Who knows how I got here, but it is true: I have such talented friends.
My friend Paul and I went to the same Bible college. He has always been a bit of an odd duck (in the best way possible) and his newest book is no exception. It is a collection of devotionals (this is vol 1, and more are coming--enough to fill up an entire year). It is quirky as hell, and also poignant and profound. After I read it, I wondered if this was his superior version of Jesus Calling. No offense to those who love that book, but I don't recognize that voice as being the same Jesus that cuts me like a sword, makes me deeply uncomfortable, and also smushes me to his bosom.
But this, this voice I recognize. The Listening Day is a creative work, an outpouring of Paul's devotion to God, wherein God speaks to us, the reader. I love how Paul has taken something familiar to religious folk--a devotional, the idea we must get up early every day and do something very specific in order to meet God--and turned it on its head. He has played with the concept, and invites us to do the same. It is truly lovely.
Here is just one example of his devotionals: (from 2 Corinthians 1:3–4 + Matt 5:4)
O F A L L C O M F O RT
I too have wept.
I too have lost.
I too have heard the sentence of injustice
pronounced over my head.
I too have known hunger,
I too have fled the cruel,
have seen friends flee,
have heard the rumors,
have been mocked.
I too have been handed over to torturers,
have seen my own
martyred like sheep,
have felt the ship sinking under my feet.
I too have been kept from my beloved,
have seen my lover in the arms of my enemy—and enjoying it.
I too have seen the grave.
I too have lost
All this is true. I swear it by my own name.
And I am here to say two things:
It will all be made right,
and you were never alone.
Lord, you have known, through the sufferings of Christ and your people, every
kind of mourning. Please grant comfort to all those who need it, for you are the
God of all consolation. Thank you—thank you, thank you. Amen.
Anything that creatively engages my spirit is a boon to me these days. This little volume definitely does that. And I am so excited because today I have three copies of The Listening Day to give away! I will keep this very simple. Just comment here on the blog (you can say anything, but I would love to hear how you are currently connecting to God--or just carving out space for contemplation in these hard and chaotic times), and share this giveaway post! Be sure to go and check out Paul's website as well, and if you are an impatient sort go ahead and buy his book (it is under $6!).
The giveaway will close at noon PST on Friday 4/29. Please include an email address so I can contact you if you win! Sorry, but only open for those in the US (unless you are OK with a PDF version!).