Coming back from Scotland to SW England, I was encouraged and empowered to tell my colleagues in a secular school environment about our church’s mission trip to Dornoch. Usually with all of the “how was your break questions” we are tempted to skirt the surface and not go into detail. But I have been burdened to share exactly why I was up in Scotland with these people. So I started to do so.
In staff meeting sunday, I told a teacher that I was in Scotland with my American church supporting missionaries and running a bible club. His response was “Oh I didn’t know you were a Christian. See, you are my favorite type of Christian because you don’t run around blabbing about it all day.” I didn’t know what to say to this, except I muttered something like it’s not about shoving things down people’s throats. But should I be pleased with this reaction?
Luke 6: 22 “Blessed are you when men hate you,
when they exclude you and insult you
and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man.
Woe to you when all men speak well of you,
for that is how their fathers treated the false prophets.”
Food for thought.
I found this in my notes from a lecture I had to give on Ernest Hemingway in February.
“To find an understanding of literature that endures, it requires living and breathing it. I will get to how I do that in a moment. If you are going through the motions in English just to get by, you are missing the point. Unfortunately, it is usually not your job to inspire yourself to read.
Why do we read? We read to know we are not alone. We read because there are a thousand things that float through a moment that we will miss unless we write them down. We read to feel alive. We read to relive. And to relive again. We read to feel conflict, to feel resolution, to escape our life and to enter a story, to see redemption, possibly to see our own struggles in those of another. We read to be in the moment of art, to be here and mortal but also immortal at the same time. We read to know we are not alone in this. This is why we read.
Why read Hemingway? Here’s why I read Hemingway. EH was one of the first authors that convinced me you did not have to be an elite silver-spooner to enjoy books, and almost single-handedly convinced me to do an English degree. EH lived, truly lived, and then also suffered, truly suffered, and then wrote about it as truly and simply as he could. There is something called the “book experience,” where you find an author who you connect with so strongly that it changes your mind on reading or opens it to a world of a hundred new horizons. However, it does not happen often that you find an author with whose subject (what) and whose aesthetic (how) you completely agree. EH, to me, represented unpretentious writing seperated from pride: a world of words that worshipped something beyond the words. Words were a means to something of greater meaning. There is always a puzzle in EH, always an animal lurking underneath the surface. I hope that in your story too, you will find an author who brings you to life in the same way.”