Laudable Linkage

Here are a few good reads recently discovered:

Studying the Bible Is Not Supposed to Be Easy, HT to True Woman. “We need to go into it expecting, not that it will be easy – that the Holy Spirit is just going to dump truth on us just because we were faithful to sit down and flip open the covers – but rather, that if we obey just some simple reading tools that we would use with any book, that the Bible will begin to yield up treasure to us.”

Minimalism Is Not the Gospel, HT to Out of the Ordinary. “Christian finds freedom not in lifestyle changes or donations at the local charity shop but in Christ. He finds relief not in what he has done but in the One who has done everything for him; not in needing less but in acknowledging his complete dependence on his Savior; not in the arrival of the recycling truck but in the beauty of the cross.

Why an unwanted pregnancy is about the baby and the father, too. “We also need a generation of women who will encourage men to take responsibility and show the sacrificial love and empathy that ought to mark men, not push them out of the conversation about abortion.”

When a Cussing, Drug-addicted Mom Shows Up at Your Church, HT to True Woman. I don’t like that multiple links to the author’s book makes this seem like a big commercial, but if you can look past that, this is a beautiful story of how God used a nursery worker to redeem a situation and draw this mom toward God’s grace instead of banishing her in shame from it.

Joining a Mob, HT to Challies. “We can’t let our emotion run away with our discernment. Hot takes should be anathema to people charged to be slow to anger and slow to speak.”

What Is the Role of the Christian Writer? “The Christian writer is not to write just to make others think. That is not enough. Making people think is easy—just challenge their ideas or shock them with controversy. That’s just noise, and Lord knows we don’t need more noise. No, the Christian writer is to fetch treasure to share with readers.”

The Dangers of Self-care, HT to True Woman. A little relaxation, taking a break, even hobbies are fine, but “When we sate ourselves on the things of this world—pleasures and comforts of whatever kind—we become spiritually sluggish. Our prayer life, our Scripture reading, and all the delights of belonging to God seem distant and dull when we prioritize our time and activities around gratifying our appetites.”

Cultivating Self-Control, HT to Challies.

The Demise of Book Collecting? No, not for avid book lovers. Good thoughts on the difference between collecting and hoarding.

And, finally:

Book Review: When the Morning Glory Blooms

Morning Glory When the Morning Glory Blooms by Cynthia Ruchti explores three different, but related, timelines.

The first one, in modern times, involves Becky, whose teenage daughter had a baby out of wedlock. Becky takes care of her grandson so her daughter can finish high school, but she struggles with how much she’s helping and how much she’s enabling her daughter’s lack of sense of responsibility.

In 1951, Ivy just saw her boyfriend off to the Korean War. Then she found out she was pregnant. Now she’s afraid to tell him. She doesn’t want to put him in danger by distracting him, but she’s also afraid he’ll reject her. Ivy works in a nursing home, and one of her patients is Anna. Anna wants Ivy to help write down her story, and at first Ivy acquiesces just to please Anna. But she realizes that Anna is perfectly clear and not at all the dementia patient Ivy had thought. And Anna’s story is not only remarkable in itself, but it touches her own in many ways.

In the 1890s, Anna inherited some property. Her dream: to turn the old home into a haven for unwed mothers. She had little resource except faith. Her plan was not well-received by the community – except for her pastor and his wife, who helped to bring others on board.

As you can see, each of the stories involves unplanned pregnancies. Even though they were handled in different ways in different eras, they still brought complicated and painful consequences. Yet in each story line, those involved found some measure of grace and some maturity and growth through their circumstances.

The three are also connected by morning glories – but I’ll let you discover what that means.

A few quotes:

Your baby’s name is not Regret.

Wouldn’t one think that the forgiven would be quickest to forgive others? That the redeemed would fall over one another in their rush to carry the song of deliverance to those who had yet to hear its calming melody? That those who had found refuge would do everything in their power to light the way for others?

When young women lived with me, they worked beside me both because their help was needed and because work is both healing and character building.

I thought I’d have trouble keeping up with three different threads of story, but Cynthia wove them together well while keeping each distinctive enough to avoid confusion. I enjoyed the humor especially in Becky’s narrative. There were a few surprises: some of the connections between the women turn out to be different from what I had thought they would be. I enjoyed the unfolding of each woman’s story, and the need to extend and receive grace displayed in each one.

(Sharing with Semicolon‘s Saturday Review of Books, Literary Musing Monday, Carole’s Books You Loved)