Thursday, March 29, 2007

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

I have just finished reading The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I think I first heard about this book on some NPR show (Diane Rehm Show?), and I bought it and put it into my to-read pile (that keeps growing, and growing, and...). The other day I read an article that about young adult fiction, and The Book Thief was one of the bestsellers in that category. So if the young people like it, I knew that I had to read it soon.

It was good.

The story is about a young girl named Liesel who lives in Germany during the time just before and during World War II. Even before the girl knows how to read, she steals a book. With the help of her foster father, she learns to read. And she steals more books. Since the book is set in Germany during WWII, the book also deals with the Nazi Party, the Holocaust, and war.

The most remarkable thing about the book is that Death narrates the story. This fact offers some chilling scenes. There is also a lot of foreshadowing since Death is looking back on this story from the end of Liesel's life. (The foreshadowing is good for me because I like to know what will happen later on--I often read ahead--I can't help myself!)

At around 550 pages, this book would have been considered too lengthy for young adults some years ago. But if young adults can handle the length Harry Potter tomes, I can see why they are not scared away by the size of books anymore.

I do recommend this book to older readers, too.

Monday, March 26, 2007


I was called unanimously to be the Minister to Youth and Children at _____ Baptist Church. The pastor called me about an hour after my family left the luncheon.

I will officially begin at the church on Easter Sunday. The church I currently attend wants the opportunity to acknowledge I have been called and send me out. I have missed attending my church. I was out of town last week and at the new church this week.

For a while after I begin this new position, I will continue to teach the preschoolers at the former church on Tuesday night. I will do this to help the children (and me) transition into this new chapter. Both pastors have agreed that Tuesday nights are my own to do as I see fit. Maybe it is a big jump going from teaching preschoolers to teaching youth, but I know that the thing that is similar is the relationships that have to be formed.

It is an exciting time for me. I can see so much potential for growth at this church to which I am called. I only hope that I can be attentive to the Holy Spirit and catch the vision.

Any advice from other ministers is greatly appreciated.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Sunday at a New Church

On Sunday, I will take my family to a new church. It will not be like any other new church we have visited because I will participate in the worship service. I will pray the offertory prayer, and I will read the scripture lesson. After church, my family will stay for the covered dish luncheon. After the luncheon, the church will vote on whether to call me to be their minister to youth and children or not.

Can I just say that anxiety is running high?

The position is part-time (like there is such a thing in ministry). I will not have to put the boys in full-time childcare. I am not required to keep office hours, but instead I can do much of the preparation at home. And the church is only about 20 minutes from my house.

My goals are to have relationships with the youth and children and their families. And to smile more than anyone else at the church.

God be with me.



I usually have a handful of books around the house that I am currently reading. It feels much better to actually complete them sometimes though. I finished one book and read two others today! Wow! Just typing that makes it seem like a big accomplishment.

I finished Leaving Church by Barbara Brown Taylor today. It had been on the bedside table for a few weeks, but I wanted to finish it before the RevGalBlogPals discuss it on Monday. It was very good for me to read this just before I am about to start my first ministry position. Taylor reflects a lot on not defining oneself based on what he/she is doing.

This morning, I read For God's Sake, Shut Up! by Brian Kaylor. I love the title. It is only 118 pages, and Kaylor has a good style of writing--lots of examples, lots of stories, and humor. The subtitle is "Lessons for Christians on How to Speak Effectively and When to Remain Silent." I doubt that the people who need to read this book will ever pick it up, but it is a good book for a preacher to read and to reflect upon.

After I got the boys to sleep (by reading chapter fourteen of The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis), I saw the book Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo on the bedside table. I have been meaning to read the book, and I was able to read the entire thing in about thirty minutes. It has a great message in it. Now I'll have to go to my Netflix account and put the movie version in my queue.

I have often noticed that I read in spurts. I may not pick up a book for a month, and then suddenly I may read several books in the course of a week. In the recent past I have finished Charity Girl by Michael Lowenthal and The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards (The Memory Keeper's Daughter is the Wake Reads Together book for our county this year). I read it on Monday and Tuesday of this week (I could not put it down).

I still have lots of books that I hope to read soon. I buy them faster than I can read. I have also found that Interlibrary Loan (ILL) is wonderful. I am reading Wendy M. Wright's Seasons of a Family's Life because of ILL.

I wonder when this reading spurt will end. I do have a stack of magazines that are piling up....

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

"The Call"

What's that I hear? A Call? A church is interested enough to call me into a ministry position?

What's that I feel? Anxious? Excited? Overwhelmed because the interview was just this afternoon?

What do I need? To sleep. To pray. To listen for the Holy Spirit.

More details will be forthcoming....

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Global Warming and the End Times

There is an excellent blog post by Tony Cartledge of the Biblical Recorder that went up today.

It is called Premillennial Warming.

My own comments about the topic are posted under Cartledge's post. (I'm the second one to comment.)