Community: July 2004

July is Christian Community month for us: The Big Sur Camping & Crawdad Society drew forty folk for relaxing, feasting, river play and goofy songs around the campfire; and Family Camp at the conference center in Oakhurst brought together seventy folk for a week of worship, prayer, fellowship, teaching, water play, disc golf, marshmallow roasts, creative experiments and goofy songs in the chapel. Draped around our living room in a post-camp glow, we talk of a possible Winter Family Gathering. Let me know if you have any bright ideas for a time & place.

Community is both the blessing and bane of Christianity; the longing of many hearts, the wounding of countless others. Often people give up. They retreat into a God & Me community of two, forswearing what they call 'organized religion.' My gut level response is always, "you call this ORGANIZED?"

So we come together. Some things work, some things don't. I'm the sort of person that likes to fiddle endlessly with the plan, the rules, the administration, the liturgy, the different ways we can come together....what if we try…? Maybe next year. Maybe you'll join us.

Books are another way of being in community; the thoughts and experiences of the ages passed from hand to hand. I had an interesting run of healing books beginning with AWAKENING INTUITION, a secular book by Mona Lisa Schultz about using your mind-body network for insight and healing. Since I tend to approach things from a soul & sprit perspective, it was interesting to read someone who moved from the physical to the mind and emotions...despite cringing past some of her spiritual stuff.
EXPERIENCE THE BLESSING focused on healings that flowed from the spiritual river of the Toronto worship. Edited by John Arnott the book includes the essays by many known Christians like Ted Haggard, Stephen Strang, Dick and Betty Mills, John and Paula Sandford...all who went to Toronto and wrote about their experiences. This book reminds us that the manifest presence of God IS a healing presence, and for me, it sparked an inner desire for that depth of corporate worship so rarely encountered.
HEALING THE WOUNDED SPIRIT by John and Paula Sanford is a fat book which offers the best delineation I've ever read of the difference between the personal/human spirit and the Holy Spirit. The outline of the purpose, function and development of the human spirit is worth the price of the book, $13.99. The copy that I read has already been sold so there are no deals on this one, but the other two are used books: $2 for the secular one, $4 for the Testimonies from Toronto.

Yesterday I was trying to cram yet another Jack Hayford book into our overstuffed shelves; sliding a stack of Hunter in one direction and shoving stack of Graham in the other. I decided it's time for an end of the summer sale: $5 for as many used books under $5 that you can carry out in your arms. This year, we'll exempt a few starred books. These *Sneetches* are books highly recommended books by staff and well worth the full $1-$4 each. First two weeks in August. One pass per person. Come and get 'em.

Jane writes that Philip Pullman is an intriguing fantasy author, despite being aniti-church. The third of his series, THE AMBER SPYGLASS, came into the store and has been sitting on my coffee table. The dilemma: do I wait for the first one of this series, or go ahead and read the third one? Please advise.

Tessa sent me two children's fantasies by Edgar Eager: THE WELL WISHERS and MAGIC BY THE LAKE. WELL WISHERS reminded me a bit of Mrs. Piggle Wiggle with it's magically tweaked character development. MAGIC BY LAKE was more of a time travel adventure. Good mid-elementary school fantasy now available for a couple dollars each.

131 CHRISTIANS EVERYONE SHOULD KNOW is a book by the editors of Christian History Magazine. It's comprised of a couple of pages of very readable biographies on luminaries through the ages. I'm going through a person a day--like multiple vitamins. Isn't it lovely that Christian community transcends time and space? You can have this copy in a hundred days or so...or order a new one for $14.99.

One glance at a book and you hear the voice of another person, perhaps someone dead for 1,000 years. To read is to voyage through time. -Carl Sagan, astronomer and writer (1934-1996)

It's a poor sort of memory that only works backward. -Lewis Carroll, mathematician and writer (1832-1898)

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