Introduction to “Keeping the Door Open for the Holy”

For a limited time, back issues of Weavings are available for purchase.


weav32-1covintroIn this final print issue of Weavings contributors delve into how we become and remain open to the Holy. It is a rich subject to conclude thirty years of conversation on spiritual life. Several writers note with gratitude their connection to Weavings over this span of time. The feeling is mutual. The Weavings staff has been awed continually by the insights, the challenges, and the vulnerability writers have offered up in these pages, and readers have appreciated these gifts as well.

Yet again essays and poems weave a beautiful pattern in which the warp of recurring themes is enhanced by the weft of unique experiences. Among the strong fibers of the warp are silence,  scripture, honest prayer, vulnerability, patience, hope, and resurrection. Interwoven are grief and pain, running away and coming home, long-awaited revelation and clarity, hospitality and shelter, insecurity and promise. And in this Advent season writers speak of our fresh opportunity to open ourselves to the arrival of God’s gracious gift of embodied Love in Jesus. The Christ child rekindles our hope and eternal joy.

To begin, we gain some clarity about holiness. Holiness, Don Saliers explains, is a slowly dawning way of being in the world with God and neighbor. He suggests the metaphor of holiness as a melody we come to know and sing. J. Barrie Shepherd, Kimberlee Conway Ireton, and Melissa Tidwell focus attention particularly on the gateways to the Holy present in the story and rituals of Advent and Christmas.

For various reasons we are inclined to run away from God, Ann Broyles observes. And yet, when we come “home” to God, we may not automatically find ourselves at peace, Roberta Bondi has learned. Inevitably, we cycle through times of sensing God’s presence and not sensing it. Elizabeth Canham commends Benedictine practices as a means to navigate such vicissitudes of the Christian pilgrimage.

Prayer (Deborah Smith Douglas), contemplation (E. Glenn Hinson), and spiritual imagination (Michael Downey and Melissa Tidwell), all open our hearts to the Holy. What about times when we lose trust in God? Marjorie Thompson shares her journey following the death of her beloved husband, John Mogabgab, and describes staying open in the midst of grief until trust is restored.

Rueben Job reminds us that we meet Jesus in community; in sacred community we receive support and encouragement to grow spiritually. “Love,” Pamela Hawkins writes, is God’s first language, and “in truth and forever, [we are] woven together in love.”

Challenging our desire for a sense of security from the Holy, Johnny Sears urges a trust in God that thrives in insecurity: “Take nothing for your journey.” And, finally, Steve Garnaas-Holmes draws us into the future by lifting another veil over the mystery of the Holy, finding “the holy not in what is anointed / but in what is next.”



11 Responses to “Introduction to “Keeping the Door Open for the Holy””

  1. Margaret Sharp says:

    I have incorporated Weavings into my spiritual practice since being given a gift subscription several years ago. I have found so much wisdom, challenge, support, and comfort throughout the pages. I have kept every copy and refer back to them. I am saddened to know that I will not have Weavings after this year. I use lots of digital media, but for reading for reflection and soul tending I prefer print media. I underline, comment, and journal to process the words, feelings and images that are stirred within me. Creating a sacred space and time is challenging with the constant distraction of technology. I am sorry that you have chosen to only offer a technology-based media for contemplative spiritual practice.

  2. Gina Manskar says:

    We appreciate your support, Margaret You’ve expressed so well what we have envisioned Weavings to be – a space for sacred reading and soul-tending. Although losing the print journal is a great loss for many of us, we pray that we will be able to do justice to contemplative writing in new and different ways. We hope that you will continue to walk with us on this journey as it progresses.

  3. Patricia Sibons says:

    I am so dissappointed not to have Weavings in printed form. It is a staple in my spiritual and prayer life! I do not want to have to use electronic devices to enjoy Weavings! Truly, this is not a change for the better, in my opinion. I pray that you will need to reconsider in the future.

  4. Gina Manskar says:

    Thank you for taking time to comment, Patricia. We understand your disappointment. Weavings is a treasure and a real loss, and the print format has been so important to so many of us. Economic decisions are hard ones to make and this one was not made lightly.

    We are looking forward to working with print on demand and customs publishing, so print works of contemplative writing may still be available from The Upper Room in the future. It just won’t be as the Weavings journal. Stay tuned!

  5. Rilla and Carl Esbjornson says:

    Dear Weavings/Upper Room Editorial Staff,

    We are greatly disappointed that Weavings will no longer be published after your Winter 2016/17 issue.

    We were about to request a gift subscription for an older family member when we learned you are ending Weavings publication.

    We have long had a subscription to Weavings and found it to be just the kind of voice on spirituality that we’ve needed over the years. We’ve greatly appreciated the depth of Weavings’ content and the breadth of topics you’ve covered. Weavings has been a very important part of our spiritual practices. We’ve looked forward to each issue and have found much encouragement, strength, intellectual and spiritual wisdom between the pages of each issue. We still go back to older issues and re-read articles as we’ve kept every issue we’ve received.

    For a time, our Adult Study group at our church used Weavings as a jumping off point for rich discussions on important social and spiritual issues.

    We realize that you may offer some content like Weavings digitally, and perhaps you have financial constraints that have played into your decision to end Weavings publication. However, we think you’ll be creating a very large gap when it comes to offering a high quality, thought provoking, and and spiritually sustaining ecumenical hard print publication.

    While we use digital technology, it never replaces the print version of fine journals in our household. We limit the use of digital formats in our household as we find the technology is not conducive to spiritual contemplation and meditation. Print copy is far preferred in our household–and always will be.

    Unfortunately, the older family member we wanted to give a gift subscription to does not use digital technology, so having content available digitally will not be of use to older folks or others who do not use this technology for a variety of reasons.

    We hope you’ll reconsider your decision. It will otherwise be a great loss.

    With concern,
    Rilla and Carl Esbjornson

  6. Gina Manskar says:

    Hi, Rilla and Carl. Thank you for taking time to share how much Weavings means to you. This is disappointing news and a great loss to everyone who has found Weavings to be a rich spiritual resource over the last 30 years (including us!). Please know that we have not taken this decision lightly. We hear over and over again how important the print format is to our readers. After weighing the production costs against the number of subscribers we have left, we really have no other choice at this time.

    We are looking forward to working with print on demand and custom publishing, so print works of contemplative writing may still be available from The Upper Room in the future. It just won’t be as the Weavings journal.

    I’m not sure if this is helpful right now, but we have made back issues available at a reduced cost while supplies last. You can take a look at our inventory here: Maybe your family member would appreciate a few volumes. We remain grateful for all your support!

  7. Romi W. says:

    Wishing you the best with your transition. Will you consider offering your publication through Zinio? Thank you.

  8. Gina Manskar says:

    Hi, Romi. Weavings will no longer exist as publication in any format – print or digital. The Upper Room is committed to publishing contemplative writing, but it will be in other ways. Stay tuned through or through

  9. Paul Hedberg says:

    As a former subscriber I came to this site to see if you offered a digital version of Weavings. As I move toward a change in lifestyle (retirement and downsizing) I was hoping to renew my relationship with Weavings without adding to the things that often collect around the home. I will look forward to hearing what the future holds for you and us.

  10. Gina Manskar says:

    Hi, Paul. Thanks for taking time to comment. Weavings will no longer exist as publication in any format – print or digital. You’ll want to subscribe to our monthly e-newsletter to stay abreast of developments. You can do that on the home page (right-hand side).

  11. Will Smith, OSB says:

    I am very sorry that Weavings journal will no longer be a print journal, I’ve had subscriptions over the years, and have always enjoyed it.

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