Wednesday, January 13, 2016

My Reading Life: Bread and Wine (Niequist)

I wanted to love this book, but I didn’t. I wanted to like this book more than I did, particularly because a dear friend from church handed it to me one day and asked me to read it. We are the same age and about to see the decade of the sixties approaching this year. While in the middle of the book, we talked briefly about it, and I told her I was struggling to continue in it. We both agreed that it was difficult to relate to . . . maybe because of a generational thing. I erroneously thought that this would be a quick read, but it wasn't for my lack of interest.

I do not want to denigrate Niequist's person, her life, family, or experiences, and I do not think one can "rate" those personal and private things. I will say that to put much of those personal and private things "out there" in print for the world to read invites both compliments and the difficult-to-swallow criticism. My compliments are the recipes of which I hope to try a few. My criticism falls more in a I-have-difficulty-relating-to category and hopefully be read as such.

I understand life around the table. We raised our family at and around the table. But our life was not driven and fed by the need to have other people outside the family at the table for our personal sustenance or for entertainment. Rather, when we did have people around our table, our intention was to show hospitality. Again, I wonder if this is not a generational thing. I tend to wonder if it is more of a personality thing, introversion versus extroversion.

In my reality, I could not have Niequist's lifestyle. Parties, parties, parties. (We probably haven't had one "party" for her three over the course of our almost forty-year marriage.) For one, it would have distracted me from the duties of a wife and a mother. For another, we could not have afforded it. As I read her story, I felt that that lifestyle had to have, by necessity, imparted a somewhat division of the family . . . . By that I mean that all those life-around-the-table dinners given, most were for the adults, later in the evening, when children were tucked into bed, having eaten their meal earlier and apart from the family, and left with babysitters. That kind of life was not like mine, either growing up or raising my own children, so understanding the need for that driving force of “party” is beyond my ability.

Honestly, I am not able to wrap my mind around the economics of all the food-buying, entertaining, and the traveling. I'm not a tightwad nor a spendthrift, but frugal and prudent. I just see things differently.

The title of Bread and Wine immediately brought to my mind that the book would make connections with the Lord’s Supper. Wrong. Though the Lord’s Supper is referenced a few times as “Communion,” there is no biblical connection, and any implication is obscure.

I also have some difficulty with the expressed and ignored theology which is embraced, implied, associated and/or “related by association” in this book. That’s a mouthful, and all I’m going to elaborate on with this subject.

1 comment:

Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

I actually liked the book for the hospitality part. For that reason it is a favorite of mine and my 38 year old daughter. I can look past that aspect that is generational. Which I believe is very true. Although my daughter certainly doesn't have that many parties and most include the children.

But my daughter and I agree that her theology is very different than ours and not what we agree with. Her dad is Bill Hybels, well known for his Willow Creek church. I used to follow her on Facebook just to see what she was writing but had to stop after cringing too many times. I thanked I stopped following that weekend she spent with Oprah.