Sabbath Reading: new Wendell Berry, Beth Kephart, Joyce Rupp, Jonathan Edwards

I admit to being a bit drained–we’ve got four very large book displays coming up and are stressed out about the ordering, pulling, packing that needs done amidst an otherwise busy week. Next week is, as they say, crunch time. We appreciate your prayers. May our vans–rented, begged, borrowed and (stolen?) endure their mistreatment as they chug to destinations as far as Dallas (the national Ivy Jungle conference) and as near as York (our local hospital’s pastoral care department has a day long gig we are a part of.)
Later in the week, I’ll post about the other events coming up and some authors we will be meeting.
Now, though, a couple of quickie mentions that might calm me down. Jewish Sabbath begins in the evening, of course, yet I’ve not stopped since early this morning. And Christian Sunday mornings are not all that peaceful either, at least in the Borger home, what with the morning schedules, kids, Sunday school deadlines, leadership obligations and the compulsive seeking after Yowza coffee at our convenience store…sigh.
So. Here are some nice titles that have arrived these last days. Maybe tomorrow I will relax a bit with at least a few pages of each.

The Way of Ignorance and Other Essays Wendell Berry (Shoemaker & Hoard) $24.00 Since Steve Garber retold the moving story of Uncle Peach (from Fidelity) last weekend, I’ve been itching to read more of the Kentucky farmer-poet-Agrarian-curmudgeon-Christian prophet. In this new collection, Berry firmly sounds off in clear and reasonable lines about politics, war, Jesus, land (of course), horse-driven logging (I was surprised how much I enjoyed that piece, the first chapter I read, actually) and the state of the enviroment. One chapter is on “Ownership Without Affection” and another wonders what and whose “freedom” we are considering when we speak of the “free market.” I can’t wait to read “Local Knowledge in an Age of Information” which I am afraid will be very convicting. Beth still has to remind me the names of some of our neighborhood trees. A new collection of poetry came from Mr. Berry (Given) a few months back, and now this. A good publishing season, for sure.

Ghosts in the Garden: Reflections on Endings, Beginnings, and the Unearthing of Self Beth Kephart (One World Library) $17.00 I admit there is quite a nice genre growing of books that use gardening as a metaphor for spiritual or personal growth. (Oh, how I wish more people would know of Cindy Crosby’s wonderful book about praying and planting wheatgrasses in the midwest, By Willoughby Brook: Exploring the Landscape of Prayer put out in a handsome, chunky hardcover by Paraclete Pres.) Here, a fabulous Pennsylvania writer chronicals here time spent, starting the morning of her 41st birthday, in a near-by, world-renowned, public garden, Chanticleer. These kind of books often come to us in lovely prose, and even the blurbs are sweet. One endorsement says, “Lovely, soothing, provocative. Beth Kephart’s writing is an inviting garden and a reflection pool in words. Rich soil lies here, seeded with questions of meaning, and greet shoots of tender wisdom.”
You may know of our rave reviews of her other books, Slant of Sun: One Child’s Courage, Into the Tangle of Friendship, Still Love in Strange Places, Seeing Past Z: Nurturing the Imagination in a Fast-Forward World.

Walk in a Relaxed Manner: Life Lessons From the Camino Joyce Rupp (Orbis) $15.00 We enjoy walking stories, outdoors memoirs and good nature writing. Rupp, though, is mostly known as a creative and progressive Catholic retreat leader who has penned nicely crafted books on spirituality. You may know her Fresh Bread or The Cup of Our Life or May I Have This Dance? or her very helpful Praying Our Goodbyes. Here, she tells of a pilgrimmage hike she took, along with a friend, himself a spiritual writer. Together, they explore their journey along the Camino de Santiago which looks to have been quite an adventure. Joyce Rupp on a hike?! What a treat.

Pursuing Holiness in the Lord Jonathan Edwards (Presbyterian & Reformed) $11.99 This is the third in the slightly abridged works of this great American philospoher, scientist, educator and Puritan preacher that have been commissioned by our friends at the Jonathan Edwards Institute. Rob Norris wrote a helpful forward, and T.M. Moore does an editor’s preface. These were three serious sermons preached at Northampton on how God’s grace can be embedded into the lives of those who love Him.
Wherever you find yourselve this weekend, may you have a few quiet moments with books such as these. Peace.

3 thoughts on “Sabbath Reading: new Wendell Berry, Beth Kephart, Joyce Rupp, Jonathan Edwards

  1. Hi. I just stumbled onto your blog .. it looks good & I’ll be returning.One little thing … on the Wendell Berry note. Almost the only place Uncle Peach shows up in Berry’s fiction is in the story “Thicker Than Liquor” in _The Wild Birds_ and, of course, _That Distant Land_ … don’t think he makes an appearance in _Fidelity_.But, at any rate, you’ve got me interested in what Mr. Garber has done with him.

  2. Tom,You are so right…my mistake. It was exactly that great short story he re-told and a favorite about care, fidelity, knowing deeply what to do…Thanks for the reminder, or I should say, correction. You obviously know the work. Byron

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