Christianity is by its very definition counter-cultural, but daily life is so demanding that if we are not watchful, we will wind up being carried downstream with our culture instead of swimming against the current. This excerpt from the writings of Henri J.M. Nouwen might be helpful:
"An important discipline in the life of the Spirit is spiritual reading. Through spiritual reading we have some say over what enters our minds. Each day our society bombards us with a myriad of images and sounds. . . . Whether we ask for it or not is not the question; we simply cannot go far without being engulfed by words and images forcibly intruding themselves into our minds. But do we really want our mind to become the garbage can of the world? . . .
"Clearly we do not, but it requires real discipline to let God and not the world be the Lord of our mind. But that asks of us not just to be gentle as doves, but also cunning as serpents! Therefore spiritual reading is such a helpful discipline.
"Is there a book we are presently reading, a book that we have selected because it nurtures our mind and brings us closer to God? Our thoughts and feelings would be deeply affected if we were always to carry with us a book that puts our minds again and again in the direction we want to go . . . Even if we were to read for only fifteen mintes a day in such a book, we would soon find our mind becoming less of a garbage can and more of a vase filled with good thoughts." (The Only Necessary Thing: Living A Prayerful Life, p. 99)
The Rev. Linda McCloud
The Episcopal Church of Our Savior at Honey Creek