I have a bad habit of announcing Things I Am About To Do for Faith At Home, then completely failing to let you know How They Went.
Lent! I told you I was doing Lent Madness with my family. And then… radio silence.
I’ll tell the truth: it’s because I am not proud of either of these efforts.
I walked around my house and figured out a spot for a prayer altar. I started to make one. It is almost finished.
It has a plaque which says “Bidden or not bidden, God is present” (in Latin), an icon, a candle, a small cross from Arizona, and my prayerbooks: the Daily Office book, and St. Augustine’s Prayerbook (which I only recently discovered).
All of it is on a recently retired coffee table (I bought it when I moved to Michigan in 1997, but it didn’t work in the house where we live now) covered with a cloth that was once my great-grandmother’s.
And which needs to be ironed.
I kept telling myself, “I’ll iron the cloth, then I’ll share the altar!”
But it hasn’t worked that way. I’m still not done, and it’s way past time to share the altar. I asked for your advice in January! It’s now more than halfway through May.
Lent Madness was the same: we started strong. The first week, we all played. I won (and was delighted with myself). The second and third week we mostly played. By the middle of the third week we were no longer consistently sitting down to make our guesses. I have no idea who won Lent Madness at my house.
It’s like the altar: we got started, but we never got done.
Is halfway better than not at all? Maybe, and maybe not.
I wish my altar were beautiful, with a snow white ironed cloth. I wish my children had a memory of consistently playing Lent Madness in their teen and tween years – instead of the memory of Mom announcing a grand plan which petered out.
But I am glad I have even a wrinkled place for prayer at home. And I am glad for the times my family sat and argued over which saint was best.
These semi-failures make me reluctant to announce any more grand plans.
But if I don’t tell you what I’m doing, how can I possibly ask you to tell me what you’re doing? Maybe I need a disclaimer: “This is what I am going to do next for faith at home – I hope!”
So… I hope!… this is (some of) my summer reading list. This is my “faith at home” summer reading list, anyway.
(You know Forward Movement is having their summer reading sale right now, right? They are.)
At Home in This Life, by Grow Christians author Jerusalem Greer, releasing next week! I’ve begun to read a pre-release version and it is wonderful. Jerusalem understands that sometimes the altar cloth doesn’t get ironed and the project doesn’t get finished, and you can still love God and be loved.
Slaying Your Goliaths: How God Can Help, by John Ohmer, is another book I keep hearing is really good. I definitely have some Goliaths in my life (witness: my life is too full for me to complete all the things I begin) and I am always looking for insight about how God can help.
The Turquoise Table, by Kristin Schell, releasing June 6. A woman puts a picnic table on her front lawn and it changes her life and her neighborhood. I stumbled across this on the internet and it pulled me in.
Faithful Families, by Traci Smith, just came out a couple of months ago. I keep hearing great things about this book and the author, a Presbyterian pastor.
The Dream of God: A Call to Return, by Verna Dozier, is a classic in the Episcopal Church. Having become an Episcopalian fairly recently I have a lot of catching up to do. I hear so many good things about Verna Dozier, and I want to be able to quote her to my kids. She writes about the intersection of faith and justice.
If I were making grand plans, I would be saying that my family and I are going to read the entire gospel of Matthew together this summer… which I would like to do… but I am hesitant to make grand plans.
But maybe – just maybe – reading the beginning of Matthew together is better than not reading it at all?
I might have to find out.
[Here’s that link to the Forward Movement summer reading sale. They sponsor Grow Christians, and I am grateful.]
What’s on your summer reading list?
And – to make me feel better – what’s your latest unfinished faith at home project?