A book worth your time

There has been a LOT of reading in this time of coronavirus. I was glad to be able to get an advance copy of Marlena Graves’ new book The Way Up is Down.

In this section she talks about the need for confession in our lives to deal with our sin and dwell humbly before the Lord. She makes the case for the return of the sacrament of confession in the Protestant Church:

“But the sacrament of confession involves confessing our sins to a representative of Christ’s church and receiving absolution. Confession is this traditional sense is of paramount importance. There is something mysteriously transformative in hearing the words of absolution: ‘In the name of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven.'”

The Way Up Is Down: Becoming Yourself by Forgetting Yourself ...

A haunting read — Killers of the Flower Moon

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a moving book about the injustices done to the Osage tribe in Oklahoma in the 1920s. It is a fascinating story about the rise of the FBI and how they used the investigation of one part of this atrocity to further the image of J Edgar Hoover, but it is beyond that particular story. It is about a reporter doing research to realize hundreds of Osage people were murdered in one way or another in this time period because of oil and greed.

It’s a heartbreaking story that needs a wide read.

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The Ten Book Project

The time in which we live gives us far more accessibility to truly great writing. It also gives us access to truly bad writing as well.

Yesterday I was reflecting on life in the 1800s in the United States and thinking of how few books there were. Abraham Lincoln had limited access to books growing up, but he read deeply.

There are only a handful of books I’ve ever taken the time to read again.

So my thought for the next year is this: If I had my Bible and ten other books, what would those books be?

There are certainly others I want to read, and that might be another project for another year. (For instance, I have not read Mandela’s autobiography, but just purchased it. Not having read it, I wouldn’t put it on my top ten list yet.)

I have 6-7 books listed that I know off the top of my head I HAVE to have if I had to give up everything else. Now it’s fitting those last 3-4 in.

My new year resolution might be to ONLY read those 10 books again… and again… for the year and see if I can capture a little more depth.

If you had a “TOP TEN” book list, and you got the automatic for the Bible or your main religious text, what would be on that list?

Book Review — Ride On by Joseph Fehlen

This is a LONG overdue review of a book sent to me by friend Joseph, who, by the way, looks a LOT like Seth Rogen, which is extremely unfortunate. Joe is a MUCH better man to know.

Ride On is his journey into the world of motorcycles. Joe and his wife have a family, a church, and live in northern Wisconsin. Nothing about the guy screams, “MOTORCYCLE!”

When he was pastoring in Washington state he got the bug and they have learned a lot of life lessons since that time.

First of all, Joe is a good writer. This is a great read. I am not a motorcyclist (is that even what they are called?) nor do I aspire to be one after reading this book. (My wife will rejoice.) But this is an enjoyable read.

Joe takes life lessons from his motorcycle education. He sees the work of God in the lessons he learns from the rode and a whole set of new friends he probably dreamed he would never have.

The chapter I resonated with the most was talking about having too much stuff. With the motorcycle he has learned to pare it down. He has learned how to think about the journey and not just throw everything he thinks he might need in the back of the car. This is a challenge in my life as well. I have tried to answer that question in my own way by taking the bus more and riding my bike. (I’m still not getting a motorcycle.)

The biblical stories he weaves in are wonderful and fit right into his own storytelling.

This isn’t for motorcycle enthusiasts alone. Believe me. It is a great read.

Father’s Day is on us. Think about this book for the man in your life.

FULL DISCLOSURE: Joe is my friend and he gave me this book. I am not obligated to write a positive review on this book (and he probably thinks I didn’t like it since I took so long getting to this.)

The Funeral for Bookstores Has Long Passed

At my age, living in two worlds of digital and print, I lament one passing as I try and embrace another medium. There is an advantage to BOTH, but it’s a world that is not allowing “both” very well anymore.

My wife and I were traveling through Des Moines, Iowa yesterday so we stopped at a Christian bookstore that was a good one. We have a few here in the Cities, but I’m generally not a fan of them. This one was more independent and had a decent variety of books.

At least they DID have a wide variety. While they are still there, the shelves are incredibly sparse. It’s a struggle for them.

This morning, I see this post by Ben Witherington lamenting the passing of the bookstore as well.

I am using digital far more these days. I can carry so many more books around this way. But, I understand Witherington’s lament as well:

Disembodied books have the same problems as disembodied education in general. It doesn’t involve ethos, or real contact with actual other human beings in person. It doesn’t involve incarnational presence. It doesn’t involve a social dimension, say consulting your favorite owner of a book shop and building a friendship over the years. In short, it is a more gnostic approach to reading, learning, knowledge.

It’s the same with anything we’ve done online. Online shopping, banking, networking… we’ve really removed a social dimension and we truly are not better for it.

It doesn’t mean I’m going to go back to all print books. I have to shift and in the process try to add more meaning to what I am doing, and try to demand more of people in the process. It’s a tough road, but one we have to travel in this fast-changing world.