We are nearing the end of our first ever tandem reading experiment! Today we are discussing Chapters 10 and 11 in Humble Roots.
When Hannah talked about her grandma picking blackberries, it transported me back in time to visiting my grandparents when I was a child. They lived in Michigan and in the mornings we would go out back and pick fresh raspberries for breakfast. I cannot eat a raspberry without thinking of walking barefoot to the back of the yard and nibbling some as my sisters and I came back in to the kitchen.
Anyone else have berry memories with a grandparent? or aunt? or uncle?
I thought of my friend Joann on page 177 when she talked about her theology professor and the analogy of trying to hold three watermelons. Joann uses the analogy of a three-legged stool. One leg is God is good. One leg is God is sovereign. And the final leg is life is hard.
Remove any one of them, and the stool falls over. Without God is good, then God is just mean and he is playing with us. Remove God is sovereign and what’s the point, life is made up of only random flukes. No “life is hard” leg? We do not see reality reflected.
Later in the chapter, I loved this quote: “And in our pursuit of the vanities that cannot deliver, we are the ones who end up caught—caught in cycles of debt, spending, and indulgence and all the stress that comes with it.” So true! This idea of trying to replace the Giver with the gifts holds such truth.
In preparation for a sermon, just yesterday I spent a good chunk of the afternoon reading commentary after commentary on 1 Corinthians 12:4-7.
Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.
While I am tempted to go down the rabbit trail of sharing the pages of notes I took, suffice it to say, this confusing of the Giver and the gifts, this ranking of the gifts, this forgetting they are for the common good is nothing new.
But as Paul reminded the Corinthians, and Hannah reminds us: “We feel the weight of that pride that convinced us to rely on earthly good to relieve a spiritual need in the first place.”
In these two chapters, Hannah quoted from four writers I respect: Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Kathleen Norris, Francis Burnett, and Margaret Atwood. It was sort of a “who’s who” of authors!
Just after the Bonhoeffer quote I wrote in my notes: “Sloth and Pride! We are back to the discussion a few weeks ago about managing tension instead of solving a problem.” I hadn’t thought of the pride of the sluggard who isn’t willing to “expend energy unless guaranteed an outcome.” I’m wondering how that idea would go over with some of our supporters who are looking for results.
(In all fairness, to an extent, I am too. Back to the tension!)
Humility trusts God. “It teaches us that God is actively redeeming the world. And because He is, we can experience the relief of confessing our brokenness—whether it is intentional sin, our natural limitations, or simply the weight of living under the curse. Humility teaches us to find rest in confession. Rest from the need to hide, the need to be perfect. We rest by saying, both to God and to others,”I’m not enough. I need the help.”
I had four main thoughts as I read Chapter 10:
- Related to death makes us uncomfortable, so we do things (like cooking).
- But death will not have the final word!
- “In many ways, the act of sleep is itself a spiritual act, an act of humility. To sleep, we must stop our work. To sleep we must lay our bodies down. To sleep we must trust another to care for us.”
- Do you remember how much we talked about all of the magic in The Secret Garden?!!
Probably many reading this weren’t around when we read and discussed The Secret Garden several summers ago. But if you were, we all completely missed the trinity metaphor (Dickon’s mom, Dickon, the robin). I can see it! But good golly, since Francis Burnett lived several years in India, she seemed to be more taken with Magic than the Gospel. Also, Magic was quite popular at the time she wrote it, as I recall.
While I tried to pay attention to what Hannah was saying in Chapter 10, my mind spent a good chunk of time going through old files. I read A Secret Garden almost every year of my childhood and it is one of my favorite books, so every time she mentioned it, it was like I was a dog and someone yelled “Squirrel!” Chances are you were not nearly as distracted as I was. HA!
What stood out to you in these two chapters? Next week we will summarize these two books, have a Get to Know, and the week after that, start North and South by
See you in the comments!
Reading plan for Humble Roots and Scouting the Divine:
May 8—Chapters 8 and 9 in HR
May 15—Part 2 (The Harvest) in SD
May 22—Chapters 10 and 11 in HR
May 29—We made it! Two books read in tandem we will review and have a Get to Know