reading round-up (11.15.13)

Conversations at home are talking a lot about risk right now, especially since I have come to describe life not as “stressful,” but as “risky,” and aim to have “the courage necessary to live well in risky situations.” I loved so many thoughts about how risk is The Surprising Ingredient to Creating a Pro-Life Culture from Tristyn Bloom, a junior at Yale.

Nearly two years ago at Christmastime, I sat at a cafe table with my friend Elyse, and while we hadn’t seen each other in four years, we have the sort of connection that allows (perhaps insists?) that the “synopsis of my spiritual journey since we last spoke” conversations should launch as soon as the coffee is poured. The discussion was refreshing and encouraging, and now you have the chance to get a small peek of what she shared there reflected in her article about how beauty and tradition in worship reflects the incarnation. While we don’t see exactly eye-to-eye or attend the same type of church, I’m enjoying so many thoughts she shared about the intersect of matter and spirit. The following commentary is particularly insightful in light of our recent unwelcoming church visit:

If church sanctuaries are merely places to hear music, see friends, and enjoy our morning coffee, there are other places where the music is better, the coffee is fresher, and the fellowship less forced.

(Special note – relevant because of her article’s content and title – we met doing drama in high school, playing Nuns in The Sound of Music. She is now married to the guy who played Captain Von Trapp. Ha!)

One of the books that didn’t survive my pre-moving purge was Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling, which I received as a gift several years ago, and I’ve wondered since if it would have been better in the recycling bin than as a Goodwill donation. (Not the first time I’ve dealt with discarding bad books.) My friend Emily and I lamented once that it embodied everything wrong with evangelical women’s ministry, promoting the idea that reading the actual Bible is too hard for girls and that in our supposed delicacy we can only be drawn closer to God by reading fluffy things about how much he loves us. Not, of course, that Scripture isn’t hard, or that God doesn’t love us. But. You know. There is just a lot more grit and salt and excitement in all the fullness and sufficiency of what God has already communicated. Also… there are major, major issues with someone claiming to speak the words of Jesus. Problematic all around! So I loved discovering this article by Kathy Keller that lays it all out there, and I feel so relieved to know I’m not just being cynical about popular devotional materials!

For some animal funnies, we both laughed at these Elk in someone’s backyard. I’m not saying he’s fat, just that he’s probably over the weight limit on that trampoline…