Thursday, December 28, 2017

Cover Her Face

Book:Cover Her Face
Basic Information : Synopsis : Characters : Thoughts : EvaluationNew WordsGood QuotesReferences

Basic Information:
Author: PD James
Edition: Paperback
Publisher: Touchstone - Simon&Schuester
ISBN: 978-0-7432-1957-0
Read: December 28, 2017
249 pages
Genre:  History, Fiction, Mystery
Language Warning:  None
Rated Overall: 3 ½  out of 5

Fiction-Tells a good story: 3 out of 5
Fiction-Character development: 5 out of 5



Synopsis (Caution: Spoiler Alert-Jump to Thoughts):

The story is told in nine numbered chapters. The story spends time developing who the characters are.through the first fifth of the book. But after the big annual village celebration/party/sale at the Maxie’s estate,  all of the main people are resting, except the house staff. But Sally makes a stir when she announces that Stephen Maxie has asked her to marry him.

The next morning, Sally is found dead, strangled. Dalgiesh is called in to investigate. The rest of the book concerns the investigation. Dalgiesh questioning people, suspects questioning others. Until the final chapter when Dalgiesh calls a meeting of all of the suspects and lays out the evidence, slowly eliminating each suspect. That is except one. But before we get to know the murdered, we find out through the sudden entrance of Sally’s husband that she was married.

There is plenty of hints throughout the book to allow one to figure out  who done it, or at least eliminate a lot of suspects. But other hints such as why did an unmarried girl have a trousseau? Who was in the barn arguing? Why did Sally receive a letter with a Venezuelan stamp? Where did some of the sleeping pills disappear to and are they connected to the murder? The list of clues goes on for a long time.

In this way, the book is written like a traditional who done it book. A book with a few surprises, but pretty traditional in its approach and its detective.


Cast of Characters:
  • Sally Jupp (Ritchie)  - Maid who was murdered
  • Mrs Eleanor Maxi - matron of Martingale
  • Stephen Maxie - Mrs. Maxie’s son, heir of Martingale, Sally Jupp’s fiance
  • Deborah Riscoe - Mrs. Maxie’s daughter
  • Catherine Bowers - Family friend, one time Stephen Maxie lover
  • Felix Hearne - friend of Deborah, who feels more for Deborah than she for him
  • Martha Bultitaft - Cook and house help
  • Dr. Charles Epps - village doctor and family friend
  • Mr. Bernard Hinks - vicar
  • Miss Alice Liddell - Warden of St Mary’s Refuge for Girls whee Sally Jupp had been before being a maid
  • Derek Pullen - friend of Sally Jupp’s, but not a lover.
  • James Ritchie - husband, not known by others
  • Mr. and Mrs. Proctor - Uncle and aunt who raised Sally Jupp
  • Adam Dalgliesh - detective
  • Sgt Martin - assistant to Dalgliesh

    Thoughts:
    According to Wikipedia, the titles comes  from John Webster's The Duchess of Malfi: "Cover her face. Mine eyes dazzle; she died young."

    Nothing profound in this book, at least how I read it. But there are some interesting quotes.

    humour was only a feeble attempt to denigrate fear. (6)

    Sally Ritchie obviously believed that we live in a society which salves its conscience more by helping the interesting unfortunate than the dull deserving and was in the position to put her theory to the test. (9)

    How do you recognize someone who is manipulative like Sally? How do you oppose her?

    Was what Mrs. Maxie did heroic? Moral?


    Evaluation:

    If you like reading, particularly mysteries, you need to read PD James! The question is, is Cover Her Face the book to read of hers?

    I like PD James’ writing. This is the fifth book of hers which I read and I am glad I did. But would I start with Cover Her Face? Probably not.  This is James’ first mystery book and I think she is trying to figure out her style of writing. The first three chapters are lead into the story. I confess, if it was not for the James’ as a writer, I would have put the book down. The start is slow. But as she gets more into the story, her writing picks up until you are engrossed in the storyline.

    So read it, enjoy it, but do not start with this book if you are starting with James.
     


    New Words:


    • trousseau  (4): the clothes, household linen, and other belongings collected by a bride for her marriage.
    • insouciance (8): casual lack of concern; indifference
    • solecism (9): a grammatical mistake in speech or writing.
    • fete: a celebration or festival

    Good Quotes:
    • First Line: Exactly three months before the killing at Martingale Mrs. Maxie gave a dinner party.
    • Last Line: And when that happened the right words would be found.

    References:

    Sunday, December 10, 2017

    The Name of God is Mercy

    Book: The Name of God is Mercy
    Basic Information : Thoughts : EvaluationNew Words : Book References : Good Quotes : Table of Contents : References

    Basic Information: Author: Pope Francis, interviewed by Andrea Tornielli
    Edition: eBook on Overdrive from the Fresno County Library
    Publisher: Random House
    ISBN: 0399588647 (ISBN13: 9780399588648)
    Read: December 10,  2017
    176 pages
    Genre:  Christianity
    Language Warning:  None
    Rated Overall: 5 out of 5

    Religion: Christianity
    Religious Quality: 5 out of 5
    Christianity-Teaching Quality: 5 out of 5



    Thoughts:
    •   To the Reader: Francis’ Vision
      • Pope Francis says that mercy is the Lord’s strongest message. 
      • Expounds on John 8-the woman about to be stoned.
      • Pope Francis recognizes that many times, Christians like to condemn and reproach others than to become a party to mercy. 
      • The only requirement to obtain mercy from God is to acknowledge that we are in need of mercy.
      • Is there sins too big for God to forgive? Pope Francis’s answer is Even better! Go to Jesus: he likes to hear about these things. He forgets, he has a special knack for forgetting…. The Lord never tires of forgiving: never!
        • Wow! What a way to put it.
      • Also Pope Francis says: It is we who tire of asking him for forgiveness. We need to ask for grace not to get tired of asking for forgiveness, because he never gets tired of forgiving.
      • the mystery of the mercy of Jesus is that he goes beyond the Law. Such as in the stoning of the adulterous woman. He does not say she has not sin, but that he will not condemn her. Mercy does not erase the sin-that is forgiveness’ work-he says to sin no more. Not only does Jesus defends sinners, he defends the sinner from their own just condemnations.
        • This is not only for her, but for us.
      • Mercy is like when the night sky is overcome by the sun’s daytime. The stars are still there, they are overpowered by the sun. Mercy overpowers sin.
      • Like in To every Man a Penny, God looks for ways to forgive us, to extend mercy to us. 
    • A Time for Mercy 
      • Pope Francis notes that he never trusts his first reaction to an idea-usually is wrong. But waits, trusts, asks for help from the Lord to better discern the idea and get guidance.
        • Sounds wise, particularly in our day of speed and hurry.
      • this is the time for mercy...She [the Church] does not wait for the wounded to knock...she looks for them on the streets… she takes care of them, she makes them feel loved.
      • the Church lives an authentic life when it professes and proclaims mercy. Pope John Paul II
      • Mercy...it is the name of God.  Pope Benedict XVI
      • Mercy is opening one’s heart to wretchedness.
        • Cites Ezekiel 16 as an example of God’s mercy at work.
        • Mercy is connected to God’s faithfulness
      • Shame is a grace
      • Can you forgive too much? Pope Francis cites a priest which asked the question, am I forgiving too much? But in talking with the Lord, he says that if God did not want him to forgive as much, he should not have set such a bad example.
      • A merciful priest: someone who knew how to be close to people and treat their wounds by giving them mercy.
      • Today people try to find salvation wherever they can.
      • Is it better to say that you no longer have a problem, therefore you need to live with it? Or that you do have a problem and let's work through it?
    • The Gift of Confession
      • There is some difference in the Catholic and Protestant lines of thinking on a variety of this. Such as Catholics tend to think that things like John 20:19-23 refer to those in authority. While Protestants think more like the authority has been given to the Church or individual believers.
        • Consequently when Pope Francis talks about priests and bishops and so on have the authority to forgive sins, he loses Protestants.
      • If you are not capable of talking to your brother about your mistakes, you can be sure that you can’t talk about them with God.
        • This is something to think about. I usually feel too shy to do that, too self-conscious. But Pope Francis says that that is how we change.
        • Another Pope Francis point is that we are social beings. Forgiveness has social ramifications. So we need to talk with our spiritual siblings about our failings both to put them behind us, to raise up others and to allow for forgiveness to flow.
      • Pope Francis says that in the Eastern churches, the priest will put his stole over the heads of those who are confessing and an arm around his shoulder. He says this is the physical representation of acceptance and mercy
      • Pope Francis also talks about an old lady who came to him for confession. Pope Francis wondered what did she have to confess-we all are sinful. She also said, If the Lord didn’t forgive everything, our world would not exist.
        • Profound.
      • Sin is a wound, not just a stain. A stain can be cleaned, a wound must be healed.
      • Anyone who confesses does well to feel shame for his sins: shame is a grace we ask for...ot makes us humble.
      • When the Pope hears confession, he thinks about himself, his own sin and about his need for mercy. It causes us to forgive better.
    • Looking for the Smallest Opening
      • God who is our everything, and presenting him our selves, which are our nothing. … what we need to ask for is truly an act of grace.
      • Ambrosian Rite: “You bent down over our wounds and healed us, giving us a medicine stronger than our afflictions, a mercy greater than our fault. In this way even sin, by virtue of your invincible love, served to elevate us to the divine life” Sunday xvi
    • Too Much Mercy?
      • What is our response to the parable to the Prodigal Son? Pope Francis says that many of time, the Church sides with the elder son saying, “Too Much Mercy!” This is a natural reaction-One I fall into. But Pope Francis points out that while the elder son is human, it is the mercy of God that is divine.
      • The concept of the feast expresses God’s joy at forgiving.
      • To say that a sin can prevail over God’s mercy! That would say that our sin is more powerful than God’s ability to supply mercy.
      • The Church does not exist to condemn people, but to bring people to encounter God’s love through his mercy.
    • Shepherds, Not Scholars of the Law
      • None of us should speak of injustice without thinking of all the injustice we have committed before God.
        • Isn’t this a variation of the adulteress about to be stoned where Jesus asks, who is without sin?
      • Pope Francis points out that if there is repetitiveness of confessing the same sin, the person is not growing, they are only learning how to say the words. This is different than committing the same sin and trying to move away from that sin. It is important in that case not to wallow, but to pick up again and try to live under God’s grace.
      •  It is better that a homosexual person continues to try to seek God and stay close to him, than to be ostracized. Pope Francis does not say that homosexuality is ok. But that God loves us all in our sin.
      • When it comes to bestowing grace, Christ is present; when it comes to exercising rigor, only the ministers of the Church are present, but Christ is absent. From St Ambrose’ De Abraham.
      • When awe wears off, we think we can do everything alone. Pope Francis thinks that it might be better if we slip a little so that we are more humble.This way, he shows off His mercy.
        • I think the first statement is true. I am not sure about permitting sinning. I got to think it would be better to live in a state of dependence on Him. I have not learned that lesson very well.
      • Small gestures are large in God’s eyes.
    • Living the Holy Year of Mercy
      • Works of Mercy. According to Wikipedia, they fall under two categories:
        • Corporeal-tending to the physical needs of others-see Matthew 25:31-46
          • To feed the hungry.
          • To give water to the thirsty.
          • To clothe the naked.
          • To shelter the homeless.
          • To visit the sick.
          • To visit the imprisoned, or ransom the captive.
          • To bury the dead.
        • Spiritual-tending to their spiritual needs-Ezekiel 33, Deuteronomy 16 and Maccabees 2
          • To instruct the ignorant.
          • To counsel the doubtful.
          • To admonish the sinners.
          • To bear patiently those who wrong us.
          • To forgive offenses.
          • To comfort the afflicted.
          • To pray for the living and the dead.
      • A fitting end to the main part of the book: “In the evening of life, we will be judged on love alone.” St John of the Cross,
    • Appendix: Misericordiae Vultus: Bull of Indiction of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy
      • This is the text of Pope Francis’s declaration of a Jubilee Year of Mercy. It is broken into 25 segments.
      • God’s mercy, rather than a sign of weakness, is the mark of his omnipotence. (Section 6) Strength comes from us allowing to show weakness. 
      • We are to be pilgrims, traveling along the road. It is a sign that mercy is our goal.-to embrace God’s mercy and to show the Father’s mercy to others.
      • In the Catholic Church, what is the role of the confessor? Sounds like it is a separate office from priest. See the Catholic Encyclopedia
      • Pope Francis points out that faith in the power of money is a trap-it is an illusion.
      • Corruption prevents us from looking to the future with hope.
      • Relationship between justice and mercy-same reality, two dimensions.  Justice is a civil construct. It is what we rightly deserve. It is living fully according to God’s Law. But not as legalism. Definition of justice: faithful abandonment of oneself to God’s will.
      • Justice only is the road to destruction. Pope Francis says that those who commit an offense should pay for it-that is not the end of the conversation, but the beginning.
      • Pope Francis talks about granting indulgences. What are these? The forgiveness of sins if I understand the basics of what the Catholic Encyclopedia says.


    Evaluation:
    Pope Francis declared that 2016 was the Jubilee Year of Mercy (actually late 2015 through late 2016).  Vatican journalist Andrea Tornielli interviews the Pope concerning mercy: what is it, what relevance is it in today’s world, and how Christians can practice it.

    This is a short book, but packed with profound thought. It is a book which Christians of all walks should read to deepen their understanding of how to act in our world.



    New Words:
    • eponymous (To The reader): giving their name to something.
    Book References:
      • To Every Man a Penny by Bruce Marshall
      • Dies in Miserocordia by Pope John Paul II
      • The Dialectic of the “Spiritual Exercises” of St Ignatius by Father Gaston Fessard
      • De Abraham by St Ambrose
      • The Way of Humility: Corruption and Sin by Pope Francis before becoming Pope

      Good Quotes:
      • First Line: On the morning of Sunday, March 17, 2013, Frances celebrated his first Mass after his election as Bishop of Rome, which took place the previous Wednesday evening.
      • Last Line: Given in Rome at Saint Peter’s, on 11 April, the Vigil of the Second Sunday of Easter, or the Sunday of Divine Mercy, in the year of our Lord 2015, the third of my Pontificate.
      • Today people try to find salvation wherever they can. Chp A Time for Mercy
      • If you are not capable of talking to your brother about your mistakes, you can be sure that you can’t talk about them with God. Chp The Gift of Confession
      • God who is our everything, and presenting him our selves, which are our nothing. … what we need to ask for is truly an act of grace. Chp Looking for the Smallest Opening
      • None of us should speak of injustice without thinking of all the injustice we have committed before God. Chp Shepherds, Not Scholars of the Law
      • When awe wears off, we think we can do everything alone…. Chp Shepherds, Not Scholars of the Law
      • In the evening of life, we will be judged on love alone.” St John of the Cross,
      • When faced with the gravity of sin, God responds with the fullness of mercy. Mercy will always be greater than sin, and no one can place limits on the love of God who is ever ready to forgive. Chp Misericordiae Vultus
      • wherever there are Christians, everyone should find an oasis of mercy. Chp Misericordiae Vultus, Section 12
      • It is easier for God to hold back anger than mercy, St Augustine, Homilies on the Psalms, Psalm 77:10
      Table of Contents:
      • To the Reader: Francis’ Vision
      • A Time for Mercy
      • The Gift of Confession
      • Looking for the Smallest Opening
      • A Sinner, Like Simon Peter
      • Too Much Mercy?
      • Shepherds, Not Scholars of the Law
      • Sinners Yes, Corrupt No
      • Mercy and Compassion
      • Living the Holy Year of Mercy
      • Appendix: Misericordiae Vultus: Bull of Indiction of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy

      References:

      Monday, November 20, 2017

      Hallelujah Anyway: Rediscovering Mercy

      Book: Hallelujah Anyway: Rediscovering Mercy
      Basic Information : Synopsis : Thoughts : Evaluation : Book Group : New Words : Book References : Good Quotes : Table of Contents : References

      Basic Information:
       Author: Anne Lamott
      Edition: eBook read on Overdrive from the Mountain View Public Library
      Publisher: Riverhead Books
      Read: November 20, 2017
      176  pages
      Genre:  Christianity, Philosophy, Essay, Personal Growth
      Language Warning:  Medium
      Rated Overall: 3  out of 5
      ISBN: 9780735213586

      Religion: Christianity
      Religious Quality 3 ½  out of 5
      Christianity-Teaching Quality: 3 out of 5


      Synopsis:
      A series of essays about the role of mercy in Anne Lamott’s life.


      Thoughts:

      Title comes from a song by Candi Staton, Hallelujah Anyway.

      • The mercy workshop
        • The prophet Micah is the star which guides Lamott: What does God require of you, but to do justice and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. She understands that she is not at this point in her life. Such as humbly is not in her vocabulary yet,  I think she understands that she is on a road rather than arrived at a destination.
          • She also understands that the humbly thing is going to be hard to do, isn’t it for all of us?
        • What is mercy? The attributes which Lamott comes up with are:
          • Radical kindness
          • offering/being offered aid
          • Not deserved
          • absolving the unabsolvable
          • apology-both giving and accepting
        • She says that mercy, grace, forgiveness and compassion are synonyms.
          • Are they? I suspect that mercy and grace are different sides of the same coin, while forgiveness and compassion are legs to mercy.
        • “It’s not enough that we succeed. Cats must also fail.”
        • Maybe mercy starts with a softening of the imagine we have of someone.
        • Both the story of Jonah and the prodigal son are stories of mercy. That is pretty basic. But the kicker is that both Jonah and the elder son are bothered by mercy. They both feel that the object of mercy should be made to suffer while they are exalted. Interesting take on these stories.
      • Life cycles
        • The secret is, if what we need and want is missing, we begin by going back to where we last saw it. In this cause, Lamott feels like she has been missing mercy.  So she took stock of where she last had it.
          • Unclear if she means mercy towards her or her having that quality towards others.
        • Frederick Buechner wrote that perhaps the main job of the teacher “is to teach gently the inevitability of pain.” Teachers, like food, came in many forms.
        • A miracle, but who knew miracles could also be boring at times, frustrating, nerve-racking and costly?
          • Lamott is on a point here. I sort of think that a miracle is a blinding light where we get an awesome display of God’s power. But what if the miracle is something in the ordinary? Something which now causes us more work? Some sacrifice? Some pain, instead of freedom? In this case, Lamott is talking about a baby. But it can be anything else which God gives us. While the gift is free, it can be costly.
        • ...mercy is a cloak that will wrap around you and protect you; it can block the terror, the dark and most terrifying aspects of your own true self. It is soft, has lots of folds, and enfolds you. It can help you rest and breath again for the time being, which is all we ever have.
      • Gold leaf
        • She begins the chapter with a Rilke quote about being folded and the need to be unfolded. How do we get folded in a the first place? Lamont talks about the expectations which are placed on us by others and ourselves as folds in our cloth, the places where we crease.
          • Is there good expectations? Things which help us along? My thinking s yes! We need expectations to help us develop, to help us form. Without these, we would be 60 year old babies.
          • I think as a child, our parents expectations guide us toward maturity. But as we grow into maturity, expectations need to be mutual with those whom we are in relationship with. Co-workers, friends, spouse, and yes, parents.
        • The book really presents parents badly. You get the feeling all parents are evil, working on deforming their children.
        • Definition of mercy:
          • Comes from miserei  to pity and cor, heart
          • Compassion
          • Empathy
          • A heart for someone’s troubles
        • We find it, get it revealed, cultivate, access it.
          • She says it is not something we do. I disagree. Unless something manifests itself in an action, how is it something we are. It may not be overt, but more discrete, part of our character.
        • It is pointed out that the Good Samaritan story happens in the context of going to Jerusalem to die in an act of mercy. She also talks about that at one time or another, those who needed to get sober was the man in the ditch.
          • I think, if we are honest, we have been the person in the ditch needing help. That is a definition of being a Christian.
          • There are times which we are the ones who have soiled our pants and are in need of mercy.
        • Silence is not allowed in our culture-it is a bad sign.  But as one enters the holy of holies, there is silence before God.  Since can be peace a space where sometimes in our culture it is a mercy.
      • Destinations
        • Maps can change a life, a person, returning us to dreams, to our childhood, to the poetic, to what is real. They can move us forward to what we didn’t even know we were looking for.
          • So true, at least in my life. I can look at a map and just wonder what is it like there, imagining the land, the place. Where I want to be, or in some cases, stay away from. That piece of paper has the ability to transport me away.
        • The point of life, a friend said, is not staying alive, but staying in love.
          • So easy to forget. Love gets beaten down in so many ways. Need to remember to stand back up.
          • Lamott says that Love, nature and maps can take us out of time. Not sure I agree with her. But I think there is an element where each can transport us to a different place and time in our minds.
        • ...even I know that real things take real time.
          • If we want to see results, do not snap your fingers, but go through the process. I think that short-cuts to a goal, rarely have the results we want.
        • hardest part of mercy is not the taking, but receiving it.
      • Impatiens
        • Dual passports-attributes from both worlds.
          • We sometimes forget about the heaven one and only are focused on earth. That means that I get muddied and ugly from the day to day of living on earth.
          • I think the more correct way is how Paul Little talked about it. We are ambassadors who are sent from that foreign country called Heaven to represent it here on earth.
        • It’s stunning how a great trauma can also be so ordinary.
          • In some ways, I felt this with my dad’s death. It was a long time a coming, so it was not unexpected. It was a great trauma since it felt like he would always be there. But his ending was so ordinary. Like it was just another event. Still it was my event.

      • Planes
        • [Mercy] looks like people saying hello, making eye contact, letting others go first.
          • In other words, we can be merciful with little effort.
          • In some ways, mercy, according to this is treating another human being as a human being. But I suspect mercy is more than this. What lamott is describing is the start of being God-like.
      • As is
        • Krishnamurti said “I don’t mind what happens”.
          • This is one of those true/but not true statements. If you don’t mind what happens, you will have serenity. On the other hand, shouldn’t you mind what happens to others? to you?
        • Truth out loud is almost always medicinal, …
          • Not sure what this means, but it sounds like it should be something I do understand.
      • Mostly
        • She says there are two ways to learn to live a merciful life: get cancer or get a teacher.  (Endure hardship or be lead)
        • When all else fails, follow instructions. (Lamott on the road to sobriety. Her teacher guiding her).
          • The instructions in this case was to pray for people she could not forgive the things she wanted for herself.
          • The teaching is you can get better by taking the right action. Or as I like to think about it, your mind will follow where your actions are. That is why it is so important to do right.
        • Not sure where CS Lewis taught “we are souls” rather than having souls.
      • The open drawer.

      Lamott takes from the title of a book by Pope Francis, The name of God is Mercy. I have started reading this book (Nov 26, 2017) and I am finding that it is a worthwhile book, providing depth which Lamott’s book does not.  I may revisit this statement when I have finished his book.



      Evaluation:
      The first several chapters were interesting. But after awhile, they started to be repetitive. Such as in the first chapter, she talks about the prophet Micah and how he says that what is required of us is humility, mercy and justice. Lamott does a good job working us through them. But towards the end of the book, it sounds like “more of the same”.

      What Lamott does best for me is to cause me to think from a different perspective. She accomplishes this : where has there been points of mercy in my life? Where can I be merciful? Also, she presents stories we have heard before and think we know the meanings in a different light. For that, it is a good book. But maybe not one which you need to read every word to understand what she is saying.

       
      Notes from my book group:
      • Why do you think the Lamott wrote this book?
        • What would you ask her if you had a chance?
      • What does the title, Hallelujah Anyway have to do with mercy?
        • Did the book title seem fitting?
        • Was the book satisfying?  Predictable?
      • How does Lamott define mercy?
        • How do you define it?
        • How does she say mercy works? 
          What did you learn about mercy?
          How to apply mercy?
      • Sometime Lamott talks about mercy, grace, forgiveness and compassion as synonymous. Are they? Where are the places of overlap? Differences?
        • Does it matter how Lamott uses these terms?
      • Lamott talks about mercy through 9 chapters. Which chapter was the most meaningful to you? Why?
      • Several Bible stories are used in this book: Jonah, Lazrus, Good Samaritan, Prodigal Son, ...
        • How does she use these stories to illustrate her points?
        • Are they appropriate uses?
        • Are they how you thought of these stories before?
      • In the Prodigal Son and Jonah telling, she talks about how resentment strikes them.
        • how does Lamott portray them>
        • Why are they resentful?
        • Are there places which it is improper to show mercy?
      • In the chapter called Gold Leaf, she talks about expectations. How does expectations mix with mercy?
        • When she talks about parents in this chapter did you identify? Or wonder what she was talking about?
      • Being silent can be a form of mercy. How?
      • In the Destination chapter, Lamott talks about maps, staying in love, and real things.  What do they have to do with mercy?
      • What concrete things does Lamott suggest as mercies? (making eye contact, letting someone cut in front of you,... this is in Planes). How are they a form of mercy?
      • Lamott says that there are two ways to learn to live a merciful life: get cancer or get a teacher. How so? Or do you disagree?
      • What “take aways” did you have from this book?
      • Every author has a world view. Were you able to identify this author’s world view? What was it? How did this view affect her view of mercy?
        • How did this book affect your view of the world?
          • Of how God is viewed?
          • What questions did you ask yourself after reading this book?
      • Talk about specific passages that struck you as significant—or interesting, profound, amusing, illuminating, disturbing, sad...?
        • What was memorable?
      How would you improve the book?



      New Words:
      • Chanting kirtan (Gold Leaf): a Sanskrit word that means "narrating, reciting, telling, describing" of an idea or story. It also refers to a genre of religious performance arts, connoting a musical form of narration or shared recitation, particularly of spiritual or religious ideas.
      • koan (Planes): a paradoxical anecdote or riddle, used in Zen Buddhism to demonstrate the inadequacy of logical reasoning and to provoke enlightenment.
      • Varanasi (Planes): Varanasi also known as Benares, Banaras or Kashi is a city on the banks of the Ganges in the Uttar Pradesh state of North India,
      Book References:
      • Famous, a poem by Naomi Shihab Nye
      • Brave New World 
        The Name of God is Mercy, Pope Francis

      Good Quotes:
      • First Line: There are times in our lives-scary, unsettling times-when we know that we need help or answers, but we’re not sure what kind, or even what the problem or question is.
      • Last Line: Or you can take the risk to be changed, surrounded, and indwelled by this strange yeasty mash called mercy, there for the asking at the frog pond, the River Jordan, the channel that flows between the lagoon and the sea.
      • I want to be famous in the way a pulley is famous or a buttonhole, not because it did anything spectacular, but because it never forgot what it could do.   Famous, a poem by Naomi Shihab Nye
      • Reading helped us get blissfully lost in resonant worlds where we could rest or gape or laugh with recognition, …  Chp Life cycles
      • A miracle, but who knew miracles could also be boring at times, frustrating, nerve-racking and costly?   Chp Life cycles
      • ...beauty was not lost-it cannot be. All that we gave remains.  Chp Life cycles
      • The path away from judgement of self and neighbor requires major mercy, both giving and, horribly, receiving. (Gold Leaf)
      • Forgiving is to set a prisoner free and discovering that the prisoner was you. Lewis Smedes,  Forgive and Forget: Healing the Hurts We Don't Deserve
      • ...shared silence also creates harmonies….holy silence is spacious and inviting.  (Gold Leaf)
      • Maps can change a life, a person, returning us to dreams, to our childhood, to the poetic, to what is real. They can move us forward to what we didn’t even know we were looking for. (Destinations)
      • The point of life, a friend said, is not staying alive, but staying in love. (Destinations)
      • No matter how low you may have fallen in your own esteem, bear in mind that if you delve deeply into yourself you will discover holiness there. Thomas Merton,  Thomas Merton in Alaska (Prelude to the Asian Journal)
      • If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, where you stop your story. Orson Welles
      • God doesn’t give us answers. God gives us grace and mercy. God gives us Her own self. (Impatiens)
      • God makes a way out of no way. Lamott’s pastor (Planes)
      • Don’t try harder--resist less. Lamott’s priest friend, Terry (As Is)
      • Forgiveness and mercy mean that, bit by bit, you begin to outshine the resentment. (The open drawer)
      Table of Contents:
      • The mercy workshop
      • Life cycles
      • Gold leaf
      • Destinations
      • Impatiens
      • Planes
      • As is
      • Mostly
      • The open drawer.

      References: