Intro to the Anamchara Fellowship Community!

I’m so excited for this journey! I have just joined the Anamchara Fellowship as a seeker for Aspirancy. Anamchara is a religious order of disbursed people from all walks of life canonically recognized by the Episcopal Church at large. It is for people who wish to continue their spiritual journey in a community. Together we pray the same prays each day and meet each night over zoom (the community is all over the US and the world) for evening prayers. The community uses the Northumbria Community book of Celtic Daily Prayer, every prayer in the book is so beautiful and flowing with green, rich Life. Each individual is committed to a certain Rule of Life which usually involves intentional prayer, recreation (exercise, art, music, whatever you love, etc.), meditation, and what I would call ‘gazing’ at God in all Creation—which is, at its heart, the Celtic way. I felt after doing eight months of my discernment course with the diocese that joining a monastic community was what I was called to do right now and bringing a piece of it, hopefully, back to the parishioners of my parish to benefit not just me, but all.

To Bless the Space Between Us by John O’Donohue

This may sound strange, but I’ve been thinking of joining a dispersed religious order for people from all walks of life. That means married people like me can join. This would be a great next step for me in that it would give me a community of folks like me who are intentionally doing everything they can to grow spiritually. This is different than a church community. I love my fellow St. Philips peeps, but I think I could learn a lot from a group like this. And the thought of being in this type of community fills me with joy. There are two I’m looking into, one is a Franciscan order and the other is Anamchara, a Celtic fellowship that is supported by the Episcopal Church. In Anamchara they use John O’Donohue’s, To Bless the Space Between Us, as their prayer book, from what I understand. Just having this book in my house is a blessing! From it exudes so much life and lushness and creation and love—every word is so beautifully chosen. So as I’m discerning what to do, this book will help guide me I think into the next phase of my life of perpetual spiritual growth.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day.

The mystic in all of us…here is an example in a Puritan woman from 1675.

Trying to pick a couple easy paperback reads for our trip through spring break. I love travel stories, but the first narrative in this collection is of Mary Rowlandson who, along with her three children, was taken captive by an indigenous tribe while living in Massachusetts in 1675. The first draft was written in her own hand and it is of a different type of travel story in which she recounts the 150 miles she walked over the course of eleven weeks with her captors. The author of the prologue to her narrative said something very interesting and…can you believe…mystical! They write, “Rowlandson’s narrative, moreover, stands in contrast to the other narratives included in this collection, both in regard to its religious tone and in its significant lack of exterior descriptions. For in her depiction of a Puritan soul who struggles from sinfulness to regeneration, Rowlandson cares less for the surrounding wilderness and focuses instead on a more interior journey.”

So mystical and beautiful! When we struggle we look to our center and focus on that which is God. Rowlandson was eventually returned to her husband. She was not mistreated by her captors at all. However, her little daughter died from injuries she received when she was first kidnapped.

The Interior Castle by St. Teresa of Avila

Just started this!! I love St. Teresa of Avila, no one messed with her. If you need human strength, her words can help. I’ve heard this is her book about prayer but as I’m reading it, it seems that it is more about the intentional spiritual journey, the drawing closer to union with God, and the way to ‘perfection’. Perhaps I heard wrong or maybe I’m misinterpreting the book so far, but as I’m envisioning her descriptions it seems to be more of a pilgrimage to the pointing to God, which we are striving to do.

I had a little castle, but I put this appropriately shaped barnacle in the scene instead. Can anyone guess why? 😄 hint: it has to do with the book. Haha 🥸

Living Buddha, Living Christ by Thich Nhat Hanh

Getting into it!! So excited to be reading something beautiful and inspiring again!!

My Lenten devotion to meditation is going well, but I had to put down Cynthia Bourgeault’s book on centering prayer, because it was too pragmatic in its thinking about something that really can’t be explained. I think Thomas Keating and she have done a lot to bring ‘silence’ out of obscurity in the Christian religion, but I found both their books about centering prayer dry and cold. I know they are both acclaimed writers on this subject but I couldn’t get into it. Too many big words for me. 😄

Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening by Cynthia Bourgeault

Part of my Lenten devotion was to be more intentional with meditation and prayer. Was able to start reading this last night. Looking forward to getting into it more! It always takes me about a week to think about what devotion I will take into Lent. I’m always coming to the show late after thinking and thinking…maybe I’ll give up chocolate, cheese, wine…but in the end I chose to add rather than subtract. So I got up this morning at 5am to do morning meditation. With all the different schedules I’ve had to get used to lately this is the only time left for silence. Sacrificing sleep won’t kill me but rather, in this case, help me live!

Niels Lyhne by Jens Peter Jacobsen

A well known recommendation from poet Rainer Maria Rilke. It fell out of circulation for a while because Jacobsen’s prose was difficult to translate. This translation, however, by Tiina Nunnally has won awards and so far it’s been an enjoyable read and so incredibly deep. This was Jacobsen’s masterpiece written after he was diagnosed with chronic tuberculosis which he knew would eventually kill him. So it is a story of a soul really, a soul’s journey from childhood into adulthood pondering questions of immortality.

My book Detroit’s Lost Poletown—sold out already?!!

My book released yesterday and it’s already sold out online at Barnes and Noble, Target and Amazon! This came as a shock to me, but a lot of people told me they preordered it. I hope its success will continue, and it pays honorable homage to the neighborhood and the people impacted by its razing. Thank you to all who preordered the book and plan to get it from their local bookshop! 💕