Friday, March 6, 2015

Reading as Spiritual Warfare

Since these two go together a little bit I thought I'd posted about both. I read The Bait of Satan in January and just finished The Screwtape Letters. The small group I'm teaching ends next Friday (*big frown*) so I made sure to finish the second one just in case I wanted to share anymore thoughts about it. Also, we will be discussing demons next week and since the Screwtape Letters is written from the perspective of demons or specifically a "Senior Tempter" and a "Junior Tempter" I thought it might come in handy. 

The Bait of Satan basically outlines the Spirit of Offense that all Christians face. It talks in depth about forgiveness, being offended, offending others, and gives examples from the Bible relating to offense. This book was life-changing for me. There were some areas in my heart that were quite offended and I have either processed through them or I am currently doing so. John Bevere is a no-nonsense kind of pastor. He speaks the truth and I found that his teachings are profound. For better or for worse, I am in a spiritual season where basic teachings do not move me. I need something that's hard to hear...something that makes me think so much I can't sleep. This book did that and I'm grateful. 

The Screwtape Letters was a re-read, but I'm not certain that I finished it the first time. The entire book is letter after letter from Screwtape (a Senior Tempter) to his nephew Wormwood (a Junior Tempter). He is teaching Wormwood how to deal with his "patient" who is a human and specifically how to keep him from the Enemy (God the Father) and instead bring him into the house of "Our Father Below" (Satan). It takes a while into the book for your mind to shift from thinking like a Christian to thinking like a demon. Not that this really matters, but I listened to the audio version of this book and the man reading it has the creepiest voice so I think that brings an extra layer of shivers to my body about this topic. I think the largest take-away from this book is that the tempters just continue to attack the man and are very thoughtful, strategic, and intentional. They find distractions for the patient. They use things that are good to keep the patient in negative attitudes such as selfishness or pride. 

I think Satan wants us to forgot about him, because if we do we won't try as hard to fight against his evil schemes. I know that sounds dramatic, but he really hates us. These books just reminded me that my identity is always being attacked, but that Jesus has stood in the gap to free me. Sweet grace...

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Reading is hard

So, I finally finished 2 books! Yay, I'm so proud!!

Actually I'm embarrassed that I was in grad school a year ago and now I can't finish a book to save my life.

These are my first two:

1. Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg - She puts together a lot of research on how we hold ourselves back, and gives practical ideas for how to "lean in."
2. Take This Bread by Sara Miles - A spiritual memoir from a woman who was a journalist in Central America during the wars and revolutions, and who starts a food pantry after she becomes a Christian.

This is the shelf of books I have acquired in some fashion and haven't yet read. This shelf is my goal for 52 in 52. A few highlights I'm looking forward to: Tender at the Bone by Ruth Reichl, Persuasion by Jane Austen (that one I have read and want to reread), Shop Class as Soul Craft by Matthew Crawford, Half the Church by Carolyn Custis James, and You Lost Me by David Kinnaman.

What are y'all reading?? Surely someone is reading more than me?

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

An Introduction - Becki

Hello Cait, Brian, & Sarah (and perhaps more friends throughout the year)! 

My name is Becki. I live in Huntington, Indiana where I serve as a Resident Director at Huntington University. I live with 150 college students who complain about their homework and reading assignments so I ask them questions that they don't want to answer so that they think sometimes out of the classroom. I love to read, but was really burnt out this past fall and had so much psychological noise in my brain that only recently have I been able to really read again. 

Originally I'm from Minneapolis, but I've also lived in Kansas and western Pennsylvania. 

I chose to do this 52 in 52 on my own prior to Sarah's invitation to reflect with you because I think reading is really healthy for me. I think deep thinking is necessary in my life and even though I often neglect it for more practical and immediate needs I know that when it is absent I don't feel as balanced. 

Above is a #shelfie from my office where I often feel overwhelmed with small tasks instead of freedom to read things that matter. I often compromise with online articles or reflecting on small pieces of prose which are designed for me to use with my six Resident Assistants to challenge them in a way that they will find relevant. I'd like to make myself read things that matter that are longer than articles and more fulfilling in many respects. 

I'd like about half of what I read this year to be fiction, because fiction is what my heart loves to write more than anything. Fiction also happens to be what I actually write the least, fourth after lengthy emails, reports, and journal entries. I hope that another large chunk of my reading is about Jesus. I'm leading a small group on spiritual warfare (!) this spring and I hope that reading about Jesus helps me wisely lead the 10 students in that group. 

I'm nervous that I won't complete this goal and so I'm grateful to not be on the journey alone. February is going to be crazy for me (RA hiring) so I have already completed 5 books in preparation! I'll start reflecting soon. Four of them are a series and I will write one post about those.

Blessings to you all! 

Monday, January 19, 2015

52 in 52: the beginning

A small group of people undertaking a challenge to read 52 books in 52 weeks.


  • 52 books in 52 weeks, not necessarily one book a week
  • Rereads are allowed (either that you've read before, or over the course of the year)
  • Audio books allowed
  • When you finish a book, write a short post about the book, what you thought, other reflections
  • Label the post with the author, your name, and any themes/genres that apply
  • Feel free to add a picture of the book or a link

Let's start with introduction posts--tell a bit about yourself, why you want to do this, excitements or nervousness, what you hope to read. Maybe include a shelfie (snapshot of your bookshelf/things you want to read). :)

Then have at it! Start reading and writing. Go team!