It’s taken me quite awhile to read this book — over a month. This is partly because it got off to a slow start. If I were to reread it, I’d start with the second half, which discusses current cultural trends, and then go back and read the history covered in the first half. But another reason for my slowness is that the book gave me lots to think about, much of which is disturbing. Having finished the book, I looked up a few reviews…Continue Reading “The Benedict Option”

Out of Sorts is my first read by blogger Sarah Bessey. The book details her efforts to reconcile the different parts of her experiences with church. Though she does not go into detail about the kinds of hurts she has sustained, we gather that there have been some; she also discusses various questions over the years that haven’t been completely answered. As with other reviews lately, this one comes several weeks after reading the book. When I first finished it, I might have felt more…Continue Reading “Reading Musings”

Deep down, though, these extra rules for women became a subtle reinforcement of the self-condemning framework I already lived in. Every time I had to remind myself not to look someone in the eye, every time I was worried about where my skirt was, or if my shorts were long enough, it whispered in my head that I was not an acceptable person, that there was something inherently offensive about me, and that it was up to me to protect other people from me. (Kay…Continue Reading “Always ahead of culture”

After enjoying the Wednesday Wars, I forged ahead to Okay for Now, Gary D. Schmidt’s companion book written from the perspective of the Wednesday Wars’ narrator’s classmate. Doug Swieteck is a different kind of narrator than Holling Hoodhood, partly because his home life and social stratum are different. Holling’s dad is an architect, but Doug’s dad is a working class guy with a big chip on his shoulder. While neither narrator’s home life is warm or promising, Doug at least has a mother who cares…Continue Reading “Recent Reads: A Schmidt-fest and a memoir”

Somehow, I’ve never been able to read this book before. I’ve tried a few times but never gotten beyond the first few pages. Recently I tried again with the help of an audiobook version from the library. It worked, helping me to gain some momentum and push through the spot where I’ve run aground in the past. I found Mere Christianity to be a timely, clarifying, and inspiring read. It was timely, because I need reminding of the big picture of the Christian faith and…Continue Reading “Mere Christianity”

There are several great reviews of this book around, including this one that convinced me I wanted to read it. Ironically, I believe it was the idea of a listening God that interested me. Finishing the book, it’s the idea of a listening Janet that inspires me. How many of us listen well? Recently I commended someone for being a good listener, mainly because the person keeps quiet while others talk. This is one attribute of a good listener, but not the only one. It’s…Continue Reading “The Listening Life”

It’s a little known fact in this corner of the blogosphere, but I’ve seen all the Star Wars movies. So even though I hardly ever review movies, I’m going to attempt to now, because in what may be becoming a tradition, we went to see Rogue One this week. But in contrast to last year’s experience with The Force Awakens, which left me unequivocally approving, this movie left me ambivalent. To its credit, Rogue One depicts war with some degree of realism. The characters suffer…Continue Reading “Rogue One (with spoilers)”

Although we are tempted in times of agonizing silence to think of God with an icy stare on his face, refusing to make eye contact, I have found it comforting to think of God simply sitting with us in our pain, quietly listening. Maybe what feels like awkward and anxious silences to us are actually full and gentle silences. We are reminded that listening is not inaction. When God is listening to us, even if we do not experience the results we hope for, he…Continue Reading “On silence”

I’ve been using a One-Year Bible in my daily reading. I don’t see anything spiritually essential in completing the Bible in a year, but I like the idea of reading from cover to cover — however long it takes. I started in the spring or summer, and as Christmas approaches I find myself in Ezekiel. Ezekiel’s vision of the glory of God departing from the temple in chapters 8-11 is incredibly powerful and haunting. The spirit of God, all whirling wheels and cherubim and fire…Continue Reading “Incarnation”

I’ve had different degrees of success in my reading this summer. For example, though their premises were interesting and they were in general pretty good, I fell by the wayside and failed to finish Simplicity Parenting and Sarum. After waiting weeks for The Nest to become available at the library, the opening pages turned me off quickly by presenting me with a sordid encounter. Nevertheless, I’ve had some success. It’s a Beautiful Day, by Renee and Philip Murdoch, details its author’s healing from traumatic brain injury. An American…Continue Reading “Recent Reads”