I’ve known people who make an annual summer reading list. As someone who struggles to read as much as I’d like, I’ve always admired that practice. There’s still time to get in on our book group this summer: The Book of Forgiveness by Desmond Tutu and Mpho Tutu. Our first meeting time is July 12 @7-8pm. See the announcement in this Oasis. We have the books in the office.
This week, one of our members, Cindy Bufithis, provided a review of a book that looks interesting to me: Make a List: how a simple practice can change our lives and open our hearts by Marilyn McEntyre. It got me to thinking about lists in the Bible. Both Matthew and Luke began their gospels by listing a genealogy of Jesus. Jesus listed the reasons he was anointed by the Holy Spirit: to bring good news to the poor, to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor (Luke 4:18-19). In Acts, all the nations represented in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost were listed.
Admittedly, long “to-do” lists can feel daunting and discouraging, but there is a strong argument to be made for the value of list making.
Here is Cindy’s book review:
I was drawn to the book Make A List because my parents were both champion list writers. Many mornings my dad sat at the kitchen table with a cup of instant coffee, writing his daily work to-do list on a legal sized pad of yellow paper. He often thought out-loud, bouncing ideas off any kid willing to participate (usually me).
In contrast, my mom required the peaceful solitude of midnight to write lists of what to pack for vacation, what vegetables to plant or how to survive Christmas, drawing up elaborate checklists that were often annotated using asterisks and illustrated by line drawings. Peanut butter on one slice of bread (folded over) fueled these sessions.
McEntyre points out that making lists can be a spiritual practice that enables you to tune into what’s bothering you or to discover what your heart desires but your mind hasn’t yet revealed. She provides useful prompts such as: “things I’ve been wanting for over five years, what I need to let go of, ways of addressing my favorite fears”. Making a list can lead to writing a poem or initiating a conversation with a close friend. Woven through this book are examples of how the author has used lists not only to get in touch with her feelings but also to identify what her next steps might be to get more out of life. If you are a person who writes to discover what you are thinking, this book will intrigue you because making a list is such a focused task. Apply this method to discover what you fear, what you long for, what you remember and what brings you joy.
Together, we can bring Christ's word and work to the world.