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Search our database of more than 5,000 book and audio reviews. Remember, we only review resources we recommend for your spiritual journey.

Book Review

By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

 

Praying a New Story
Michael Morwood
Orbis Books 02/04 Paperback $15.00
ISBN: 1570755310


Those who are taking seriously the emerging new paradigm in Christianity often face vocational difficulties. Michael Morwood, who had over 30 years experience in Catholic retreat, education, parish, and youth ministries in Australia, resigned as a member of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart when his book Tomorrow's Catholic was banned by the Archbishop of Melbourne in 1998. In this invigorating, poetic and imaginative paperback, Morwood shares prayers that can be used in small groups that reflect a fresh and bold reframing of Christian views of God, the universe, Jesus, the Spirit, and holidays such as Christmas, Good Friday, Easter, and Pentecost. Here you will read about an everywhere God instead of an elsewhere God, who is present and active in every corner of the universe and in every dimension of our everyday life. Morwood gives plenty of concrete examples of this panentheistic perspective. He adds: "Prayer is not so much talking to or addressing God, but rather about deepening our awareness that God — the Breath of Life present throughout the universe — comes to visible expression in us."

Another part of the New Story for adventuresome Christians is the calling to be Jesus to loved ones, neighbors, and enemies. In many of these prayers Morwood muses on the life and work of the man from Nazareth with "his extravagant generosity" and challenges us to do as he did by giving God human expression in our daily lives. Here is an example of one prayer that brings together many themes of the faith:

"Through Jesus
we believe we are all
'sons and daughters'
of one God.
We believe
the same Spirit of God
that came to visibility in Jesus
yearns for visible expression in us.

"This is our common dignity
whatever race or creed,
whatever our place or time.
We long to see our common dignity
proclaimed
and celebrated by all religions.
We pray that the one Spirit all people share
may be given free and generous expression
for the betterment of humanity
and our world. Amen."

This prayer form enables us to tap into our spiritual practices of imagination, wonder, hope, and joy. Or as Morwood puts it: "This is the Wow! of human existence from a Christian perspective." Praying a New Story is the perfect resource for small groups interested in exploring new avenues of devotion and spiritual practice.

 

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by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
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