How can you not like a book that begins in the prologue with this quote?41okvydm4rl_sl500_aa240_

It is about a God of surprises, of One who comes in ordinary and the seamy.  It is about a God who will goose you.  It is about mystical moments when clearly the only thing that finally matters is this God who will never leave us alone, especially in the ordinary and angular places of life.  It is, I hope, a spirituality for unspiritual people.

A God that will goose you… what  a refreshing picture.  This book, Earthy Mysticism by Tex Sample is a breath of fresh air.  What it inspired me again was the idea that there is a God of surprises, a God who deals with the icky affairs of life.  It reminds me that the Old Testament is akin more to a modern day soap opera than the highly refined religiousness that we like to imprint on it.  And that is my life and the lives of those around me.  

Tex shares stories of his life that hint at the tragedy and injustices and hopes and dreams that real life is made of.

The sub title for this book is titled, “Spiritually for Unspiritual People”.  If one thing that I am convinced of is that there are very few spiritual people.  Come on, let’s just admit the reality, we are unspiritual people.  The life stories represented in this book rekindles the hope for a spirituality that would come regardless of my deservedness.  A spirituality that is and intersects life in unexpected places.

Tex shares a story about the height of the civil rights movement.  He tells his experience of joining Martin Luther King on his march from Selma to Montgomery.  This story is amazing, a must read for sure.  Another chapter ends like this…

Protest implies that the world is meant to be different.  The world is not created for futility and death.  It is not a place finally of cynicism and despair.  The silence and absence of God point to a different destiny, a different aim for the world.  Death, bondage and alienation do not have the last word.  The world doe snot end that way.  In this strange and paradoxical sense, I see God’s grieving, absent Silence as good news.

That is good news that we need to hear more from.

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So I always have on my bookshelf a number of books that I am reading, halfway read, or want to read. Unfortuantely life and making bread for my family gets in the way of my reading and so my bookshelf of unreads and half-reads continues to grow. But lately there are a few books that I have not gotten that have tickled my curiosity. This has led me to several late night purusals of amazon.com hoping beyond hope that there may be some crazy good deals out there.

Again, I have not read any of these books, but I will share why they stir me.

1. The Suburban Christian: Finding Spiritual Vitality in the Land of Plenty by Albert Hsu

With more and more Christians flooding into the suburbans I am really intrigued at the culture of the suburbs. We often think of ‘downtown culture’ and ‘farm way of life’ but I think it is entirely honest to think that there is a suburban culture. One that keeps us seperate, individualistic and apart.

2. Jesus for President: By Shane Claiborne

Well this one is obvious. With the partisan political climate that we are in today and with the avalanche of ugliness that is about to descend on the current Obama and McCain campaigns. (no matter if both have promised to play nice. Playing nice and politics is like asking a Nascar driver to race without a steering wheel.) But what if Jesus were President. What would that look like? What would be important to Him? This is one of the books that I am afraid to read.

3. Culture Making: Recovering our Creative Calling: By Andy Crouch

This title titliates me. Rather than be conformed by the culture around me, I am called to actually make a culture. Now I once was an avid fan of Age of Empires in which you would make an entire civilazation around a culture. You would actually make your own culture. Great for the imagination and computer, but not a real reality for life. Unless… maybe we are called to make culture instead of conform to the culture around us.

4. The Sacrament of the Present Moment: By Jean Pierre de Caussade

My wife has read this book and she found it utterly life transforming. So that is enough impetus for me to get this one. She really has been formed by this book. Especially having gone throught the cancer scare recently with her thyroid.

A good book is like a good seed. Once planted it brings forth much fruit. I look forward to reading these. Any other good book recommendations out there? Any must reads?