Award-winning author, Traci Rhoades, will publish her second book, Shaky Ground: What to Do After the Bottom Drops Out, summer 2022. In this book, she encourages readers to glean wisdom from the Church, across traditions and throughout time, to develop spiritual habits that carry us in shaky times. By establishing healthy habits ahead of time, we can find ourselves standing on the solid ground of Jesus Christ, even as things are in turmoil around us.
"Publisher's Weekly" highlighted Shaky Ground early last spring, in their article, "How Faith-Based Books Are Making Spirits Brighter." They write:
Healing, both personal and social, is the focal point of many forthcoming books. Bible teacher Traci Rhoades (Not All Who Wander [Spiritually] Are Lost) suggests spiritual practices aimed at helping readers of all faith backgrounds to find inner peace in Shaky Ground: What to Do After the Bottom Drops Out.
Rhoades began writing online in 2014. Over time, she wrote her way into being an advocate for church unity. Through reading and interacting with others in real life and social media, she realized Christians have way more in common than we do things that divide us. These gifts, as she's come to call them, are what she celebrates and highlights in her writing. Her first book, Not all Who Wander (Spiritually) Are Lost, tells more about her church journey.
The following is an excerpt from her new book, reprinted with permission: ©2022 Morehouse Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY 10016
I wonder sometimes where my ancestors went to church. How did it look different? In what ways is it the same? When I spent those few days at the prayer center, my first silent retreat, I took note of what felt familiar to me and what still felt foreign or “Catholic.” I embrace it all more than I used to, but differences still come to mind. Maybe someday I'll stop compartmentalizing altogether. I spent some time in the chapel in the basement of the main building on campus. As I walked in, there was a basin of water at the door, so I dipped my fingers gingerly in the bowl, crossing myself. I noted a statue of Mary and several stations with candles around the room. There was a lectern front and center, with a bookshelf behind it. Worship guides and liturgical books from various church traditions filled the shelves. We have so much to teach one another.
Another afternoon, it was somewhat warm outside. I’d been writing for a few hours and was ready for a lunch break. I walked slowly on the pathways, contemplating the stations of the cross that had been set up along the way, taking my time but knowing my destination. There’s a wooden chapel in the middle of the retreat center, more country than Catholic. The plaque by the front door tells visitors that this is the original chapel of the Franciscan sisters of the Sacred Heart who arrived in May of 1876. They were victims of the German Kulturkampf, a conflict between the Imperial Chancellor Otto von Bismarck and the Roman Catholic Church, as the newly established German Empire sought to subject the church to state control. Shaky ground indeed.
Walking inside, I took in the wooden pews and the altar railing. Universal church furniture if there is such a thing. The silence of the day had fallen all around me, and it met me in this sacred space as well. There’s something about a sanctuary. I prayed, my spoken words echoing in the empty space, thankful for what I’m learning. For how God is being revealed in my life and all around me. I walked back down the aisle, closed the wooden screen door behind me, and headed to pick up the lunch I had asked to have prepared. Returning to my cottage, I spent the afternoon writing and reading, nibbling on lunch, and taking a nap. It all felt like prayer to me.
In that Catholic space, a refuge for wandering Christian pilgrims since 1876, our divisions felt entirely beside the point. Men and women of God throughout the ages lived in their own uncertain worlds, and yet lived faithful lives. The more I learn the context of the church in a particular time and place, I find myself asking the same question over and over again: Where can I experience more of Jesus? The next time someone tells you they don’t have to be part of a church to be a Christian, goahead and agree with them. Participation in a church is not, by itself, a salvific act. I pray, though, we would see the depth of relationships possible in church, and we would lose interest in practicing our faith alone. “And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24–25).
Here's a link to order her new book. If you're interested in bulk purchases, reach out to the author or publisher. Rhoades is also available for video appearances in the classroom, small groups, or books clubs.