I picked up "Crossing Washington Square" by Joanne Rendell (oh my, it's only $2.26 on Amazon)
and "Love Mercy: A Mother and Daughter's Journey from the American Dream to the Kingdom of God" by Lisa Samson and Ty Samson
I finished "Crossing Washington Square" on our flight to Oregon and it was okay. Girlie fiction? haha. But I only started "Love Mercy" after we got back, since I thought I should read it before I returned it. I'm slowly moving through it, but in short it's about a mom (Lisa) and Ty (her daughter) whose comfortable lives get shaken by God and they are challenged to do more for His Kingdom, starting with an experience and journey to Africa, in particular Swaziland, which has the highest AIDS rate in the world. This section, by Lisa (page 35-26), resonated with me:
"Jesus couldn't really be followed, could he? I was supposed to believe in him, sure, but follow? Nobody really expected any of us to do that, did they?
In the name of grace (a wonderful thing to be sure), I'd watered down faith to mere intellectual assent. I didn't have to follow Jesus, really -- I had only to believed he was the Son of God and go on my merry way. Believing correctly was one more thing to check off my to-do list. But Jesus didn't talk like that. Not even close. Nor did James, who wrote, Even the demons believe... and shudder" (James 2:19).
Was God really calling me to be conformed to the image of his Son? Wasn't it more like a suggestion? What if I just wanted to make sure I went to heaven and not hell? What if I simply valued church for the fellowship, the children's programs, and the potlucks?
Too often, we are armed with our Sunday school answers and we may have a thorough knowledge of the Bible or be good people but the actual life changing stuff? That's scary. I chuckled at the line, "Wasn't it more like a suggestion?" to follow Jesus, but at the same time, it's true. It's easy for me to "believe" and do church things and be good and serve others. But to give up my comforts and to truly love others and to allow God to change my life? It's a lot easier to go on my merry way and think this is how God wants me to live. Which could be. But I think deep down inside, I know my laziness and selfishness gets in the way* of all God wants to do, all. the. time.What God talking about actually changing my life? Really?
No wonder the Pharisees hated Jesus. No wonder the rich man went away sad."
*Though not in the sense that my laziness and selfishness are obstacles to God because... He can do anything He wants.