On the Journey 001: Writing about “spiritual” writing again

Photo by Kira auf der Heide on Unsplash

It has been a long time since I wandered in this direction, but it’s time to face the fact that I am working on a book project again. Not that this is a surprise to me; I’ve been researching my topic for over a year and have spent the past several months agonizing over how to whip that research into a coherent outline.

The surprise, if any, is that I feel the need once more to reflect on this writing process as a way of continuing to move things forward. When I was focused on writing fiction, I found it helpful to chronicle the emotional side of my journey—if only as a way of blowing off steam. Now, as someone who is writing explicitly about spirituality, I feel it is even more necessary to take the time and create the space to contemplate the process of not only birthing a creation into the world but creating a guide that will help people begin or continue a journey themselves.

Much has changed for me in the past couple of years. Several years ago, I was determined to make it as a novelist, wrapping what faint glimpses of spiritual truth as were granted to me in entertaining storylines, with characters that were (and still are) as real to me as close friends, placed in settings carefully disguised to conceal my autobiographical leanings. But I realized that this was going to be a long road. Too long a road, in fact, for me to make it my whole identity and occupation, as I wished it to be.

So I answered another call, a call to minister to people more immediately as a spiritual director. Spiritual directors need not be coy about the fact that one is concerned with matters of the spirit (the real trick is remembering that matters of the spirit are firmly grounded in matters of the flesh). I entered what would be a three-year process, one year in spiritual direction myself, and two years in basic training while directing others. My two years of basic training comes to an end at the end of next week. I have thoroughly enjoyed it—thanks be to God! And although I am going to do a third, supplemental year (they call it a “deepening” year), I find I have emerged from this process and the forced hermitage of 2020 as the person I had hoped to become through becoming a novelist: someone qualified to have something to say about spiritual matters.

And so, in addition to walking alongside others on their spiritual journeys, I have responded to the call, again, to somehow wrap what few, dim insights I have been given in language that moves people to insights of their own, or at least the pursuit of their own insights.

Forgive me for being coy about the subject matter of my new writing efforts; when I am in this space it really doesn’t matter what type of spiritual writing I am doing. In fact, this space is a place for me to escape from my subject matter for a few minutes a day and get some fresh air and distance. Perhaps I hope to gain some perspective during the time away from keeping my nose myopically to the grindstone of my narrow, little niche.

Here is a place for me to focus on the bigger picture: how my writing fits into my life. Especially my spiritual life. Writing for me is contemplation. It is my attempt to take a long, loving look at what I think is real. In order for me to be grounded in true reality, I need to be painfully and joyously aware of the location I inhabit. Hence, I reflect in this manner to dig even deeper. I dig ever deeper to find my soul, to touch that molten lava at the core of my being so I may be transformed by its fire and return with useful heat and light to share.

Thank you for coming along with me on this journey. I’d love to hear your thoughts on your own spiritual journey, your own attempt to connect with the divine in ways that enliven you for service to humanity out of great and powerful love.

Please comment, below, or send your thoughts to me at joncarl.lewis@gmail.com. And together let us continue this journey to rebirth ourselves and the world.

Jon Carl Lewis
Trenton, NJ
Thursday, 29 April 2021

On the Journey 001: Writing about “spiritual” writing again

My Editor, My Critic, My Support

Alfred, helping me with the plot for If Winter Comes.

I am blessed to have an editor and critic with a keen eye and sharp claws but a fuzzy, affectionate manner about him. Here, he is helping me work on the plot of my current novel project. He has not yet told me what he thinks of it, but I’m sure he will.

Thank you for your time and attention.
I’d love to know your thoughts on what you’ve read.
Please comment, below, or email me at joncarllewis@gmail.com.
May God richly bless you on your journey.

Unless otherwise noted, this page and its contents © 2018-2020 Jon Carl Lewis.

My Editor, My Critic, My Support

Book Review: Apartment by Teddy Wayne

ApartmentApartment by Teddy Wayne
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed reading Apartment by Teddy Wayne. The story was well-written and carried me right along. The ambiguous nature of the relationship between the main characters kept me on the edge of my seat and had me in despair as it disintegrated. The climax was shocking but not out of character. The conclusion was satisfying but a little heartbreaking. This work makes me think that perhaps a coming-of-age novel is best written well after one comes of age and can reflect on one’s past self with sufficient measures of detachment and compassion to be able to tell a greater truth.

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Book Review: Apartment by Teddy Wayne

Book Review: At the Center of All Beauty by Fenton Johnson

At the Center of All Beauty: Solitude and the Creative LifeAt the Center of All Beauty: Solitude and the Creative Life by Fenton Johnson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Fenton Johnson in rich, beautiful language has crafted a wonderful exploration of the “solitary” life which, as he demonstrates, can take many forms and shapes but relies on a person’s answering of an unwavering call to beauty, truth and love for all people and all creation. Johnson lays out an expansive vision of what it means to live as to oneself, even in the midst of relationships and society. I found this work to be incredibly affirming and freeing for my spirit, which thrives in solitude even as I manage a complex network of relationships in my external life. This work nourished my creative soul and showed me a path to my best life.

View all my reviews

Book Review: At the Center of All Beauty by Fenton Johnson

Book Review: Beyond Shame: Creating a Healthy Sex Life on Your Own Terms by Matthias Roberts

Published on Goodreads Wednesday, 15 January 2020 at Beyond Shame: Creating a Healthy Sex Life on Your Own Terms by Matthias Roberts.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There are certain book titles I fall in love with. In fact, I tend to fall in love with good book titles to the extent that I will often buy a book for its title, if not exactly for its cover. The types of titles I find hardest to resist are those titles which strike a chord in my heart—or a nerve. I am a sucker for a title which resonates with and promises to help me navigate deep emotional states which make me uncomfortable or hinder my enjoyment of living my life to the full. Beyond Shame was one of those books for me, especially with such a promising subtitle as “creating a healthy sex life on your own terms.” And even though some of these books sit on the shelf where I can use their titles as a reminder of values I want to incorporate into my life, I’m glad I had the opportunity to look beyond the title and experience the wisdom inside the covers of this book.

Continue reading “Book Review: Beyond Shame: Creating a Healthy Sex Life on Your Own Terms by Matthias Roberts”
Book Review: Beyond Shame: Creating a Healthy Sex Life on Your Own Terms by Matthias Roberts

Moving past a church of “Us vs. Them”

This morning I listened to a podcast, Newsworthy with Norsworthy, where Luke Norsworthy was interviewing David Fitch, author of The Church of Us vs. Them. Norsworthy was maddeningly frustrating as usual with his banter about football’s supremacy over ice hockey and Texas over Canada and certain baseball teams over others. However, when Fitch could get a word in edgewise, he had some interesting things to say.

Continue reading “Moving past a church of “Us vs. Them””
Moving past a church of “Us vs. Them”