books and God

For my response to last week's Booking Through Thursday, I wrote about the different relationships I have with books. And something struck me.

In a way, my relationship with books 'takes a page' from my relationship with God. You probably don't know much about my relationship with God, and I can only sum it up by saying it's multi-faceted. If it could be objectified or illustrated in some way, I think books would do a great job. Let me explain.

One facet of my relationship with God is that long-standing deep loyalty, showing lots of wear and tear. He's been with me through some major ups and downs. I've relied on his steady hand and turned to him again and again to find something comforting and safe and familiar.

Sometimes God is a reference or a teacher. His opinions and writings (the Bible and words from other believers) help guide and shape my world view. When I don't know how to answer a question, I check the scriptures and various interpretations to see what's there.

And then there's the awe/respect thing. I recently had a conversation with my mom about the type of church services I prefer. My family gets the most from 'charismatic' services, where it's more than just a contemporary setting (aka chairs and a band rather than pews and a choir) and extends into a more adoration-oriented worship style. Me, I prefer a service that has more of the traditional, austere feel. I like the deliberately guided service and the old hymns. I like to approach Sunday mornings as a time of commitment and devotion and learning, not necessarily fun and entertainment and energy.

My bible collection demonstrates all of this pretty well. I have an illustrated Precious Moments bible that I've had since very early childhood. It's pretty old by now, but I've carted it off everywhere and I still like to look at the pictures. I also have a 'working bible' - the one my private school gave me in the 5th grade, and I've done all my studying and reflecting in this bible. The cover is falling apart and has been taped back on once or twice, and there are lots of marks and notes inside. I also have a 'beautiful' bible - it's leather-bound with my name embossed on the cover. I keep this one at the office in a special cover. There are a few others floating around - an NRSV edition my brother and I bought together, a small 'backpack' bible that I keep in the glove box of my car, a Spanish/English parallel bible, and a really pretty tapestry-covered one that my brother gave me for Christmas a few years ago. Between my husband, who is in seminary, and my own history as a Christian, we have at least a whole shelf of them - or would, if they were all in the same location.

In what ways do your relationships with books mirror other relationships in your life?

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