Saturday, February 25, 2012

ONE WORD 365 // Week 7, Book 8

My third book in one week! From my favorite author....

Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis
By Lauren Winner
San Francisco: HarperOne, 2012

I will re-read this book very soon. I kind of devoured it the first time through and I think I need to go through and slowly take it in and digest it.

I just love her writing and storytelling. And her vulnerability is both refreshing and challenging at the same time.

I will be writing more about this book as I read it again. For now I recommend it to anyone in a middle ground, who feel stuck in between the beginning and the end.

ONE WORD 365 // Week 7, Books 6 & 7

Thanks to my friend Beth, I raced through Catching Fire and Mockingjay, the last two books in The Hunger Games series, via the shared book feature on my Kindle app.

Catching Fire and Mockingjay
By Suzanne Collins
New York: Scholastic Post, 2009 and 2010

Now I'm officially caught up on all things Hunger Games. And my life feels about the same.

I liked Book 1 and can't wait to see how it comes out in the movie. Book 2 was my favorite. Suzanne Collins built on Book 1 really well in my opinion and gave it enough twists and turns to keep things interesting.

Book 3 was my least favorite. I felt like she rushed to the ending. Like she realized, "Oh shoot! I only have 50 pages left! I need to wrap this up." I was just unsatisfied with how it sped along to wrap things up. And I didn't like that Peeta didn't play as large of a role.

All that said, I still bought Book 1 for my nephews and they raced through them in a couple days. I'll get the two books for them as well because I think it's a fun read overall.

Friday, February 10, 2012

ONE WORD 365 // Weeks 5 & 6, Book 5

OK, so it took me almost two weeks to finish my Week 5 book. It's finished and ready to be returned to the library. And I still have two days to cram in a book for Week 6.

Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford's Forgotten Jungle City
By Greg Grandin
New York: Metropolitan Books, 2009

I found this title while looking through the list of award winners on Amazon. Rather than buy it, I found it through my local library.

Two things drew me to this book: 1) History connected to Henry Ford and Dearborn, Mich., and 2) the idea of depositing an ideal American society into the Amazon jungle.

What a fascinating read. It gives the history to the hows and whys Henry Ford sought to build a city along the Amazon and gives the details of how it started and ultimately failed. It was interesting to read how Ford changed his tune as his quest for growing rubber failed. The reason for being in the Amazon suddenly became a "civilizing mission," to transplant American society to the people of the Amazon.

The overall story is kind of sad. Henry Ford had big dreams but it seems he also suffered from tunnel vision. He wanted to simply recreate the operation that worked in Michigan. Except that it was an entirely different culture of people and ecosystem, and no adjustments or concessions were made for those. The whole project might have worked if Ford were more flexible and engaged more with the land, the ecosystem and the people. But he just sent teams down to set up shop and create a little American town in the Amazon jungle without planning for what might happen.

That said, if you have time, read it.

There is a solid book review from the NY Times here: "Dearborn-on-Amazon"

On finishing I started "googling" Fordlandia. Seeing this place in person is now on my bucket list and I wanted to see if there were any recent pictures, to see if any others travelers have since been to Fordlandia and sister city Belterra (Ford's second attempt and perhaps more successful venture). I found one guy who added it to his Amazon visit also after reading the book. His travel blog is here. He has a link to a Facebook page with a bunch of photos from his stop there, including some from the Ford water tower in Fordlandia. They are worth a look, especially if you've read the book: Fordlandia and Belterra on Facebook.

Friday, February 3, 2012

ONE WORD 365 // Week 4, Book 4

I went with something "lighter" this week....

Hunger Games
By Suzanne Collins
New York: Scholastic Press, 2008

"Welcome, and Happy Hunger Games!"

I had planned on reading this but the wait list for a copy through the public library was forever long. And then I saw the trailer for the movie. That's it. I bought the Kindle edition.

And once I started, it was easy to get through. Loved it. Now I need the next two...

I don't have much of a review here. It's a great story and if you don't mind being caught reading teen science fiction/fantasy, then you should pick it up.

I'll leave you with this:

ONE WORD 365 // Week 3, Book 3

Let's catch up here...

While You Were Micro-Sleeping: Fresh Insights on the Changing Face of North American Missions
By Steve Moore
Stone Mountain, GA: The Mission Exchange, 2009

This book was required reading for the team at Global Initiative, the missions organization that I will be joining this year.

Each chapter is a transcript from video blogs (vlogs) that The Mission Exchange hosted starting in 2008, called Learning @ the Speed of Life. The point of the blogs (and the book) is to remind people that to stop learning, even for a short time, brings the risk of irrelevance.

I read the book with my upcoming work with the Global Initiative team and audience in mind.

The book read quickly; the chapters were not long. And since the subject matter was interesting, it didn't take much effort to read. And it will be easy to flip back and re-read particular chapters for reminders.

The one that stuck with me the most after the first reading was chapter 3, "Where's Your Green Line?" A "green line" is "the line of activity or behavior that if someone crosses it [you] perceive them to be 'out of bounds' as it relates to [your] conviction about being a good steward of creation" (11).

Ever since seminary and moving back from L.A. I have become more of a "tree hugger." I did some focused study on creation care and our job (as humanity and as Christians) to care for the earth in grad school. I started recycling as much as possible, using less energy in the house and became a strict vegetarian, all in an effort to make my "carbon footprint" smaller. I seek to consume less and reuse more. I cook and bake more from scratch; I shop local and organic as often as possible. I use the Better World Shopper when making my purchases.

So where is my green line? I encourage others to do the same but not in a militant way. If they want to eat meat or consume diary, I encourage them to source it locally and for goodness sake, don't eat at McDonalds, etc. I suggest that maybe they could layer clothes and turn the heat down some in winter (saves energy and money).

This chapter goes on to encourage leaders to consider where their green line is and if it can be moved to reach a younger generation of people that are concerned about the environment. I love these words:

Please understand these people have not been brainwashed by environmental "whackos." Their beliefs about creation care have been shaped by a journey of spiritual formation as an extension of biblical discipleship. They can't conceive of an authentic and growing relationship with Jesus that doesn't somehow express itself with a concern for the increasing number of them won't want to work for your organization or give to your ministry or volunteer for your projects if your green line is too far way from theirs. (12)

This is me. I never thought this would be me; but it's me. And I wonder how the Global Initiative office has responded to it. I guess I'll find out soon enough.

There is a difference between a method and a value. If moving your green line is a method to attract a new group of people to your organization instead of a value that is being expressed in your organizational culture, your lack of authenticity will be obvious and you maybe going backward instead of forward as it relates to building trust with the very people you want to attract. (12)

I hope to be pleasantly surprised at the green line at Global Initiative, but if things don't meet my green line, I hope I can help out.