BOOK OF THE MONTH: HILDEGARD OF BINGEN: A SPIRITUAL READER

Week 4: Get Your Sparkle On

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In reading Hildegard of Bingen’s work, it becomes clear that she highly valued creation and creativity. In our final week exploring Hildegard of Bingen: A Spiritual Reader, we’ll see what she says about this theme.

Two songs that Hildegard wrote tell of God as designer and animator (the titles to these songs were added by Carmen Butcher, who compiled the selections in the spiritual reader):

The First Daylight

 

You’re the Word of our Father,
the light of the first sunrise,
God’s omnipotent thought.
Before anything was made,
You saw it,
You designed it, and
You tucked Your all-seeing nature in the middle of Your sinew,
like a spinning wheel
with no beginning and no end,
still encircling everything.

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The First Verb

 

The Holy Spirit animates
all, moves
all, roots
all, forgives
all, cleanses
all, erases
all
our past mistakes, and then
puts medicine on our wounds.
We praise this Spirit of incandescence
for awakening
and reawakening
all
creation.

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In her letters, Hildegard frequently reminded others of God’s creativity. To the Abbess of Bamberg, she wrote:

In the same way that the stars illuminate the sky at night, God made humanity to sparkle. We’re created for maturity. We’re made to give out light like the sun, the moon, and the stars. If a black cloud covered these, the earth and every creature in it would worry that the end had come.

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In a letter to Pope Anastasius IV, Hildegard makes a striking moral statement about creativity. She tells the pope that we must reject corruption, injustice, and evil because they are not creative. They are a form of anti-creativity:

Don’t forget that whatever God made, radiates. So listen. Before God made the world, He said to Himself, “There’s My dear Son!” and from this original Word, the world was formed. Then God said, “Be!” and all kinds of animals appeared. Our God creates, but evil is never creative. It’s nothing, merely the by-product of rebellion. Through His Son, God saved humanity, clearly rejecting immorality—stealing, stubbornness, murder, hypocrisy, and bullies.

 

That’s why you as pope must never collude with corruption. If you do, you confuse those who look to you as their leader, because, in effect, you’re saying to them, “Embrace what’s really nothing.”

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Read more.

For reflection:

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FRIDAY FAVORITES FOR PRAYER AND WRITING

Each Friday I share some of my favorite finds related to praying or writing. If I think it could help you pray or write better, or just “be” better, I’ll include it below.

Since yesterday was National Poetry Day (in the UK, anyway), this week’s faves begin with some lovely poems and prayers. These pave the way for explorations of the way we label ourselves and the way we find and nourish our creativity. Enjoy!

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Having It Out With Melancholy: Amanda Palmer Reads Jane Kenyon’s Stunning Poem About Life With and After Depression via Brain Pickings (take a listen . . .)

Enter Autumn Cautiously via Emily Polis Gibson (“May we find the color amidst the gray”)

Turn, and Be Saved via Kelly Chripczuk (“Sometimes, all it takes/is the slight movement of your eye . . .”)

A Psalm of Mercy Relentless via Jenneth Graser (a beautiful prayer for mercy)

Questions for the One Who Waits via Richard Chess (a meditation on Psalm 27 and the experience of waiting)

Are You an Extravert or Introvert? Or Maybe That’s the Wrong Question via Gina Butz (a call for contemplation rather than labeling)

Cultivating Creativity in Chaos via Carolina Hinojosa-Cisneros (understanding your creativity and helping it to flourish)

 

 

FRIDAY FAVORITES FOR PRAYER AND WRITING

Welcome to Friday Favorites! Wow, I really love this week’s favorites. Sometimes, the web is on fire. I hope you enjoy these articles and podcasts on Christian spirituality, writing, and creativity. If you have a minute, find me on Twitter (@LisaKDeam) or Facebook and let me know which favorite spoke to you the most.

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Stony Cliffs & Rock Badgers: Meditations on The Rule of Saint Benedict via Father SJMC (a wonderful lectio divina reflection on St. Benedict’s rule)

Who Are You? Learn to Locate the Authentic Source of Your Identity via Christopher L. Heuertz (read an excerpt from Chris’s new book, The Sacred Enneagram)

The Least of Us via Sarah Arthur (what do you do with the realization that you can’t fix the world?)

Writing As Pilgrimage via Jennifer Ochstein (I totally get the writing-pilgrimage connection; do you?)

Martha Graham on the Hidden Danger of Comparing Yourself to Others via James Clear (creatives, do you play the comparison game or have trouble judging your own work? You need to read this)

How a Book Really Gets Made via Anne Bogel (listen to Anne talk about the process of creating a book and get a behind-the-scenes look at her new book, Reading People)

Why Being A Perfectionist Wrecks Our Creativity (& How To Avoid It) via James Prescott (on grappling with the hard truth that no piece of writing will ever be perfect)

Tweet of the Week:

 

FRIDAY FAVORITES FOR PRAYER AND WRITING

Each Friday I share some of my favorite finds related to praying or writing. If I think it could help you pray or write better, or just “be” better, I’ll include it below.

Do you have someone else’s article or post to share? Join the Contemplative Writers Facebook group, comment on today’s post on my Facebook page, or follow me on Twitter (@LisaKDeam) to nominate your favorite articles, blog posts, and books by Thursday at noon each week.

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Can We Offer Hope to a Chaotic World by Withdrawing? A Parable via Ed Cyzewski (read this beautiful parable about contemplation and action)

Hope in the Darkness via Richard Rohr (this post includes a lovely chant based on Psalm 139)

Let Us Fall In Love With God via Christine Sine (a prayer from the Society of Jesus)

Suffering: Whispers in the Noise via Renee Long (what do we do with all the hurting in the world?)

Where Does It Hurt? via Krista Tippett (an On Being interview with civil rights icon Ruby Sales)

Ian Cron – Know Your Writing Strengths: Enneagram for Writers via Hope*Writers (a podcast episode)

 

 

FRIDAY FAVORITES FOR PRAYER AND WRITING

Each Friday I share some of my favorite finds related to praying or writing. If I think it could help you pray or write better, or just “be” better, I’ll include it below.

Do you have someone else’s article or post to share? Join the Contemplative Writers Facebook group, contact me on my Facebook page, or follow me on Twitter (@LisaKDeam) to nominate your favorite articles, blog posts, and books by Thursday at noon each week.

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Twelve Books (Besides Mine) You Should Be Reading via Shawn Smucker (take a look at this great list – and be sure to grab a copy of Shawn’s book, which released this week!)

Daily Lectio Divina: Psalm 97:11-12 via Laura Cavanaugh (a guided lectio divina podcast)

Exploring the Silence and Laughter of Eternity with Carl McColman via Contemplify (listen to Carl being interviewed on mysticism, silence, and . . . laughter!)

A Forgotten Poet Laureate of Nature on How Beauty Dissolves the Boundary Between Ourselves and the World via Brain Pickings (attending to the transcendent fragments of nature is a way to inhabit our own wholeness)

Why I’m Over Building a Platform via Carrie Stephens (a writer weighs in on this hot topic; what’s your opinion?)

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Tweet of the Week:

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Look for Hildegard of Bingen in our Book of the Month feature beginning this Monday!

FRIDAY FAVORITES FOR PRAYER AND WRITING

Welcome to Friday Favorites! I have to tell you that this week’s favorites really fed my soul. In the midst of everything going on in our world, our fellow writers and Christians have responded with rich offerings to help us pray, write, grow, and navigate the stormy waters. I’m grateful for their generous outpouring of words this week.

The list below begins with a prayer for cities affected by the devastation of Hurricane Harvey and ends with two fantastic podcast interviews. I hope you’ll dig in and enjoy.

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A Prayer for the Cities Under Water via Kaitlin Curtice (“Calm the storms
That rage outside And inside us, We pray.”)

Finding God in the Routine & the Slow via Traci Rhoades (learn to be intentional about your everyday routine)

What I Wish St. Augustine Had Said via Lisa’s blog (I re-posted my essay on St. Augustine in honor of his feast day on Aug. 28)

Rachel Carson on Writing and the Loneliness of Creative Work via Brain Pickings (a haunting yet also encouraging exploration of the link between loneliness and creativity)

Tips for more productive writing sessions at home via Pat Olsen (if you write at home, like me, this is a must-read!)

Flee, Be Silent, Pray with author/contemplative Ed Cyzewski (Ryan Cagle interviews our founder, Ed Cyzewski, on the Lessons from Dead Guys podcast)

Theo-poetics (in the wild) with guest Michael Wright (Lisa DeLay interviews Michael on the Spark My Muse podcast)

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Tweet of the week:

FEATURED ARTICLE: How Information Overload Robs Us of Our Creativity

Recent studies have documented some of the consequences of our attachment to iPhones and other devices. The Atlantic has some scary articles about the dangers of iPhones for post-Millennials and the ability of smartphones to reduce your brain power even when they are turned off.

But wait, there’s more . . . especially for writers and artists. Part of the problem with the devices and screens on which we’ve come to rely is information overload . . . and this can damage creativity. An article in Open Culture proclaims:

[I]nformation overload keeps us mired in noise…. This saps us of not only willpower (of which we have a limited store) but creativity as well.

Drawing on recent studies and experiments, the article continues:

Our brains have limited resources. When constrained and overwhelmed with thoughts, they pursue well-trod paths of least resistance, trying to efficiently bring order to chaos.

When it comes to information and knowledge, sometimes less is more. What we need to do is unload:

When our minds are “unloaded” . . .  such as can occur during a hike or a long, relaxing shower, we can shed fixed patterns of thinking, and explore creative insights that might otherwise get buried or discarded . . . Getting to that state in a climate of perpetual, unsleeping distraction, opinion, and alarm, requires another kind of discipline: the discipline to unplug, wander off, and clear your mind.

It seems that the internet and smartphone age will need to birth a new spiritual and creative discipline . . . that of (literally) unplugging.

Read more.

Reflection: How do you practice the discipline of unplugging and wandering off?

 

FRIDAY FAVORITES FOR PRAYER AND WRITING

We’re back with Friday Favorites! I hope you enjoy this selection of links I’ve found around the web.

Do you have someone else’s article or post to share? Join the Contemplative Writers Facebook group, comment on today’s post on my Facebook page, or follow me on Twitter (@LisaKDeam) to nominate your favorite articles, blog posts, and books by Thursday at noon each week.

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Living Wholeheartedly Today via Alia Joy (living with faithfulness in the here and now)

Sacred Interruptions via Lisa Deam (this is my article for the Redbud Post on learning about parenting from a medieval mystic)

Living Is Part Of the Writing Process via Lyndsay Knowles (could a short break help your writing process?)

The Spiritual Journey of Self-Publishing :: Writing as an Act of Worship via Kris Camealy (writing, refining, self-publishing, and obedience)

So You’re an Author Without a Social Media Presence: Now What? via Jane Friedman (the pros and cons of social media plus links to other helpful articles)

The death of reading is threatening the soul via Philip Yancey (fortunately we’re all readers here, right?)

 

FRIDAY FAVORITES FOR PRAYER AND WRITING

Each Friday I share some of my favorite finds related to praying or writing. If I think it could help you pray or write better, or just “be” better, I’ll include it below.

Do you have someone else’s article or post to share? Join the Contemplative Writers Facebook group, comment on today’s post on my Facebook page, or follow me on Twitter (@LisaKDeam) to nominate your favorite articles, blog posts, and books by Thursday at noon each week.

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Keep Not Quitting via Sarah Bessey (perhaps you, like me, really need to hear this message)

When You Don’t Have It All Together: How to Live a Flourishing Life via Jamin Goggin and Kyle Strobel (a guest post for Ann Voskamp)

3-Minute Retreat: Living in Freedom via Loyola Press (take a 3-minute guided online retreat)

The Spirituality of Imperfection via Clint Sabom (this is a spirituality I can wholeheartedly embrace!)

What the Enneagram Can Teach Us About Beloved Community via David Potter

7 Things to Do When You Want To Give Up (Instead of Giving Up) via Brian A. Klems (practical advice from Writer’s Digest)

11 Brutal Truths About Creativity that No One Wants to Talk About via Benjamin Earl Evans (very thought-provoking and myth-busting)

Books by Christian Authors of Color via Deidra Riggs (check out this awesome reading list!)

 

FRIDAY FAVORITES FOR PRAYER AND WRITING

Each Friday I share some of my favorite finds related to praying or writing. If I think it could help you pray or write better, or just “be” better, I’ll include it below.

Do you have someone else’s article or post to share? Join the Contemplative Writers Facebook group, comment on today’s post on my Facebook page, or follow me on Twitter (@LisaKDeam) to nominate your favorite articles, blog posts, and books by Thursday at noon each week.

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My morning prayers keep me focused on the Holy Spirit’s presence via Mary Lee Wile (kitchen prayers for discerning the day’s path)

Rewrite Radio #14: Brian Doyle 2012 via the Calvin Festival of Faith and Writing (writer Brian Doyle, who passed away two weeks ago, talks about the power of bearing witness via the stories we tell)

Dealing with writer’s envy via Heather Walker Peterson (on the dark side of writer friendships)

How to Immediately Improve Your Query Letter’s Effectiveness via Jane Friedman (valuable practical advice for your novel queries)

Discover Your Writing Self via Andi Cumbo-Floyd (take this writing course from Andi in July)

Rough Drafts. The Struggle is Real via Stephanie S. Smith (inspiring words on taking risks and “spending it all” on your rough draft)