I spent three days this past week with Christian writers from around the country at the annual writers' festival at the local university where I taught this past year. It was such an amazing experience to listen to these remarkable poets and authors read from their works, and to participate in workshops with them to try to improve my writing skills. If you have not encountered Angela O'Donnell, Alan Berecka and Anne McCrady's poetry, you are missing out. They write beautifully about life and about God. Spending that much time in the company of those who use the English language to create works of great beauty was a real privilege. It inspires me to keep working to hone my skills. That will give me plenty of work to do this in this New Year. Part of me wishes it were easier, but in my heart of hearts I also know that if it were too easy I would rapidly become bored.
On the reading front, members of our church are participating in a program to read through the Bible this year, something I've not sat down and done cover to cover, though I've read large chunks of it. I started this afternoon and am enjoying reading Eugene Peterson's The Message, which is a translation written in contemporary language. It was especially fun to read the story of Noah after having watched the movie Evan Almighty this past week. I could easily picture all the animals and laughed when I read the last verse in Chapter 6. After God has told Noah to collect two of every species of bird, mammal and reptile to save them from the flood, God then tells Noah, "Also get all the food you'll need and store it up for you and them." Even with a large ark that's a lot of food and a lot of grocery shopping! What a great story that has come down to us from centuries ago. I'm going to enjoy the reading assignments this year.
Grace and Peace,