I think I am making a bit of a theme this year of joining in conversations when they have finsished. But I am at a loss of what to blog about and I meant to do this when it was going as I love books so here you go. Five books that have impacted my life. This list of course could be a lot longer and would probably be different on another day but here’s what came to mind today.

“Passionate Marriage” by David Schnarch

I think I have probably read this book or parts of it every year since I got married. I guess I am a pretty slow learner and I still get something out each time. The main theme of this book is differentiation which is about holding onto yourself in close relationships. Quite contrary to popluar cultures idea of romance and intimacy, this book argues that we need to validate ourselves and our own sharing in our relationships not expect that from someone else. When things go wrong in our relationships, especially our marriage, we like to blame the other person and spend most of our time trying to change them. Passionate Marriage puts the focus on us. If we want the sort of marriage we want we need to create ourselves not expect it from another person. It is very liberating I reckon.

“Christianarchy” by Dave Andrews

It’s been awhile since I read this book so I am not sure I can really articulate clearly what it is about and who knows if it would have the same effect now but the first time I read it felt like coming home. At a time when I was feeling that perhaps Christianity wasn’t for me this book made me feel it was. Christianarchy talks about a very radical Jesus. A Jesus that was inclusive, passionate about the poor and a grace that meets us where we are and is truly unconditional. It pushes us to also live like this.

“God of small things” by Arundhati Roy

Others have mentioned this book but it truly is rare. Perhaps not in it’s themes, no it looks at the univeral themes of love across boundaries and family and death and being on the outside but almost every sentence in a feast. The way she puts things together is truly extraordinary. It would creat a passion for language in anyone I reckon.

“Pedagogy of the Oppressed” by Paulo Friere

This was one of the first books I read when I bagan studying adult education and it very much influenced the huge passion I have for my work. It certainly got me through some of the much drier, uninspiring texts we had to read and is still what I come to back to now for inspiration in my work. I have talked about this before but this book is written in a Latin American context and calls educators to use education to liberate people rather than oppress them.

“The Curly Pyjama Letters” by Michael Luenig

There had to be a Leunig book in there and I think this would be one of my favourites. I love the way Leunig points us extraordinary in the ordinary. Who makes us feel like life is filled with wonder in all that is mundane. Whenever I read this book or any Luenig prayer or thought really I am overwhelmed with a desire to give thanks or to dance or just bask in the sunshine.

“The good news according to Luke” by Richard Rohr

I have thrown this in at the end. I know I said five but then I thought of this and just had to put it in and I didn’t want to get rid of any of the others. I read this book this year and it excited me again at another low point in my journey to read the Bible. Not in the way I have traditionally but in a way that opens up possibilities for truth and understanding beyond the literal. It encouraged me that I can still come to the Bible even if I don’t come to it as most Christians do, that God is bigger than all our limited understandings.

2 thoughts on “Books

  1. Here is a bit to remind you of Christianarchy. I remember one afternoon you read this to me as we sat together on your bed. We both breathed it. Ruah – breath meets spirit.

    Jesus is talking to the disciples after resurrection and after they had left him at the cross. He says –

    But if you do – if you do really care for me and the things I really care for, then I want to assure you, no matter how often you fail me, I will never fail you. I’ll never leave you or forsake you or ever let you down.

    I am prepared to move heaven and earth to help you build a better world, bit by bit, out of the ruins of your broken dreams.

    Now tell me, I need to know do you really love me?

    Peter never forgot that moment. As time merged with eternity. He always felt it was a defining moment of his life.

    “Jesus I know you’d like me to love you, like you love me, unconditionally. But I can’t promise you that. I’ve tried to do it but I can’t. What I can promise you is that I’ll do my very best – and maybe with your help , do better than my best – to be your closest friend, to hang out with you, to do the things that you want to do… together. And you never know maybe together we can work something out.”

    Suddenly there was a warmth in the air. Was it the fire or did it come from somewhere else? Peter never knew.

    But Peter had felt the warmth when Jesus turned to him and said – “Well Peter that sounds pretty good to me. If you’d like to give it a go, I’d like to give it a try. Perhaps we could work on a project together. Like nurturing our flocks.”

    And so the course of Peter’s life was set and the big fisherman was pushed out into the tide.

    Creating alternative non violent communities, which reflected the relentless tenderness of Jesus became Peter’s mission. At the time he had no way of knowing what would come of it. But he remembered that great day in Jerusalem when everyone had come together and the Spirit had come on them like a monsoon, and as demoralised as they had been they had been drenched with energy and enthusiasm.

    They had been renewed and revived and come alive, as if Jesus had been resurrected in them.

    High on the scent of freedom, bubbling with the joy of life and liberty, they had begun to rebuild their world,
    bit by bit,
    out of the ruins of their broken dreams,
    just as Jesus said they would.

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