J. Brent Bill, a Quaker, has done a wonderful job exploring the theme of light in this paperback packed with quotations, hymn lyrics, poems, and meditations on art and culture. The practice of minding the light is a way of lavishing love and attention on the incredible world in which we live and truly making the most out of all our seeing. The Bible tells us that God is light and that God made the light. It comes to us from many different sources and from all directions. Bill opens new doors for us and we take in the effulgence. There are chapters on:
The Spirituality of Seeing
Artificial Light and the Life of the Spirit
Seeing Our Path to God
Bill notes that before the Quakers called themselves Friends, they referred to themselves as "Children of Light." George Fox spoke of the Christ within every person, a presence he called the "Inner Light," that enables us to open ourselves to grace which surrounds us in creation, others, and in our work and communities. But it takes practice to see with spiritual eyes. Bill suggests that we take time every day to look at the sights around us both people and things. Then watch the waning of the light and see how it dims. The author calls his wife "a looker" and by that he means that she really looks at the world around her. In the excerpt, Bill shares his experience of light in his office and the differences between summer and winter light.
Other topics covered in this multidimensional overview of the importance of light include:
• The role of light in the world's religions
• Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and the role of light in health
• The Christian ritual of the Way of Light, a 50-day period from Easter to Pentecost
• The imaginative use of light in art and photography
• The soulful uses of artificial light (spiritual reading by electric light and prayer services by candlelight)
• Light pollution in cities making the moon and stars less visible
• The dark night of the soul as a light-bearing experience
• Light in poems, hymns, and even jokes ("How many Quakers does it take to change a lightbulb? None. Who needs a lightbulb when you have the Inner Light?")
Throughout the book, Bill includes sections called "Illuminating Moments" brief exercises to assist the reader in discerning God's Light in our lives. Mind the Light is one of the Best Spiritual Books of the Year.