Yes, I am well aware I have a monster summer reading list that I have barely touched, and yet, I went out and purchased two totally new books a couple weeks ago to add to the pile(s).
Sue me. I like books.
I could blame the Parkrose Campus worship pastor, Devon, because I had run into him at the bookstore, and he had some great recommendations. (Seriously, he has some incredible insights and reads a lot.) But then, I know I would have bought a book or two, regardless if I found a scapegoat with a crazy mustache.
What I ended up with:
I first read Nouwen my freshman year of college. It was assigned reading in one of the Seattle Pacific core classes. I remember l-o-v-i-n-g the book. I read it cover to cover, underlined favorite passages, and vowed to save it forever. Something about the simple way he said really powerful things moved me. You'd think I'd read more of his books.
Something about me (other than my massive library): I think a lot. StrengthFinder 2.0 says "input" is my third strength (preceded by strategic (1) and woo (2), followed by Empathy (4) and individualization (5).) Input suggests that I am inquisitive and that I like to collect things- including words, facts, information and quotes (uh... books?). You never know when something could be proven valuable. As I think and collect other's and my own thoughts on topics... it can get pretty overwhelming actually.
I've been thinking of leadership and the church and following Christ, and what it should really look like-- knowing in my heart that there is no cookie cutter format to follow... but realizing also how it easy it is to be sucked into the latest churchy-craze. Yeah, just a small topic. Nothing that Christian writers and speakers haven't touched on at all... I also recognize that every church has a culture of its own. What works at the baptist church down the street wouldn't work as well in the mega church, or vice versa. But we all love and desire to serve the same God.
So, I began with the prologue of In the Name of Jesus. But, barely finished with Nouwen's intro to why he wrote the book, I have to put it down. Already something grabbed my heart and mind and I needed to mull over what I just read:
The more willing I was to look honestly at what I was thinking and saying and doing now, the more easily I would come into touch with the movement of God's Spirit in me, leading me to the future. God is a God of the present and reveals to those who are willing to listen carefully to the moment in which they live the steps they are to take toward the future. "Do not worry about tomorrow," Jesus says. "Tomorow will take care of itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own" (Matthew 6:34). (pg13)
See what I mean. Makes you stop. I've read the passage in Matthew many times, and I thought I understood it so well. Don't worry, Cori, God's in control... Trust Him with what is to come. Worried about how to be leader in the church? Don't. Focus on what you are thinking and saying and doing now.
Leonard Sweet (if you don't know who he is, you should) has joined the social networking world: Twitter and Facebook, namely. (At least that's where I follow him, you can too: @lensweet.) And a couple weeks ago he tweeted something that I have also been mulling over since: instead of answering the famous Twitter question: "What Are You Doing?", he says we should be answering, "What is God doing?"
Yeah. I know. Wow. Simple yet powerful. Taking Nouwen's suggestion to stop and consider what is going on in your life and God's involvement in it all. Using popular modern technology to bring God back to the center. Promoting God and not ourselves.
If you are reading this post, this is what I want you to do: pause and ask yourself what God is doing in your life right now. In the present. Is he shaping you for something new or does He have His arms around you, holding you tenderly through a difficult time? Is He surprising you with great opportunity and adventure? Or maybe you don't see or experience Him at all. Maybe you are so wrapped up in the me-me-me of life that the evidence of God is clouded by the amiguous-everything-else-more-important. Or maybe you are just making it too hard.
Okay, back to reading my many books.