July's reading felt wedged in -- pushed in-between the dentist visits, soccer camp, baseball practices, math tutoring, and swim lessons. Instead of diving into the words while my husband was in Israel two weeks, I listened to podcasts or an audio book and even mindlessly played streaming movies while I attempted to organize family photos at night. Even time on the deck was spotty. Despite my distractedness several things happened for me, in order of my enjoyment:
When God is Silent: I'd read it over and over again, especially the second sermon, whenever I forget -- and we easily forget -- that the voice of God is actually charged with power and fright. We say we want to hear it, but we don't know what we're really asking.
The Burning Word: Was my morning deck book. Short ideas interrupted by exercises that stretched my reading of the Word and gave me grace to interpret it a little more fully with imagination, intuition and innovation. I highly recommend it.
Traveling Mercies: It feels like cheating to call myself an Anne Lamott Fan only having actually read one of her books all the way through. I'm not even joking; I own five and I've only read Bird by Bird (over and over). This was very worth it for her depictions of faith and grace. I love that she was doing memoir long before it was trendy.
Franny and Zooey: I enjoy reading existential works by authors who don't ascribe to my faith. It gives me a mirror to look into and rubs off the rough edges of publicly living this life. And, it's Salinger in his classic young-life turmoil element.
The Reason for God: I never would have read it page by page because of its depth, but this one jumped at me from the library audio book section and I needed something to engage my brain, while I worked with my hands. This is, of course, very philosophical and I missed a good deal, but I loved the clarity of this one thing: God is love; He can only be so if he is multi-relational, triune, because love requires the interaction of beings. He cannot be love (and a loving being is what most people assent to) if he is a singular personality. I hadn't made that connection before.
Wonderstruck: This is my second time through Margaret Feinberg's newest book because I was leading other women through it for a book discussion. It's an easy read with a lot of personal narrative mixed with some scriptural insight and it made for some good discussions regarding friendship, forgiveness, restoration and creation.
Kingdom Journeys: I wanted to finish this before I made my little solo trip to Maine in August. Maine isn't a pilgrimage, but I wondered if this would bring more insight into the act of journeying. Sadly, the author limits the reader by saying that there are things completely missed and never learned until submitting to a kingdom journey... a long trip filled with dependence and grasping and wonder. The absolute tone turned me off and additionally it contains a brief story of a friend of mine that's inaccurately told.
The Journals of Jim Elliott: I read (skimmed) the first section of this one and decided to set it aside. Up to that point it was all of Jim's personal insights into the book of Genesis. Sometime, I'll pick it up for its commentary usefulness. *Note to self, don't make all of my journals "notebooks." Intersperse the learning with the living for my sons to read and know who their mother was years from now.
The Open Secret: I'm still working on it.
August's Line Up