I wanted to try something new. I read a lot, and I always take notes. I'd love to share some of the points that really stuck out to me, some of the things that I'm still chewing on because of this book.
I'm going to try to paraphrase some of these things. I don't think posting these few quotes from the book will diminish the overall reading experience. The book is really about a journey. I don't think you can even say that it's about a journey to faith. The conclusion is really left to the reader in that respect. It's more like a journey through certain revelations for the author.
Most of these lessons I'm about to list are actually from Mitch's rabbi, The Reb.
- Things that grow slowly are more formidable. Things that grow quickly, crumble easily.
- If you're going to lead or teach people spiritually, there is no room for cynicism.
- Life holds a lot more hope when we believe God has chosen to answer our prayers negatively instead of believing He isn't out there listening in the first place, especially when sudden death or illness is concerned. I have atheist friends, and I wonder how they feel about things like this. If life is pointless. We're here by accident for no real reason. We die, and it's done, then how much more pointless is all this suffering?
- "The only tyrant I accept in this world is the still voice within." Mohandas Gandhi
- Olam Habah - the world to come. This sticks out to me because I recently read an argument that the Christian faith is a faith mainly concerned with the future. It's not about what we are, but what we're becoming. That's not to say that we sit back and let the future unfold, or that we're in any way responsible for creating the final outcome. By participating now, we're becoming now.
- The creation story that Judeo Christian traditions follow does not mention the word 'bad.' God did not create bad things. I study the creation story regularly, and this never occurred to me. I think he's talking about inherent goodness or badness here. We all have this choice. We weren't made bad.
- When you worry about God's judgement, you shouldn't worry about you versus the other guy. You should worry about God measuring you against you - how far you've come compared to where you were.
- Start any reconciliation with humility, "I've thought things over, and in some ways, you might be right." Even if you don't believe it. From my experience, this is great advice. I've often been labeled a diplomatic guy. I've helped facilitated a few reconciliations in my day, and I can tell you, humble keeps people listening. Anger does not.
- The take away from the book: Even if you're not actively seeking a faith, God, etc… if you know people that are obviously enamored with God, try to take some time to have a conversation with these people. You might walk away experiencing something beautiful. Ask them some tough questions.
- I'm starting a file of my own, titled simply, "God."
Other Random Thoughts, Non-book Related:
- Sorry salespeople out there, I hate the phrase, "It's a No Brainer." What it implies to me is, don't even bother thinking about all the angles. Just go for it. Living in this economy, no brainers often lead to more jobs for repo men.
- What's acceptable to wear after Labor Day? How about clothes? Don't we have enough to concern ourselves with already without worrying about whether or not white is acceptable? And Acceptable to whom?