What I am reading

The New Oxford Annotated Bible:  1 John

On God an uncommon conversation Norman Mailer

Reason, ultimately, looks to strip us of the notion that there is a Creator.  The moment you have a society built on reason alone, then individual power begins to substitute fo rthe concept of a Creator. … Once you accept the notion that there is no God, then the ultimate direction for the Left, the Right, or the corporate Center is totalitarianism.

Encounters with Jesus Timothy Keller (this book has gone missing – grrr!)

the Ukrainian Wedding Larry Warwruk

“What is the proverb?  The wealth of the one is the ruin of ten.  This progress business is nothing but the Devil’s work and someday it will blow up in everybody’s face.”

Fugitive Pieces Anne Michaels

Raising My Rainbow Lori Duron

Some people got wind of C.J.’s Christmas wish list and advised against getting him “girl toys.”  I considered it, for about one second.  The gifts we had given him the year before missed the mark.  We remembered his diappointment and weren’t going to let it happen again.  People kept asking us what we were going to do.  As if C.J.’s wanting only “girl toys” for Christmas was the biggest catastrophe since the inn had no room.

Fall on Your Knees  Ann-Marie MacDonald

The God of Small Things Arundhati Roy

She played Lentement — a movement from the Suite in D/G of Handel’s Water Music.  Behind her slanted sunglassess her useless eyes were closed, but she could see the music as it left her violin and lifted into the afternoon like smoke.

one thousand gifts Ann Voskamp

The face of Jesus flashes.  Jesus, the God-Man with his own termination date.  Jesus, the God-Man who cam to save me from prisons of fear and guilt and depression and sadness.  With an expiration of less than twelve hours, what does Jesus count as all most important?

“And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them …” (Luke 22:19 NIV).

“Communion with God, what was broken in the Garden, this is wholly restored when I want the God-communion more than I want the world-consumption.”

Lionheart Sharon Kay Penman

The Covenant James A. Michener

“That left the animal which the hunters treasured above all others: the giant eland, taller than a man, a remarkable beast with horns that twisted three or four times from forehead to tip, a tuft of black hair between the horns, a massive dewlap, and a distinctive white stripe separating forequarters from the bulk of the body.  To the hunters this stately animal provided food to the body, courage to the heart and meaning to the soul.  An eland was walking proof that gods existed, for who else could have contrived such a perfect animal?  It gave structure to the San life, for to catch it men had to be clever and well organized.  It served also a spiritual summary to a people lacking cathedrals and choirs; its movements epitomized the universe and formed a measuring rod for human behaviour.  The eland was not seen as a god, but rather as proof that gods existed, and when, after the hunt, the meat of its body was apportioned, all who ate shared its quintessence, a belief in no way unusual; thousands of years after the death of Gumsto, other religions would arise in which the ritual of eating of a god’s body would confer benediction.”

Song of Solomon Toni Morrison

the time keeper Mitch Albom

“Try to imagine a life without timekeeping.

You probably can’t.  You know the month, the year, the day of the week.  There is a clock on your wall or the dashboard of your car.  You have a schedule, a calendar, a time for dinner or a movie.

Yet all around you, timekeeping is ignored.  Birds are not late.  A dog does not check its watch.  Deer do not fret over passing birthdays.

Man alone measures time.

Man alone chimes the hour.

And, because of this, man alone suffers a paralyzing fear that no other creature endures.

A fear of running out of time.”

Made for Goodness Desmond Tutu & Mpho Tutu

“How does the demon rob us of our joy?  The demon fear of not being good enough convinces us that perfection is the price to pay for love.  Our perfection is the price we imagine we must pay for the love of God.  So we strive endlessly to “be good” or to “do good” instead of realizing that we are good.

Their Eyes were Watching God Zora Neale Hurston

“She didn’t read books so she didn’t know that she was the world and the heavens boiled down to a drop.  Man attempting to climb to painless heights from his dung hill.

Then one day she sat and watched the shadow of herself going about tending store and prostrating itself before Jody, while all the time she herself sat under a shady tree with the wind blowing through her hair and her clothes.  Somebody near about making summertime out of lonesomeness.

This was the first time it happened, but after a while it got so common she ceased to be surprised.  It was like a drug.  In a way it was good because it reconciled her to things.  She got so she received all things with the stolidness of the earth which soaks up urine and perfume with the same indifference.”

A brief history of Henry VIII  Derek Wilson

Anne Boleyn  Evelyn Anthony

“God was man’s best excuse for his own weaknesses and evildoing, if He was properly used.  It was God’s will.  Under that banner one could pillage and murder and persecute, without any feeling of guilt.”

The Once and Future King  T. H. White

Mary Queen of Scotland and the Isles  Margaret George

Winter’s Shadow Gillian Bradshaw

(Taliesen)  “The glory will not fade, my lady, because it will have no successors.  And my songs will be remembered.  The times that come will remember us.  Something of you, and something of what we fought for, will survive.”

“Do you think,” I demanded, “that we fought for songs?”  He looked up again, mildly surprised, calm and unmoved, and the anger, the blind wild loss suddenly took possession of me.  I jumped up, swept my hand over the desk, and the jug of mead crashed to the floor and broke.  The serving girl came rushing in from the next room, but I waved her back.  “Do you think songs feed the hungry, or administer justice, or keep peace between kingdoms, or restore the ruins of the empire of the Roman?  Go sing your songs to the Saxons; I am sure they will pay great attention to your melodies sung in an unknown tongue.  Songs!  They are no remedy.  Glory is not a consolation.  It’s lost, don’t you understand?  It is all lost.  The Light has gone, and the Darkness covers Britain as closely as the air, and there is nothing left of what we once dreamed and suffered for.”

Kingdom of Summer Gillian Bradshaw

Hawk of May Gillian Bradshaw

The Fatal Crown Ellen Jones

eat pray love Elizabeth Gilbert

The Book of Negros Lawrence Hill

Beloved  Toni Morrison

“It was Stamp Paid who started it.  Twenty days after Sethe got to 124 he came by and looked at the baby he had tied up in his nephew’s jacket, looked at the mother he had handed a piece of fried eel to and, for some private reason of his own, went off with two buckets to a place near the river’s edge that only he knew about where blackberries grew, tasting so good and happy that to eat them was like being in church.  Just one of the berries and you felt anointed.”     pg 135-136

Prayers for a Privileged People  Walter Brueggemann

Cleopatra: a life  Stacy Schiff

God’s Secretaries  Adam Nicols

“…Latin and Greek were the medium for Renaissance scholarship, for precision of thought.  English was simply the target, the destination, not the language in which questions of precise meaning were naturally addressed.  The English sentences prepared for others, the non-educated, who had no access to the essence of the text which these, scholars, like Bois, had been drinking in for decades.  The English, in other words, was itself subservient to the original Greek.

That linguistic hierarchy is also one of the sources of the King James style.  This English is there to serve the original not replace it.  It speaks the master’s voice and is not the English you would have heard on the street, then or ever. … It was, in other words, more important to make English godly than to make the words of God into the sort of prose that any Englishmen would have written …”

When God is Silent     Barbara Brown Taylor

The 2003 CBC Massey Lectures, The Truth about Stories: A Native Narrative    Thomas King

The Autobiography of Henry VIII – Margaret George

The Pastor   Eugene Peterson

“Until now, I and all the people I associated with had treated the Bible as something to be ‘used’ — used as a textbook with information about God, used as a handbook to lead people to salvation, used as a weapon to defeat the devil and all his angels, used as an antidepressant.  Now, incrementally week by week, semester by semester, my reading of the Bible was becoming a conversation.  I was no longer reading words — I was listening to voices.  I was observing how these words worked in association with all the other words on the page.  And I was learning to listen carefully to these voices, these writers who were, well, ‘writers’.  Skilled writers, poets, and storytellers who were artists of language.  Isaiah and David were poets.  Matthew and Luke were masters in the art of narrative.  Words were not just words; words were holy.”

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