Category Archives: Spirituality

Child in the Manger

child manger

By Liesbet Sleger, A Child in the Manger is a wonderful book to introduce young children (2 – 4 years old) to the story of Jesus’ birth. It’s a simple telling with few words that’ll need explanation.

The illustrations look almost like a child’s drawing with their bold outlines. The colors are cheerful as is the tone.

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Posted by on December 10, 2017 in British Lit, Children's Lit, Religion, Spirituality


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Good Stories: What Christian Writers Can Offer

Yep, Barabara Nicolosi, founder of Act One and professional screenwriter, is right. I agree that we need to work and think really hard to offer the world the sort of stories Evelyn Waugh, Graham Greene, Françoise Mauriac, Dostoevsky and Victor Hugo offered. But it would be worth it.

This weekend I finish my library class and start writing in earnest. Promise.

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Posted by on March 29, 2013 in book lovers, Christianity, classic, Nobel Prize, Spirituality, Theology, writers


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The Promise of Paradox

I’m a Parker Palmer fan and couldn’t resist picking up The Promise of Paradox: A Celebration of Contradictions in the Christian Life when I saw it in the little library here at the Ghost Ranch. This book was first written in 1980 and has been updated and rereleased.

In the first third of the book, Palmer reflects on Trappist monk,Thomas Merton‘s writing on paradox, concentrating on Merton’s image of living his life in the belly of a paradox, on how the cross urges us to hold contradictions, e.g. you must lose your life to keep it, together in tension.

Ironically or providentially, tension and contradiction came up in a discussion I had earlier the day I read this. We have this desire to resolve tension, to get rid of it. We don’t like holding oppositions in our minds and hearts.

Well, Palmer and Merton urge us to be patient, to see that the cross symbolizes and teaches us to bear these tensions. The book is full of potent quotations and is quite engrossing in the beginning.

As the book continues, I lost interest as Palmer moved onto other themes. The part on his Way of the Cross was relevant. However, as the book veered into discussions on education, my interest waned. I felt I’d read this before in other places and that it was just filler. Though I agree with Palmer’s opinions, I felt the end of the book didn’t fit with the beginning. Perhaps if I read his introduction, I’d get what his reasoning was for the last section, but I feel a reader shouldn’t have to read the introduction, that the intro is just an extra. The main text should be sufficient onto itself. Perhaps the cover should bill this as a collection of essays.

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Posted by on August 13, 2011 in contemporary, Spirituality


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Five Books

Just five, huh? Well, that’s not easy, but I’ll follow the rule to be fast and add a guideline that if it’s been that influential, it’s probably a book I’ve read a few times. Last week I got a novel I thought was wonderful out of the library and when I began rereading it, I thought, “Boy, what’s with all this over done description.”

Here goes:

  1. The Great Gatsby: it’s importance lies in the language, which I’d say is perfect. The story’s compelling too.
  2. Pride and Prejudice: it’s a classic written by a woman and one I can read again and again and still enjoy and find more humor or insight. Each time I read it, I’m delighted.
  3. Catcher in the Rye: I like the jaded, yet sensitive Holden Caulfield. And each time I read it I get more connections between characters and symbollism.
  4. Brideshead Revisited: it’s a perfect book that I’ve read three times. What an amazing understanding of people, society and grace!
  5. The Bible: well, that seems like something people have to throw in if they’re Christians of a certain ilk. I never had a problem with the Bible and I’ve grown up with it, but until recently it was a good book, but not one I’d put on this list. It’s not one I’d read for the heck of it. Yet, I did challenge myself to read it cover-to-cover a few years back and have also met some friends who really know it. As a Catholic school student, I had some required Bible reading but the accent seemed to be on required. Reading it by choice and learning the cross references and Greek translations, has changed how I consider the Bible. Last fall I learned about Habbukuk, a prophet. Whoa, he has a great dialog with God, where he really tears into God. It’s criminal that we bypassed that in Sr. Mary Rose’s class. Even if there isn’t time for everything, make time for Habbukuk, he’s so relevant. Teens would wake up.
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Posted by on July 25, 2011 in American Lit, British Lit, Spirituality