When I search for Emilie Griffin’s name in the Library of Congress online catalog, 27 titles are returned, including books she’s written, contributed to, or edited. Here are just a handful of the books she’s written: Small Surrenders: A Lenten Journey; The Reflective Executive: A Spirituality of Business and Enterprise; Clinging: The Experience of Prayer; Wilderness Time: A Guide for Spiritual Retreat; and Souls in Full Sail: A Christian Spirituality for the Later Years. Her bio is more textured, however, than the titles of her books would suggest. She also had a long career as an award-winning advertising copywriter and executive in NYC. That she knows so well this intersection between spirituality and the marketplace intrigues me enormously.
I have heard Emilie Griffin speak only once, about 10 years ago, and it made a lasting impact on me, particularly when contrasted with another event. Just a couple days before hearing her speak at a Renovaré conference, I had been to another spiritual formation-type event where the keynote speaker owned the theatrically-lit stage with her choreographed moves and dramatic memorized oratory. I went home and wrote in my journal, “Is this entertainment or content? Probably more entertainment. It discouraged me quite a bit.” In contrast, for her talk at Renovaré, Griffin stayed at the lectern and spoke in a simple style, referring to her notes. About her, I afterward wrote in my journal, “she was marvelous…and said so many wonderfully rich things.” Authenticity and depth win, in my opinion.
After hearing Griffin speak, I bought The Reflective Executive at the book table and found a kindred spirit. It was the first book I had seen about spirituality in the marketplace. Here’s an excerpt:
"God is here! He is actually present! It is not beneath him to dwell on the Staten Island ferry, heading for Lower Manhattan. He is willing to descend with us into the underground chambers of the subway, to be with us in discomfort, boredom, alienation. He accompanies us to the boardroom. He attends the year-end meeting. In the community formed by us, by colleagues, by purchasers, buyers and sellers, customers satisfied and unsatisfied, he is present, bearing our sorrows, acquainted with grief.
What a contrast to our common way of thinking: that business, which is by its very nature materialistic, somehow has to be spiritualized. The reality is otherwise. It is our mistake to think that we will somehow take business, which is unholy, and by some sacrifice or offering, make it holy. That tragic mistake is the crucial error we must expose. To correct this false notion we need not only action but contemplation.
Contemplation is the radical work of the marketplace. Reflection is our passage to reality, to a new understanding, a different consciousness. In reality it is God, not we, who initiates the transformation of the world. We are here not to transform but to be transformed, to accept the changes that grace will bring about.”
Emilie is also a retreat leader, editor, and playwright, and a founding member of the Chrysostom Society. Treat yourself to a couple of her titles here at her Amazon page, and read a fuller – although outdated – bio of Emilie here.
Finally, here's what Emilie wrote about Finding Livelihood:
"Finding Livelihood is deeply felt and deeply satisfying to the reader. Nordenson grapples with hard questions and avoids easy answers. Of work itself she writes: “You take the first steps in a state of delight, equipped with skill or talent, ready to make a difference. But the path is never straight, and it takes you through places you never envisioned.” Nordenson's book is practical, powerful, and rooted in biblical wisdom and the wisest thought of the Western tradition. With a light step, and gratitude, Nordenson teaches us to deal with jagged changes and ugly surprises, “to live and work in the flow of God's love.”
You can now pre-order Finding Livelihood from: 1) the publisher, Kalos Press; 2) Amazon; or 3) me (ask if you want it signed). Ordered books will be mailed on release date of April 15, 2015 - tax day!