Visit the Abbey of the Arts online retreat platform to access your programs:

Water, Wind, Earth, and Fire

I just got the cover design in the mail for my book Water, Wind, Earth, and Fire: The Christian Practice of Praying with the Elements from Ave Maria Press (coming in March 2010!). 

I really like the design a lot, especially the four symbols for the elements in the upper right (not as clear to see in the image).

Very exciting to begin to imagine what this will look like – the container for all of my hard work and passion!

I am also delighted at the advance reviews/blurbs from some of my favorite authors:

“For too many centuries, too many Christians have been taught that a deep reverence for the beauty of nature is incompatible with sincere faith. Christine Valters Paintner’s new book, Water, Wind, Earth, and Fire, thus comes as both a blessing and a gift. Not only is her writing as beautiful as the symbolism she describes, but her wide knowledge of Scripture, Patristic writing, the mystical life of the saints, and contemporary spiritual poetry makes the reading of this book an inspiring and rejuvenating adventure.”

-Paula Huston, Author of The Holy Way: Practices for a Simple Life

“Christine Valters Paintner invites us-with inspiring words and examples-to dive deep into the elemental universe, and encounter there the Mystery that hides in all things. She writes out of the Christian tradition, but her message is as universal as the elements themselves.”

-Chet Raymo, Author of When God Is Gone, Everything Is Holy: The Making of a Religious Naturalist

“Amid the current profusion of spirituality-and-nature books, Water, Wind, Earth, and Fire is a rare treasure: a deeply Christian book that also draws us more deeply into contemplation of and relationship with nature.

This fine work of spiritual wisdom and guidance offers to both individuals and groups a companion for all seasons. It can soothe at night, enliven in the morning, kindle the human spirit during the day, and at all times serve as a reminder of the abiding presence of the Creator Spirit, which is the spirit of Christ on earth and among us.”

-Jane Redmont, Author of When in Doubt, Sing: Prayer in Daily Life

You might also enjoy

Monk in the World Guest Post: Kate Kennington Steer

I am delighted to share another beautiful submission to our Monk in the World guest post series from the community. Read on for Kate Kennington Steer’s reflection Heart of Stone. I arrived at February 2023 in a post-viral fatigue fug, feeling beset by depression, with

Read More »

Soul of a Pilgrim Video Podcast Day 2

Blessing for Packing Lightly*Winnowing God, you ask us to release, let go, surrender, and yield all that we canin service of making space for what is most essential. The more we set aside that which burdens us and takes up too much spacethe more room

Read More »

14 Responses

  1. How wonderful kigen, I think you have the seeds of your own book there! :-)

    Thanks lucy, not sure about the mother-daughter image but I do relish your enthusiasm and I am definitely doing the snoopy dance (while squealing) ;-)

  2. i am so very proud of you. i feel like a mom watching her own child give birth…pain and all :-). xooxox yea. yippee. woohoo. i can hardly contain myself. are you doing the snoopy dance?!??!??!

  3. This is totally subjective, and unfortunately it doesn’t come out in the right sequence of gospels, but this is how I see it. I will definitely order your book as soon as it is released!

    Air = Spring = John
    because it is youthful, lyrical, idealistic
    the ARCHE, the beginnings of things,
    its magnificent prologue

    Fire = Summer = Luke
    it has the most fecundity, the ample generosity,
    motherliness and inclusiveness of women generally

    Water = Autumn = Matthew
    because of Matthew’s rabbinic wisdom, he seems older
    and more seasoned than John and Luke, a deep spring

    Earth = Winter = Mark
    because of Mark’s simplicity, down to earth,
    almost Zen like conciseness, also lacking the
    birth narratives, etc.

  4. Thanks Jane and kigen!

    kigen, great question. I actually didn’t make that connection explicit in my book because I didn’t find any writings about it and it felt like that would require perhaps more biblical scholarship than I have done (but perhaps for the next book!). I do mention the sacred number four which parallels the elements, the seasons, the Gospels, the directions, and St Irenaeus who writes that there should be four Gospels precisely because of the four directions. I also engage Cherokee tradition for the parallels between elements, seasons, and directions (there is some diversity in indigenous traditions) because intuitively they make the most sense to me – air/east/spring, fire/south/summer, water/west/autumn, earth/north/winter – for more, read my book. ;-) Do you have a sense of the answer to your question? :-)

  5. Congratulations Christine, so exciting to see the cover and title! The four elements I know are aligned with the four seasons, and lots of other things historically, but also I think of them as expressed in the four gospels. But which is which?