In response to recent events, this year September 11th has been declared:
International Read a Book Day
For an explanation, take a look at this excellent video:
For my part, I’m suggesting that everyone spend at least some time tomorrow “reading about a religion you do not practice”. A group of us over at LibraryThing.com will be reporting in on when/where/what we read. I’ll also be adding new posts here describing what I read and my thoughts and reactions.
I’ll be reading from one or more of the following books (gathered from my own bookshelf and the religion section of the local branch of my library):
Judaism: An anthology of the key spiritual writings of the Jewish tradition edited and interpreted by Arthur Hertzberg Inviting God In by Rabbi David Aaron What I Wish My Christian Friends Knew about Judaism by Robert Schoen What Do Muslims Believe? by Ziauddin Sardar Islam: A Short History by Karen Armstrong No god but God by Reza Aslan The Wisdom of the Prophet: Sayings of Muhammad translated by Thomas Cleary Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi
I’ll also be attending a “Prayerful Action” gathering at a local Episcopal Church where a Professor of World Religion will teach us about the Qur’an and guide us in reading selections from it “as an expression of honor and respect.”
So please join International Read a Book Day and if you don’t have your own blog, add your reflections here at Lucidia!
A Song to Sing, A Life to Live: Reflections on Music as Spiritual Practice by Don Saliers and Emily Saliers (2005) San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Book review by Lucinda DeWitt
An inspiring book about music and its ability to stir our souls. Beginning with their own stories as musicians (Emily as half of the folk-duo the Indigo Girls, Don as a well known church musician and theologian), the father-daughter Saliers explore music as a spiritual practice. Their discussion/conversation includes: the bodily and sensory experience of music, music across the lifespan, how music can bring us together as well as divide us, how music shapes our identity, music’s role in grieving, and music’s role in work for social justice. The spiritual aspect of music is woven throughout these topics; different perspectives on spirituality are included.
I truly enjoyed this book. It reminded me why I still consider myself a musician (though I rarely play anymore). I’m inspired to rediscover my own “songline,” the story of who I am as revealed through the music I love.
My only criticism is that sometimes the flow of the writing is uneven, but that is to be expected when two rather different perspectives and voices try to join together. Each individual voice is strong, but together their differences sometimes impinge on the harmony. Still, all in all, the underlying message of the song comes through.
My favorite quotation from the book: “whenever music touches us deeply, the potential for transformation exists. What we think and what we perceive about the world and about ourselves can change. What music calls to your restless heart? Where in music does your soul encounter an aspect of reality that shatters your complacency or your fear?” (p. 174-175)