Sometimes we are closer to the truth in our vulnerability than in our safe certainties. -Rachel Held Evans, Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving & Finding the Church
For several pages, toward the beginning of the book, including the sentence I quoted above, Rachel describes millennial ways of speaking about the church. She even compares it, at one point, to a more Generation X (my generation) point of view, and shares how their point of view differ from each other & other traditional points of view. I found myself agreeing with everything she said in those pages.
The only difference for me is that I didn't grow up as jaded about being advertised to, as she said is true for millennials. And I can still easily be enchanted by a well-told story, so traditional ways of presenting info through storytelling work well for me.. Other than that, though, I was nodding my head the whole way through. And how wonderful that was.
I found it so refreshing to read his book & see some of my own thoughts reflected in her words. So I couldn't wait to read the rest of it. And it didn't disappoint.
During most months, I will only post about one faith book, but this month, I did two because I couldn't wait to share this second book.
Slow faith journal prompts for your morning quiet time...
(1) Have you ever left the church, and if so, what was your faith challenge at the time?
(2) If you are a millennial, how might you see the church differently from older generations? Do you think you struggle with doubts, as she did, more or less than other generations?
(3) How might you use storytelling to describe your own faith? How would you describe your faith, as it is now, in a 30-second ad?
See you next time!
P.S. Updated in May: I am heartbroken that Rachel Held Evans has passed away. Her books & blog posts were so relatable, I felt as if I knew her. She was a kindred spirit.
I have been sharing her books and I think I have two more to go. She inspired me to write and blog about faith even though I sometimes struggle with doubt. She made that okay. And she will be missed.
Intentional by Grace, in their reading challenge, chose a book from the New Testament as one of their challenge categories. She said that one of her goals was to encourage us to read the Bible as part of the challenge. I chose the book of Philippians...
One thing that stands out to me about Philippians is its tone. It's a warm, encouraging letter to Paul's dear friends from a church who befriended him and helped support his ministry. He seems to have heard about some conflict or difficulty there and is writing to help.
"Let your gentle spirit [your graciousness, unselfishness, mercy, tolerance, and patience] be known to all people. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything [every circumstance and situation] by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your [specific] requests known to God. 7 And the peace of God [that peace which reassures the heart, that peace] which transcends all understanding, [that peace which] stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus [is yours]." - Philippians 4
There are several messages in this passage from the Amplified Bible that are encouraging to me. Be good to each other and to everyone. God's with you, so pray about everything you need, and that way, you won't worry or struggle with anxiety so much. In fact, you'll feel a reassuring peace that will stand guard to protect your feelings.
He seems to be saying that having a relationship with God - and trusting Him to take care of you - can protect you from worry and anxiety. Talking everything over with Him will calm and reassure you.
This is a message I need to hear over and over again. I find it difficult to have that kind of trust. But I'm working on it.
What stands out most to you about this verse or passage?
See you next time!
P.S. If you'd like a good study guide for Philippians, to use during your morning quiet time or in your Bible study, this guide will help you really dive in...
You may pick up a new book seeking knowledge on a subject that fascinates you. Or you may feel like exploring an alternative world created by a novelist. When your reading also exercises your faith, fires your imagination, stirs your soul, and expands your circle of compassion, it becomes a sacred activity.
SPIRITUALITY AND PRACTICE
Making Reading Sacred
I think I will choose several reading challenges and book discussions to be a part of this year, to connect with others who love reading and share those books and thoughts with all of you here. Fingers crossed, I make it through the whole year in spite of health challenges, my homeschooling schedule and other life challenges.
(Update about halfway through: well, ... I haven't exactly participated, but I have been reading faith books.)
My deepest goal is to use what I read as part of a year-long goal to deepen my faith.
I'm on a slow faith journey, using books and my slow morning quiet time routine to dive into a deeper spiritual connection.
I think reading faith books can offer great wisdom for growing your faith, and in fact, the reading experiences I have had already are what inspired me to set this reading goal. Even if I end up going it alone, without the reading challenges, I will stick with the reading list.
I'll be reading these books as part of my cozy morning quiet time routine. Which means there will be tea. And slippers. :)
Here are just a few of the books on my reading list ...
Faith Unraveled by Rachel Held Evans
The Book of Philippians in the New Testament (study book is optional)
Lenten Meditations, by William A. Barry
It'll Be Okay: Finding God When Doubt Hides the Truth by Sheryl Giesbrecht Turner
Book Girl by Sarah Clarkson, a Christian author
Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving & Finding the Church, also bu Rachel Held Evans
I'd love it if you'd join me, so we can talk about the books here. But I hope to share the ideas the books contain, too, and you're invited to comment on those even if you haven't read the book.
My plan is to do one faith book post per month, but I have found so many books I'd like to read, there may be the occasional extra post.
"...it was only as I was exposed to this
new, vast realm of ideas and inspiration that I understood I had been
fed on crumbs of knowledge when there was a feast to be enjoyed."
Sally Clarkson, in Book Girl
I may also read some Jane Austen. Another challenge blog is featuring books by Jane Austen this year and there's another that suggests reading the book and then, watching the movie. I might do that, too, if I get around to it.
Are you doing any reading challenges this year?
See you next time!