I'm reading GOD'S SECRETARIES by Adam Nicolson, a book that Carolyn brought to the June Literary Party on Royalty. Subtitled The Making of the King James Bible, the book is an engaging exploration of the political, religious and social landscape of England in the early 1600's. The people and positions of the Biblical translating team and the contexts they operated in reveal much about the reformation, the antecedents of our separation of church and state, and the face of the church, which today still holds many of the same the tensions that were at work in Jacobean England.
We had our own *passing through the locked door* experience at The Word Shop over Easter. I closed on Good Friday, leaving a note on the door that we would be closed through Monday April 1. Lillian and Krista held down the fort on Tuesday; I showed up for the First Tuesday Writers at 7:00.
The writers had a wonderful time crowded around the back room table. Terrie, who attended for the first time, wrote a charming piece about dropping off a couple bags of books and coming upon a stranger in the back room of the store, with no staff around. Cute.
Last week the five editors of This is Terrible: the Writer's Lament met around the back table of The Word Shop. The mood was cautiously victorious. Our book was now in hand -- in boxes, in stacks -- and it looked . . . it looked GOOD. "It looks like a book." one of us said with some reverence.
We all giggled. I had said the same thing to the printer, who had responded with an odd look. When I had given Shannon her contributor's copy, she'd said, "This is an odd thing to say but, well . . . it looks like a book."
I went to an Order of St. Luke Healing conference held at ECCO, the conference center in Oakhurst, where we have attended family camp for twenty years. Being in that setting with a new group of people who were also committed to functioning in the authority of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit, brought into focus the work of God and the ministry experience that has been built up year by year in our annual week at the Gerard Family Camp.
Recently I attended a new Anglican church. The priests had been ordained two weeks previously, most of the congregation had come from evangelical churches. It was the first baptism in the church. They were learning to dance.
Meanwhile, in Roman Churches, a few lines of the mass have been changed and whole congregations that use to smoothly whirl around the floor with their eyes on their dance partner, are suddenly stumbling en-masse over the new steps.
Its all somewhat amusing, and very sweet.
I'm not reading as many books as I used to. This fact is not immediately evident from the stacks on my coffee table, but a careful scrutiny of said stacks would reveal that the same books have been teetering atop each other for too many months.
The culprit is my iPad, a small bookish sized device, which masquerades as a book, but which does not deliver the substance or the nutrition of a book. Instead it spews email, tweets and facebook chatter which, like potato chips or m&m's are momentarily tasty, but lack long term nutritional value.
It is the Greatest Show on Earth; the people gathered by cords of love; the celebration focused on the unique and life giving union between a man and a woman.
"I bought a book," I said to my husband as I slit open the box. "I used my credit card points on it, so it's not like I spent any money."
"That's OK, Alliee," he responded. "You can buy a book."
My mother was an English teacher; my father a Philosophy professor. Add in three articulate, opinionated children, and you a lot of words flying around the house. I was thinking about this a few weeks ago while cruising Staples -- something I occassionally do when I have over-spent myself.
Reading Sue Miller's well written novel, THE DISTINGUISHED GUEST, I traipse past a line about Americans always needing to invent themselves. The line didn't stop me; it wasn't a delicious quote. Maybe the word was "re-invent themselves." I'm not going to sift through the story about an elderly, semi-famous woman's last weeks with her son's family, just to find the quote.
If you didn't get my newsletter last month, you were in good company. All the hotmail, sbcglobal, earthlink and a few other email addresses bounced. By the time I sorted everything out, it was mid January and sending a 12-Days of Christmas newsletter felt odd. If you're feeling left-out, you can still read it on the companyofsaints.com website. Click the Hot Reads button on the left. Meanwhile, if you'd rather not get this monthly letter in your email box, please hit return and let me know. Unsubscribing is easy; and better than languishing in junk mail.
In her book Leaving Church, Barbara Brown Taylor complained that there was no place in the church to be an adult. This is particularly interesting considering that she was one of the early female Episcopal Priests, got burned out after a number of years in parish ministry and then concluded with that statement.