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Have You Read This?

By David Traynham

We Are Thriving

“Read any good books lately?”

When I visit or speak with my folks in Louisiana, it’s sometimes a question my stepmother will ask. Most of what is on my Kindle app is not really worth mentioning, typically best-sellers or best-seller wannabes that are mysteries or thrillers that take place in a historical setting. (One in this genre’ definitely deserving mention is All That Lingers by Irene Wittig.)

But the books upon which I reflect, cause me to think about God and spirituality, and lead me to discuss such matters with others are books or readings over the past few years that have been a part of my Mount Olivet Sunday School class. So, let me give you a sampling of some titles from which I drew inspiration and perspective, all can be found online, since bookstores and libraries are closed.

Grateful, The Subversive Practice of Giving Thanks by Diana Butler Bass. Diana spoke at Mount Olivet last year. “Every day there are reasons not to feel grateful. Terrible, distressing, painful, and awful things happen all the time. Yet gratitude is defiance, of sorts, the defiance of kindness in the face of anger, of connection in the face of division, and hope in the face of fear. Being thankful is the very essence of what it means to be alive and to know that life abundantly.” She also authored Grounded.

The Universal Christ by Father Richard Rohr. Father Richard is a Franciscan priest and a prolific author and podcaster. “The spirit of Christ is not the same as the person of Jesus. Christ—essentially, God’s love for the world—has existed since the beginning of time, suffuses everything in creation, and has been present in all cultures and civilizations. Jesus is an incarnation of that spirit, and following him is our “best shortcut” to accessing it.” Father Richard’s perspective is often referenced in our class discussions.

Inspired: Slaying Giants, Walking on Water, and Loving the Bible Again by Rachel Held Evans. “The Bible is not a static work but is a living, breathing, captivating, and confounding book that is able to equip us to join God's loving and redemptive work in the world. Rachel examines some of our favorite Bible stories and possible interpretations, retelling them through memoir, original poetry, and short stories.” Rachel died at a relatively young age a year ago.

Long Obedience in the Same Direction, Discipleship in an Instant Society by Eugene H. Peterson. A while back, I asked Pastor Teer for a book recommendation for our class looking for ‘What’s Hot’ among young seminarians. He gave me this 40-year-old title from 1980, and we found it's perspective and message very contemporary.

As we look to be connected to our faith and worship in this time of keeping a safe distance from the church, I believe you can do so in part through some wonderful reading. Give yourself a reading assignment today.

-David Traynham

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