Sand Castles: July 2006

People often ask which church supports The Word Shop. The answer is, "Yes." The Church through the ages has constructed various groups, houses, denominations and organizations to meet the needs of her people and to proclaim the love of God in Christ Jesus to a diverse and hurting world. The shifting tides of cultural conditions wash away some structures and modify others. The amazing thing is that the Church survives at all.

The Church has supported The Word Shop with gifts poured out through individuals: Books, supplies, time, prayer, friendship, money... Last month I told Phil that if we got enough response to our $100 sponsor concept, we would keep-on-keeping-on despite the diminishing book orders and a big rent increase. Phil asked, "How many are enough?"

I said that ten sponsors would cover the rent increase for a year. In less than 24 hours ten people responded to June's newsletter. Right now we have 14 and 1/4 paid sponsors and several others on our "Approved Sponsors" list. This financial support has greatly encouraged me, the staff and other friends of The Word Shop. We thank God for each of you, for the many different ways people have taken part in this ministry and for the Lord's provision poured out though his people.

Someone also stuck a hundred dollar bill in one of the free paperbacks outside our window and dropped it in our mail slot. The accompanying note said that this was NOT a sponsorship, but seed money for a building fund. We ought to have, the note said, a larger place complete with nooks and crannies. If anyone knows of a suitable building for sale for $100, by all means let me know.


The Living Reminder by Henri Nouwen is a lovely exposition on the healing, sustaining, and guiding aspects of those who are a living reminder of Jesus Christ. The polarities of service and prayer, of presence and absence, of solitude and relationship are explored in a helpful and insightful way. $4.50 This is one of several Nouwen, Merton, Teresa and books of that ilk that arrived last month. I've also almost finished Merton's Thoughts in Solitude, $4. You can check out the titles of some others on the

"The more experience in living we have, the more we sense that closeness grows in continuous interplay between presence and absence." Henri Nouwen in The Living Reminder

I speak literary, dramatic and theological languages pretty well. I can do Christian-ese in various denominational dialects. Philosophy and Psychology are familiar and I'm fluent in pop-psychology, recovery and self-help. Science-ese is the most difficult language for me. Therefore reading The Heartmath Solution was a struggle. Doc Childre and Howard Martin present lots of studies proving interesting things about the heart's impact on the brain, our biochemical responses to various feelings, our electromagnetic fields and the way we can influence each other by touch or even close proximity. Translated into my primary language, the summation is: Praise God, lay hands on one another for healing and pray to the Lord enthroned in your heart. $3 used.

"Let the thankful heart sweep through the day and, as the magnet finds the iron, so it will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings!" - Henry Ward Beecher

Sweeping through rooms, however is another story. Cobwebs, crumbs and broken crayons. Just as rooms need walls to keep warm, denominational and doctrinal walls can provide a safe place to heal, nurture and grow the fruit of the heart. Walls keep out the wolves and mosquitos. When they are used, however, like the Berlin wall to keep people in, they become a prison...or in the case of the church, they become a cult.

What dastardly sin lurks in the bosom of an Episcopal Bishop that would cause four California Bishops to lodge a secret charge of abandoning the faith against him? Did he leave his wife for illicit relations with another man? No, that Bishop was ratified some years ago. What sin could be so grave, so dark that four Bishops who have long been on the cutting edge of inclusivity would seek to exclude this Bishop from ministry?

Could it be that the California Bishops, blowing tin trumpets of integrity, have engaged in political skullduggery because the California courts have ruled in favor of fleeing orthodox churches keeping their property? Are they afraid of losing not only more large, wealthy, conservative parishes, but a whole diocese to those who choose to remain with the World Wide Anglican Communion and the historic Christian faith? The plot to despose a fellow Bishop without a trial unmasks the thoughts and intent of these ultra-liberal Bishops. Inclusivity, you see, only applies to those who agree with them.

Fortunately Jesus proved on the night of his resurrection that he could walk through walls. We build our castles in the sand, with straw men protecting the borders. We fuss and connive, playing power politics over temporal boundaries. But in the end there is only one golden city and it shines forth from the heart of the Lord. Jesus knows his own.

"Oh, we have a home. We just need a house to put it in." --An anonymous child

A bunch of Philip Yancey books arrived. Although his Disappointment with God left me more disappointed then I was to start with, Fearfully and Wonderfully Made was a seminal book for my understanding of the body of Christ. Written with Dr. Brand, who did groundbreaking work in treating leprosy, the analogy of the physical body and the body of Christ is a wonderful blend of biology and spiritual truth. I also really liked both What's so Amazing about Grace, and Soul Survivor; How Thirteen Unlikely Mentors Helped My Faith Survive the Church. Books in the Yancey stack range from $4 to $7.00.

"A friend is a person before whom I may think aloud." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Amazon sent me an email that said, "You ordered How to Keep a Sketchbook Journal, you might enjoy..." A half an hour later I had compiled a lovely list of art/journal books. Between leading an Illustrated Journaling creative at Family Camp and the summer writing/art class with John's Gospel, I had an ample excuse to order several. Everyday Matters: a New York Diary by Danny Gregory begins, "I only started drawing fairly recently." His wife got run over by a subway, and he found drawing was a way to stay in the present, a way to count his blessings. It's an encouraging book for us beginners. $14.95.

Mixing words and pictures has opened whole new doors for me. Our summer class is almost over and we are contemplating continuing the writing/art Journaling through John on a monthly basis. Going at present rate it will take us quite a while to complete the Gospel. However, speed is not the issue. My husband's men's group has been wandering through Acts for at least 3 years. Let me know if want to take up paper and pencil and join the journey.

"The moment one gives close attention to anything, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself." --Henry Miller

Other Classes and Events:
LIFE RULES! Friday, August 4 at 1:30
"Sailing the High C's" --a speech on developing relationships. Aptos Toastmasters,
12:00 Wednesday, August 2, at the Rio Sands Hotel.
COMEDY MASTERS, 4:00 Sunday, August 13 at Michael's on Main.

Many thanks to our wonderful sponsors, to all who prayed for my son's surgery and healing, and to our Lord and Savior who pours out good gifts upon us all.


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