This Week’s Reads

Because of always having several books on the go simultaneously, I finished 3 this week and they’re phenomenal enough to recommend them here.

The Dean’s Watch by Elisabeth Goudge is stuffy and passionate and achingly beautiful. I’d read it a long time ago, and it felt especially fitting to be re-reading it this week, since its setting is Advent. The characters are vivid and alive, even if sad and scruffy. They’re real. I’ve heard that it’s to be an allegory, but I haven’t seen through it all yet. There’s something in this quote though, that means more than the words say:

“It does not matter, Job,” said the Dean at last.  “I mean it does not matter that the clock was broken. What matters is that the clock was made.”

For years, I shied away from Henri Nouwen’s The Wounded Healer because I thought it was too deep and wordy. But when I actually opened it I found it very readable and accessible. The depth and wisdom was amazing. The thoughtfulness and careful words are to be read slowly and digested. He talks alot about loneliness and how it’s not something to run away from, but can become a source of life for others.

This is the announcement of the wounded healer: ‘The master is coming–not tomorrow, but today, not next year, but this year, not after all our misery is passed, but in the middle of it, not in another place but right here where we are standing.’

This morning over coffee, I finished The Shack, the book that took the evangelical world by storm some years back. I’d read it before, after an operation when I was in a daze of painkillers, so not everything registered very well, but my impression then was the same as this time: that its message is valuable and powerful, but the writing style was very distracting. I wanted to mark out all the fluffy adverbs. Even so, I really like the picture of the fellowship and love among the Trinity, and the way they shower love and are ‘especially fond’ of people. The story was both convicting and comforting.

Mack, if anything matters then everything matters. Because you are important, everything changes; every time you reach out and touch a heart or a life, the world changes; with every kindness and service, seen or unseen, my purposes are accomplished and nothing will ever be the same again.

I never wanted an e-reader before, but today I do. Next week I plan to go to the US for 2 months. I’m teaching a Bible school class for girls for 3 wks, and have  no room to take any books for resources. Living with one checked-in bag for 2 months means only essentials go. In theory and in practice, I like travelling light. But I hate to be book-less. I don’t know yet how my ideal will match my practice.

Related post: Heavy Books

3 thoughts on “This Week’s Reads

  1. Buy an iPad. As much as you read, I doubt you would regret it. 🙂

    Another thing, be careful about “The Shack”. From the quotes I’ve heard out of it, it’s not only weird and dangerous, but blasphemous…

    • I’m sure you’re right about the iPad, and that I’d use it more than I think.=)
      About the book, I maintain that adults should be able to read with discernment just like they eat fish but don’t swallow the bones. Any book is going to have lines in it that, when selected without giving context, will sound ‘weird and dangerous’.

  2. Are you coming to Kansas during your 2 month sojourn? I’d love to see you! I’m jealous of those Bible school girls.:)

    Maybe you could borrow some books from someone here in the US. I feel lost, too, without a couple books within arm’s reach!

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