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Water, Wind, Earth & Fire: The Christian Practice of Praying with the Elements

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Organized around "The Canticle of the Creatures" by St. Francis of Assisi, "Water, Wind, Earth, and Fire" is the first book to consider the ways in which praying with the natural elements can enliven Christian spiritual life. Paintner offers concrete suggestions and guided contemplative exercises; for instance, Paintner suggests that readers take time to "watch the sunrise Organized around "The Canticle of the Creatures" by St. Francis of Assisi, "Water, Wind, Earth, and Fire" is the first book to consider the ways in which praying with the natural elements can enliven Christian spiritual life. Paintner offers concrete suggestions and guided contemplative exercises; for instance, Paintner suggests that readers take time to "watch the sunrise or sunset and breathe in the beauty of the fiery sky. Contemplate what those beginnings and endings have to say in your own life." Readers benefit from Paintner's extensive training in theology and Benedictine spirituality, as well as her unique work in bringing the expressive arts to spiritual direction.


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Organized around "The Canticle of the Creatures" by St. Francis of Assisi, "Water, Wind, Earth, and Fire" is the first book to consider the ways in which praying with the natural elements can enliven Christian spiritual life. Paintner offers concrete suggestions and guided contemplative exercises; for instance, Paintner suggests that readers take time to "watch the sunrise Organized around "The Canticle of the Creatures" by St. Francis of Assisi, "Water, Wind, Earth, and Fire" is the first book to consider the ways in which praying with the natural elements can enliven Christian spiritual life. Paintner offers concrete suggestions and guided contemplative exercises; for instance, Paintner suggests that readers take time to "watch the sunrise or sunset and breathe in the beauty of the fiery sky. Contemplate what those beginnings and endings have to say in your own life." Readers benefit from Paintner's extensive training in theology and Benedictine spirituality, as well as her unique work in bringing the expressive arts to spiritual direction.

30 review for Water, Wind, Earth & Fire: The Christian Practice of Praying with the Elements

  1. 5 out of 5

    Sara Gorman

    I really enjoyed reading this one and meditating on different aspects of the elements. I liked the mix of Bible verses, poetry, and short stories that engaged the different elements, as well as the different spiritual practices one could do to further their study.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Francine

    This is a book I have been meaning to read for quite some time (published in 2010) but I do believe that some books come to us when we are meant to read them. Coincidentally, I was reading Michael Pollan's Cooked at the same time. His chapters are Fire, Water, Air and Earth. Reading them together was such fun! I sometimes practice active meditation when cooking, gardening, etc. Reading these two books have enriched my life. This is a short and accessible book, clearly written, with lots of quotes This is a book I have been meaning to read for quite some time (published in 2010) but I do believe that some books come to us when we are meant to read them. Coincidentally, I was reading Michael Pollan's Cooked at the same time. His chapters are Fire, Water, Air and Earth. Reading them together was such fun! I sometimes practice active meditation when cooking, gardening, etc. Reading these two books have enriched my life. This is a short and accessible book, clearly written, with lots of quotes and inspiration. The author writes both beautifully and with great symbolism as she explores Scripture and the lives of the saints. This is clearly a book written out of the Christina tradition but I believe it is accessible and universal for all. This book is especially interesting to me as a point of connection with the natural world especially as Pope Francis is reminding us of our responsibility to our Mother Earth. This book could be used alone or with others; it is good for action as well as contemplation. Nature is a constantly unraveling Mystery and the author is clearly connected to it. There is a great deal to reconnect to, or learn for the first time, in this book. A helpful bibliography for each of the chapters is included. Highly recommended.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    I really enjoyed this book. it's filled with wonderful quotes ad poetry from many and varied sources. However, I most enjoyed the author's own words and reflections on the elements of nature and the way stations they provide for praying and connecting with God. I think this might be a valuable book for one who desires to reconnect with God or to deepen an already felt experience of the divine. It's a delicious book.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Friedland

    This is an absolute must-read in the prayer genre. I found this book when I was struggling to find a devotional. All Most devotionals for women are about being a wife and a mother, and I am neither and do not have plans to be so at the moment. So it was very refreshing to find a book about prayer in a realm which is usually thought to be a bit more feminine and grounded (pun intended). Christine Valters Paintner goes through each element in detail, quoting scripture, mystics, spiritual writers, a This is an absolute must-read in the prayer genre. I found this book when I was struggling to find a devotional. All Most devotionals for women are about being a wife and a mother, and I am neither and do not have plans to be so at the moment. So it was very refreshing to find a book about prayer in a realm which is usually thought to be a bit more feminine and grounded (pun intended). Christine Valters Paintner goes through each element in detail, quoting scripture, mystics, spiritual writers, and even poetry to talk about the divinity we can see here on earth. As someone who grew up very close to nature, it was easy learn to see the world this way. I really enjoyed highlighting many amazing passages and plan on using some of the prayers and exercises in this beautiful book.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    As one who can often be blind to the beauty of my surroundings as I meander through each day, I wanted to like this book very much. And I indeed found it to be helpful in places. However, I also found it to be in places perhaps a bit too neo-paganistic and neo-pantheistic for my taste. Instead of helping me to appreciate God's handiwork in creation and grow in my relationship with Him, the focus all too often seemed to end on the objects themselves and the individual’s inward journey. In summary As one who can often be blind to the beauty of my surroundings as I meander through each day, I wanted to like this book very much. And I indeed found it to be helpful in places. However, I also found it to be in places perhaps a bit too neo-paganistic and neo-pantheistic for my taste. Instead of helping me to appreciate God's handiwork in creation and grow in my relationship with Him, the focus all too often seemed to end on the objects themselves and the individual’s inward journey. In summary, I enjoyed the book, but had to filter what I read with a critical mind. Perhaps a second read would be helpful as well. I recommend Rigney's The Things of Earth and older works by C.S. Lewis will will perhaps be of more benefit to the reader.

  6. 4 out of 5

    LuAnn

    I primarily read and meditated on this as I walked my dogs in the woods at home--a fitting setting! I found the meditations and quotes meaningful though I often wandered off into others trails of pondering and prayers with God.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Mindy Bocko

    Inspiration to pray with awareness of the surrounding natural elements. Beautifully written as are all her books.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Janet Atkins

    Really good devotional book or retreat leader book...

  9. 4 out of 5

    writer...

    having won the Autumn Blessings poetry party from Abbey of the Arts, today i received Christine's autographed prize gift of her new book *Water, Wind, Earth, and Fire: The Christian Practice of Praying with the Elements*. i'm already more than pleased in the reading. how about sharing an appetizer with you? *The element of wind invites us to "open our souls to Being," which means opening ourselves to a God who flows in directions we cannot predict. This element invites us to a radical posture of s having won the Autumn Blessings poetry party from Abbey of the Arts, today i received Christine's autographed prize gift of her new book *Water, Wind, Earth, and Fire: The Christian Practice of Praying with the Elements*. i'm already more than pleased in the reading. how about sharing an appetizer with you? *The element of wind invites us to "open our souls to Being," which means opening ourselves to a God who flows in directions we cannot predict. This element invites us to a radical posture of surrender in releasing our hold on our own plans and making room for God to blow us in the most life-giving direction. As a metaphor for God, wind reminds us that God's ways are not our ways. The invitation of wind requires of us a detachment from our own longing to control the direction of our lives and a simultaneous surrender to Spirit to allow ourselves to be carried to places of growth and newness.* hungry? i know i am. looking forward to much more...

  10. 5 out of 5

    Lydia

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Per Lauren Winner, more about the place of metaphor in the spiritual life: I discovered this book only recently. I wish that I'd known about it forever. It is a treasury of some of the ways Christians over the centuries have faithfully and engaged God in the company of the natural elements.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jobie

    I read through this book slowly as I went through the seasons. It has great quotes and bits of poetry. It ties the seasons to the body and to Native American tradition (which I loved). The book has exercises and Lectio Divina for each season.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Tiffany Bridge

    I

  13. 4 out of 5

    Leanne

    I found things in this book which spoke to me and things that did not. In all though an interesting spiritual read.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

    Much better than I was expecting!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Marcia Chapman

    Fun and interesting. I'd like to read it again.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    One of my favorite books. I constantly re-read it; make journals using it; tech classes. Love this book!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jenny

    My review: http://www.carrottopstudio.blogspot.c... My review: http://www.carrottopstudio.blogspot.c...

  18. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    Not heavy-handed, not pretentious, and full of beautiful quotes and insights. The culminating mediation/prayer was particularly heartfelt and touching.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Catherine Casey

    I really enjoyed "Water,Wind,Earth and Fire..." there is much to ponder and revisit for me over the Summre with this book.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Tucker

    Short, simple book exploring nature imagery in traditional Christian writings, interspersed with examples of poetry and "how-tos" on getting in touch with nature.

  21. 4 out of 5

    John Wilkes

  22. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Hamilton

  23. 5 out of 5

    Preston Hall

  24. 5 out of 5

    Gwendalyn S Forney

  25. 4 out of 5

    Marie

  26. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Whitlow

  27. 5 out of 5

    Alyssia King

  28. 4 out of 5

    Brad Epp

  29. 4 out of 5

    Deitra

  30. 4 out of 5

    Katrina Hopkins-messenger

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