Thursday, April 22, 2010

1 month of thoughts crammed into 1 quick collection of words

I just finished reading “Lost on Planet China” by J. Maartan Troost. I read it on the Kindle application on my iPhone, which is now the single most useful electronic in my life. Don’t get me wrong, our computer is amazing, but seriously, how could I have EVER mocked you iPhone obsessed geeks back in the day? It truly is everything you claimed and more. More about that later. Right now, I want to talk about books.

We used up approximately 100 lbs of our luggage space bringing books to China from America, and I have already read most of those. The rest are reference books… medical books and the like. So when I discovered that I could get electronic books off of Amazon for a fraction of the physical book price, I was elated. The only problem now is 1-click shopping. Oh, the havoc I could wreck on our bank account with a simple click of the mouse.

Back to the books. Lost on Planet China was written buy a journalist who spent about 2 months traveling around China. I laughed so hard over parts of the book, I thought I might wet my pants. He describes eating at some of the same restaurants WE have eaten at in different parts of our province. In graphic detail, he tells of frequent “almost” fights with the “locals”. His musing on the effects of communism on a nation seem as if they were collected from MY head. I felt like maybe I wasn’t crazy, as I read this book. I thought, maybe I am just the average Westerner. Maybe I am just as much a product of my culture as these Chinese people are of theirs! If any of you read it, let me know what you think. I think anyone would enjoy this book, but maybe I am biased J

Right now, if you were to take a peek at my e-book library shelves, you would see that I am reading "Half the Sky" by Nicholas Kristof. I am blown away by the information in this book. It is kind of an overview of the situation of woman in the world today, with a focus on 3rd world and developing countries. He looks at the situations poor woman face, at the way they are used as weapon in warfare, at the way they are overlooked by cultures that value men so much more than women. I am really appreciating the research, the personal experiences and stories, and the balanced and fair way he approaches different issues. Women’s education, female “circumcision”, sex slavery and trafficking, maternal health, the way religion effects women. It is FASCINATING.

I am mentioning these two books because: I am challenged, I am encouraged. There is so much more. There are lost and dying women, men, and children in our backyard. They are across our cities, and in our neighboring states. They are on the other side of the world. If you aren’t the one meant to go… at least begin to learn something about them. Lets let our hearts be opened, broken, and challenged toward action. It is so easy to get obsessed with what is for dinner, how much the next gas bill is going to be, or if you can convince your husband that you REALLY need that new iPhone ;) It is easy to hear sad story after sad story, get tired of feeling like you can’t make a difference, and give up.

I want to know more than what the standard evangelicals are saying about political issues. I want to know more than what Yahoo news is throwing at me. I want to understand why buzz words like “foreign aid” have such far-reaching impact. I don’t want to look back and know that I stood silent while an entire generation of females went missing in the country I called “home”.

I want to take my job as a child of the king, as a follower of the lamb, as the VOICE FOR TRUTH seriously. I don’t want to be lazy, and ignore the world around me. If you know of some books I should read, some podcasts I should listen to, tell me! And I would be happy to share my reading list with you. Challenge me, encourage me, push me forward. Don’t let me grow weary.


Erin said...

That was inspiring Hallie! It really is easier to ignore, or not look outside of our daily life to see what REALLY is going on around us. I never want to get so caught up with my problems that I fail to see the hurting and broken that I am called to offer true hope to. I want to see the "invisible people" that have been given up on. I want to be the hand and feet of my Savior to them. How can I experience true forgiveness, hope, and healing and not bother to share it? Thanks for the challenge! I hope I can help encourage you too!

rosebark said...

Thank you SO much for sharing your heart. I am grateful.

Love -
Miss Rose

Anonymous said...

Keep sharing what you find! I'm taking the recommendation and looking up these books. I'm at the point of being overwhelmed with all the suffering I hear, but I do not want to become numb. What I see and hear breaks my heart to the point where I feel as if I were to feel one more morsel, I may explode!
You're musings inspire me Hallie!!

Heather Croyle

Fernanda said...

You truly inspire me to be a better person, daughter, mother, sister and fulfill my destiny!

Venture With Purpose said...

Hi there! I read "Half the Sky" and couldn't put it down. It was life changing. I was also moved by "Three Cups of Tea" and I'm currently reading his new book "Stones Into Schools". Waiting in line for me to read are: "Give A Little" by Wendy Smith, "Visionaries in Our Midst" by Allison Silberberg, and "Leaving Microsoft To Change the World" by John Wood. Pardon me, I get a little carried away when it comes to books:)

Tim McLaughlin said...

Unencumbered by book-poundage-limits as you are, I am headed downtown next week to Powells to buy used copies of "Lost on Planet China" and "Half the Sky." (Though I envy you your IPhone, tho not to read books on. Tho I understand exactly your elation with it for that purpose.) I will send you my thoughts when I get into said tomes....

So you want to know more than the standard evangelical response to politics, etc.? Hmmm...welcome to the universe of nuance, of a thoughtful remembering of recent history, of laboring to at least now and then step outside of one's own culture and idea of normal in order to momentarily step inside *another's* culture and idea of normal. Evangelicals, I've discovered (from most of my life as one), are not inclined to such steppings.

You probably know that N. Kristof is a native Oregonian! Grew up in rural Tualatin Valley...every once in a while, he references that fact in a newspaper column I happen to run across.

Birkemeier Reunion at your parents' farm this summer! Looking forward to helping Betsy plan this shindig soon.

kimh said...

Thanks for the challenge, Hallie. I especially like your very last line, "don't let me grow weary." We all need at least one someone by our side who won't let us grow weary, particularly when we are asking to have the Lord's heart on things that matter to Him...sometimes we can become overwhelmed. I so appreciate and am blessed by your newsletters and all you are doing. You are inspiring me to move ahead,get more involved, step up...and leave the outcome to Him. Thanks!

annie4jesus said...

Hey Hallie, can you send me your reading list?