Book Giveaway: Love Never Fails

Just in time for a Mother’s Day gift.

Just in time for love that’s in need of encouragement.

Whatever reason you need to reach for a new book to bless your spirit: Love Never Fails: A Journal to be Inspired by the Power of Love.

Love-Never-FailsAs I wrote in an earlier book review, Love Never Fails is a touchstone of love to hold fast in a landslide of fear; a stimulus toward generosity amidst the temptation of selfishness; a reminder to be faithfully diligent in the work the changes the world: listening, caring, connecting.

Give yourself (or someone you know) the gift of this beautiful book! To enter this week’s drawing for a free copy of Love Never Fails, simply drop me an email with the subject “Love Never Fails.”

All submitted names will be placed in a hat for a random drawing at 5:00pm eastern on Sunday, May 14. I’ll contact the winner for a mailing address to send the free copy of Love Never Fails. None of the email addresses received as a result of folks entering the book giveaway will be shared, and you won’t receive unsolicited emails from me after the giveaway has ended.

So take a chance that you might be inspired to greater love-filled living, and send me an email to enter the drawing!

Sunday Prayer

In fellowship with one another and with the Spirit, we pray:

Christ our Shepherd, God our Home,
in you we place our fears and faith;
in you we rest our worries and heartaches.

Along your winding pathways,
we are surprised and amazed.

By your still clear pools,
we find satisfaction and rest.

With your redirection,
our lives bring glory to you.

At shared table with our aggravators,
we discover ourselves in one another.

Through turmoil and trouble, crisis and danger,
you remain unwaveringly beside us.

You are our wonder and our longing,
our daily amazement and our persistent questions.

Call us by your mercy
to generosity of service.

Call us by your ever-flowing grace
to faithfulness in following you.

Call us by your imagination
to visions of a beautiful kin-dom for all creation.

Christ our Shepherd, God our Home,
dwelling in your house we are at peace with ourselves
and one another, no more to wander from your paths of peace.

Sunday Prayer

Spirit of Life, God of Renewal, Jesus our Christ,

We sing your praises.
We celebrate your resurrection.
We continually seek your revelation.

Over disappointments, we pray
and we lift up our highest hopes, our dashed dreams,
our longings and ambitions that we struggle to realize.
We seek your presence and your wisdom above all,
Spirit of Life, God of Renewal, Jesus our Christ.

We sing your praises.
We celebrate your resurrection.
We continually seek your revelation.

Over misunderstandings, we pray
and we seek forgiveness for divisions between us,
we pray repair and justice for the impact of harm.
We seek your presence and your love above all,
Spirit of Life, God of Renewal, Jesus our Christ.

We sing your praises.
We celebrate your resurrection.
We continually seek your revelation.

Over change and transformation, we pray
and we hold in gentleness our uncertainty and fear,
we hold with grace mysteries and endings and deaths.
We seek your presence and your peace above all,
Spirit of Life, God of Renewal, Jesus our Christ.

We sing your praises.
We celebrate your resurrection.
We continually seek your revelation.

Go with us in life, we pray,
even as we vow to journey with one another.
You are our Constant Companion and our
Source of Inspiration, now and forever. Amen.

cross-posted at RevGalBlogPals

Sunday Prayer

I see you as you go before me.
I touch you as the ground beneath me.
I hold you as the wound between us.
I greet you as the peace within us.

Jesus my brother, Christ my savior,
I believe in you and in your resurrection
… most of the time. Help my unbelief,
for life is abundant and creative and
surprising, but I have unfaithfully limited
my understanding to death and cynicism.

Show me life where there is fullness of joy,
and I will make it my breath and my work.
Show me hope with possibility and clarity,
and it will be my guide and my salvation.
Show me faith that burns and opens hearts,
and I will give you mine over and again.

I see you as you go before me.
I touch you as the ground beneath me.
I hold you as the wound between us.
I greet you as the peace within us.

My Lord and my God!

cross-posted at RevGalBlogPals

Deliberate Acts of Kindness

Meredith Gould’s writing and wit — combined with her overall brilliance — produce books that are relevant, purposeful and compelling, including the newly-updated and re-released Deliberate Acts of Kindness: A Field Guide to Service as a Spiritual Practice.

deliberate-acts-of-kindnessBeautiful to hold and easy* to put into action, Deliberate Acts of Kindness is a resource for such a time as this, equipping a new generation of socially-conscious-and-eager-to-change-the-world folks with discernment tools for spiritual grounding & a hearty dose of wisdom for guarding against burn-out.

For those who have already burned out once (or twice or thrice) in their commitment to serve others, Deliberate Acts of Kindness offers a knowing head tilt and a friendly raised eyebrow to encourage deeper, more honest self-examination about one’s engagement in service:

“How will you know your call to service is … not merely something your ego deeply desires?”
(DAK 21)

“Got trust issues? These may need attention…”
(DAK 19)

And this reality check:

“You’ll need to learn how to deal with the jerks, scoundrels, incompetents, and frauds you encounter along the way.”
(DAK 74)

Personal testimony: As someone in a helping profession (hello, ministry) my copy of Deliberate Acts of Kindness is highlighted, margin-scribbled and dog-eared every time Gould prods — I mean, prompts — my self-candor and clarity. Which pretty much means that every page of DAK is marked up.

Cover to cover, Deliberate Acts of Kindness provides concrete guidance and frames important questions for engaging service as a practice of faith: starting with the whys that compel kindness (Chapter 1), attending to the Spirit of discernment (Chapter 2), scoping out opportunities and ideas for kindness-in-action (Chapter 3), emphasizing the importance of serving well (Chapter 4), and preparing for inevitable disappointments and disillusionments (Chapter 5).

In addition to Gould’s own wisdom, especially useful throughout Deliberate Acts of Kindness is the wisdom she invites each reader to find on their own through contemplative writing exercises. I’m a great believer in the pen’s honesty: when we don’t write for perfection or worry about words, writing or journaling often has the result of putting truth on paper before our brains have the opportunity to reconsider it.

The writing exercises, assorted prayers and sayings from varied wisdom traditions, and Meredith Gould’s practical expertise make Deliberate Acts of Kindness a rich resource for volunteer veterans and humanitarian hopefuls alike — not just to be read once, but to be returned to again and again.

Deliberate Acts of Kindness is a book well worth your time and practice, for the sake of a more equitable, more kind world.

Bonus tips:

  • When reading a book by Meredith Gould, always read the endnotes. Seriously. Always.
  • Consider treating Deliberate Acts of Kindness as a devotional tool, not just a practical guide. When you find a quotation or question that resonates with you, hold onto it, take your time with it, meditate over it. Your spiritual groundedness for service will benefit your works of kindness.
  • Don’t assume that Deliberate Acts of Kindness is only a book about helping others. Chapter 4 is basically a guide for interacting with any human system/relationship (familial, professional, religious, romantic), demonstrated through the lens of service organizations. If people are driving you up a wall, whether generally or specifically, take a deep breath and read DAK. See also: adulting.
  • In addition to recommending Deliberate Acts of Kindness for your personal involvement in goodwill, I highly recommend DAK for those considering a profession in service. For example, my current job relates to folks who seek to become ministers, who are ministers, and (sometimes) who need to no longer be ministers. I would gladly put DAK into the hands of many a candidate & minister and require its study (along with therapy) for the work of collective discernment.

*If we call soul-searching, gifts-testing, energy-draining, pouring-life-into-love, burning-out, soul-reexamining, compassion-into-action-converting, giving-a-damn, and praying-to-God-to-save-the-world-from-itself work “easy.”

P.S. Meredith, I might totally steal/borrow/use “ad majorem Dei gloriam” (to the greater glory of God) with my next book, because it’s true, because it’s beautiful, and because I’m not adept enough with Latin to have thought of it myself. Thank you for your commitment to a more just & generous world.