Tag Archives: everyday life

Book: Ordinary Saints: Lessons in the Art of Giving Away Your Life, by Stuart C. Devenish

SSCS member Stuart Devenish’s book, Ordinary Saints, offers a definition of sainthood applicable to the people we encounter in our everyday lives who are deeply committed to living out the Gospel message. Here is the book’s abstract:

In the post-Christian age, after the death of institutional religion, is there any place left for holy people to live as lovers of God? Yes! God’s favorite way of making himself present in the world is through the righteous lives of his holy people. This is a book about saints (defined as activated disciples), who are alive now, and whose everyday goodness announces that God is at work in the world.

Saints are blood-bought, love-steeped, twice-born, re-made people who are Christianity’s living witnesses. Like Jesus, their Master, they are the message, the messenger, and the working model of the kingdom of God. In following Jesus, ordinary saints are invited to give away their lives and spend out of their resources to convey the substance of their faith to a waiting and watching world.

If ever there was a time when Saints need to live courageously for Christ in the world, it is now. But it will take conviction, credibility, and a great deal of audacity. Ordinary Saints explores what it means to be a saint in the 21st-century, by exploring the depth-dimension of saints’ lives, bodies, emotions, values, and relationships.

It offers the simple recipe that if God exists, if the Bible is true, if Jesus saves … What’s going to prove it are the lives of ordinary saints. Thinking of the great saints of the early era of Christian history, St Augustine asked himself, “If they, why not I? – If those men and women could become saints, why cannot I with the help of Him who is all-powerful?”

Stuart Devenish, Ph.D., is the Director of Postgraduate Studies at the School of Ministry, Theology, and Culture, Tabor College of Higher Education, Adelaide, Australia.

Paper: Theorizing Christian Spirituality: The Sacred, Identity & Everyday Practices

In January, Philip Sheldrake gave the keynote address “Theorizing Christian Spirituality: The Sacred, Identity & Everyday Practices” at a spirituality conference titled “Sacrality & Materiality: Locating Intersections” organized by the Faculty of Theology, University of Zurich. A copy is available by contacting the moderator. Here is the first paragraph:

My fundamental contention is that Christian spirituality cannot transcend the realm of materiality or escape the limitations of historical context. However, the way “spirituality” has sometimes been presented in the past masked certain anti-material theological positions represented by a number of polarities. These expressed a hierarchy of values.  Examples are interiority versus social existence, the experiential versus action (which encourages a separation of spirituality and ethics), and an elevated spiritual realm versus the mundane and the material. I want to begin by mentioning briefly two core problematic issues – the nature of the sacred and the question of inwardness.  I then want to suggest  that an important corrective in relation to spirituality is the theological notion of “sacramentality”. Finally, the main part of this lecture will concentrate on the multidisciplinary thought of the French Jesuit scholar, Michel de Certeau. De Certeau was a major figure in the development of the modern study of Christian spirituality and of mysticism. However, what interests me here is how his later social scientific work on The Practice of Everyday Life, including essays on the city, was influenced by spiritual values alongside social theory.

Spirituality at the University—Twenty Years Later

Philip Endean’s “Spirituality and the University,” first published in The Way 84 (1995): 87-99, served as a springboard for the panel’s discussion of current theoretical and methodological questions in the field of Christian Spirituality.  The panel members  were

Gilberto Cavazos-Gonzalez, O.F.M., Catholic Theological Union
Douglas Burton-Christie, Loyola Marymount University
Lisa Dahill, Trinity Lutheran Seminary
Bo Karen Lee, Princeton Theological Seminary
Bernard McGinn, University of Chicago Divinity School
Timothy Hessel-Robinson, Brite Divinity School
Sandra M. Schneiders, I.H.M., Graduate Theological Union
Philip Sheldrake, Cambridge Theological Federation

Links to Endean’s paper, questions posed to panel members, and videos of their responses are available.