Today we finish Wild in the Hollow by Amber Haines. But with a book like this, do you ever really finish it? I don’t think so. It will be working on us for the rest of our days. Anna mentioned last week that maybe we need to do a chapter a week—it was said as a bit of a joke—but that feeling will only be stronger this week!
I am afraid this is going to be unwieldy because of the sheer volume it has stirred with me and I’m guess you might be feeling the same, so I am going to approach this very systematically.
Chapter 13: See Through
I loved the line, “We were forced to learn that a house is not a good hope.” Yup, we know that too. A new teammate, or a change in organizational policies, or your kids not fighting may be good hopes, but none of they can bear the weight of being the solution, the ultimate hope.
“Every step toward maximized growth felt like an actual shrinking, like a kingdom of the powerless, and I didn’t want to be a part of that, though it’s exactly what I was living out in a local context and in my writing life online. I was beginning to see church as the kingdom of the dissatisfied powerless.” The tension she felt with the church also was familiar territory. Repeatedly when people in our line of work return to their passport country for a visit or to live, this is one of the common cries. How can we be honorable towards dissatisfaction without being poisoned by it? Thoughts! :)?
Chapter 14: Hope of the Exiled
I would be willing to bet money (if Christians gambled, wink) that over 90% of us marked the part where Amber was talking to St. Cyr and his comments on the satisfied church. “American culture never allows you to be satisfied,” he said. “When you want something, you go after it and get it, and as soon as you do, you want for something else, maybe a thousand more things. American culture will never have enough. It stands to reason that the church would follow suit.”
Ouch. It hurts because it is a direct hit. While Velvet Ashes is made up of many, many countries, I think we each can sit with what he said and ask the question, “How has the culture of never being satisfied influenced me? As an individual? In my family life? In my organization? With my call? When I am in my passport country?”
I wonder how a culture of being satisfied can be fostered? Overall, I’d say I’m a very satisfied person. I am living such a rich life it sometimes embarrasses me. Should someone be this happy? This satisfied? But that doesn’t mean these longings aren’t familiar to me. There are certain pockets (one in particular right now) I am very dissatisfied with. I’m wondering how much I need to make a gesture towards it? And how much dissatisfaction is not only reasonable, it’s healthy and the appropriate response? What wrestles have you had with the ideas she teased out?
Chapter 15: Whole in Sick Places
“What do I want? Desire always points to the kingdom I serve.”
“Are you a woman allowed no role other than to keep nursery? That does not bind you. Nothing can bind you. . . Revolution doesn’t start in pulpits or with elder boards, though support from those place wold sure be nice. The kind of revolution needed in the North American church and in the world is going to start in the lowest places. It starts in the manger. . . It starts in the rubble, in the needy poor in spirit.”
Nothing can bind you. Struggling to learn the language? That doesn’t bind you. Feeling isolated in your apartment, lonely, bored? That doesn’t bind you. People in your organization not listening to you? That doesn’t bind you. Wow. I need these reminders. What hope do they offer to you?
Chapter 16: Siblings in the Wild Yard
“This is the kingdom, to see like a child, to live loved with my siblings, to work and to dance and to be filled up like a hollow, howl of laugher, fruit of joy.”
Amen. That seems a good place to stop and look for you in the comments.
We will start The Witch of Blackbird Pond next week. It is only $6.99 on kindle or here’s a free PDF. I have to admit I’ve gotten the book but haven’t started it yet. I’ve never read it and know nothing but all that I need to know. Elizabeth recommended it several months ago saying it has powerful themes for TCK’s. I’m trusting it has themes also for us TCP’s :). My new term. Third Culture People. We’ll break the book into Chapters 1-7, 8-15, 16-21. I’ll do some research on the book and will share next week.
The last week of February we got a treat with a children’s book and author! She and I were communicating today about the plan! Lots to look forward to in our current book and future ones to come :).
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