Thursday, June 18, 2009

Summer is for Reading

I actually love to read outdoors. My favorite thing to do on a Michigan summer's day is to grab a folding camp chair, spray on bug repellent, put on a hat and some sunblock and find a scenic place to read.

Here's what's on my schedule so far:
"The Beauty of God's Holiness" by Thomas L. Trevethan
We've been reading "The Pursuit of Holiness" by Jerry Bridges this spring in our small group, and I when I found this in our church library, I wondered if it would supplement my reading.

An excerpt:
"When a sense of God's holiness is bright and clear, joyful worship flourishes. When a sense of the holiness of the Lord declines or is lost, on the other hand, worship becomes drudgery, and it too declines. It is trivialized into entertainment...."

"The Valley of Vision" edited by Arthur Bennett
I like poetry a lot, but it is hard to find well-written and theologically accurate prose that doesn't sound trite or cutesy.

A sample:

"Lord, high and holy, meek and lowly,
Thou hast brought me to the valley of vision,
where I live in the depths but see thee in the heights;
hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold thy glory.

Let me learn by paradox
that the down is the way up,
that to be low is to be high,
that the broken heart is the healed heart,
that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit,
that the repenting soul is the victorious soul,
that to have nothing is to possess all,
that to bear the cross is to wear the crown,
that to give is to receive,
that the valley is the place of vision...."

"Summer on Blossom Street" by Debbie Macomber
Fiction that I will devour in two days, perfect for a weekend read. It's going up north with me on Saturday. "Blossom Street" is about a Seattle yarn shop owner and her husband, Lydia and Brad, who unexpectedly become foster parents to 12 year old Casey.

"I was of two minds, but compassion won out. It wouldn't be an easy adjustment for any of us. Casey wasn't going to make this pleasant. However, I'd seen that glimmer of a smile in the young girl's eyes..."

"Quaker Summer" by Lisa Samson

Another novel about summer to be read on a beach somewhere. This one is about a young mother and wife, Heather, who has "everything" and feels empty inside yet through her relationship with two elderly Quaker sisters and an old nun at a homeless shelter, she gains a different perspective and comes to a "crossroads".

The following is from a passage where Heather visits an elderly farmer and family friend, Jolly, who recently was widowed from his wife after 50 years of marriage:

"I want to hug him to me, but I can't make Jolly a project. Like I need one more thing to do. But I do enjoy sitting with him. How could a person not? Jolly is like your favorite chair. His 1930's existence makes my soul yearn: tending his garden, talking to the boys down at the old store on Jarrettsville Pike, the last vestige of Loch Raven in the old days before people like us began buying up the place. It seems like people in my parents' generation knew how to keep from overloading themselves. Or maybe they just didn't complain about it like we do. Haven't figured out which."

What are you reading?


Scott said...

love that poem...and great ideas for reading. I would recommend "Peace Like a River" by Lief Enger. I read it a few summers ago, great prose and story-telling and themes of faith...reminded me of "To Kill a Mockingbird."

I'm reading mostly work stuff right now, but look forward to picking up Divine Conspiracy again, and continuing through some Flannery O'Connor short stories

Althea said...

Thanks, Scott for the recommendation. I started Divine Conspiracy about two years ago. I'm about half way through it.

O'Connor, eh? I love short stories and have read a bunch of hers. She is definately an original.