Archive for the ‘Books’ Tag

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich   1 comment

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One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
by Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Excerpt from page 154:

He lay with his head near the window, but Alyosha, who slept next to him on the same level, across a low wooden railing, lay the opposite way, to catch the light.  He was reading his Bible again.

The electric light was quite near.  You could read and even sew by it.

Alyosha heard Shukhov’s whispered prayer, and, turning to him:  “There you are, Ivan Denisovich, your soul is begging to pray.  Why don’t you give it it’s freedom?”

Shukhov stole a look at him.  Alyosha’s eyes glowed like two candles.

“Well, Alyosha,” he said with a sigh, “it’s this way.  Prayers are like those appeals of ours.  Either they don’t get through or they’re returned with ‘rejected’ scrawled across ’em.”

Outside the staff quarters were four sealed boxes–they were cleared by a security officer once a month.  Many were the appeals that were dropped into them.  The writers waited, counting the weeks:  there’ll be a reply in two months, in one month. . . .

But the reply doesn’t come.  Or if it does it’s only “rejected.”

“But, Ivan Denisovich, it’s because you pray too rarely, and badly at that.  Without really trying.  That’s why your prayers stay unanswered.  One must never stop praying.  If you have real faith you tell a mountain to move and it will move. . . .”

Shukhov grinned and rolled another cigarette.  He took a light from the Estonian.

“Don’t talk nonsense, Alyosha.  I’ve never seen a mountain move.  Well, to tell the truth, I’ve never seen a mountain at all.  But you, now, you prayed in the Caucasus with all that Baptist society of yours–did you make a single mountain move?”

They were an unlucky group too.  What harm did they do anyone by praying to God?  Every damn one of them had been given twenty-five years.  Nowadays they cut all cloth to the same measure–twenty-five years.

“Oh, we didn’t pray for that, Ivan Denisovich,” Alyosha said earnestly.  Bible in hand, he drew nearer to Shukhov till they lay face to face.  “Of all earthly and mortal things Our Lord commanded us to pray only for our daily bread.  ‘Give us this day our daily bread.'”

“Our ration, you mean?” asked Shukhov.

But Alyosha didn’t give up.  Arguing more with his eyes than his tongue, he plucked at Shukhov’s sleeve, stroked his arm, and said:  “Ivan Denisovich, you shouldn’t pray to get parcels or for extra stew, not for that.  Things that man puts a high price on are vile in the eyes of Our Lord.  We must pray about things of the spirit–that the Lord Jesus should remove the scum of anger from out hearts. . . .”

Page 156:

“Alyosha,” he said, withdrawing his arm and blowing smoke into his face.  “I’m not against God, understand that.  I do believe in God.  But I don’t believe in paradise or in hell.  Why do you take us for fools and stuff us with your paradise and hell stories?  That’s what I don’t like.”

He lay back, dropping his cigarette ash with care between the bunk frame and the window, so as to singe nothing of the captain’s below.  He sank into his own thoughts.  He didn’t hear Alyosha’s mumbling.

“Well,” he said conclusively, “however much you pray it doesn’t shorten your stretch.  You’ll sit it out from beginning to end anyhow.”

“Oh, you mustn’t pray for that either,” said Alyosha, horrified.  “Why do you want freedom?  In freedom your last grain of faith will be choked with weeds.  You should rejoice that you’re in prison.  Here you have time to think about your soul.  As the Apostle Paul wrote:  ‘Why all these tears?  Why are you trying to weaken my resolution?  For my part I am ready not merely to be bound but even to die for the name of the Lord Jesus.'”

_____

“The thoughts of a prisoner—they’re not free either. They kept returning to the same things. A single idea keeps stirring. Would they feel that piece of bread in the mattress? Would he have any luck in the dispensary that evening? Would they out Buinovsky in the cells? And how did Tsezar get his hands on that warm vest?”

― Alexander Solzhenitsyn, One Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich

Dover Beach
The Alexandr Solzhenitsyn Center
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich (1970)
Always a Choice

Writings from the Road   4 comments

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Writings from the Road by Tim Shey.  132 pages.  Non-fiction.  Published in 2016.

Barnes & Noble
A Red-Letter Day

A Library and a Restaurant   Leave a comment

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Dreams from the LORD 2011-2015
10 March 2015

Last night I had a dream where I was at this public library in Mason City, Iowa.  I met this young man at the library; his last name was Shey.  I told him that my last name was Shey, also (we may have been related).  I told him that my book, High Plains Drifter, was in that library.  I pointed out my book to him:  High Plains Drifter was put prominently on top of this shelf where everybody could see it.  There was even a colored, fold-out poster advertising my book.  The young man was happy to see my book.

The next scene:  I was in this restaurant.  I noticed a relative of mine walk through the restaurant.  He didn’t see me.  A while later, I walked up to this relative and we shook hands.  We made some small talk.  He told me that there were other relatives of mine in that same restaurant.

Author/Hitchhiker

Posted March 10, 2015 by Tim Shey in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , ,

The Common Life of All Christians   3 comments

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William Law (1686-1761)

A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life
By William Law

Chapter I

Concerning the nature and extent of Christian devotion.

“It is very observable, that there is not one command in all the Gospel for public worship; and perhaps it is a duty that is least insisted upon in Scripture of any other. The frequent attendance at it is never so much as mentioned in all the New Testament. Whereas that religion or devotion which is to govern the ordinary actions of our life is to be found in almost every verse of Scripture. Our blessed Saviour and His Apostles are wholly taken up in doctrines that relate to common life. They call us to renounce the world, and differ in every temper and way of life, from the spirit and the way of the world: to renounce all its goods, to fear none of its evils, to reject its joys, and have no value for its happiness: to be as new-born babes, that are born into a new state of things: to live as pilgrims in spiritual watching, in holy fear, and heavenly aspiring after another life: to take up our daily cross, to deny ourselves, to profess the blessedness of mourning, to seek the blessedness of poverty of spirit: to forsake the pride and vanity of riches, to take no thought for the morrow, to live in the profoundest state of humility, to rejoice in worldly sufferings: to reject the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life: to bear injuries, to forgive and bless our enemies, and to love mankind as God loveth them: to give up our whole hearts and affections to God, and strive to enter through the strait gate into a life of eternal glory.

“This is the common devotion which our blessed Saviour taught, in order to make it the common life of all Christians. Is it not therefore exceeding strange that people should place so much piety in the attendance upon public worship, concerning which there is not one precept of our Lord’s to be found, and yet neglect these common duties of our ordinary life, which are commanded in every page of the Gospel? I call these duties the devotion of our common life, because if they are to be practised, they must be made parts of our common life; they can have no place anywhere else.”

Wikipedia
Christian Classics Ethereal Library
Apostle:  A Possible Postulate

The Wild Truth by Carine McCandless   14 comments

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The Wild Truth
By Carine McCandless

I wrote this comment on Amazon.com:

It took a lot of courage to write this book. I am sure it brought back a lot of painful memories. It was well-written and I hope more people read The Wild Truth by Carine McCandless.

After reading this book, the reader gets deeper insights into why Chris McCandless chose to sever all ties with his family and wander into the wilderness of Alaska. You don’t have to survive a firefight in the jungles of Vietnam or the deserts of Iraq to suffer from trauma. You can experience trauma in your own family. Chris McCandless had had enough physical and emotional abuse for one lifetime, left family and friends behind and drifted. His life was short, but he lived life to the fullest. Chris McCandless had an undefeatable spirit.

Not all who wander are lost.

Hebrews 11: 37-38:  “. . . they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.”

[Several years ago I was hitchhiking in western South Dakota and this lady picked me. She told me that she and her boyfriend had picked up Chris McCandless while he was hitchhiking through South Dakota in the early 1990s. She said that he went by a different name.]

Amazon.com
The Boston Globe
Carine McCandless and the Hidden Story Behind “Into the Wild”

It’s a Small World   6 comments

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Ainsworth, Nebraska

Hitchhiking on U.S. 20 in Nebraska.

[25 February 2010]

Yesterday I was walking east on U.S. 20 between Bassett and Stuart, Nebraska when this car pulled over to give me a ride. This guy’s name was Shawn and he was going to Atkinson on an errand. We got to talking and he just got back from a mission trip to Mexico. Shawn used to be a pastor at a few churches. He recently lived in the Star Valley area of western Wyoming. He now lived in Valentine, Nebraska with his wife Theresa.

After Atkinson, we drove to Ainsworth to pick up his wife. We stayed at their friends’ place for supper and then drove west of Ainsworth to this farm to see a couple that they knew. We walked to the house and the man motioned for us to come inside. I looked at the man and he looked familiar. His name was Greg and his wife was Marla.

We talked for a while and Shawn told Greg and Marla that he had picked me up on the road earlier that day. I think Shawn then asked Greg if he had ever picked up any hitchhikers. Greg said that he and his wife picked up this hitchhiker in Idaho four or five years ago and that the hitchhiker had written a book. They dropped the hitchhiker off in Missoula, Montana.

Greg then said that the hitchhiker sent him a copy of his book. He searched for a short while and then produced the book [typescript]. It was my book! (High Plains Drifter)

It was a photocopy that this lady in Lewiston, Idaho had sent to them. She picked me up hitchhiking in the fall of 2004 and told me to give me a floppy disk of my book and that she would make some photocopies and then send it to anyone I wanted. She owned a print shop in Lewiston.

I told Greg that he probably picked me up on U.S. 12 somewhere between Kooskia and Lolo Pass, Idaho in the fall of 2004. We talked about it some more and I believe he picked me up at a gas station at Lowell or Syringa, Idaho.

We stayed at Greg and Marla’s place for an hour or so and had some excellent fellowship.

It’s a small world.

[Published by Digihitch–July 26, 2011]

Nebraska
Author/Hitchhiker
A Ride in Nebraska, Blue Highways and William Least Heat-Moon

Whatever Happened To Worship? by A.W. Tozer   1 comment

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Hebrews 11: 21:  “By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff.”

Excerpts from Tozer’s Whatever Happened To Worship?:

“Did you know that the often-quoted Jean-Paul Sartre describes his turning to philosophy and hopelessness as a turning away from a secularistic church?  He says, ‘I did not recognize in the fashionable God who was taught me, Him who was waiting for my soul.  I needed a Creator; I was given a businessman!'”

“The strange and wonderful thing about it is that truly winsome and loving saints do not even know about their attractiveness.  The great saints of past eras did not know they were great saints.  If someone had told them, they would not have believed it, but those around them knew that Jesus was living His life in them.”

“Any untrained, unprepared, unspiritual empty rattletrap of a person can start something religious and find plenty of followers who will listen and pay and promote it.  It may become very evident that he or she had never heard from God in the first place.”

“True worship is to be so personally and hopelessly in love with God that the idea of a transfer of affection never even remotely exists.”

“Another kind of unacceptable worship is symbolized by the attitude of the Samaritans in the Bible.  The Old Testament history reveals that Jeroboam, the first king of Israel after it became the Northern Kingdom, set up two places of worship.  He wanted to be sure his people were weaned from their habit of worshiping at Jerusalem.  He installed golden calves to be worshiped at Jerusalem.  He installed golden calves to be worshiped in convenient places, Bethel and Dan.

“The heresy of Samaritanism—the practice of picking out what we like to worship and rejecting what we do not like—is widespread.

“Actually, it has opened up a whole new field for applied psychology and humanism under a variety of religious disguises.  In this context, men and women set themselves as judges of what the Lord has said.  Instead of getting down on their knees and letting the Lord judge them, they stand with pride and judge the Lord.”

“The stark, tragic fact is that the efforts of many people to worship are unacceptable to God.  Without an infusion of the Holy Spirit there can be no true worship.  This is serious.  It is hard for me to rest peacefully at night knowing that millions of cultured, religious people are merely carrying on church traditions and religious customs and they are not actually reaching God at all.”

“In Europe many generations ago, the dear old saint of God, Brother Lawrence, was on his deathbed.  Rapidly losing his physical strength, he witnessed to those gathered around him:  ‘I am not dying.  I am just doing what I have been doing for the past 40 years, and doing what I expect to be doing for all eternity?’

“‘What is that?’ he was asked.  He replied quickly, ‘I am worshiping the God I love!'”

“The man whom God will use must be undone.  He must be a man who has seen the King in His beauty.”

“How long do you think it will be, if Jesus tarries, before some of the amazing new churches like those in the primitive Baliem Valley of Irian Jaya, Indonesia, will be sending gospel missionaries to Canada and the United States?”

“Through that encounter I realized that unless we arouse ourselves spiritually, unless we are brought back to genuine love and adoration and worship, our candlestick could be removed.  We may need missionaries coming to us indeed.  We may need them to show us what genuine and vital Christianity is!”

“I am going to say something to you which will sound strange.  It even sounds strange to me as I say it, because we are not used to hearing it within our Christian fellowships.  We are saved to worship God.  All that Christ had done for us in the past and all that He is doing now leads to this one end.”

“Why should the church of Jesus Christ be a spiritual school where hardly anyone ever graduates from the first grade?”

“The sum total of the deep and eternal wisdom of the age lies in Jesus Christ as a treasure hidden away.  There is no kind of true wisdom that cannot be found within Him.  All the deep eternal purposes of God reside in Him because His perfect wisdom enables Him to plan far ahead.  All history becomes the slow development of His eternal purposes.”

“In relation to Jesus Christ, it has been the uniqueness and the perfection of His moral beauty that has charmed even those who claimed to be His enemies throughout the centuries of history.  We do not have any record of Hitler saying anything against the moral perfections of Jesus.  One of the great philosophers, Nietzsche, himself an instrument of antichristian forces in this world, died finally beating his forehead on the floor and moaning, ‘That man Jesus I love.  I don’t like Paul.’

“Nietzsche objected to Paul’s theology of justification and salvation by faith, but he was strangely moved within by the perfections of moral beauty found in the life and character of Jesus, the Christ, the Lord of all beauty.”

“If you do not know Him and worship Him, if you do not long to reside where He is, if you have never known wonder and ecstasy in your soul because of His crucifixion and resurrection, your claim of Christianity is unfounded.  It cannot be related to the true Christian life and experience at all.

“Meanwhile, I believe that we as Christians must become willing to allow every ugly thing in our lives to be crucified.  We must indeed worship the Lord of all beauty in spirit and in truth.  This is not a popular thing, for so many Christians insist that they must be entertained while they are being edified.”

“We have such smooth, almost secularized ways of talking people into the kingdom of God that we can no longer find men and women willing to seek God through the crisis of encounter.  When we bring them into our churches, they have no idea of what it means to love and worship God because, in the route through which we have brought them, there has been no personal encounter, no personal crisis, no need of repentance—only a Bible verse with a promise of forgiveness.”

“I think the prophets of God saw farther into the centuries and into the mysteries of God than we can with our great modern telescopes and electronic means of measuring lights years and planets and galaxies.

“The prophets saw the Lord our God.  They saw Him in His beauty, and they tried to describe Him.

“They described Him as radiantly beautiful and fair, a winsome being.  They said that he was royal and that He was gracious.  They described Him as a majestic being; and yet they noted his meekness.  They saw Him as righteous and filled with truth.  They tried to describe the manner of His love, with its gladness and joy and fragrance.

“When the prophets try to describe for me the attributes, the graces, the worthiness of the God who appeared to them and dealt with them, I feel that I can kneel down and follow their admonition:  ‘He is thy Lord—worship thou Him.'”

“Two of Spurgeon’s greatest sermons were ‘God in The Silence’ and ‘God in The Storm.’  The heart that knows God can find God anywhere.  I surely join with Spurgeon in the truth that a person filled with the Spirit of God, a person who has met God in a living encounter can know the joy of worshiping Him, whether in the silences of life or in the storms of life.”

An Email from Joke and Hans Grutter   Leave a comment

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This morning I received a nice email from Joke (pronounced “yoka”) and Hans Grutter:
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Dear Tim,
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Last week we received your book the High Plains Drifter. It was very interesting to read. I read through it in “one breath” as we call it. When I read all the places you have been, it brings up memories because we visited some of the places (cities) too.
I now also know why your email address  is “sawman”.
We hope and pray that you are doing fine and that the Holy Spirit keeps sending you where HE wants you to go and that you may be a blessing to the people you meet.
We are doing fine, and if we ever do a trip again like this year, we will inform you where we will be travelling so maybe we can meet somewhere along that trip.
We will pray for you.

Love and greetings,

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Joke & Hans Grutter, The Netherlands
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Getting a Ride with Hans and Joke Grutter
A Book Review for High Plains Drifter
Hitchhiking in Nebraska

 

Material for Building   6 comments

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An excerpt from What Shall This Man Do? by Watchman Nee:

Pages 117-118:  “It is weight that counts.  Wood, hay, stubble are cheap, light, temporary; gold, silver, precious stones are costly, weighty, eternal.  Here is the key to value.  The heavy metals, the gold of the divine character and glory, the silver of his redemptive work:  these are the materials he prizes.  Not merely what we preach, but what we are, weighs with God; not doctrine, but the character of Christ wrought out in us by God’s orderings, by God’s testings, by the Spirit’s patient workings.  Work that is of God is work that has been to the Cross.  When our work has been that way, we can rest assured that it will in the end survive the fire.  Not ‘Where is the need most evident?  What ideas and resources have I got?  How much can I do?  How soon can I put that doctrine into practice?’ but, ‘Where is God moving?  What is there of him there?  How far is it his will for me to go?  What is the mind of the Spirit on this?’—these are the questions of the truly crucified servant.  He recognizes God’s ‘Go’ and his ‘Speak,’ but also his ‘Wait,’ and his ‘Go, but say only so much.’  Aware of his own weakness and emptiness, his greatest lesson is to commit his way to God and learn to see him move.

“The problem lies in our failure to understand that, in God’s work, man in himself is of no use.  Wood, hay, stubble, these suggest what is essentially of man and of the flesh.  They imply what is common, ordinary, easily and cheaply acquired—and of course perishable.  Grass today may clothe the earth with beauty, but where is it tomorrow?  Human intellect may give us a grasp of Scripture; natural eloquence may have the power to attract; emotion may carry us along; feelings may seem to supply a guiding sense—but to what?  God looks for more solid values than these.  Many of us can preach well enough, but we are wrong.  We talk of the flesh but don’t know its perils; we talk of the Spirit but would we recognize him were he really to move us?  Too much of our work for God depends not on his will and purpose but on our feelings—or even, God forgive us! on the weather.  Like chaff and stubble, it is carried away by the wind.  Given the right mood we may accomplish a lot, but just as easily, in adverse conditions, we may down tools entirely.  No, as the fire will one day prove, work that is dependent on feelings or on the wind of revival is of little use to God.  When God commands, feelings or not feelings, we must learn to do.”

Revelation Knowledge   2 comments

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Excerpt from What Shall This Man Do? by Watchman Nee:

Page 31:  “Christianity always involves a personal knowledge of God through his Spirit, and not merely the knowing of his will through the medium of a man or a book.  Many Christians today have a book-knowledge of Christ; they know him indeed through God’s own Book, but they have no vital relationship with him.  Worse still, many know him only ‘by hearsay,’ from their pastor or from some other man, but they are not in direct communication with him.  Their knowledge is outward, not inward; and let me affirm that anything short of a personal, inward revelation of the Lord is not Christianity.  In seeking to know God’s will under the old covenant, men were restricted to the law and the prophets, but under the New Covenant God has promised that ‘they shall not teach each his fellow-citizen, and each his brother, saying, Know the Lord; because all shall know me in themselves, from the little one unto the great among them’ (Heb. 8: 11).  ‘You shall know him in yourselves,’ and knowing him thus it will be unnecessary to refer either to a ‘brother’ or a ‘neighbor’ for information concerning the Lord.  Christianity is based not on information but on revelation.  That is where the Lord began with Peter in the very passage before us:  ‘Blessed art thou, Simon, . . . for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.’  The Kingdom of God is founded on a personal knowledge of the Lord which comes through a direct speaking by him and a direct hearing by you and me.”

Faith, Revelation, Obedience