I’ve never read any Buechner, but I enjoyed this

If you look at a window, you see flyspecks, dust, the crack where Junior’s Frisbee hit it. If you look through a window, you see the world beyond.

Something like this is the difference between those who see the Bible as a Holy Bore and those who see it as the Word of God, which speaks out of the depths of an almost unimaginable past into the depths of ourselves. -Frederick Buechner

My pastor lent me Wishful Thinking and told me to read the entries on Hope and Despair, and I enjoyed it so much that I am reading the whole thing. It’s been very encouraging. The library has a copy of Telling the Truth: The Gospel as Tragedy, Comedy, and Fairy Tale that I’m going to peruse.

In case you were wondering, I didn’t give up reading for Lent. I tried to spend this time reading more spiritual/theological books (which is quite a discipline for me, because it takes me much longer to read that sort of thing than it does to read even a very long novel) instead of reading for escapism like I was talking about in that entry. And, you know what? It was hugely successful for me personally. I feel like I really turned a corner spiritually, and that corner has been a long time coming. (It’s encouraging to hear that Susan also feels like she’s making progress, since we’ve both been in similar places.)

Sometimes people ask what the point or purpose of Lent is, saying that giving up chocolate or soda or something doesn’t really bring people closer to God. I think it’s not so much about what you give up as what you do to replace what you give up. I am sure that giving up reading would be a valuable discipline, and I can’t say for sure what I would have gained from it. But this year it was incredibly valuable for me to be more disciplined about what I was reading. An added bonus was the community factor. So many of my friends have given or suggested books to help me, and talked me through the things I was wrestling with. Yesterday our pastor said that when we accept God, he takes the keys to our heart and makes copies for Jesus and the Holy Spirit and the church – those we are in community with. I loved that, because (in theory at least) I love the importance of community in our lives. I feel that the encouragement I got from my friends to wrestle with the issues I was dealing with, to talk about my fears honestly, was so crucial for me, because it reminded me that my faith doesn’t exist in a vacuum, that going at it alone doesn’t work.

I don’t have any deep thoughts about any of this, though I feel like I should as we enter the Holy Week. I am reminded of what I said last year about Lent , and, as this year’s Lent comes to a close, it is again my prayer that I will have a Lenten attitude year-round, and that the discipline that I have practiced over the past few weeks will both continue and spread to other areas of my life.

This entry didn’t go where I thought it would, and it’s certainly much longer than I intended. I have felt as if some of my entries lately were a little dry, because I have been reluctant to talk about the things I’ve been pondering. So, here are my thoughts, such as they are.

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