Welcome, welcome friends to this week’s Library Haul post!

Before I talk about the books, I need to start with a confession…y’all ready for it to get really real?

First off, this week’s haul was made between two separate trips.   I didn’t have time to go by myself like I hoped to become my weekly rhythm.  In my defense though, Saturday morning, the library sent me the most pernicious email ever:

“Your books on hold are ready for pick-up”

What was I supposed to do?  Wait around until for an unscheduled hour to go five minutes down the street to gather my lovelies or rush over as soon as I got the email, kids in tow, to dive right into reading?

I chose the latter.

Then yesterday, my son asked me to take him to school to drop off his report topic request to make sure it was in before the others because he HAS TO WRITE about Steve Jobs or his life (and apparently coolness klout) would be over! On my way to the school literally right down the street from my apt, this happened:

IMG_5842Btw, are we Facebook Friends?  Do you follow, “Shalom In The City” on FB?  No?  Well, let’s fix that.  Let’s be friends and/or Blogosphere Buddies, just click here or here.

The second scandalous thing I have to tell you is.. I didn’t read two out of the four books from the last haul.  Before you clutch the pearls, let me explain.  My friend, Elora and I had a conversation last fall about books and “shoulds”.  She told me that she’s been practicing a form of self-affirmation that releases her from finishing a book if it’s just not good, or interesting, or worth her time.  That so resonated with me.  Elora’s suggestion cut the ties between a major idol in my life;  my intelligence. Intelligence and perfectionism go hand in hand; what better way to flaunt my intelligence than to read every book I hear about then title drop at every opportunity?  This perfectionism is tiring, impossible to sustain,  and I wasted hours reading books that I HATED just so to keep up airs.  As a healing perfectionist, I’m learning that sometimes, health looks like embracing incomplete as not failure but  a type of success because at least I tried. 

curiosityquoteThose incompletely read books are not a strike against my intelligence no more than a documentary I couldn’t finish watching because the kids came home from school, or an essay I had to re-read a few times to truly comprehend. No, these are all marks of my capacity for curiosity and curiosity leads to exploring, exploring leads to finding, finding leads to connections, and connections lead to change.  What if you looked at the incomplete projects and books as evidence that you, my dear, are curious agent of change?  I think we’d make more space for this perfect imperfection.

Today’s haul, coincidentally,  are all representations of my curiosity right now- which I’m thrilled about.  I sense the holy changes coming…

The Love Revolution, by Joyce Meyer:
Ok, so to be honest, y’all, this book is an effort in open-mindedness for me.  This summer, I’m hoping to go to God Chicks 2015.  I’ve wanted to go to this conference for 8 years now, but we were all the way on the other side of the country- ain’t nobody getting to LA on a seminary student’s income- I can tell you that!  I followed the conference through the podcast and it’s visionary, Holly Wagner.  It’s one of the most influential, powerful, well-thought out gathering of women I’ve ever seen.  Naturally, when my husband took the job at New City Church of LA, I checked out the site and found that this year Joyce Meyer is the keynote.  I don’t dislike Joyce Meyer.  I guess, I just don’t know enough about her or maybe, I’m a little skeptical.  Since embracing a more Anabaptist perspective, I’m a little allergic to any book that tries to systematize Kingdom living or bullet-point a victorious life.  To me, its a more organic, spirit-driven, grass-roots effort.  But, she’s my sister in Christ and what I’ve read on her blog seems to be dripping with wisdom, so I’m excited to dive into this book on a Revolution that asks me to “take up compassion and surrender my excuses, stand against injustice, commit to life out simple acts of God’s love, and refuse to do nothing because I AM THE LOVE REVOLUTION”.

Discernment by Henri Nouwen
I’m curious about Nouwen.  My husband appreciates him and I’ve heard so many good things about another book of his, “Life of the Beloved” so I decided to give this book a try.  I’m in a transition season and when you’re transitioning discernment is a powerful tool to make sure you’re staying true to yourself and your calling.  Which is why I checked out…

“Unstoppable” by Christine Caine
Things are shifting.  My roles are changing.  I’m not a seminary widow anymore, I’m a pastor’s wife.  What does that look like?  What does God want for me in that?  I’m not a Boston Noonday Ambassador, I’m now a part of the SoCal Ambassador community”  What does God wan in that?  I’m not a stay at home mom in a dangerous New Orleans neighborhood or a housing development in Cambridge, I’m home all day in a suburban, gated apartment complex- how do I keep the city and its needs close to my heart?  How can my reflection of Jesus’ love towards the people I share a parking lot, pool and basketball court intrigue them to explore faith?  God’s calling me, but I’m trying to discern what races I’m suppose to run and I need the encouragement to stick to it.

Living the Quaker Way by Philip Gulley
I don’t know anything about Quakers but I’m curious and hopeful.  Their values seem so close to mine and the way they identify their faith down to the basics of following Jesus with SPICE (simplicity, peace, integrity, community and equality) excites me.  I’m already one chapter in and I’m thinking this might be a book I need to buy later.  I’m itching to mark the pages with notes!

So, here’s my haul this week.  I might now go back to the library a couple of weeks because these books are so meaty, but when I do, you’ll be the first to know!

Seeking The SPICE of Shalom,