Books Before the Burning Bush

Before the Burning Bush

Before the Burning Bush
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SKU 9781986980951
Weight 0.43 lbs
 
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By: Brian G. Phipps
ISBN: 9781986980951

For Brian G. Phipps, the daily liturgy of parenthood, aging, and sport yields a grounded faith, not a flashy one, a conversation with the triune God that deepens as it questions Him. As a late convert to hockey, Brian trusts in a game that “engages muscles you were unaware / you had.” He plays when he doesn’t feel like it, plays when it hurts, and plays when it’s boring. I’m not much of an athlete, but Brian’s use of hockey as a metaphor for spiritual practice makes sense to me as one who writes, plays music, or works in the garden every day. These practices can either pass with the hours, or they can become their own forms of prayer, repentance, and confession. And what is more mundane than doubt? Or as this poet challenges us to consider, what can be more holy? Brian engages and flexes his doubting muscles as well, writing in “The Sayings of Saint Thomas” that “After I stopped doubting and believed, Lord / and God, my believing led me toward more doubt.” This is the doubt that purifies, that draws us closer to the truth even when we aren’t so sure we want it. “I am still / no more than halfway,” Brian writes in “Without Faith,” “and less than earnest, afraid / to seek what I might find.” In his earnest lack of earnestness, he finds so much and guides us to our own discoveries as well. I find great comfort and encouragement in the intimate honesty of Brian’s poems, the way they illuminate and redeem daily life as a broken and beautiful precursor to “One Day,” when heaven will appear as a never-ending sheet of ice ready to receive our “wholly embodied” souls. It’s a heaven I want to visit, for I know even I will be welcome there in my clumsy, ill-fitting skates. —Tania Runyan
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