On a day when snow was sticky and ankle deep, I took kitchen shears and lopped branches off a bush that grows in disarray outside the dining room window. The rush of school and schedules had bowed to the will of February vacation, and suddenly there was time for hope. Three fourths of the way through a winter season feels like just the right time to remind myself that naked branches can sprout vivid yellow blossoms, internally luminescent and unlikely as warmth in winter.
Bare twigs await spring.
Where only memory gives hope,
Faith sees greening leaves.
In February, I reviewed four books that run in four very different veins.
First, Carol Kent’s real life story is heartbreaking, but in He Holds My Hand: Experiencing God’s Presence and Protection, she shares the truth that carried her through her son’s arrest and imprisonment for murder.
For anyone who has struggled with fitting into Christian culture or embracing their role in a church family, Uncomfortable: The Awkward and Essential Challenge of Christian Community offers an understanding ear coupled with a firm push to set aside our petty preferences and to remember that worship is about God and not about us.
Alan Jacobs challenges believers to a life of cognitive courage in How to Think: A Survival Guide for a World at Odds. He’s a C.S. Lewis scholar and a skilled thinker himself, so I appreciated his words on what it means to think well in a world where the informational fire hose is on full blast.
The life of Walter Wangerin, Jr. has been populated by memorable characters, and he has skillfully woven together a collection of stories to demonstrate the truth that there is always grace shining behind our darkness. Wounds Are Where Light Enters: Stories of God’s Intrusive Grace is a glance into the rear view mirror in which theology and biblical narrative lie just beneath the surface.
February Discussion of Orthodoxy
There were some great February conversations at Living Our Days, probably the liveliest centering around the monthly post on G.K. Chesterton’s Orthodoxy.
Chesterton is laugh-out-loud creative and stop-you-in-your-tracks sobering on the topic of original sin. He maintains that it’s “the only part of Christian theology which can really be proved,” and I’ve certainly done my part in providing evidence for humanity’s fallen condition. As a parent who is in the middle of preparing (with fear and trembling) to teach a parenting workshop here in Maine, I was thankful to spend some time pondering the plight of sinners parenting sinners.
It’s always a stretch and a great grace to be invited into the writing space of on-line friends. This month, I offered a compilation of two book reviews on racial reconciliation to the readers of The Redbud Post. If you’re not already a subscriber to this monthly collection, I encourage you to take advantage of this regular infusion of good writing and thinking from The Redbud Writer’s Guild.
The Perennial Gen is a gathering of readers and writers “of a certain age” so I wanted to introduce them to one of my “book mentors,” Luci Shaw through her wisdom found in Thumbprint in the Clay: Divine Marks of Beauty, Order and Grace. Well into her eighties, Luci is a poet who writes with skill about a life of decoding the rich presence of purpose, design, and beauty in the universe.
To be honest, there’s nothing relaxing about vacation here on this country hill. This recap will be shorter than usual because this morning, the most important writing task is to scribble white glaze across the top of cinnamon rolls.
The week has been full and fun:
- A day of tiny cars and thick tempera paint with the adorable grand boy;
- A great visit with our second son and his wife, which included the bonus of a long listen, both coming and going, to the audio book To Kill a Mockingbird;
- Extra time to soak in Jeremiah’s warnings against false messages from voices who claim to speak truth for God;
- The great satisfaction of finishing the purging, cleaning, and organizing of bookcases!
We’re still a month away from the calendar’s demarcation of the season of greening leaves. While the official beginning of spring is an empty promise here in the northeast U.S., it’s a reminder that the snow won’t last forever. Thank you for your eyes here and for the encouragement of your reading, commenting, sharing, and inspiring contributions to the discussion.
Blessings and love to you,
I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. If you should decide to purchase any of the books mentioned in this post,simply click on the title here or within the text, and you’ll be taken directly to Amazon. If you decide to buy, I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you:
He Holds My Hand: Experiencing God’s Presence and Protection,
Uncomfortable: The Awkward and Essential Challenge of Christian Community,
How to Think: A Survival Guide for a World at Odds
Wounds Are Where Light Enters: Stories of God’s Intrusive Grace
Thumbprint in the Clay: Divine Marks of Beauty, Order and Grace
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