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Reading and spirituality
Eremos Books for Groups recognises the power of books to stimulate, challenge and comfort.
Daniel Coleman, in In Bed with the Word: Reading, Spirituality and Cultural Politics, says he has come to believe that reading is important because of what reading does, because of how it positions people in relation to the world around them, to others — to the Other.
“That is, it is important because it fosters spirituality — not the only spirituality or even the most important kind of spirituality — but a spirituality that is increasingly counter-cultural.”
Reading, he says, is counter-cultural mainly because it requires quiet time, being slow and meditative, and it is active rather than passive, being imaginative and dialogical.
“These qualities run in the opposite direction from the one in which Western commodity culture is heading.”
Coleman says, “Spirituality assumes that I have something to learn and that I can learn it from many things around me that draw me out of myself. Nature, art, the physical and spiritual beauty of other people, as well as their creativity and wisdom, can draw me out beyond the contained space of my own perceptions.
“And so can reading. In fact reading can play a vital role in exercising our spirituality. Reading simultaneously isolates us and requires us to actively bridge the structure of absence between ourselves and others. It demands that we become people who digest words slowly and thoughtfully.
“Because it is slow and reflective; because it requires an active, rather than a passive, audience; because it is dialogical, a kind of conversation among an author, her reader and other readers; because it can activate both affirmation and suspicion; and because even the most straightforward forms of writing call for multiple levels of interpretation — for all these reasons, reading is spiritual.”
Eremos recognises the power of books to stimulate, challenge and comfort. Eremos Books for Groups is a popular way for Eremos members and their friends to come together and explore issues of life and faith in an atmosphere that encourages the sharing of ideas.
Over thirty different courses are offered on a hiring basis, each consisting of multiple copies of the book under discussion and supplementary materials. Members have access to a wonderful library of books, with up to ten copies of each title available. Hire one or hire up to ten of the same title.
Eremos also invites members to share in the transformative and stimulating act of reading and discussing books by starting their own group or joining an existing group.
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