Many spiritual teachers of yesteryear and of recent times kept journals including John Wesley, John Woolman, Thomas Merton, and Henri J. M. Nouwen. They regularly made time to process the Spirit's presence in their experiences and in the lives of those around them. This new edition of Ron Klug's excellent guide examines journaling as a spiritual practice a way of keeping your soul in shape, exercising your values, and expanding your visions. A user-friendly volume, it is both an inspiration and a pathfinder.
The author, a freelance writer and editor in Amery, Wisconsin, offers the following definition: "A journal is a tool for self-discovery, an aid to concentration, a mirror for the soul, a place to generate and capture ideas, a safety valve for the emotions, a training ground for the writer, and a good friend and confidant." Klug considers the time he spends writing in his journal as Sabbath time, and that's a fine way of putting it. We all need an oasis in the midst of our hectic lives to ponder the intimations of the Spirit.
Some other uses for a journal include as an aid for devotional life, a tool for counting blessings, a workshop for wrestling with ethical dilemmas, a daily vehicle for dialogue with God, and a healing resource in times of grief and loss. Klug provides plenty of excerpts from the journals of the famous and not so famous to demonstrate the value of different styles of writing.
We especially liked the chapters on "Harvesting Your Journal" (including tips on doing an end-of-the-year summary, indexing, and gleaning journal entries for other projects) and on "Guide for Forming a Journal Group." Klug spices up the proceedings with soul-stirring quotations like the following one by Paul Tournier: "The busier we are, the more do we become burdened with responsibilities, and the more do we stand in need of those times when we can renew our contact with God."