Category Archives: Books, Book Reviews, & Book Club

My book club of 7 (currently) meets around someone’s table with our kindles and books highlighted; we carry journals filled with quotes and observations. We are ready to discuss philosophy, love, and world. Although we share a passion for books, I think we’ve come to enjoy the friendship even more. Literature-lovers are a rare and beautiful kind of people, if I do say so myself. Our first year we only read C. S. Lewis. (See the C. S. Lewis Book Club Category!) After that, we branched out.

Sarah Bessey and Christian Chauvinism

Sarah Bessey and Relevant Magazine recently teamed up on Twitter for a social/spiritual experiment: to find out how prejudiced the church is regarding women in leadership. Sarah’s Twitter feed blew up, as you might imagine.

Yes, there were some people who slung some hateful rants against men and hateful rants against women’s rights. We knew that was going to happen. What surprised me was the large number of comments in the middle. The real comments, hurtful comments that keep women from exerting influence and venturing into destiny. Women shared an endless list of foolish and/or bigoted statements from their own experiences–revealing statements about what other people think a woman’s place in the church should be.

Many of Sarah’s tweets came from her book Jesus Feminist, which I read and loved. Sarah shares a list of ill-timed, uninformed, and downright chauvinistic statements that she has received over the years as a woman who could preach and lead in the church. I’ve heard some of the same ones myself. (Yes, even little ol’ me. I imagine it’s a thousand times worse for a minority woman!)

Yet I have often excused people’s heartless comments as merely old-fashioned. Occasionally offensive. Yet they rippled through my psych and whispered lies that perhaps I shouldn’t be so ambitious. Perhaps I wasn’t called to do this thing. Perhaps I should work harder at being quiet and demure. Doesn’t a real servant serve in the background? Doesn’t she do all those tasks no one wants to do? A good Christian girl lets other people stumble through speaking and writing and vision-casting while I just try learning to keep silent.

Apparently, I am not the only one. This problem is wide-spread and so widely-felt, so I don’t have to feel put-down anymore. The problem is not me. I’m not usurping anyone. The problem is prejudice–arrogance, really. And insecurity. (Pride takes so many forms.)

Go click on the Twitter feed and see for yourself. Here’s a taste: Continue reading

21 Parenting books you can trust

With Mother’s Day quickly approaching, I find myself pulling out parenting books and flipping through the pages.

Whoops, stopped doing that.

Yes, that’s my problem.

Crap, I do that all the time.

Oh, no wonder he’s acting like that.

I’m speaking to our church on Mother’s Day, so I’m longing to find nuggets of encouragement–golden truths that send everyone out exhilarated and appreciative for their priceless role as mothers. But as I look back through those parenting books I know I can trust, I am overwhelmed with my own inabilities. I can’t speak about this! I can’t even do it.

I wonder if this ever changes? I really should be a professional parent by now.

So in an attempt to stave my own paranoia and to be as helpful as I can to all you mothers who I suspect are as self-deprecating as I am in regards to parenting, here is a selection of great books you can read that will actually help you. Not all parenting books are equal. Continue reading

A Piece of the World

Two days ago, I finished Christina Baker Kline’s novel A Piece of the World, based on the lives of two historical people who were friends. One was celebrated for his work as a painter. The other is known for her role in his most famous painting. I am still so moved by the story, I can’t stop thinking about it. Although I raced through it, I wish it hadn’t ended. I highlighted throughout. (Yes, I use a highlighter when I read a good novel because I can’t help myself.) Kline’s imagery and craftsmanship was so superb, I was reading and searching for a highlighter at the same time. And writing down lines in my reading journal. (Yes, I am that person.)

Kline tells the story of Christina Olson, the subject of Andrew Wyeth’s most famous painting, Christina’s World. The main character, Christina struggles to live in her small world even while she ached to leave it; she grappled with a crippling disease (apparently caused by polio); she struggled with love and jealousy in her relationship with her siblings and few friends; she became one of Andy Wyeth’s muses. The story was gripping, mesmerizing, and realistic, filled with flashbacks, history, and tender observances. Continue reading