Book Review – Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver

I’m guest-posting at the Franke Tobey Jones blog, today. Why don’t you pop over there and see what’s up.

This week the Book Club met in the Bascom Library to discuss our September book, Prodigal Summer, by Barbara Kingsolver. It was well received by the members drawing ratings of 3.5-5 on a 5-point scale. Several people said they would read it again and recommend it to others.

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Yesterday and today were really busy.

First we started out with a trip to Key Peninsula for a Cottage Meeting for Bethany Presbyterian Church. After wonderful growth, both with adults and children, over the past couple of years, we have realized that God is probably calling us to do something, and we’re not sure what it is. By wonderful growth, I mean we have gone from an average attendance of 73 to an average attendance of 102 in worship on Sunday mornings. That is a year-long rolling average, so it’s quite a jump.

We have also gone from one or maybe two kids (ages 3-11) to a crowded chancel for Children’s Sermon. We’re still not to the place where we can split the Sunday School class in two, but we’re almost there. So we’re doing a lot of listening to the congregation, and trying to give everyone an opportunity for input. Another really amazing thing – we completed about 75% of our last 5-year strategic plan – and it’s time for another one.

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We came home and I had lunch while Big Al had a “wonderful” bowl of chicken broth. He had a colonoscopy scheduled for this morning so he couldn’t eat anything solid yesterday.

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I scurried over to the library at Lillian Pratt for our monthly Book Club meeting. We read Barbara Kingsolver’s Prodigal Summer. Everybody said they had a hard time getting into it initially, but once they got the storylines sorted out in their heads they were really impressed with it. Our ratings ranged from 3.5-5 out of 5, and several people said they would read it again, and recommend it to their friends. I was glad about that because I was the one who had recommended it originally. Even people who had a hard time following the stories said that her choice of words and her sentences are so beautiful it really doesn’t make much difference whether you like the story or not.

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In the evening I went to Centering Prayer at Bethany. Unfortunately, I was the only one there again this week. It may be time to put this particular activity at the church to bed. If I’m going to be the only one, I can do it just as well at home.

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Following that, I went to the inaugural meeting of the Tacoma Worship and Arts Collective. I wasn’t sure what it was going to be, but I was invited by the preacher, and I thought it would be interesting. They had to change the day from Thursday to Wednesday at the last minute, so no one else from Bethany was able to come (choir practice is on Wednesday evenings).

As I said, I had no idea what it was going to be, but when I got there I was at least 30 years older than anyone else in the place. Several of the participants were students at the University of Puget Sound, and the organizers were young ministers. They made me feel welcome though, although I didn’t really have an “art” to offer. I did say that I had a pretty good ear and a decent eye, so I would be glad to help by serving as a loving critic.

The idea of the group is to develop some new Worship resources – three of them had guitars and one was an excellent pianist. There were also a couple of writers/poets, and a couple of girls were interested in drawing and painting, and there were a couple of photographers. We were sort of feeling our way this first time, and we were asked to “create” around a theme of chaos and order. It was probably too large of a concept for an initial meeting, but we had a good time, listening to the guitarists jam, and talking about what was meaningful in worship now. Folks are supposed to finish whatever they started working on last night and bring it to the next meeting in a month. We shall see.

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This morning, we were up early (6:30 a.m.) to take Big Al to the Digestive Health Center. We got there about 7:30 and by 8:00 they were taking him back for the procedure. By 9:15 they called me back to talk to him and the doctor, who said he was fine (Praise the Lord). There was one tiny polyp and one small polyp that he removed. Much better than the first time when there were so many polyps the doctor wanted him back every year for three years. It’s been three years, this time, and, depending on what the pathology report shows he can either go three or five years before he has to have another one. They say they quit doing colonoscopies when you get to be 80 years old, so he may only have to have one more! I had one when I turned 65 and could have Medicare pay for it, and they told me at the time that I didn’t have to come back for 10 years – so maybe I can get off with not having but one more. Fingers crossed.