In February I read Nora Gallagher’s Things Seen and Unseen and loved it. Could not wait to read more of her work. On my trip last week I read Practicing Resurrection: A Memoir of Work, Doubt, Discernment, and Moments of Grace. It did not disappoint.
Of the two books, I favor Practicing Resurrection, but reading Things Seen and Unseen sets the stage for it, so I’d recommend reading it first.
Here are a few of my favorite quotes from Practicing Resurrection:
p. 67 – “…that’s what ails Christianity, this literalness, this imprisonment with the facts of history. When it becomes this, with the insistence on historical authenticity and whether the water really became wine and Jesus literally being raised from the dead, then it loses its whole point, which is to show me …and to show us how to relate to the earth and be comfortable with mystery…”
p. 153 – I realized that one of the jobs of a writer was to see what was unseen or hidden, and then to have the confidence to find the words for it.
The world remains a mystery without a tool to enter it.
p. 156-7 – “Every single one of us has ‘good work’ to do in life,” says Elizabeth O’Connor, a layperson, in her book, Cry Pain, Cry Hope. “This good work not only accomplishes something needed in the world, but completes something in us.
Frederick Buechner said, “Neither the hair shirt nor the soft berth will do. The place where God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”
p. 187 – Faith is only an approximation, as is memory – one never knows if one has the real thing in one’s grasp. It’s always only a reaching toward…
p, 207 – We spend so much time in church “believing” in the resurrection or “not believing” (six impossible things before breakfast) that we may lose the point. What if the resurrection is not about the appearances of Jesus alone but also about what those appearances pointed to, what they asked? And it is finally what we do with them that matters – make them into superstitions or use them as stepping stones to new life. We have to practice resurrection.
….”It’s like what happens in spiritual direction. You pay attention to things you never noticed. You start by thinking, There’s something out there for me and I need to find it. In that search, there is nothing that isn’t grist for the mill. And there will always be more of it, you are not going to outlive it. It’s not going to run out.”
p. 209 – “When it comes right down to it, it seems to me that Jesus invites us to follow where the truth leads…..and the bear the cost of whatever truth we find.”
Especially during this season of Lent, my wants seem so ridiculous at times. Jesus died on the cross and all I can think about is how bad I want a frickin’ cupcake. Then along comes my organic produce delivery, a little consolation prize. Like a tiny nod to my even giving thought to the contrast.
Loved: HFASS’s Nosh, sleeping late, fresh tulips
Hated: Cutting an unnecessary notch in the palm of my hand. Oh, bloody hell.
Drinking: decaf Americano from a tiny cup
Eating: Hershey’s 100 calorie Pretzel Bar
Reading: I Thought It was Just Me (But It Isn’t), Brene` Brown
Listening: Paste Magazine New Music Sampler, Issue 50
Dreading: Monday meetings
Anticipating: A long, hot bath
The Three Signs of a Miserable Job, Patrick Lenconi
The Water Will Hold You: A Skeptic Learns to Pray, Lindsey Crittenden
Things Seen and Unseen: A Year Lived in Faith, Nora Gallagher
From Stone to Living Word, Debbie Blue
Post-Rapture Radio: Lost Writings from the Failed Revolution at the End of the Last Century by Russell Rathbun
A Year of Mornings: 3191 Miles Apart by Maria Alexandra Vettese and Stephanie Congdon Barnes
To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings by John O’Donohue