I read dead people. Death is a good barometer for determining true canon, I think, as is overcoming death. Jesus’ own example speaks to such. That doesn’t mean that works by the living aren’t worthy of our attention, but works which continue to speak to us long after the author is gone do so because of their humanity and transcendence. Their words hold power, wisdom and insight, regardless of time or circumstance.
I studied the Romantics because they seemed to live this crazy, revolutionary life and so I thought that quiet ol’ me could taste that vicariously. It worked. But I didn’t expect that particular group of writers to whet my appetite for what CS Lewis coined from the German sensucht, or the longing we all have for our eternal home, for the holiness of God. The Romantic poet William Blake is particularly poignant. I love how he looks the fallen world straight in the eye, how he acknowledges evil and the complexity of human nature, but still threads everything through with the divine.
I’ve been honored and deeply touched to receive many amazing stories of God’s grace from believing readers from all backgrounds and walks. I’ve also received questions and concerns from seekers and sceptics. They remind me how our God is not a fragile God. He graciously withstands our scrutiny; even welcomes it. The answering of some questions only begets more, and that’s the thrill and dignity of the mystery.
My recent book, Holy is the Day: Living in the Gift of the Present, grew organically out of my “leap with faith” in attempting to enter an all more entrusting relationship with God. The experience has given me an entirely deeper understanding and respect for the definition of the only work there truly is, to “believe in the One He has sent.” Sometimes the “work” is merely the default of doing all we can do in that moment. I wanted to explore seeking to trust in all sorts of life’s circumstances, and how that holds the power to challenge and renew our vision, to reshape our priorities and relationships.
I love to read everything. I tend to gorge myself on authors, reading all their work at once. I’m reading Anne Rice’s Of Love and Evil because I’m interested in how she reconciles being a new creation in Christ with her longstanding relationship to the supernatural. I’ve been enjoying Marilynne Robinson’s novels, and I’m on a huge Annie Dillard kick now. She fearlessly yokes together the consumerist reality of the fallen world with the persistent presence of the glory of God. The kind of “terrible beauty” at work all around us, if I am to return to Blake (and Yeats).
I recently reread Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, initially for a collaborative project but then I ended up slipping into savouring it all over again. I love how Jane cuts through hypocrisy in both faith and love with a sort of passionate composure. Now she’s a girl I could have a cuppa with!
Carolyn Weber is a believer, wife, mother, author and professor. She detailed her leap of faith in Surprised by Oxford. She lives in London, Ontario, Canada with her husband and four children. You can connect with her online here.