Leaves from the Codex ...
Here it is a Tuesday evening. I had some hot wings for dinner and put off coming "home" as long as possible. Most evenings I am by myself these days and I do not do "alone" very well. When God said it was "not good for man to be alone" there are actually some mss that read "it is not good for Bobby to be alone!" ;-) But here I am. In the evenings I cannot watch TV so I read. I have been preparing for my Pepperdine Lectures and have just been reading. My interests tend to be fairly wide anyway but here are some titles that may be of interest to some of my readers that I have plunged into over the last two months that have nothing to do with my Pepperdine topic ... Jerry Rushford will be worried.
First and foremost I have revisited the wise sage Dr. Seuss. I bought Horton Hears A Who! (Party Edition) before seeing the movie. I read this book with my girls and we laughed and giggled. It is also productive of thought. It remains a great classic.
Baseball season is upon us and my friend Jerry gave me a copy of the 2008 Milwaukee Brewers Media Guide. One of the most delightful books I have read in a long time is Wayne Curtis' And a Bottle of Rum: A History of the New World in Ten Cocktails. I bought this book in the airport on the way to Philadelphia and had half read on the way there and finished it on the way back. Curtis not only loves rum but shows some delightfully interesting ways in which rum has actually played a "pivotal" role in the development of western culture ... including the American Revolution. For a good read I do recommend it.
I have been reading some books on divorce recovery as well. Suzy Brown, who has commented on this blog, has been an inspiration to me. Her book Radical Recovery: Transforming the Despair of Your Divorce Into an Unexpected Good had blessed me. I have not found the "unexpected good" yet but her book is so practical and so grounded in life. Her "Survival Six" back in December were the things that probably saved my life. I have talked with Suzy on the phone and fully hope to meet her at Pepperdine. The book has some gut wrenching poems at the back ... for those experiencing divorce or those who want to authentically minister to those in divorce this is a primary text. Thank you Suzy for your grace!! I have also worked my way through Dana Hood's I Will Change Your Name: Messages From the Father to a Heart Broken by Divorce. This book is a series of devotions for those going through divorce. I have been blessed by it. I bought both of these books at the ACU Press booth last year at the ACU lectures. Both sat on my desk for months waiting for me to read. On December 16 they became a priority. I have read Suzy's book 5x ... I almost have it memorized. She is wise ... when I read her I say she knows what she is talking about because she has mapped out my feelings almost to a T.
One of my Shepherd's loaned me a book edited by Elias Kopciowski titled Praying With the Jewish Tradition. I have prayed my way through this book and I have been enriched. In my time of crises it has been easy to slip into the "pray only about my crises" mode (and I have done that on MANY occasions!) but this book has helped me with a much more balanced prayer life at this point of my journey.
I picked up James A. Connor's Kepler's Witch: An Astronomer's Discovery of Cosmic Order Amid Religious War, Political Intrigue, and the Heresy Trial of His Mother at Bookman's when I took Rachael and Talya to this used bookstore. It is a fascinating look into the world of 17th century Europe and a generally overlooked giant of science and faith ... Johannes Kepler. Connor weaves a brilliant narrative with all the things mentioned in the title. This book is of interest to those who love religion, science or pop culture ... I actually forgot the book had footnotes!!! It has been a good companion on several nights.
I just finished Thomas Cahill's Mysteries of the Middle Ages, And the Beginnings of the Modern World. I have thoroughly enjoyed Cahill's previous titles in his Hinges of History series, all of which have made it onto the best seller list. His How the Irish Saved Civilization won a fan in me. Cahill is not afraid to celebrate how faith has shaped western culture and he continues that in this volume. You certainly do not have to know anything about the middle ages to be enriched by this book ... a cup of java will do just fine. Lavishly illustrated for those who have to have pix and very well written ... he just might convince you that the "dark ages" are of critical importance to our lives today. Imagine that!
I have been rereading through the Apocryha over the last few weeks too. Don't know why but I have. I have made it back through Tobit, Judith, 1, 2, 3 and I am currently reading 4 Maccabees. I will come back to Sirach and the others shortly.
Over the last few days I have also reread my good friend John Mark Hicks book Yet Will I Trust Him: Understanding God in a Suffering World. There is not a person on the planet I respect more than John Mark. I have been in his classroom, stayed in his home, been with him as he buried a son and watched him as he went through a divorce on top of that. This book is not theory for the author. I have read this book before and thought it was brilliant and persuasive. Now I read the book with a completely different goal in mind ... I want to learn to trust God as he has. Being in the "circle of lamenters" has forever altered my view on many things.
And finally I have devoured the Psalms (in several different translations (The Hebrew-English Psalter, Robert Alter's The Book of Psalms, Peterson's Psalms - The Message, NRSV) I have read the Psalms regularly for years but now I live in the world of the Psalms. I set my alarm, and if I am not awake already, I get up at 4 am for Matins, come back to the Psalms for Lauds at 5 and Prime at 6 ... I visit them for Terce and Sext, None, Vespers and Compline. I cannot explain how this rhythm has helped me. I can either focus on my situation or pray the Psalms and sing Te Deum ... I have chosen the latter. I know God is there even when I do not get a word in response from him.
Well there you have it ... a few leaves from the codex. All these books are worthwhile in some respect. Perhaps you will find a title that intrigues you and you will take it up and let it bless you in some fashion. I am working on "gettin' a life ..." ;-) Make sure you watch the Weird Al
White & Nerdy" video in My Videos to the right ... it explains a lot!!