I mentioned in my 2017: Year in Review that I read less this past year than years previous. Although I haven’t been able to figure out why, I do know it’s true that the practice of regular reading requires forethought and intention. You have to keep a good list, order books in advance from the library, and turn deliberately to your book at the end of the day rather than Netflix. Good reading is like good eating: you’ll feel better for having done it, but it’s always tempting to steal a cookie before dinner. I don’t want to be a fundamentalist when it comes to reading, but I do want to challenge myself to read more in the year ahead.
Do you remember me telling you about my hard thing for this past year? If you don’t, you can catch up here. Essentially, my husband, Ryan, read the book Grit and challenged everyone in our family to choose to do a hard thing “with passion and perseverance.” The kids have, to varying degrees of success, met their goals. Ryan has, as he determined, improved his French dramatically. And I succeeded in reading the 800+ pages of Charles Taylor’s A Secular Age.
Taylor’s work has been showing up in my writing for the last many months, attesting to how important and relevant I’ve personally found his thought to be. And I’m happy to say that I have a chapter in an exciting new collection of essays published by The Gospel Coalition: Our Secular Age, edited by Collin Hansen. Our Secular Age releases today, and you can purchase your copy here.
Even though I’ve just recently released my second book, Keeping Place, I continue to travel and speak on the topic of my first book, Teach Us to Want. This is a question that was recently emailed to me, and I wanted to answer it at length here.
Can I run something up the flag pole with you on this subject? After reading the beginning of Teach Us to Want, I had to put the book down and take two giant steps backward. The book asks us about our wants and desires—our deep inside “ME ONLY” wants and desires. When I go the basement of my mind, lift up the rug and false floor, and pull out the old deteriorating suitcase labeled “Wants & Desires,” I find a glaring new label affixed over the old one: “Disappointments.”
When Alison Hodgson wrote for my guest series, “Home: Musings and Memories”, she talked of the fateful night when an arsonist entered her garage and set her house on fire. “Who, when making a home, imagines it could ever be a ruins?” When Joe Dudeck wrote of home, he described the experience of several failed adoptions: “While standing at the doorway of parenthood, we discovered the welcome mat would again be pulled out from under us.” In another post, Aubrey Sampson wrote to remember her father’s job loss and their family’s move from a beloved house: “There was no willow tree, no roller-rink, not even one hot air balloon in the yard.”