Light When It Comes: Trusting Joy, Facing Darkness, and Seeing God in Everything
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Light When It Comes: Trusting Joy, Facing Darkness, and Seeing God in Everything

Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. / 2016 / Paperback

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Stock No: WW873993


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Product Description

In Light When It Comes, drawing on an ancient prayer tradition, the examen of conscience, Anderson spurs readers to take stock of their own experiences. He shows how the examen can serve as a simple but powerful way to remember moments of light, of struggle, of joy. And however small or fleeting these moments are, through them God is always calling and meeting us.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 160
Vendor: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
Publication Date: 2016
Dimensions: 8.25 X 5.25 (inches)
ISBN: 0802873995
ISBN-13: 9780802873996

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Publisher's Description

On finding joy and spiritual meaning in life's small moments

We all have moments of joy, moments that move us somehow, spiritual moments that we can't quite put a finger on. But then we rush on and soon forget. In this book Chris Anderson encourages us to remember and share such moments. What he writes will inspire readers who are hurting, doubting, or searching to find wisdom and meaning in their lives.

Drawing on an ancient prayer tradition, the examen of conscience, Anderson spurs readers to take stock of their own experiences. He shows how the examen can serve as a simple but powerful way to remember moments of light, of struggle, of joy. And however small or fleeting these moments are, through them God is always calling and meeting us.

Author Bio

Chris Anderson is professor of English at Oregon State University, a poet, a retreat leader, and a Catholic deacon. An award-winning writer and teacher, he is also the author of The Next Thing Always Belongs

Editorial Reviews

Paula Huston
—author of Simplifying the Soul and One Ordinary Sunday
"Light When It Comes is both a literary gem and a cup of blessing for all who long to experience God's presence."

Thomas Lynch
—author of The Undertaking and The Sin-Eater
"An age that has fashioned faith into bludgeon and cudgel, and traded community for self-righteous indignation, might better be illumined by Light When It Comes and by the grace of Anderson's vital, studious witness. The ties of belief that bind us, each to the other, needn't be rope enough to hang, cruel lash or rein or tether. Rather, lifeline, safe mooring, the holy, miraculous lowering of our hobbled, heart-wrecked selves to the place of our redeeming."

Lawrence S. Cunningham
—author of The Seven Deadly Sins and Things Seen and Unseen
"Chris Anderson offers us a triune gift wrapped into a whole: beautiful prose, pastoral experience, and an authentic believing eye turned to our world. This volume is a grace to be received with abundant thanks."

Methodist Recorder
"Here is a book which offers us tools, a method and a motive, for engaging with something unfamiliar in order to find ourselves more fully aware of the familiar presence of God."

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  1. Michele Morin
    Warren, Maine
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    A Mosaic of Images on Joy and Prayer
    February 22, 2017
    Michele Morin
    Warren, Maine
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    I come from a tradition that is suspicious of written or scripted prayers, believing that spontaneity is a sign of sincerity and casting askance glances at those who must borrow the words of others in order to talk to God. Then I became a mother and realized that not only were my own words in prayer untrustworthy at times, but there were also events in life for which words would not come. Praying the examen of conscience at the end of a day has often given my tired brain a place to go and an outline to guide my conversation with God.

    Light When It Comes by Chris Anderson is a guide book for the practice of paying fierce attention to life in order to enhance ones prayer life and to ensure that we catch all the stories that matter. At the end of the day, it is helpful to me to remember that I have an audience with God and to review the events of the day with thanksgiving, paying attention to emotions, to the ways in which guidance has come and miracles have happened. It is also a time to offer up all the failings and disappointments for forgiveness and grace and to make plans for a more Christ-centered tomorrow.

    In the midst of this reflection, I find that life distills down to a series of moments.

    The only place I can be is the moment.

    Everything else is an abstraction. (25)

    Chris Anderson intersperses his teaching on joy and prayer with vivid re-tellings of moments from his own life in a way that I found to be jarring at first: a story about a yellow warbler calling sweet-sweet-sweet-sweeter-than-sweet jostles around between a vignette from a funeral and a description of the sound of his son playing the harmonica with a Bruce Springsteen CD. Eventually, though, these disjointed stories began to appear in their real potency, just as the unsettling stories of Scripture do when we let them speak for themselves and to communicate beyond the stained glass and the flannel boards.

    Reviewing the events of the day in the presence of God is an opportunity to face the darkness as well as to remember the joy. This too is part of the paying attention, part of the humility that acknowledges that God is greater than our hearts and He knows all things including the things we wonder about.

    The author examines servanthood from his perspective as a church member and a deacon, acknowledging his own mixed motives (the only kind of motives available to humans), and the thirst that tries to satisfy itself with something other than Living Water (Praise? Order? Certainty? No, these do not quench the thirst . . .)

    He portrays service as a learning process:

    Whatever else it is, the story of Jesus is the story of letting go and the giving up we have to do every day of our lives. (86)

    This paying attention to life means that God shows up in surprising ways: in the midst of confusion, on the days when I dont like myself, when what I really need to do is to stop analyzing and to start trusting. It is a recognition of the humility of a simple and when viewing the pieces that make up the mosaic of our lives, not striving for or forcing our way into thus or therefore before light has come, but offering up the individual events, both good and bad, so that the creation of the mosaic is, in the end, left to God.

    Chris closes with two premises that bring the pieces together into a joyful whole:

    God is present in every moment and in every molecule. His grace and His love are nowhere less than complete and full, anywhere in the universe, anywhere in time.

    The love of God and the grace of God are freely given, are nothing but gift, [and] theres nothing we can ever do to earn them. No matter how much I read or pray or do good works, I will never be more loved by God than I am in this very second. Yes, we should strive to be better, we should strive to be more moral and faithful people, but not in order to merit the love of God but rather as a loving and grateful response to it.

    Having said all that, it is not in premises that Light When It Comes urges us to find our life, but rather in the blessed randomness of holy joy that flows into the wildly disjointed pieces of our moments and our days, making of it all a gift.

    //

    This book was provided by the William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company in exchange for my review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 : Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
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