Times Squared: June 2005

"I don't really know what I want to do when I grow up," said my high-schooler as we discussed college possibilities.

"Me either," I said.

"Well, you're running out of time," he grinned.


Dave brought in Jason Boyett's POCKET GUIDE TO THE APOCALYPSE; The Official Field Manual for the End of the World. It comes complete with an "Apocalyptionary--a glossary of the end," with such gems as "Abaddon: a chief fallen angel....not to be confused with the German death metal band...." Next is a listing of end of the world prophecies beginning in 2000-1500 BC Persia and tromping right thru the centuries to December 26, 2004 in guess where. Then there's a description and list of potential candidates for the antichrist ranging from popes and presidents to Bill Gates. And finally descriptions of the various 'illennialisms'....which I haven't got to yet. I might not make it, having died laughing. As J. Jenkins said, "This guy is going to be SO left behind."

"Don't worry about the world coming to an end today. It's already tomorrow in Australia." --Charles Schultz

I read THE ALCHEMIST by Paulo Coelho, which helped inspire Keri to walk the Appalachian trail. I don't think I want to walk the Appalachian trail when I grow up, but you never know. The book is a mix of Christian and generic spirituality--a lovely parable about following your dream. All very well if you only have one dream, but what if you dream up a new one every other day?

I also read THE VALKYRIES by the same guy. It was supposed to be an autobiography--all about tromping through the desert looking for his angel. Why? Um, because it's cool, I guess. I'm not against people seeing angels, you understand, but the book made me think about the difference between following after spiritual experiences and following Jesus. Something can get twisted in the quest to just get more spiritual. Both Coelho's books are under $5 used.

I also read the first two novels in Philip Pullman's "His Dark Materials Trilogy." Now I'm going to have to read the third one too, because the second one didn't end. Sort of like the second Tolkien movie: "You call that an ending???" I bitched to my family. "It's a TRILOGY," they bellowed (as if I didn't know). There are no orcs in Pullman's books, but there are plenty of other intriguing beings. It's well written fantasy-adventure with lots of things to think about. The church is the bad-guy. It might be demonic. I haven't decided yet. I'll let you know after #3.

Patrick writes that he's on book #4 in the RAJ QUARTET by Paul Scott: "one of the best reading experiences of my life." Personally, I don't think I'm up to four novels on the passing of the British Empire in India. Besides I've already figured out that Patrick and Ted like the same kind of book...great literature that is usually too heavy and depressing for me. Bring on the fluff.

One of my favorite lines is, "it came to pass..." Excellent for muttering at those dark moments.

Malinda writes that the following books helped her job search: "A Practical Guide to Creative Career Design, Zen and the Art of Making a Living, CliffsNotes, Getting a Job, Your Sacred Self, Making the Decision to Be Free, What Should I Do With my Life and The True Story of People Who Answered the Ultimate Questions." She says that she also prayed and prayed about finding a job and lots of folks at family camp were praying too. Did she find a good job? You bet!

LIVING WITH CONTRADICTION is my current companion book. This Introduction to Benedictine spirituality by Esther de Waal, fleshes out concepts in her smaller devotional style book, SEEKING GOD. LIVING WITH CONTRADICTION is more cohesive than last summer's class text, LOST IN WONDER, although it's not as full of nuggets and quotes. $15 new...$5 for this used edition (when I'm done). Here's a quote:

"...being committed to God is not about being nice. It's about being real."

The other book I'm reading at the rate of a few pages a day is William Barclay's GOSPEL OF MARK in his Daily Study Bible Series. I like my scripture in the morning neat. (No rocks.) I don't usually read commentary type books, except when a particular scripture is bugging me. But I knew somehow, (a stray comment? by osmosis?) that this Scotsman was supposed to be good. So I picked the book up off the heap, opened it at random and was so taken by what I read, that I brought it home. I'm reading it in the afternoons. Thirty pages into it I went back to the store and grabbed his John and Luke. If Matthew comes in, I plan to nab it as well. However, there is another $5 Mark left on the shelf for you.

Until I figure out what I want to do when I grow up, I'll just do whatever is next. Like this newsletter. Then Big Sur Camping and Crawdad Society July 8-10 (are you coming?) Followed by a wedding in Colorado and then Family Camp the week of July 17. You are NOT all invited to the wedding, but you MAY bring your tent to Big Sur or come to Family Camp Week (which isn't really a camp...more like hotel.) Hit Reply, Write Words.

The First Tuesday Writer's Group is still happening at 7:15 on the first Tuesday of the month. We've become very casual: Conversation on writing and other creative endeavors. People who write on other days than Tuesday are also welcome.

Coming up in August is a free forum for church and para church LIBRARIANS. This will be an opportunity for librarians and materials resource people to share problems, innovations, and creative strategies with other Christians working in the same arena. Please pass this info on to your church librarian. It will be at The Word Shop on Tuesday, August 16 from 4:00 to 5:30. Let me know who is planning to attend. There may even be cookies or something.

END QUOTE: Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow." - Mary Anne Radmacher

I'll try again next month.

Alliee +