Naomi's Reviews > Uncommon Gratitude: Alleluia for All That Is

Uncommon Gratitude by Joan D. Chittister
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Oct 14, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: christianity, spiritual-practices, religion
Read from October 14 to 30, 2010

Joan Chittister & Rowan Williams meditate on twenty-three topics for alleluia, divided into three parts: discovering what we are, becoming who we are, and growing into the unknown. Every one of these twenty-three topics has significant negative connotations or practice within the wider popular Western culture. This is meant to be a text for folks and communities in unpleasant and uncertain times, to find a way to express gratitude and sing alleluia. It is a text for maturing faith, moving beyond a vending machine God and into a deeper sense of the wonder and oneness of creation, our human work for mercy, justice, and restoration of the world we have so badly injured, and cultivating the qualities necessary for resilience, a/k/a spiritual health.

Necessarily, there will be parts of the text that don't fit with the reader's current situation. Necessarily, there will be moments of rebellion and rejection. Sit with it. Then come back to it later. Like other good spiritual texts, it isn't an easy read, nor always enjoyable. Yet there will be moments, phrases, stories, images that grab the reader, and to which one returns repeatedly. Eventually, this leads back into the pieces that felt so objectionable before.

Treat the book as a retreat text or for small group exploration. It is a literary labyrinth walk, to be used prayerfully and humbly, recognizing the specificity of experience out of which Williams and Chittister write, and acknowledging our differences in experience and ways of interpretation. They are still ways that can and do teach, can and do inspire. And that's cause for alleluia.
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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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message 1: by Vicki (new)

Vicki G I sure hope that doesn't mean the same thing my former pastor said about Job "falling down and blessing God for all these tragedies God had visited upon him."
That's what he told me after he decided, by 2003, that I was taking way too long to get over my grief of watching my daughter's dad die in Tower 1 and, later, meeting someone who worked in Tower 1 and received burns so severe he's had amputations of body parts.
I stopped going to church eventually, b/c I see myself praising a tragedy visited upon my family as soon as I reach the Ninth Circle.


Naomi Vicki wrote: "I sure hope that doesn't mean the same thing my former pastor said about Job "falling down and blessing God for all these tragedies God had visited upon him."
That's what he told me after he decide..."


I have a hard time with anyone telling someone how we're supposed to grieve & how long it should take. It is different for each of us - & that's what I tell people who ask me about grieving time in a pastoral situation.

Alleluia for All That Is isn't a text I'd recommend for everyone at every time - there's plenty in it that will go the wrong way for many people's spiritual journeys at particular times. But there's also good stuff in it, depending on where a person is & what they want to do with it.

Hope that clarification helps.


message 3: by Vicki (new)

Vicki G Naomi wrote: "Vicki wrote: "I sure hope that doesn't mean the same thing my former pastor said about Job "falling down and blessing God for all these tragedies God had visited upon him."
That's what he told me a..."


Thank you. : )


message 4: by Vicki (new)

Vicki G There's one thing I need to know before I can continue reading this book. Are they saying, or implying, that you have to say 'alleluia' after something unGodly tragic happens in your life? It may just be me, but I'm confused about it, and the book is not obvious about whether or not you're supposed to do that. The same thing the Bible claims Job did after he had multiple tragedies. He supposedly fell down and said 'Praise God.' Which I must admit has always confused me.


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