“…God will make us good because He loves us…”

mere christianityFrom C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity:

As long as the natural life is in your body, it will do a lot towards repairing that body. Cut it, and up to a point it will heal, as a dead body would not. A live body is not one that never gets hurt, but one that can to some extent repair itself. In the same way a Christian is not a man who never goes wrong, but a man who is enabled to repent and pick himself up and begin over again after each stumble — because the Christ-life is inside him, repairing him all the time, enabling him to repeat (in some degree) the kind of voluntary death which Christ Himself carried out.

That is why the Christian is in a different position from other people who are trying to be good. They hope, by being good, to please God if there is one; or — if they think there is not — at least they hope to deserve approval from good men. But the Christian thinks any good he does comes from the Christ-life inside him. He does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us; just as the roof of a greenhouse does not attract the sun because it is bright, but becomes bright because the sun shines on it.

(belated) September reading

Please excuse the blogging pause; it was entirely unintentional. October caught me by surprise, and it hasn’t really let up until today.

September:

  1. I Am Watching You – Teresa Driscoll
  2. To Dance With the White Dog – Terry Kay
  3. Little Fires Everywhere – Celeste Ng
  4. The Woman in Cabin 10 – Ruth Ware
  5. Into the Water – Paula Hawkins
  6. Happier at Home: Kiss More, Jump More, Abandon Self-Control, and My Other Experiments in Everyday Life – Gretchen Rubin

I read mostly fiction in September, and most of it was mediocre, at best. To Dance With the White Dog was Thomasville’s One Book this year, so our office read it together. It’s not my usual genre, but it was sweet and southern. Little Fires Everywhere was definitely the best of my September bunch. There were lots of practical tips in Gretchen Rubin’s Happier at Home, and I’ll likely continue to read more of her books.

What are you reading?

 

“We listen every day to the voices of the culture around us…”

johnFrom John (St. Andrew’s Expositional Commentary) by R.C. Sproul:

All of us, even the most pious Christians among us, are overwhelmingly influenced by the cultural customs and conventions of the societies in which we live. It starts in school, where popularity means “being with it,” that is, being in line with the morality of the society, even if that morality includes things of which God does not approve. That’s what our innate struggle with sin is all about. We listen every day to the voices of the culture around us that tell us what’s politically correct and what isn’t, what is socially acceptable and what isn’t. Then, for a few minutes on Sunday morning, we hear the law of God. We know they don’t match up, but unless or until the Holy Spirit takes the law and pierces our souls with it and convicts us of sin, we don’t really pay attention to it.

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august reading

My shoulder and neck issues are improving thanks to physical therapy and daily exercises, and that means that my sleep has improved. And that means that I haven’t read as much lately.

August:

  1. The Vanishing American Adult: Our Coming-of-Age Crisis and How to Rebuild a Culture of Self-Reliance  – Ben Sasse
  2. Moral Defense (Samantha Brinkman Book 2) – Marcia Clark
  3. Dot Journaling – A Practical Guide: How to Start and Keep the Planner, To-Do List, and Diary That’ll Actually Help You Get Your Life Together – Rachel Wilkerson Miller
  4. The Judgment of Richard Richter – Igor Štiks

The Sasse book (loaned to me by my son) was one in which I found myself often nodding in agreement. I’ve been bogged down in a couple of other books and picked up Marcia Clark’s as a quick diversion. I took a dot journaling class and read Miller’s book after that — it was a quick read that I’ll refer to again as I refine my bullet journaling. The Judgment of Richard Richter was a Kindle First book for August, so it was free. I’m pretty lukewarm about that one.

What are you reading and recommending these days?

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“How arrogant is that?”

johnFrom John (St. Andrew’s Expositional Commentary) by R.C. Sproul:

I’m sure you’ve seen the popular bumper sticker that says, “God said it; I believe it; that settles it.” How arrogant is that? We need a new bumper sticker, one that says: “God says it; that settles it.” It doesn’t matter whether I believe it. It’s settled long before my assent. If God Almighty opens His holy mouth and declares something, we don’t need another witness. It’s over.

 

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“The question is…”

vanishing-american-adultFrom The Vanishing American Adult: Our Coming-of-Age Crisis and How to Rebuild a Culture of Self-Reliance by Ben Sasse:

…in this broken world of lawless souls, there will be control; there will be government. Order-seeking and security-seeking people, as well as those in search of power for their own purposes, will invariably seek to hold back the chaos of the world. The question is whether people will control themselves or submit to the control of another.

“…more like subjects than citizens.”

vanishing-american-adultFrom The Vanishing American Adult: Our Coming-of-Age Crisis and How to Rebuild a Culture of Self-Reliance by Ben Sasse:

Becoming truly literate is a choice. Reading done well is not a passive activity like sitting in front of a screen. It requires a degree of attention, engagement, and active questioning of which most of our children currently have a deficit. The core question is not whether you hold in your hand an old-fashioned paper book or a new electronic book, but rather that even when you read from a screen, you develop the self-discipline to ignore the temptation to check email or scores or social media every few minutes. Reading done well requires a forward-leaning brain. Our culture’s ever-present distractions–the obsessive appeals to immediacy (“What ‘news’ might I be missing?”)–conspire to blunt our curiosity and distract us from sustained thought. The relentless pull of the digital world, with its demands that our kids submit to the shiny and the immediate, threatens to make them not just less literate but also more like subjects than citizens.

“This is an active, not a passive, pursuit.”

vanishing-american-adultFrom The Vanishing American Adult: Our Coming-of-Age Crisis and How to Rebuild a Culture of Self-Reliance by Ben Sasse:

Unless you are dead or in the process of withering away in front of your screen the way so many millions of us do, there’s an imperative in your soul to unpack life and its endless mysteries. This is an active, not a passive, pursuit. For people who are alive, really alive, their brains are in motion. On the wall in the primary schooling area in our home hangs this apt observation by Ellen Parr: “The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.”…Curiosity is the mental mortar for building strength and resilience.

Or, as my grandmother said, if you’re bored, you’re boring.

july reading

blue-books

It was another poor sleeping month which means it was a good reading month. 🙂

July:

  1. You Will Know Me – Megan Abbott
  2. A Gentleman in Moscow – Amor Towles
  3. Goodbye, Vitamin: A Novel – Rachel Khong
  4. Since We Fell – Dennis Lehane
  5. A Woman’s Wisdom: How the Book of Proverbs Speaks to Everything – Lydia Brownback
  6. Perfecting Ourselves to Death: The Pursuit of Excellence and the Perils of Perfectionism – Richard Winter
  7. Commentaries on Proverbs – Matthew Henry

My favorite this month (and will very likely make my top five for the year) was A Gentleman in Moscow. The other fiction books this month were just meh.

What are you reading & recommending these days?

 

“…we are not yet what we shall be…”

perfecting-ourselvesFrom Martin Luther, as quoted in Perfecting Ourselves to Death by Richard Winter:

This life, therefore, is not righteousness but growth in righteousness, not health but healing, not being but becoming, not rest but exercise; we are not yet what we shall be, but we are growing toward it; the process is not yet finished, but it is going on; this is not the end, but it is the road.