Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Literary Corner

I made many resolutions this year, but haven't done a very good job of keeping most of them. I have kept one, which was to read one book a month that I had been intending to read, but just never got around to. This is what I have read so far and a couple brief thoughts on each:

Pre-New Year's Eve:
Searching for God Knows What by Donald Miller: It took me a while, but this book was actually pretty impactful. Miller uses an analogy of a lifeboat, and who would be valuable to keep on such a boat. I realized I spend much of my life trying to be someone worthy of keeping on the boat when Jesus spent his time with people who no one would keep on a lifeboat.
Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott: A good reminder to pay attention to the beauty of the world around me.
Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen: What can I say? I'm a sucker for Jane Austen.

A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn: And this is where my cyncism with the American and world political system began. A huge reminder to do as Jesus says and give to God what is God's and unto Caesar what is Caesar's.
Persuasion by Jane Austen: Two young people fall in love, her family disapproves and separates them. Years later they are reunited and she is very much in love with him, but he is trying to persuade himself that he is no longer in love with her. COME ON! This is the stuff today's romantic comedies try to capture, but they will always fall short.

SexGod by Rob Bell: This was supposed to be Mere Christianity but I couldn't find a copy of the book. Who would have thunk? This one will need to be reread, preferably with a friend who's also reading it so we can discuss as we go along. I did find great comfort in Bell's discussion of singleness as the first choice option and not as a fall back plan.
Irresistable Revolution by Shane Claiborne: I realize I jumped on this bandwagon a little late, but at least I got on board. In truth, I've always been on board with the kind of vision that Claiborne casts and am constantly struggling with how to change my life to more accurately reflect God's kingdom. I don't think I'm ever going to figure it out, but I'm ready for the fight. And I gave away about 5 winter hats and scarves still leaving me with a hat and three scarves, all of which were gifts that I didn't feel I could give away. It's a small step, but hopefully one in the right direction.

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens: I thought I would hate it, but once I got past the first two or three chapters, I got sucked in. I will also forever be wary of my friends when they knit around me.
The Jesus I Never Knew by Philip Yancey: Not finished with this one yet, but it has been very encouraging to read a book that's sole purpose is to lead you to know Christ as he truly is. It has been hard, however, to see Jesus' preferential treatment for the poor, and then to see how uncomfortable church now makes the poor. What happened there?

So far, so good. I haven't been dazzled by any, but I have enjoyed them all. Up next month is a light classic, Crime and Punishment. Yeah, we'll see how that goes.


Stephanie Breuner said...

Speaking of "A People's History of the United States" have you seen the book "A People's History of Christianity'? Different author same premise. I saw it on Amazon last night. It sounds like the author actually is a Christian. She is a former columnist for the New York Times syndicate, so potentially pretty liberal.

Suzanne Townsend said...

No, but that sounds really interesting.

Stephanie Breuner said...

I like this thought from you: "I realized I spend much of my life trying to be someone worthy of keeping on the boat when Jesus spent his time with people who no one would keep on a lifeboat". I can relate- I am always too worried about what people think.