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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Sunday, July 05, 2009
    Taking leave of the daily discipline
     
    On one level it's a way of conveying information: items of news, links to other websites. On another level it's a scrapbook, a means of collecting interesting quotes, pictures, sound and video files. Or it may be an easy way to keep in touch with a scattered family, distant friends: conveying mundane details which only resonate to people who have a close connection. Blogging is all these things to me. But the daily discipline of adding an entry to my website also serves a deeper spiritual purpose.
    It's some time since I wrote that opening paragraph for an entry titled Blogging as Prayer in Henry and Roy's The God You Already Know, which is just now published. And you, faithful reader, are well aware that my 'daily discipline' has caved in largely due to a major lifestyle change and also more recently a couple of very concentrated weeks of work, some of it away. It looks like I'm taking leave of the daily discipline, but still hope to keep it regular because (as the GP also says) it's good for me.
    Blogs and bloggers of course get criticised for being self-possessed or exhibitionist, and putting yourself 'out there' online does carry the potential for such pitfalls. But me, I've always been a writer, always best expressed myself through the written word, and so the blog seems an ideal vehicle for me to communicate in a way I enjoy and which is in some ways most 'me'. I find it a deeply satisfying way to end each day: playing with words, clicking the keys, communicating with friends and strangers some joys, some insights freshly appreciated. The friends and strangers are important to me, but if they weren't there reading my blog I'd still find the writing fulfilling.
    So, is blogging a way of praying? I recoil a little from such a naked suggestion. But if praying is a way of engaging in a spiritual quest, involving listening and creatively attempting to express what is heard and understood, then blogging can be that. It is, for me, some days.
    The God You Already Know also features a piece from me on Prayer Walking, which I suggest, can consist of stops at a series of predetermined 'stations', such as the bus station and the fire station ... and 'other less literal stations might be to stop outside a school to pray for the pupils, their families and those who teach, a row of shops to pray for those who work there and whose lives involve frequent journeys to and from them, an industrial site, a leisure park, a bridge over a motorway to pray for those on faster journeys.' But there's also some very good quality writing and a wealth of wisdom in the book's 223 pages. Thanks, Henry and Roy, for this excellent collection which serves also as a great legacy of the team who developed spiritual direction at Greenbelt under the banner of Soul Space from 2000-2008.