Thursday, September 28, 2017

Mailbox Monday ~ on Thursday

A Bigger Table: Building Messy, Authentic, and Hopeful Spiritual Community ~ by John Pavlovitz, 2017
No one likes to eat alone; to approach a table filled with people, only to be told that despite the open chairs there isn’t room for you.  The rejection stings.  It leaves a mark.  Yet this is exactly what the church has been saying to far too many people for far too long:  "You're not welcome here.  Find someplace else to sit.”  How can we extend unconditional welcome and acceptance in a world increasingly marked by bigotry, fear, and exclusion?  Pastor John Pavlovitz invites readers to join him on the journey to find — or build — a church that is big enough for everyone.  He speaks clearly into the heart of the issues the Christian community has been earnestly wrestling with:  LGBT inclusion, gender equality, racial tensions, and global concerns.  He asks if organized Christianity can find a new way of faithfully continuing the work Jesus began two thousand years ago, where everyone gets a seat.  Pavlovitz shares moving personal stories and his careful observations as a pastor to set the table for a new, more loving conversation on these and other important matters of faith.  He invites us to build the bigger table Jesus imagined, practicing radical hospitality, total authenticity, messy diversity, and agenda-free community.
Donna surprised me today.  After our "Life Transitions" group meeting, I followed her into the office where she picked up a package that had been delivered earlier.  In it were TWO copies of this book, one for herself and one for me, so we could read and discuss it together.  Thanks, Donna!

Visit the Mailbox Monday website to find links to other participants.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

A is for Activist ~ by Innosanto Nagara

A is for Activist ~ by Innosanto Nagara, 2013,  children's, 9/10
Playful images and tongue-twisting rhymes show a world of justice and equal rights.  A is for Activist is a rhyming, alliterative, word-rich wonder, introducing concepts of justice, respect, activism, diversity, LGBT rights, workers' and environmental rights and everything else that activists believe in and fight for.  It's full of hope for the future, and calls children and parents to action.
Click on the illustrations to enlarge them
There's a cat on each page, like on the cover above, and even adults can have fun looking for the cat.  It's more obvious in the earlier pages, and a bit more difficult in some of the later pages.  My favorite "hidden" cat page was the one with the eyes, probably because I was convinced during several readings of the book that no cat was on this page.  Do you see it?  No, not the black cat in the top left of the "J" page with the Jay (blue jay) at the top right.  If you don't find it, I'll leave a clue in the comments on this post.  Can someone help me out and tell me what that prominent hand is holding on the red "J" page above?

Oh, by the way, do you see the iguana on the "I" page?  I didn't see it at first.  Many pages have unmentioned animals and things that start with that letter.  Nothing is lost if you fail to notice them, but it's such fun to think, "Oh!  There's a feather on the "F" page and a grasshopper on the "G" page, a horse in the distance and people using hoes in the background of the "H" page, a mouse on the "M" page far from the black cat in the crowd of people.  Only once are TWO cats shown together; they're on the "L" page, and I decided they represent Love.

My friend Donna pointed out this "N" page, where the cat's sign is partially hidden.  She thinks it probably says, "NO DOGS."  I see "No Justice No Peace" and "No War," but my favorite "NO" sign isn't in the book:  NO H8.  I've put the photo of the "Pea-Pea-Peace March" and the "Question coercion" pages on my list of books I've read in 2017.  Click on the link and scroll down to #73.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Beginning ~ with a walk

The Woman Next Door ~ by Yewande Omotoso, 2016, fiction (South Africa)
"The habit of walking was something Hortensia took up after Peter fell ill."
I saw this book on the Bookfoolery blog (see #73).  Nancy, the Bookfool herself, had this to say about the book, which made me put it on reserve at my library, and I was able to get it yesterday.
"The story of two women who are next-door neighbors in an upscale neighborhood in Cape Town, South Africa. Marion is white, Hortensia is black and they can't stand each other. Neither is aware of the racism and misogyny the other has experienced. But, when both have to deal with disasters that throw them into even closer proximity, they start to reveal pieces of their history and are surprised to find they have more in common than they could have imagined. Utterly delightful reading."

Gilion at Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Fridays.  Click here for today's Mister Linky.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

TWOsday ~ report of two shoppers

Following the not guilty verdict in the trial of ex-policeman Jason Stockley for killing a black man, store windows were broken during protests that reached from the City of St. Louis into the Delmar Loop, a main road in the suburb of University City where I live.  One of the boarded up businesses was Subterranean Books, a place where Donna and I shop occasionally.  Artists painted many of the plywood panels put up at the stores.  Above is the one at our bookstore.  (A customer came out the door just as I snapped this picture.)
  • The words on the left panel say, "A book is a dream you hold in your hand."
  • The words on the right panel say, "They are in effect still trapped in a history which they do not understand; and until they understand it, they cannot be released from it."
  • Behind the second set of words is the St. Louis skyline at night, with the Gateway Arch.
We'd heard that the owner of Subterranean had said now would be a good time to buy their books.  It would help them pay for the damage, for one thing.  Even stores with insurance usually have to pay a deductible, plus pay for the plywood and someone to do the work.  So we went shopping yesterday.  Here's what we got.  The first book is what I bought, and the other two were Donna's purchases.

The Accidental Universe: The World You Thought You Knew ~ by Alan Lightman, 2013, philosophy
With passion and curiosity, Alan Lightman explores the emotional and philosophical questions raised by recent discoveries in science.  He looks at the dialogue between science and religion; the conflict between our human desire for permanence and the impermanence of nature; the possibility that our universe is simply an accident; the manner in which modern technology has separated us from direct experience of the world; and our resistance to the view that our bodies and minds can be explained by scientific logic and laws.  Behind all of these considerations is the suggestion ― at once haunting and exhilarating ― that what we see and understand of the world is only a tiny piece of the extraordinary, perhaps unfathomable whole.
A is for Activist ~ by Innosanto Nagara, 2013,  children's
This ABC book is written and illustrated for the next generation of progressives:  families who want their kids to grow up in a space that is unapologetic about activism, environmental justice, civil rights, LGBTQ rights, and everything else that activists believe in and fight for.  Booksellers around the country clamored for a large format edition that would appeal to children over the age of 5, along with the board book for younger children.  This engaging book carries huge messages as it inspires hope for the future, and calls children and parents to action.
If You Can Keep It: The Forgotten Promise of American Liberty ~ by Eric Metaxas, 2016, history
In 1787, when the Constitution was drafted, a woman asked Ben Franklin what the founders had given the American people.  "A republic," he shot back, "if you can keep it."  More than two centuries later, Metaxas examines what that means and how we are doing on that score.  This is  a review of America's uniqueness — including our role as a "nation of nations" — and a chilling reminder that America's greatness cannot continue unless we embrace our own crucial role in living out what the founders entrusted to us.  Metaxas explains that America is not a nation bounded by ethnic identity or geography, but rather by a radical and unprecedented idea, based on liberty and freedom for all.  He cautions us that it's nearly past time we reconnect to that idea, or we may lose the very foundation of what made us exceptional in the first place.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Mailbox Monday ~ one more book (twice)

Womanist Midrash: A Reintroduction to the Women of the Torah and the Throne ~ by Wilda C. Gafney, 2017, religion
Womanist Midrash is an in-depth and creative exploration of the well-known and lesser-known women of the Hebrew Scriptures.  Using her own translations, Gafney offers a midrashic interpretation of the biblical text that is rooted in the African American preaching tradition to tell the stories of a variety of female characters, many of whom are often overlooked and nameless.  Gafney employs a solid understanding of womanist and feminist approaches to biblical interpretation and the socio-historical culture of the ancient Near East.  This unique and imaginative work that is grounded in serious scholarship will expand conversations about feminist and womanist biblical interpretation.

This is the only book I've gotten in the mail since my last Mailbox Monday post in July. I decided to ALSO buy the Kindle edition of this one, so that's why I have "twice" in the subject line above.

Visit the Mailbox Monday website to find links to other participants.