You never know what you’re going to turn up at a funeral.
My most recent one got me a couple of book recommendations, from my friend Cheri and her youngest son Nelson.
I have gotten both books through the library, and will report on Nelson’s recommendation in a later post.
Cheri’s book is The Year of Living Biblically, where a cosmopolitan non-practicing Jewish New Yorker tries to follow every rule in the Bible, from not trimming his beard to wearing white clothing to stoning adulterers (he used pebbles). One of his friends calls it immersion journalism. The author begins the year seeing it as somewhat of a lark, but now (I’m into his fourth month) he’s starting to see practical sides to his efforts. He stops lying, stealing (including the neighbor’s wireless signal), and gossiping. He is also seeing some benefit from prayer, and is starting to envision the possibility of an almighty, infinite God. I’m looking forward to reading the whole thing and seeing where he ends up.
One of his observations in the book was that praying for other people helps you be less self-focused, not as self-absorbed. I confess to a slight amusement as I read through his book – in some ways, I’m not taking the same journey (I feel no need to obey Old Testament rules on mixed fiber clothing) – and in other ways I feel way ahead of him. He mentions that using the bathroom of an establishment where you’re not a customer is stealing, because you’re using up soap and paper towels. I agree, and I consider the water used as well. We try to buy something from wherever we have a need to stop as we drive around.
And yet, as he talks about negative thoughts of others (internal gossiping), I find myself walking his same path. I was out driving this morning and had to check myself. The road was a three-lane one, a lane each way plus a shared center turn lane. The merging driver crossed the first lane of traffic and went to the center lane to come in to traffic. But then, instead of waiting for an opening, he sped up and bullied his way in where there wasn’t really a space. Worst of all, he did it two cars in front of me, so he was delaying my self-important trip to the store.
Check time. If anything, I may have been slowed down by five seconds. That’s nothing, even in the little picture. The load of umbrage I carried just then was bigger than the load of groceries I was going out for – and tons more expensive. Why the self-righteous anger, Steve?
Our minister writes this week of the rescue of the miners in Chile. Then he compares that to saving the lost from their spiritual darkness. That blog entry, combined with reading an outsider’s view of the Bible, reminded me that the guy who didn’t even cut me off is just operating according to his view of the world. It’s a wrong view, but he’s being consistent with what he believes.
Lord, give me Your eyes.