I’m sure I am not the only one who starts a few books at a time…doesn’t your mind get tired of reading just one book? Wouldn’t you rather be bombarded with the inner workings of a few authors, and enjoy the juxtaposition of worlds, finding common themes between them and further relating to the layers and layers of your onion mind? I love this unraveling of layers, slowly exposing and rebuilding myself with every turn of the page. It is truly delightful.
Like a girl in every port, I have a book in every room.
So here are the few ports I’m visiting now:
“Jesus says the kingdom of His Father is not a subdivision for the self-righteous nor for those who feel they possess the state secret of salvation. The kingdom is not an exclusive, well-trimmed suburb with snobbish rules about who can live there. No, it is for a larger, homelier, less self-conscious caste of people who understand they are sinners because they have experienced the yaw and pitch of moral struggle.”
I got this book around 10 years ago, and I flipped through it then; but I never finished it. At the time I was deeply immersed with Donald Miller‘s writing, and that was where I was at spiritually during the time.
Right now, I’m definitely in a growth period…but not in a “Joyce Meyer” devotional kind of growth. This is a much more “Rich Mullins,” and “Brennan Manning” growth. This is when I am sitting in a garden with barefeet, digging my toes in the dirt and picking grass with my green, stained fingers, having a quiet discussion with God and trying to figure things out, kind of growth. My body is rejecting cliche phrases, and locking in on things that I can chew on:
“When I get honest, I admit I am a bundle of paradoxes. I believe and I doubt, I hope and get discouraged, I love and I hate, I feel bad about feeling good, I feel guilty about not feeling guilty. I am trusting and suspicious. I am honest and I still play games. Aristotle said I am a rational animal: I say I am an angel with an incredible capacity for beer.”
I wish I could thank Brennan for writing this, but unfortunately his time here has passed. I am so grateful he took the time to scribble the painful throes we wrestle with in our lives, though. It can be hard to find reality when you are living in a well-irrigated desert, and the illusion of green grass lays on top of the barren ground underneath. Sometimes it’s nice to help someone pull the sod up, and finally appreciate the beauty of life in the desert, however small or prickly it may be.
This is another book that speaks from a different perspective…the perspective of the creative artist.
Artists have it bad, because we see everything from a different angle. We get distracted on Sundays because of the way the light is shining on the curtains. We find it interesting how the Pastor uses different words than we do, and spend time writing down these different words on index cards during the sermon, rather than listening to the sermon. Artists are going to argue and fight and roll their eyes over really basic things: like the use of the color beige.
So to throw theology at them is like throwing paint onto oil. You might get some of it to stick, but it’s still going to be just colorful oil in the end.
You might be able to change the color of the walls in a church, but you aren’t going to be able to change the color of an artist. They’re stubborn, and they’re opinionated…and most of the time they’re repressing the daylights out of the nonsense that is engrossing their mental energy.
I have thoroughly enjoyed this book because it is a relief to read someone with the same ridiculous ideas interwoven with thought-provoking theology:
“Ever since I was a little boy, I’ve wondered what God looks like. At first I figured He was just like a puff of smoke, since He was a “spirit” and didn’t have flesh and blood like me, but then I remembered reading in Genesis that He decided to make man in His “image,” whatever that meant…Maybe it’s just my odd mind at work, but if, by some chance, we aren’t the only ones He created, and out there in the vastness of the universe is another life form, another planet and another people He is trying to have relationship with, would He have created them in His image as well, or would He have thought about throwing a curve ball, spicing things up a bit? These are the things I ponder, and they are probably the stupidest things I could spend my time pondering.”
And that is why I am reading this book.
Well, the kids are reading this for a Literature class, so naturally I have to read it with them.
The funny thing is, since I haven’t read it in so long, I had forgotten how very long Austen’s sentences are.
So very, very long.
The sentences Austen wrote were as long as the wandering, speckled verdant highlands road in late spring, well after the last toilsome, precipitate showers pelted the intemperate soil in such a way as to wonder if Miss Lucas’ afternoon parlor chatter may have summoned the impenetrable riot of showers and clatter of thunder, in order to bequeath a polite farewell to her monologue; which may have, in fact, allowed the younger ladies leisure to take a sip of their tea without the uncertain moments when they felt the very requisition of their eyebrows to raise, in so much as to suggest that they were, indeed, following along with the story all along.
I shall look forward to returning to my stomping grounds with the Bronte sisters, who made much more sense, with clearer grammar, and outside of drawing rooms. That is the biggest difference that I see: Austen’s settings were always inside. The Bronte sisters wrote stories which involved travel. I enjoy the Brontes’s world a little more, for that reason. Less sitting, more moving.