Dreyer, Elizabeth. Earth Crammed with Heaven: A Spirituality of Everyday Life. New York: Paulist Press, 1994.
Elizabeth Dreyer, professor of Religious Studies, has been a member of the Fairfield Faculty since 1999. Previous faculty appointments include the College of St. Catherine in St. Paul, Minnesota; the Catholic University of America, and The Washington Theological Union in Washington, D.C. Dreyer is the author or editor of 9 books and numerous articles, chapters in books, and dictionary/encyclopedia entries.1)
Earth Crammed with Heaven is a helpful exploration of how spirituality can be experienced in the everyday spaces of life—work, family, sexuality, and a contemplative approach to all of life. Elizabeth Dreyer is a Roman Catholic thinker who is writing to a Roman Catholic audience. It was interesting for me—a Protestant—to listen to this in-house conversation, given that I have grown up with the notion of the priesthood of all believers. However, it was a helpful read for the development of a quotidian spirituality.2
Dreyer breaks down the dualism rampant in the Catholic church—and all of modernity—that created the sacred/secular, cleric/laity, spirit/body dichotomies that made spirituality in everyday life almost impossible. She articulates a clear theological framework of the Holy Spirit, creation and incarnation in Part One, and then applies this theology into the real-life spaces of everyday living.
“Equipped with these theological resources—Spirit, creation, and incarnation—we pursue our spiritual journeys in the ordinary and extraordinary happenings of everyday life.”3
Summary of salient points:
- We begin to see ourselves more and more as a part of the universe.
- To see ourselves as members of the human community rather than over against it.
- Membership in the human community immerses us in relationships of every stripe.
- Attention to quotidian experience underlines the importance of discovering each person’s unique path.
- One can begin one’s quest by attending to the desires of the heart, both personal and communal.
- In spite of a world that threatens to overwhelm us with violence, anxiety and anguish, can we learn to relax and enjoy?
- As Christians, we are offered Jesus, the incarnate God as model. I suggest that Jesus might best be seen in his simplicity.
- http://www.fairfield.edu/academic/profile.html?id=59 (accessed August 12, 2013 [↩]
- yes, I had to look up quotidian, too. It means “of or occurring every day; daily.” Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary [↩]
- Elizabeth Dreyer, Earth Crammed with Heaven: A Spirituality of Everyday Life (New York: Paulist Press, 1994), 64. [↩]