Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Out of the Salt Shaker and Into the World - Chapters 3 through 5

So, I have a bit of catching up to do. I got some reading done on Sunday at the Hamer-Wilson's house, after putting Jonah to bed. It was interesting, actually, I was sitting in an armchair in Jill and Jono's living room, and there beside me on Jill's desk was her copy of the same book. I'm always intrigued by books as gifts, because, well, the fact that somebody wants you to read and enjoy something makes you look at if differently. Luckily, I'm quite enjoying this book, so it's not like I'm bored lifeless and feeling pressured to slog on with my readings.


Chapter 3:
This chapter starts with Pippert's story about Lois, a girl whom she met while doing university ministry. In a few pages, Lois goes from living with her boyfriend and spiritually seeking to becoming a Christian, moving out of her boyfriend's apartment and sort of refocusing and redirecting everything. What strikes me about this passage is Lois' bravery. I mean, I don't really think I'd be bold enough to make such a drastic change in my life. That's awesome. It reminds me of this idea from C.S. Lewis:
We are not living in a world where all roads are radii of a circle and where all, if followed long enough, will therefore draw gradually nearer and finally meet at the centre: rather in a world where every road, after a few miles, forks into two, and each of those into two again, and at each fork you must make a decision.
I do not think that all who choose wrong roads perish; but ther rescue consists in being put back on the right road. A sum can be put right: but only by going back till you find the error and working it afresh from that point, never by simply going on.
-The Great Divorce, Preface.

I find the idea of me having to make things right myself and you having to make things right yourself intriguing. I realize the actions of Lois, and others like her, were accomplished by the strengh (and grace) of God, but....while God makes it possible to retrace your steps, you are responsible for picking up your own legs and marching back along the path. (?) Just thinking out loud here...

Chapter 4
I love, love, love Pippert's amplification of the story of the prodigal son! (p. 58-60) Basically, she imagines the return party in the son's honour through the eyes of a neighbour. The neighbour sticks his nosy head into the house to see what all the ruckus is about and sees this guy dressed in robes and jewelry and he gets all excited, thinking they must be entertaining a prince. When the robed, bejewlled figure turns around, however, the neighbour is horrified to see a filthy, gaunt, unshaven, and sickly (she's got me picturing crack-addict, STD-infected, sight for sore eyes) guy...and can't fathom why the father is so happy to be serving this sewer rat as a guest of honour.

That description brings the Parable of the Prodigal Son to life for me. I love that story to begin with, but...wow...that really drives home the idea of forgiveness.

Chapter 5
"Jesus called his disciples to be different... He identified, yes, but he was never identical with the world. My fear today is that we may enjoy talking of the Christian's pharisaic problem while we ignore the call to be different. We must never try to escape from the truth that there is a fundamental difference between Christians and non-Christians. If we ignore or minimize this differernce, we will be of little use to God or the world." (p. 76-77)
--Enough said.

I also love the little tidbits of trivia about the Pharisees that are included in various places throughout the book. (The 'Battered and Bruised'--or something like that--Pharisees who used to run into walls...? The dart game they used to play, throwing a dart through a scroll, having somebody read the word at the point in the scroll where the dart had struck and then trying to recite the verse from that point, by memory.... Craziness.)

I've also got a question about Blue Like Jazz that relates to this book, but I can't find my copy. (I think I lent it to Kristi.) Pippert used to do work at Reed College. Isn't that where Don Miller was? (I thought Don Miller said there were no Christians on campus....)

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