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Showing posts from August, 2014

My Review of "When We Were On Fire"

When We Were on Fire:  A Memoir of Consuming Faith, Tangled Love, and Starting Over by Addie Zierman is a memoir I needed to read. 

Her story starts in Tenth Grade.  Her mom drops her off at the flagpole for "See You At the Pole," a phenomenon experienced by many of us who grew up evangelical in the nineties.  Once a year, Christian teenagers were challenged to meet at the flagpole before school, pray for their fellow classmates, and risk their high school status for the sake of Christ.  As her mom drives away, Addie is left alone, in the rain, wondering why no one is there to pray with her.  Her mind drifts from one realization to another.  Pride -- she's the only Christian student who bothered to show up in the rain and pray for her school.  Isolation -- her lonely stand also leaves her insecure about her place.

It's that drift from one realization to another that sets the tone for this excellent memoir.  Part life story, part spiritual narrative for those of …

My Review of "Good God, Lousy World and Me"

I have worked with troubled teens from broken homes, teens whose lives are themselves more broken than any thirteen year old girl should endure.  I have worked with adults in residential facilities, who developmental disabilities have broken my heart.  I now work with adults with autism.  My work has taught me to grieve at the world's brokenness.  These are jobs you shut off when you clock out.  That kind of brokenness sticks with you. 
So in reading Holly Burkhalter's Good God, Lousy World, and Me:  The Improbable Journey of a Human Rights Actuvist from Unbelief to Faith, I found a kindred spirit. 
I cried -- tears of joy.  But also tears of pain. 
This book is her honest journey from unfaith to faith.  And rather than glossing happy and pious, Burkhalter writes with all the honesty that is at the heart of following Jesus. 
There is darkness and evil in the world.  She's seen it.  And her accounting of all that pain gripped my soul.  There's so much of it in the world.  S…

My Review of "Strangers at My Door"

This book was difficult to read.  Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove and his wife, Leah, are the founders of Rutba House in a small section of Durham, NC, called Walltown. Walltown is a predominately African-American community.  Rutba House is a Christian communal house that takes in homeless men and women so that they can land safely and try to take control of their lives.  
Strangers at My Door:  True Stories of Finding Jesus in Unexpected Guests is an account of all those folks.  
And that's where this book was difficult for me.  It's a challenge to all I've thought about homelessness, poverty, and prison. 
It's also a challenge to think about and practice a radical Christian hospitality.  A hospitality that moves beyond supporting our local food pantry, and, instead, making a place at our table. 
My husband is a minister.  So you'd think this wide-open, mind-blowing love that looks a lot like the Jesus of the Gospels is at the how we keep our home.  Jesus cared for murderer…

My Review of "A Life Apart"

I was pleasantly surprised with this novel.  
Set against the tumultuous backdrop that is World War II, Marlow introduces us to Sullivan.  He's a nice guy.  He's also a rather bland guy.  And he's put in the nearly impossible situation in the early 40s:  His girlfriend, Agnes, becomes pregnant. 
So they marry. 
Sullivan, being that nice guy, is determined to provide a good life for his wife and daughter.  He's also determined to live his dream.  So he joins the US Navy.  His first post:  Pearl Harbor. 
Leaving his family behind in Boston, Sullivan sets off on a journey that'll land him not only in the midst of war, but on a quest of gratitude.  
He's wounded in the attack on Pearl Harbor, but saved by a fellow seaman.  When he searches out this savior, he discovers he's been part of the attack's carnage.  Sullivan discovers the man has a sister in college back in Boston, and decides since he cannot thank the man himself, he will find the sister and let her k…