The Bookshelf

Hope As Old As Fire

Sanctuary of the Spirit
Steven Charleston
ISBN 978-0-9987540-0-0
148 pages

Available in print book and e-book:
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If you would like to read examples of the kinds of meditations you will find in HOPE AS OLD AS FIRE, CLOUD WALKING, CLIMBING STAIRS OF SUNLIGHT, ARROWS OF LIGHT, and TURN TO THE WILD WIND please join the author, Steven Charleston, in his Facebook community. He began writing a daily meditation five years ago and they are the source for his best selling books.

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SANCTUARY OF THE SPIRIT is a book unlike any other that Red Moon Publications has published. While we have offered annual collections of the daily meditations written by Steven Charleston, and while we have brought out two of his novels so far in a trilogy that has become famous as his Martian series, this is the first time we have been able to bring you a work that can be described as a personal theology.

In SANCTUARY OF THE SPIRIT, Steven takes the meditations he wrote during the year 2016 and weaves them into what he calls “a complete narrative”. He tells how he began to wonder if there was a deeper message in the meditations, something beyond what each individual meditation might say. Slowly, as he began to read through his daily reflections, he began to see a story emerging, a theology that was contained within the meditations.

That theology is a profound message for all of us living in these very uncertain and troubled times. This book will be one that you will want to share with others. It is a spiritual handbook for daily living. It is a vision of healing and renewal that is both comforting and prophetic. It is a call to people of all faith traditions to rise up and become a new community of peace. SANCTUARY OF THE SPIRIT is a breakthrough book. It offers something very new and very important for every person who seeks to live a spiritual life in this challenging period of human history. It is more than timely. It is Spirit sent. Therefore, we are proud to bring it to you and we invite you to help us spread the word about it to as many others as we can reach with its word of faith and hope.

Excerpt from Sanctuary of the Spirit:

Here is an extended excerpt for the Bookshelf:

Every time I have a new book come out, I sprinkle a little corn meal on the ground to honor the Cloud People. Written language was invented independently in two places: in ancient Mesopotamia and in ancient Mexico. My distant ancestors, the Cloud People of southern Mexico, developed written language in the Americas. They believed words are a sacred gift to help heal the world. Words are tiny spirits, flying over paper seas, carrying messages between us. They must be treated with reverence. I try to remember that when I write. I try to release small spirits that can help to heal the world.

My meditations carry messages. When they are put together, like words forming a sentence, they begin to tell a story. That story, that theology, talks to us about the nature of reality, the presence of a loving Spirit in our lives, and the call to each of us to recognize and embrace our place in a holy community. My goal in this collection of meditations is to begin to put these messages together so we can read the deeper meaning behind them.
In doing this, I am relying on the same principle that has guided me in writing the meditations themselves: a holy intuition. I have often said that while I am the writer of the meditations, I am not the author. These small sayings have had such a positive impact for so many people for so long they must be the design of a much higher intention than I could provide. My job is to get out of the way. I do not impose my own definitions onto the meditations, but let them come together as naturally and organically as they will.
Because of this, I hope that when you read this book you will join me in approaching their story not with a mathematical mind but with a mystical mind. The meditations are not formulas or equations that will tell you exactly what to think, believe or do. They are not intended to explain, define or limit. Instead, like “small spirits flying over paper seas” the meditations are free interpretations, open ended ideas, creative images that allow us to follow where they will lead. Linking the meditations is not an attempt to control them or make them say something I have predetermined. Rather, it is an effort to stand back, take in the whole, and appreciate their message.
The message is in the eye of the beholder. The meaning is in the experience of the individual. The value is in what is learned through the encounter.

Once, long ago, I sat with a group of Navajo elders. We were sitting quietly in the shade during the heat of the day, watching the sun march shadows around the great stone islands of Monument Valley. Even the air seemed sleepy, drifting silently beneath a turquoise sky. In that quiet moment the words of a psalm came into my mind: for God alone my soul in silence waits[1]. That spiritual mantra has been with me ever since. I am still sitting in that timeless moment, sitting beside my elders, drifting on silence, watching my life move like a shadow around the islands of eternity.

In making this journey together I think it is important to make sure everyone feels welcome. My vision of searching for spiritual meaning is like sitting with the elders, drifting on silence, following the shadows as they move over the surface of the desert. It is not a regimented journey, marching toward a destination that will prove a particular dogma[2]. It is a more like a migration. A movement of a whole people going together from one home in search of another home. Everyone comes along. Everyone is needed. Conformity is not necessary. Not even agreement.
Following the trail of the meditations is a family affair. And the family is vast and inclusive. Whatever your religious preference, spiritual background, political opinion, sexual orientation, or personal experience: you are more than welcome to be part of this journey. In fact, more than just being welcomed, you are needed. Your insights into the meditations are just as valuable as those of anyone else on the migration. They help us all to appreciate the fullness of what we are experiencing together.

This community has no walls. It welcomes people of all religious and political persuasions, of every race and culture, without regard to age, gender, orientation or class. Together we live into a simple truth: when human beings are free to express their spiritual lives in the calm center of mutual respect, what unites and heals us becomes stronger than what separates and harms us. In diversity we discover our common hope. By listening to one another, we hear a shared story. Each time we gather in peace, we embody the best of what we believe.

[1] Psalm 62:1
[2] In Greek, dogma means “that which one thinks is true.” Dogma is the teaching that a religion presents as truth.

"Bishop Steven Charleston is a voice of hope for our times. I pray many will listen to that voice in this collection of his writings."
- Archbishop Desmond Tutu

"Poet and prophet both, Charleston will draw you into unimagined ways of seeing, and nudge you into nearness with earth and spirit alike. Beware the reading, you will be transformed!"
- The Most Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church

 

Deleware Communion | Episcopal Journal

Bishop Charleston Publishes New Book

CLICK PHOTO for full June 2012 issue. Article is on page 4.
Courtesy Episcopal Diocese of Deleware