Marilyn McEntyre is a writer, professor of medical humanities at UC Berkeley, and former professor of English at Westmont College. Much of her writing focuses on the role of words and language practices in the life of faith. We reviewed Caring for Words in a Culture of Lies which explored ways to restore and revive our worn-out, polluted, and distorted
language resources in both private and public realms.
Rather than speed reading and quickly processing complicated texts, McEntyre recommends dwelling, lingering, listening, and praying with words:
"They slow us into a silence that has to be reclaimed, sometimes with fierce intention, from the noise and haste and forward momentum of daily life. Many of us have normalized busyness to the chronic point of overload. Staying with, being still, and coming back rather than going on are spiritual survival disciplines on the choppy seas of distraction."
The revered practices of Lectio Divina and Centering Prayer open new doors to deepening and enriching our meditations on significant words in our culture and consciousness. McEntyre covers 15 of her favorite words and unfolds their meanings through seven different angles over the course of a week. Here are some of the headings for different days, which will give you an idea of the breadth of her musings.
• Listen when you pray.
• Receive as graciously as you give.
• Let go of self-defeating stories.
• Watch through the night
• Resist dithering and distraction
• Rejoice in others' happiness
• Welcome the little ones.
This is a graceful and elegant collection of meditations on 15 key spiritual words that animate our days and doings.