What books shaped you?

I was wasting ti- uhm, I mean, I was surfing the net, and came across somebody who asked the question “What books shaped your view of the world?” (I’m not sure that was his exact question.  But I like the wording) When I say “world” I don’t mean just Earth, of course; I mean reality, existence, etc.

So: What books shaped your world?

And I’m just going to call you a show-off ninny if you name the bible.  We’ll assume that goes with out saying if you’re a Christian.  However, if you’ve got a favorite book of the bible, I guess we’ll call that permissible.

Maybe I’ll post mine in a future post.



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The stories that speak to our soul begin at a home where things are good. Cinderella is happy with her father. The three little pigs have grown up and are ready to move on. Bilbo Baggins knows his shire. Adam and Eve walk with God in the garden. My story isn’t much different. There was a time and a place where it was so good. There was a community for me. And there was joy. We were filled with a sincere desire to do what God wanted us to do. We possessed explanations and understandings that went a certain distance. We offered security and tradition and laughter. For a lot of years, that was enough. I have this sense that it was also necessary. I have this surety, now, that it certainly wasn’t everything. There were some things that became increasingly problematic as time went by. There was a desire to package things up so very neatly. Sunday morning services were efficient and strategic. Responses to differences of opinion were premeditated. Formula began to feel more important than being real. A real desire for everybody to be one of us, but also a real sense that there is an us, and there is a them. They carried a regret that it has to be this way, but deeper than this regret was a surety that this is how it is. I began to recognize that there was a cost of admission to that group. There were people who sat at the door, collecting it. Those people wished they didn’t have to. But I guess they felt like they did have to. They let some people in, and they left others out. There was a provisional membership. My friends did possess a desire to accommodate people that are different… But it would be best for everyone concerned if they were only a little bit different. I did make many steps forward in this place. Before I went there, there were lies that I believed. Some of the things that I learned there, I still hold on to. But that place is not my home anymore. Those people are not my community anymore. There were times it was hard. I am engaged in a different community now. And I am working hard at finding a place in many different places now, embracing many different kind of families. I don’t always get it right. I am trying and I am learning and I am moving foreward. I have this sense that I am not alone in these experiences. I believe that we are tribe and we are growing. We are pilgrims, looking for a new holy land. Perhaps we won’t settle on the same spot of land. But if you’ve read this far, I am thinking that we are probably headed in the same general direction. I have begun this blog to talk about where my journey is taking me. In every space, we find people who help us along. And maybe we can get to know each other, here. We embrace ideas that provide a structure for the things we believe, and perhaps we can share these too. Maybe we can form a group, a tribe, a community, if we can figure out a way to work through the shadow of these kinds of groups, if we can bigger than the us-and-them ideas that have caused so much trouble in the past. As important as they are, I think the very nature of online interactions will lend itself to something equally powerful. I am stumbling onto these practices that my grandfathers and great grandfathers in the faith engaged in. I am learning about these attitudes and intuitions are so different than the kinds of things we call doctrine today. I don’t know about you, but I am running out of patience, and even interest, in conversations about doctrine. I hope that maybe you’ll share a little something about where your journey is taking you, and maybe our common joys and challenges might help each other along, and we might lift each other up. Thanks for doing this journey with me.

8 thoughts on “What books shaped you?”

  1. Blue Like Jazz by Don Miller
    I was brought up in a fundamentalist church – this book showed me it was ok to question what had been drummed into my head.

    Choosing to Cheat by Andy Stanley
    great book on balancing work and life/family
    hopefully freed me from my workaholic nature


  2. ‘1984’ by George Orwell, which got me thinking about Pilate’s question “What is truth?”

    ‘The Outsider’ by Colin Wilson, which shows how physical weakness can be useful.


  3. ecclesiastes.
    blue like jazz. [don miller]
    the secret message of jesus. [brian mclaren]
    fahrenheit 451. [ray bradbury]
    anything by lois lowry. and any other dystopia books i’ve had the pleasure to read. :]


  4. Blue like Jazz by Don MIller
    Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell
    The Harry Potter series (Not really, I just liked them)
    The leadership Pipeline
    7 practices of effective ministry by Andy Stanley


  5. “Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch”
    i don’t know the author…or the illustrator.
    i have to fight back the tears everytime i read it at my daughters’ school.
    Thank God Valentine’s Day only comes once a year.


  6. C. S. Lewis, starting with The Chronicles of Narnia, then his “adult” and “serious” works, tho Screwtape Letters was not a major one; Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Cost of Discipleship; and finally The Desert Fathers by Helen Waddell.

    I think you know me well enough to know this already. I am just bored because I can’t sleep in Portland’s current heat wave. It was still 104 degrees today at 8 pm. Now at 10:30 is down to a reasonable 93, and I’ve just had another cold shower, and downed another glass of ice-cold Pellegrino… Aaah!


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