3 Wonderful Books on Authentic Spirituality

by Mark Votava

1. Pilgrim Principles: Journeying with Intention in Everyday Life by Lacy Clark Ellman

This is a great book about living with intention in everyday life.  Lacy Clark Ellman talks about 7 pilgrim principles: finding God in the ordinary, practicing somatic spirituality, becoming a good steward of resources, immersion in culture, creating daily rhythms, cultivating curiosity and knowing your Inner Witness.  A beautiful piece of writing from a wise spiritual director!

“The soul serves as the pilgrims compass.  It is the place where questions become quests – where intuition is birthed and longings explored.  The pilgrim who has lost her soul has lost her way.  In order to not lose her soul, the pilgrim must meticulously care for the very tool that helps her navigate.  And to care for the soul is, in effect, to care for the self.”

“Many of us have forgotten how to be curious and have consequently stopped growing, for growth and transformation are fueled by curiosity…”  

“…we can begin seeking to know our own Inner Witness by fully accepting ourselves as we are, struggles and all.  For if we truly believe that the Inner Witness is the place where the Divine and the true self meet, then at our essence we are already whole; our journey is to simply return to that essence.  This journey begins with acceptance.”    



2. Lessons in Belonging: From a Church-Going Commitment Phobe by Erin S. Lane

Erin S. Lane takes a look at why belonging is so hard to find in our culture.  She struggles with her disillusionment, but encourages others not to give up on the church.  A quest for healthy community, authenticity and belonging is central to the book.  This is a must read for everyone looking for authentic community in the twenty-first century!

“To ‘get’ to be ourselves means that belonging is both a gift we receive and a pilgrimage we make.  To be our authentic selves requires some getting to, some working out, some traveling toward as we discern the ‘me’ we get to be.  Learning to belong is lifetime work.”

“I’ve always thought that in healthy community one becomes more themselves not less – more aware of their gifts, not less; more true to the image of God, not less…”

“Questions of belonging – how it’s fostered and how it’s discerned – are questions that will only grow in importance as we rethink old realities and risk living into ones yet seen.”



3. The Long Loneliness by Dorothy Day

The Long Loneliness is the wonderful autobiography of the co-founder of the Catholic Worker Movement, Dorothy Day.  She was a brilliant social activist who cared for the poor during the Great Depression back in the 1930’s.  This is the story of a courageous woman who took on the challenge of practicing hospitality, living in community and working on behalf of social justice.  This book is Dorothy Day’s story of the early years of her life where she learned to care for the poor and have an imagination to see Christ in the marginalized.

“The only answer in this life, to the loneliness we are all bound to feel, is community…”

“We have all known the long loneliness and we have learned that the only solution is love and that love comes with community.”  



Which book are you going to read this year?