Just one book…


I got tagged by Drew at Notes from Off Center.

Here’s the game:

Books are scarce in the world. They are illegal in some provinces. They are not easily replaced if not impossible to replace if lost in many if not most circumstances. If you can replace a book or buy one it is usually through the black market at astronomical costs that you cannot afford. Yet you have been able to maintain one of the best collections in the world. If your entire library was about to burn up (think of the firefighters in Fahrenheit 451 invading your home) and you could only have one* book to take with you other than the Bible, what would that be and why?

Simple Rules
Answer the question. Offer one quote that resonates with you. Tag five people whose response is of genuine interest to you and inform him or her that they have been tagged. Cheers!

*And it cannot be an entire series of something, that’s cheating.

This was hard, because I don’t read many books more than once, so I kept thinking I would want to take something that I haven’t read, but can I take that chance? I mean, what if it’s terrible? So, I decided on one of the few authors that I do read again and again. That would be Meister Eckhart.

I’m continually inspired by Eckhart’s dynamic relationship between the Creator and the creature. He talks about a woodworker, who has the idea of a chest of drawers. And then the craftsman makes the piece of furniture, but the ideal still rests in his mind. In the same sense, we are made in the image of God, and we reside in the mind of God.

As a Christian and as an artist, Eckhart’s words captivate me. They make me sense this inner life: a reality in which as I create, I am more fully created. I begin to understand that being made in the image of a Creator means that we’re makers. As Eckhart says, “Words derive their power from the original word.” And “every creature is a word of God.”

There are parts of his wisdom that I don’t understand and I’m not sure I agree with, like, “The eye with which I see God is the same eye with which God sees me.”

And there are abiding truths that resonate with me, even in their paradox: “You should know nothing is as dissimilar as the Creator and any creature. In the second place, nothing is as similar as the Creator and any creature. And in the third place, nothing is as equally dissimilar and similar to anything else as God and the creature are dissimilar and similar in the same degree.”

Sadly, I don’t know German, so I have to take an English translation with me. And, it’s probably cheating (I always cheat on memes…), but most of his English works are compilations. So I have to say, The Complete Mystical Works of Meister Eckhart are coming out (McGinn does it again!). A big, fat 600+ pages. I’ll take it with me.

Now, I tag Ruth Everhart, Reverendmother, Diane Roth, Aric Clark, the Pastor of Disaster (Tee hee hee. He didn’t know that it was part of the marital covenant that he would have to answer every meme!)

And what about you? What would you take?

photo’s by Scott Dungan


7 thoughts on “Just one book…

  1. Is Wikipedia a book?

    Seriously, though–probably the collected works of John Steinbeck, Volume II (the later years–because there are a few I haven’t read yet). If that’s cheating, then I’d have to go with just Grapes of Wrath (which is from early in his career).

    Or scratch all of that–maybe I’d just go with the Beowulf Epic in the original Anglo Saxon. But can I take my Ango-Saxon primer, too, or does that count as a second book?

    Ah, screw it–there are some questions that an English major just can’t answer.

  2. Oh, wow. I hate these questions. My first thought is that I would take The little Prince, but I have that mostly memorized….so maybe that Harold Bloom anthology of religious poetry. I’ve skimmed it, but not read it, and I know I could use some more time spent mulling poetry.

  3. I would have to take our denomination’s hymnal. Although there are so many other things I would dearly miss, my worship book is my voice of worship and praise and lament and prayer.

  4. Well, in some ways, Eckhart’s like a medieval sound bite guy. He makes his point in 57 small steps. So, it’s not always comfortable reading. But then there are these amazing small nuggets….

    These are such varied responses. I’ve never read Communion, but I’ve read Bell Hooks. She’s wonderful. I love the Little Prince and Steinbeck.

    I notice (other than Neal’s initial wiki response) there’s no hands-on practical books. Like some sort of medical book….

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