Posts Tagged ‘reading’
I love reading some more. Blogs, that is. I have a super long RSS list of blogs.
Here are some of my faves:
Billy Coffey – What I learned today
Che Kershaw – indieBerries
Darrel Hofland – When thoughts fall into pictures & pieces
Donald Miller – Donald Miller’s Blog
Jerusha Sukhdeo – This Red Lipstick
Jon Acuff – Stuff Christians Like
Karlien Du Preez – Karlien Du Preez’s blog
Kathy Richards – Katdish.net
Khaya Dlanga – Khaya Dlanga’s life on the internets. All in one blog.
Sean Tucker – Unlearning
My friends who blog:
Brett Fish Anderson – Irresistibly Fish
Fatima Sibuyi – Tquoiz
Frans Van Eeden – Stuff ‘n things
Michael-John Phillip – Michael-John Phillip
Valerie Anderson – On Afternoons and Coffeespoons
Go ahead and check any of those out, you will not be disappointed…
I love reading. I don’t do it as often as I should, but I love getting lost in a story, fiction or non-fiction…I love reading people’s stories. I prefer story books, whether you are telling me someone else’s story or your own. I don’t so much like self-help books or teaching books.
Anyway, my top 3 books: (click on pic to find out more about the book)
(first 44 pages of blue like jazz available to read online)
Some authors I really dig:
i’ve been in the process of moving
this garden made me choose the house in which i now live…ain’t it pretty?
i’m currently without internet as well…but i’ll make a plan.
Happy Thanksgiving to those residing in the US of A!
i have friends…obviously. and then i have my divas. we are a group of 5 girls. we met at tertiary, although we didn’t all study the same thing. and while other friends came and went, the 5 of us kinda stuck together. one recently moved out of town (one of the ones that inspired this post), but she was graduating this past week and so she came back for the graduation and while she was here we made sure we got in some much needed catch up time. anyway, when i was leaving to come back to stellenbosch, one of them borrowed me a book to read: the thirtieth candle by angela makholwa. it took 3 days to finish it. and only because in the midsts of reading i had a 21st, cricket watching, lunches, dinners, 2x church services, and other distractions (uhm…maybe distractions isn’t the right word to use here, but you get what i’m trying to say) otherwise i’m sure i could have read it all in one day. the thing that captured me, i think, is how much of myself and my divas i could see in the characters in the book. and if you knew them, i’m sure you’d see it too.
the story is focused on 4 girls who met in varsity and became friends. they are now all about ot turn 30 (hence the title), and the book documents their fears regarding getting old, meeting men, getting serious about men, starting families, dumping men, living up to society’s expectations, etc. and it goes to show how secrets have a way of coming out, the importance of honesty, and the necessity of good strong friendships in your life.
my girls and i aren’t 30 yet, we won’t be for a few years, but this book showed me what could be in the future. scared me a little bit actually. but it also reminded me not to take my girls for granted and it reminded me just how important your fam-damily is – how much you should treasure those bonds formed along the way, and how easily you can break those bonds.
honestly a super good read.
I read the title “Sex, Lies and Religion” and thought I have to read that book. And I’m glad I did. A short book but packed with lots of eye-opening, thought-provoking, sometimes uncomfortable and sometimes controversial statements.
Randy Elrod looks at the teachings we’ve been taught by “the church” – the “truths” that we unwaveringly cling to without questioning the origin – and how that has led to Christians throughout history looking down on sex and putting chastity on a pedastal, and how that in turn has caused a God-given gift to seem more like something that we should be ashamed about. Elrod deals with topics such as nudity before and after the fall, lust, masturbation – sometimes making me blush, and yet bring with it truth that goes beyond religion using biblical truths to back up what he says.
The thing I liked most about this book was that it talked about some of the topics I’ve had questions about but could never talk to Christians about cos – I don’t know – it’s just taboo to talk about such things in Christian circles. And I guess that was the purpose of the book, to deal with the topics the church hides from dealing with.
The book is due to be released on February 14th, 2010. You can pre-order a copy here.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from cre:ate 2.0 Publishing to read and post a review on my site. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255
Excerpts from Matthew Paul Turner’s Hear No Evil…which is available for pre-order here.
Music has always been present in my life, like God, fear, and McDonald’s. I can’t remember a day when music wan’t somehow involved. Music is like God in a lot of ways: Moving. Omnipresent. Unpredictable. And sometimes hard to get out of your head – even when you really want to.
I was raised in an unltraconservatice Baptist church where emotion and honesty were even less compatible than Christian fundamentalism and self-worth. At my church whenever somebody capable of emotional honesty became a member, it created a situation similar to my father’s lectures about a new puppy: “As long as it never poops on the carpet, I’ll let it be an ‘inside dog.’” Anyone was welcome to join us for worship on Sundays, as long as they never emotionally pooped on the carpet. Most of us kids were “house-trained” before we’d memorized our multiplication tables.
Until I left for college at nineteen, I held most of my feelings in. Consequently, my early twenties weren’t pretty. But they felt good.
That was when music became a companion.
Some CDs I bought because of one popular song or for the band itself. When I purchased Garbage’s first CD, Garbage, it wasn’t because I thought Shirley Manson and crew rocked, necessarily, though on occasion “Only Happy When It Rains” made me feel good. The real reason was so I could tell my friedns I owned Garbage’s album.
Good music changes me, shocks me, makes me feel uncomfortable, and drives me to think and hope and believe differently. And once in a while, it makes me cynical and sarcastic.
Adam loses his thought and David nods. “You’re making complete sense. That’s exactly the kind of artist or band that we want on our roster: vulnerable. Vulnerable is good.”
I think about how many times I’ve heard this type of conversation. Hundreds, perhaps. The context is sometimes different, but much of the dialogue is the same – people talking about how to create something “real” and “authentic” rather than just being real and authentic. So many of us Christians are all about being vulnerable, especially when we’re on stage, dressed up in a costume and wearing makeup, putting on a performance we consider “a means to an end.”
and that’s just from the first chapter. you can download a free copy of the first chapter here. I’m definitely getting this book…it’s sounding awesome already.
At last I asked if she had ever thought of going to a church for help. I will never forget the look of pure, naive shock that crossed her face. “Church!” she cried. “Why would I ever go there? I was already feeling terrible about myself. They’d just make me feel worse.” What struck me about my friend’s story is that women much like this prostitute fled towards Jesus, not away from him. The worse a person felt about herself, the more likely she saw Jesus as a refuge. Has the church lost that gift? Evidently the down-and-out, who flocked to Jesus when he lived on earth, no longer feel welcome among his follwers. What has happened?
In his book guilt and grace, the swiss doctor Paul Tournier, a man of deep personal faith, admits , “I cannot study this very serious problem of guilt with you without raising the very obvious and tragic fact that religion – my own as well as that of all believers – can crush instead of liberate.”
Tthere will be no escape from wars , from hunger, from misery, from racial discrimination, from denial of human rights and not even from missiles if our hears re not changed.
Elton Trueblood notes that the image Jesus used to describe the church’s destiny – the gates of hell will not prevail against it – is a mtaphor of offence, not defence. Christians are storming the gates, and they will prevail. No matter how it looks at any given point in history, the gates guarding the powers of evill will not withstand an assault by grace.
“We’re all bastards but god loves us anyway.”
Some christians say, “yes we should treat gays with compassion but at the same time we must give them a message of judgement.” After these interviews I began to understand that every gay person has heard the message fo judgement from the church – again and again, nothing but judgement. the more theologically inclined gay people I interviewed interpret the biblical passages on homosexuality differently. Some of them told me they had offered to sit down and discuss these differences with conservative scholars, but no one had agreed.
I left washington with my head reeling. I had attended packed-out worship services marked by fervent singing, praying , and testifying – all oriented around what the christian church has always tought to be a sin. Also, I could sense my friend Mel edging closer and closer to a choice that I knew would be morally wrong – to divorce his wife and lose his ministry in order to begin a scary new life fraught with temptation. It occured to me that my own life would be much simpler if i had never met Mel White. But he was my friend – how should I treat him? What would grace have me do? What would Jesus do?
Moreover, although Christians have died to sin, in some theoretical way, it keeps popping back to life. A friend of mine who led a bible study on this passage had one college coed come to him afterwards with a puzzled expression. “I know it says we’ve died to sin” she said, “but in my life sin seems very much alive.” Paul a realist, recognized this fact or else he would not have advised us in the same passage “count yourself dead to sin” and “do not let sin reign in your mortal body”.
Jesus did not fault the pharisees for extremism in itself – I doubt he really cared what they ate or how many times they washed their hands. But he did care that they imposed their extemism on others and that they focused on trivialities, neglecting more weighty matters. The same teachers who tithed their kitchen spices had little to say about injustice and oppresion in Palestine. And when Jesus healed a person on the sabbath, his critics seemed far more concerned about protocol than about th esick person…the church i grew up in had much to say about hairstyles, jewelery, and rock music but not a word on racial injustice and the plight of blacks in the south.
By it’s very nature legalism encourages hypocrisy because it defines a set of behaviour that may cloak what is going on inside. At a bible college or christian camp and even a church, everyone learns how to look spiritual. Emphasis on externals makes it easy for a person to fake it, to comform even while suppressing or hiding inner problems. I know of only two alternatives to hypocrisy: perfection or honesty. Since i have never met a person who loves theLlord our God with all her heart, mind, and soul, and loves her neighbor as herself, I do not view perfection as a realistic alternative. Our only option then is honesty that leads to repentance. As the bible shows, God’s grace can cover any sin.
At first glance legalism seems hard, but actually freedom in Christ is the harder way. It is relatively easy not to murder, hard to reach out in love; easy to avoid a neighbour’s bed, hard to keep a marriage alive; easy to pay taxes, hard to serve the poor.
“In the world the christians are a colony of the true home” said Bonhoeffer. Perhaps chrsitians should work harder toward establishing colonies of the kingdom that point to our true home. All too often the church holds a mirror reflecting back the society around it, rather than a window revealing a different way. If the world despises a notorious sinner, the church will love her. If the world cuts off aid to the poor and the suffering, the church will offer food and healing . If the world oppresses, the church will raise up the oppressed. If the world shames a social outcast, the church will proclaim God’s reconciling love. If the world seeks profit and self-fulfilment, the church seeeks sacrifice and service. If the world demands retribution, the church dispences grace. If the world splinters into fractions, the church joins together in unity. If the world destroys its enemies, the church loves them. That at least it the vision of the church in the new testament: a colony of heaven in a hostile world. Dwight L Moody said “on one hundred men, one will read the bible; the ninety-nine will read the christian”…”We are perculiar people” wrote Bonhoeffer, which he defined as extraordinary, unusual, that which is not a matter of course. “Jesus was not crucified for being a good citizen, for being just a little nicer than everyone else. The powers of his day correctly saw him and his followers as subversice because they took orders from a higher power than Rome or Jerusalem.”
As a child, I put on my best behaviour on Sunday mornings, dressed up for God and for the Christians around me. It never occured to me that church was a place to be honest. Now, though, as I seek to look at the world through the lens of grace, I realise that imperfection is the prerequesite for grace. Light only gets in thorugh the cracks. My pride still tempts me to put on the best front, to clean up appearances. “It is easy to acknowledge,” said C. S. Lewis, “but almost impossible to realise for long, that we are mirrors whose brightness, if we are bright, is wholly derived from the sun that shines upon us. Surely we must have a little – however little – native luminosity? Surely we can’t be quite creatures.” He goes on, “Grace substitutes a full, childlike and delighted acceptance of our Need, a joy in total dependence. We become ‘jolly beggars.’”
Excerpts from the book “What’s so amazing about grace?” by Phillip Yancey.
Just read the book In His Steps which is where the WWJD movement began. And I for one am not a fan of the WWJD bracelets or books or any Christians trends/fads, but the book was really good and challenging so would encourage you to read it. Anyway, here are some excerpts from the book.
“Martyrdom is a lost art with us. Our Christianity loves it’s ease and comfort too well to take up anything as rough and heavy as a cross. And yet what does following Jesus mean? What is it to walk in His steps?
“Is it true that the Christian disciples today in most of our churches are living soft, easy, selfish lives, very far from any sacrifice that can be called sacrifice? What would Jesus do?
“If our defition of being a Christian is simply to enjoy the priviledges of worship, be generous at no expense to ourselves, have a good, easy time surrounded by pleasant friends and by comfortable things, live respectably and at the same time avoid the world’s great stress of sin and trouble because it is too much pain to bear it – if this is our definition of Christianity, surely we are a long way from following the steps of Him who trod the way with groans and tears and sobs of anguish for a lost humanity; who sweat, as it were, drops of blood, who cried out on the upreared cross, ‘My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?’
“Are we ready to make and live a new discipleship? Are we ready to reconsider our definition of a Christian? What is it to be a Christian? It is to imitate Jesus. It is to do as He would do. It is to walk in His steps.”
Charles Sheldon, In His Steps
I’ve been writing a lot lately, which is really good. Not blogging-writing but like songs, poetry, etc…I don’t put any of that stuff on here cos it’s quite personal and not good enough to be read by the general public. But I enjoy it so… I was telling my friend Isa the other day how I’ve been writing songs in my dreams lately…really cool…so she suggested that I keep paper and a pen by my bed so that I could write them down in the morning while they are still fresh in my mind…so I did…but I haven’t dreamed up new songs since then…oh well
I haven’t done much of that lately…I need to get back into it. And I dont’ know why I haven’t been reading…i’m just lazy to open a book.
faith and hope
We’ve been talking about faith and hope the last few weeks in youth (i’m one of the youth leaders in my church which is super cool…but will get into that in a few minutes). Anyway, last week we were talking about hope and how we can place our hopes and dreams in God’s hands because he really does care. We can fully have faith in him because of his unable-to-lie-ness.
I was reading Amos last night and realised that although most of the book is about how God is going to destroy Israel and surrounds, He ends it on this beautiful note of hope – to restore Israel…which just reminded me that He is our hope. You place your hope in anything else and it’s anyone’s guess what will happen…you place your hope in him and in his word and you can’t go wrong
he really does care about us and he really does want the best for us…
So as i’ve said before, I always wanted to work with youth, especially young, fatherless females and help them discover their worth and to help them learn to love themselves. I am working with youth at the moment, but not in the way I thought I would.
Firstly there’s vision k, which i have loved working with since the beginning of this year and still look forward to the meetings with anticipation every tuesday. That’s what gets me through my work every tuesday, knowing that at the end of the day vision k awaits. And I suppose the chicks from vision k are the people i wanted to work with as most of them are living the whole fatherless-generation situation.
I recently became part of the team that leads youth at my church…we only have 2 chicks though, and they both seem like they come from proper families where they know who their father is and have a relationship with their father and all’s well so not what I was going for but God has a way of changing our plans to be more in-line with his and to make them…better…so I have faith that he knows what he’s doing and I’m just going to follow as he leads
Must say though, truly enjoying both of these youth groups…the youth, the leaders, the work God’s doing…awesomeness!
Just came across this band called Gravity Wins Again, and if you haven’t already, I’d recommend you check them out. They are really good and I’m sure they are going to take South Africa by storm
And I’m also loving the song Prodigal by One Republic…has me written all over it.
And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love, but the greatest of these is love
In closing, I serve a really big God
[Feeling too small for God by Jon Acuff - Stuff Christians Like]
The world is pretty big. There are a lot of countries, with millions and millions of square miles of people and land and ocean. The universe is even bigger than that. I’ve never been but from the photos I’ve seen it’s massive. Pathways of stars, belts of black holes and galaxies and planets. It’s just endless, and somewhere up there, God knows your boyfriend broke up with you.
Maybe He doesn’t. I mean, maybe He’s up there and He’s working on really big stuff. He’s healing famines and trying to bring peace to war torn lands. The greatness of His issues makes your little issues look ordinary and simple and maybe even boring.
But every now and then I come across a verse that shakes my deep belief that I am beneath God’s radar. One that I love is Psalm 56:8. Here, in what hopefully makes me look pretty smart, is the King James Version:
“Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book?”
But maybe you’re not old school, so here’s what the New Living Translation says:
“You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.”
I think that’s beautiful. Can you imagine that? Can you picture God doing that? Taking His giant hands and tenderly picking up every single one of your tears? Knowing why they came, understanding what they mean, placing them in His bottle, so that He can comfort you.
That’s how God spends his days.
That’s how small this big universe is.