What did I read? Chapters 7-13 of Matthew Redmond's The God of the Mundane. Yep! Ate up quite a few chapters!
What stood out? Well, when I read chapter 7, I thought, "I'm going to start tomorrow's blog by saying that chapter 7 is the real jewel of the book." But then I read chapter 9, and I knew I couldn't let chapter 7 hog the limelight, because chapter 9 was amazing.
So instead of going chapter by chapter - because there's so much good stuff! - I'm just going to excerpt a few of my favorite quotations.
Chapter 7 talked about St. Paul's command to the Thessalonians that they should "aspire to live quietly". I liked this observation:
This living quietly is not only ignored in the Church, it is rarely if ever seen as faithfulness. Not in this culture where the quiet is anathema. We Christians need to reckon with the fact that our tendency to not see a quiet/mundane life as legitimately spiritual comes from pride, a pride betrayed when we cannot be quiet about what we have done, and suffered, and seen. Ever.Also, this:
Living quietly is a life so happy with the attention of God, that the attention of the world is not needed, and rarely enjoyed.And:
It is grounded in the assurance of the notice of the Creator.Then there's chapter 9, which is a sort of extended analysis of It's A Wonderful Life. Redmond points out that everyone loves that movie, but no one actually wants to be George Bailey, toiling in obscurity, never living out his dreams. George Bailey had no idea of the actual worth of his life and actions. Redmond says:
Christians could learn a lot here. We are guilty of not knowing what all we have done. But actually, that is not where the real guilt lies, even if it is where we feel it. The actual guilt lies in our thinking because we do not know all that we have done, we must have done nothing. We assume some kind of godlike posture as if we know the ends and implications of all our actions, and then we make judgments based on them. Foolish, isn't it - this idea we have no significance because we have not seen it? We wallow in some kind of faux humility, never realizing that it is really ego that thinks, "If I cannot see it, it must not be here."And I think I'll stop there, because I don't want to end up excerpting the whole book! But it reminded me of Christ's admonition to, "watch, therefore," because we don't know at what day or hour an accounting will be demanded of us. If we are always doing our regular duty, we'll always be ready to say "yes" when some more extraordinary duty is demanded of us. Redmond points out that Scripture is full of people who were called to something extraordinary, but that their calls found them while they were going about their ordinary duties: tending sheep, trying to have children, bringing lunch along with them when they went to hear a preacher, etc. A good reminder.
Peace of Christ to you,
(This book was an Advance Review Copies (ARCs) sent by the publisher — common practice in the industry. No payment was accepted in exchange for a review or mention, and the reviewer was in no way obligated to review the book favorably.)