Awakening the Quieter Virtues (Large Print 16pt)by Gregory Spencer
Big, colorful virtues like courage and decisiveness in crisis easily get our attention. But sometimes it's those everyday values that shape us much more profoundly. Lost in our noisy, flashy, gaudy world are the quiet virtues that work behind the scenes - molding our character, guiding our actions, enriching our lives. Greg Spencer unfolds the beauty and nature of each, showing us how to take notice of discernment, innocence, generosity, authenticity and more. In this book you'll discover how far from being dull these quieter virtues actually are. Though often hidden, they play a formative role in who we become and what we do.
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Gregory Spencer's, "Awakening the Quieter Virtues," could not be a timelier book to battle our spiritually apathetic, lethargic and anemic lives as Christian communities and as individuals. In the midst of our hustle-and-bustle culture and the ubiquitous noise that deafens our spiritual senses, Gregory Spencer writes about the, "Quieter Virtues," to help liberate us and allow us to walk as truly free people of God. The quieter virtues for Spencer are: discernment, innocence, authenticity, modesty, reverence, contentment and generosity. Although the quieter virtues are actually quite loud and impactful they usually get drowned out in the loudness of our emotional baggage, cultural values, various salvific messages from the various forms of media clamoring for our attention and the daily sensory overload we experience as human beings living in our current postmodern culture. Spencer has a unique way of rupturing traditional thought about the virtues and then shapes and creates something that is creative, fresh and challenging. Even Spencer admits, "I have tried to enter into these ideas from the side door, using language and perspectives that are not traditional. Along the way, dozens (even hundreds) of possible definitions have been scratched out and refined and attempted once more." Spencer also gives challenging and life-changing discussion questions at the end of each chapter. For some odd reason many people, including myself, have consciously or unconsciously assumed that Christ-like character and spiritual vitality will automatically grow and take shape automatically as we live and experience our everyday life challenges and adventures. Reading this book reminds me that spiritual vitality and character development are muscles to be worked out. It is "I" who has to be intentional about the "Quieter Virtues," and other sacred disciplines, not as a means of salvation but as a means to experience my salvation more fully. Yes, I am saved by grace but there are things that I have to do in order to experience the fullness of what God has to offer us through the riches of Jesus Christ. For some reason I just expect God to do all things spiritual in me in the midst of my cheesy five-minute prayers, half-hearted weekly attendance at Sunday service and occasional scripture reading, meditation and memorization. Concerning spiritual disciplines, Spencer writes, "Spiritual disciplines prepare our minds and hearts for obedience, like all rehearsal. Musicians train so that when their key moment arrives, they will perform as they desire. Sometimes we think that because salvation is a gift, work of any kind should not mean we need not work to accentuate it, any more than a world-class sprinter would expect to win the Olympic 100 meters with out practice" (p.37-38). Gregory Spencer's, "Awakening the Quieter Virtues," is a powerful thought and heart provoking read that would need to be reread to mine all of the juicy nuggets in its pages. His use of stories and metaphors as well as his insightful wisdom can be creative catalysts to help us truly become free in Christ ultimately to enable us to love God and the world more fully.