I seem to be settling into this retirement thing pretty well. One of the things I wanted to accomplish was to read a bit more. When I was working I still read, but I had a hard time settling down for any length of time with a book. Now it seems that I give myself permission to sit just a bit longer to finish a chapter or two.
I just finished reading two books that were very different, but for me their messages dovetailed right together. The first was a fascinating read by K.P. Yohannan, Revolution in World Missions. I have to admit I had this book sitting on my bookshelf for quite a while. I didn’t want to read it. Didn’t want to know why/how we were doing it wrong or what I could do to make it better (world missions.) Why did I order this book, anyway? Oh, yeah. Because it was free and Francis Chan recommended it…
I have to admit, once I started reading it, I could not put it down. Well written, fascinating, and yes, convicting. We have so much here in the West, and just don’t even recognize the fact. Most of the time we compare ourselves or our belongings to our friends and neighbors (or sometimes to movie stars…) If we saw how two-thirds of the world lives, and we remembered to compare ourselves to that, we would live a lot more thankfully, I am convinced. And maybe we would learn to be a little more generous with those who live with a LOT less than us. I swear this works. When I start grousing about my humble abode, and thinking about how it will never be like “X’s” house, or heaven forbid, I compare it to magazines (thank goodness I’m mostly over that…) and then I look up from my chair, look around my house (which I can pretty much see the whole house from my chair) and then I compare it to Lawrence and Lydia’s ‘house’ (they are the couple that served me lunch in the slums of Kawangware,) I feel like the richest person in the world. And I am so grateful. Anyway, this book was a fascinating read, and I thoroughly recommend it. K.P. Yohannan’s organization, Gospel for Asia, offers some of the same resources that World Vision does, but for quite a bit less money. They claim that all donations go directly to the field. You can give a gift of chickens, or a sewing machine, or a bicycle (just some of the things that interested me) or of course you can sponsor a child for $28. per month. You can even sponsor a national missionary (meaning they are from Asia) for $30/month. Whew, is that enough links for you? I didn’t mean to make this a commercial for Gospel for Asia. I just am very impressed with the work that they are doing. And the book on its own is a fascinating read.
At the same time I picked up a book that I had ordered by one of my favorite speakers, Jan Johnson. Jan thinks a lot the way I do, so of course I love the way she speaks and writes. This book was Abundant Simplicity. As long time readers know, this is one of my goals in life. So this book was more of a confirmation that I am thinking the right way, making the right choices (most of the time.) When my life is more about living simply (as compared to “Real Simple Magazine” which is just a way of spending a LOT of money to look like you’re living simply,) you are free to give more generously to those less fortunate than you. I like this. Jan is an intelligent writer who has a personal way of writing that keeps your interest. She is a GREAT speaker, and if you ever go on women’s retreats, and get the opportunity to hear her speak, you will be challenged, motivated, and encouraged on your walk with Christ, while laughing and crying at the same time!
AT THE SAME TIME, I picked up a book at the thrift store, which honestly, in a real book store, I would have passed right over and viewed with suspicion. But hey, for a dollar? Anyway, this guy is a New York Times best selling author, and maybe you have already heard of him? The book was The Year of Living Biblically, by A.J. Jacobs. I am only two-thirds of the way through this book, but I can’t help but recommend it. Jacobs is, by his own account, an agnostic cultural Jew. He decided to read through the Bible and try to live literally Biblically for an entire year. Some people might think he is making fun of the Bible. I don’t see that at all. He DOES make fun of some Christians, which is alright by me. There are plenty of Christians that are pretty funny. And my first thoughts while I read this, was Man. If only Christians took the Bible this seriously and worked at living by it. Anyway, like I said, I have not finished yet, and of course you know I am hoping he ends up on ‘my side,’ by the end LOL, but I can’t help but recommend it. Jacobs is hilarious, intelligent, sincere, and a great writer. And buying this book at the thrift store for $1 ties right in with what I learned in the first two books I mentioned.
Along those lines (living simply,) I am trying to make better use of my local library. So when I returned Wheat Belly, I made myself look around. Wow. They have a lot of books in there. Hey, and DVD’s too. To test how savvy our local library was, I looked up A.J. Jacobs first best-seller, The Know-It-All, to see if they had it. And can you believe it, there it was, right in our little country library. I asked the librarian as I checked it out, if you had to come in to renew it. And she said, oh no, just give us a call. Because my plan for that book is to save it for my next surgery. Yes, I am having my right hand carpal tunnel surgery next Tuesday!! Back to The Know-It-All, in this book Jacobs sets out to read the entire Encyclopedia Britannica, in order to become the most intelligent person in the world. I took a peek, and it is a hilarious fun read too.