Tag Archives: reading

Third Sunday of Advent Meditation 12/12/2010

church in winter -click for source-


(from the online Book of Common Prayer)

Third Sunday of Advent

Stir up thy power, O Lord, and with great might come
among us; and, because we are sorely hindered by our sins,
let thy bountiful grace and mercy speedily help and deliver
us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with thee and
the Holy Ghost, be honor and glory, world without end.

160    Collect:  Traditional

O God, who hast caused this holy night to shine with the
illumination of the true Light: Grant us, we beseech thee,
that as we have known the mystery of that Light upon earth,
so may we also perfectly enjoy him in heaven; where with
thee and the Holy Spirit he liveth and reigneth, one God, in
glory everlasting. Amen.

Do you have any reflections for this Sunday?

5 Reasons I Don’t Read (Christian) Chick Books

Data on this blog reports that married men, ages 25-35, with children are the biggest frequenters of this blog. I’m really flattered.

It’s a throwback to being picked by the neighbor boys to be quarterback for both teams during the zenith of my football prowess, ages 9-11. I guess they just trusted my skills. (Or, maybe I was bad at tackling.)

It seems I don’t write like a chick. A Lady. Or what have you.

BUT! I KNOW I don’t seem to read like one.

Case in Point:

I’d love to be involved with the women’s book club at my church. I love books and the discussions that ensue. I put one together for Blue Like Jazz. 3 people came, including me. One of them was a friend I drove to it, because I begged her to come at the last minute. She hadn’t even read the book.

The truth is, in general, I like the richness of mixed gender book clubs, and I like to hear various perspectives (unless it devolves into gender battles and insults, like Sunday School this past week. ACK! The men were PENT UP. Arrows were flying!) Plus, I think, this gender war stuff gets old, fast. Hello, John and Stasi Eldridge, can you hear me? Um. You’re causing infighting. It’s the truth.)

But for the exception of the wonderful Brother Lawrence’s Practicing the Presence of God, that came up at book club, it’s been just a slew of girly books. I just cannot stop my gag reflex long enough to muddle through something Pioneer or Amish related. I can’t stomach “historical fiction/dreamy (and yet Christian-safe–in-all-the-right-spots) romance–with–a–God-twist”. This dominates our book club. Completely.

Thanks to a reader’s helpful link, you’ll find a really fascinating rendering of this issue here (Newsweek article).

(Bear in mind that my area can’t support a Walden’s Book store in the mall (which shut down a number of years ago) let alone something mainstream like a Boarders. Something like that is 31 miles away. And a cozy and bookish sole proprietorship? HAA! NEVER. So, it could be the situation that I’m just a fish out of water around here.)

So, in a measure of self-soothing, I’ve come up with a quick list-

5 Reasons I Don’t Read (Christian) Chick Books

1. I don’t care about reading gooey, implausible stories about the Amish. I live near the Amish. You know what? They aren’t that interesting.(Basically, they just dress weirdly, frequent “dent and scratch” bargain grocery stores, and have gaggles of children.)

2. I like history, and I like (good) fiction. But, it always seems like the category so-called “Women’s Christian Historical Fiction” is just a mash up that’s two levels closer to crap than anything else.

I feel insulted by everything from the predictable plot-lines, to the saccharine Christian-evangelism tactics that snake through like, well, “like a string of pearls snaking between ample bosoms”.

3. Since I’m not a big fan of the macho man/Christian book market, I can’t start getting aligned to closely with mushy, girly books. It’ll trash my street cred. (Guilt by association, obviously.)

4. If it makes a guy wince to see a chick book, it makes me wince. I just don’t like feeling I should defend my gender for enjoying overly sentimental tripe, that often sacrifices intellectual integrity for dramatic episodes that involve a high- stakes rescue, or a whore-come-home riff. Call me silly.

5. These books all seem to severely lack in the sense of humor department. This. is. not. okay. This is perhaps the biggest reason I just can’t do it. I need more. I want to be challenged. I want to laugh and cry, but not because “his heart has been too scarred to let her love in, despite their undeniable attraction…but he unknowingly gave himself a milk mustache on his curvaceous and stubbly upper lip, and her heart skipped a beat.” (You get the idea.)

If you are a fan of these books (or a writer of them, or an agent of them (like Chip MacGregor, my agent)), I apologize for being so brash. I’m not trying to be a guy about it.

It’s just my opinion that these books are for women what the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show holiday tv special is for men. They offer something superficial, that aims to scratch an itch, but ends up inflaming the whole thing. Less, not more, is the remedy, but no one wants to give it up.

victoria's secret fashion show 2010

Image by cattias.photos via Flickr

I realize writing this will mean I’ll never get a Christmas card from:

For a long list of these books, click here. If you start to feel ill, even at the sheer multitude, I wanna hear from you.

Here’s the surprise ending:
If any of these authors will have me over for dinner, and try to change my mind, I will indulge that. (In stereotypical male form, you may get to me through my stomach. And that’s a chance I’m willing to take, especially if there is PA German Apple crumb pie involved.)

What do you think about this genre?
Are you a woman who gets embarrassed by what’s available in the “Women’s genre”?

Ladies, if you like these books, have your say.

And guys, what’s your take on any of this? (If you were given $20, would you read a “bonnet ripper” and contribute at a book discussion? Or would you just break out in hives?)

Life As Prayer Learning Group-coming in Oct. (INTERESTED?)






learning exchange invitation to YOU!

learning exchange invitation to YOU!

(The guy on the street corner who sold me this photo said it was a picture of an actual piece of knowledge coming down from “on high”. Apparently, it’s never been captured on film before. He either said that, or he took this when he was high, and he’s never been captured on film before. I’m not completely sure. He also owned a bridge, which I thought was PRETTY FLIPPIN’ COOL, but I could only afford this photo.)






This post is an announcement to introduce a learning group I will launch in October. It’s experimental, since I haven’t tried an online version before, but I hope this first group of us can test the waters for more types of group learning online.

What is it: A group of 10 of us, (max. or at a time) will all read the same material, and have a few reflection questions given out beforehand which go along with the reading. Then we will meet-up (online, perhaps using Skype, which is free-check it out) to discuss some of our insights and responses.

I will also send along related materials for your use, enjoyment, and implementation on a manageable “project,” that you come up with. It will bring the topics at hand into focus and application in a real way. This will help you, on a personal level, and be applicable in community, as well. This is the part that can really incite growth. It’s where the kind of “book club” feel to it, emerges forward into something vivacious and real–

even life-changing.

Then, a week or two later, our small group will meet-up one more time (online) to discuss our unique uses of our learning, and share our insights. We’ll exchange our ideas, lessons learn, and also brief project summaries in file form, so later it may be possible, (if we choose) to incorporate new practices into our lives out of our new learning experiences–

applications others have thought of, and already applied.

When is it: Some time in October. I will try to pick a good time so as many of us as possible will be able to interact in real time, at least twice. Probably in the evening, and perhaps on a weekend, in mid or late October for 1- 2 hours each time. (For this, I would like lots of feedback to hear what may work best. International learning gets be tricky with all the various time zones!) The rest of the time, learners will be reading, reflecting, or relating to God, self, and others at times that work best for them. There will be a place online (possibly a closed group on Facebook) where we can bounce ideas back and forth, learn, discuss reading items (not in real-time), share discoveries, etc.

Who is it: This learning group is for people who are committed to growing and searching for deeper intimacy and richer relationships with God, and others. They are curious, open-minded/optimistic, willing-to-learn and contribute, and want to apply insights from various sources including insights gained through prayer and the Holy Spirit. I will host and facilitate the group. To learn about me, click the “bio” tab, or go to my website.

What are the texts assigned: This has not been completely decided. There will be Biblical passages, and most likely, for this first learning group, the fairly brief text The Practice of the Presence of God: Conversations and Letters of Brother Lawrence. (The link above offers a free version, to print out oneself, but used copies sell for only a few dollars.) Some reading items will be sent directly to learners as PDFs, and other items could be added as I work out the specifics. Reading will be manageable, but will require a proper investment of time to be profitable for everyone involved. Expect to read 150-225 pages in total. Approx. 3-4 hrs

What the cost will be: 0$

(I always accept your generosity anytime with a cheerful, toothy grin. A link to help me is on the home page. Hopefully, learners will find the class will be worthy of a gift toward continuing this work, but one is not necessary.)

I’ll make more details available as I work out specifics. If there is a lot of interest, I’ll start a waiting list-after ten people ask to join in. But if something like what I am trying to describe appeals to you, in general, please let me know in a comment below.

ALSO- if you have suggestions for what may make this work better or more smoothly, please include that in your comment, or at any time!

This WILL be FUN!



Prayer / Sacred Reading

Lectio Divina means sacred reading, and it can be a wonderful way to involve Scripture to meditate and pray to our Creator. It is a worshipful time away with God that helps to build a time of close communion with the Divine. It isn’t a time of pouring a heap of requests at God’s feet, but it’s a time of respectful listening for God, waiting, and allowing God be made known.

A friend of mine from New Zealand describes this spiritual practice in simple terms. (click the link) I will add more posts about it myself, later. I thought many of you could benefit from his input. Enjoy a time of lectio divina with your maker soon.

And please get back to me (leaving a comment, or on the contact page) with what it was like for you (whether positive, negative, or neutral).