Sunday, December 26, 2010

More books!

In our household, books are friends. I drink in their splashes of color, their wondrous smell when new, the book jackets which distinguish them one from another -- and I take a moment to feel their weight in my hands. I don't think I ever could be a Kindle reader!

Under our Christmas tree were the following new friends:
American Grace: how religion divides and unites us, by Robert Putnam and David Campbell
Being with animals: why we are obsessed with the furry, scaly, feathered creatures who populate our world, by Barbara King
The dog who ate the truffle: a memoir of stories and recipes from Umbria, by Suzanne Carreiro
God drops and loses things (poems), by Kilian McDonnell
I love bacon! (recipes), by Jayne Rockmill
My reading life, by Pat Conroy
Psalms, v.4 from The Saint John's Bible
Sunday Soup: a year's worth of mouthwatering, easy-to-make recipes, by Betty Rosbottom

Thanks be to God for the gift of sight, that we may read these books; thanks for the authors who received the gift of inspiration.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

The Red Carpet

Last week's trip to California for work with the Standing Commission on Liturgy & Music task force groups required four flights, and many hours waiting in airports. I was fascinated by the "perks" granted travelers who elect to pay for the elite or gold star status. One perk is being invited to board the plan first, by means of walking to the jetway via the Red Carpet.

The red carpet is less than an inch away from the regular carpet, and leads to no separate, fancier door. These elite travelers spend megabucks in order to spend more time inside the cramped space of the aircraft (or "airbus" on some flights) with its peculiar -- or at times nonexistent -- flow of artificial air; they are offered pillows and little squares of blankets, and may get free drinks. Who knows, maybe these passengers feel special enough not to mind the intrusive security measures, delays, and countless irritations of air travel.

I can't explain why the red carpet caught my eye as it did, but it has me thinking about those things that we imagine will help people to feel privileged or special. All this could be useful in thinking about recruiting church members, but I'll have to ponder that some other day, when the intensity of stories heard at these meetings has less of a grip on my soul.