I am Meg Moseley. Meg, a writer. Seeking the real God in the real world.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

A legacy of kindness

I learned this morning of the death of Virginia Ellis, author of The Wedding Dress and The Photograph. I hardly knew Gin, but a few years ago when I was a member of Georgia Romance Writers, she read and critiqued the first chapter of a novel I was working on. She offered the critique as part of GRW's March workshop, an annual event that provides unpublished GRW members with constructive criticism from published members, but then she wasn't able to attend the workshop. We met at a restaurant near her house instead, weeks later, and it was a privilege to sit at a quiet table and hear her thoughts about my writing.

The story she critiqued for me happened to be an early, rough version of the novel I'm working on now, one that has been on my heart for years. One of its major themes is the way little bricks of unkindness can build walls between people, while little bricks of kindness build bridges.

Now I don't remember the specifics of Gin's critique, but I will always remember that she was kind. Thank you, Gin. We'll miss you.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Soul Survivor

Deeanne Gist's post of Monday, January 16 motivated me to find my copy of Soul Survivor by Philip Yancey. Subtitled "How My Faith Survived the Church," it follows his journey through disillusionment to a stronger, smarter faith, informed not only by experience but by books that gave him glimpses into great minds.

Martin Luther King, Jr. is one of the writers who influenced Yancey, who grew up in what he describes as "apartheid conditions" in Atlanta. Raised in a racist white church that actively opposed the civil rights movement, Yancey was years in coming around to see the good in the movement. His chapter about MLK should be required reading for all of us.

So should the chapters about John Donne, Frederick Buechner, Henri Nouwen, G.K. Chesterton, Annie Dillard and the rest. All of them challenge me to take another look at my place in the world and in God's heart. This is one of my most-marked-up books, its pages glowing with bright slashes from my highlighter. These are great minds, great lives, yet as Yancey points out, every one of them is flawed. Like the rest of us.

A quote from Yancey: "Chesterton readily admitted that the church had badly failed the gospel. In fact, he said, one of the strongest arguments in favor of Christianity is the failure of Christians, who thereby prove what the Bible teaches about the fall and original sin. As the world goes wrong, it proves that the church is right in this basic doctrine."

I agree. Even our failures as churches and as individuals can point to the gospel and reveal the grace of God. We're all sinners in need of a Savior, and in need of each other.

Monday, January 09, 2006

They're taking over my house!

I recently spent a little time with somebody who has fewer books in her whole house than I have on my cookbook shelf. (Not that I use my cookbooks often, since I'm highly allergic to domestic activities, but they're there if I need them.) I can't imagine being content with only a skeleton crew of books.

In this house, they multiply like bunnies. Besides the obvious places, like bookshelves, we try to corral our book population on end tables and beneath end tables, on the kitchen counter, on the dining room table, in boxes in closets, on the floor beside every bed, maybe some underneath the beds, but I'm afraid to look because they're probably overdue at the library, and a few in the bathrooms. They mate in the dark and produce baby books, or maybe I need to break the habit of stopping at garage sales, library sales, and bookstores.

Years ago, when a friend of mine started making a lot of money in her business, she shrugged and said she'd learned not to get too excited about money; the more you have, the more you want. Apply this principle to books, and I'm in deep trouble.

Maybe the love of books is the root of all clutter, or at least most of the clutter in my house, but at least it's happy clutter. Anybody know what I mean?