Living Faithfully as a Prayer Book People by John Westerhoff
With our Faith Forums starting up again this month – and especially as we turn again to discussing the foundations of our faith in preparation for Confirmations, Receptions & Reaffirmations – I’d like to use this fabulous book as our source for discussion. Westerhoff is a trusted teacher, Episcopal priest and former theology professor at the Duke Divinity School. For those who are curious about enriching their faith, and desire more clarity on how the Episcopal way of worship is centered around our Prayer Book – this is a great book! Even from the beginning – Westerhoff helps us understand that we humans are relational, communal persons, and that while our life of faith is profoundly personal, it is also essential for us to be a part of a community of faith to flourish as a Christian. He says “Christianity is an incarnational embodied faith. Our personal relationship with God is kept healthy in so far as we regularly participate in communal worship.” His 10 chapters give us an overview of what it means to be formed by our prayers and the stories of Scripture, but it also offers wonderful insights into the sacraments, living a healthy life, and even how we might die a holy death. Before going to seminary – I devoured this book, marked every page, and refer to it still.
Nick’s Book recommendation:
Children’s Spirituality: What it is and Why it Matters by Rebecca Nye.
Published in 2009, Nye’s book is essential reading for those who long for children to have a deeper experience of the Christian faith. As we approach the beginning of another program year, Nye’s words will reinforce St. Christopher’s vision of providing a nurturing environment which affirms early spiritual development. Nye’s point, however, is that this effort is not only critical to the mission of the Church but inextricably linked with the health of our own adult spirituality. She purposes that, “Being able to connect with and draw on our own childlike spiritual qualities is clearly at the heart of Christian spiritual growth – to enter the kingdom of heaven each of us must become like a child. So this book may also help you to reflect on how your spirituality was cherished (or neglected) as a child, and the effect that’s had on your faith journey.” (p. xiii) I wonder what you’ll draw from this deep work?