It’s been a crazy few weeks in the household and life of That Darn Kat.
Got my name in the paper, which is always good, when it’s not your obituary.
Plus, the holiday season is upon us, which means what little free time I had has been swallowed whole by the hulking behemoth that is Christmas. Between company Christmas parties, family get-togethers, social-circle parties, Christmas shopping, cooking, “biddy ball” practice and games, small group Bible studies, and being “marriage mentored” at church, there hasn’t been a lot of time left over for blogging.
I think that’s a good thing. It’s good when you’re too busy living your life, at least for a while, to blog about it. I think it’s troubling when you find yourself in the middle of real life, thinking about the moment from the perspective of its blog-worthiness. (Which is not to say I haven’t done that. I totally have.)
But it’s also important to slow down, reflect, savor life a second time. As long as keeping this blog is primarily about those things, and about sharing my “notes from a transformed life in progress,” I’ll keep doing it. I think those notes can be helpful to other people, even if their journey through life looks radically different from mine.
On that note, I’m going to be dropping the Google ads from the sidebar. I’ve paid attention to what’s being presented there, and frankly, I haven’t seen anything that I think my readers would honestly be interested in clicking. If it doesn’t ad value to you guys, it goes away. (No offense, Google. You’re still my second-favorite search engine.)
Anyway, going to be adding a couple of books to the Amazon store, however, because in addition to my life being a social whirl for the last three weeks, I’ve been a busy little reader.
My favorite of the two or three books I’ve read in the last couple of weeks is definitely The Rest of God by Mark Buchanan. It’s about the spiritual practice of keeping the Sabbath, but really, by implication it’s about SO much more. It’s about your work and vocation. It’s about your relationships. It’s mostly about your relationship to God.
There are lots of books out about “Christian time management” out there that reference “bringing back the Sabbath.” But they treat it as an aside; one of a bunch of bullet-point to-dos to get your life “Biblically managed.” And usually, the writing is dry and flavorless as unbuttered toast.
That’s not the case with this book. The prose is rich and textured and poetic. It communicates truth the way Jesus did–with vivid images harvested from real life. Not just a valuable, truth-drenched book, but an enjoyable read. Two thumbs and a big toe up. Lots of books could include the statement “either God is good and in control, and you can rest, or it all depends on you” and come across as condemning people. In Buchanan’s book, that statement comes across as permission–permission to rest, to stop the relentless busyness, and reflect on what God is doing without your “help.”
I’m about halfway through a couple of other books that I’ll probably review here. Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas is one of them. It’s very different from any other marriage book I’ve ever read–and very similar to the marriage mentoring we’re receiving at church. Rather than coming at it from the perspective of “what can we do to make ourselves happier in this marriage” it approaches things from the perspective of “how is God shaping your souls in and through this marriage?” Neat stuff, but as with the Buchanan book, much more reflective and deep than your typical “Six Ways to Have a Happier Marriage” approach. Both of these books are less about “fixing” yourself than they are about observing, with gratitude, what’s going on that is completely outside your control. Recognizing and attending to the patterns and messages in the ways your life is unfolding, and responding to those patterns.
Grace is an awkward thing, isn’t it? We are such busy, fixing-fixated little creatures. We want checklists and to-dos, so we can know if we’re okay or not. Grace says we’re okay, whether we are sticking with our checklists or not. Grace and legalism can’t co-exist. And we’re so devoted to our various forms of legalism.
But that’s probably a whole other post.