It would be a mistake to idealize the experience of those terrible events. All that many people could initially see was the brute randomness of death. All that many could feel was unearned suffering. All that many could hear was God’s terrible silence. There are many who still struggle with a lonely pain that cuts deep within.
Many of us have tried to make spiritual sense of these events. There is no simple explanation for the mix of providence and human will that sets the direction of our lives. But comfort can come from a different sort of knowledge. After wandering long and lost in the dark, many have found they were actually walking, step by step, toward grace.
(Emphasis mine and sounds like it was inspired by Lincoln’s Second Inaugural!)
Our American culture is full of people with a toxic combination of ignorance and arrogance.
Lost in Thought is an antidote to both of these.
Hitz’s subtitle is The Hidden Pleasures of an Intellectual Life. She has done a terrific job of showing us where the gems are to be found.
I am glad Hitz felt free to use “intellectual” and to show that all of us, irrespective of brain power or giftedness, are called to pursue a life of learning.
This book is part memoir as the author shares a bit about her own journey. I found this not only interesting, but it lent credibility to the things she promotes in her book.
Hitz does a good job demonstrating that deep learning is a way to show love to others.
Education and high culture do not automatically lead to virtue. You can be both learned and lacking in virtue. The Germany of WWII is the example usually given, but sadly there are many more.
Hitz’s book contains many fascinating insights like how the solitary confinement of prison resulted in some people doing brilliant work. She did not mention John Bunyan, but I will try to forgive the author for that omission!
My piece still has relevance…for all of us!
When people ask Pastor Tim Keller why he reads so much, he simply says, “I’m desperate.” Keller is desperate for insight to help himself and others. I resonate deeply with this sentiment. In fact, it seems very odd to me that any Christian, especially pastors and those in full-time vocational ministry, would be needing to explain/justify the need to read. I should also say that I am constantly stunned by how many pastors and those in full-time vocational, Christian ministry do not read or read books not worthy of their time.
I was recently asked by a friend about my own reading habits. Here is what I told him:
I usually have a book with me wherever I go. I have them for appointments so don’t mind at all when someone is late! If I have a package to take to the post office, a book will be with me. And the DMV or waiting for a haircut are great times to read. You get the picture. There are lots of places/times to redeem the time.
On top of these haphazard things, I read intentionally 50-60 important books per year and peruse hundreds. The 50-60 include lots of highlighting, marginalia, and then sifting out what is most beneficial for teaching, discipleship, and writing projects. I also read several dozen journal or magazine articles.
As I get older, I am rereading the most formative books in my own personal canon. So The Great Divorce was recently reread. Interestingly, C.S. Lewis famously said legitimate readers are re-readers of important books. I think that is true.
Of course, I am always reading Scripture which this year means 2-4 chapters of meditative reads with note taking and highlighting. Scripture memory and review are daily disciplines which go back over forty years ago to my early college days. Then ten verses of my Greek NT along with some vocabulary review and basic grammar.
People regularly mention that I have a good memory. I think that is true to some extent. However, let it be known that review, review, review is a major staple of my life.
Yesterday, I preached a sermon to the wonderful folks at Brenham Bible Church. The sermon was titled “What’s in a Word.” My sermon focused on the three words: faith, hope, and love. I showed from God’s Word how these three are commonly misunderstood…even by many of us Christians.
During my preparation I pondered how the popular saying “I am a person of faith” bothers me. My musings during the recent preparations surfaced a new twist to my dislike of that saying.
Think about it for a minute. Every human being, whether they are religious or not, is a “person of faith.” Non-religious folks gladly place their faith daily in everything from elevators to cars. And, of course, they place their faith in themselves!
Saying you are a “person of faith” is about as meaningful as saying you are a person.
Christians believe that they place their faith IN God. It is the object of our faith that makes all the difference in the world.
Marilyn McEntyre is a gifted wordsmith. She is also a keen observer of the grand and the obscure. This book showcases both those things.
McEntyre shows how slowing down and doing something as simple as making a list can lead to profound discoveries about one’s self, others, and the world one lives in.
A delightful book!
Brilliant piece by Alan Jacobs (HT: John Fea)