November 18, 2017

Lisa Dye: Jump!

salar-de-uyuni-in-the-rainy-season-bolivia

Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

My God my bright abyss
into which all my longing will not go
once more I come to the edge of all I know
and believing nothing believe in this.

• Christian Wiman

I am afraid to jump. When I was a little girl, my big extended family of grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins met at a northern lake one summer for a week of boating and fishing. I wasn’t very old, but the vacation was memorable for the size of the mosquitoes, a tornado one evening that shook the walls of our cabins and drove us under our beds and the terrible crime I committed in locking all the men, including my dad, in the fish house because I was upset to see them gutting live fish.

The vacation was also memorable for my near drowning experience … or at least what I perceived as such. Dad was determined to teach me some water skills that year and subscribed to the sink or swim approach. There would be no wading in gradually or floating gently on my back in his arms while I watched clouds drift in the sky. No, I would stand on the edge of the long pier wondering what things lurked in the seaweed and I would obey his command to jump. It was truly awful. The lake water burned my nose and throat and lungs. It turned me upside down and disoriented me. My short life flashed before me and I thought I might be dying. Suddenly, I was plucked to safety, placed on the sun-warmed dock where I vomited and vowed never to jump again. Oh, and I found leeches in places one should never find leeches.

Perhaps that trauma has nothing whatever to do with the difficulty I find in jumping into God’s abyss, but it provides a picture of all I fear in abandoning myself to him. There is the complete and utter lack of knowledge and skill for swimming in the eternal and spiritual. I can jump, but after that, what? The older I get, the more I know I cannot help myself. And like the murk of lake water, God is a mystery. I can’t see into, around or through him. What is he truly? What if he hurts me? What if he kills me? What if he doesn’t catch me? What if? What if? What if?

Realizing the existence of the infinite, eternal and incomprehensible God is stupefying in itself, but then to contemplate the possibility of stepping off the edge of a somewhat knowable world and falling into him is quite another. It is the subject of the writings, prayers and strivings of mystics through the centuries. In spite of my maddening sense of dullness and frustrating inadequacy in understanding or expressing it, the subject grips me as well. But as I said, I am afraid to jump. I skirt the perimeter. I cling to the edge. I want always to stay tethered to solid ground, so I peer closely straining to see if there might possibly be some magically appearing steps such as caught Indiana Jones when he stepped into a bottomless chasm.

At a writer’s meeting last year, Chaplain Mike gave me a book, My Bright Abyss, by Christian Wiman. I was unfamiliar with this writer and poet as I am not a poetry connoisseur. But his verse struck chords within me that wanted to be struck. Despite the underlying and off-putting theme of death, I didn’t exactly run away, but I admit to not being able to close the subject in my mind with any sense of satisfaction. That the book still sits on the desk in my study instead of finding permanent space in a bookcase is evidence. I’ve been thinking on it for over a year.

Wiman has forced me to admit what I already know in my head, but have trouble trusting. The pain and despair of dying in some way, united with God’s bright burning presence, produces startling, though not-always-peace-filled life. Wiman prods a hesitant willingness to face my dread of death … of body and of all things … and to see that casting myself into God in a thousand little deaths is required detachment from life for an ultimate consummation with him. I see glimpses of an enviable fellowship there, stripped bare of the shallow and superfluous and stripped bare of much initial comfort either. It is a glaring thing, hard to look at, coming by way of unique and personal sufferings, never to be fully understood by anyone but Christ alone … who suffered all things.

After being diagnosed with a rare and aggressive cancer in 2005, Wiman turned his gift for memorable expression into an intimate and vulnerable invitation to witness his way back to God, to listen to him question God’s presence and goodness in the midst of appalling sickness, to observe him discover a more refined and sifted self. He is Job and the book is his revelation that the travails of our bodily life, and not blessings of ease and wellbeing, are where the divine nature is wrought and where surrender stands quietly transcendent over grasping self-preservation. The book is also an acknowledgement, after such a quest, of belief and trust in a God so infinite and eternal as to be an abyss.

C. S. Lewis wrote, “As suicide is the typical expression of the stoic spirit, and battle of the warrior spirit, martyrdom always remains the supreme enacting and perfection of Christianity. This great action has been initiated for us, done on our behalf, exemplified for our imitation, and inconceivably communicated to all believers by Christ on Calvary. There the degree of accepted Death reaches the utmost bounds of the imaginable …”

dsc_0730Accepted death. Not really what I wanted to hear. But that is the thing that reaches for and finds the utmost and what St. John of the Cross referred to as “an immense desert, which nowhere has any boundary.” It is a desert delectable and pleasant, a hidden place with God. Christ’s accepted death is our example, informing both our literal acts of dying and especially the dozens of daily deaths we can accept for the love of God and his people. The crosses we take up are the opportunities to follow him and they amount to a decrease of self and increasing union with God. I would venture to say that nearly all of life, if we are paying attention, is really the initiation of our deaths by a jealous Father, not for the purpose of cursing or punishment, but for detaching us from earth so we will be fully his. Death, in various forms, and by its ordained means, is ours to accept by losing our lives in God’s abyss. Or it is ours to wrest from his hands in selfish determination and so consign our selves to personal abysses of solitary hell.

A few evenings ago, after a day of yard work, I made a cup of tea, took up Thomas Merton’s autobiography, The Seven Storey Mountain, and sat on the front porch to enjoy the breeze while the sun turned orange and started its descent. Leaves rustled, ants scurried and the herbal smell of nearby geraniums added a mood to Merton’s description of his first visit to the Abbey of Gethsemani. He went there on retreat in the wake of a devastating rejection by another community where he’d planned to enter religious life shortly after his conversion from bohemian pleasure seeking to Catholicism. The abbot had determined he was not ready.

There, within the stone walls of the Trappist monastery in the hills of Kentucky, Merton surrendered his plans and sorrow and drank of what he would forever thirst. Entering the cloister, he saw the monks, and one in particular prostrate before a pieta in the corner. The image both frightened and compelled him. “I stepped into the cloister as if into an abyss.” The experience of the Mass that followed affected him more deeply than anything previously. He wrote, “See Who God is! Realize what this Mass is! See Christ here, on the Cross! See His wounds, see His torn hands, see how the King of Glory is crowned with thorns! Do you know what Love is? Here is Love, here on this Cross, here is Love … Learn from Him how to love God and how to love men! Learn of this Cross, this Love, how to give your life away to Him.” The abyss was an abyss of love. The abyss was God and Merton jumped.

St. John of the Cross, a sixteenth century Spanish mystic, wrote of an abyss of knowledge and wisdom of a mystical and secret sort that comes when a person detaches from earthly things held dear and submits to the Divine will. Awareness of the Creator engulfs the soul and encloses it in a secret place. “And so greatly does this abyss of wisdom raise up and exalt the soul at this time, making it to penetrate the veins of the science of love, that it not only shows it how base are all properties of the creatures by comparison … but likewise it learns how base and defective, and, in some measure, how inapt, are all the terms and words which are used in this life to treat of Divine things … And thus, when by means of this illumination the soul discerns this truth, namely, that it cannot reach it, still less explain it, by common or human language, it rightly calls it secret.”

Another mystery, according to Wiman, is the vehicle of human imagination into the abyss of God. We think of imagination as a means of reaching out to him, but may overlook the idea that it is really God showing us himself through it. Such imagination manifests in art and beauty and even in common tasks artfully and beautifully done. Imagination demands risk and other sacrifices. Imagination demands a trust of and cooperation with our Creator at work in us to elicit it, but we depend on the resulting art to articulate facets of Godness to our souls.

Oswald Chambers, writing perhaps less elegantly and straight to the point, made the observation that we try to understand the mysterious and the profound by sensual and experiential means. “Salvation is God’s thought, not man’s; therefore it is an unfathomable abyss. Salvation is the great thought of God’s, not an experience.” We try to make it an experience, believing it is something that happens to us. But salvation is a Person hanging on a Cross. It is his Godlife welling up in human emptiness like a spring.

The abyss is an upside down place, like the waters that take us down in a drowning. Down seems up and up seems down. We are disoriented and nothing is as we thought. Wiman points out that it is the discomfort of uncertainty that opens new realms to us and breaks us out of the “hivelike certainties” and static conditions of our churches, families and cultures. It is when we are always certain that we become jaded, small, angry and hardened. Willingness to explore the abyss of the Divine Presence requires wonder and poverty of spirit and openness to the Love that drives us to it and the Love that encloses us in it.

One cold, rainy Saturday a few weeks ago, I sat with one of my daughters under a blanket and watched a movie. It was The Book Thief. The main character, a young girl named Liesl, reminded my daughter of me. Maybe it was her name or her love of books or her troubled childhood. I don’t know. Liesl was given to a poor and childless German couple when her mother could no longer care for her during World War II. Already traumatized by the death of her brother and the splintering of her family, she is surprised by a father who is rich in kindness and compassion, initially frightened by a mother with a deceptively stern exterior and befriended by Rudy, the young neighbor boy, who loves her at first sight. The story is set against a backdrop of Nazi youth rallies, public book burnings and a sense of precarious distrust within the community. In the midst of it, Liesl’s family takes in and hides a sick and injured young Jewish man who puts them all at risk. In these dire circumstances, Liesl is cared for by the three men in her life, from old to young, who love her in different ways … one as a father, one as a friend and one as a savior.

One day, her neighbor Rudy proves his love to Liesl with such reckless abandon that he fights an older and bigger boy to protect her family from discovery of their secret. In the scuffle, a precious book given to her by her Jewish friend nearly falls into the hands of the teenage Nazi, but Rudy deflects it over a bridge into a freezing river. With the incriminating evidence gone, their tormentor leaves them alone and Liesl is heartbroken over the loss of her treasure. Without hesitation, Rudy dives into the fast running icy water to retrieve it and fails to reappear for long anxious moments. But at last he emerges, book in hand, and restores it to Liesl. “Now, do you trust me?” Love drove him into an icy abyss. Love made him jump.

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear …” (I John 4:18). My fear of jumping is only the symptom of a greater woe … imperfect love … something I cannot fix on my own. Love truly is a grace given by the God who first loved me by diving into an icy river of death. The very same love is meant to rise up in me, to love him back, and to love my people. It will take my own dying … fearful at first, then bolder with each severed string that ties me to earth. It will come when I finally agree to not hold onto my life, but to give it away. It will come by assenting to God’s prerogative to use me up with life’s relentless difficulties and the frustrating maintenance mode that keeps me busy, but not very accomplished. It will come as I let go of or lose the comforts I’ve become used to and to which I’ve gradually begun to feel entitled. It will come as I relinquish resentments that have snuck into my soul of late as I’ve witnessed the sad sufferings of a dying mother-in-law, a seriously sick granddaughter and a family friend bewildered by stings of cruel prejudice.

Michael Spencer reminded us in one of his essays (“Our Problem With Grace”), “Scripture says that life now is to be a death. We die daily … not just at the end, not just on our deathbeds. But now, today. Tomorrow. In every moment of time and breath that God gives us, we are to die, to do the one work of faith that trusts God in Jesus to be the all in all for us.”

This is God’s final examination. He demands a leap of fearless love into Christ. Give me your life, he whispers. Jump, and you will have mine.

Comments

  1. The expanse of God’s love and His very being has always mystified me, and I am NOT a mystically inclined person. Writers such as Merton, Wiman and St. John of the Cross fail to reach me in a meaningful way, but the more direct Oswald Chambers and C. S. Lewis speak to me more precisely. To MY ears, the talk of an abyss, or unknowable expanse is just a fancy way of speaking about death for I have yet to hear from anyone who has totally entered that sacred space that the poets speak of.

    Death is no mystery. The body ages or breaks down, vital functions become erratic, pain becomes a constant companion and, finally, when the brain can no longer perceive anything outside of itself it just shuts down. Death. All of the writings about its mystery, and the equating of the death process with entering God’s presence is nothing more than a way for mortal beings to prepare for the body’s end.

    The REAL mystery, though, is what MIGHT happen AFTERWARDS. I say “might” because I am not sure in myself that it really IS the case. I believe what the bible says about life after death, but it is a belief that is subject to constant doubts and struggles. But isn’t that what faith is, struggling with the unknowable? Otherwise it would be a certitude which would require little if any effort to maintain.

    Since I have entered the last quarter of my life these thoughts come more and more frequently, and I am beginning to feel the tidal pull of eternity, dark and unknowable, on my physical body and in my spirit. “Jumping” is nothing I have to worry about because, like it or not, I will be PULLED into the deep end, and not of my own volition. I wish I were more of a poetic or mystical frame of mind because it would probably be a comfort to me, as it seems to be for so many others. But I am what I am, and God will deal with me in whatever manner He chooses.

    • StuartB says:

      The expanse of God’s love and His very being has always mystified me

      I have a hard time getting past the conditional love God of the fundamentalists, the “love me and keep my commandments or else” God, who only shows love when you perform. Or as Slactivist called it recently, the Ramsay Snow God.

      Who is this God that has so much expansive love for all and myself?

    • Lisa Dye says:

      Oscar, I like what you have said about faith being a struggle with the unknowable. I think that is what keeps us both interested and interesting … more than we would be if we never asked questions. I especially like you comment, “I am what I am, and God will deal with me in whatever manner He chooses.” For all the figuring out we like to try to do, that’s what it comes down to. Good words and a good splash of cool water.

  2. Christiane says:

    One of the best posts I’ve ever had the privilege to read. Very thought-provoking, especially in the midst of the present circumstances in my life. Like a cool glass of water, this post was blessing.
    Thank you, LISA.

  3. Lisa Dye says:

    Thank you, Christiane.

  4. Robert F says:

    I’ve never found within myself the fearless love necessary to make that leap into God’s abyss. All my life I’ve had an aversion to risk-taking; ironically, this has landed me in a place of the most extraordinary and uncontrollable risk as I cross the threshold into my senior years.

    Now I find myself in free-fall, not because I took that step of faith into God’s abyss, but because, ever so imperceptibly, ever so elusively, God has nudged me over the side of the precipice. Though I’m uncertain of the moment when he did this, I suspect it was long ago, perhaps when I was baptized.

    “We all are falling. This hand is falling, too.
    Look around: the falling that nothing withstands.

    Yet there’s One whose infinitely gentle hands
    the universal falling can’t fall through.”

    Autumn, by Rainer Maria Rilke

    • Lisa Dye says:

      Robert, I know what you are saying here. I have noticed that several writers indicate there is a point of no turning back with God. I’m not sure exactly what it is or whether we are always completely conscious of agreeing to go over it, but there must be something inside that says yes. I think of Lilith in George MacDonald’s book. Honestly, I wish God would force me sometimes. It’s what I want but can’t make myself because of fear. Maybe that’s all God needs in the way of our assent. Merton referred to it as right intention … wanting to want God’s will. BTW, this verse by Rilke is lovely. Thank you.

  5. Well now this has hit squarely what needed hitting. Somewhere in the prayer thy will be done is this place where I give up free will. My own that is. So pointed out to me last night in an unexpected place.

    You see I see God’s love but it is people where my struggles lay. It has always been this way. I say to my Father I hope you have a place for me because if I have to spend eternity with some of these it certainly would be hell.

    Here is an example which I find on the increase and am finding to be a norm that wasn’t just 30 years ago. I work all day in a house sweating till I am soaked by days end everytime I bend I experience pain. No lunch or breakfast or breaks trying with all the 40 years of experience I can muster to do a good job. The first comment out of the Mrs mouth is that’s not what I picked. Now I didn’t sell it to her or suggest it to her and it sat in her garage for a week. The glass tile surface mount can’t be seen till after the surface paper is removed because this is the way the mosaic is mounted. It most certainly looked just like the sample. The same women that didn’t want dust to go into her tan bark. Long I know but I have story after story of such things over the last few years and more.

    What comes to my mind is spoiled. I see it everywhere. Maybe because I have done without in my life a lot. I have more now than most could ever hope for. My patience has run thin and I quite wish it was the other way. Last night I needed to hear not my will but your will be done and today I needed to hear this and after the lately’s it is certainly refreshing. So my gratitude.

    My wonder is how to jump into such mercy and grace when I encounter such things as what I described. How do I see the hurts and wounds of others or even the lack of what it is I have found in God. I told my son you must get me out of here last night cleaning up as I bit my tongue and kept it inside what I really wanted to do. Maybe the start but I have been telling Father if you would just make a place for me and the animals I would be happy and that would be enough for me forever. I truly mean it. Have I really grown that tired and given up. I truly hope not but my fear is the water I can’t see in at the moment and I feel like I’m drowning.

    • I have to go there today on a job that should be done and will go 2 days over.
      Two verses….today before I leave
      This, Your will be done
      It is here I have a must
      Father please teach this son
      My choice is that of trust

      I have come before You again
      Not exactly feeling quite whole
      Will You sit close to me my friend
      Silently restore my soul

  6. Lisa Dye says:

    W, I always look forward to what you write. You are a poet. Here is something I just read in Sacred Fire by Ronald Rolheiser. “As we age we need to forgive–forgive those who hurt us, forgive ourselves for our own mistakes, forgive life for having been unfair, and then forgive God for seemingly not having protected us–all of this so that we do not die bitter and angry, which is perhaps the greatest religious imperative of all.” This whole book is hitting me hard because it is discussing precisely the season of life I am in right now. By this age, we are deep into the season of giving life away to others and it can be wearying. I am a people watcher and I’ve noticed that old people are usually in one camp or the other … sweet beyond words or bitterly cynical. They’ve either passed this test of forgiveness or not. I find this very scary because I recognize the real threat of failing in this.

    • Good advice this Ronald. Maybe I need to look at this book. I will endeavor to do so.

    • StuartB says:

      That’s a great quote. I wish there was a roadmap to the end we want…

    • I went to the woman’s house today. I am just the subcontractor who puts the tile in as many will come to finish this project. I got to speak to her. The common denominator were animals. Go figure. Her beautiful male cat full of himself came into the bathroom making himself known and getting into stuff so much so that I gave him plenty of attention and then led him downstairs. Where she was laying on the couch having a bad day. I was playing with the cat and talking about the cats I know. The cat jump on my shoulder and she she said I’ve never seen him do that before. He sat looking into my face and purring in my ear as I talked. God did come up a little. I truly believed the Father helped me. Did you know that a cat’s purring in your ear has healing properties. Same thing I told her.

      • Sorry for the typos I had puddles in my eyes. It was yesterday and jumped.

      • Today’s poem

        You help me when I’m down and out
        Please Father be with me again this day
        I am looking to what this love is about
        I surely need your help to find my way

        Your hand gentle to my side
        In the little things so strong
        I hardly even had to try
        Your love nudges me along

        Help me hold like treasured vases
        Remind me kindly again and again
        That when I look into other faces
        Those are the ones that you call friend

        Soften my heart or break it badly
        A heart of stone just won’t do
        This preciousness I hold gladly
        Is the love I have for You

  7. Damaris says:

    This is both beauty and truth, Lisa. And you do leap into an abyss, you know. That’s what writing is — the blankness of the page, the indifference of the world, the self-loathing that whispers we have nothing to say and why do we bother; these are the abyss, and the first word written down is the beginning of free-fall. Thank you for leaping on our behalf.

  8. Another Mary says:

    So well written. Thank you, Lisa. It is such a joy to read these conversations and know I am not alone in this sometimes quirky journey. Because, in the midst of all the depth and solemnity I believe there is the gentle laughter of God to be heard if I listen.

  9. Lisa Dye says:

    I wish I had my copy of G.K. Chesterton’s Orthodoxy. I can’t remember the quote exactly, but it is something to do with how we will be most surprised by God’s mirth.

    • Damaris says:

      “Joy, which was the small publicity of the pagan, is the gigantic secret of the Christian. . . . There was something that He (Jesus) hid from all men when He went up to a mountain to pray. There was something that He covered constantly by abrupt silence or impetuous isolation. There was some one thing that was too great for God to show us when he walked upon our earth; and I have sometimes fancied it was his mirth.

    • dumb ox says:

      Good news: its public domain:
      http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/130

  10. Lisa Dye says:

    Yes! Thank you, Damaris. I’ll bet you had that memorized:)

  11. Rick Ro. says:

    Nice, Lisa. I’ve discussed this with a few friends, but while Peter sometimes gets ribbed a bit for sinking so quickly while walking on water, at least he got out of the boat (“jumped” so to speak). The other 11 stayed safe.

    And while one could post an obvious song in response (i.e. Van Halen’s “Jump”) I’m going to toss this one at ya:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=avJt0SQec0I

    • Lisa Dye says:

      Very good point, Rick. Also, thanks for the video link. I read that Bowie was working out his thoughts on his brother’s suicide. He’s a strange and fascinating guy.

  12. Well-written and thought-provoking piece, especially for someone like me who is naturally risk-averse. I’ll have to check out Wiman.

    Also reminds me of Bruce Cockburn’s Strange Waters:

    You’ve been leading me
    Beside strange waters
    Streams of beautiful lights in the night
    But where is my pastureland in these dark valleys?
    If I loose my grip, will I take flight?

    I’d probably heard this song 10 times before I picked up on the use of “loose”, as opposed to what my ears initially perceived as “lose”. The act of volitionally letting go, of “jumping”, is so hard. Who knows what comes after?

  13. Rick Ro. says:

    If jumping into what looks like an abyss was easy, everyone would be doing it. It takes faith to leap, and faith is usually strengthened post-leap.

    • Lisa Dye says:

      I agree, Rick. I have also started to think the leap is not always just a matter of sacrifice of something dear, but of something certain. Sometimes it’s not knowing for sure that the leap is the right step, but trusting in the mercy of God.

  14. Heather says:

    Lisa dye

    I think I love you. …. Thank you for such a beautiful and thought provoking post. I needed this today more than you know. Please keep jumping!

    Heather

  15. Lisa, well done, thank you. My understanding is that our dying in body here is a small bump in the road compared to this ultimate death of which the mystics speak, a leap into annihilation, terrifying, done alone, a door that opens once and you either burst thru or not. Perhaps not to be encountered except by those on this narrow path of self-renunciation that Jesus walked and calls us to follow, I don’t know. Gethsemane. I know that I am not very far along but it helps immensely to find those moving in the same direction. The value of your piece and those of others you mention is to prepare us for this eventuality so we do not turn aside in blind terror and panic should it come. And we seem to get chances to practice all along the way. I hope you see your father and your family as doing the very best they knew how to do, and hope the same might be said about us all.

  16. Lisa Dye says:

    Charles, thank you. Yes, I agree that it’s annihilation of self. Put like that, I am even more afraid and know I am out of my depth. But then I think of Merton writing that we are “taken up into the Godhead.” Terrifying, yes, but comforting too. To be welcomed and wanted in such a way … oh my. Thank God for his mercy and his never-ending search for lost coins, lost sheep and lost sons. As we decrease, he increases. Yes, I think there’s a giant leap in relinquishing our wills to his and a million tiny leaps in working it out. There is also lots of fear and trembling.

    I hope I didn’t come across as harboring any animosity over father’s swimming lesson. He wasn’t mean-spirited or harsh in any way and I look back on it with a sense of humor. I think kids remember events much bigger and more dramatic than they actually were. Besides, I’ve raised my own three kids and told them I will not take credit for any successes and will pay for necessary therapy.

    Good to hear from you!

    • Rick Ro. says:

      All I could think of when you described it was the traumatic event in the book The Shipping News, when Quoule’s father throws hi in the water as a youngster expecting him to swim naturally, so I’m glad you clarified.

  17. dumb ox says:

    It’s difficult separating the imagery of a leap from the connotations associated to it by Kierkegaard. A leap into God’s love is compelling. Thanks for a well-written and compelling article. It gives a lot to think about – particularly to a fan of Camus like myself.

  18. dumb ox says:

    “Jesus is like an ocean
    He’ll engulf and gently surround
    With the tide of His love He’ll astound you
    And He’s teaching me how to drown
    In the ocean of His love”
    – Glenn Kaiser

  19. Suzanne says:

    Funny coincidence that makes you go “Huh.” I just ordered Wiman’s book a few days ago.

  20. This was great, Lisa. And boy, can I relate. No, my dad never tossed me in. But he stood patiently in the pool, arms outstretched, encouraging…begging? me to jump. “I’ll catch you! I promise!” It was the same story with trying to learn to ride a bike. Oh, that trust was and still is so difficult. I still worry today that it may have hurt Dad’s feelings to think I couldn’t trust him.Thank you for this essay.

  21. Lisa, have you read Walking on Water by Madeleine L’Engle? Although I can’t remember too much about it, I remember that reading it felt like a good place to be. I do remember enough to say that it fits in well with what you’re saying.

    About a year ago I had Christian Wiman’s book recommended to me as well. In fact, my friend said that two of the most influential books he’d read recently were Wiman’s My Bright Abyss and Robert Farrar Capon’s Supper of the Lamb (I had already read Capon’s Between Noon and Three, thanks to Jeff Dunn).

    And, since I’ve had Damaris’s recommendation of The Scent of Water by Elizabeth Goudge on a Post-it note for more than a year too, I ordered them all (used, but still good). They’re all in the pile waiting, but you’ve just bumped Christian Wiman’s book to the top. I need to finish N.T. Wright’s Surprised by Hope first, and I don’t know why I put that one off so long. Great stuff.

    I think we should all read Internet Monk just for the book recommendations.

  22. Lisa Dye says:

    I agree about the book recommendations. I just wrote yours down. This is where I hear about nearly everything I end up reading. Thank you!