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What I read in June 2018 (Part4) The Lost Words

Well, here is the promised post all about a single book!

When an article appeared about a new edition of a children’s dictionary having lost some words about nature to make room for new words about technology, most people were disappointed. One person, who acted on his disappointment, was Robert Macfarlane (mentioned on my blog here).

The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris has been more successful than anyone could have imagined. What has happened around it is now described as a movement. There have been crowd-funded appeals to place the book in every school in various counties around Britain. It has been used in homes for older people. Twitter is full of it. Jackie Morris has developed a new alphabet using otters in various positions to represent the letters. Her artwork has been auctioned to raise money for charities. The price of the book itself includes a donation to Action for Conservation. Another charity it is involved with is the John Muir Trust.

I received a copy of the book as a present, having seen it first at a writers’ conference.

It is a large format book. Each word has its own acrostic. The artwork is wonderful. There are hidden words and absent shapes.

It is a book, which works at many levels. It has inspired more pictures and writing, through its use in schools. There have been exhibitions in London and Edinburgh. It has also inspired a musical spin-off.

I learned that there are alternative spellings for a word, which I’d have spelled with four letters. With three it is a homonym of an animal. I began to write my own verse. Towards the end of June it had four lines. Four days later I added two more.

Lost Animal

In The Lost Words
I found a yak.
It made a racket
Looking for other herds.

Did you ever spy a yak
With a magpie on its back?

If you have read this far, I have an acrostic especially for you.

You
Are
Kind!

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What I read in June 2018 (Part 3)


I bought the next two books in this series at the writers’ conference I wrote about earlier. I had met both the authors previously. Joyce Worsfold kept making remarks about her book, including a story about the reaction of a lady, who had read it. I was intrigued and bought the last remaining copy from the sales table.

I really enjoyed A Fistful of Marigolds by Joyce Worsfold. It was not a typical book by a member of the Association of Christian Writers. The opening reminded me of books by Tom Sharpe, although I suspect the author would prefer it to be compared with a fictional version of Gervase Phinn’s books. There were many issues among the schoolchildren in the story, which had many twists and turns and a satisfactory conclusion. (Joyce commented that she wasn’t sure whether the flowers on the cover were marigolds. I wonder whether they are chrysanthemums, similar to the ones I had as my wedding flowers. They could be pot marigolds.)

Clearing the Loft

Clearing the Loft

Clearing the Loft by John Wakeman is a booklet of poems and prose. I really enjoyed it. The author had added notes about each of the poems he included. Reading other people’s collections of poems, however interesting, does not bring my own poetry project much nearer to publication!

 

Religion and faith

A rehearsal for choral evensong may not be the first place one would go to look for inspiration for writing. Nevertheless a comment made by the visiting choirmaster struck a chord with me!

At the beginning of one work, our entry was not confident and together. He likened it to people trying to use a moving walkway and acted out the way that they might hesitate before getting on. Our walkway was the introduction on the organ; we had to get on at the correct point without hesitation.

The thought which occurred to me was that taking a step of faith is very similar.

I remember as a pre-teen being convinced that Christianity was the best religion. I had been brought up in a family where both parents were confirmed members of the Church of England and I had attended Sunday School from an early age.

At (day) school we studied comparative religion, looking at the major religions at that time – Judaism, Islam, Shintoism, Hinduism and Buddhism. Humanism may have been mentioned as well. It seemed to me that if everyone practised the teachings of Jesus Christ the world would be a wonderful place.

What I didn’t understand at that time was the difference between religion and faith.

Religion is concerned with rules. Judaism, from which Christianity arose, is full of rules. Christianity includes the Old Testament (similar to the Hebrew Bible) and the New Testament, which begins with four accounts of the life of Jesus Christ, the story of his early followers (The Acts of the Apostles), letters (Epistles) to Churches and individuals and a vision of the future (The Revelation of St John the Divine).

The letter to the Hebrews lists people of faith from the Old Testament and explains how they lived out their faith. Hebrews 11

Christianity differs from other religions in an important way. Christians believe that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ, the Messiah. Adherents to Judaism are still waiting for the Messiah. As far as I am aware in Islam Jesus is regarded as a prophet, but not as the Son of God. In the Old Testament the Spirit of God rested on a few individuals, sometimes only for a short time, while they performed an important task or prophesied.

The prophet Joel looked forward to a time, when God would pour out his Spirit on all people Joel 2:28-29

Christians believe that this began on the Day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was given to those who believed in Jesus Christ. Acts 2

It is easy to mistake Christianity for a set of rules. Anyone who tries to be a Christian by obeying rules is bound to discover that it is impossible. However, Christianity is a way of living in a relationship with the living God, who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Through this relationship, which is strengthened through worship, prayer, Holy Communion, Bible-reading and fellowship with other believers, Christians are changed from within to become more Christ-like. We need to trust God to give us his strength rather than act or speak in our own strength.

Our society emphasises self-improvement, but Christians should be looking to God to improve them. 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

Christianity can only be proved to be true from within. Without taking the step of faith and beginning to trust the God, who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, it is impossible to know whether Christianity is true. There is no benefit to those, who do not believe and trust.

It is like knowing that the moving walkway would save time and effort, but failing to step onto it.

Have you taken the step of faith?

“Taste and see that the Lord is good.” Psalm 34:8