1. I’d like to try blogging again, esp about books I’m reading. I found it super helpful to me (if not always interesting to anyone else) to try to capture my thoughts in a coherent manner and save them for some sort of posterity. Helps me feel like I’m engaging them in a deeper way.

2. Just because God called you to something doesn’t mean you will succeed. That’s been the lesson for the last 2 years, and it’s a doozy. Sit with it a while and it will kick your ass.

3. I’ve been thinking about how I used to re-read books A LOT. It was like I thought I’d end up living in OZ if I could just read the books enough times. I don’t tend to re-read now, but I do re-listen to sermons a lot. Somewhat a similar feel – if I could just hear it enough, maybe I’d really live it. Not that I wasn’t trying to, but I think hearing it again and again might burn it deep in my soul so it would never leave. And it IS somewhat true – in tough times, the familiar voices will speak in my head familiar words I need to hear.

And I’ve been thinking about books I’ve read in the last 2 years that I wish had stuck with me deeper. And I was feeling really bad about it, like I had failed at reading them the first time. And then it came to me — I should re-read them! (Brilliant I know). I’ll still read new stuff too, but I’m giving myself permission this year to re-read over and over & let it all just sink in. And lucky for you dear reader, I haven’t talked about them here, so if & when I write about them here, they will still be NEW to YOU! So here’s my list of what I’d like to re-read:

As for the Bible — beginning of January everyone’s posting their read-thru-the-Bible-in-a-year plans, and I just find them so overwhelming. How much would I really retain doing that? I feel like the place I’m in now is all about waiting & being, and that just feels like so much doing & hurry & stress. Plus, I’ve already done that, so I don’t feel the need to do it again right now.
What I am coming back to over & over again is Isaiah. Whenever someone (one person) has a verse they are praying for me, it is usually (always) from Isaiah. And he was a dude well acquainted with waiting. So I’ll be reading & re-reading Isaiah this year, as many times as I happen to get thru it.

Beginnings: start our home community, new diet, new rhythms of service.
Disaster ensues: garbage disposal breaks, oven dies, ice dam leaks into study, 2 car accidents, key breaks in front door, and spilled water destroys laptop.

Finish our home study for adoption and formally approved. Hard journey of waiting.
Finally get the new oven installed. Lose the frigerator for 2 months.
Trip to Seattle to receive training in Redemption Groups. 
Ash Wed service, fasting seminar, Good Friday service.
First round of Redemption Groups.

Crash & burn.
Painful revelations, darkness falls.
Deliverance. Healing. Restoration.
One month break becomes indefinite.
Learning how to receive love and how to share self with others.
New hopes and dreams for the future.

Return to waiting, pursuit of joy.

What will 2011 bring?

Reflections on the Psalms by C. S. Lewis

A while back another blogger I read asked her readers for books explaining the Psalms, as she was finding them hard to read. I read thru the many comments, and the #1 recommendation by far was this little book by CS Lewis.

I was also interested in help in understanding the Psalms better as I’ve never considered myself good with poetry and symbolism. My attitude towards writers is generally: tell me clearly what you want to say & do it quickly so we can both move on.  Which works fine for informational non-fiction & quick-read popcorn fiction, but not so well with poetry.

But my weekly lectio group has been praying thru the Psalms for over a year now, and while I feel the consistent exposure, discussion together, & lingering time in prayer has helped me tremendously, I still had a lot of questions, so I thought I’d give this book a try. Evidently I had many of same questions Lewis had … so his reflections helped me a lot.

Some of my favorite topics were: rejoicing in the Day of Judgment, cursing of one’s enemies, delight in the law of the Lord, and why God invites us to Praise. He doesn’t spend a lot of time working thru a Psalm line by line (which I appreciated), but talks about those themes in general, and how they were interpreted then and some helpful ways to think thru them today.

If you have any interest in the Psalms and could also use some help in understanding these themes, I’d highly recommend it.

Finalized my book list for 2009, and the grand total is 26 books.  One every 2 weeks.

Which sounded ok, til I realized I read 43 in 2008. That’s an average of 1 book every 8 days.

I kept buying more books; the list I wanted to read kept growing all year.  But somehow I always found something else to distract me. We just moved the TV into the back room, where I’m less likely to spend long periods of time, and are reducing the # of cable channels we will be getting, so hopefully I’ll be back up in the 40s, or maybe even over 50! books in 2010.

Recent conversations about women & church leadership reminded me of this book by Dorothy L Sayers.

I first read it in college; Sr year I read nearly everything of hers I could find and wrote 2 separate large papers on her works, one of which I presented in two separate academic conferences. I have been a bit burnt out on her since , but I still appreciate what she meant to me then as an example of a devout Christian and brilliant woman scholar. Anglican no less & occassional Inkling as well.

These quotes comes from one her of shortest books (how I wished it were longer!): Are Women Human?, a mere 47 pages presenting 2 talks she gave on the subject of feminism & the church. A position could be summarized as: “There is a fundamental difference between men and women, but it is not the only fundamental difference in the world.”  She describes how men are talked about in ways that first relate to their humanity, but women are talked about in ways that first relate to their femininity, as a sub-section of humanity. To draw a modern example: we talk about politics from the point of view of Republicans/ Democrats, young/ old, Eastern/Midwestern/Southern, and the Woman’s point of view … but not Men’s. We do not talk about men’s view on politics as if their gender fuels their perspective, nor do we question their manhood if their opinion differs from the majority. Women on the other hand (less so in politics these days, but still often in religious circles) are considered first from their gender, and their opinions are considered derived from their gender.  And heaven help them if they differ from the majority … the implication often is that she is not fully embracing her womanhood (whatever that means). Women are often treated as a distinct sub-group with homogenous point of view, attitudes & opinions, that primarily and fundamentally relate to her gender, in ways that men are not. For women are not first “humans” like men; they are “women-humans” and so are separate in every way.

The 2nd talk, “The Human-Not-Quite-Human”, elaborates on this point and ends with what I think we both would say is the ultimate fundamental – what does God have to say about this? And as a woman struggling to find her place in the church, her response was one of the reasons I came back in from the threshold and remain inside now.  From the last page:

Perhaps it is no wonder that the women were first at the Cradle and last at the Cross. They had never known a man like this Man – there never has been such another. A prophet and teacher who never nagged at them, never flattered or coaxed or patronised; who never made arch jokes about them, never treated them either as “The women, God help us!” or “The ladies, God bless them!”; who rebuked without querulousness and praised without condescension; who took their questions and arguments seriously; who never mapped out their sphere for them, never urged them to be feminine or jeered at them for being female; who had no axe to grind and no uneasy male dignity to defend; who took them as he found them and was completely unself-conscious. There is no act, no sermon, no parable in the whole Gospel that borrows its pungency from female perversity; nobody could possibly guess from the words and deeds of Jesus that there was anything “funny” about woman’s nature.

But we might easily deduce it from His contemporaries, and from His prophets before Him, and from His Church to this day. Women are not human; nobody shall persuade that they are human; let them say what they like, we will not believe it, though One rose from the dead.



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