Friday, January 22, 2010

The God who smokes

Books offer each of us a journey. How we travel the journey I think much depends on how we are built. Some people when they go on a trip get the maps out, plan the route, make a picnic and decide when and for how long they are going to stop. They probably also leave plenty of time.

I am not that man

I just get in the car and drive and feel my way (usually quite poorly) to my destination. When I get lost, I pull out the map and get my bearings. For me reading is discovery. Books comes across my path and catch my eye. People recommend them, reviewers recommend them, you discover them in bookshops and sometimes in reading one book the author of that book leads you on to another.

An example of how this works is my experience of reading The Life you always wanted. All the way through, John Ortberg refers to Dallas Willard. I had never heard of him but the persistent praise and reference told me this was someone worth a detour on my reading journey. It awakened me to the joys of Willard who I may well have remained completely ignorant of.

Over Christmas I read The God who smokes which I loved- in it the author recommends a book called The Three Philosophies by Peter Kreeft and I really liked the way it describes the wisdom books.

Ecclesiastes -Life as vanity

Job- Life as suffering

Song of Songs- Life as love

It was also clear that this book had greatly impacted Timothy Stoner. I knew that this may offer me an interesting read at some point this year so it has gone on the list. Here is the quote from Kreeft that caught my attention.

C S Lewis said that the meaning of life is about getting a face, about becoming real and about becoming yourself. Becoming real is all about gaining substance."It is not easy getting a face. It is done by suffering not sinning, by saying No as well as Yes: by climbing against the gravity of the selfish-self, not by the direct paths of self-realization and self-actualization." Then he drops a little bomb, "The meaning of life is war"

You may or may not agree that "The meaning of life is war" but I have been pondering the idea ever since.

May these couple of books, among the many, perhaps offer you a discovery or two on your reading journey. They are worth a detour.

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