On the Blog—June 2022

Here are brief summaries and links to posts on the blog, Lisa notes, in June 2022.


6 Books I Recommend—June 2022

“I have to write to discover what I am doing.”
– Flannery O’Connor

Here are 6 books I recommend from what I finished reading in June.

[See previously recommended books here]

Image: 6 Books I Recommend

Nonfiction

1. It’s OK That You’re Not OK
Meeting Grief and Loss in a Culture That Doesn’t Understand
by Megan Devine

It's Ok that You're Not Ok

This is a 5-star book in my opinion. (I marked over 150 passages.)

If you are experiencing grief (from any kind of loss) or you’re in close relationship with someone going through grief, this book is very beneficial. Megan reminds us that grief is normal; it’s not a problem in need of a solution. Stop trying to “solve” grief. As the title says, it’s okay that you’re not ok. 

“Our culture sees grief as a kind of malady: a terrifying, messy emotion that needs to be cleaned up and put behind us as soon as possible. As a result, we have outdated beliefs around how long grief should last and what it should look like. We see it as something to overcome, something to fix, rather than something to tend or support.”

2. The Happiness Trap
How to Stop Struggling and Start Living: A Guide to ACT
by Russ Harris

The Happiness Trap

And somewhat related to the book on grief above, this is another 5-star book.

Our myths about happiness abound:

  • that you’re defective if you’re not happy;
  • that happiness is the natural state for everybody;
  • that you must get rid of “negative” feelings to have a great life;
  • that you should be able to totally control what you think and feel.

To counteract these myths, Russ Harris suggests starting with acceptance:

“It means fully opening yourself to your present reality—acknowledging how it is, right here and now, and letting go of the struggle with life as it is in this moment.”

ACT stands for Accept your thoughts and feelings, Connect with your values, and Take effective action. I highly recommend this book, too. 

3. Native
Identity, Belonging, and Rediscovering God
by Kaitlin B. Curtice

Native

I heard Kaitlin Curtice speak at a conference we went to a few weekends ago. Her quiet tone held strong force over the room as she shared what it’s like being an Indigenous person and a Christian in our country. So I knew I had to read her book when I got home. I’m glad I did. I learned so much.

“Because the Indigenous story has been buried under the white story, it will take a lot of work to uncover it. It will take more than Indigenous peoples to do the work—it will take all people. Decolonization doesn’t mean we go back to the beginning, but it means we fix what is broken now, for future generations.”

4. You Got Anything Stronger?
Stories
by Gabrielle Union

You Got Anything Stronger

I enjoyed this part 2 of Gabrielle Union’s memoir (I haven’t read her first book yet, We’re Going to Need More Wine). She’s brutally honest about her life, her career, her marriage to pro basketball player Dwyane Wade, her zigzag journey to motherhood, all while living in black skin in America.

Here’s a taste:

“I have white friends. I say this to be funny, because that’s what racists always say, right? ‘I can’t be racist, I have a Black friend.’ Have they been to that Black person’s home? Are they in a picture in that Black person’s home, or is this a transactional working relationship? If they feel that close, they should go ask their Black friend if they’re racist then.”

5. Undistracted
Capture Your Purpose. Rediscover Your Joy.
by Bob Goff

Image: Undistracted by Bob Goff

Bob Goff is an inspiring storyteller whose life reads like an adventure novel. In this book he weaves his stories together with his faith and his goal of living undistracted. This isn’t my favorite book of his (Everybody, Always is my favorite), but it’s still a wonderful book.

[Read my review and quotes from Undistracted here]

Fiction

6. A Tale for the Time Being
by Ruth Ozeki

A Tale for the Time Being

This is a quirky novel about Ruth, a novelist in Canada, who discovers a diary that washes ashore on the beach, written by 16-year-old Nao from Tokyo. The story hops between past and present as we learn Nao’s story as Ruth reads along. The book is very well written and contains a bit of drama, history, and insights on time and relationships.

Reading Now

  • Reader, Come Home
    The Reading Brain in a Digital World
    by Maryanne Wolf
  • Cringeworthy
    A Theory of Awkwardness
    by Melissa Dahl
  • All That Fills Us
    by Autumn Lytle
  • Write for Your Life
    by Anna Quindlen
  • Jesus Unbound
    by Keith Giles
  • MWF Seeking BFF
    My Yearlong Search For A New Best Friend
    by Rachel Bertsche
  • Run, Rose, Run
    by Dolly Parton, James Patterson

What good book are YOU reading this month? Please share in the comments.

More books I recommend

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Romans 8:28 – Memory Verse for June 26-July 2, 2022

This week’s memory verse for the 8-8-8 Bible Memory Challenge is Romans 8:28.

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:28

Download the graphic here.

Image: Romans 8:28

Learn more about the challenge here.

Sign up for the challenge here.

SCHEDULE
June 5-11, Romans 8:1
June 12-18, Romans 8:15
June 19-25, Romans 8:26
June 26-July 2, Romans 8:28
July 3-9, Romans 8:31
July 10-16, Romans 8:37
July 17-23, Romans 8:38
July 24-30, Romans 8:39

Share Four Somethings—June 2022
—Grace & Truth Linkup

Near the end of each month I share four somethings with others at Heather’s.

And here’s my latest One Second Everyday monthly video . . . 

[click here if you can’t see the video]

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Something Loved

  • GPS VOICE OPTIONS

I love using the Waze app on my phone to give me turn-by-turn directions when I’m out and about. GPS apps have been life-changers for me.

But lately I love an added bonus: I switched to the “Headspace” voice option offered free by Waze. She still gives me the basic directions but she also tells me these things periodically:

  • “Enjoy the journey.”
  • “This is a great time for a deep breath.”
  • “Sometimes the journey takes you back from where you came.” (She says this when I miss my turn and have to backtrack.)

The soothing voice may be a small thing, but it makes navigating a little less stressful for me. 

Image: Headspace on Waze app

 ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Something Gleaned 

  • SPIRITUAL RESILIENCE

To invest in your spirituality, one of the tips in this book is to:

Nurture the practices of spiritual resilience.

It takes work to be resilient (see our featured post below from Donna), but it is possible even in hard circumstances. For inspiration, McLaren reminds us in the book (and gives lots of resources in the footnotes) to look back at our ancestors and neighbors who have shown resilience through the years.

“Their legacy teaches us to see each intensifying episode of turbulence as a labor pain from which a new creative opportunity can born. Life will be tough; the only question is whether we will become tougher, wiser, and more resilient.”

In my own current difficult situation, I look to the resilient women who have walked this path ahead of me and have remained strong and gracious in their spiritual journeys with God. 

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Something Braved

  • SIGNED UP TO BECOME A POLL WORKER

Granted, I’ve only taken step one—I mailed in my application to help staff our local polling places on election days here in Alabama.

But it took courage for me to do even this baby step. So I’m pausing to acknowledge it. 

I don’t want to lose our democracy, so if this is one small thing I can do to help keep it in place, I want to step out of my comfort zone and do it.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Something Achieved

  • MET A NEW FRIEND

I’ve not been looking for a new friend, but I won’t turn one down if she arrives. Finding new friends in adulthood is not as easy as in younger years.

Shannan, one of my newer friends the past couple of years, met a new friend Cathy. She recognized Cathy and I had similar interests. So Shannan set up a meeting for all three of us to meet for coffee on a Sunday afternoon.

It was delightful! Shannan was right. Cathy and I do have a lot in common. I look forward to developing my friendship with both Shannan and Cathy. 


Grace & Truth Featured Post

Have you discovered the benefit of resilience when you’re in pain? Donna helps us value God’s presence in our pain so we can endure any prolonged suffering we may encounter (and we all will encounter some!).

Read all of Donna’s post here at her blog, then link up your own blog posts below.

The Transforming Power of a Little Known Virtue

Share your thoughts in the comments.

I’m linking at these blog parties


Review the rules here about adding your most recent Christian Living posts and how to be the Featured Post. Visit all four hosts social media here or websites here: Maree Dee, Lisa notes, Lauren Sparks, Tammy Kennington.

Now Let’s Link Up!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Tell Us Again Why You Chose Your One Word {June One Word Linkup}
—One Word Linkup

Image: June Linkup

Share Your One Word Update

Link your blog post below about your One Word and share an update about your One Word in the comments.

You’re at the halfway point with your One Word for the year. Do you remember why you chose it?

Below are 3 questions for you to consider. Can you give a one-sentence answer for each one?

Three “WHY” Questions

How would you answer these questions?

Think about them this month. Talk them over with fellow One-Worders or with a friend. Pray for wisdom in how you’d like to answer these same questions at the end of the year.

1. WHY DID I CHOOSE THIS WORD?

2. WHY IS THAT GOAL IMPORTANT TO ME?

3. WHY IS THIS WORD HELPING ME THIS YEAR OR NOT HELPING ME?

This One Word linkup will remain open through Thursday night, June 30, for your One Word updates.

The next One Word linkup will begin Friday, July 22 (every One Word linkup in 2022 opens on the 22nd).


Why did you choose your One Word for 2022? Leave a comment here about your One Word.

Link Up About Your One Word!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


Do I Stay Christian or Not?

He was sitting in the front row. He was waiting his turn to speak.

I was sitting in the second row behind him, waiting to hear what he would say, along with a couple hundred other people also waiting in the audience.

I watched as he discretely pulled out his phone. Maybe he was answering a text. Maybe he was typing a note.

And something about this made me smile as he typed . . .

Because he was typing on his phone with just his pointer finger.

Not texting with both thumbs. Not swiping. Not even using both pointer fingers.

He was just using one lone index finger to strike one tiny letter at a time, like many of us do in our generation who didn’t grow up texting like today’s kids.

He then finished his note. And put his phone away.

It turns out Brian McLaren is just as normal as the rest of us.

It was endearing. Because it was so human.

Stay or Go?

Listening to Brian speak at the Christian conference we were attending lit even more fire within me about his latest book, Do I Stay Christian?: A Guide for the Doubters, the Disappointed, and the Disillusioned.

Image: Do I Stay Christian book review

In person and in writing, Brian infers that the American Christian church is in trouble.

And don’t we all see it, too? I sometimes wonder how much further back in the pews we can keep shoving Christ until we eventually kick him out of the door altogether, just another unnecessary hindrance to the latest Christian agenda.

Who is ready to walk away from this troubled Christianity? And who is determined to stay?

And for those who do choose to stay, how can Christianity include more Jesus and more grace and more love again?

Part 1: Do I Stay Christian? No

These are the types of questions that Brian poses to his readers in Do I Stay Christian. He divides the book into three sections: reasons not to stay Christian, reasons to stay Christian, and how to stay Christian.

In Part 1 of Do I Stay Christian?, Brian lists 10 reasons why many people choose not to remain Christian.

Here are five of those reasons:

  • Because Christianity has been vicious to its mother (anti-semitism)
  • Because of Christianity’s suppression of dissent (Christian vs. Christian violence)
  • Because of Christianity’s real master (money)
  • Because of the white Christian old boys’ network (white patriarchy)
  • Because of Christianity’s great wall of bias (constricted intellectualism)

Behind each title is a wealth of information included in each chapter, plus five more chapters.

Part 2: Do I Stay Christian? Yes

But what are some reasons you would want to stay Christian? In Part 2 of this book, Brian lists ten reasons.

Five of these reasons for staying are:

  • Because leaving defiantly or staying compliantly are not my only options
  • Because…where else would I go?
  • Because of our legendary Founder
  • Because I’m human
  • Because Christianity is changing (for the worse and for the better)

Again, these titles alone don’t tell the story. Brian goes into depth inside every chapter and the remaining five chapters.

Part 3: If I Stay Christian, How?

In Part 3 of the book, Brian gives us the how-to for staying Christian in a way that is good for ourselves and for our fellow human beings.

Some of the ways include:

  • Start with the heart
  • Create positive alternatives
  • Prepare yourself for turbulence
  • Nurture the practice of spiritual resilience
  • Stay loyal to reality
  • Stay human

But the book really doesn’t even end there. If you stick it out to the end, you’ll also find five appendices, including this one: “Do I Stay in My Denomination?”

All Humans Together

In the end Brian decides for himself, So, no. I will not quit. Not today. Today I will stay Christian.

I’m grateful. I like having a humble, intelligent, kind, and Christian leader like Brian to listen to and learn from.

But I also like having a leader like Brian who isn’t afraid or ashamed to share his doubts, disappointments, and disillusionments. Like the ones I have. Perhaps you, too?

As Brian says, we aren’t looking for a cure for being human; what we need is help to become humane.

“Our problems are not just religious problems. Nor are they merely political, economic, or scientific problems. Our problems are human problems.”

Being human by ourselves can feel exhausting. But Christianity is meant to bring us back together, not push us further apart.

When we see our own humanness in others too—even in the smallest ways such as texting each other with our pointer fingerswe smile in recognition.

I imagine God smiles, too.

So, I also choose to stay Christian, for as long as we keep Christ in it.


I highly recommend the book Do I Stay Christian? for those who are prepared to ask themselves the hard questions, and who don’t give up even when there aren’t clear answers. Because, as Brian points out, “If our understandings of God do not grow, neither will we.”

Share your thoughts in the comments.

My thanks to NetGalley + St. Martin’s
Press for the review copy of this book

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