I wish Jesus had left a book–not necessarily one he himself had written, though that would be treasure indeed, but a book he liked and read over and again. Can you imagine finding that book or being able to see it through some plexiglass exhibit at the Library of Congress and with your own hands or eyes, seeing the dog-eared page of something he’d read? Of course without this, we know he was well-read in the prophets. Still, just a page with a scribble in the margin that might give us some clue…
All revelation is like this. Revealed truth is a dog-eared page and it might be the book of nature or a novelist or a scripture text or a song. Oh, yes, there is a canon of scripture, what the Orthodox and our predecessors have passed onto us as being in the bible and worthy of our time and more than that, necessary for our time and attention. But even so, revelation is all fragment and tassel, ribbons and threads of knowledge that stand out from the larger garment of background knowledge and we wear this revelation at time like a prayer shawl. A dog-eared page in a book is a place someone felt compelled to memorialize and remember. It is not unlike the red print New Testaments and once you have put some print in red (Jesus’ words) then you have acknowledged that not all that is in that book is of equal weight. Anyway, this gets me somewhat adrift…
I just finished two novels over two weeks in our vacation at a beach in the Caribbean. I plan to read at least three other books this summer for no other reason than the sheer joy of reading and because for some reason, the summer offers a path off the main drag away from the flea-bitten knowledge of the political candidates, the spin masters, the voracious salacious media hordes. Why not join in worship this Sunday. We dog-ear that day each week to remind us how we got here, who we are and where we’re going. ~See you Sunday
Ah, summer. Many of us not only look to summer as a break from the ordinary, rutted routines of the other seasons, but as a way to break away from our ordinary reading habits. Hence, we look around for best sellers and very often books we would not ordinarily have the chance to read. We ask folks not only where they might be headed for vacation, but we ask, what are you reading?
Thanks for asking! I finished recently reading July 1914 since this August marks the 100th anniversary of World War I. Very informative read. I also just finished Lawerence Wright’s, Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood & The Prison of Belief. Very informative but not as great as his The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda And The Road To 9/11. Currently I am in midway in I am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up For EducationAnd Was Shot By The Taliban. She is such an inspiration! I just began Jennifer Michael Hecht’s Stay: A History of Suicide and the Philosophies Against It. This is a stirring contribution to encouraging persons to not go through with suicide without making it a religious argument. And of course, I read Dan Brown’s Inferno for our Book Club and also we’ll be discussing this coming Sunday Annie Dillard’s, Holy the Firm.
You may not want to plow through several books and perhaps prefer a good read but not something that overwhelms you by page count or topic. May I suggest something to you? What if you could read a brief essay in less than half an hour that kindles your mind and lifts your spirit? What if you could do that and enjoy pondering contemporary issues, significant spiritual themes and do that simply over a brunch, a breakfast or at seaside? Sounds good doesn’t it? I want to suggest that you read a book of sermons this summer. Yes, sermons. Peter Gomes, formerly chaplain of Harvard University Chapel, has a collection entitled, Sermons: Biblical Wisdom For Daily Living. He writes cogent, penetrating essays/sermons that will boost your spiritual IQ. Or try Frederick Buechner‘s, Secrets in the Dark: A Life in Sermons. Buechner is a novelist and a very thoughtful Christian preacher whose sermons read like short stories. Wonderful prose to beguile you while ambushing you with truth. Finally, consider your pastor. I have three books of sermons that you can find on Amazon ( “Dr. Bledsoe’s Books.” ) Or if you have an iPad and prefer a novel, you can download my Rooster’s Table: A Multicultural Apocalypse at the iTunes and iBooks store. After all, how much easier can it be to talk with both your pastor and the author at the same time?
Happy reading. Happy Summer. May the light of this season of sun translate into an enlightened mind! See you Sunday~