Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Checking my back

I like books. My husband does too. We rarely go on any kind of shopping adventure without stopping by a bookstore of some kind. I have a huge stack of “TO READ” books on the nightstand beside my bed. When I add a new one to the stack I reshuffle the order. I’ll get to them all eventually. I do get distracted from the stack sometimes, however, when a new book is released and I’m drawn in by all the media and hype so much so that I read the new book and ignore the stack.

I am not necessarily a voracious reader. I don’t devour books quickly and then move on to the next one. I am more of a deliberate reader. I read slowly and savor. I rarely read a book without a pencil in my hand. I like to underline and mark the good parts, the parts I want to try to remember. It usually takes me a while to finish a book. That behavior is more likely because of the types of books I read, which are mostly theology-ish and related to Christian living.

Every now and then I read a novel. The last novel I read was, dare I admit it, The DaVinci Code. I thought that book was a wonderful work of fiction. It held my attention and every time I had to put it down to do something else, I was anxious to get back to it. I didn’t need a pencil and I finished it in a matter of hours, not days. It didn’t influence me to change my own theology, but it did make me think about what I believe and why.

I just read another book that only took hours to read and did not require a pencil. It was an autobiography, sort of. It didn’t cover the author’s entire life from beginning to end; instead, it was an account a few critically defining years as a young, single adult.

In My Beautiful Idol Pete Gall compares humans to collector or decorator crabs. The crabs gather up stuff off the ocean floor (like anemones and bits of coral and seaweed and such) and attach these trinkets to his outer shell. All the junk serves as a disguise camouflaging it from its enemy, the squid. Humans do the same thing, covering our lives with all sorts of things, pretending we’re not vulnerable to our enemy. I think what Pete discovered was that it would be a whole lot easier if we quit trying to cover it all up. Admit that we truly are vulnerable to our enemy, show our real selves, and seek our protection from someone other than ourselves. That’s were God comes in.

My overall theology is not entirely the same as Pete’s, but I think we’re headed in the same direction. The book certainly made me think about it.

And, it gave me a whole new perspective on being crabby.

You can read the first chapter here:

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8

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