Wednesday, January 12, 2011

So, of course all of this makes me think of books

I used to often write more than once in a day, in the first months of this little blog.  I would even write three times a day since it looked so lonely.  That was nearly five years ago.  It is no longer lonely.  I thought I was doing pretty good when I went over 500 on Google Reader (not bad for a blog like this).  Then I saw where The Pioneer Woman has 65,000 and it took days to come out from under the covers.

Anyhoo, I digress (as usual)...

I was thinking of legalism and how I had a hard time understanding why people would not want to be around someone just because they were dedicated to Jesus Christ.  Come to think of it, why some people don't want to say that name unless they are swearing.

I still can't relate as I have had friends of all spiritual flavors since my teens... Christians raised in the church, homeschooling Christians (and we are a peculiar people!), iffy Christians, Christians hanging on by their thumbnails, atheists, agnostics, close Jewish friends, New Age, and really almost any kind of person you could think of at one time or another... except I've never even known a very devout fundamentalist type Muslim. But I smile at them in the grocery store.

I know that absolutely no one can talk me out of my faith.  It is not an idea... He is a person... my Best Friend.  Nothing anyone can say would draw me away from my Friend anymore than they could make me stop loving my husband or children with words.  So having people not like me in my world does not pose a problem.

As with most things, it was in the reading of a book which helped me understand.  I read Philip Yancey's book, Soul Survivor; How My Faith Survived the Church many years ago for two reasons... I really liked his previous books and how can you not be intrigued by that title?  In it, he shares his story of growing up in a legalistic and racist church and the affect it has had through the years in his relationship with God.

I read it at a time I had been deeply hurt by church people... pastors, friends, and leadership... people who should know better.  It wasn't the first time, either.  As I read this book, it helped me understand my mother and her aversion to anything having to do with the Church.  There was deep hurt and rejection in her.  I found myself much like Yancey, loving Jesus but realizing men and women in the Church are only human and one must continually "let it go".  Only the Savior is perfect.

I've seen it on many library shelves and as with all his books... don't be afraid of him.  He doesn't bite.  He just makes you think and once you read a Yancey book (Where is God When It Hurts, etc.) you will know what it means to "read to know we are not alone".  You may not agree with everything he writes but then again... that is just fine... but you will most likely read and realize someone else has the same feelings that you thought were only in you.

While I'm thinking about Christians who live in countries where walking with Christ threatens their life, my all time favorite book on this subject is Randy Alcorn's Safely Home, a novel about the underground church in China.  This is one of those rare novels which left me a different person after reading it and it is among my all time favorite reads.

I recommend both fiction and nonfiction from Alcorn.  Some may remember his book Heaven was listed as one of my favorite books for 2010.

I have company coming over for dinner on a day the weather has brought on a migraine headache.  Thankfully, I no longer expect perfection as a cook and hostess.  I made a cake using a cake mix and I'm putting together a casserole with Alfredo sauce from a jar as its' base.  Thank God for my Hospitality Pantry!


Vee said...

Enjoy your company...

Well you've given me some more insight to Yancey. Of course, he's a contributor for one of my favorite devotionals and I have read one of his books...the one that upset me. Ha! There are a few more on the shelves around here as John is a fan. Perhaps I'll poke around again one day.

(It does no good comparing oneself to PW w.h.a.t.s.o.e.v.e.r.) :D

Lisa said...

I am reading "Crazy Love" by Francis Chan and highly recommend it. My 24 year old son told me about it and it wonderful. Throughout the book Chan will give you a link to a video to watch on his website with beautiful scenery and encouraging words.
- Lisa

Lisa said...

I read Safely Home a couple of years ago. It is so good! Actually, I think I've read all of Alcorn's books. He's definitely one of my favorites. I hope your headache is gone very soon.

Kimberly said...

Safely Home is my all time favorite Christian novel. And I read a lot. Randy did an amazing job. Having lived in China, I found the details he used fascinating and very realistic.
I still read every one of your blog posts and only pop in now and again on PW's. That must mean something. ;)
Just taking a break from a tough day here, too. I was able to see my friend, Joanne. Please continue to pray. And I am glad that you are being hospitable even when conditions aren't perfect.

Anonymous said...

I am finishing Elizabeth Edward's book Resilience published in 2009. I highly recommend it. I am so sorry you lost your brother Brenda. I have been off the computer for several days and just caught up. Our sibblings too are scattered and we write and talk on the phone but in reality I know their friends know them at this age probably better than I do. Sad but a fact of life. We have been trying to draw closer lately at least in opening up with each other more.I am so thankful that prayer can be sent out to them even if I cannot be there. We share faith and that is a real comfort to all of us. Every older relative is gone now. We are the oldler generation now even though we sure don't feel as wise as we felt our parents and Grandparents, Aunts and Uncles were surely were. It has left me Again with more respect and admiration for all those loving people gone now.Thankyou Brenda for adding to the reading list again. I have learned so much just coming to your blog and also reading all the wonderful comments. Sarah

Anonymous said...

I have heard of but never read, any Philip Yancy books. I will have to add this one to the list of books I would like to read. I have more books on that list than I have time to curl up with. I am currently ready "The Promise" by Robert Morgan...a book based on Romans 8:28. It is very good.
As a side note, I read both your blog and Pioneer Woman's. Your blog is first in my "favorites" list - ha!
Sending warm thoughts and a hug your way.

John'aLee said...

Loved your post. I too survived the 'church' I grew up in excommunicating me for remarrying. And it only made my faith I'm looking forward to this book you've recommended.
I've posted about my story on my website ( under the 'About Us' page if you'd like to read it.
Love your blog.

Anonymous said...

I check your blog first every day! Thank you so much for all the work and time it must take. I am trying to open communication with an older brother who lives far away and has a very different life than I do. We are getting older and I don't want time to slip away on me.
I also love Safely Home and anything by Randy Alcorn. His books are life changing.
I am reading Gratitude by Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Jane said...

Oh my! we must be on the same wavelength. I recently wrote a post about the same subject. Thank you for the book suggestion. I'm off to google Philip Yancy now.


Joanne said...

Great thoughts once again.
I really admire Randy Alcorn and his in depth and thoughtful writings.
Thank you!

matty said...

Hope you are feeling better!

I don't know these authors, but I will. Your recommendations have lead to some wonderful night night readings for me!

TheNormalMiddle said...

Yes. Don't waste time comparing yourself to PW :) It is impossibly frustrating.

I remember when your blog was brand new. I also remember when you used to read and comment at my old blog, Enjoy the Journey. I had over 1000 unique readers daily and thought I was doing good. Then I quit for 2 years and now my blog ( ) is lucky to get 1000 hits a MONTH! :)

It's all in God's time. I actually enjoy my blog more now that it is smaller. I write more for myself than anyone else.

God is good, all the time, Amen?

Marianna said...

First of all, I stopped reading PW because I found all that perfection disheartening! I would much rather read about someone I can relate to.

I believe your understanding of your mother's rejection of your faith is spot on. Far too many people have been, and continue to be, emotionally scarred by rhetoric issued from the pulpit. It is unfortunate, but as you say is a direct result of our humanness.

There was a part of your post that gave me pause: "...except I've never even known a very devout fundamentalist type Muslim. But I smile at them in the grocery store."

Please know that fundamentalist practice exists in a very small (probably less than 2%) portion of the Muslim community. I know it wasn't your intention to be derogatory or inflamatory, but unfortunately the word fundamentalist connected to Islam implies terrorism in our culture. Even more unfortunately too few Americans have a realistic view of the reality of how their Muslim neighbors live. The people you are meeting in the grocery store (presumably women in headscarves) are most likely devout in their practice, but the likelihood of them being fundamentalist is slim to nil. Many mosques are hosting open houses for the community now days. These are wonderful venues to meet Muslim neighbors and experience how much they are really "just like us."

Now I'm off to check out Yancey!