3 Stories Completely Ended: Jayber Crow Discussion Group (2)

My faith unraveled at a Christian college. I know that’s not the way it’s supposed to happen, and I can remember wishing that a hostile, atheistic professor had bludgeoned me into my doubts with brilliantly irrefutable arguments.

It would make for a much better story.

Instead, the truth is I just got numb. The constant barrage of meaningless requirements that were, somehow, mysteriously related to Christianity: plowing through a three-inch thick commentary on Romans with no specific assignment in mind (other than to reach the back cover), fending off the desperate and over-bearing overtures of my “dorm mother” who wanted to befriend all “her girls,” and trying to stay awake while the combed-over, suited-up preacher-of-the-day got carried away and stole time from the class that followed our mandatory chapel.

One day it all got to be just too ridiculous.

Eventually, of course, I realized the problem was localized and what I had been objecting to was not “Christianity” itself, but a mindset that existed on a particular campus in a specific zip code.

Perhaps if Jayber Crow could have reached that conclusion a bit sooner, he would have been able to finish his education and then take his questions and his refreshing insights into ministry instead of just out the door and down the road with no clear destination in sight. Later in the book, we’ll see that he does eventually patch things up with organized religion, but even then, his musings about faith often sound as if they are coming from an outsider.

Living the Questions:  Calling

Since Jayber ended chapter three with the observation that Aunt Cordie’s death made him “the survivor already of two stories completely ended,” I’ll add that his departure from Pigeonville College made for number three.

This week’s discussion of Chapters 4-6 covers the bulk of the twelve year period in which Jayber lived away from Port William.  During those important growing-up years, the foundation was laid for Jayber’s understanding of what it means to be “called.” He starts out hedging his bets with a decision that it would be wiser to “accept  the call that had not come, just in case it had come and [he] had missed it.” I’ve heard it said no one should go into professional ministry if they can be happy doing anything else. Maybe that advice would have helped young Jayber with his sorting process, but Dr. Ardmire helps Jayber turn a corner with this wise and wonderful conversation:

“I had this feeling maybe I had been called.”

“And you may have been right. But not to what you thought. Not to what you think. You have been given questions to which you cannot be given answers. You will have to live them out — perhaps a little at a time.”

“And how long is that going to take?”

“I don’t know. As long as you live, perhaps.”

“That could be a long time.”

“I will tell you a further mystery,” he said. “It may take longer.”

Maybe, like me, this conversation brought to mind Rainer Maria Rilke’s words about living the questions.  Just in case it did not, I’ll share it here:

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves. . . Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”

I think we will see that Jayber Crow gave the questions his best effort throughout the seventy-two years of his recorded ponderings.

Living the Questions:  Dualism

Unfortunately, The Good Shepherd with Brother Whitespade at the helm practiced a kind of dualism which gave the Apostle Paul plenty to write about 2,000 before, and which the church is still battling today. Jayber remembered it as a “divided world” with an “ideal world of order” there within the safe and secluded boundaries of the school and the “real world of disorder” which was forbidden . . . and therefore, very attractive to the students. His description of localized naughtiness brought an understanding smile to my face:  “They would not have been easy in their minds if there was something they could have got away with if they had not got away with it.”

(I think there’s a warning here for those of us who are parents and want to shelter our children from all the evils of this world.)

The same rift between body and soul showed up at Pigeonville College, but this time, Jayber recognized it for what it was.  Do you ever see this same contradiction in your own Christian circles?

“Everything bad was laid on the body, and everything good was credited to the soul. It scared me a little when I realized that I saw it the other way around. If the soul and body really were divided, then it seemed to me that all the worst sins –hatred and anger and self-righteousness and even greed and lust — came from the soul. But these preachers I’m talking about all thought that the soul could do no wrong, but always had its face washed and its pants on and was in agony over having to associate with the flesh and the world.  And yet these same people believed in the resurrection of the body.

Living the Questions:  Power

I was disappointed with the way Brother Whitespade handled names at The Good Shepherd, effectively un-naming every student who walked through the door. Although his affection for Jayber was increased with Jayber’s “call,” even this is a form of un-naming him, for although Jayber had not changed a whit in his inclination to become a better student (or a deeper Christian), the notion of his calling was perfect camouflage for his lackluster performance and somehow made him more valuable or worthwhile in the headmaster’s estimation.

Living the Questions:  Home

Home is more than a place. It’s the people who live alongside us, and all this was lost for Jayber when Aunt Cordie passed away. He was made to feel the weight of his “homelessness” with continual reminders that he was counting on someone’s good graces to feed, clothe, and educate him at The Good Shepherd.

Isn’t it wonderful that Jayber felt at home in The Good Shepherd’s library?

Jayber held himself separate and “solitary” during his time at the school, and I wonder if his loyalty to “home” — even though it was a place that no longer existed for him — was what allowed him to retain his personhood in the midst of pressure to become a cookie cutter boy in the image of Brother Whitespade.

We’ll see as we continue reading that “place” is a huge influence in Jayber’s story.  But, then, it’s true for all of us, even though we are sojourners on this planet.  God’s story began in a garden, and one day it will end in a city, so just as our bodies are not incidental to our salvation (sorry, Brother Whitespade), place is not unimportant either.

And as God’s children, we are never homeless.

//

I look forward to reading your thoughts so be sure to share insights, blog posts, and criticisms of my conclusions in the comment space below!

I’ll be here next Thursday (September 21) having read Chapters 7-8.

And just in case you missed the schedule I posted last week, here it is again:

Date…………………………………Topic of Discussion
SEPTEMBER 14………………CHAPTERS 4-6
SEPTEMBER 21………………CHAPTERS 7-8
SEPTEMBER 28………………CHAPTERS 9-11
OCTOBER 5……………………CHAPTERS 12-14
OCTOBER 12………………….CHAPTERS 15-17
OCTOBER 19………………….CHAPTERS 18-20
OCTOBER 26………………….CHAPTERS 21-23
NOVEMBER 2…………………CHAPTERS 24-26
NOVEMBER 9…………………CHAPTERS 27-29
NOVEMBER 16……………….CHAPTERS 30-32

//

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Michele Morin

Michele Morin is a teacher, blogger, reader, and gardener who finds joy in sitting at a table surrounded by women with open Bibles. She has been married to an unreasonably patient husband for over 25 years, and their four children are growing up at an alarming rate. Michele loves hot tea and well-crafted sentences, poems that stop her in her tracks and days at the ocean with the whole family. She laments biblical illiteracy and advocates for the prudent use of “little minutes.” She blogs at Living Our Days, and you can connect with her on Facebook or Twitter.

50 thoughts on “3 Stories Completely Ended: Jayber Crow Discussion Group (2)”

  1. Michele- I always enjoy coming here for your wealth of wisdom:) I’m interested in reading this book in the future and coming back here to read what you’ve written!

    I wanted to let you know I nominated you for the Blogger Recognition Award over at https://unmaskingthemess.com/2017/09/14/blogger-recognition-award/

    Please do not feel obligated to do a thing. You are a great writer and a woman of faith for me and I thought it would be a fantastic opportunity to let others know about your website.

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  2. This section touched so many places in my heart. I did not grow up in a Christian home, and God wonderfully brought me to Himself in my teens and provided for me to go to a Christian school for 2 years and then led me to a Christian college. He did so much for me at and through those places that it took a long time for me to recognize their faults and then to know how to think about them. But, yes, I did see traces of some of the things Jayber had problems with in some of the places I have been. One of my “soapboxes” is this tendency to put someone who feels called to preach on a pedestal as if they are somehow a step above the average student, or as if “full time Christian service” is the “ultimate” Christian life. I concluded at one point that we’re all supposed to be in full-time Christian service in a sense – whether we’re preachers or moms or secretaries or, as in Jayber’s case, barbers.

    I, too, sorely disliked the headmaster’s unnaming of students. I don’t know that many places actually do that to names, but they do in wanting to create cookie cutter followers in the image of the leader rather than fostering the unity in diversity of followers of Christ.

    Much to think about in this section! As I mentioned last time, I think everyone goes through questions and doubts, and it’s not wrong to have them, but I did feel there were answers to some of Jayber’s particular questions that were not explored. But I am at a place in the book now where he does come back to some kind of faith, so I am eager to see how that plays out. I don’t know much about Berry himself, but I am wondering how much Jayber’s journey reflects his own.

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    1. I really enjoy Jayber’s faith ponderings. And much later in the book when he becomes sort of a fixture in the town and in the church community, his observations are so poignant.

      And we don’t do anyone any favors by elevating”full-time” Christian workers over the garden variety Christian. Some of the most effective soul winners I know carry a hammer to work every day.

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  3. Also wasn’t raised in a Christian home and attended a Christian college! I can identify with your reflections on faith unraveling at a Christian College though, Michele, but in my case for the better. I came in “Christian” but unsaved, and the experience at that particular zipcode and that particular community was enough to have me fed up with what I knew of “faith.” Graciously, someone there also struggling with the environment did know Jesus, and he shared the Gospel with me!

    Something I witnessed throughout college was well summed up by Jayber in his remarks about not wanting to miss the calling ‘if” he was indeed called. Many ministry students I’ve known quite openly admit the same. I’ve watched many walk away from Christianity as they grappled with the kinds of questions Jayber did. I’ve also watched many commit themselves to teaching like Brother Whitespade’s dualism or other extrabiblical ideologies- many because they want so much just to please someone like a Brother Whitespade. Jayber’s insights have been helpful as I’ve thought about these young men and women!

    Also- the unnaming upset me very much! But that’s a long rant : ) Thanks for the thoughtful discussion points and conclusion, Michele!

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    1. I think there’s a caution embedded at The Good Shepherd for Christian leaders who are so eager to have someone follow in their footsteps, or Heed the Call. Even if their motives are mostly pure, we don’t do anyone any favors by sending them into a field that is fraught with discouragement and spiritual danger. This takes such discernment.
      Thanks for these good points, Bethany.

      Anyone else upset by the “unnaming”?

      Liked by 1 person

  4. There is certainly was a lot to consider this week. Our own lives are often filled with stories completely ended, and yet it’s so poignant to hear about it in Jayber’s life.

    As an adoptive mom, the horrors of Brother Whitespade and The Good Shepherd left me thankful that my children never had to experience similar. The situation there is nearly intolerable and without hope it seems for the children in their care. Except for Jayber, we get the glimpse to his future when Mattie Chatham is mentioned again. The work he did in the barber shop of the orphanage and the fact that we know Jayber succeeds later in life as a barber leaves me with hope that he escapes those horrors. I am left to wonder about the others…

    Children are not cattle to be fed, branded and fenced. Names are important to God, and yet Brother Whitespade took away the names of these children. I’m heartbroken that every bit of identity was removed from these poor children. They were given nothing to live up to in their future life. In a place that claimed religion, a place that should have been kind and loving. That should have allowed these children to live, they became nobodies. Thankfully, Jayber had known a loving home and could reminisce and remember and imagine. Somehow, he seemed to keep his identity as somebody.

    So many other things touched me. That he felt he had to make a list with words to remind him of what he didn’t want to forget again breaks my heart. No child should have to write the word “home” to remember. Foster children today have few possessions of their own, so the significance of still possessing a book from childhood in his old age as an orphan wasn’t unnoticed to me.

    The call to ministry? I wonder if he imagined it, or wanted it tobe, because he was a “good boy” and wanted to please. Thankfully, it seems he had at least one professor at Pigeonville College that showed the compassion of Christ as he realizes he is certainly not called to the ministry and it was that opporunity where he realized more of the freedom he had with Aunt Cordie and Uncle Othy.

    Again I found myself wanting to read more, but I’m determined to restrain myself.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was impressed with the quiet strength Wendell Berry built into Jayber’s character. Remembering home, making the list, and even his tiny acts of rebellion, I think , were ways in which he held onto his Jonah-ness.
      I’m looking forward to hearing more of your insights, Christy, as we in this project. This was my . . . I don’t know . . . maybe fourth reading of the book, so the sad orphanage scenes didn’t grab me this time like they did the first time, but you’ve refreshed my appreciation for the work the Berry did in creating that sad little world.

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      1. Berry’s writing skills are superb! The first 2 sentences in chapter 4 comparing storytelling with being a barber; then later on page 37 stood out. “And so there would always be more to remember that could no longer be seen.” It says so much more than is written. And the last sentence of nearly every chapter leaves me amazed. Masterful, just masterful.

        In going back to the first sentence of chapter 1, he never gave his barbershop a name, it just kinda happened. You’d think he’s have named his Jayber’s Barbershop. I’m wondering if that has anything to do with his years at Good Shepherd. Is Berry that masterful? I have to think so because I’m sitting here thinking about it.

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      2. Well, he certainly gives us plenty to think about. And then there’s that curmudgeonly warning about subtexts in the beginning. I guess we’re just all going to have to pick out a nice desert island for all of us to be banished to. I’m noticing lots of interesting things he says about being a barber. I hadn’t noticed it but storytelling really is a theme in the book. One year I started our family’s Christmas letter with the quote about pulling a handful of grain out of a granary: “There’s always more than can be told.”

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  5. I’ve enjoyed reading along here…had to restrain myself till I got my own processing done.

    What a desperately sad transition it was to becoming J.Crow. It occurs to me that everyone wants to be a particular someone in somebody’s eyes, not just an initial. We want to be known and loved. I couldn’t help thinking of the promise tucked in Revelation for the ‘one who conquers’:

    “I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.”

    Pardon me if I wrest this from its context for a moment to observe God’s intimate knowledge of his own children. Noone knows us like He does. We know one another, even in our most intimate relationships, only ‘in part’ but we ourselves are fully known and loved all the while by this God who names us with a name that cannot be taken from us. Similarly Paul says, ‘Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.‘ (Rev.2:17; I Cor.13:12)

    There’s the tip of my little iceberg at: https://dictationbydawn.wordpress.com/2017/09/14/jayber-crow-chapters-4-6/

    I hope you’ll stop by to browse my favorite quotes and my sometimes overwrought responses to what remains in fact a work of fiction(!) but which I could not let lie without applying truth. –Linda Dawn

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    1. Thanks for injecting that verse to the discussion. And your post over at your place was so good. I don’t think you’re doing the verse any violence by applying it here.
      I also find myself becoming amused at our “overwrought responses” to poor Jayber’s plight — for he is indeed fictional, but he does represent a population that is real, so perhaps our angst is not wasted if our compassion is heightened.
      I’m so thankful that you have taken it upon yourself to add your thoughts here. I do think it takes a village to do a good job talking about a book.

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      1. You’re most welcome, Michele. I can’t seem to help myself. This is one of my very ‘favoritest’ kinds of things to do ( ; Yes, I agree, Jayber represents a real population. It’s all too easy to stumble and put faith on hold based on institutional versions of it or people who represent Jesus poorly, rather than fixing our faith and our eyes on the Author of our salvation who is ‘perfect in all His ways’ All his ways are steadfast love and faithfulness! Thanks for giving us a place to analyze and expound here ( :

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  6. Michele, I’m interested in your story of coming through a Christian college just ‘numb’. Can you identify the steps or leading that brought your faith through that and into the living breathing world of faith as it should be? Of course this is what we want for all our kids, to make their faith their own, to not become immune to things of the Spirit by excessive exposure…but the process is often long.

    My own experience of Bible School was also a setting where going into full-time ‘ministry’ was almost expected, and certainly a superior choice. We watched people take some very different responses to the experience. More thoughts at my blog: https://dictationbydawn.wordpress.com

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    1. I don’t know how things were in Canada in the early 80’s, but, in hindsight, I see that Christian colleges here in the U.S. fell on some hard times. The one I went to was small, denominational, and struggling to maintain a student body and faculty, so consequently there were students being admitted who were not college material and “professors” were local preachers who would occasionally re-run their Sunday sermon in lieu of an actual on-topic lecture. Sigh. I had been a rule-follower all my days up until that point, so never questioned or even noticed school rules, but when I would come in from my closing shift at Pizza Hut and find that I had been locked out of the dorm and subjected to a third degree about my whereabouts, I was tired enough to become a rebel. I should have transferred to another school — or maybe even hit the road like Jayber did, but I made a god out of that piece of paper that came with closure. So . . . my act of “rebellion” was to put the accelerator to the mat and cram a bachelors degree into three years. Once I graduated, I worked for a children’s ministry for a few years and the study, preparation, teaching, and rubbing shoulders with godly women who had been in the saddle for decades confirmed my suspicion that there was plenty of reality to what I believed, and what I ran into down south was the anomaly. I’ve also read a good deal of Philip Yancey’s writing. I think he suffered the same affliction. My last semester of school, I had a class on C.S. Lewis from a renegade English professor and she and Aslan started the recovery process. And then Elisabeth Elliot’s ramrod straightness, Luci Shaw and Madeleine L’Engle’s beautiful faith-words . . . really, I think books breathed life back into me. My husband and I both have a ministry background, and have been very careful not to convey that “superior choice” theory to our kids. I hope we haven’t leaned too far in the other direction (pendulums being what they are). Long answer to a short question?

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      1. Thanks so much for filling me in on your story( ; I was really blessed those school years with godly professors who had lived out what they taught on the mission field often before coming to teach. Rules were strict but I too was a rule-keeper so didn’t find them to be stumbling stones as some others did. They were temporary means to keep a student body functioning in an orderly way, not necessarily rules for life. Though admittedly I took some of them on as rules for righteousness and have had to let some of that Phariseesism in my life die away, thanks to my husband’s wisdom ( : The ‘superior choice’ mentality dies hard. We’ve been in ‘official’ ministry and now are living from the side of those who supported us all those years with work-a-day jobs. Still God is served, and really it is Him that does the choosing and assigning of His servants! It takes a lifetime to figure this out sometimes. We are living that lifetime…
        Thanks again for your long answer ( : The written word has such power, sweet to hear how those with a calling to write influenced you.

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  7. Michele, as per the body/soul rift, I think what was missing was a third part–the Spirit…
    As I see it, so much of the confusion here is due to the missing piece: the spirit. The body is capable of both good and evil, as is the soul. When allegiance is given by one’s spirit to God’s Spirit then good becomes possible! Of course this is only possible where the spirit has been given a new lease on life, or ‘born again’. The issue isn’t whether it’s the soul or the body that is inherently good–both are naturally corrupt–but whether God’s life has been imparted to that soul and body via His Spirit enabling good to come of them!
    What are your thoughts?

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    1. I love this. I think it was Christy who pointed out in a comment not too long ago that most of Jayber’s questions are not that perplexing. Paul writes volumes about this “wretched man that I am” business, and Jayber had fallen in with a crowd that was so afraid of their own sin nature that they couldn’t even trust God to handle it. Your comment reminds me that God’s gift in the Gospel is really a rescue from outside ourselves. He comes in and remakes by His Spirit — “imparted” is such a good verb for it.

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      1. ‘so afraid of their own sin nature that they couldn’t trust God to handle it’ That’s good. A good reminder to those of us (me) who tend to think a righteous life is driven by our own energy and goodness and sometimes forget that it is the Spirit’s work in us to bring about our sanctification as we keep in step with His leading. Rule-keeping is a cheap counterfeit and tell-tale of a human system of perceived ‘holiness’. It’s the stuff of institutions that Jayber rightfully distrusted

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  8. One last interjection, did anyone else think the Names rather symbolically fitting?! Mr. Whitespade?! And even Dr. Ardmire–kind of like a hard but worthy admiration. I just thought they were perfect!

    Oh one more thing. Has anyone read about William GreenHill? I looked him up and apparently he is in a series of books by Frances Boyd Calhoun (Miss Minerva and William GreenHill) which are still in print and widely appreciated as a very humorous recapturing of life in the South (Tennessee I think?). They were originally published in 1909 and reflect the language and thought of their times. I’m going to keep an eye out for them?

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  9. Michele,
    I so appreciate your heartfelt sharing as you lead this study! There were so many thoughts that I had highlighted as I read this section, that I wasn’t really sure until early this morning which direction I would be headed with my own sharing. I too felt the pain of the loneliness and the un-naming at the orphanage. I was especially touched with Jayber’s observations of E. Lawler, and her waiting to be brought in with the circle of girls. Aren’t we all in some kine of waiting to be “brought in?” I also couldn’t help but chuckle at Jayber’s colorful descriptions of people, such as the very professor that led Jayber to the truth of looking at questions, as someone who “was not one of your frying-size chickens.” 🙂 But my own thoughts settled here on the asking of questions:
    https://raseasons.blogspot.com/2017/09/are-questions-allowed.html
    Looking forward to next week’s readings! Blessings to you!!

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    1. YES! Not one of your fying size! I loved that as well – so folksy and understated. (We’ll have to try to work that into conversation this week . . .) I’m looking forward to reading your thoughts, Bettie. Thanks for sharing the link here.

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      1. And, congratulations on your newest Grandbaby, Michele! I just came from Linda’s site, and read in your reply about the little one’s early arrival! Here’s hoping you have some time set aside to enjoy her!

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  10. I don’t think anything would have “made for a better story”, Michele! It takes courage to say your faith was shaken (especially at a Christian college) and it gives hope to those who are traveling that crumbling road. When a faith is refined by the fire, it comes out stronger than before. Thank you for sharing your heart with us!

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  11. My responses today will be brief and not as comprehensive as I might wish as a result of arriving out of state to handle the role of caring for our 3 youngest grandchildren while their parents (our daughter and her hubby) fly to Chile for a week to visit our oldest grandson who is there for a semester abroad. These 3 are homeschooled so you may well imagine I have been here less than 24 hours and just digging in!!

    I was especially impacted by the un-naming that took place. It showed so much disregard for the person and what gifts and talents God may have placed in them. It somehow conveyed a disrespect and diminishing that irritated me. Lack of acknowledgement of the person happens in other ways as well and subtly can produce questions that go beyond what I mention here. The Lord valued us enough to die for us despite our unworthiness and frailties. If the Lord of the universe so honored us, what right does a man have to do less?

    The understanding of “calling” was very wonderfully explored. Too often it gets relegated to the “professional” clergy and that is sad and quite untrue in diminishing the many ways the Lord seeks to have us ALL be salt and light. My last position before retirement was serving on a church staff for 13 years after moving from a private Christian counseling practice. My perspective was reinforced by that time period on staff in a number of ways. Two of these are: 1) Far too many in the body of Christ somehow believe that “the work of the gospel” is only for those paid staff; and 2) those who are paid full-time staff (especially those who have not worked in other “professions”) are very often out of touch with the many demands on the lives of their body members when they implore them to volunteer for one more thing. It seems these two create for a less positive result all around. It also ignores the many giftings and callings that exist beyond preaching, teaching, administration, and missions or even where these can be used beyond church walls or pulpits.

    Loving Jayber Crow! Hoping to have a chance to read some this coming 7 days in the midst of homeschooled and chauffeuring our 12, 14, and 16 year olds to music lessons, swim coaching, and church events.

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    1. You get the Grammy Purple Heart! Amazing!
      Thanks for all these great insights. I think the best part of this blog post is happening right in the comment section. We do have a huge blind spot in the church regarding “professional ministry,” and it’s sad because everyone loses out.

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  12. Definitely a must-read.

    The things that have shaken my faith are the moronic Prosperity Gospel preachers, who completely ignore the fact that those who hewed most closely to Jesus’ teachings ‘back in the day’ tended to get tortured to death.

    I’ll add to those the folks who follow the Prayer of jabez in terms of temporal wealth.

    https://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/2017/09/your-dying-spouse-363-living-years.html

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  13. It’s been interesting to read your thoughts here and glance through the comments. I haven’t read this book but it sounds like it’s a worthwhile and thought-provoking read. I’m intrigued by people’s experiences of Christian colleges too because we don’t really have them here- there are Bible colleges but not Christian colleges where you can study a range of subjects.

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  14. I don’t know about Jayber Crow, but I’m seeing how you’re laying the chapters out for your readers and liking it! I pray you all really get a lot out of this one. I’d love to hear more about your college days sometime…how it came to inspire your current ministry.

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    1. Oh, thanks, Meg. It’s good to get an “outside” perspective. I’m certainly learning a lot from my fellow travelers on this journey. And I’d have to give some thought to that last question, but this one thing I know: I learned to put sentences together during those college days. Lots of reading and writing, and that I do not regret one bit.

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  15. Can I just say, I love your story? I think it parallels what so many feel about the ‘church’ (small c)…the things we do in the name of religion. I think so many can relate to your experience in their feelings. Looks like an intriguing book too!

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    1. I just love Jayber, and so it’s easy for me to find parallels between his story and my own. And now, my hope is that I can create a space for my own kids (and those in my church family, etc.) where we stay close to truth without adding in all the extra prohibitions that make us feel “safe” but which have nothing to do with God.

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  16. Michele, I come to read your posts because something always speaks to my heart. I may not be reading the book along with you all but …. yes, your post spoke to me deeply this morning. This >>> “Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.” I am so grateful we can take our questions to Him for He holds all the answers we will ever need. Thank you for encouraging my heart this morning! xo

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    1. I first heard that poem by Rilke when I was expecting our first son — I hung it over my desk in m office at work, and I believe God used it to affirm my questioning and to lead me into a better understanding of Who He is. I’m so glad it spoke to you today!

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  17. This right here “Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them.”……definitely caught my attention! Thanks for sharing your perspectives Michele and for stopping by to linkup with The Blended Blog!

    Shelly | The Queen in Between

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    1. It’s so true that sometimes we have to live our way to a certain place before a certain answer would be of any use to us. That poem came to me at a very crucial time in my life and “career” as a mum, and it’s still with me.

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  18. I’m not even reading this book with you, though I wish I was, yet I’m getting so much from your commentary… I’ll be chewing on this for quite some time… “Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them.” You cannot know how timely and appropriate that is for me. Blessings!

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