Readings

The Bookshelf Lately

A few months ago I drove to Clemson to go to a Needtobreathe concert (which was amazing) and hangout with Amber. Amber worked at Clemson, recently became a Christian, really lives to give to others, and loves Shane Claiborn.  She had just heard Shane speak in Atlanta and was so jazzed about it that I stayed up after the concert to read her copy of his book Follow Me to Freedom.  Only got through p. 97, but I need to get my hands on another copy to finish it!  John Perkins coauthored the book whose title comes from Galatians 5:13-14: “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”

I love the authors’ perspective on servant leadership: “Too often well-intentioned leaders are quick to stand up to be a voice FOR the voiceless rather than being a voice WITH the voiceless.  We assume that because people’s voices are not being heard, they’re not speaking.  And the truth often is that people on the margins are weeping, wailing and crying out from the depths of their souls, but the rest of the world has hands over their ears.  Leaders are folks who can help remove the earplugs and the blinders so that we all can hear and see and feel the pain of others; so that the ache touches us and we cannot help but begin to carry the burdens and wipe the tears away.”

They also touch on good leaders being fearless because they have nothing left to lose, the Gospel being full of interruptions, leading through writing, helping others reclaim their identity, and how “ultimately we can do more together than we can on our own–sometimes its harder to be part of a community than it is to just be a lone ranger or vigilante”. Tim Keller’s wisdom consistently blows my mind.  King’s Cross basically goes through the gospel of Mark.  My dear friend Elizabeth was going through this book with me before I left Columbia.  I’m just on chapter 10 now…..pretty sure this book can’t be summarized.  So much is underlined that I can’t even pick a quote.  I’m going to open the book and choose one randomly…..”If a unipersonal god had created the world and its inhabitants, such a god would not in his essence be love.  Power and greatness possibly, but not love.  But if from all eternity, without end and without beginning, ultimate reality is a community of persons knowing and loving one another, then ultimate reality is about love relationships.”  This dude (JFK’s brother-in-law) started the Peace Corps and the Special Olympics. There’s a lot to learn here. One thing I liked about Sargent Shriver was his ability to make quick decisions and delegate.  I hate meetings and hashing things out over and over–I just like to do.  So learning about a man who made such a huge, positive impact on the world by leading in an ever-shifting, never-pausing environment was cool.

The GRE wasn’t as miserable as expected.  If you’re taking it, don’t buy any study books because you can get the updated ones for free at your local library. Some books were not at all helpful.  Others were totally worth working through.  Kaplan prepared me the most.

Please look past the cheesy title here.  Meeting people’s physical needs is such a way to serve and display the Gospel, to be vulnerable, and to build community!  I accidentally left this one at a farm in NC so only got about 2/3rds through.  Midtown Fellowship (my church back home) actually just started a series that has to do with (intentionally or unintentionally) the exact ideas and truths touched on in this book.  The series is called “Party Jesus” (Again, please look past the cheesy title).  You can listen to the series here: http://midtowncolumbia.com/sermon-series/party-jesus/ .

Have to throw in a plug for this one! Square Foot Gardening really simplifies growing food at home.  Seriously-anyone can do it.  The Square Foot Gardening Foundation has done so much to educate traditional farmers, inner city students and families, and me 🙂 about growing food.  

Donald Miller’s book A Million Miles in a Thousand Years was given to me by a highschool teacher/family friend and is one of my favorite books.  Searching for God Knows What was in the CD section of Richland County Public Library so I checked it out and listened to it in the car at some point this summer.  Here’s a thought provoking clip from the book that I went back and found online: “In his book Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them, Al Franken included a provocative multipage comic strip about a man named Supply-Side Jesus. In the strip, Supply-Side Jesus walks through the streets of Jerusalem stating that people should start businesses so they can employ the poor and should purchase exotic and expensive clothes and jewelry so their money will trickle into the economy and, eventually, bring bread to the mouths of the starving.

In the comic, the disciples come to Supply-Side Jesus and say they want to feed the poor directly, but Supply-Side Jesus says no, that if you give money or food or water directly to the poor, you are only helping them in their laziness and increasing the welfare state. Eventually, Rome catches up with Supply-Side Jesus and, before an angry mob, Pontius Pilate asks the masses which man they want to crucify, Supply-Side Jesus or another man who, in the comic, stands beside Pilate humbly, a disheveled and shadowy figure. The crowd chants they want to free Supply-Side Jesus because they like his philosophies, and they want to crucify this other man, the shadowy figure standing next to Pilate. Pilate tells the crowd this other man is innocent, that he has done no wrong, but the crowd refuses to listen and instead chants, “Crucify him, crucify him.” Pilate then lets Supply-Side Jesus go free, and orders the innocent man, whose name was Jesus of Nazareth, to be crucified.

I sat there reading the book at Horse Brass Pub in amazement. Here was Al Franken, a known liberal who often lambastes the conservative Christian right but who also, somehow, understands the difference between the Jesus the religious right worships and the Jesus presented in Scripture. One Jesus is understood through conservative economic theory, the other through the Gospels.”

Dr. Helen Roseveare’s book was an amazingly bizarre read for me.  It was like reading a book by someone who has experienced my exact doubts and fears but then speaks directly to them with incredible wisdom and hindsight.  This lady’s incredibly strong, and I would love to one day be like her.  Totally read it if you want an inside scoop from a woman who just went and didn’t look back.

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