Well, well, well, fellow readers. Here we are. Almost to the day, five years ago we had our first Book Club post. Anyone else wanting a little walk down memory lane and to see how far we have come, check out How devoted are you to devotionals?
Looking back through the comments, I love that some of us have been reading here since the beginning, others for a season. I love this space. When I started the Book Club, I wanted it to be different than other online book clubs I had found. I knew that a virtual club where we cannot see each other and it would be easy to wonder, “Is anyone else reading this?!” we would have to do things differently. And we have. And it has worked! And we have read and commented and shared reading loves.
Since this will be my last post, I was curious how many posts we have had in Book Club. Prepare to be a bit proud of yourself (and this is a not-so-humble-brag on all of us!). In the last five years, we have read 46 books and there has been a total of 255 posts (counting today). I was too lazy to count how many comments and words in total.
I also find it poetic that we end my time talking about sleep (and how sleep can mirror death for some people and leaving this space feels a bit like a death to me. This has been a very “meta” week as I’ve been thinking about books, sleep, death, me leaving, and God’s sustaining grace).
Once again, in Liturgy of the Ordinary, Warren packaged profound truth in phrases that stick with me, nudging me to confront the truth they contain.
Habits of Restlessness — “If rest is learned through habit and repetition, so is restlessness.”
Our loves, our trusts, our limits — “Both gathered worship and our sleep habits profess our loves, our trusts, and our limits. Both involve discipline and ritual. Both require that we cease relying on our own effort and activity and lean on God for his sufficiency. Both expose our vulnerability.
I thought of how sleep reveals what we love as I struggled to go to sleep last night. Friends from my China time spent the night as they passed through town. We had stayed up far beyond my normal bedtime talking. Like Warren, “I love my close friends so I stay up late to keep a good conversation going a bit longer.” In my too-tired-can’t-go-to-sleep state, I thought of how we started this book by thinking of our belovedness when we wake up.
And here I was, full circle, back in bed and thinking of love and you and this book.
Disordered love and disordered worship —”[Our lack of sleep] is indicative of a spiritual crisis—a culture of disordered love and disordered worship. We disdain limits.”
This is so true. I know some of you live in places where the spirit world is very active and sleep is more easily disrupted. I was thinking of you, that even your sleep troubles are because of disordered love and disordered worship. How is the sleep culture where you live?
We hate being reminded — “Our bodily limits are our chief daily reminder that we are but dust. We inhabit a frail, vulnerable humanity. And we hate being reminded.”
Evangelicalism’s energetic history — “Evangelicalism’s energetic history has produced genuine and needed change in society, but it can also foster attitudes that depreciate sustainability and rest. When our zealous activism is coupled with a culture of frenzy and grandiosity, the aim of our Christian life can become a list of goals, initiatives, meetings, conferences, and activities that leave us exhausted.”
As she went on to discuss the “worn-out ministers’ fund” and the absurd solution to the problem, I wondered what absurd solutions we have implemented today instead of looking at the roots.
I’ve heard before (as I’m sure have you) that the Hebrew day begins at sundown. But it wasn’t until reading this that I thought about the influence of when the day starts. Even now, I sense myself thinking, “Oh what a difference it might make if the day started with me going to sleep. But it can’t because day starts in the morning.” Clearly, I have some work to do! Ha!
Let’s end with this question from the text. “What if Christians were known as a countercultural community of the well-rested—people who embrace our limits with zest and even joy?”
Yes, let’s be a part of that world.
Thanks to Sarah Hilkemann and Rachel Kahindi, we will keep reading, keep commenting, and keep growing as a community. Next week you will discuss one of my favorite Christmas reads: A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote. You don’t want to miss it!
But before that, one last time I say, see you in the comments!
December will be short, stand-alone reads and book list posts, so jump in when you can!
December 4th — A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote
Other fun surprises to come in December. Stay tuned!