I just finished book number two given to me by Patty Ardavanis. These Strange Ashes by Elisabeth Elliot. I read a lot of it out loud to Titus while nursing him. It seems that the parts I read out loud impacted me more. Perhaps because the words were more purposeful as I read them to my son.
It took me longer to get through the book because of the holidays and then I almost got out of the habit of reading it out loud to Titus because instead of reading while nursing I would play Mario Brothers on the Wii. =) But this past week I picked the book back up and finished it. That said, the stuff I planned to write about in the earlier parts of the book are lost because I found new things to write about.
I'm definitely reading the books within the context of my Christian life, but I will mention again, that the specific reason I asked Mrs. A. for book recommendations was in light of me being the wife of a man in ministry as we head out to Wyoming.
Here is paragraph number one that stuck out in my reading:
It is hard for a young person with high ideals to learn that people cannot be hustled. They cannot be hustled into the kingdom of God, and it is well to remember Christ's own descriptions of that kingdom: leaven and seed, things that work slowly and out of sight. We long for visible evidence of our effectiveness, and when it is not forthcoming, we are tempted to conclude that our efforts never had anything to do with the kingdom. I was inclined to think such thoughts.
Paragraph number two:
To be a follower of the Crucified means, sooner or later, a personal encounter with the cross. And the cross always entails loss. The great symbol of Christianity means sacrifice and no one who calls himself a Christian can evade this stary fact. It is not by any means an easy thing to recognize, within a given instance of personal loss, the opportunity it affords for participation in Christ's own loss. What, we ask ourselves, can this possibly have to do with that? We are not by nature inclined to think spiritually...
And paragraph number three:
And so it often is. Faith, prayer, and obedience are our requirements. We are not offered in exchange immunity and exemption from the world's woes. What we are offered has to do with another world altogether.
That last paragraph really struck my heart, because I think today, inside of Christianity there is a big pull to be saved and to then be comfortable. I think a lot of shallow gospel is preached so that people will think they will get saved and then have an amazing life. Not always true, most often not true. Christian life is hard.