Monday, April 30, 2007

Big Boots

I have been walking around with a spiritual “Kick Me” sign pinned to my back for months now. God put it there when I read a book by Shane Claiborne called Irresistible Revolution. In addition to everything else he writes that blew my mind, he quotes Soren Kierkegaard, who writes:
The matter is quite simple. The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obliged to act accordingly. Take any words in the New Testament and forget everything except pledging yourself to act accordingly. My God, you will say, if I do that my whole life will be ruined. How will I ever get on in the world?

My name is Rebecca and I am a scheming swindler.

Luckily, God stood next to me when I stood up and admitted that I had a problem. However, while He was there with His arm around me, loving me and supporting me, He stuck a “Kick Me” sign on my back. Apparently, He thinks that unless I feel spiritually afflicted for a while, I will continue to be a scheming swindler because I’m so comfortable this way. And too much comfort is not good for the soul. It gets flabby and has to stop and catch its breath a lot. So, to encourage me to start exercising for a healthier soul, I have been the target of a variety of folks who have written books and preached sermons and lived lives that kick me. And the motivation is starting to work. By their examples, I am coming to believe that I must stop hiding behind privilege and actually spend time forming relationships with the types of people that Jesus formed relationships with: the poor.

The only problem is that I’m not quite ready yet. My very human sense of self-preservation is keeping me from being able to trust that God will take care of me if I stop trying to control my life and start loving people full-time. So, according to His infinite wisdom, the “Kick Me” sign is still there. And now I’m both nervous and excited that something huge is headed toward me wearing big boots.

I am going to Africa.

I am going on a vision trip with World Vision, an international Christian humanitarian organization. We will be in Zambia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Botswana, meeting the under-resourced people who allow World Vision to partner with them. It is my hope that spending two weeks being confronted with the immediacy of poverty in Africa will finally help me make the decisions that God has been wanting me to make about my own life. Maybe then, I won’t need the “Kick Me” sign to help me act accordingly on my understanding of the Bible. This terrifies me.

To distract myself from this sense of terror that I may soon be obliged to act accordingly, I am also going on this trip to gain professional perspective on the work I do with poverty here in the US. It is my hope that seeing development work stripped down to its essentials will help me focus on those essentials back home, where poverty is so complex. Seeing first-hand the difference made by providing a well to people who used to have to walk 3 miles daily for clean water must clarify for me the difference made by providing school supplies to inner-city kids.

Please pray for me. I hate traveling but rarely admit that to people because I want to cling so desperately to an image of myself as worldly and sophisticated. However, the reality is that I have experienced significant culture shock the few times I’ve left the country in the past, attempting to shut out the overwhelming experience by staying in my room, acting shy with people I encounter and reading my books whenever possible. I haven’t been anywhere but Canada in the last 9 years. Even Canada was hard. No joke. But I want to gather everything from this trip that I can and I’ll need the support of people that love me to find the courage to look up from my book and actually talk to and learn from people that are so different from me. I’ll also need to trust God that I will be OK when I do so. Trust. Always tricky for me. I’m a scheming swindler.

In addition to your contributions of prayer and love, I also need to ask you to consider contributing financially to my journey. It feels expensive but this is another area in which I am trying to trust that God will take care of me. I am committed to the trip and will spend grad school money if I cannot raise the money to cover my expenses. Please think about whether this trip and the insights I am hoping to gain are something that you can support. You can write a check out to me or go to and make a contribution with your credit card that will be deposited directly into World Vision’s account.

Thank you for caring about me and my attempts to align myself with God’ plan for me. I will welcome any type of contribution to this scary and important journey, including cards and notes of encouragement to take with me. I will be leaving on June 21 and returning July 3. Your prayers during that time will be especially appreciated.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Big Yellow Taxi

For most of the last week, I have been sleeping a lot, groaning like an old woman as I get in and out of chairs and thanking my lucky stars.

If there is a rite of passage to becoming "urban," I think I'll be waived on account of my experience on Tuesday night.

While crossing a street at 10:00 at night, in the crosswalk and with the light, I got hit by a taxi cab. It knocked my down on my back, which stunned me. It also knocked down Erika, my blogger friend who was kind enough to meet me for coffee when she was in town. She has had a difficult pregnancy so far and it was hard to watch her be so worried for her baby. She responded in a way that I could relate to: she got very quiet and stone-faced, obviously reigning in wilder emotions and trying not to think about worst-case scenarios until she knew more. She was gracious and let me pray for her in the ambulance. Her host from North Park met her an the emergency room and I felt comfortable leaving her with people that she knew better than me. I have been overwhelmed since then by the outpouring of prayer support that her network has offered me, referring to me as "Erika's friend." Considering how much I admire her, that is an amazing title that I'm not quite sure I've earned.

I was a mess, blubbering all over the place. I had sat on the ground for quite a while in the rain because my body had not yet given me the OK to stand up. Once I did and sat in the North Park University security vehicle for a few minutes letting it all sink in, I called my brother and the immensity of what happened hit me. The tears were very much a physical response to being scared. There was no deep sadness or grief. Just fright. Especially once I knew I was OK and wouldn't have to use any reserves of strength, my body just let it all go. Although I rode to the hospital with Erika, the EMTs said I didn't need to be examined: that I had a boo-boo but not an owie. My brother Daniel came and picked me up there with a dry sweatshirt and a blanket. He was perfect.

Of course, once we got home, the normalcy of our sibling relationship reared up. He asked, "What are you going to do now?"

I said, "I thought I'd sit on the couch and just wind down some before I go to bed so I'm not just staring at the ceiling with adrenaline."

"Oh, because I was planning on lying on the couch and watching wrestling until I fell asleep."

"Naoh!" I cried. "I got hit by a taxi cab! I get the couch."

He considered this and before he assented asked, "Can we still watch wrestling?" When I agreed, he said, "OK."

It has been somewhat fascinating to observe the way my body has responded to the accident over the past several days. On Wednesday, I sweat profusely and it stank, which was my body trying to get rid of the adrenaline that it didn't need any more. At dinner that night and my parents' house, I burst into tears. Although I had yelled at my mother while I was doing this, she forgave me quickly, explaining that I had been telling people all day that I was fine. Of course I was going to have to release that once I felt safe. Yesterday, my lower back stiffened up in a way that it hadn't when my elbows were the primary hurt. That made me cranky after about 8 hours in the company of other people and I went home rather than say terrible things.

I have a big weekend in front of me. Today, my lower back feels better, the bruises are fading and the abrasions are scabbing over. I am still struck by the absurdity of the experience and my friends Lorinda and Susan agree with me that looking back it is funny rather than disturbing. I like that perspective.

I got hit by a taxi cab. Who does that?

Monday, April 23, 2007


I screwed up and it embarasses me.

I'm saying this clearly now because soon the story will change. I have been frantically thinking of ways to spin this when I have to tell people so that it will look intentional and wise-beyond-my-years and maybe a little godly. Soon, when I tell the story, I will use that more flattering perspective as I tell it so that people won't believe that I'm actually so broken as to screw up so royally.

Enough with the stalling, Rebecca. Out with it.

I took my attendance at the University of Chicago for granted and I missed the deadline to respond. I never told them that I wanted to spend the next two years of my life there. I didn't realize until last night that the deadline for responding was last Monday.

Actually, that last part is a lie. See, I'm already trying to spin it.

I have had a sneaking suspicion for the last several weeks that the deadline was coming up. But I told myself that there was no way that they would make the dealine the same day as Tax Day and that they would give folks at least a month after the Visit Day to respond. So, the truth is that I jsut didn't check my acceptance letter until last night because I was arrogant and lazy.

I'm not going to try to explain right now why I was so stupid. Like my friend who pointed out that he was getting A's in all of the classes of the degree program that he dropped out of, I will have a bright side that I point out if I have to tell people that I'm not attending in the fall, like I've told everyone that I will be.

Right now, I'm mortified with myself. Only by saying this publically in this venue will I have even a small chance of living in the truth when the consequences of my hubris shake out. I keep proclaiming that all I want in this life is to surround myself with people that will respect me enough to look me in the eyes and tell me truth, even if I'm not going to like it. So, I need to do that with myself. Ugh. Even getting all up on my high horse to describe the need for this post feels like I'm spinning something to make myself look better.

I screwed up and it embarasses me. Leave it at that.


Wipe your forehead in relief, everything is going to be OK. Since I gave them a check last year when I deferred to this year, all I needed to do was give them a verbal confirmation over the phone this morning. Whew! Is this where I get to make the all-about-the-bejamins-baby joke?

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Toward, against and away

It will surprise very few of you to hear that I struggle with my church. It's full of The Beautiful People, it is difficult to get the pastors' attention, worship is led by a man who has treated me hurtfully without reconciliation and the doctrine is staunchly evangelical.

And yet I stay.

Why? Four reasons come immediately to mind:

1. The vision for the church is unique and inspires me. This is a quote from the membership manual, which can be found on the website.
What we discovered was that the revolution that Jesus started 2,000 years ago – contrary to popular belief – was not about controlling people’s behaviors or spreading a religious system. Instead it was a movement of power and passion; a journey of discovering God’s grace and beauty as a community, and then spreading that incredible love to everyone we interacted with.

As anyone who has encountered organized religion knows, it is easy to lose this passion for grace, love and beauty in the vortex of rules, liturgy, and going-through-the-motions-faith. River City set out to become a community that avoided these pitfalls and instead set out to rediscover the beauty and power that comes from following Jesus passionately, with the Bible as our guide and the city as our place to express this faith in a relevant and meaningful way.

Although words often lose the power to express their original intent, we knew that we needed a guiding light to express these aforementioned desires. So we asked the question: What words adequately describe the passions of someone that is transformed by the presence of God and seeks to live out of that transformed place? We asked this question first, for we sensed that passion is the key to starting a movement. Behaviors come and go and can be motivated by guilt or pride, but passions – the convictions of your heart – are powerful sources of energy and motivation. We were convinced that it was far more important to have a person’s passions changed by God than even their beliefs, for you can believe many things without being passionate about them, but you cannot be passionate about something without believing it to your core.

That question is what led us to the three words that guide our steps at River City as well as our vision statement:

Vision : To become a multi-ethnic community of Jesus-followers that transforms the city of Chicago through worship, reconciliation, and neighborhood development.

Who couldn't love a church that uses the word "aforementioned" in its core document? Seriously, though, the church says that neighborhood development is as important as worship. If I have a passion, it is neighborhood development. Other parts of the membership manual specifically mention John Perkins, who created the philosophy of CCDA, a major source of my beliefs for how we are going to change the world. Also, it is a church that was created to be multi-ethnic, which has become crucial to me over the last several years when I've realized how much better my life is because I work in environments where I am in the ethnic minority. Pastor Daniel is a gifted preacher and his sermons very eloquently and effectively use scripture to illustrate for us how to live out this faith in Christ that is "not about controlling people’s behaviors or spreading a religious system."

I think there are other churches like this in other parts of the country. However, I don't think there are any others in Chicago. Which brings me to the second reason why I stay at River City.

#2. I can walk to Sunday service. Living in the suburbs, I grew to hate my commuter lifestyle and wanted an actual community. I found it on an island and know that the only way to have that again is to commit to a neighborhood and to spend most of my time there. I recently decided not to move to Hyde Park (an hour away by car) when I start school there but to commute from Humboldt Park on public transportation because I feel so strongly about this. 2 years here, 2 years there, 2 years somewhere else makes that kind of community impossible. One of the commenters on Erika's blog about the importance of local Sunday services wrote:
In a culture where the meaning of community and presence has been drastically altered because of our technological ability to avoid each other, the geo[graphical] expression of the local church has something strong to say about what it means to be truly human and in community. As I write from thousands of miles away, I realize how ubiquitous the structures of avoidance are…
There are other churches in the city that would appeal to my longing for a more liberal populace, my need for liturgy, my yearning for hymns and my wish for fewer evangelical assumptions about how a church should function. But I would have to drive to the south side or to Andersonville/Lake View to attend them. That would be a suburban lifestyle transplanted into an urban context. Pastor Daniel teaches that the only pure desire that humans have is the desire for community because it is the only desire we experienced before the fall from the Garden of Eden. I believe that and so creating community (which can only fully be realized in a geographic context) must be the priority for me in choosing a church.

3. I am a better person for having to venture outside of my comfort zone. We live in a consumer culture and I don't believe that consumerism is consistent with what God wants for us. This applies to shopping for churches. Another commenter on Erika's post (it's worth it to go read the post and all of the comments)writes:
I believe our generation is constantly seeking perfection… perfect church, perfect ballet class, perfect orthodontist, perfect birthday party, perfect school, perfect marriage and, of course, perfect children. We expect/ demand that these “services” satisfy us completely so we don’t have to work or get uncomfortable.
Another said, "We must muzzle our egos to sit in worship with those whom we dislike or fear. What I think has been happening is that we have systematically been domesticating the church so that we no longer confront our real selves in worship."

Any time I put God and other people above my own ego, I am getting closer to living out his plan for me. I can see my "real self" more clearly. If I commit to River City, even knowing that it is not perfect, I am more likely to live a life full of complex flavor and texture, rather than one that tastes like chicken broth with no salt.

That being said, I cannot actually become a member of River City. The membership manual requires one to agree to some clearly delineated beliefs by signing on the line. Since I cannot do that in good conscience, I cannot be a member. While listening to one of Rob Bell's recent sermons, I heard him talk about an upcoming season of Covenanting, in which anyone can sign a card that makes a simple statement of commitment to the community and vision of Mars Hill in order to become a member. I would gladly sign one of those cards for River City and that spirit of covenant is in my heart. As it is, though, the focus on agreement of particular doctrinal beliefs keeps me from allowing others to recognize my commitment the vision of the church.

4. Finally, I like many of the people. I've been amazed at how often when I've admitted, "I don't really like people," I'd see relief on the face of my conversational partner as he or she said, "Me neither!" Another time, a man was telling me about how he was dropping out of one of the two degree programs he was in and he hastened to add that he had been getting A's in all of those classes. I laughed companionably and said, "Of course you were. People like us don't quit while we're down." It's been interesting to realize that there are other people like me out there and that I'm slowly becoming friends with them. Who expected to find them at church?!? It's the "slowly" aspect that also surprises me and reinforces my decision to stick around. I forget that although some friendships are vibrant and immediate and intense, others are formed over time and common activities. Both are necessary for community and I want to spend some time being available to the latter.


I have come across a series of blog posts about shopping for churches and the detriment to our experiences when we do it because we are looking for comfort rather than allowing God to lead us into a new dynamic. In addition to those I've linked to, check out Ed Gilbreath. Allowing God to take us out of our comfort zone is always tumultuous and always beneficial. We become less self-centered and more empathetic as we are exposed to the different thought-processes. Shane Hipps said:
The way that I think about engaging it is…well, let’s look at how Jesus interacted with his culture. Jesus used three primary movements in every context. The first movement is towards. So he was incarnational. He entered. People like to use the word relevant for this. But Jesus also moved against the culture, he was resistant. He overturned tables in the temple and said “You brood of vipers.” So he was both relevant and resistant. And third, Jesus withdrew to quiet places. He was also distant, he moved away. So you have three rhythmic movements of toward, against, and away—relevance, resistance, and distance. And none of those can be static. They always have to be happening.
I'd like to use these three attitudes in my engagement with the church.

On Easter, I had a bit of a revelation as I sat in what I consider to be the ideal church, St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Glen Ellyn. The pastor was talking about doing the Lord's work and the archaic phrase made me pause and think. I wondered if writing this blog was Lord's work and the incense and time for meditation gave me space to come slowly to agreement that it was. This is how prayer works for me: a thought occurs to me; then I try to quiet my mind and start looking at that thought from several different angles to find flaws; in that quiet and in more meditation in which I stop examining and try to listen, ultimately I come to feel convicted that the thought is truth. I think that's how God speaks to me. I have to be quiet and then I can hear him. So, on Easter when I determined that writing this blog is part of the Lord's work for me, I then came to the conclusion that the blog wouldn't be very interesting if there weren't internal spiritual conflict to write about in addition to the adventures I have and observations I record. What provides more internal spiritual conflict than my church, right? When three blogs that I read also began to talk about the value of tension in the church, I had to sit down and write this out.

So, I have no doubt that River City will continue to be a struggle for me. However, I also have no doubt that the struggle will be worthwhile.

No cookie jokes, please.

I have ten little African-American Girl Scouts working in the warehouse this morning. They are aged 8-13. It is a delight to watch them and also an adjustment to realize how long it takes a group of five to do something I could do by myself. That's OK. Facilitating volunteers is only partially about how much work gets done. Mostly, it's about providing volunteers with opportunities to learn more about themselves and the world outside their spheres.

They are currently lined up outside my office for the bathroom that is next door, drinking water from the machine and resting. It's 10:15 and they've been working for an hour taking school supplies out of boxes and putting them on shelves. One of them just said as I was walking past, "Now I see what grown folks mean when they be saying they tired."

Oh, the facts of life.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Get Your Mind Out of the Gutter

I just came out of the closet a little bit to several folks from church when I put the URL to my post about wrestling into an email that I sent out to a bunch of Chicagoland folks to see if they wanted to use some of the tickets that I bought for the match next Saturday.

I’ve been nervously watching the stats to see if they would follow the link and take advantage of the access that I’ve granted them to some of my personal thoughts. The nervousness has mostly passed since I notice that every one of these nice, church-going folks follow the sidebar links to Nice Ass and Fuck It. Not one of them has yet followed the link to Holy and Dearly Loved.

It has made me laugh very hard.

Saturday, April 14, 2007


Where I work, there is a portion of the building dedicated to donating new-but-obsolete building supplies to individuals and organizations that are working to rebuild the infrastructure of the inner city. Within this area, there is a display counter of faucets that is, in essence, a countertop that has several holes drilled all over it to accomodate the ever-changing stock of faucets that are donated to us. Because the display counter is attemting to maximize surface area, many of the faucets are displayed right along the front edge of the counter, which sometimes strikes one as odd because we are used to faucets being along the back edge of the counter behind a sink.

Do you remember being a kid, standing on a footstool, reaching so far to twist the knobs? Have you held a toddler who seemed to be gaining weight as you were holding her while she twisted her hands over and over each other in the running water to rinse off the soap that you have just slathered on them, knowing that her pleasure in the action and not her lack of dexterity was the cause of your growing muscle fatigue?

As I walked through the display area at work on my way to the postage machine, Marcell had found the solution to these dilemma. He was about two and a half or three: just the age to experience the keen frustration that results from the combination of sinks and his short arms. While his mother and grandmother were talking with customer service 15 feet away, he must have spotted this nirvana of hand washing and toddled off with the focus that only a child with the hood of his winter parka pulled up over his head and velcro-ed over the lower two-thirds of his face can accomplish. (Yes, it's April in Chicago.) As I turned the corner, there he was, determinedly flipping up the handles of these impotent faucets and twining his hands around each other repeatedly in that distinctive motion. As he finished washing his hands at one faucet, he would reach up and flip the handle down, then move over five inches to be underneath the next faucet and do the whole thing all over again.


Thursday, April 05, 2007

Seeping in through the cracks

I have run back into the arms of fiction and it has wrapped me up with forgiveness and comfort.

Those of you that have been reading know that I have recently been immersed in books that illustrate the lives and philosophies of folks that have forsaken the world’s idea of what success is (house in the suburbs, fancy car, self-sufficiency) to become inter-dependent with people that are forced to live in under-resourced communities.

They live such joy and authenticity. It is hard work but it is work that has been stripped to its essentials and is, therefore, more satisfying. Studies are starting to show that all of our wealth is making us unhappier, using phrases like “choice anxiety” and citing the loneliness of the car-based suburbs. So, the alternative to constant worry about possessions is to let them go and begin loving people.

I want this.

So far, I have not yet been able to trust God enough with my life to actually do it.

This past week, a guest teacher at Mars Hill church ended his sermon by what seemed to be a standard inspirational story about how he was diagnosed with a disease seven years ago that should have killed him after it seriously debilitated him in five years. Two years past that deadline, he was still alive and walking without a cane. I was only half-listening at this point while I did my filing and paper work. Yadda, yadda. Isn’t God great? Miracles, yeah, yeah.

But it turns out that this was all background for him to talk about he and his wife’s tight financials in their retirement because his disease is so expensive. He went into great detail about how they have stretched everything so that they would be able to support themselves, if spartanly, for their rest of their lives.

He reminded us that Zaccheus resolved to give half of what he owned to the poor when faced with love and acceptance from Jesus. He asked, “Would I be willing to give half of what we have to the poor like God wants us to?”

This type of rhetorical question is usually a set-up for the pastor to be an example for the rest of the congregation and he then goes on to explain how he’s chosen to follow God more closely.

But this pastor said, “Would I be willing to give half of what we have to the poor like God wants us to?” With grief in his voice, he answered, “The answer is somewhere between ‘I don’t know’ and, ‘Probably not.’”

His honesty stopped my filing. He voiced what has been making me so uncomfortable as I read these books. He, too, can’t trust God enough to let go, and he’s been a pastor for 50 years! He didn’t even resolve it by protesting that he was trying to mend his ways.

His grief echoed my own for my inability to let go.

Sober alcoholics have hit bottom and, while they were down there, they realized that they are not ever going to be perfect because only God is perfect. This means that they cannot actually control their lives. Only God can, even if God is that doorknob over there. I believe that when we can truly let go of the idea that we can control our own lives, we can be truly happy. The lilies of the field, you know? I am sometimes irrationally envious of sober alcoholics because they have a clear and focused reason to keep them on the path of humility and dependence on the divine. If they don’t, they will begin drinking again.

If I fall off the path of acting like I believe that I’m just as broken as the next guy, there are no dire consequences that I can see, so there is only abstract motivation to stay on the path. I have to remind myself that the cumulative consequences are just as bad as falling off the wagon is for drunks.

So, I have been reading a steady stream of books that have made me extremely uncomfortable because I accept the high standards that they set forth AND know that I don’t measure up to them. I’m not used to not measuring up. So, I’ve done what any imperfect would have done.

I ran away.

I ran back into the arms of fiction and it was SO good. It feels like what I think it felt like for my friend Jess to heedlessly begin smoking again because her new boyfriend does. We know it’s going to be bad for us in the long run, but after having abstained for so long, it tastes SO good.

I’ve read about 6 or 7 books of fiction in the last 3 weeks and just started the next one at lunch today: Ursula K. LeGuin’s Four Ways to Forgiveness. She writes fantastic speculative fiction (that’s a sub-category of science fiction) prolifically and I keep finding titles that I never knew existed at used bookstore to read and enjoy.

Melissa Etheridge’s song, “Lover Please” sets up a story in which the singer has just put together all the clues and realizes that her partner is about to leave her. She sings, “Oh this one's gonna hurt like hell.” The phrase sticks in my head because it perfectly captures that experience of dread because it doesn’t hurt YET, but that lack of pain just gives her more clarity of mind to imagine just how badly it WILL hurt. We’ve all torn off that band-aid.

So, I’m only on page 4 and I read this passage:

All the holy abstinence she had intended when she came here two years ago, the single bowl of unflavored grain, the draft of pure water, she’d given that up in no time. She got diarrhea from a cereal diet, and the water of the marshes was undrinkable. She ate every fresh vegetable she could buy or grow, drank wine or bottled water or fruit juice from the city, and kept a large supply of sweets – dried fruits, raisins, sugar-brittle, even the cakes Eyid’s mother and aunts made, fat disks with a nutmeat squashed onto the top, dry, greasy, tasteless, but curiously satisfying. She bought a bagful of them and a brown wheel of sugar-brittle, and gossiped with the dark-eyed little women who had been at old Uad’s wake last night and wanted to talk about it . . . She did not merely hear; she asked for details, she drew the gossip out; she loved it.

What a fool, she thought, starting slowly home on the causeway path, what a fool I was to think I could ever drink water and be silent! I’ll never, never be able to let anything go, anything at all. I’ll never be free, never be worthy of freedom. Even old age can’t make me let go. Even losing Safnan can’t make me let go.

Before the Five Armies they stood. Holding up his sword, Enar said to Kamye: My hands hold your death, my Lord! Kamye answered: Brother, it is your death they hold.

She know those lines, anyway. Everybody knew those lines. And so then Enar dropped his sword, because he was a hero and a holy man, the Lord’s younger brother. But I can’t drop my death. I’ll hold it to the end, I’ll cherish it, hate it, eat it, drink it, listen to it, give it my bed, mourn it, everything but let it go.

Oh this one’s gonna hurt like hell.

Fiction is a life passion of mine because it can tell the truth about life so clearly because it people as the medium with which it communicates. It is the ultimate in communication through identification because we all have stories. Like Tim O’Brien says in The Things They Carried, “Just because it didn’t happen doesn’t mean it’s not true.”

This book is about the same things that those books by Shane Claiborne and Bob Lupton and Rob Bell are about.

I’m in trouble.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Recommended Reading

I got this from Mike over at Emerging Pensees.

Here's how you play. Take a look and see which ones you’ve read. Then, if you’re a blogger, post it on your blog. If you play, leave me a comment so that I can come visit!
Here’s what you do:
* Bold the ones you’ve read.
* Italicize the ones you want to read.
* Leave in normal text the ones that don’t interest you.
* Put in ALL CAPS those you haven’t heard of.
* Put an asterisk (*) by the ones you recommend.
* Put a plus (+) next to the ones you've seen the movie or TV show of.
* At the end of the list, add one more fiction book that you've read and would highly recommend.

1. The DaVinci Code (Dan Brown)*
2. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
3. To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
4. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)
5. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien) *+
6. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien) *+
7. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien) *+
8. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)+
9. Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)
10. A FINE BALANCE (Rohinton Mistry)
11. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling)*+
12. Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)
13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling)*+
14. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)**********+
15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
16. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone(Rowling)*+
17. FALL ON YOUR KNEES (Ann-Marie MacDonald)
18. The Stand (Stephen King)
19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Rowling)*+
20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
21. The Hobbit (Tolkien)*
22. The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
23. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)
25. Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
26. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)*+
27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
28. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis)*+
29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck)
30. Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom)
31. Dune (Frank Herbert)*+
32. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)
33. Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)
34. 1984 (Orwell)
35. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)*+
37. The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay)+
39. The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)
40. THE ALCHEMIST (Paulo Coelho)
41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)
42. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
44. The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)
45. The Bible *
46. Anna Karenina (Tolstoy)
47. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)
48. Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt)
49. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)*+
50. SHE'S COME UNDONE (Wally Lamb)
51. The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)
52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)
53. Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card)*
54. Great Expectations (Dickens)
55. The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)
56. THE STONE ANGEL (Margaret Laurence)
57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)*+
58. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)
59. The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)*
60. The Time Traveler's Wife (Audrey Niffenegger)*
61. Crime and Punishment(Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
62. The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)
63. War and Peace (Tolstoy)
64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice)+
65. FIFTH BUSINESS (Robertson Davies)
66. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
67. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (Ann Brashares)
68. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
69. Les Miserables (Victor Hugo)+
70. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
71. Bridget Jones's Diary (Helen Fielding)
72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)*
73. Shogun (James Clavell)
74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)
75. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson)
76. The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay)
77. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
78. The World According to Garp (John Irving)*+
79. The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)+
80. Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White)+
81. NOT WANTED ON THE VOYAGE (Timothy Findley)
82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck)
83. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)+
84. Wizard's First Rule (Terry Goodkind)
85. Emma (Jane Austen)
86. Watership Down (Richard Adams)
87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
88. THE STONE DIARIES (Carol Shields)
89. BLINDNESS (Jose Saramago)
90. KANE AND ABEL (Jeffrey Archer)
91. IN THE SKIN OF A LION (Michael Ondaatje)
92. Lord of the Flies (William Golding)
93. The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)
94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)
96. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)
97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch)
98. A WOMAN OF SUBSTANCE (Barbara Taylor Bradford)
99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)
100. Ulysses (James Joyce)
101. Till We Have Faces (C.S. Lewis)*

My addition:
102. Cryptonomicron (Neal Stephenson)*