Thursday, August 27, 2020

Beauty in the Desert

I feel uniquely qualified to write a post with this title. I spent my formative years living in the High Desert of Central Oregon, surrounded by pine and juniper trees, bitterbrush and sagebrush, yellow bunch grasses and gnarled lava rock. The color palette of my childhood was tan, muted green, and gray. The soil was dusty. The air was bone-dry.

It was beautiful.

The skies were perpetually blue. The freezing lakes and rivers were clear. And the isolated, glaciered peaks of dead and dormant volcanic mountains dominated the eye from every meadow. I loved the tiny, anemic-green leaves of the bitterbrush and the smell in the air produced by its equally small, pale yellow flowers in the spring. Orange, fallen pine needles crunched under foot in the summer; dry, white powder muted the world in winter. In the fall, a drive to the mountains might reveal the brilliant red of a lone deciduous bush farewelling its leaves against the black of an endless ancient lava flow.

There is beauty in the desert, not just in spite of its desertness, but because of it.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Wednesday Review: A Long Obedience

 Hello, hello! Welcome back to the Wednesday Review! Today I'm reviewing a book I just finished reading: A Long Obedience in the Same Direction, by Eugene Peterson.

Introduction: Eugene Peterson was an american pastor, possibly best known for his paraphrase of the Bible into casual modern English, called The Message. I have never read any Peterson before, but I've known about A Long Obedience for a long time - my mom read it years ago and really loved it. I had a chance to meet Mr. Peterson and his wife in 2014 at a faith & arts conference, just a few years before he passed into his reward. I didn't end up speaking much with Mr. Peterson (logistics), but I sat at a meal with Mrs. Peterson, and she was lovely. I purchased a copy of the book and now I've finally read it.

Briefly, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction: Discipleship in an Instant Society,* is a discipleship-focused examination of the Songs of Ascents (Psalm 120-134). Each psalm, in sequence, gets its own chapter, in which Mr. Peterson deals with the main theme of the psalm and its role in Christian living.