Morning Thanks

Garrison Keillor once said we'd all be better off if we all started the day by giving thanks for just one thing. I'll try.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Unabashed Christmas huckstering

This brand fresh spanking new book of meditations, just out, signed by the author--me--can be had for a meager $15. Send me a note on Facebook or by email (, and we'll swap addresses. I'll sign it and send it out.

Here's a paragraph from the preface:

When I picked up Come Be My Light: The Private Writings of the ‘Saint of Calcutta’, in the pre-dawn hours of what would be a gorgeous day in the Hill Country of Texas, I was smitten—not only by the story of Mother Teresa’s life, about which I knew very little; not only by her unflagging commitment to the poor, which I knew only in outline; not only by her teachings, which I had never heard in her own words; not only by her decades-long dark night of the soul, about which very few of us knew anything; but also by what I shared with her as believer, by what she could teach me, by what I needed to learn even though my own faith tradition is hopelessly Protestant and even (gulp!) Calvinist. I loved the book, loved the woman whose words fill it.
What are others saying?
We love reading James Schaap on the quirks of the Dutch Reformed on the prairie, or perhaps the travails of Native Americans. But a Roman Catholic saint? This book isn’t so much “about” Mother Teresa, as it is about Schaap’ s encounter, maybe even dance, with Teresa. Suffering is a prevalent theme, but always tempered by Schaap’ s expected wit, warmth, and authenticity. 
Steve Mathonnet-Vander Wel, Pastor, Second Reformed Church, Pella, Iowa, and editor at The Twelve, Perspectives blog.
James Schaap's "Reading Mother Theresa" represents his entry into a devotional genre that breaks the mold in deliciously satisfying ways. It's confessional tone challenges the Protestant reticence to acknowledge the depth of Catholic spirituality. Its word smith's command of language allows for an evocative multi-layered reflection that is rarely found in works of this nature. The result is a devotional that does what good devotionals are meant to do - provoke a thoughtful piety that lingers well beyond the initial reading.
John Hubers, PhD. Professor of Religion at Northwestern College, Orange City, Iowa 
Jim Schaap, faithful Calvinist, teacher, writer of vivid stories, photographer of beauty wherever he finds it, focuses a year of his pondering on Mother Teresa's life and writings. He and she are worlds apart in origin and influence, yet in this book he invites us into what may be called an intimately ecumenical embrace, finding a valued kinship despite their differences. Follow his thinking and writing in this gentle book and discover what makes spiritual kinship possible. 
Luci Shaw, poet and essayist, author most recently of Adventure of Ascent: Field Notes from a Lifelong Journey and Thumbprint in the Clay: Divine Marks of Beauty, Order and Grace.
It's easy to think of Mother Theresa, that "mighty little woman," as a saint far away from our experience and far above our emulation. James Schaap, in this series of meditations, dwells attentively in her writings and her life, putting them in conversation with the Bible and with his own Midwestern Protestant faith. By drawing fruitful connections with his own experience, he teaches all of us to see Theresa of Calcutta not as a distant icon, but as our sister, a fellow servant. And to see in her struggles a brave encouragement to persevere in passionate love for God.
Debra Rienstra, Professor of English at Calvin College, Grand Rapids, MI, and author of Great With Child: Reflections on Faith, Fullness, and Becoming a Mother, So Much More: An Invitation to Christian Spirituality, and Worship Words: Discipling Language for Christian Ministry. 

Send me a note (and a check), and I'll get one out in time for Christmas. . .Thanks!!!!! 


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