Thursday, March 24, 2011

What we're reading: The Shaping of a Christian Family

After my Wolf Hall post, I've decided to blog about the books I'm reading for a while. Hopefully it will help me to distill my thoughts about them, and to finish some books that I've been meaning to for a while.

I've intended to read some Elisabeth Elliot for a while and I picked this one up second hand, so it's become my introduction to her writing. I'll be reading more. 

The 'Christian Family' referred to in the title is Elliot's own family of origin, and substantial portions of the book are taken from her parent's diaries, detailing her life and upbringing. It seems like the perfect family to me. Old-fashioned, yes, but I like that sort of thing :) Life is orderly, routine, and manageable, the kids are well-behaved, hard working and considerate, everybody gets along with everybody else, and faith in Jesus is palpable and contagious. The kind of house I dream of having.

I don't agree with all the methods in the book, but I did find her mother Katherine's diaries to be particularly inspiring; there was some considerable hero-worship going on. I actually got quite a shock near the end of the book when a letter from Katherine to the adult Elisabeth read:
...I try to put into words my thankfulness to our Father for His good hand upon you over the years, for His faithfulness when I have been so faithless, ...  (emphasis mine)
Yikes! If she is faithless, what am I? Never fear, a few pages later...
Be not dismayed! If you are convinced of the value of standard here set forth, never think of the impossible. It is always possible to do the will of God. Begin to be ready to do. What do you want your home to be? What does God want it to be? Waste no time wondering if you can do it. The question is simply Will you? Your weakness is itself a potent claim on the divine mercy. (emphasis in original)
I think I may have that stuck on my mirror for some time. 

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