Karen Hering is a writer, chaplain, and ordained Unitarian Universalist minister. She serves as "a consulting literary minister" in St. Paul, Minnesota. What does that mean? She describes it as one who invites others to explore their faith and questions through a contemplative practice of writing. What a beneficial set-up and calling that is!
Hering has always been swept away by the transformative power of words and our capacity for metaphorical thinking. After several years of leading hundreds of guided writing sessions for people, Hering has seen both their faith and their imaginations stretched and expanded.
In the first section of the book, the author presents "The Spiritual Practice of Writing" where she explores why metaphors matter, engaging imagination and memory, welcoming your inner writer to the page, and connecting what is near and far. In the second section of the book, Hering shares 60 exercises drawn from ten key spiritual terms: faith, prayer, sin, love, justice, hope, redemption, grace, hospitality, and reverence.
We were especially intrigued to see what the author would do with reverence, a virtue and spiritual practice that is not talked about very often in congregations. Hering sees the world brimming with holiness, and reverence provides the lens for seeing and appreciating that miracle. This topic leads into a list of more than 90 names for God. With an eclectic sweep, the author also marvels at the art of paying attention, the cultivation of reverence in the Japanese tea ceremony, and what it means to embrace John Muir's idea that everything in the universe is hitched to everything else.
This book contains a mix of insights and writing prompts arranged in such a way that their freshness shines.