Be Still and Know: God’s Presence in Silence

Norris Chumley “Be Still and Know: God’s Presence in Silence” [Fortress Press, 2014]
http://store.fortresspress.com/store/product/19199/Be-Still-and-Know-God-Presence-in-Silence?c=209575
be still and know
“Early Christian spirituality is a topic of enduring fascination today among scholars and general readers alike. Stories of hermits living in the desert in their pursuit of God catch our fancy. What motivated them and drew them to silence on their path to God? In this gracious tour, Norris J. Chumley introduces us to Hesychasm, or silence, and to the lives of its early practitioners. The reader is introduced to St. Anthony, St. Pachomius, Evagrius, St. John Climacus, and many others. Then, as only a teacher and mentor can, he opens up the important possibilities the practice has for today.”

“My book and accompanying film are about the theologies and practices of silence and prayer, in antiquity, and today. People who are interested in deepening their prayers may discover new insights from reading the wisdom of saints and Christian sages, some of whom started the Church, built upon the Holy and pure teachings of Jesus Christ. Some may find that taking time for silent praise and contemplation every day, offers a whole new connection with our Lord and Savior…. I’m not aware that there are any other books that combine ancient Christian wisdom, contemporary practices in monasteries and practical suggestions for lay readers – all together in one volume.

I also produced a companion film of the Christian hermits, monks and nuns who are featured in the book (accessed at http://www.bestillandknow.info). These people have never before been filmed or granted interviews because they live in total isolation, are it was a rare privilege and blessing to be allowed to record their teachings…

Many of the saints and sages I write about in this book recommend combinations of prayer, daily silent contemplation, joining in Church communities, and helping our neighbors. It’s exciting to learn that these instructions for righteous living were being thought about and practiced so long ago, and that they are very much Christian.

Saint Antony in the late second and early third centuries put great emphasis on Scripture. Counseling that all of life must be true to the Gospel, St. Antony believed that the Bible was the only true instruction needed in life. When someone asked St. Antony what rules are the most important to follow, he replied, “Wherever you go, have God always before your eyes; in whatever you do or say, have an example from the Holy Scriptures; and whatever the place in which you dwell, do not be quick to move elsewhere. Keep these three things and you will live.” I visit the Monastery of St. Antony in my book and film, and the cave where he lived, in Upper Egypt.
St-Anthony-Monastery-Egypt
Evagrius Pontus in the fourth century developed a doctrine of silent practice mostly centered on prayer. He wrote that prayer is an “ascent of the mind to God.” He believed that a permanent “prayer of the mind” or “mental” prayer is the central point of life for those who have dedicated their life to God.

Others wrote that prayer in silence “connects the mind to the heart,” such as taught by the monk, Father Teofil, and Archbishop Justinian – contemporary spiritual fathers.”
From an interview with Norris Chumley at http://www.patheos.com/blogs/frankviola/bestillandknow/

For the video documentary, see: http://vimeo.com/ondemand/9139
“A 60-minute ethnographic field study of ancient and contemporary Christian monasticism and prayer. This is the perfect film to use with the book, “Be Still and Know: God’s Presence in Silence” and the accompanying Study Guide from Fortress Press. Never-before-seen locations, demonstrations and commentary from hermits, monks, nuns, bishops and archbishops. Unprecedented access to St. Antony’s, St. Catherine’s, Vatopaidi (Mt. Athos), Rohia and Varatec (Romania/Transylvania) monasteries. A step-by-step summary of the Holy Liturgy (St. Basil’s) filmed at St. Catherine’s Monastery at the foot of Mt. Sinai, Egypt. The ideal companion to the Fortress book of the same title. The free Study Guide is also available at Fortress.com. Visit BeStillandKnow.info for more information.”
See also: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VuzDppcaPOQ
“Early Christian spirituality is a topic of enduring fascination today among scholars and general readers alike. Stories of hermits living in the desert in their pursuit of God catch our fancy. What motivated them and drew them to silence on their path to God? In this gracious tour, Norris J. Chumley introduces us to Hesychasm, or silence, and to the lives of its early practitioners. The reader is introduced to St. Anthony, St. Pachomius, Evagrius, St. John Climacus, and many others. Then, as only a teacher and mentor can, he opens up the important possibilities the practice has for today.”
chumley
Norris J. Chumley, Ph.D., theologian and adjunct professor at New York University Kanbar School of Film and Television, is also an Emmy Award-winning documentary producer, director, and author. His work has been featured in theaters, universities, film festivals, churches and community centers worldwide and on American network television on PBS, NBC, ABC, A&E, USA, Showtime/The Movie Channel, HBO/Cinemax, and WNET/13 (New York City). Born in Bloomington, Indiana, he graduated with a B.F.A., Magna Cum Laude, from New York University in 1981, in Film and Television, and earned two Masters degrees, M.A., M.Ph. and a Ph.D. in 2008, in Theology and the Arts, from Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York…. Dr. Chumley is Executive Producer and Director of Media for Columbia University’s Institute for Religion, Culture and Public Life, producing and hosting Rethinking Religion a national public radio, iTunes U., and ircpl.org series. Additionally, he is Chairman of Manhattan Neighborhood Networks New York City, the original and largest local public-access television network in America.
http://www.patheos.com/Books/Book-Club/Norris-Chumley-Be-Still-and-Know/About-the-Book-and-Author-03-01-2014.html

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