Monday, February 22, 2010

Back to the Books

While at book club this weekend, a few of the ladies mentioned that I haven't written a summary post or email of our meetings lately. I don't know why...maybe I got lazy, or maybe too many ladies were horrified by their conversations being out-ed! In any case, permission was given for me to continue, and so I will.

We met Saturday evening with 6 members present. We discussed The Prodigal God, by Timothy Keller. (This is kind of a detour from our usual selections, and I was especially skeptical, since as a rule I avoid non-fiction and usually avoid Christian books also. Not that I am advocating these tastes, AT ALL. I wish I read more of both types of books. But I don't. Anyway, The Prodigal God is actually the subject of a Bible study at our church, so I was rather unsure of how that would translate into a book club selection. But it did! Mostly because it is easy to read (not like Mere Christianity, in my humble & shallow opinion!) and short. For those unfamiliar, the book explores Jesus' parable usually known as The Prodigal Son - but renames it Two Lost Brothers.

Some topics of discussion:

1. Most of us are "elder brother" types - became Christians at a young age, and admit to being a tish - or more- judgemental of those who don't live up to our high moral standards
2. IA said that she identified more as a "younger brother" - lived a more indulgent lifestyle until finding Christ during college.
3. All were convicted by the explanation (and main point) of the book that both the elder & younger brother are separated from the Father.
4. Lyz said that during the section on the TRUE elder brother (that would be Christ), she started by thinking, "well, of course that elder brother should have gone in to the feast and rejoiced with the returned younger brother" - but Keller goes waaay further and says that a TRUE elder would have gone searching for the younger brother after he left, brought him back, and held the party himself. This is, of course, what happens in heaven every time a lamb returns to the fold.
5. It's usually harder for an elder brother to attend the feast than the younger brother, since their pride in their good behavior keeps them from God.
6. Since it is soo easy to become an elder brother (even the younger brothers do after becoming Christians!) it is that much more necessary to remind ourselves of God's great love & necessary mercy - and also examine the motives of our behavior. Are we "being good" because then God "owes" us a pleasant life? Or are we doing what He asks and commands because we love Him & recognize His sacrifice for us? Hmmm.... it's a fine line.

Other topics covered:
- Bacon, and the benefits of cooking it outside
- the possibility of flooding in the Red River Valley this spring, and how it's all the fault of farming in a lake bed. And then building a city there, too.
- You can reminisce all you want, but if you try to recreate the experience, you will inevitably fail. Unless it involves Dorothy Lynch salad dressing.
- Family farms cause great conflict when it comes time to "divide the inheritance".
- Babies are a sweet. And a giant pain. Reflux, diaper rash, eating...and totally unreliable. You can't even predict their size based on their siblings! And then there is the whole issue of potty training...don't get me started. I'm serious.

Other books or authors mentioned/suggested:

Annie Lamott (sp?)
The Great Divorce by CS Lewis (NOT about marriage issues...)
The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins (none of us had ever heard of it or the author, but apparently it's never been out of print?!)
Middlesex - Which had us discussing the possibility of true gender confusion

And then we also had a book exchange, where some of us may operate under different motivations. For instance, it seems that most brought books that they truly thought others may enjoy, and Lyz simply brought books she wanted to get rid of. Too bad for N! That poor lady got a piece of smut from an airport bookstore. At Home in Mitford (by Jan Karan, the first in a series) and The No 1 Ladies Detective Agency were big hits (at least to this member). Of course, the one I ended the night with was CS Lewis & Sigmund Freud debating the topics of love, sex, marriage & God. Doesn't that sound like a page turner? Well, maybe for you.... Thanks to E for trading an Amy Tan novel with me!

The next meeting will be at G's house (again! The woman is earning riches in is her husband) on March 13th, and we will discuss our classics selection, Ethan Fromme by Edith Wharton. This is a very short and easier-to-read novel, and many of us have copies, so if you need one, talk to us first.

Happy reading!


Noel said...

I think husbands who are left at home to watch Harry Potter movies are also interested in reading the Book Club summaries.

Lexie said...

thanks for the summary...

Noel said...

Hmmm, a book that includes a winter storm to be read for a March Book Club meeting in Fargo. Maybe try something sunnier and warmer like Michener's _Hawaii_?

Anyways, Netflix has the 1993 film version staring Liam Neeson. The work is old enough that it is public domain. Printed version for free at the Gutenburg project and free audio version at Librivox, .

Noel said...

I'll be heading to Culvers for supper soon, but just now at 5:44 PM, a mixed greens salad with bacon and Dorthy Lynch dressing seems mighty fine...I can even picture eating it with the company of a Book Club member.