June 6, 2008

Friday Five Glimpses

I put a new list in the margin, books I've been ~Reading~.
Here are five glimpses, five excerpts that struck me for one reason or another.



Old Friend from Far Away by Natalie Goldberg

The things that make you a functional citizen in society - manners, discretion,
cordiality - don't necessarily make you a good writer. Writing needs raw truth,
wants your suffering and darkness on the table, revels in a cutting mind that
takes no prisoners, wants to hear about an abortion, a broken heart, a failed
job, a lost opportunity.

How much exposure, how much truth are you comfortable divulging in your memoir? Understand clear writing demands you to go beyond your usual threshold. There is no judgment. It's up to you.

What are you not willing to reveal?

Ephesians by J. Vernon McGee

Paul takes these two words [grace and peace] which were the common greeting
of the day and gives both of them a wonderful meaning and lifts them to the
heights. The grace of God is the means by which He saves us. You must
know the grace of God before you can experience the peace of God. Paul
always puts them in that order - grace before peace. You must have grace
before you can experience peace. "Therefore being justified by faith, we
have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Rom. 5:1).

You see the word peace everywhere today. Generally it refers to peace
in some section of the world, or world peace. But the world can never know
peace until it knows the grace of God. The interesting thing is, you don't
see the word grace around very much. You see the word love and the word
peace. They are very familiar words, and they are supposed to be taken
from the Bible, but often they don't mean what they mean in the Word of
God. Peace is peace with God because our sins are forgiven. Our sins can never be forgiven until we know something of the grace of God.

Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende

The women were about the same age, but while the English lady looked young,the other was worn down by poverty, consumption, and the dismal task of embroidering bridal gowns by candlelight. Bad luck had not diminished her dignity and she had brought up her son with inviolable principles of honor. Jouquin had learned at a very early age to hold his head high, defying any glimmer of mockery or pity.

"One day I will take my mother out of that shack she lives in," Joaquin vowed during their whispered conversations in the shrine. "I will give her a decent life, like the one she had before she lost everything."

"She didn't lose everything. She has a son," Eliza replied.

"I was her misfortune."

"Her misfortune was to fall in love with a bad man. You are her redemption," she declared.

The Art Spirit by Robert Henri

All things change according to the state we are in. Nothing is fixed. I lived once in the top of a house, in a little room, in Paris. I was a student. My place was a romance. It was a mansard room and it had a small square window that looked out over housetops, pink chimney pots. I could see l'Institut, the Pantheon and the Tour Saint Jacques. The tiles of the floor were red and some of them were broken and got out of place. There was a little stove, a wash basin, a pitcher, piles of my studies. Some hung on the wall, others accumulated dust on their backs. My bed was a cot. It was a wonderful place. I cooked two meals and ate dinner outside. I used to keep the camembert out of the window on the mansard roof between meals, and I made fine coffee, and made much of eggs and macaroni. I studied and thought, made compositions, wrote letters home full of hope of some day being an artist.

It was wonderful. But days came when hopes looked black and my art
student's paradise was turned into a dirty little room with broken tiles, ashes
fell from the stove, it was all hopelessly poor, I was tired of camembert and
eggs and macaroni, and there wasn't a shade of significance in those delicate
little chimney pots, or the Pantheon, the Institut, or even the Tour Saint
Jacques.

Monk Habits for Everyday People by Dennis Okholm

I live near the southern California beaches, and occasionally we see or hear about rescues of those who have been swept out by a riptide. Lifeguards promptly assess the situation and rush out to save the person who is struggling futilely against the stubborn current. In order to be saved, the swimmer must stop fighting the current and the lifeguard and give in. The problem is that by the time the two get back to the curious crowd on the beach, the lifeguard - the one who can save himself and another - is lauded and the rescued is written off as a fool for ignoring the warning signs of a rip current or for being a weakling. It's humiliating to be saved, because it requires that I acknowledge my enslavement to narcissism and the riptide pull of tendencies that I prefer not to admit - even to myself. But if I persist in believing the inflated percentage of my self-approval rating, then I will never admit that I really need God.

1 comment:

Paul Nichols said...

I can cautiously recommend "The Shack" by Wm. P. Young. It's somewhat new and somewhat controversial. Available at most Christian Bookstores--and amazon dot com. It's fiction. I read it at the enthusiastic recommendation of our pastor.

I still say "cautiously."