Hello friends. It has been quite some time since I’ve sat down to write one of these posts. My apologies. Life has been busy. I moved to a new state and my family is moving to another new state. There are quite some adjustments being made. That said, I’m settling down into my new life of classes, dorm rooms, and a boyfriend that doesn’t live two thousand miles away (now he’s only like 25 miles away so horray!!) It has been difficult – more than difficult actually to move and say goodbye for good to my childhood home. But it has been sweet, so very sweet. The Lord has slowly been removing the veil on my eyes that prevented me from seeing his love in the gifts he’s given me and there is nothing more beautiful than that.
Boy oh boy do I have quite the list. I can’t promise to review all of these but I’ll do my best to give some one sentence summaries. My gap year program focuses on apologetics and philosophy – so basically all we do is read and write. Finding time for fiction has been quite the struggle.
What’s So Great About the Doctrines of Grace? – Calvinism is a bad word to many people. I was somewhat afraid to type it here. That said, now having a thorough understanding of the TULIP doctrines I encourage everyone to read this little book. Calvinism is not about God dragging people to heaven against their will or condemning people without giving them a chance. I understand the beauty of grace so much better after reading this.
The Mystery of Marriage – Speaking of understand beauty better, this book truly helped me to understand the beauty of human relationships more. Being unmarried and unengaged, this may seem like a strange choice of book. But, loving another human being and desiring to know how to love them better in the end, and in all of that desiring to understand how this brings me closer to Christ, perhaps it’s not so strange a choice after all. Few books have reminded me just how deep the love of Christ truly is. Few books have reminded me so poetically (besides, perhaps, A Severe Mercy) how the deepest love in this life is but a glorious shadow of an even more glorious Love. So go find a copy of this book, whether in love, married, or neither.
A World of Difference – This was for my gap year program on worldview and my oh my was it a heady read. I tend to gravitate toward weighty books but this one was a bit of a struggle in parts. I did thoroughly enjoy it though.
I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist – Also quite a heady read (I ended up skimming a bit…) but a valuable resource.
A Welcome Shore – I was excited to read this as I too write many prose/poems. However, I did not enjoy it as much as I thought… not really sure why.
War and Peace – Forever and always my favorite book. I found myself more distracted this time around but I learned to appreciate the more drab bits as well as the most beautiful parts. Tolstoy is a genius.
Engaging God’s World – The first chapter on longing was my favorite, however the rest of the book did a wonderful job exploring just how the narrative of the Gospel is stamped on humanity.
Sacred Rhythms – Simply sitting in the presence of God is not something I have thought of often. No need for worries, no rush to read through a reading plan, just marinating on the fact that he is with me. This book – while I had a few mild disagreements with the author – really encouraged me to start regularly practicing silence and the Sabbath (among other things).
The Good Life – Friends, I try not to be judgmental. I am aware that I have high standards for books. But I did not enjoy this. It felt like a rather shallow look at understanding happiness. Something in it was lacking and I’m still trying to put a finger on it – the lack most definitely is in the explanation of the Beatitudes. Also – joy and happiness (happiness in the modern sense of the word) are not the same thing and should not be used interchangeably.
East of Eden – THIS BOOK. Why have I not read more Steinbeck? Not only did he make me miss California, but more importantly he made me think so much more deeply about cycles of sin and individual choice. The use of the story of Cain and Abel was brilliant. The heart of the book reminded me of this verse: “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil.” Deuteronomy 30:15 (I smell a full length book review on the way…)
The Cure – Not my favorite but for sure very thought provoking and a deeper look at identity/struggles in faith than most books. Hits on key issues of understanding grace – which for soul needs.
The Secret Garden – This was my just before bed read for about a week and it’s most definitely a sweet way to end the day. However, I found it somewhat boring and did not finish it this go around.
The Four Loves – I’ve been pondering lately about how the act of loving another person points to God. This book was perfect for that and also challenged some of my romanticized views of life. Definitely will be rereading.
The Tree of Life – As beautiful as always. Watching this with a friend who has a sensitive heart towards beauty remains a very sweet memory. You know one is a kindred spirit when The Tree of Life brings them to tears.
Harry Potter – Growing up I wasn’t allowed to read Harry Potter for various reasons that most could probably guess. So for most of my life I’ve carried the impression that the whole series is the devil’s work. (Silly, I know.) However, my boyfriend made the point that I couldn’t judge the story without knowing it, so we spent a month or so watching Harry, Ron, and Hermonie after church. Quite honestly I loved them. (Guys, the Gospel imagery is all over the place. So. neat.) Now I’m reading the books.
Lincoln – I was impressed with the way this movie intertwined the political and moral dilemmas of this time. Daniel Day Lewis did an excellent job as Lincoln (he looks eerily like him). Perhaps Lincoln is a somewhat glorified view of the man – however, he did do very much good for our country and this was an insightful look at his character.
Downton Abbey – I’ve never been much of a TV person yet here I am on season 2 of Downton. It’s mostly drama, gossip, and love triangles but I’m entertained and the dresses are beautiful. Also, Matthew is a teddy bear. That’s all I have to say.
That’s all for this post folks. Tell me about what you’re reading and watching!!