On a recent morning, I found myself thinking that one way to describe what I do is that I ask questions for a living. Today I want to reflect on that reality and celebrate the fact that many of my questions are now found in a published book—though my name is not on the cover.
Asking questions is foundational to my work as a spiritual guide. People present me with challenges and conundrums from their lives. I respond by asking questions about what I hear. This gives them the chance to find connections between those experiences and their relationship with God. It frequently allows them to envision a path forward in fresh and new ways.
I also ask questions in my editing work. I call the editing portion of my business Communication Clarified because I ask a lot of clarifying questions about what I read. This enables us to refine what they’ve written and better impact their audience with their intended message.
I’ve also spent the past couple of months adding reflection questions to an old manuscript that I hope someday to publish. Back when Henry’s aunt Ada lived her final year with us (2011–2012), I wrote a series of meditations on that experience (an older version of one of them is available here). I’m grateful to my writer group for encouraging me to add reflection questions to each meditation to enrich and deepen the experience of reading them. Hopefully, someday, some version of Dying with Ada: Meditations on the Gift of Life will be available for you to purchase….
Meanwhile, today, you can purchase an entire book filled with questions I wrote on one of Richard Rohr’s recently updated books. (At this point, I’ve been affiliated with his Center for Action and Contemplation as either employee or contractor for almost seventeen years!) Yes, my name is not on the cover, because I wrote those questions under contract to the CAC. But my name is on the In Gratitude page, as follows:
Shirin McArthur, former CAC staff member, spiritual director, retreat leader, and editor at Shirin McArthur Ministries, chose the excerpted quotations from Things Hidden and crafted the reflection questions, invitations, and activities.
The book is Things Hidden Companion Guide: Scripture as Spirituality. If you wish, you can purchase it and immerse yourself in my questions!
This week, I invite you to ponder the role that questions play in your life. When has asking questions led you deeper into your own spiritual journey? Who helps you ask those questions? When has a “simple” question transformed your perspective on a challenge or conundrum in your life?