Monday, July 27, 2009

A Months of Reading

Well, actually I read all the time...for the last 3 years mostly spirituality books. When I first started to feel the tugs I found myself reading things I hadn't even considered reading for nearly 15 years. I read the whole Bible in less then 3 months, and there's a wonderful book the title of which escapes me now that is fiction but takes you through the Bible from the 'characters' perspective - this book solidified the Books for me.

Between mid-June and now I've read 7 books; of these seven 1 was a SciFi book, which was a nice break. I tried to read "The Portrait of Dorian Grey," and "The Canterbury Tales," but both of these books left me feeling very sad. I got through the Knight's tale and started the Miller's but I found myself continually sighing at the sadness of the two tales that it just didn't have to be that way; so I put the book down. Oh and Dorian Grey oh my...I got mid-way through before I couldn't handle the spiritual depravity any more.

Then the library saved me with having a book I placed on hold finally come up with me as next in queue, which was "Altar in the World" a very beautifully written book that was like reading a summary of the last 3 years of reading culminate in a resounding YES. I finished up a radical welcome book, 7 Habits (been trying to read that book for almost 9 years), read a fantastic and thin book about prayer. Read my "required" reading, "Living on the Borders of the Holy" and a book I picked up at the same time as that one which is radical in some ways and scares me in a good examine way sort of way (and the title is escaping me) - but it's structured to be read in small pieces if you want. I started "The Vagina Monologues" which is now resting beside the bedside table. And lastly I'm reading "When God is Silent" and "The Shack."

I nearly ditched the "The Shack" - I was doing fine with it until God in Her 3 aspects arrived. I don't give much away here...I liked how the author has God portrayed as a black woman named Papa, the Holy Spirit is an Asian woman, and Jesus' physical appearance is that of how ancient Jewish man would look decked out in jeans and plaid shirt. What caused me to baulk was the theology, and I only got two chapters into what becomes the remainder of the book. I wasn't expecting to get theology as part of this book, and I wasn't so sure how I felt about what I was reading. So, this Sunday at church I was browsing the library shelves and one of our Deacons asked what I was looking for...I said I didn't know, but would when I saw it. She went back to what she was doing, and I decided on "When God is Silent." The Deacon came back out and asked what I'd picked and I showed her...she didn't comment, and I filled the silence with I like the author's books alot and I haven't read this one yet. I was embarrassed a wee I am an Aspirant reading "When God is Silent." Then I mentioned that I was reading or tried to read "The Shack" but was getting stuck with the theology, that something was causing me to buck at what I was reading. I didn't share this, but part of me wondered and worried a little at the bucking -- cause in a lot of ways the book had to that point presented a way of seeing God that was trying to break some things down. It felt like I was reading a book meant for recovering Baptists. Back to my Deacon...she suggested I do a google search and see what came up, and then decide whether to continue with it or not.

So, I did. Some of the Baptists that believe the Bible is literal and only certain people can tell you what it means people -- do not like this book one bit; they disagree with the Salvation and Trinity aspects within the book. But, really what I've decided is that I want to discover for myself what it is that makes me uncomfortable about what I'm reading and why.


Lee said...

Interesting reading list, JS! I'd like to read that book that takes you through the bible from the perspective of other characters. I think I'd get a lot out of it. So please try to remember the title and send it to me?

I went through a phase where I thought the bible was literal. Not so much these days. What gets to me from the perspective of fundamental viewpoints like that is the legalism. That makes me really uncomfortable because I think God is different for each and every one of us and our walks will be as different as one star is from another.


jsd said...

Lee: The book I couldn't remember is called "The Book of God." I have a hard time with viewing the Bible through the lens of literalism and legalism too.