Jason C. Stanley

ponderings of a dad walking humbly & seeking justice

Tag: books (page 2 of 2)

Book Review: Searching for Sunday

searching4sundaySearching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church, Rachel Held Evans, Nelson Books, 2015.

Searching for Sunday is one of the best books I’ve recently read. Rachel Held Evans is one of those Christian writers whom readers are divided on. You either love her or you don’t. Her latest book is no different. Some have gone to great lengths to explain why she has theologically missed the boat, or have longed for more. Others rejoice at this book. They have longed for the honestly that Evans communicates seemingly with ease about the realities of the Church.

I have not read a lot of her writing. I read a couple of her blog posts from time to time. Megan has read more of her books than I have. A friend of mine said how much he enjoyed and appreciated the book.

Continue reading

Book Review: I Will

cover64157-mediumChurch researcher and consultant Thom Rainer addresses a growing problem in many churches, mainline and non-denomotional alike. Church member burnout and declining membership.

Rainer begins his little book, I Will, with a short narrative about a divorced, single-mother of three, Heather. Heather joined a church to make a difference, yet she found herself in an unexpected place in her church. It was a place that left her feeling spiritually sick and after four years, she left the church.

It is reported that active church members, like Heather was, are those who attend church events or services at least three times a month. This stands in stark contrast to what was considered to be the norm: three times a week. A lot goes into this change, but for Rainer, it is not enough. He calls for a “church membership revolution.”

Continue reading

Because of Lady

I’ve been sitting in my office the past few days working on an adult curriculum for our church’s summer Sunday school.  Our Summer Sunday School program is called “One Church, One Book.”  We’re using Kate DiCamillo’s book Because of Winn-Dixie, which captures the adventures of young Opal and her dog Winn-Dixie in a small town.

As I’m rereading portions of the book and writing this curriculum, I’m remembering my own pets.  Especially my last real pet, Lady.

About 11 years ago, I came back to work after a lunch break and noticed that a black lab was wondering around the building.  She was thin, so thin.  She showed evidence of having just had puppies, though the puppies were no where to be found.  She was shy at first, not sure if she could trust me or not.  I went inside, found a bowl and poured water in it.  I took the bowl outside and set it out for her.  A coworker found dog food somewhere in the building and she put that outside too.  After we had gone back in, the lab would finally come get some food and water.  And she stayed.

At the end of the day, someone told me I should take her home.  I wasn’t too sure about that.  While outside, the lab came around, now no longer shy or frightened.  I thought, well, if she doesn’t get in the car, then it’s settled.  I opened the back door of my car and without a word, the lab jumped in and sat down.  So, it was settled.  She was going home with me.

This was about the time that Dad was staying home from work because of the prostate cancer he was fighting.  I took the dog home, much to the surprise of my parents, and quickly said, “We’re not keeping her.  Just for a few days, until I can find a home for her.”  And, I was just as quick to add, “Don’t name her.  Because once we name  her, she’s ours.”

I came home from work a few days later, still unable to find a home for the lab, and she is outside on the deck with Dad.  A relationship was forming between this dog and my Dad in those few days.  Dad had named her “Lady”.  The name stayed, and so did Lady.

Lady became a companion for Dad during those long days of staying home when he really wanted to be at work.  In the book Because of Winn-Dixie, young Opal reflects on how she just talked and talked to Winn-Dixie and he listened.  Dogs are good listeners.  I imagine Dad sitting on the back deck petting Lady and talking things out with her.  And Lady resting her black head on Dad’s knee giving him advice in the way only a dog can.

Lady was also my listener during that stormy times of my life.  We would go on walks through the woods or play fetch in the yard.  After Dad died, Lady still hung around.  She would sleep by my bed at night.  After one stormy night where she got frightened, she slept on the foot of my bed for awhile.  She seemed to fill a gap for me.  A gap I didn’t realize I had at the time.

Lady died about a year ago.  She was a dog with 9 lives, having survived being hit by a car, a really bad cold one summer, and going blind in one eye.  But she lived a good life and was a blessing to me . . .and my Dad.

Newer posts »

© 2019 Jason C. Stanley

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑