Join Abbey of the Arts for a monthly conversation on how increasing our diversity of perspectives on contemplative practice can enrich our understanding and experience of the Christian mystical tradition.
Christine Valters Paintner is joined by author Claudia Love Mair for a series of video conversations. Each month they take up a new book by or about a voice of color. The community is invited to purchase and read the books in advance and participate actively in this journey of deepening, discovery, and transformation.
This month’s selection is This Here Flesh: Spirituality, Liberation, and the Stories that Make Us by Cole Arthur Riley.
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER – In her stunning debut, the creator of Black Liturgies weaves stories from three generations of her family alongside contemplative reflections to discover the “necessary rituals” that connect us with our belonging, dignity, and liberation.
“From the womb, we must repeat with regularity that to love ourselves is to survive. I believe that is what my father wanted for me and knew I would so desperately need: a tool for survival, the truth of my dignity named like a mercy new each morning.”
So writes Cole Arthur Riley in her unforgettable book of stories and reflections on discovering the sacred in her skin. In these deeply transporting pages, Arthur Riley reflects on the stories of her grandmother and father, and how they revealed to her an embodied, dignity-affirming spirituality, not only in what they believed but in the act of living itself. Writing memorably of her own childhood and coming to self, Arthur Riley boldly explores some of the most urgent questions of life and faith: How can spirituality not silence the body, but instead allow it to come alive? How do we honor, lament, and heal from the stories we inherit? How can we find peace in a world overtaken with dislocation, noise, and unrest? In this indelible work of contemplative storytelling, Arthur Riley invites us to descend into our own stories, examine our capacity to rest, wonder, joy, rage, and repair, and find that our humanity is not an enemy to faith but evidence of it.
At once a compelling spiritual meditation, a powerful intergenerational account, and a tender coming-of-age narrative, This Here Flesh speaks potently to anyone who suspects that our stories might have something to say to us.
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