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First book of the year

I love to read.  The trouble is I'm a slow reader.  And I'm a multi-reader.  Meaning I am generally reading multiple books at one time.  And, no matter how horrible a book is, I feel compelled to finish it.  This makes for the perfect storm of stacks of half-finished books that taunt me and daily call out to me... "finish me!  read me!  pick me up!".  The situation is compounded by the numerous magazines that show up at watsonopolis vying for a read as well.  

I have a friend who, in her new year's resolutions, mentioned she planned to read 52 books this year.  I'll probably come close to that goal as well.  Trouble is, she'll finish 52 books.  I'll simply start 52 books.  

49 days into this new year, I've finished my first book.  Anne Lamott's Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith.  Lisa put me on to Lamott who is from Marin county where Lisa and I went to seminary and lived for nearly 4 years.  Her story (and her faith) is witty, raw and attractive.  She makes me laugh.  She reminds me of a place I hold dear.  Her reflections on her faith and the Jesus who saved her from alcoholism are like a field full of wheat and weeds...refreshing and blasphemous, hilarious and heretical.  I think that's what we get this side of God's Kingdom.   

Rather than rambling on about her book.  I thought I'd just pull out a few quotes that stuck with me.

"Grace means you're in a different universe from where you had been stuck, when you had absolutely no way to get there on your own".

"[We] bought everything we could think of that young children would need to learn about God: juice boxes, blankets, beach balls, moist towelettes, a children's Bible, a boom box and art supplies".

"But you don't get what you want; you get what you get.  You want to protect your child from pain, and what you get instead is life and grace; and though theologians insist that grace is freely given, the truth is you pay for it through the nose.  And you can't pay your child's way".

(on speaking of a friend with a terminal illness) "He lost the great big outward thing, the good looking package, and the real parts endured".

"I planted bulbs.  Which is a form of prayer".

"God doesn't want or expect you to get it together before you come along, because you can't get it together until you come along.  You can spend half of your time along, but you also have to be in service, in community or you get a little funny".

"I don't have the right personality for Good Friday, for the crucifixion: I'd like to skip ahead to the resurrection.  In fact, I'd like to skip ahead to the resurrection vision of one of the kids in our Sunday School, who drew a picture of the Easter Bunny outside the tomb: everlasting life, and a basket full of chocolates.  Now you're talking".

"She quoted the Reverend James Forbes as saying, 'Nobody gets into heaven without a letter of reference from the poor'".

"In church, we don't live from our minds - we live in community, which is to say, in shared loss and hope, singing and hanging out together".

"I remembered something Father Tom had told me - that the opposite of faith is not doubt, but certainty.  Certainty is missing the point entirely.  Faith includes noticing the mess, the emptiness and discomfort , and letting it be there until some light returns".

"I continue to be deeply surprised by life...But, meanwhile, in Advent, we show up when we are needed; we try to help, we prepare for an end to the despair.  And we do this together".

"Easter says that love is more powerful than death; bigger than the dark, bigger than cancer, bigger than airport security lines".

"Jesus had washed the disciples' feet, to show that peace was not about power; it was about love and gentleness, and being of service".

"I didn't need to understand the hypostatic unity of the Trinity; I just needed to turn my life over to whoever came up with redwood trees".


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  • Response
    Thanks for the excellent information. It is greatly appreciated.

Reader Comments (2)

I love that you are working on reading and sharing your perspective with us. The quotes you pulled out of Anne's book on faith are so enlightening. I'm reminded of how often I benefit from those who have truly experienced some form of transformation, those with new habits of the heart. Many of Christ's followers who have deeply touched me have come from the poor community like Maria who wrote,"like i said before many people don't even turn thier heads for people like us, but you showed us a different side. even though we're still trying to hold on to the good positive ways you present to us we will still believe that The Allmighty has His hand on us and many others. so we thank you and all the people involved for acknowledging us and if we can be of service please call. we're willing to help as much as possible. thanx again!". Maria doesn't understand how she has blessed me.

February 22, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterlinda gleason

good words Linda. i'm grateful that you continue to imagine and work for a different Fresno.

February 24, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterwatson

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