Reading

Summer at Grassroots

The ground has been plowed with changes in our lives this summer. We needed time to adjust, find our bearings in new activities, and dive deeper into burgeoning relationships and therefor the blog went a bit silent. We have read, prayed, and fumbled through what it means to value community and love people well in new ways and in new places. 

But, we are back! Transition has and is rendering us different than we were this past Spring and we hope to grow in vulnerability, authenticity, and zeal as we begin sharing with you this fall. 

To start us off, here is a bit of what we have taken in this summer: 

Corey’s Recommendations

I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made For Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown

This book is a great memoir on being black in America. If you’re like me and are trying to broaden your understanding of race issues in America, this is a great start. 

Inspired by Rachel Held Evans

This book gave me a renewed interest and love for Scripture. I really loved the Midrash elements and how the author tackled hard topics with grace. You might not agree with everything she writes, but this is a great book to think through. 

Self Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself by Dr. Kristin Neff

This is more of a therapy recommendation. I’ve been pouring over it slowly as I continue my journey through therapy. It’s been a valuable book on relearning how to treat myself with kindness and grace. 

Podcast Episodes:

Why Being White Makes You Racist by KERA’s Think Podcast

I love this episode. It’s an excellent interview on the tough subject of how deep racism is within our culture and how pervasive our complicity to it truly is. It’s an episode that will probably make you uncomfortable, but also give you a lot of hope. 

Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness

Do you like Queer Eye for the Straight Guy? Do you like deep conversations about our culture, science, and whatever random topic comes to mind? Then this is the podcast for you. 

Kate’s Recommendations

Audacious by Beth Moore

Beth Moore’s Twitter account has been on fleak. Okay, so I have no idea what I am doing with hip words, but the point is, I needed more that the 40 characters from her. I tried to have a summer cram-reading session, but this book forced me to slow down and think. Her provocations were so expository to the apathy I developed over time, that I simply had to set the book down (often) and pray. This is a great book for any of you who are in a season of big changes. 

Daring Greatly by Brene Brown

Feeling less than wholehearted? Struggling with the feeling that your life is fragmented and each compartment you have created is crumbling? This is the book for you. Think you are “pretty open”? This book is for you.

Men Explain Things To Me by Rebecca Solnit

This is an intriguing and challenging read. Within its pages there is no sugar-coating or precautious word choice to be found, but what it lacks in gentleness it makes up for in honesty. While a few arguments include proof I deem as bias or at least partial, I found myself encouraged, challenged, and fired up to preach the good news to women in my life: YOU ARE NOT FORGOTTEN! (Disclaimer: This is a “secular” read on Feminism.)

The Joy of Less by Francine Jay

This is a book that I actually started in February and finished this summer. It was a tremendous help in our move, as I let go of “stuff” and determined the value of each object in my home. As someone who has a hard time separating sentiment from substance, I found within its pages the freedom to love the space I call home.  

For Kids:

The Story of King Jesus by Ben Irwin

This book is the grand narrative of scripture written for children. The illustrations are beautiful and engaging, only topped by the content and clarity of the words themselves. It is a forever favorite. 

The Lost Lamb and the Good Shepherd by Dandi Daley Mackall

This book tells the story of the Good Shepherd chasing after the one lost lamb from both the lamb and the Shepherd's perspective. It is so creative and the rhythm of the words holds a child’s attention well. 

Keith the Cat with the Magic Hat by Sue Hendra

This is a library find that made my three-year-old laugh out loud. Basically (spoiler alert) an ice cream cone falls on a cat’s head and he pretends it is a magic hat. With a little luck, he manages to convince the other cats that he really does possess magical powers. 

****Shameless self-promotion****

The Saint Nick Story by Kate Davis

Kate’s book about Saint Nick, that was originally part of our Advent Devotional for kids, is now a published picture book! It is available on Amazon and B&N for preorder. Every purchase benefits the abolishment of modern day slavery. (See more at A21.org


 

Worship Together: The Light has Come!

Below is a Christmas reading.

As you join together on Christmas day, designate one person as the leader. That person reads the bold sections. 

Everyone reads the italics section together. 


A Christmas Reading

Leader:
Thousands of years ago, in the town Bethlehem, the Savior was born. His love made manifest in bodily form, no longer are we separated from the Light. Hallelujah! Our King is here!

Together:
Hark the herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!
Peace on earth and mercy mild
God and sinners reconciled"
Joyful, all ye nations rise
Join the triumph of the skies
With the angelic host proclaim:
"Christ is born in Bethlehem"
Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!"

Leader:
Our Light has come, our Great Emmanuel. Spoken of by the prophets and watched for through generations, the Light of the world became incarnate through the Virgin Mary. Joyful, joyful, our hearts are freed!  Hallelujah! Our King is here! 

Together: 
Christ by highest heav'n adored
Christ the everlasting Lord!
Late in time behold Him come
Offspring of a Virgin's womb
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see
Hail the incarnate Deity
Pleased as man with man to dwell
Jesus, our Emmanuel
Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!"

Leader:
This babe, laid in a manger, scatters the darkness and brings peace to the Earth. This wailing baby boy, born that we can live again. His Light is life! Hallelujah! Our King is here! 

Together: 
Hail the heav'n-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings
Ris'n with healing in His wings
Mild He lays His glory by
Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth
Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!” 

Leader:
Our King is here! The Light has come! Hope for all mankind born on this day, he came to set the captive free, to heal the broken, and to cure the land. He came to fold us into his love and set our hearts free again. 

Together: 
As we open our presents and raise up our glasses, let us remember the hope of our Lord.  Let the flicker of his Light burn bright in each and every moment of our Christmas and the days ahead. May our hope in this season set our lives alight by the power of this newborn King.  

Merry Christmas! 

Merry Christmas!