The Barn at the Homestead

The Barn at the Homestead

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Advent Reading

Brian McLaren wonderfully joined Anabaptist/Anglican in his book A Generous Orthodoxy.  It warmed my heart when I first read his book, and warms my heart still.  Perhaps, in part, this explains my reading material of late. 

My husband has always laughed at me about what he calls my “reading habits.”  I tend to read more than one book at a time (what priest doesn’t)—one book in the den by my chair, one in my prayer corner and one in the bathroom!  Mind you, he probably hasn’t read a book since 2001! J

Advent has found me absorbed in three books.  The first is by Shelley Shepard Gray; Christmas in Sugarcreek is pure escapism for me—sappy, sentimental, but something light and relaxing at the end of long days.  It helps that a few years ago, I visited Sugarcreek, Ohio. Life is often uncertain, so I sometimes truly enjoy happy endings!

The second  book—the bathroom one—is one a found at an estate sale several years ago, and packed away for future reading.  Blue Hills and Shoofly Pie was written by Ann Hart and published in 1952—a year before I was born.  Ann chronicles her life in Pennsylvania Dutch country; she even records her attendance at an Amish wedding.  The book is dated, quaint, but also a slice of history and perfect reading for its location.

 The reading material in my prayer corner is completely different—to be read in the quiet of the morning when my focus is prayer and meditation.  For this Advent, I have been immersed in Radiance: a spiritual memoir of Evelyn Underhill.  Compiled and edited by Bernard Bangley, I have been wondering why we do not hear more about Underhill in Episcopal circles.  An English mystic, Underhill  (1847-1941) is the author of more than thirty books.  Without formal theological or religious education, she possessed an understanding of Christian mysticism that is without parallel.  In one of her early works, Evelyn Underhill writes this, “The early Christians themselves called it not a belief, but a “way”—a significant fact, which the Church too quickly forgot; and the realist who wrote the Fourth Gospel called its Founder both the life and the way.” An advocate of religion, science and psychology, Underhill writes about her mystical experiences and those of others, some for whom she served as spiritual director.  I am only coming to understand the riches of this wonderful woman.  To learn more about her, this link may be of interest to you:

My hubby and I took another road trip to Amish country this week, where he was finally successful in obtaining fried pies!  We are counting the days to Christmas—combining our Anglican/Anabaptist celebration—I will celebrate the Eucharist at my beloved Episcopal Church, and give thanks for my relationship with the Amish and Mennonites in my life with the full knowledge the Incarnated one comes as a “way”.