Soul on Ice by Eldridge Cleaver

It was just a couple days before the Buffalo shooting I was debating to read Soul on Ice or the essays of Audre Lorde. I had both copies on my shelf and I went for this one. I would encourage everyone to read more work by black authors. This one in particular has been enlightening. The Buffalo shooting is terrible. If anyone of us is dying because of ignorance and hatred then we are all dying. Sometimes, when I’m faced with it, I’m overwhelmed by our broken world.

Eldridge Cleaver was one of the early leaders of the Black Panthers and was editor of their newsletter. He was convicted of several crimes which resulted in his imprisonment in Folsom Prison—same prison in which Johnny Cash cut a live album in 1968, two years after Cleaver would be released. It was in this year (1968) that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. Cleaver was a follower of Malcolm X and was devastated by his assassination in 1965. It could be argued that this event really influenced his activism going forward, his involvement with the Black Panther Party, and his running for president via the Peace and Freedom Party ticket.

📸 wikipedia

“From my prison cell, I have watched America slowly coming awake. It is not fully awake yet, but there is soul in the air and everywhere I see beauty. I have watched the sit-ins, the freedom rides the Mississippi Blood Summers, demonstrations all over the country, the F.S.M. movement, the teach-ins, and the mounting protest over Lyndon Strangelove’s foreign policy —all of this, the thousands of little details, show me it is time to straighten up and fly right. That is why I decided to concentrate on my writings and efforts in this area. We are a very sick country —I, perhaps, am sicker than most. But I accept that. I told you in the beginning that I am extremist by nature —so it is only right that I should be extremely sick. I was very familiar with the Eldridge who came to prison, but that Eldridge no longer exists. And the one I am now is in some ways a stranger to me.”

— Eldridge Cleaver, Soul on Ice, 1968

The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough

When I was in college my mom and I stayed up until 4 am watching the TV series of The Thorn Birds on VHS. We binge-watched before there was such a thing!
However, she says now that the book is way better. I’m sure it probably is, but how could you not love watching Richard Chamberlain and Rachel Ward on screen?!

Any Thorn Bird fans out there? What do you think? TV series or book?

The book of Proverbs

“Truthful lips endure forever,

But a lying tongue lasts only a moment.” (Proverbs 12:19)

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. “Deceit is in the hearts of those who plot evil,

But those who promote peace have joy.” (Proverbs 12:20)

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Most of Proverbs was written by Solomon, known to be the wisest man who ever lived. In Hebrew, the word proverb means to rule or to govern. This book is written in poetic couplet form and contains words of wisdom with which we should govern ourselves. Both proverbs above are about truth. The top one is understood if we look at it in a broad sense. The truth is we should love each other and promote mercy and empathy, the lying tongue is the one who tells us certain people should continue to be marginalized, this argument will not endure, because it is nothing but a frivolous lie coming from those who refuse to love with their WHOLE hearts.

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The second proverb can be understood from an individualistic point of view. Like those who are protesting for peace and justice in the streets all over the world right now I’m sure feel joy in their hearts when they see how many others are doing the same, and they go home feeling uplifted and inspired because they know, with every core of their being, they are fighting for truth and for good. No part of their soul feels heavy or burdened by the lie, because the lie died with them, it went no further, it was barricaded by the truth they amplified. So, by this we could in fact change the world if we stop the lie when it comes to us and instead promote peace and truth. We all need a little more courage in that

Seventeen Lost Stories of W. Somerset Maugham

Catching up with my old friend today, Mr. W. Somerset Maugham. His short stories are just as entertaining as his novels. This is a collection of some of his earliest work.

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Today I read The Punctiliousness of Don Sebastian. “The duke and his wife, who was not his duchess, lay side by side on a bed of carved alabaster; at the corners were four twisted pillars, covered with little leaves and flowers, and between them bas-reliefs representing Love, and Youth, and Strength, and Pleasure, as if, even in the midst of death, death must be forgotten.”

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Of Whales and Men by R. B. Robertson

Of Whales and Men by Dr. R. B. Robertson is a creative nonfiction piece written in the 1950s about the whaling industry and the “psychopaths” that work on the factory ship for 8 months out of the year–every year. Dr. Robertson dubbed all the whalers psychopaths because they chose a life away from civilization, to the furthest ends of the southern seas, to the Antarctic and the South Georgia Islands to catch whales—a very smelly occupation. “You won’t get to know us, doctor, in the short time you’ll be with us,” he cautioned me, “and, when you come to write about us, it will be very easy to make us out to be a mob of half-crazy malcontents whose only aim in life is to see the bottom of every whisky bottle. But try to give a fair report on us, even when you come to tell about our boozing. After all, though the kirk and the owners and the folks at home say we drink too much, we bring the wales back to them.” –Old Burnett: Whaler (Of Whales and Men by R. B. Robertson; 1954)

I really enjoyed this, apart from the killing of whales—that was hard to stomach—but the men on the ship were an interesting lot. Thanks Dr. Robertson for giving us such rare glimpse of a (thankfully) deceased era. Below is my review on #goodreads … I don’t understand why the other reviews are just so-so?! Maybe I’m strange? I absolutely loved this creative nonfiction piece! …To the point that I didn’t want to put it down, especially toward the end. I found myself excited to get back to the sea with these whalers as they all became like beloved characters in a classic fiction novel. I would highly recommend. The content is interesting and mysterious since so man on earth, hopefully, will ever experience adventures in legal whaling again.

I found this copy tucked away in a damp, moldy basement during a local estate sale. I love seafaring stories and since this was TRUE, I had to read it. I’m so glad I did!!

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#whales #bookstagram #bookstagramer #bookshelf #library #writersofinstagram #writer #write #read #readersofinstagram #reading #sea #alfredaknopf #ofwhalesandmen #booksandloststories #authorsofinstagram #booklover

Memoir & Remains of Robert Murray M’Cheyne

Said to be the calming pastoral voice for Robert Louis Stevenson, The Rev. Robert Murray M’Cheyne was a Presbyterian minister in Edinburgh, Scotland in the early 1800s. Although very passionate in his vocation to ‘Save’ individuals and bring them to Christ, almost obnoxiously so, M’Cheyne’s writing is beautiful and his love & passion for his “flock” is felt throughout his work. One thing he writes that stuck out to me was that we should not just read scripture but try to FEEL the words we are reading. I thought this was very good advice. This work is edited by his good friend Andrew Bonar.

The entire work is a compilation of letters, full sermons, his memoir and his ‘Daily Bread’ calendar, which gives a bit of scripture to read everyday. Some quotes of his I have collected are below…

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“One gem from that ocean [the gospel] is worth all the pebbles of earthly streams.”

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“You know that a lighted lamp is a very small thing, and it burns calmly and without noise; yet “it giveth light to all that are within the house.”

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“Pray that you may pray to God, and not for the ears of man. Feel His presence more than man’s.”

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#bookish #preacher #robertlouisstevenson #edinburgh #history #memoir #bookstagram #bookstagramer #bookshelf #library #religion #inspiration #advice #writing #readersofinstagram #writersofinstagram #bookishescape #christianity #bible #bookphotography #bibliophile #booknerd #bookgeek

The book of Joshua

I have no authority to teach you about these stories, you might disagree with me and that’s OK! 👇👇👇

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I enjoyed reading Joshua. It’s filled with action, and I especially loved the story about Rehab the prostitute, an unexpected hero in worldly terms.

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In this book, Joshua takes the reins after Moses dies and leads the Israelites on the rest of the journey to conquer the promise land. They are able to do this if they keep God close. He will help them achieve their freedom. Much like what I spoke about last week in freedom from whatever may be oppressive in our lives, but now Joshua must finish the job Moses started. We are called to teach our children (younger generations) well to remain always with a sense of what freedom means and how it can be achieved: with God’s help or living in the Spirit of Love and mercy. We do not need to lean on our “parents” forever as someday we will have to be responsible for our own beliefs and actions and discern whether or not what we’ve been taught is even good or right.

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#bible #biblejournaling #christianity #bookshelf #library #booknerdigans #readersofinstagram #writersofinstagram #bookstagram #bookstagrammer #religion #jesus #catholic #episcopalian #episcopalchurch

The book of Deuteronomy

I have no authority to teach you about the books in the Bible. You might disagree with me and that’s OK. 👇👇👇

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“Observe therefore all the commands I am giving you today, so that you may have the strength to go in and take over the land that you are crossing the Jordon to posses.” -Deuteronomy 11:8

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In Deuteronomy we hear from Moses himself about the journey into the promise land. But if we take this from a symbolic viewpoint, we see that he is telling that the journey is hard even for the ‘chosen’. Hardships and sacrifices will surely come when we decide to truly follow a holy path—not perfect, but living in the Holy Spirit, recognizing God’s presence in our own being. People will try to make ‘war’ against you when you live this way, because naturally you will become a more gentle and tender person. They might not think you’re fun anymore. They may try to make you feel like you’re lame or boring because you won’t join in with the gossip or masochistic recreation (whatever that may be; little acts of hate can damage the soul). We might have to kill many relationships that are damaging in order to truly follow a new clean path and live in the Spirit—“the land that we are trying to possess”. We may have to cut ties with relationships that may be unheathly and fight against what we’re trying to obtain in a clean mind, body, and spirit. We may have to cut ties with those who fight against a new ‘us’ even if it means cutting ties with parts of ourselves.

#bookish #bibleverse #biblejournaling #bible #bookphotography #bibliophile #christianity #love #episcopalchurch #episcopal #church #reading #writing #writingcommunity #readersofinstagram #writersofinstagram #bookstagrammer #bookstagram #book #reader #god

Paul’s Letter to the Colossians

Let your conversation be always full of grace, ‘seasoned with salt’,
so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

‘Salt’ is one of the most significant words in the whole Bible. We usually hear it in reference to God’s people – ‘salt of the earth’. Because of salt’s preservative nature, Christians, generation after
generation, preserve His name. Also, salt was hard to come by and expensive; Christ’s followers are rare and priceless to Him as He is to us. The words of God give us balance and purify our life as does
salt, as it balances the taste of food, bringing out all the subtle elements which make a flavor more delicate, synchronized, and desirable. Salt is also a necessary nutritional element to life itself; God is also—if only to enjoy in full capacity your life here on earth. Paul is saying here that when we speak, we should have a
little of this good salt on our lips or at least peace, love, and understanding, a balance, a purity. It will make difficult things
easier to say, and it will give mundane conversations life. Because I think to ‘live’ is to recognize that every day is a significant opportunity to cultivate a greater understanding of life, and share
the conundrum of its complexities with one another using the salt on our lips to do so. And in that, even discussing the weather will have as much significance as giving birth to life itself.