Tuesday, October 14, 2008

"The Color Purple" and "On Being a Servant of God"

I read these two books at the same time, and in a way they balanced each other. "On Being a Servant" is written by Warren Wiersbe as 30 little "armchair chats" to church leaders about what he wished he knew when he first began ministry. It's the kind of book that I could only read three chapters at a time otherwise it was lost, but in taking 10 days to read, I forget all I read. Thank goodness I underline, so I can go back and recall what I learned. He has a great chapter on how to discern if God is truly calling one to a new ministry or if the person is running away. He encourages pastor's to stick it out unless they know for certain God is calling them to the next level. The book is full of good quotes, smart insight and a reminder that ministry is a calling. I would recommend this to pastors and anyone who does church work.

I also reread "Color Purple" for perhaps the 10th or 11th time. I can not read this book without a pen, for I am always underlining, making notes and seeing how things connect, and the big chronological mistakes Alice Walker makes. "The Color Purple" is perhaps my favorite book, and I always see something new. This time I realized how important trees are in the book. The word "tree" is used at least 23 times. The first time, Celie refers to herself as a tree when she is being abused. Next she refers to touching Mr. ____ children like touching a tree or a chifferobe. Then Shug is introduced as being dressed so stunning the trees want to get a better look at her. Trees are used by Nettie to describe the jungle is Africa, then these same trees are knocked down. Then, trees are blooming when Shug takes Celie to see her "Pa." Later, in the theological core of the novel, Shug explains her first step from the patriarchal view of an aloof God was trees. Then, when Celie gains her strength to tell of Mr._____ she claims to get it from the trees. Finally, in her ode to joy, Celie starts her last journal entry "Dear God, dear starts, dear trees..." It's as if for Alice Walker the trees are meant to symbolize Celie's own journey and play a role in the redemption and destruction of her character's and the places they inhabit. her use of trees makes me think back to Psalm 1.

I also had a revelation about Nettie. Mr.______ wanted to marry Nettie. Mr. ____ also loved Shug. Celie loved Nettie and Shug. Was there something Mr. ______ saw in Nettie that reminded him of Shug, which meant there was something in Shug that reminded Celie of Nettie?

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