Not really, but that sure is what it feels like.
I don’t like to make excuses, but this is the best I got by way of explanation for my silence recently: I am cataloging my books. (Plus, putting in the rest of the garden.)
|These will be #357-366.|
Cataloging and tagging
crappy old books (and new ones, too!) gives me an opportunity to sit for a minute or so with each. In so doing, I’ve realized God is omnipresent in my library. It isn’t that I have a great number of books on religion, or a stockpile of Bibles. It’s that every crappy old page (but not new page) I turn has a reference to God, Christianity, The Bible or religion. I suspect this is because God was omnipresent back in the crappy olden days.
Three quick examples and then out to the garden!
|“Crosses sometimes stand in the village street” referring to villages of Austria.|
This from Carpenter’s Geographical Reader: Europe (Frank G. Carpenter, American Book Company, New York, Cincinnati, Chicago, 1902) a book whose aim is “to give children a plain and simple description of the countries of Europe as they are today.”
As an aside– because it tickled my funny bone– on the facing page here is the author’s assessment of the languages of the Hungarian Kingdom:
In Hungary it is even worse. There are many there who speak Magyar, and many who talk like our gypsies; other dialects are almost Turkish. There are so many strange languages that if we leave the main traveled roads we shall need a new guide every day. We shall find the people as odd as their speech, for they are many races joined together under one ruler. There are in all more than forty millions of them, and they are a great nation indeed.
|Macaulay, Samuel Johnson, Carlyle, Thackery, … Charles Lamb … Tennyson, Browning, Milton, Dante…|
[click to enlarge. Good stuff.]
There is not a writer on this list in the delightful The Pocket University’s The Guide to Reading (Lyman Abbott, Asa Don Dickinson, et al., eds., Doubleday, Page & Company, Garden City, New York, 1917) who doesn’t reference or allude to Biblical passages. To check my assertion, I referred to the chapter titled, “The Bible in English and American Literature,” from The Book of Life Volume VIII (Newton Marshall Hall and Irving Francis Wood, eds., John Rudin & Company Inc., Chicago, 1934). Sure enough. God and The Bible are omnipresent in their writings.
As I said, The Guide to Reading is delightful. It contains a “Guide to Daily Reading”– one to four suggested passages to read in 15-30 minutes each day. I turned to “April 30th to May 6th” and discovered this at the top of the page:
I own that I am disposed to say grace upon twenty other occasions in the course of the day besides my dinner. . . Why have we none for books?–Charles Lamb
|“The Story of Joseph” from the section, About Famous People in|
The Pathway to Reading: Fifth Reader (Bessie Blackstone Coleman, Willis L. Uhl, and James Fleming Hosic, Silver, Burdett and Company, New York, Newark, &c., 1926).
The Pathway to Reading also includes a Russian folktale, a 20-page story of Christopher Columbus, several Æsop fables, some Leo Tolstoy, Washington Irving, Shakespeare and one entry by Anonymous: “When the World Was Young” in the section, Before the Days of History. This very short tale is prefaced:
Men were once like little children; they did not know the difference between make-believe and reality. This tale shows how one man got beyond childish ways and learned that stones are only stones.
The final dialogue from this story:
The King: “Then pray to the wind.”
Abraham: “Be not angry, O mighty King! I cannot pray to fire, or water, or the clouds, or the wind, but to the Creator who made them. Him only will I worship.”
Followed by the study question:
Early man prayed to fire and water and similar objects or forces in nature, because he was afraid and hoped he could save himself from harm by worshiping them. Abraham learned to do something better than that. Think what it was he learned.
From the streets to the library to the schoolhouse, God was everywhere back in the crappy olden days.