An Interview with Bruce Cockburn

I had the sincere privilege of meeting with Bruce Cockburn for an hour this winter. We talked taboo: faith and politics, and discussed his recently published memoir Rumours of Glory (HarperCollins). Visit http://convergemagazine.com/interview-with-bruce-cockburn-15500/ for the story.

Book Review: Hearing God, by Dallas Willard

Hearing God: Developing A Conversational Relationship With God

Dallas Willard

Publisher: Intervarsity Press

Hearing God

Communication: the buzzword for healthy relationships. If faith is a personal relationship with God, why is communication with him such a mystery? This updated and expanded book seeks to clarify what it means to hear God and addressing many misunderstandings of this fundamental piece of the life of faith. This is a comprehensive, level-headed, and challenging book on divine guidance.

While believers around the world soundly establish communication towards God, Willard seeks to illuminate the missing piece: communication from God; that is, hearing and understanding what God has to say about us. With marvellous insight, Willard challenges the reader cognitively and calls forth reflection. Using plain language yet brilliant analogies in everything from quantum mechanics to human anatomy, revealing the indications and implications of God’s interaction with us.

The book’s second interest is answering whether it is more dangerous to risk trying to hear God or not trying to hear God at all. Willard is adamant about the importance as well as the reality of Christians being able to hear from God personally.

Ultimately, Willard’s point is that the Christian person needs to be able to hear God, or they will forever be paddling in the shallow end of the spiritual life. Willard restores the individual relationship with God amongst the other pillars of a healthy spiritual walk – community, Bible reading, and so on – so that people do not become dependent on imperfect human advice for every little thing.

More than ever, Christians are seeking ‘God’s will’ for their life. As a result, many groups devise seminars, strategies, and steps to do this. Willard’s thesis revolves around developing a relationship with God in all kinds of ways, the Bible being one. This updated and expanded version includes six Lectio Divina exercises to guide readers into hearing God through reflective reading of Scripture – while readers also train themselves to hear the ways in which God communicates. At the end of each chapter are reflection questions that may help the reader further unpack meaning for his or her own life.

Review: “The Crowd, The Critic, and The Muse: A Book For Creators” by Michael Gungor

Rating 4/5 – A thoughtful, honest, and decisive book, framing the contemporary artist’s dilemma and providing companionship, guidance, and fresh purpose to create.

Released October 9, 2012. Order at MissingInkShop from Gungor.

gungor book header
Click through to the book’s webpage

“We are all creators”, Michael Gungor asserts. “But only real things get to create things, not ghosts…dead souls do not produce the same stuff as living ones do.”

Inviting the reader into the thrilling, embarrassing, and downright astonishing stories that thread through his creative journey, Gungor first describes the place he has come from, as a swaying creator seeking appreciation, next realizes the paralysis brought about by disconnecting from the grounds of one’s art, and then explores the resurrection found in reconnecting with that source. Prepare to encounter the allure of the crowd and steel yourself for the tongue of the critic, but get ready to realize their ultimately inconsequential place in your creative endeavours.

While not presuming to know everything or be right about anything, Gungor has penned more than just a book. It’s a tool that allows creative people (all of us) to distinguish the roots of our culture that frames our creative processes, and to see where these roots are diseased and causing decay. Dividing the book into three parts, the first is on the nature of art and creativity, encountering the soul, the sublime, and the source. Following this is his exposition of six roots that support our cultural tree, and finally a look into the soil itself: how to cultivate the kind of landscape from which good art can grow.

As the artist turns these pages, she will encounter weighty words of caution as well as celebration. Gungor’s artistic grounding freshly recontextualizes scriptures like, “What do you profit if you gain the whole world but lose your soul?” As an artist who sees and has seen through, he possesses a rare ability to speak to the divergent, artistic individual wrestling with the conflicts that surround artistic integrity.

Tend the ground of the inner landscape from which the art grows, says Michael. Art is the body’s pronunciation of the soul. If the soul is dry, so too will the art be. This is his invitation to re-engage the motive for creator to create.

Listen to Michael read the Introduction to The Crowd, The Critic, and The Muse here!