Book Review: “The Reckless Way of Love” by Dorothy Day

Since giving birth I’ve had trouble fitting reading into my daily schedule. But now with such luxuries as the baby’s regular bedtime, I’m finally able to sneak in a chapter here and there. I look for short, easy reads that I can pick up and put down at a moments notice. You know, in case the baby decides she’s going to dig some chokeable substance from deep underneath the sofa or crawl towards the ledge that leads down into the hallway.

The Reckless Way of Love is a lovely collection of thoughts from Dorothy Day’s letters and writings. Because each reflection is usually no more than four paragraphs long, it met my need for something I could pick up and put down without ever losing my place. An added bonus was that the content is spiritually encouraging, something I am in dire need of these days. I could grab a paragraph before minding the baby, and carry the thought of it with me as I went.

The book covered topics of Christian love, suffering, sacrifice and what it means to follow Christ. A writer herself, her book even contained a poignant quote about writing.

“Writing a book is hard, because you’re ‘giving yourself away.’ But if you love, you want to give yourself. You write as you are impelled to write, about man and his problems, his relation to God and his fellows. You write about yourself because in the long run all man’s problems are the same, his human needs of sustenance and love.”
– Dorothy Day

While I didn’t agree with everything she said, I think it’s important to be able to read books from other perspectives, so you can understand other beliefs. I really appreciated her thoughts on suffering and about living in community with other Christians. With my husband still in seminary, we would be lost without the generosity of family and friends who have opened their homes to give us a place to live.

One of the nicest things to do with a pleasant read is to pass it on to another. After sharing a passage of this book with my sister in Texas, I offered to mail her my copy when I finished reading it. I’m glad that I continued to underline my favorite passages as I read, because every time I took out my pencil, I knew it would be there when she read it. It felt like I was sharing thoughts and reflections with my sister who is so far away.

“It is not filth and ugliness, drugs and drink and perversion he is asking us to prefer him to. He is asking us to prefer him to all beauty and loveliness. To all other love.”
~ Dorothy Day ❤

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#NotInMyName

After the horrendous attacks in Paris, many muslims took to twitter to show their support for those suffering from terrorism, invoking the hashtag #NotInMyName.

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I saw this on twitter and found it very moving. I am not a Muslim, but have read books on Islam. Several of them were written by Ravi Zacharias, who emphasized awareness among Christians that not all Muslims desire war and destruction, but that many do want to share their faith in peace. And just as Christians bristle with annoyance when we’re reminded of what we did during the Crusades, they too hide their faces in shame at what extremists do in the name of Allah.

I applaud them for standing apart and for their desire for peace.

Today, I read an announcement by Alabama governor’s office, stating they would not be allowing any Syrain refugees to enter Alabama.  This comes as a result of one of the Paris bombers having entered Paris on a Syrian refugee passport. There is still some debate among media as to the accuracy of this information, which will probably be cleared up in a few days, but true or not, this does not change how I feel about the actions of Governor Bentley.

I think it’s shameful, foolish, ignorant, and heartless.

Have we as Americans become so fat on our privilege, that we have become willingly ignorant and neglectful of the needy and helpless? I wrote a poem about this once, when I was struck by how self-focused and blind we can be. We have so much, and care so little.

To make matters worse, shortly after I read this announcement, I read this article on CNN, stating that this diseased thought is sweeping our nation. With over, 12 million refugees fleeing the crisis in Syria, we were only willing to take about 10,000 of them here. That’s better than nothing, but it’s only a drop in the bucket. That’s not to say I don’t appreciate that terrorists can exploit their situation, but seriously, 99% of those people are running from ISIS. They’re just people; homeless, starving people. Oh, and half of those 12 million are children.

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Shame on us for this display of cold selfishness. Shame. On. Us.

It’s times like these when honestly I am not proud to be an American. That is not to say that I’m not thankful, I am. I love my freedoms, my home, and my family. I would be the first one to grumble if they were taken away. But I’ve also reached the point where I think we’ve become so used to being and having that we could use a dose of cold hard reality. Most of the world does not be and have like us and many of them are tired of hearing us complain that our light and sweet carmel latte is not hot enough. Or that we don’t have the space or the money to help the starving homeless multitudes.

I am taking this chance to stand apart. Like those muslims I admired, who were brave enough to declare they did not support the extremists of their group, I am saying that Christ loves the needy, reaches for the lost, and desires those who follow him to do the same.

I am saying to you America, Not In My Name!

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World Vision for Syrian Refugees

UNHCR – UN home for Refugee Crisis