Saturday, September 25, 2010

Book Reports

We blog, on average, once per month. We were just about to bring that average down, and then I looked at the calendar. This is why I’ve always been bad at keeping a journal and why my “journal” is a combination of checklists, meeting notes, prayers and ideas… a more true reflection of my day-to-day life.

I got to thinking that if I disappeared (let’s not say died) and all that was left was my journal, what would people know of me? Fortunately there’s Facebook and my mess of a closet to give more clues, but that still wouldn’t be the entire picture, would it?

I read Margaret Feinberg’s The Organic God earlier this summer. One of my favorite things she said was this:

“The gift of a book is a tangible effort to take the relationship to a new intensity – so it becomes deeper, richer, and broader than ever before.”

Ahh… so much good stuff in just one sentence! It resonates with me as I think of books people have given me and the impact they have made on my life and in my relationships with them.

Long before I attended church regularly, I got together with some girlfriends to read What’s So Amazing About Grace by Philip Yancey. Changed my life – helped me better understand that, not only was I forgiven, I had a responsibility to forgive and that grace I had received would give me the strength and courage to do it.

Then came The Sacred Romance and Captivating, teaching me about a God who loved me – not just in the “For God so loved the world…” kind of way, but in the “I love you, Michelle” kind of way. Revolutionary! I caught a glimpse of the privilege it is to have been created a woman, the strength and beauty that comes with femininity, the image of God I hope to reflect, the relationship with Him that I have the honor of living in. Such good books.

Meanwhile, Proverbs taught me practical wisdom, and 1st and 2nd Samuel taught me about true friendship, dependence on and devotion to God, including failures of character and seemingly hopeless situations. 1st and 2nd Timothy along with Galatians and Ephesians taught me about living in community with other believers, what it is to lead and what it is to follow.

I’ve read more books this summer than I read during all of high school, and I’m not the only book worm in the house. Just last night, I came home from hanging out with some girlfriends expecting to see Tony playing video games or working on his computer. Instead, he was on the couch finishing The Hobbit, excited to tell me it had a great ending! Ahh… books.

I recently finished Mark Driscoll’s On Church Leadership and On the Old Testament and then read Rob Bell’s Sex God. From what I hear, those two authors don’t exactly see eye-to-eye, but what do I care? Seems to me they both love Jesus, and we all know how much trouble God’s children have with unity as evidenced by the hundreds of denominations of churches in this country alone. Besides, I don’t necessarily read to agree with the author, I read to ask questions and see new perspectives. I read hoping that God will show me more of who he is and who I am in this world. I read hoping I'll catch a thought like one of these... and let it sink in...

“The person who sees the difficulties so clearly that he does not discern the possibilities cannot inspire a vision in others.” - J. Oswald Sanders

“In prayer, Jesus slows us down, teaches us to count how few days we have, and gifts us with wisdom. He reveals to us that we are so caught up in what is urgent that we have overlooked what is essential.” - Brennan Manning

“If a man's wife believes in him, he can conquer the world - or at least his corner of it.” - Shaunti Feldhahn

“Often freedom is seen as the ability to do whatever you want. But freedom isn't being able to have whatever we crave. Freedom is going without whatever we crave and being fine with it.” - Rob Bell

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” - Jesus, son of David

These books really are gifts. Of course some were given to me by friends and family, and some I purchased for myself, but they are all gifts nonetheless. They are gifts from the authors who wrote them and the editors who edited and publishers who published. True gifts, revealing humanity, unveiling inner thoughts.

Ms. Feinberg’s words bring me back to the greatest gift of a book I own, my Bible. Even as I write that sentence, I’m fighting against the critic inside that would roll her eyes and say, “Oh, how trite! How cliché! Of course, ‘the Bible’…” But I mean it! What a gift that in all of the ways of creation that God has revealed Himself to us and continues to reveal himself, that he would give us a book! Like a diary, a journal, his thoughts and narratives and poetry and lyrics. A way that we can take our relationship with Him to a new intensity – so it becomes deeper, richer, and broader than ever before. I think about the miracle it is that we even have access to it – thanks in part to people like Johannes Gutenberg and Martin Luther and Zondervan… I treasure it.

So we read every day, for ourselves and for Claire. It really doesn’t seem to matter to her which book we choose. As soon as either of us takes her in our lap in the rocking chair and pulls a book in front of her, she kicks her feet with excitement, smiles, and “helps” to turn the pages. She loves the touch and feel books, running her fingers over the soft bunny fur or the feather down on the yellow chick. We love it! Now that I think of it, I don't ever remember seeing my own mom without a book. I hope Claire has those memories of Tony and I as she gets older.

So here are some of the Peterson Faves…
Screwtape Letters
Purpose Driven Life
Heart of the Artist
Harry Potter – pick one
Currently reading: Fellowship of the Ring

Spiritual Leadership
Crazy Love
The Speed of Trust
Sheet Music
Currently reading: How People Grow

Mr. Brown can Moo! Can You?
The Going to Bed Book
Baby Bunny
My Shoes Take Me Where I Want To Go
Currently reading: Brown Bear Brown Bear, What do you see?

What are you reading?

1 comment:

KAD said...

Want to borrow "Brown Bear" from Claire when she is done...Just finished: The lion the witch and the wardrobe. Currently reading: Staying Sane in the Arts - pretty insightful stuff on us artistic types. About to embark on the Hole in the Gospel and continue with the Narnia books. :)