5 Resources to Help You Flourish: October
October 26, 2018
by Lydia Shiu
Reservoir exists to help people connect with Jesus and flourish. We’re aware that there’s a lot more to a flourishing life than church and that at any given time, church isn’t for everyone.
Here’s my list of things outside of church that are helping me flourish this month… I hope you find something helpful!
- I get distracted easily. Attempting to grasp at holy moments like prayer can be helped by things that anchor me. Pray As You Go is a prayer app that’s helped me do that. Even though it seems counterintuitive to grab my phone for creating sacred space, well, it’s what I have in my hand already and it actually takes me in. It’s a guided audio with music, Scripture, and reflection. It begins with music from diverse backgrounds of Christian traditions to set the tone. Then, reading of Scripture by a soothing British accented voice usually. It prompts for some questions for reflection and reads the text again. It’s paced well with silences, music, readings, and commentary. I love that it centers on a Bible text, a kind of Lectio Divina practice. I close my eyes and listen. It invites me in and I appreciate being simply guided. It’s easy and I can do it anywhere. Good prayer apps are hard to find, and I think this is one of my favorites.
- Another great app for reading devotionals, rather than an audio prayer, is Our Bible App. It was created by a group of people who wanted to offer something different than what the large popular Christian media companies have. It’s inclusive, celebrates diversity, promotes decolonizing faith by highlighting the voices of LGBT, women, and people of color. It’s a platform for a diversity of devotionals that meet the needs of more inclusive views of theology and spirituality. They have a variety of series of topics you can choose from. One I recently enjoyed is a series called, We Belong: A Devotional Series For Those In the Borderlands, “a tool for liberation and healing for People of Color and Indigenous persons in the Church”. It spoke particularly to me in my sense of otherness and experiences of being marginalized — validating and encouraging me with Scripture and prayer. It’s a really unique voice in the devotionals world that’s much needed now.
- Speaking of LGBT, women, and people of color. Here’s my book recommendation. Written by a Chinese-American journalist, Deborah Jian Lee, Rescuing Jesus: How People of Color, Women, and Queer Christians Are Reclaiming Evangelicalism is a well organized overview of some of the histories behind American evangelicalism and where it is now. I found it not only encouraging to see new facets of Christianity in America, but it helped me understand how we ended up with some of the unique strands of American Christianity we’ve come to know today. And that it hasn’t always been that way. I think understanding our faith, church, and theology has much to do with the historical and social context we’re in. This book helped me see that a bit more clearly. And to see that new voices are rising to shape Christianity in a whole new way. I am encouraged to see Holy Spirit at work in fresh ways through people who love Jesus and are leading the church in a new generation. Lee also has a lovely podcast called, Kaleidoscope. It’s worth a listen.
- A podcast I’d like to especially recommend is The Allender Center Podcast. Dr. Dan Allender is the brilliant Christian counselor that has pioneered some of the best work in healing from sexual abuse and trauma. With #metoo and the bombardment of a newly awakened realization about sexuality in our generation and culture, I think this is one of the best resources that I can recommend for everything from masculinity, loneliness, shame, hope, to spiritual abuse. Allender has written really important books like, The Wounded Heart: Hope for Adult Victims of Childhood Sexual Abuse, if you’re in need of deeper work. But the podcast is more approachable (without needing to call your therapist!) with a variety of topics that are wise, authentic, and life giving. I believe he’s a truly a needed voice, especially in the church world that often lacks resources about sexuality.
- Lastly, not specific to Christian tradition but just good stuff! Music opens me up. One of my go to places for music is Youtube NPR Music. To discover new music, I especially enjoy the Tiny Desk Concerts. They’re short live concerts that are intimate and fresh. It makes me feel like I’m right there, without going out to a venue or paying a ticket price! Because it’s a small room, the sound is usually so raw, like unplugged style. And the genre is quite diverse and I get exposed to types of music I would never find on my own. New music refreshes and excites me. It’s a way I get out of my own comfort zone and experience something totally different. Tiny Desk Concerts is a great portal to a new world, in a tiny bite size way.
I hope you enjoy some of these resources for your own flourishing life. If you have ideas for things we should include in future lists, send them to Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “Top 5” in your message.