Walking in the Light: January 2006

If you're casting your shadow before you
If moving forward you see only darkness, failure and imperfection.
It is possible that the light is at your back
And it's time to turn around.


HELP! Unlike a friend who used Oswald Chamber's MY UTMOST FOR HIS HIGHEST every morning for 20 years, I'm a firm believer in checking out a variety of perspectives. So, after enjoying Barclay's Daily Study Series on MARK, I looked for someone else to add into my morning trek through the scriptures. Thumbing through the Epistle section of our exegesis shelf, I realized I had developed high criteria: I wanted something that marched straight through a book of the Bible, providing a daily reading and commentary of a couple of pages. I didn't want an overview that bounced around, or sermons on how-to-be-better. I also didn't want to try to add a lengthy, convoluted chapter into my daily round of Psalms, OT, Epistle and Gospel. Just give me a couple minutes' reading that adds a bit of insight or information to some portion of my Biblical journey. I came up empty handed. Has anyone else organized a commentary as nicely as Barclay? Let me know what you've found. Meanwhile I am now in REVELATION, with Barclay's Volume 1 at my side.

"The best thing about the future is that it only comes one day at a time." - Abraham Lincoln

LIFE RULES: Nine of us met last month to discuss our rule of life. We each came away with a short list of "try this" that we gleaned from each other. On Friday, February 3rd, we'll gather at 1:30 to see how it went. An hour's meeting on morphing. You're welcome to join us.

FICTION: Ursula Le Guin's young adult novel, THE BEGINNING PLACE, served me well on the flight to Colorado. In it, a dispirited young man discovers a sanctuary of stream and wood at the concrete edge of urban sprawl. A young woman has also discovered this entrance to another land and, of course, they soon discover each other. Although this isn't my favorite Le Guin fantasy, it was a good airplane read. Unfortunately I left it in Colorado with my mom, so you don't get it for a buck.

The other novels I read this month were pretty bad, especially LOST by Gregory Maguire. He's made a career of writing novels around the bad guys in fairy tales (Wicked, Ugly Step Sisters). It's potentially a great concept, but LOST was the most inane combination of spiritism, psychology and unenlightened Christian allusions that I've read in a long time. This one is available for a buck, if anyone wants it.

Of course the nice thing about reading bad novels is that one emerges thinking, "I can do better than that!" Mary Ellen keeps harassing me to have another writing class, so if there are six of us that want to WRITE THAT STORY on Monday afternoons, we can meet at The Word Shop for six weeks. Say 1:00. Let me know. $20.

"Many people hear voices when no-one is there. Some of them are called mad and are shut up in rooms where they stare at the walls all day. Others are called writers and they do pretty much the same thing." -Margaret Chittenden, writer

A briefer alternative is the Lunch Bunch at Felton Presbyterian on February 28. I'll be doing a program at noon there on "The Five Sentence Story."

Best Title for a Writing Book: Ursula Le Guin's STEERING THE CRAFT.
Best Book on Writing Fiction: SELF-EDITING FOR FICTION WRITERS by Renni Browne and David King.
10 Best Writing Books: Ask me for my page of Writing Book Blurbs.

"What a strange machine man is! You fill him with bread, wine, fish, and radishes, and out comes sighs, laughter, and dreams." -Nikos Kazantzakis, poet and novelist (1883-1957)

COMMUNITY is a product of commitment. The Word Shop's commitment to keeping a corner of the kingdom alive in Aptos has given rise to several odd little communities that come and go...bumping and circling like blood cells carrying oxygen throughout the body. I meditated on this while doing our 2005 accounts and reading Jean Vanier's COMMUNITY AND GROWTH; Our Pilgrimage Together. "Life in community is a marvelous adventure," he says and 40 years with the l' Arche communities for handicapped people has honed his wisdom on the subject. This book will cost you $6, unless you'd rather have it new for $21.

"In the Heart of Jesus; Learning to Heal and to Understand" is the theme of the Order of St. Luke Regional Conference and Healing Mission on February 24 - 25. Praise music led by Gracenotes (that's Carolyn and I). We'll have a book table there too. Every OSL conference I've attended has been an occasion of deep blessing, healing, and growth. The event begins at St. George's in Salinas with a free Healing Service at 7 on Friday night. All are welcome.

"The sun, with all those planets revolving around it and dependent upon it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else in the universe to do." -Galileo Galilei, physicist and astronomer (1564-1642)

Spend some time in the Son.

Alliee +