"No one is ever prepared to endure the long silence that follows a season of intimacy with God. It is the hardest thing to talk about, and it is the hardest thing in the spiritual journey to prepare for. The long silence between intimacies, the interminable pause between words, the quiet between epiphanies the hush after ecstasy, the listening for God."
So writes Renita J. Weems, one of this country's most prominent and respected ministers and biblical scholars. Throughout the past two decades, Reverend Weems has been noted and praised for her writing, galvanizing national speaking, and pioneering scholarship in the field of Old Testament studies. Few who know her or have heard her speak would have suspected that in the midst of her celebrated work, Reverend Weems was experiencing a profound spiritual crisis, one that was permeated by a hollow, painful silence that seemed, at times, to mark an irreparable rupture in her communication with God.
How does one who is supposedly an expert on prayer and spiritual disciplines admit that there are times when her own heart is unable to get through to the God she recommends to others? How does a minister admit that she hasn't heard from God in a very long time? In Listening for God, her deeply affecting spiritual memoir, Weems seeks to make sense of these questions and to address, by writing about her private travail, the believer's yearning for God in seasons of silence and spiritual torpor.
Weems writes of the lows following the ecstasies, the listlessness following the passion, in her relationship with God. Her experience is universal; she speaks to all who are beyond the first blush of the spiritual journey, who after a period of dramatic awakening feel as though they have hit a brick wall. Just as her spiritual disquietude is familiar to all who struggle to maintain a faith, the details of her daily routine are the shared responsibilities of all adults: negotiating with children and spouses, caring for ailing parents, living up to professional expectations, developing hobbies, managing finances, planning for the future. Weems explores how these myriad routines of daily life compete for energy with one's relationship with God. She discusses the strategies she has discovered for redefining mundane rituals so that they contribute to reverence and devotion.
Listening for God is as much a guidebook for others as it is a collection of private discussions with God. Weems's writing reveals both her intellectual acuity and her humanity as she links worship and spirituality to the workaday world and considers the practical and banal alongside the exalted and divine. Listening for God explores all of the seasons of spiritual development and offers a beacon of light to those who are languishing in winter.
About Renita J. WeemsSee more books from this Author
Bible scholar, ordained Methodist minister and author of Just a Sister Away, Weems found herself several years ago maneuvering through her own spiritual breakdown. This account is an extrapolationDec 04 2000 | Read Full Review of Listening For God: A Minister...
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