Thursday, September 27, 2007

Gypsies, Conscience, and Ivan's Book Club II

Before I get into the book club, here is a quick thought to follow up yesterday's post. In scratching the surface of a major Christian theological issue, I touched on the importance of works for any Christian. The love of mankind is secondary only to the love of the Creator, this is clear not only from the book of James, but from the representation of Jesus in the Gospels. Unfortunately the egocentristic nature in all of us overrides this social gospel, and I am as guilty as the rest. Case in point:

While in Croatia, a beautiful country recovering from a crippling civil war, I witnessed the arrival of humanitarian aid--boxes of clothes; gifts from America. The local Pastor who hosted hardly had the strength to open the boxes. "I get this all the time," he said in a disgusted and weary voice. Lifting the cardboard lid revealed the dirty, stained, moth-eaten, throw aways that not only eased the humanitarian sting of someone like me, but also provided them with a tax write-off. The pastor picked a few decent ones out of the bunch some friends in the neighboring gypsy community, and deemed the rest garbage worthy. I remember him quipping something to the effect of, "gypsies don't deserve others' garbage."

So as I drove past a Planet Earth clothes drop off box today, with piles of throw-aways next to it, I was reminded of the scripture I had read the night before, the Gypsies, and my own neglect of what it means to be a Christian and a human being. My hardworking neighbor in the Balkans deserves better. I pray to provide better.

So, now that I have left the confessional, I aim to get this book club started. Following the only suggestion provided, the first book will be Are We Rome: The Fall of an Empire and the Fate of America. I actually pondered the idea before the book existed (tommorrow's blog post), so I am excited. Email me (email through profile page) or leave a comment if you intend on taking part. I checked online, and the book is on the shelves of the public library here in town, so you need not go purchase it if finances do not permit. I will start a new blog, accessible under my profile page. This is a first for me, so I will play it by ear; however, I am anticipating reading the first chapter and publishing my thouhts in the form of a blog post by next Friday. I am hoping a firestorm of comments ensues. I will not publish the next post; rather, I hope that the participants will email their thoughts so that I may publish them and be given the chance to comment.

Spread the word. I doubt more than 3 or 4 will engage in the first book, but I hope for more. Include your friends, your family, your blogroll...let's engage each other, let's grow together, let's read together!


Rob said...


I'm down! My Amazon order, (which contained this book and a few other goodies), shipped today so I should have it by the end of the week. I'll keep my eyes open for a reading schedule and your first post.



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