Saturday, October 20, 2018

Book 11 of 2018-- Indian Horse

I chose to read this book because my eldest is reading it for school and I thought I might be better able to push her on what it i about if I read it as well (English is not her strongest subject).  I am really glad I did.

I had gone to see the movie based on the novel earlier this year and found ti very powerful. As is usually the case (pretty much always the case in my opinion) the novel is far better than the movie.

From a literacy point of view this is a fairly easy read. The text is accessible. The style is easy to read (for those of us used to reading more formal writing especially). Wagamese paints pictures and draws the reader in to keep reading.

At the same time this is not an easy book to read. The story is about Saul Indian Horse, effectively left orphaned at age 8 and hauled off to a residential school We watch as Saul struggles his way through that experience and finds a way out through hockey--only to encounter the reality that is racism in Canada of the 1960's and 1970's. We also watch as Saul's life eventually falls apart into rage and alcohol. Indeed the book is written as Saul remembering his life as part of healing from his alcoholism. There are terrible stories told. Indeed I find it a brave choice for a high school class because it will call for skills beyond reading and interpreting -- certainly nothing we read in high school 30+ years ago pushed the emotion so strongly.

A few months ago I encouraged folks to see this movie. Now I have to encourage folk to read this book. (Later this year her class is reading Ready Player One. I may have to give it a go a well. Also they are reading Merchant of Venice. I wonder how my Shakespeare reading skills are after all these years...)

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Book 10 of 2018 -- The Redemption of Scrooge

Earlier this year we were talking about plans for Advent worship in a worship committee meeting. I had found a list of Advent study resources that allowed the possibility of having a Study Group that would correspond with the worship services for those Sundays. We reviewed the list and thought that this one would be worth a try.

So of course I had to read it and make an assessment.

THere are, naturally, 4 sessions (to correspond with 4 Advent Sundays). Though the study would likely start in November to finish by mid December for scheduling purposes. The 4 sessions essentially correspond to the 4 ghosts: Bah humbug deals with Marley; The Remembrance of Christmas Past with the Ghost of same; The Life of Christmas Present; The Hope of Christmas Future which also looks at the closure of the story and how Scrooge is transformed and Redeemed.

It looks like it would make a good study. It gives a new way to look both at the Advent season of preparation and Christmas through the lens of a beloved Christmas story. There are times where the links to the Scrooge story are a bit more tangential than a focal point but on the whole it works. Not sure how it will translate into a worship series but the story of transformation is a clear part of the trory of Christmas.

I think it is worth a try. Only way to find if it works -- right?

Thursday, October 04, 2018

Book 9 of 2018 It's Good To Be Here

I learned about this book last spring when I saw an announcement about it being launched at this summer's meeting of General Council. Knowing David personally, and having read his writing in other places I immediately thought it would make a good piece for a discussion group. And so I started asking around to see if there was interest.

There was indeed interest so we are starting to read and discuss it this week. Which means I had to read it before the group started.

The book is a collection of short pieces wherein David tells his story(ies) about being a person living with cancer. It has poignant moments, it has humour, it has heartbreak. But it also has hope, it has spirit, it has reality.

It is a fairly quick easy read, and it is definitely worthwhile.

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Book 8 of 2018 --Greening Your Church

In mid summer I went to NAINConnect 2018 in Edmonton. One of the workshops I attended at the event was looking at environmental issues. This was one of the books they had available as possible resources for faith communities to use in such discussions. Knowing that I was going to do a series of sermons in September to mark Creation Time I decided I would get the book.  ANd then I read in late August as part of my preparation for those sermons.

The book comes from a Roman Catholic source, which explains why there is a section in the first chapter about Creation-minded saints. But on the whole it speaks to the broader Christian community. It talks about the theological underpinnings of a Creation Care ministry and also includes some practical steps one can use for such a ministry.

It is a short little volume. It has some good ideas and some good understandings. Of course the real trick is translating the concepts into a sermon... which was a bit of a challenge at times.