And Then You (Wednesdays With Walter)

Margaret —  October 14, 2009 — 10 Comments

Walter Brueggemann

It's no secret that Leif and I have struggled over the years to connect spiritually through our personal times of devotion.

In the early days of our marriage, we tried a laundry list of things that simply didn't work. We began reading Oswald Chambers together on January 1 one year. By January 18, we couldn't even find the book. We attempted reading the same passages of scripture for discussion, but also felt a sense of awkward disconnect. We tried reading the same books, listening to the same sermons among other practices and yet it always felt forced, unnatural, anything but, well, organic. Those images of spiritual marital bliss faded into the reality that growing spiritually together as a couple takes time, perseverance and hard work.

Over the last few years, we've found something that works. (And when you find something that works when it comes to spiritual disciplines, do it and keep on doing it!) We sit on the couch beside each other in the morning and read whatever we're reading. I'm currently enjoying Bruce K. Waltke's commentary on Genesis; Leif is making his way through The Rest of God by Mark Buchanan. As we read, we sometimes hmmm or oooh-ahhhh aloud, signifying we've found something special, then we share what we're reading and our responses. It's natural. Non-forced. The practice works for us. When we're done, we each read a prayer aloud from Walter Brueggemann's Awed to Heaven, Rooted in Earth (a book given to us by our special friend Troy Champ). Then we spend time in prayer--for our families, our leaders, our friend, our world, and yes, you!--together aloud.

Brueggemann has a gift to bring hidden thoughts of the soul to light before God. Over the course of the fall, I wanted to share Walter Brueggemann with you every Wednesday. We invite you to join us for "Wednesdays With Walter" as you dive deeper in your own relation with God and prayer life:

And then you
We arrange our lives as best we can,
———to keep your holiness at bay,
——————with our pieties,
——————our doctrines,
——————our liturgies,
——————our moralities,
——————our secret ideologies,
———Safe, virtuous, settled.
And then you,
——————you and your dreams,
——————you and your visions,
——————you and your purposes,
——————you and your commands,
——————you and our neighbors,
We find your holiness not at bay,
———but probing, pervading,
———insisting, demanding.
And we yield, sometimes gladly,
———sometimes resentfully,
———sometimes late or soon.
We yield because you, beyond us, are our God.
We are your creatures met by holiness,
———by your holiness mad our true selves,
And we yield. Amen.

Pick up a copy of Walter Brueggemann's Awed to Heaven, Rooted in Earth, from Amazon, here.


10 responses to And Then You (Wednesdays With Walter)

  1. Margaret,
    Great post! And what an awesome book you are reading by Walter Brueggemann! One of my favorites. Also hearing him lecture/preach/teach is absolutely divine. I am looking forward to reading your Wednesdays with Walter. A stellar idea! Thank you!

  2. Mentors gave us a copy of Brueggemann’s Awed to Heaven, Rooted in Earth. It’s great. I like your idea. Gonna try it.

  3. WOW! I can relate to your struggle . . .

    You said “We sit on the couch beside each other in the morning and read whatever we’re reading.”

    Really sage advice . . . and freeing in a sense. I think we’ll give it a shot!

    Thanks for sharing.

  4. Thank you for that! It is so true, you cannot force two different people to come together in the same spiritual fashion. We have been married 10 years (anniversary was while I was at convention) and still have not hit the spiritual nail on the head so to speak, BUT we do occassionally sit and ooh and ahh over what we are seoerately reading and yes we grow together through it… I never thought of that as coming together spiritually.. but I guess it is! Thanks

  5. Beautiful! I think I need that book! We too, didn’t find an easy way to connect spiritually at first. It got easier after I read Gary Thomas’s Sacred Pathways and realized the wide variety of ways to connect with God. Suddenly my husband’s spiritual life made sense to me. (He serves God, I contemplate God.) A few years ago we read Donald Miller’s book Blue Like Jazz, and it ignited both of our spiritual lives–in ways that are similar but different. We’ve also enjoyed authors Philip Yancey, C.S. Lewis, and Bruxy Cavey.

  6. I just finished Scouting the Divine, WONDERFUL! I am a pastor in Waynesville NC. Did you grow up in Haywood or Jackson County? I noticed in your book you mentioned the Blue Ridge parkway and the Smoky Mountains, so I thought it had to be close. Your writing blessed me greatly!

  7. Hmm… I read blogs on a similar topic, but i never visited your blog. I added it to favorites and i’ll be your constant reader.

  8. Hey Margaret, great post. Andrea and I are in the midst of trying to get a hold of what works for us. This was very encouraging to hear that it is a process that takes time and effort and just isn’t something that happens over night. Great stuff.

  9. Ditto on your duo-devo struggles. After six years of happy and adventurous marriage, we’ve settled into “natural” mode, and I love it (I think she does too). Bringing our 4-year-old daughter into the equation will challenge us on this, though… time to be thinking hard about family devotions!

  10. In different stages in our marriage, we have found different things that are connecting for us spiritually. It took a while to find that freedom to discover our differences – now we love the richness and deepness in sharing and love learning through the other’s discovery…Thank you for sharing Walter Brueggemann with us, too. We have never read his stuff before although I have heard his name…His writings have struck a chord.

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