After coming to evangelical faith in 1972, and anticipating a life filled with wonder and mystery and joy, FaithfulReader.com reviewer Marcia Ford settled for what she calls "a good but restless life with God." But when she began to explore what she calls "the attic" --- the ancient treasures of church life hidden away --- she discovered a diversity of belief and practice that became her entrée into unexpected beauty and surprises.
The question she took for her own, and offers readers, is this: "What can Christians in the third millennium learn from ancient examples of faith?" Ford invites readers to move out of their spiritual comfort zones and discover for themselves what the old traditions of Christianity have to offer to us today. Her reasoning is threefold: these traditions will add depth and richness to our life with God; they provide a solid foundation for us as we explore different ways to express our faith; and they unite us with believers in the past as well as our contemporaries.
The practices are as varied as the drinks at Starbucks. Practice healthy grieving. Pray for the gift of tears (for Ford, closely aligned with giving up a controlling nature). Silence as transformation. ("Silence is not an escape. It's a doorway into God's presence.") Sensible asceticism. Meditation and solitude. Knit a prayer shawl, or wear one. Memorize the Psalms. Discover sacred reading. Ford writes eloquently about prayer, from trying new prayer postures, praying the Jesus Prayer ("Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner"), knitting or wearing a prayer shawl, or even praying poetry (including Wendell Berry and Mary Oliver).
In an interesting section on Spiritual Mentoring