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READ: Review, GOD ALONE IS ENOUGH by Claudia Mair Burney

(Today’s post is part of a blog tour and reviews only Chapter Four. For more information, check out the author’s own spirited journey onher blog). Uncertain about how to pray. Fighting battles of sin and self. Wanting more of God—but uncertain how to reach Him. Modern-day strivings of a soul-searching evangelical? No. Sixteenth-century struggles from a woman canonized as a saint. No ‘saints’ in your tradition? No matter. Think relationship, not religion—and keep reading. In God Alone is Enough: A Spirited Journey with St. Teresa of Avila (Paraclete Press, 2010), Claudia Mair Burney does more than introduce us to an amazing woman of God. She invites readers to join her on Teresa’s—and her own—journey toward true intimacy with Christ. Burney’s clear exposition of Teresa’s writings combines with her own stories of spiritual quest to make God Alone is Enough a powerful, meaningful read. Have you heard the expression, “You’ve quit preaching and gone to meddling?” That’s my brief Baptist summary of my assigned chapter, “Get to Know Yourself.” I loved Chapter Three. My artist/writer persona responded with delight to Teresa’s admonition to “make a garden in your soul.” But get to know myself? God, I can already see this moving into more daily dying. Can’t we leave that theme and embrace a new one? After all, You’ve been hammering “self” out of me for a long time now. “Of course, my beloved. As soon as you learn to die.” Exactly as God (and the author) intended, Teresa and Burney’s dual pilgrimage yielded a journey of my own. My Lord came to me in the way this chapter (assigned at random) explored our helplessness in prayer (the general topic of a book a friend and I are writing); distraction in prayer (the subject of my blog earlier this week); and placing one’s life—with all its sin, inattentiveness, and distraction—before God as an offering (the aforementioned “dying to self” theme under which I both suffer and learn at His feet). A sample to savor: “You can’t cut yourself in pieces and offer only the good parts to God. He wants all of you; the good and the bad parts; your weaknesses and strengths; the brokenness you don’t want anyone to know about; as well as those things within that are being marvelously healed. We must be willing to tell the truth about ourselves: we are made in the image and likeness of God and yet, we sin and fall short of His glory. In the truth we find our liberty.” (page 52) The book arrived Wednesday so my assigned chapter marks the extent of my reading to date. But I won’t sidestep or abort this delightful, painful journey. I intend to...

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