Books, books and more books

About ten years ago I became fascinated with religion. Now, I have always attended church as a matter of fact I have been a member of my current church for over thirty years and even served as an elder. But I wouldn’t have described myself as overtly religious or even educated about what it is or was that I “believed” in.

That changed when I heard Philip Yancey speak about his book The Jesus I Never Knew. What Mr. Yancey and his book encouraged me to do was ask questions about my faith and myself. You see I was attending church not because I was looking for answers but because it was the right thing to do for myself and my family, something expected of me.

So I started with the most obvious and handy book available, the Bible. After about two weeks of reading I didn’t feel like I had any better understanding of the “story” than I did when I started. So I asked my minister for his help he suggested I buy The Oxford Bible Commentary to read along as a companion for my new-found interest.

After several months and many more highlighters I completed the task of reading the Bible cover to cover. Along the way I jotted down notes of questions that I had and some of the characters that I wanted to explore further.

Now I am a Presbyterian and Presbyterians place a huge value on education, think Princeton and Harvard Seminary. As such, my Church has an extensive library of books that address all manners of the Christian faith, both the traditional and the radical. We also have books about other faiths, such as Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and all the other “ism’s” out there. We are, in a word, a very progressive Church.

The other avenue that I have at my disposal is a wonderful used book store. What I have discovered over the years is that people buy a lot of religious books and apparently, based on the incredible condition I buy them in, don’t ever read them.

I spent three years reading and buying books about Christianty, Jesus, Paul, Peter and James. I amassed a collection of books, a mountain of books of various thoughts and opinions about the faith and these four very important individuals. Each book, each author lead me to another. Each idea, each explanation sent me searching for another answer. I emptied highlighters and tested my wife’s patience with the places I found to store all of my books.

From Christianity I jumped to Judaism and from Judaism I jumped to Buddhism. It may not seem like a natural progression but you would be surprised. And once again, more books. Books that were easy to navigate and others that made my head hurt. Theories, thoughts and ideologies that were new and different beyond anything that I could have ever imagined.

I don’t know if I am any smarter today than I was when I started ten years ago but I do know this, I got a lot of books and I have been building them a new home. If any of you remember I like old doors, and I have built a bookcase fashioned from two old wonderful doors I found at the thrift shop for ten dollars. Rather than having my books scattered all over the house in every nook and cranny I can find I will be able to have them all together arranged by topic. I am sure as I begin collecting them, and find the ones my wife has hidden in the closet I will discover gems that I will need to read again which will uncover more questions, more thoughts and eventually more books.

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About ends and beginnings blog

I am a frustrated writer and poet waiting to be discovered. A stand-up philosopher performing on a street corner near you. A Christian with questions but I don’t want to hear your answers. A Buddhist with a bumper sticker on my truck to prove it. A collector of quotes. A grower of lettuce. The Patron Saint of earthworms who name their children after me. A cyclist whose big ass strains the seams of his Lycra bibs. I am American by birth, Southern by the grace of God. My goal in life is to leave an imprint on the lives of the people I love not a footprint on the earth. I am a son, a husband, a father composed of 65%-Oxygen, 18%-Carbon, 10%-Hydrogen, 3%-Nitrogen, 3%-Diet Coke and 1%-Oreo.
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38 Responses to Books, books and more books

  1. You may be reading with a wrong motive. You could be looking to gain some material advantage, not to understand God and His ways.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Belinda O says:

    The Bereans were commended in Acts for asking questions. That’s my answer to all the pious individuals who find it necessary to belittle my faith because I seek knowledge and wisdom, and sometimes it leads me outside the box, so to speak. God is big enough to handle it, and my faith isn’t rocked by the shocking questions — or answers.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Both my grandmothers felt it was “wrong” to question, that you were just supposed to believe because the bible said so. Fortunately, my mother was more like you, she felt faith was strengthened through questioning, asking, seeking answers…because of my search, I find that I am a more tolerant, compassionate, faithful person than quite a few of my so called religious friends. When the righteous call me out for questioning, I point to tragedies like Jonestown or the bizarre behaviors of folks who follow Scientology. In the one case, blind faith lead people to their deaths, in the other, its lead to bizarre behavior and often emotional / mental / financial trauma. There is much to be said for making decisions based on a wide array of data. Good for you!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Nan says:

    When I first left Christianity, I was still sorta’ kinda’ believing in God. But as I read more and more books on not only this entity, but his so-called “son,” along with beliefs, doctrines, traditions, the origin of the bible and how it changed over the years and … probably most importantly … how Christianity got started, I was surprised at how much I didn’t know. I won’t go into the details since much of it can be found on my blog, but suffice it to say, my belief system was dramatically altered. And, as a side note, I’m much the happier because of it. 🙂

    Good luck on building that bookcase!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Ms. SG41 says:

    Nothing better than having a passion for learning. Great idea for the bookcase btw.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. mwdunham says:

    Well said by well read

    Liked by 1 person

  7. It’s unanimous…knowledge is power and questioning leads to spiritual growth. ALL the messengers have brought to us a piece of the puzzle. Happy reading…..cover your book cases with fancy, lace curtains and your wife will be happy. Trust me

    Liked by 1 person

  8. natakova15 says:

    Thanks for the books. We learn more.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Tyler Wright says:

    Great story about finding your faith! I recently posted a book review on Tim Tebow’s book, which was very faith based. Please stop by my website, thewrightread.com, and read the review.

    Hopefully you will like the book and learn something about Christianity!

    Like

  10. A priest friend of mine who did not grow up in church once said “I never liked religious people” A person he met along life’s way introduced him to Jesus and he soon loved Him! He is ordained now but still reminds us Jesus did not die to get us into religion! Rick is an amazing man of God who leads many to fall in love with Jesus. Even me!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. empathy75 says:

    When I read this post, I am inspired. You are not trying to be a self righteous person, your pure curiosity drives you to learn which is good. I can read more of your blogs if you can share a bit of what you read

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Pingback: The Bible isa great book too! – The Beautiful Bookworm

  13. Bonsai says:

    I had no clue about this aspect of Presbyterians! I don’t think I’ve met one.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I love a good bookcase and a good book! I can get carried away and have to remind myself that anything besides God’s holy Word is commentary. There are good books out there but the bible is THE book if you are truly seeking…..Fun blog read! Thanks!

    Like

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