My favorite of the Friday chalkboard quotes:
What I Read (or Will be Reading)
I finished Leaving Church. It was beautifully written. And while I was moved by the way Barbara Brown Taylor allowed us to experience her exhaustion in her work as a priest and her process of discovering rest and restoration, I was annoyed by the ease with which she let go of the tenets of her Christian faith. She showed me no struggle in the giving up of Jesus-centered theology and the embracing of a more universalistic view of God. I think I would have been more forgiving if she had shown me any kind of turmoil in her soul over that loss of that core tenet. But she just seemed to jump ship as soon as she wasn’t leading a congregation. I’m thinking a lot lately about what makes a memoirist believable to a reader. When I didn’t see that internal struggle over her theology, I stopped trusting her. (Anyone else read her book? Thoughts?)
As I’m thinking about reader/memoirist trust, I’ve been coming back to Mary Karr, who is (in my humble, not so well-read opinion) the greatest memoir writer alive. (Full disclosure: she was once my professor in grad school. But that is just a happy additional fact.) I keep coming back to Lit and just rereading her prose so its rhythm gets in my head and hopefully spills over into work. (If you haven’t yet read Lit, go get it now, my friend. Don’t worry, just trust me.)
The God of the Mundane by was recommended to me by a commenter on my Deeper Church post in January. (It was the post where I talked about ordinariness mattering to God.) This is a short book by a pastor who was convicted about the same things I am: that as a whole the Christian subculture seems to only value the spiritual and doesn’t recognize God’s nearness and care for the everyday, ordinary parts of our lives, especially for those of us who are working in a non-religious job (ie just about the whole world). It’s a good little book and worth spending some time with.
I’m reading a biography of St. Benedict (are you shocked?) by a Baptist-raised southern academic, turned monastic expert. (She’s my type). This is surprisingly an entertaining read. If you’re interested in Benedict at all, I wholeheartedly recommend Man of Blessing: A Life of St. Benedict.
I said I’m thinking about memoir a lot. My next book to pick up and study is Mary McCarthy’s Memories of a Catholic Girlhood. I was supposed to have read this in grad school but was busy that week. If only I had! I’d be so much smarter by now! (Trying to undo my poor educational choices.)
What I Watched (or Didn’t)
Still watching New Girl, still watching Nashville. Those two are my staples. I was so angry about Downton Abbey’s last episode of the season, that I didn’t even watch it. I just read what happened and then read more articles in rage, and vowed that I would never see THAT episode so as to cause Julian Fellowes to regret his poor choice. (Btw, I don’t think Julian Fellowes cares what I think.)
On the Blog
My favorite post of the month was the reflection I wrote about Ash Wednesday for A Deeper Church. I’ve also been enjoying working through the series The Pursuit of Enough. I especially love the post “Slow, Deliberate.”
I put one of those crazy “Like me on Facebook!” sidebar thingys on my blog. So that you can “Like me on Facebook!” (That way you’ll see my updates in your sidebar and you’ll know when I post something new.)
Speaking of posting something new, you can also plug your email address into the sidebar “Subscribe” button and you’ll receive an email every time I add a new post.
Every time I “advise” you of some newfangled way of following my blog, I feel like I’m in seventh grade again wearing those terrible stirrup pants, my buckteeth-emphasized-face begging the popular girls at the cool table to sign my yearbook. You will, won’t you? I’m sorry I’m so awkward.
What I’m doing today
I’m actually off to take the written test for my California driver’s license. Woot! Woot! Fact about my laziness: All this time, over the past three years, as I’ve lived in California and Texas, I’ve used my Pennsylvania license, which will finally expire this summer. I think it’s been illegal. But, seriously, who has time to go to the DMV?
This is where I thank my husband for taking the morning off so I can become a legal driving citizen of the great state of California. (If I can actually pass the test.)