AUTHOR: Tricia McCary Rhodes, PhD
PUBLISHER: Colorado Spings, CO: NavPress, 2016, (216 pages).
- Lectio - Spiritual reading
- Meditatio - Spiritual meditation
- Oratio - Prayer
- Contemplatio - to contemplate
Part Two is about Meditatio, which is to help us pay attention. A key reason why we are spiritually inadequate is because of the multiple distractions happening all around us. One of the first things is to clear the decks so that we can focus on God. If we do not deal with the distractions both inside and outside us, we are in for a really heady and difficult time for learning, assuming we can learn. We lack focus due to the dizzying array of distractions. Rhodes shares four movements of meditation: 1) deep breathing; 2) simple movement; 3) vocal sound; and 4) faith.
Part Three is Oratio which is essentially prayer and conversation with God. A major problem in our world is how we can become willingly enslaved to technological gadgets and digital devices. It impacts our praying by putting Internet idolatry before anything else. There is a god that lurks behind every digital endeavor. Repeated obsession with a kind of games leads us to the god of accomplishment and competition. Continuous upgrading is linked to the god of greed and materialism. Non-stop posting of self on social media is the god of selfism. A 'voyeuristic interest' in the lives of other people is linked to the god of fantasy. Obsessions with internet chats may hide a god of popularity and a desire for approval.
Part Four is Contemplatio where we are ready to be close to God and admire the beauty of His Holiness. In a world where relationships are often reduced to internet messages and emoticons, this practice is a challenge to enter fully into the presence of God. No short texts. No abbreviated jargon. No reductionism.When we learn to cultivate a fuller appreciation of seeking God fully, we will learn what it means to being found by God finally.
I am wowed by this book at least three levels. At a technological level, I identify a lot with what the author has experienced, like of being a digital native, of wanting to caution people about their changing brain waves, and the way the digital devices have changed the way we live and interact. With lots of familiar technology examples, readers will find this book easy to identify with. Rhodes pulls in solid examples and researches in the field of media studies and how technology has affected people in deeper ways. Familiar scholars and researchers include Martin Heidegger, Marshall McLuhan, Sherry Turkle, Maryanne Wolf, etc. At a theological level, not only does Rhodes engage with the spiritual writers of old, like Augustine, St Benedict, and Ignatius, we get a fair overview of contemporary theologians as well, from CS Lewis, Richard Foster, Dallas Willard, and Hans Urs von Balthasar. At a practical level, she includes ample practice pages and exercise guidelines for use straight off the pages. This is something particularly useful when putting what we read and learn into practice.
A curious thing would be this: Would it be better for readers to get the printed copy or the ebook? For me, the choice is clear. Given the choice, go for the printed copy, hands down.
Rating: 5 stars of 5.
This book is provided to me courtesy of NavPress, Tyndale House Publishers, and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.