Friday, August 09, 2013

The Courage to Blink: Poetry and Spiritual Direction

What does it mean to be religious? What does it mean to be a religious writer? a religious poet?

Tim O'Brien SJ courageously plunges into these waters at The Jesuit Post, writing about Krista Tippet's recent interview with poet Marie Howe. (H/T to Fran and her daily FB round-up). Can you be a religious poet without intending to be a religious poet?

Meanwhile, a recent op-ed in the New York Times is looking at people who subscribe to a belief in higher power, but profess to be atheists. (Though I have to admit the first thought I had when I read anthropologist Tanya Luhrman's excellent and thought provoking op-ed "Addicted to Prayer" was not "wow, this a great piece to use in my class on contemplative practices to start the conversation about whether they need to be embedded in a particular tradition" but that the young woman who was so distressed by the intensity of her prayer needed a spiritual director.)

My response to this pair of articles is currently up at CatholicPhilly
"Trappist monk and poet Thomas Merton once wrote, “Just remaining quietly in the presence of God, listening to Him, being attentive to Him, requires a lot of courage and know-how.”

When it comes to being spiritual and religious, perhaps the poets can give us the courage to see the world with different eyes — eyes of faith — and the spiritual directors can help us develop the wisdom to know when to blink."
 Read the rest at

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