Tuesday, August 28, 2012

God's Healing Strategy, Revised Edition: An Introduction to the Bible's Main ThemesGod's Healing Strategy, Revised Edition: An Introduction to the Bible's Main Themes by Ted Grimsrud
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A welcome, and welcoming, look at the whole story of the Bible showing us a God of love and mercy, as opposed to punishment and wrath. "Mercy for me implies mercy for everyone." (p. 95) "We who are loved by God (should) love as God loves." (p. 95) Where John the baptiser preaches repent for fear of God's wrath, Jesus says repent (change life direction) because of the good news that God is love, and God's mercy will lead to the good life. (p. 128)
Although I read through it in a couple of days because it is a theme I have interest in, the book is in a group-study format.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

I bring my tears before God
and then we wait in silence there,
God and I.
I, being wounded in heart and mouth,
have no words.
I wait for God's.
Trees are silent
but I love to walk among them.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular WorldLife of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World by Henri J.M. Nouwen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Read as part of my August Project reading list.

Henri Nouwen set out to write this book at the request of a close friend, with the intent of perhaps explaining or motivating a spiritual life for those who had not so far found reason enough to embrace such a life. From the response of his friend to this book, Nouwen realized he had failed, and was perhaps too deeply spiritual to be of assistance to the more secular person. (As an indication of his wisdom and humility, he considered this a shortcoming to the extent that he determined to get more in touch with his secular side!) At the enthusiastic response of believing friends who read the resulting book, however, he was encouraged to find it was considered very helpful to searching Christians, and saw in the whole story "...the mystery of God using his secular friends to instruct his disciples."

I too find this book to be helpful and nurturing, although it takes a certain amount of concentration, or attentiveness, to follow his meaning and to catch his sometimes quite deep revelations. Nouwen says we are the Beloved of God, and like bread, we are taken (or chosen), blessed, broken and given.

I like the words "...a conscious desire to waste our time..." as a description of going against society's dictates and consciously choosing for ourselves, here specifically referring to meditation and prayer (p. 66). I love the universal empathy in the words "...each human being suffers in a way no other human being suffers..."(p. 71).  And I was encouraged by the affirmative words "The spirit of love...will blow where it will, even when few will hear its coming and going." (p.100)

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Sunday, August 5, 2012

Only in the deepest part of my bones
do I know God now.
The skin on my fingertips
is mostly doubt.
The pit of my stomach
shouts angry questions.
In my head 
I make myself say the God-taught prayer.
My legs are often shaken.
My heart is filled with loss.
The deepest bone and the deepest tear
is where I know God now.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

August Sonnet
Accursed month wherein my heart was slain,
A year is passing, you come round again.
Your temperate days, inviting us to rest,
Your promises of leisure heaven-blest;
How you lay on the charm, your branches full,
Your fruits abundant give a gentle pull
To lazy hands and minds and hearts carefree.
But surface calm should warn: more careful be.
Deception cruel your seeming paradise,
Your cloying heat of day, your moonlit nights.
At heart there lies a cold uncaring place
Beneath the warmth of your so August face.
Give me the winter, honest colder climes;
The danger plain, we live more cautious times.