2 + 2: Two Books, Two Blog Posts

I like reading. Whether it’s reading a book or reading a blog, I eat up words the way I drink coffee. I don’t really know what I meant by that, but it makes sense to me. I love coffee.

That being said, let me tell you about two books that I’ve read recently.

1) Through Painted Deserts by Donald Miller

Donald Miller’s one of my favorite authors. He’s the New York Times bestselling author of Blue Like Jazz. Until this day, I still can’t decide which one of his books is my favorite (I’ve read Blue Like Jazz, Searching for God Knows What, and A Million Miles in a Thousand Years). So when I came across this book, getting it was a no-brainer for me. It’s a republished and retitled version of his first book, Prayer and the Art of Volkswagen Maintenance.

It starts out a little slow for my taste, but then it’s a road trip memoir, so the pace ends up making sense, at least for me. In this book, Miller writes about a monumental interstate road trip that he takes with his friend Paul–a trip that takes them over mountains, down the Grand Canyon, and under their beat-up Volkswagen van (the latter, many times over).

I always wanted to go on an interstate road trip, and Miller does a great job of making the journey real to me. While it started out slow, I’m glad that I opted to keep reading as the story kept getting better and better. By the last couple of chapters, I was reading ever-so-slowly and taking down notes, as some lines went straight to my heart.

There are so many good parts and I’m not going to spoil it for you, but I will leave you with some of my favorite quotes from the book:

“I could not have known that everybody, every person, has to leave, has to change like seasons; they have to or they die. The seasons remind me that I must keep changing, and I want to change because it’s God’s way.” / “Everybody has to change or they expire. Everybody has to leave, everybody has to leave their home and come back so they can love it again for all new reasons. I want to keep my soul fertile for the changes so things keep getting born in me, so things keep dying when it is time for things to die. I want to keep walking away from the person I was a moment ago, because a mind was made to figure things out, not read the same page recurrently.” – Donald Miller, Through Painted Deserts

2) The Voice New Testament

Thanks to BookSneeze, I get to review books for free from time to time, and this was the latest one that I chose to review. The Voice is a new, contemporary translation of the New Testament. But more than just a translation, I consider it a repackaged version of the Bible. Instead of the usual paragraphs of text, the conversations are told in screenplay form. Innovative? Yes. Illuminating? Sometimes. Confusing? Unfortunately. The screenplay format and the commentaries within the text make my head spin.

I think that one of the best parts about reading the Word is you get to have a relationship with it. It becomes personal because you’ve invested time soaking in it, trying to understand it, reading between the lines, and even putting yourself in the shoes of the people in the stories. You get to use your imagination, you get to picture the scene and the emotions that are in the air. And sometimes I struggle with what I read, sometimes I wonder if I’m understanding it correctly and I wonder what it all really means. When that happens, I get to take the questions to God, and in my prayers I ask Him, “Why would that person do that?” or “Why would Jesus say that?” or “What do You mean?” And a conversation forms, and it’s a conversation that never ends.

That being said, when I hear too many voices (or read too many for that matter), I don’t get to truly hear what God is saying to me. So while this is a creative translation and effort, it won’t be taking the place of my Bible any time soon. Do I recommend it? Well, I like reading through several translations from time to time (I like the ESV, TNIV, NLT, and The Message translations), so having this one comes in handy. If you’re like me, go ahead and get yourself a copy, but I won’t suggest using it as your main source of scripture.

If you’re not into long blocks of text and would rather read some blogs, here are some blog posts that have touched me deeply this past week:

1) WHAT I THOUGHT I WANTED, WHAT I GOT INSTEAD by Grant Jenkins.

2) RELATIONSHIPS AND DIRECTIONS by Bianca Juarez

I don’t want to spoil these great reads, so you’ll just have to click on the links to read more. By the way, I just started reading Bianca’s blog a couple of weeks ago and it’s already one of my favorites.

So that’s it from me for now! How about you, what have you been reading lately? :)

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2 responses to “2 + 2: Two Books, Two Blog Posts

  1. the lessons on “What I Thought I wanted, what I got instead” are my exact sentiments on my SG adventure. 2008 was a tough year for me but it definitely made me a better person. :D

  2. Thank you so much for sharing the link to my post with your readers, Lizette! I really appreciate that! I’m glad you connected with that I shared on my blog.

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