Social media can provide a quick way to mine your crowd for information, help and advice.
Ask a question, and you’ll receive plenty of answers. In the past few weeks, I have engaged in posts about everything from the value of mentors to finding a new dentist.
Such queries also might generate face-to-face discussions. A friend and I often reflect on social media questions and comments in greater detail than we can dig into online.
Earlier this week, my friend David queried his Facebook friends: “What books have shaped your faith — books that have deepened your connection to God or helped you see God and the world in new ways?”
Responses comprised a diverse and thought-provoking list. Some responses included “Traveling Mercies,” “The Gospel According to Dr. Seuss,” “Living Buddha; Living Christ” and “Theology for Skeptics.”
Every book I’ve read — great, good or “blah” — has shaped my faith in some way. When I read, I’m changed.
However, my response to David’s question was more definitive. The list of books that shaped my faith and continue to do so is distinct: “The Three ‘Only’ Things” by Robert Moss, “A Cherokee Feast of Days” by Joyce Hifler and “Bless this Food” by Adrian Butash.
While I could list many more important books, I continue to draw on what I learn from these. I regularly reflect on them, sometimes daily. They challenge me and cause me to learn new things about myself.
They’re distinctly different books. Perhaps their unifying themes are to be present, pay attention and give thanks.
Moss’ book focuses on “tapping the power of dreams, coincidence and imagination.” It is rich with difficult and enlightening ideas. For example, he outlines “The Nine Rules of Coincidence,” which include “thoughts are actions and produce effects” and “life rhymes.”
“Feast of Days” is a devotional guide that often calls readers to tap inner power and external resources. Today’s ends with, “Real power is not ‘nigvnhdiha,’ which is understood by the Cherokee to be ‘put on.’ It is from an inner source … that flows smoothly but drives huge cities with energy. … One person may seem inadequate to change anything, but united with others, can change anything.”
Meanwhile, “Bless this Food” is what the title implies: an exploration of how we give thanks for sustenance. It emphasizes how often — and readily — humans tend to be to express thanks for food. The paradox is we also can be prone to take food for granted.
“The thanks-giving food blessing is the prayer said most often in the home,” writes Butash. “This is its essential beauty. Saying a blessing before a meal can bring us closer to our brothers and sisters, parents and friends. … The occasional gather for prayer, no matter how brief, keeps the heart and mind in touch with the most fundamental of joys: belonging.”