Sunday, May 29, 2011

An Ecclectic Collection of Reading (and other musings)

Let's see, I've gone from a book about happiness (from a non-religious or spiritual point of view), to a book by Donald Miller (who isn't the most popular 'Christian' author in some Christian circles), and I have an Audrey Hepburn book on hold at the library.  The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is on my reading list for June, and I'm supposed to be borrowing a book from a friend called Heaven is For Real.  I've even attempted (sorry, Craig, that's as much as I've been able to do with this book) a book called God as Author.  I'm sure it's good, it just reads a little textbookish at times, and I'm finding it hard to keep my attention. 

Anyway - all of that said for me to say this:  I'm doing it on purpose.  There's so much I could say about being a creature of variety, yet habit.  There are so many points I could make about how all of these books could represent a quality and an interest of mine, and everything I said would probably be true, but what I'm learning as I get older, and the thing that is probably the most important reason that I try to read selections in such different genres, is due to the fact that God can use a lot of different means, methods, and avenues to mold us, teach us and shape us into the person He created us to be. 

The book on happiness brought me to a couple great discoveries about myself:
  1. I am who I am because that's who I am, and that's a great thing. 
  2. A list of goals for me goes a long way!
  3. And an improved attitude and willingness (on my part) to enjoy life may make all of the difference in some daily grievances.  
Those are good things to learn, that also contribute to growing me spiritually.

To share a little bit about this Donald Miller book (which I've read partially prior).  Here are a few quotes from the book (whether you like Donald Miller or not) that stepped on and crunched my toes:

"To be honest, though, I don't know how much I like my spirituality being relational.  I suppose I believe this is true, but the formulas seem much better than God because formulas offer control; and God, well, He is like a person, and people, as we all know, are complicated.  The trouble with people is they do not always do what you tell them to do... The formulas propose that if you do this and this, God will respond."

After talking about "I Dream of Jeannie" and how he wanted a Jeannie himself, "I realize of course, that is very silly, and there is no such thing as a genie who lives in a lamp, but it makes me wonder if secretly we don't wish God were a genie who could deliver a few wishes here and there.  And that makes me wonder if what we really want from the formulas are the wishes, not God."

"Some would say formulas are how we interact with God, that going through motions and jumping through hoops are how a person acts out his spirituality.  This method of interaction, however, seems odd to me, because if I want to hang out with my friend Tuck, I don't stomp my foot three times, turn around and say his name over and over like a mantra, lighting candles and getting myself in a certain mood.  I just call him.  In this way, formulas presuppose God is more a computer or a circus monkey than an intelligent Being."

I appreciate the toe stepping, and am able to use ideas to allow Christ to develop me more fully...

And how does our friend Audrey fit in?  I'm a writer by nature, and quite honestly, she has some pretty amazing, well thought out, well articulated quotes out there that make my heart breathe easy.  Seriously.  I really believe reading about her may make me a better writer, and possibly a better individual (seriously, the only thing I know of Audrey Hepburn are some quotes of hers, and that is enough to intrigue me.) 

All of that said to say this:  is it fair to say that God could be teaching us a great deal about Him and even about ourselves through means that aren't intrinsically or ultimately Christian.  I think that's exactly the case!  In fact, look through Jesus' parables and ideas, the people who He conversed with, and what He used to get his points across... it wasn't about the work of John Calvin or Martin Luther, it was about sowing and plowing fields, the faith of children and social status' of tax collectors.  It's the reason that, despite how we felt about him or how we agreed with him, we were still able to take something from Ted Haggard's talk at youth specialties last fall. 

In other news - notice at the top of the blog I've added some new pages :)  Keep a watch on those, you never know what may pop up :)

And enjoy your holiday weekend - I need a beach :) 


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