T2R3 TobaccoTrail ReadingwRitingReflection I feel so mathy writing out this group title. Trick is we are more of a humanities kind of group, but don’t let that stop you from bringing in math and science to the Reflecting and wRiting and Reading. I’m saying the name as “T squared R cubed,” because it makes me feel smart and that’s always fun. You could always shorten to “TR.”
Below is the layout for a group which begins in earnest on the first Thursday in September 2012 and you, I mean you in the back, should prayerfully consider joining. This is not a burdensome consideration you are embarking upon. You are free to do whatevs on Thursday nights, but we would love to have you in this new part of the Tobacco Trail Community.
The next two weeks we will meet at 730pm for prayer and planning and in order to get to know one another better. We will meet at the chick-fil-a on 7836 Leonardo Drive near the intersection of 751 and Renaissance Parkway. This location is just South of I-40 and the 751 exit. We will meet on Thursday’s at 7:30pm and conclude about 8:30pm.
I am committing myself to Thursdays from 7:30pm to roughly 8:40pm, now through the end of April 2013 and I am looking forward to this season of ReadingwRitingReflection. This is the next flow of what’s meandering through the Tobacco Trail Community. Don’t forget that we still have B3 (Boys Bruegger’s Bibles–Mondays 7am) and W3 (Women Wine and the Word Mondays 7pm) and those groups are scheduled to continue with guidance from me and Virginia Taylor, respectively. And of course, there is our primary purpose, worship on the trail on Sundays at 5:30pm. Locations are a plenty and we will be outside on the trail through the end of November before hopefully Alta Walk Assisted Living and then some of your homes in the new year.
Reading list and calendar: T2R3 Tobacco Trail ReadingwRitingReflection
Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott (September 2012)
In His Steps by Charles Sheldon (October 2012)
The Seven Storey Mountain by Thomas Merton (November 2012)
The Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller (December 2012)
Living Without Enemies by Sam Wells (January-February 2013)
Pilgrim by David Whyte (March-April 2013)
Take a break for the summer (May-August). Hope to recommence with reading in September, 2013.
Notes: In the spirit of the school year starting, I’m ready to go back to school, but just on Thursday nights, over ice cream, and reading just the right sort of books. Doesn’t sound so bad. I miss school and I want a slice of it, but just a small great perfect, sort of, no-stomach-ache slice of school. You know that kind of slice. It’s once a week with no attendance requirements, loose reading encouragements (though I’m suspicious these books will get me reading more not less), and an open mind to hear from others and then share what’s on our hearts in light of these masterpieces. This may sound like it lacks shape, but it will happen every week, and I promise, just reading these books is shape enough, but there will be plenty of focus, biblical referencing, general life application. You’ll see. I will be there weekly and you can too. My experience is that when it comes to seemingly “churchy” “academicy” touchy-feely” stuff like this seems to be (though you don’t really know yet), the first thing people say is “No.” Or, “I can’t commit to anything on a regular basis.” No problem. We are letting you off the hook before we even begin. But still, maybe you need, and more importantly, maybe you want a gathering like this. God might want this for you. This last part always seems difficult to determine, but try prayer. It’ll take. You won’t know if you don’t try. I’m just sayin’.
Initial hooks: Traveling Mercies is a perfectly simple, complex, and non-linear way of thinking through faith. Reading the first pages these last few days has taken me back and forward and sideways in my own great walk with the Lord. I just love Anne Lamott and you will too.
In His Steps is the classic how-to–do what the big guy would do (and has already done). We can all use some WWJD, even if it makes us uncomfortable and we kind of need to rip on the premise just because it seems to folksy or evangelically. That’s okay. Read the book and live it anyway. I’ll try.
The Seven Storey Mountain, Merton’s classic journey to faith. I promise Lamott reads Merton and Merton would have read Lamott if he could get his hands on such awesome irreverence). P.S. She’s really not that irreverent, but some think I have odd rods of measurement. Let’s see what you think. This is one of those books you’ve always meant to read, so make November then end of that meant to season with Merton.
Tim Keller…we all need some Tim Keller and redeemer.com. Can I get an Amen. I don’t know this book yet, but I’m told it is not just for married folks, but for us all.
Sam Wells…it will be our communion with the former dean of Duke Chapel and I believe he and Marcia Owen can point us to a better way with violence in our midst (violence by us and towards us). Video link to a discussion by the authors. Virginia Taylor has pointed to this book being a great balm for us and our life on the American Tobacco Trail. I agree and will need until closer to the New Year before collecting my thoughts more peacefully and delving into this great work. Look for this book to be a part of our winter retreat at New Hope in early 2013.
David Whyte…since studying with him and reading his work over the last three years, this poet/philosopher is showing me how to be a pellegrino or traveller/pilgrim and I believe he will show you too through his new book of poetry, Pilgrim. It is among my dreams to take those who are interested to hear him in person sometime down the road or even better, to bring David to Durham, North Carolina.
Final Thoughts: I encourage you to buy all of these books, but if that is too daunting, start with Traveling Mercies. If finances or opportunity is a roadblock, let me know, and we will gladly get you copies of any or all of these selections. TTC’s buying you a book is not an obligation to being at T2R3 every week. Just take one to six of the books as a gift, but we gotta know that you want them. We love to share our stuff. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know your needs and dreams and how we can come alongside you. I would like to utilize pinterest.com to post pictures and images of our work together. I have pinned pictures of all the books on this pinterest board <T2R3 TobaccoTrail ReadingwRitingReflection>. Not on pinterest? There is always facebook and twitter and those are great ways to share thoughts, make invites, generally have fun. You might try pinterest. It has been a lot of fun so far and is a great ignition spot for your own art, books, writing, thinking.
This Renaissance Village is a neighborhood that will weekly need our joyful and hopeful prayers, because within the year we should have a connecting pedestrian bridge over I-40 (just a half mile East of chick-fil-a–map) that unites the six+ northern miles of the American Tobacco Trail to the 13+ southern miles of the American Tobacco Trail. I hope that we can see the progress of this magnificent bridge as we Read, Reflect, and wRite in relation to these books and our growing relationship with God. Think of T2R3 as a month to month commitment, because that is how the book discussions are organized, but you can pop in and out anytime. Come every week. Come every once in a while. Trying it once does not commit you to any long standing appointment unless that is what you are looking for. There won’t be a regimented reading schedule, just try to read the books a little before or throughout the given months and we will discuss what God is doing in our lives in light of these readings. If you are writing in light of these books, there will be opportunity to share short excerpts with the group aloud and longer pieces electronically. It’s very simple. It may seem daunting and I can hear a touch of self-loathing, (but I could be mistaken). I’ve already got too much to read. I’m a bad writer. Those cues are not true and doing you no good, but they may also, while false, be signals that this is not a group for you during this flow. No worries. But if you want to make space for this opportunity, come and bring yourself and a friend. If you come some Thursday without a book and without having read a page, that’s perfect. We are good at sharing.
Sincerely, George/Monk, pastor, www.tobaccotrailchurch.com