Book Notes – Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation

Posted: January 29, 2014 by Todd in Books, Ministry
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let your life speak


Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation

Parker J. Palmer – 1999, Jossey-Bass

Finished May, 2013


Chapter 1: Listening to Life
We can get into the trap of living the life of the saints or moral codes rather than “our own lives.”
Rarely do we take notes on what we say during what a retreat leader/speaker might say.
Chapter 2: Now I Become Myself
“In the coming world, they will not ask me: ‘Why were you not Moses?  They will ask me: ‘Why were you not Zusya?'” – Rabbi Zusya (121)
No one comes into the world as “raw material.” [more…]
Chapter 3: When Way Closes
“Way has never opened in front of me…but a lot of way has closed behind me, and that’s had the same guiding effect.” (374)
There is as much guidance in what does not and cannot happen in my life as there is in what can and does – maybe more.
“Though usually regarded as the result of trying to give too much, burnout in my experience results from trying to give what I do not possess-the ultimate in giving too little! Burnout is a state of emptiness, to be sure, but it does not result from giving all I have: it merely reveals the nothingness from which I was trying to give in the first place.” (476-478)
Chapter 4: All the Way Down
Palmer talks about his 2 bouts with depression in this chapter.
Many who tried to comfort Palmer were like the comforters in Job.  The one helpful person simply was in presence with Palmer.
Ultimately depression served to awaken Palmer to a true self forced by the pressing question, “what do you want?”
“I was proud to think of myself as humble.”
Chapter 5: Leading from Within
Our spirit can transform the material reality of the world.
“If you can’t get out of it, get into it!” = “The word became flesh”
5 Shadow-casting Monsters:
  1. insecurity about identity and worth
  2. the universe is a battleground
  3. “functional atheism” – ultimate responsibility rests with us
  4. fear (esp. that of chaos)
  5. denial of death (incl. fear of failure)
Chapter 6: There Is a Season
The metaphors we use for our lives often become our reality.
We think we “make” things rather than “grow” them.  (Seasonal metaphor vs. manufacturing one)

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