Reviews, Articles, Media
Testimony for The Sacred Art of Marriage
“Thank you for your faithfulness in Christ and to his calling on your life. First, thank you for showing up and writing The Sacred Art of Marriage. Wow. You have no idea. Well, let me rephrase and give you a bit of an idea. My husband and I are working our way through your masterpiece again, only we like to read a chapter per day instead of per week, which means we run out of chapters too quickly. Today’s reading was the chapter on kindness. Now, you touch on this topic throughout, most certainly in chapters previous to this one, but today, my husband began to weep. He said he suddenly understood something that has taken him many years years to figure out: the devastating impact that unkindness can have on trust in a relationship. To my husband’s surprise, he is not less of a man; he’s more of a holy man! Isn’t God good? For your listening to God, writing this book, we thank you. And, yes, your readers are doing their homework, thank you very much! This afternoon, we are going shopping to find a couple of special boxes that would be suitable for a spontaneity box and a kindness treasure box (I could use shoeboxes, but we want something more elevated and ceremonial looking). So, thank you also for your fun, imaginative, sometimes emotionally difficult homework assignments. My husband and I are doing them, and they’re wonderful and effective in helping us move closer to Christ and to each other. Thank you.” ~submitted November 2020 by a reader of The Sacred Art of Marriage.
Testimony for Cloud Devotion
Barnes and Noble Review: ☆☆☆☆☆5 out of 5 stars.· 7 months ago. “I have been using this book daily for several weeks now, and have found it to be a bountiful source of daily reflection. Many daily reflection books have been easy to dismiss or cliche, in stark contrast is Cloud Devotion. If you are serious about using a Biblically-focused, Spirit-led, and substantial daily reflection resource, this is the book for you.”
Review of Cloud Devotion
The Formational Power of Reading, by Dr. MaryKate Morse
An excerpt from an article in Missio Alliance on the formational power of reading, by Dr. MaryKate Morse, Dean of Portland Seminary: “One way we read is for inspiration and comfort. Parts of the Bible, such as many of the Psalms, lift our hearts to God. Many devotional writers encourage us such as Shane Claiborne and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove in their book Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals and Iyanla Vanzant in her book Acts of Faith. There are also many departed saints who guide us such as Eugene Peterson in Answering God: The Psalms as Tools of Prayer and Cloud Devotion: Through the Year with the Cloud of Unknowing created by David Robinson. We meditate on them. We savor them like a fine wine. Our hearts have an emotional ascent to God. We feel lifted in the Spirit.”
Personal Reviews of Cloud Devotion
“David Robinson is a pastor and Benedictine oblate who has published numerous books, among my favorites being The Sacred Art of Marriage and Ancient Paths: Discover Christian Formation the Benedictine Way. In Cloud Devotion, he has revisited a fourteenth-century classic written by an unknown author in the vernacular rather than Latin, who wrote to the English middle class and especially those dwelling in the countryside.
The spiritual journey is described in “down-to-earth, domestic language” with a “holistic and humble vision of everyday spirituality” (12). Robinson utilized the original Middle English text, sentence by sentence, with his own translation and paraphrasing. He has divided the text into 366 sections, adding a Scripture passage that fits well with each selection and adds questions for the reader’s pondering. Obviously, Robinson has set
this up for use as a daily devotional. The Cloud of Unknowing invites the reader to a closer relationship with God primarily through the affect/felt experience and to go beyond into the unknown. Trusting the “divine unknown” leads us to a deeper knowing of God. It’s the via negativa, the way of not knowing, without image or form. The focus is on the experience of God, and yet the “cloud of unknowing” is understood as hiding God from our fullest experience of God’s being. Through the centuries, The Cloud of Unknowing has been a text both popular and held under suspicion. It was popular because, written in a century of intense violence and the plague, it spoke of God’s love, and popular because the author assured the reader that anyone wanting to deepen their prayer life could do so. And it was held under suspicion by ecclesiastical authorities who did not believe that the common person could become a contemplative, and because ecclesiastical authorities could not control the Holy Spirit. This resulted in accusations of heresy. Note: we have The Cloud of Unknowing because Benedictine women of the English Congregation (in the Low Countries) would not let ecclesiastical authorities behind their grill to see what they were reading, with the authorities believing they had the right to censor what nuns read. With the Suppression in England and the burning of books that seemed “papist,” scholars tell us that The Cloud of Unknowing along with the works of Julian of Norwich and Walter Hilton all but disappeared—but these strong women were determined to save their beloved books. The Benedictine nuns came to make their living printing books for sale, and The Cloud of Unknowing was one of their best sellers. I appreciate Robinson’s acknowledgment that the author may well have been a woman, whereas historically all unknown authors were presumed to be men. As one who was first introduced to the Cloud of Unknowing forty years ago, replete with “thee’s” and “thou’s,” I found this translation refreshing. As many know this was and is a text favored by those with a Centering Prayer practice. I admit I first went through and read Robinson’s translations of the text only before returning and using it as part of my morning prayer. By breaking the text down into small portions, he
invites readers to slow down and savor what the author was conveying. This allows for the slower pondering that shapes hearts, much like the intent of lectio divina. I highly recommend this. Cloud Devotion includes two appendices: “Praying with the Author
of The Cloud of Unknowing” and “The Author of The Cloud of Unknowing,” along with Endnotes and a Selected Bibliography.” Reviewed by Sr. Laura Swan, osb / St. Placid Priory
500 College Street NE / Lacey, WA 98516; printed in Cistercian Studies Quarterly, August 2020.
“Wonderful addition to daily faith practice: I’ve loved including this text in my devotion times day-to-day. Oftentimes, daily devotion books come back a bit lacking in substance to say the least. There’s no deficit of substance with Robinson’s treatment of the text here. It’s a wonderful way to be exposed to the important historic work, but written in a way that’s much easier to understand and relate with. In addition, the questions and content that he adds to enhance the daily readings are always helpful and thought-provoking, frequently remaining with me throughout the day.” ~Review by John C, posted March 9, 2020.
“The worth of a travel guide is sometimes found in planning for the trip but is also in describing what to do once you get there. This has been my experience of Cloud Devotion by David G. Robinson. Framed in a short introductory scripture and concluding with a question for further contemplation, Robinson’s modern update of this medieval Benedictine classic is like a new bucket for a deep and ancient well.” ~Review by Ken Morse, Lead Chaplain at Salem Hospital, Oregon, posted on May 03, 2020 at Paraclete Press
Cloud Devotion Webinar, hosted by Paraclete Press
You are invited to an hour webinar, hosted by Paraclete Press, “Rediscovering the Christian Classics,” featuring David Robinson presenting readings and reflections on Cloud Devotion: Through the Year with the Cloud of Unknowing. The Webinar begins at 11:05, with an introduction by Paraclete staff Jenny LynchHope you enjoy! https://youtu.be/3d6u0BRVrSs
St. Placid Retreat (online via Zoom)
You are invited to attend a Zoom Online 2-hour meditation and reflection time with readings from Cloud Devotion: Through the Year with The Cloud of Unknowing, read by the author, David Robinson. For more information: https://www.stplacid.org/programs-rg/1226/zoom-program-through-the-year-with-the-cloud-of-unknowing/
Beach Books “An Evening with David Robinson”
Facebook Post from Paraclete: CLOUD DEVOTION
Day Retreat on Contemplative Prayer
On January 25th, I led a Day Retreat on The Cloud of Unknowing: a Call to Contemplative Prayer. This Day Retreat was held at St. Placid Priory in Lacey, Washington.