Introducing Bibliocafe

While our Recycling Fundraiser is going strong, we introduce a fundraiser that might be a bit more popular. Books & Tea (or Coffee), a pretty awesome combo. Even C.S. Lewis, who famously said, “You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me” agrees!

Welcome to Bibliocafe, where you can enjoy a cup of assorted teas, coffee, and hot chocolate.

We don’t have prices, but as it is a fundraiser, we appreciate any and all donations. The kiddos and I appreciate it all — 100% goes towards books! So stop on by some time.

 

Becoming a Reader Through Reading

Another question commonly asked of me by parents at Gracepoint Berkeley church is, “How do you become a reader?” And like many questions, the answer seems a bit too pat. Can you guess what it is? I most often say, “You become a reader…through reading.” (For those of you who figured it out from the title of the post —  good test-taking skills!)

Of course there’s so much to the answer, but like other identities we grow into, it’s all in the doing. Today, I want to focus on the social aspect of reading. We often conceive of reading as a solitary activity, and while it most definitely is, from the earliest age we see that reading is very much social as well. Perhaps it is actually reading together, being read to, reading to someone else, or just talking about books. There’s a reason crazy fandoms develop around books!

While I could write on and on about this, I received this photo from our young readers at Gracepoint Minneapolis church, and yes, I do think it’s worth about a thousand words. 🙂

Sammy reading to Stephen and Teddy!

Sammy, who is an early reader, exemplifies the social nature of reading. He memorized the great board book classic Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?. So he happily and confidently read the book to his younger friends. Not only is he introducing the younger ones to books, but he is building into his growing identity as a reader. A win-win!

Reader Review: A Grief Observed

We haven’t had a reader book review in a while. Today’s is from Jenny at Gracepoint Berkeley Church, who shares with us her thoughts after having read A Grief Observedby C.S. Lewis. I think it speaks for itself, so I will leave you to it.

a grief observed c.s. lewisThis book is really just that –a grief observed–the tortured grief of C.S. Lewis losing his beloved wife to cancer, compiled in a collection of his personal reflections. The book is a significant departure from his most popular works like Mere Christianity or The Problem of Pain, where Lewis is at his armchair, describing reality and life with honesty and wit, deftly persuading us of truth of Christianity. This book is different.  This is Lewis doubled over by loss and trying to make sense of life and God in the midst of it.

For someone going through loss of a loved one, I can imagine reading this book being a balm to the pain… Because it’s someone you admire deeply saying, “I’ve been there too”– not in a tidy, sanitized manner after the fact, but a real-time messy reflection full of doubts, unanswered questions and honest pain, that maybe can give voice to the chaos inside. In one heartbreaking entry, he writes of visiting all their favorite places, anticipating a heightened sense of her absence but when he doesn’t feel that, he realizes “her absence is like the sky, spread over everything.”

His more famous book, The Problem of Pain, which Lewis wrote to to provide an intellectual response to suffering, was written 20 years before A Grief Observed. Losing his wife turns out to be the crucible in which all the theory he writes in The Problem of Pain is tested. He writes in A Grief Observed, “Nothing will shake a man – or at any rate a man like me – out of his merely verbal thinking and his merely notional beliefs. He has to be knocked silly before he comes to his senses. Only torture will bring out the truth. Only under torture does he discover it himself.”

A Grief Observed is one of the few CS Lewis books I never wanted to read. But the past year and a half, I’ve attended more funerals than I ever had in my life and sat with people, most of whom younger than me, who’ve faced losses greater than anything I’ve experienced. Grief was something on my mind a lot so I finally picked up this book. And I found that it provided a window into the grief of losing a loved one, but also of losing things you can never retrieve again. It also provided a hard look at walking through difficulty as a Christian, of having one’s faith refined or demolished and remade in the fire of pain and struggle.  One quote I kept going back to was this:

“God has not been trying an experiment on my faith or love in order to find out their quality. He knew it already. It was I who didn’t. In this trial He makes us occupy the dock, the witness box, and the bench all at once. He always knew that my temple was a house of cards. His only way of making me realize the fact was to knock it down.”

If grief has been on your mind lately, maybe this book can help.

“Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”