Random Stuff

I went to my grandma’s funeral a couple of days ago.  She died at 101 and 1/2.  We lost her several years ago to Alzheimers.  She lived a good life and had lots of loved ones with many happy memories of her.

The funeral wasn’t especially sad.  The Scripture passages and reflections were nice.  The sermon was odd, but whatever.  Most of the hymns were good.  The familiarity of “In the Sweet By and By” and “When the Roll is Called Up Yonder” compensated a bit for their lacking theology.

It was nostalgic to see so many of my dad’s cousins.  One of the things that struck me was the family resemblance.  It was interesting to look around the room and see women of all ages – 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s – who somewhat look like me.  There is a sense of belonging and connection in that.

I finished up the final projects for my online classes before I left for the funeral.  So, now that I’m home, I have a week to get ready for Christmas.  Whatever that means.  I should probably make a list.

I haven’t registered for classes for next semester, but I probably will.  They actually sound pretty interesting – “Ethics & Social Responsibility” and “Social Change & Diversity.”

I haven’t been reading much outside of school stuff.  In theology group, we discussed Cost of Discipleship by Bonhoeffer.  I found it disappointing.  We are currently talking about Orthodoxy by GK Chesterton which isn’t as good as I hoped either.

At our coffeeshop gathering, we are slowly going through So You Don’t Want to Go to Church Anymore.  It has a lot of good stuff in it about freedom from religious obligation, but I tend to worry about communicating an anti-institutional message, which I really think misses the point.  Anyway, we’ll see what next year brings.

Over Christmas break, I hope to read . . .

  • The Great Divorce – CS Lewis
  • The Weight of Glory – CS Lewis
  • On the Incarnation – St Athanasius (finally)

Probably my favorite book from earlier this year was Transformational Architecture by Ron Martoia.  If you missed that one, it’s worth checking out.

When I walk, I mostly listen to Baxter Kruger these days.

My two oldest kids moved out this month and a third is already making plans to leave in June.  I guess the nest that fills up quickly also empties quickly.

One of the nice things about school is that it mostly keeps me too busy to think or feel.  Sometimes that’s okay.

My other plans for Christmas break include tax work, dusting, and putting away the laundry from the past 3 months.  Woohoo!

It will be nice to catch up with reading blogs too.

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14 thoughts on “Random Stuff

  1. Grace … I’m dying to know what you found “disappointing” about Bonhoeffer’s “Cost of Discipleship.” Was it the book – the discussion – or a blend of the two? Reason I ask: We are in the first few chapters of discussing the same book in group …

  2. Let me know what you think of the books you’re planning to read. I enjoyed some of The Great Divorce, but found it too weird in parts. Some great quotes there though. (To be fair, I have a couple friends who like it more than many of his other books.)

    I’ve not read The Weight of Glory, so I’m interested about that one. I’ve heard about it, and it sounds excellent, but I’ve never had an opportunity to get my hands on it. Thanks for reminding me of it, though… I’m a big C. S. Lewis fan.

    -Marshall Jones Jr.

  3. I am processing lots of Wayne Jacobsen myself these days, Grace…and it is an important line to walk, the one between “anti-institution” and “pro-church”. Mostly I have come to believe it is really founded, as Wayne postulates, on understanding what is means to live loved by God.

    The funeral for my grandma (99 1/2) was kinda cool … but she was a cool woman. I am happy your time with family was good.

    I’m hoping to finally approach writring my blog series on perichoresis — although it won’t be enough to accompany you on your walks ;^)

    Merry Christmas!

  4. Grace,
    I am glad you are keeping yourself distracted at least :D
    I am always anxious to read your new posts.

    I have been listening a lot to the god journey and I think He isn’t as much of an anti institutional person as he is made out to be. I really like some of the viewpoints he offers.

    I think the great divorce is my favorite Lewis book, I also have never read the weight of glory .. maybe I will soon?
    I really do love the way that Lewis imagines the coming Kingdom of God might be.
    That book really got me thinking and examining my own beliefs.
    I hope you enjoy them and I can’t wait to read what you have to say about them..
    Thanks for sharing,
    peace

  5. I echo the curiosity about Cost of Discipleship. Perhaps it is the Anabaptist in me, but that book has had some very formative significance for me (and now for Little Flowers). Let us know.

    Peace,
    Jamie

  6. Enjoy the season!!!

    And thank you so much for your Posting over the year – I enjoy very much Kingdom Grace.

    We have had an empty house this year – silence is VERy quiet.

  7. Can’t go wrong with Lewis. Shouldn’t get out of college without first reading The Great Divorce.

    I’m reading a biography of Luther by Martin Marty. It’s interesting to compare Luther and Bonhoeffer. I sense that they may have had some significant conflict.

    My grandmother died at age 100 1/2 in 1997. She was quite the character.

    Tom

  8. I’ve never read a C.S. Lewis book. So the Great Divorce is the one to start with?

    Never thought too much of Bonhoeffer’s stuff – probably because it was jammed down my throat at CLB.

    So You Don’t want to Go to Church Anymore – really raises some questions about institutional church – I realize that it’s not right to make a blanket statement that all institutions are from hell – or all institutional leaders are doing the devil’s work – but at what point are we allowed to question some of their practices – or better yet – their outcomes?

  9. Thanks Bob and Mark, merry christmas to you and your families.

    Marshall and shaun, I will let you know what I think of both books. It would be nice to read them both before my next load of school books arrive.

    Peggy, shaun, and Jerry, Yes, I agree that Wayne is not really anti-institutional, but depending on where people are at in their journey, the discussion sometimes goes that direction. I guess that I always hope to find that balance between respecting all of our brothers and sisters in Christ and still having the freedom to question practices and outcomes for ourselves.

    ken :) I like the clean look, but the print is a bit small.

    tom, I am new to many of the classics, sadly I lost many good years to reading “the latest, greatest” stuff.

    alex and jamie, I probably cannot do justice to your questions in this response. To start with, this theology group can put a legalist slant to almost anything. However, to be honest, it seemed like Bonhoeffer gave them plenty of material too.

    It seemed like when I was reading along enjoying much of what he was saying, he would throw in a harsh, perplexing statement. For example, one of the first question marks in my margin is this sentence, “Costly grace has to be protected from the world, and not thrown to the dogs.” Going back, reading it in context, attempting to understand his meaning, trying to interpret it favorably – there is nothing about that statement that makes sense or agrees with my understanding of truth.

    These types of contradictions happened too frequently for me to truly enjoy the book. Yes some good stuff, but for me personally, not worth wading through the rest. I know this isn’t exactly a popular position to take.

  10. Grace,

    I haven’t read Cost of Discipleship in over 12 years. My suspicion, based on old memories, is that if I were to re-read in the present I’d find much to take issue of with DB.

    Perhaps it needs to be kept in mind DB’s historical/cultural context, one in which the rank-and-file “good” Lutherans in Germany during the 30’s was likely to be pro-National Socialist party with all that went with it. DB was making a call for what would constitute radicalism in faith and practice and doing so through the use of antithetical polemics. “If you goose-step like a Nazi and Sieg Heil like a Nazi but call yourself a Christian, then you are making a claim which constitutes cheap grace, which is no grace at all, because God’s grace not only forgives but it also transforms.”

    I think it’s very easy to see how DB’s idea of “cheap grace” also translates into our present culture. We all have some tension when it comes to our understanding and application and reception of grace; it’s dear to us, yet we don’t appreciate the cost.

    In my recent experience the issue hasn’t been so much that of “libertine-ism” as what it has been the attitude of “what’s in it for me” and misapplied criteria of “cost/benefits”. The Jesus example of grace is one where giving flows to the full extent of the curse. The cheap grace example is one where giving flows up to the point or extent of the “individual’s comfort level.”

    I agree with you that DB expresses many contradictions. Maybe that can be excused by understanding something of his passionate character and his un-bending sense about good and evil and his unwillingness to be silent in the presence of that which flaunts or belittles the Goodness of God. I’ve yet to make sense of what I would perceive to be his inconsistency by being involved in a plot to assassinate Hitler. I certainly sympathize with his intent, yet I see it as a situation where he cheapened grace.

    I hope you and yorn have a wonderful Christ Mass.

    Tom

  11. Tom,
    I agree that Bonhoeffer’s thoughts were radical for his time and context and would still be radical in some circles today.

    I heard that he wrote later of repenting of his part in the assassination plot and that it was a contradiction to his beliefs.

    Merry Christmas to you and yours also!

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