carbon Fast for Lent!

“OUR LENT”: Day by Day Reflection
    “Our Lent” is my own Lenten book that invites readers to walk with me through the Gospel stories describing Jesus’ final weeks. Together, we’ll discover some fascinating connections. And, we’ll find hope amid the serious challenges we face.
    FREE ONLINE VERSION: We will publish all 40 chapters online, day by day. Click here to visit www.OurLent.info and see what’s in store.
    INSPIRATIONAL BOOK: Please, support our work by also buying a copy of the “Our Lent” companion book—or maybe 2 copies so a friend can “read along” with you. Here’s a direct Amazon link to purchase “Our Lent: Things We Carry” now.

“SPIRITUAL WANDERER”: Unquenchable Hope
    If you want something less specifically “religious”—more of a daily companion who’ll make you think and laugh and feel better about your life—then journey through Lent with “Spiritual Wanderer.” During Lent, Rodney Curtis plans to post one fresh story a week at his Web site. Plus, you can order “Spiritual Wanderer” through Amazon, right now. With the whole book in hand, you can enjoy a Rodney Curtis short story every single day! He’s guaranteed to make you laugh out loud—and wind up loving your family and your community more.

    Skylight Paths is known for publishing top-flight books on spiritual practices geared to general readers like you and me. Generally, if you pick up a Skylight book, you know you’re turning to a wise guide who’ll speak to you in everyday language.
    For Lent 2010, we’ve selected 2 Skylight titles that we know will enliven your journey this year.
    “SECRETS OF PRAYER” has been on my own shelf since it was first released in 2007. It remains a very helpful introduction to expanding your practice of prayer. There are hundreds of helpful guides to prayer available, but most jump into the practice from a particular perspective. Nancy Corcoran, CSJ, steps back and orients us to the diverse spectrum of prayer. This also is a good choice for increasing your awareness of other faiths. Click here to jump to Skylight’s “Secrets of Prayer” site with much more information.
    “SACRED ART OF LISTENING” is also on my personal bookshelf. This particular volume of 40 meditations is perfect for the Lenten season. If you’re drawn to the pages of ReadTheSpirit, then you understand the importance of mindfulness when it comes to the people around us. That’s one of our core values at ReadTheSpirit—and, in this book, Kay Lindahl shows you how to sharpen your skills in one particular aspect of awareness: communication. She’s writing about the sacred nature of talking out of our own experiences—and listening to others. Here is the Skylight “Sacred Art of Listening” site with more information.

    We’re looking not only for great books—but also for films, Web sites, helpful ideas. Email us at [email protected] to share your recommendations.


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    (Originally published at https://readthespirit.com/)

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