I get by with a little help from my friends, and one of those friends that helps me get by is Preston Yancey. In the days of my own drying out, he said, "God wants good things for you too, you know." Those words have stuck with me more than just about any others. I suppose the Spirit still speaks. Preston is a Canon Theologian in the Anglican Church, which is to say he wears no dunce hat. He's written a wonderful new book, Out of the House of Bread: Satisfying Your Hunger for God with the Spiritual Disciplines, and it's available at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, or wherever fine books are sold. I've invited him to co-opt my Tiny Letter, to spend a few words walking us through one particular spiritual discipline.
And now, without further adieu, please welcome Preston Yancey.
How often do you ask Jesus what you have done well?
I wrote my latest book, Out of the House of Bread: Satisfying Your Hunger for God with the Spiritual Disciplines, after teaching a class for three semesters on spiritual practices and baking. Over the course of several weeks and several practices—several loaves of very good bread and some true disasters—we worked through and baked out different ways of approaching a life of devotion to God. At the end of each semester, I asked the cohort to reflect on what discipline had been the most significant and staying for them. Each time, people named a discipline like lectio divina, contemplating icons, or feasting. But they further named the Examen as the discipline that always stuck. While the others were appealing for seasons, useful at different times of life, the Examen felt like a continual work that could be--and should be--returned to often.
When I asked why so many people enjoyed the Examen, the answer was the same: "No one ever told me to ask Jesus what I had done well." In the church, we talk a lot about repentance, especially in the Lenten season, and we rightly should. We do ourselves and our God a disservice, however, if we don't orient ourselves in the direction of repentance with...
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