Saturday, March 22, 2008

Continuing to read....

We're springing forth with a new look....time to bring on the green of the season! Enjoy!
You would think that I had stopped reading altogether, by my silence on recently finished books. This is not the case, though, and merely reflects that I'm not taking the time to blog about it! Given that Matt is embroiled in some conflict between the kids (one that started with the two of them fighting each other, and resulted in Kyra shouting, "HELP ME, LUCAS!" as Matt took something away from her--the switch between siblings from arch enemies to staunch loyalists never ceases to amaze me...), I'm going to catch up my list!

I was privileged to attend a leadership workshop at Andover Newton with Diana Butler Bass and a roomful of engaging pastors and lay leaders back in February. At the time, I had only read about a third of the book on which the workshop was based, so it's as though my eventual reading came with a highly detailed introduction/orientation from the author herself. Having written a spiritual memoir that revealed a number of vital, solid, and even growing mainline congregations in her personal past, Diana set out to refute the media-driven message about the death of mainline religion by studying and profiling congregations that indicated new life, rather than death. The book provided me with a lens--a series of Christian practices (e.g., hospitality, theological reflection)--whereby I consider my own church experience now. I found myself extremely hopeful about our capacity to change, grow and be part of the emerging world after both the book and the workshop.

The last time I read The Bluest Eye, I was in college, I suspect. I'm sure I appreciated the book then, but now, as someone with children, with much more rich encounters with people of color, and with a more sophisticated eye toward writing, I loved indulging in Toni Morrison once again. The occasion was a visit to Lydia Diamond's adaptation of the play for the stage. With a group of 25 from the university attending together, I invited a faculty member who writes frequently on the novel to facilitate a conversation with us ahead of time. She brought us below the layers of Pecola, Claudia, Frieda, and the rest, to the intentionality of Morrison's choices--the deliberateness of her every word. I was reminded why I will never be a novelist. The good news? I don't need to be. I'm gifted enough by Morrison and others!

Sara Miles was an unlikely Christian, having grown up with atheist parents, and living in leftist communities that eschewed Christianity as being a property and product of the conservative religious right. But one day she wandered into an alternative Episcopalian community, received communion at their open-to-all table, and realized she had just eaten Jesus. Sara beautifully describes her passage both before and after her astonishing conversion, and challenges anyone who calls him or herself "Christian" to follow the example of Christ in as credible and authentic a manner. I'm still pages from the end, savoring every bite of this yeast-laden book. It's a meal I don't want to end.

I read for class, I touch every page of "The Christian Century," and still I long for more time! What a wonderful life!

1 comment:

Sue said...

Any novels in there? :)

I am just about finished with "Pilate's Wife" -- historic fiction (duh) in a very similar vein to "The Red Tent." I like it a lot, except now Mary Magdalene (Miriam) and Jesus just got married at the Wedding of Cana ... Can't buy that one, but fiction is just that, right? :)

Our book club just finished "The Wednesday Wars" by Gary Schmidt. Very, very fun read. Now we're about to embark on "Twelve Ordinary Men" by ... somebody. Can't remember off-hand.

Thanks for sharing your list -- intriguing! Heavy stuff for me, though, since my only reading time is right before bed ... if it's too much to digest then I don't sleep well. It's a season, a season ...