One of life’s greatest pleasures

Hat-tip to Heather, for sparking this topic idea!

One of the greatest pleasures of life for me has always been reading. I am so thankful for that gift!  I remember being in 2nd grade, and myself and my friend Delilah (still best friends, 50 years later) were allowed to go to the library together, to check out a book. We went to the section for our grade, but we both had already read most of those. She said, ” come on, I know where some better ones are,” and she took me to the 4th and 5th grader’s section. I remember saying, “these aren’t for us, these are for the big kids”. She said “Nuh-uh, we can check out any book! Here are the ones I like! She introduced me to Island of the Blue Dolphins, The Boxcar Children, Betsy, Tacy and Tib, Little House on the Prarie. When I was in the 5th grade, our teacher had us write letters to a local television station asking them to make the Little House book  series into a television series. They did soon after, but I don’t know if our letters had anything to do with it.

Recently on the train ride to Mom’s I read Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Gone With The Wind was one of my favorite books to read from the time I was in middle school, and I have read many other books set in the civil war. Living in Virginia, I’m no stranger to the realities of slavery in our nation’s history, though these days the “official narrative” has replaced the true facts of history.  Uncle Tom’s cabin was written in an era before those facts were “evolved” to suit political purposes. It is a very moving book.

I also re-read “A Normal Christian Life”, by Watchman Nee. I first read it over a decade ago. It had a profound impact on my understanding of grace, our crucifixion in Christ, and how all that we aspire toward doing and being “for the Lord” can only be accomplished by Him via His resurrection life in us. Having grown way past tired of the name-it-claim-it mentality so prevalent in modern churchianity, this book also helped me reclaim (no pun intended) the faith “baby” I had thrown out with the proverbial “bathwater”.  It helped me understand faith in context of obedience and separation. Someone told me Nee later went off the straight and narrow. I don’t know anything else about him, but I came away from that read “richer”, spiritually speaking. The last third or so of the book might be construed by some as claiming Nee taught a Christian can live a sinless life, that’s not how I read it. I do think he believed we can have a lot more victory over sin than we realize, though, but as I said, I’ve not read any of his other works.

Currently, I am reading a book called “Mrs Mike The story of Katherine Mary Flannigan”. Written by Benedict and Nancy Freedman, copyright 1947. It is set at the turn of the century, starting in 1907. A young lady of sixteen years by the name of Katherine Mary O’Fallon has boarded a train in Boston, and is headed for Alberta in a blizzard. She is to stay with her Uncle John because the cold, dry climate is likely to be good for her lungs, as she suffers from pleuricy. It is a book I can imagine my grandmother having read probably in her high school years, and it’s delightful!  I’m only about a third of the way through, and I already know I am going to be disappointed for it to come to the end. Do you ever feel like that when you read? Like you know you’re going to miss spending time with these characters?

Most modern books are tripe. I mean, a (clean) summer beach read has it’s place, like candy, in moderation, but something that lets you visit another era, or continent, adds something to you as a person. The Bible says, of the writing of books there is no end and much study is a weariness to the flesh. I think that is more true now than ever in the history of the world. Most of the existing books aren’t worth reading. And as far as study, people have paid millions for worthless “education” because the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and few people have any regard or fear of the Lord anymore. They know a lot of useless information. They may even know a lot of valuable information, but without wisdom, they will only mis-use it.

I just ordered a book called “Waiting Well”. My morning devotion (“Today in the Word” app) recommended it, and I added Deitrich Bonhoffer’s “Doing Life Together” to my “to read” list. The first title is self explanitory. The Bonhoffer one is about how essential fellowship and accountability are.

Illiteracy rates remain very high in America for many, thanks to the public school system.

My existance, my faith, who I am has been so enriched by books, I  thank the Lord (and good teachers) for the gift of being literate!



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