God and books and stuff

10 August 2009

So I've been reading this book, Searching for God Knows What by Donald Miller. Now Miller is the same guy who wrote Blue Like Jazz, which everyone I know has read, and either a) adored it and are obsessed with it, or b) hated it and are obsessed with trashing it. Either way, you gotta admit a guy who can write a book that elicits responses like that must be just shy of genius.

Anyway, so as I wait for this baby to be born, I've been reading this book. And I've been reading not just because I don't have much else to do besides wait for the baby, but also because lately I've found myself really thirsty for some spiritual conundrums. Church hasn't quite been doing it for me lately, which I feel really guilty about considering that one big reason we're here is to do "church". And really, that's probably not very accurate, we're here to follow and try to be Jesus as best we can. It just so happens, that more often than not, those notions get intertwined with attending church.

It could be that I'm not really getting much out of church because I've only been able to go about twice a month. The truth is, I've not been well. Besides being ginormously with child, I've been living with daily migraines. I wake up in the morning, and it's there. I drink water, I drink juice, I intake caffeine, I refrain from caffeine, I push tylenol, I try to nap... you get the picture. These migraines last until early evening, when strangely I'm finally given a reprieve. After spending all day in bed with blinding pain behind my eyes, missing my children and begging God to take it away, I'm able to eat dinner with my family, play a bit with my kids, get a bit of work/cleaning/baby prep done, and then spend the rest of the night trying to prepare for sleep, which I know will only end in me waking up, yet again, with another migraine. (It should be noted that I have mentioned this to the doctors/midwives I see when I go in for my antenatal appointments, but they don't seem to be really concerned...).

So, yeah, I've missed a bit of church. But even when I've been there, I'm not really paying attention. Or I'm confused. Or I get frustrated (which, as you know, is a common Pregnant Karen symptom). In all honesty, this happened probably just as frequently in our churches in the States, so perhaps it really is me and not the church... at least, that's what I'm starting to get a handle on.

So I decided to pick up Miller's book because Blue Like Jazz moved me so deeply and I thought, if I'm having a hard time at church, if I'm having a hard time concentrating on prayer, if I'm struggling with studying the Bible, and if I've got these horrible headaches which keep me bed-bound most days, I need to read something that might open the window and let a little fresh air in. Or I need to read something that makes me feel less crazy and less out-of-control. (The end of pregnancy does have a habit of reminding you how freaking little you control in the first place.)

I thought that perhaps I should just share a little bit of this book with you, not in a review-y sort of way, but in quotes and small morsels. Miller reminds me a lot of my sister, Jessica, who knows that there are no easy answers and really thinks it valuable to spend a good, hard time figuring out just who Jesus is, just what the Bible is talking about, and just exactly what we are to do with our lives, knowing that information. So when I read Miller, I kinda feel like she and I are having a conversation, like we used to do in my living room in KC, with our anarchist cousin, and my husband keeping us all grounded (and trying to keep us quiet so we wouldn't wake the children with our shouting).

So here are some quotes from Searching for God Knows What. They are tidbits of thought that I have read at the doctor's office, in the bath, laying in bed with a fan directly on my face, or on that one sunny day where I could read in a chair in the back garden (with a hat on, mind you, so that the sun wouldn't aggravate the migraine). No matter where I was when I read them, I either laughed or cried, out loud. Sometimes I gasped. And occasionally I would pray and thank God for blowing my mind, or at least touching my heart just a wee bit.

(at this point, I hope you're still with me...)

About God, the creator:
Whatever it is that understands the physics of this thing that is happening to us would have to be quite remarkable, with giant oaks for feet, perhaps, and a voice like wind through a forest and a mind that creates creations of which it might ponder in a way of learning what it already knows.

About us and what we believe about God:
In my opinion, there are two essential problems with believing God is something He isn't. The first problem is that it wrecks your life, and the second is that it makes God look like an idiot.

About Jesus, and John the Evangelist:
The way John writes about Jesus makes you feel like the sum of our faith is a kind of constant dialog with Jesus about whether or not we love Him... John seemed to embrace the relational dynamic of our faith... He revealed how none of the disciples truly understood Jesus and how they were all screwups, and he didn't make himself look good, either... That's guts, if you ask me.

About nudity and the Fall:
I wondered why it was that when people talked about the fall of man, about the Garden of Eden, they never talked about how people went around naked. If you ask me, the most obvious thing that happened after the Fall was that people started wearing all kinds of clothes... I mean, evolution may explain how we came from apes, but it does nothing to explain why we wear clothes.

And that's just all in the first 70 pages...