Normal Kingdom Business
Well, if I learned anything from my exclusive interview with Andrée Seu a few weeks ago, it’s that she has a lot of fans! In just two days, hundreds of readers from all 50 states and several countries dropped in to read it, and they’re still coming. Thanks for leaving comments and emailing me, and special thanks to my fellow bloggers who linked to the post, including BitterSweetLife, Semicolon, Brandywine Books, Juxtaposition, and WORLD Mag Blog.
I mentioned that I had previously reviewed her first essay collection here, and that her most recent collection, Normal Kingdom Business, was next on the list. Like the first, this one contains much instruction, wisdom, and humor. Here’s a taste:
On Writing: “Thou shalt avoid clichés.”
“Thou shalt not hold out for the perfect lead—a good lead will do.”
And “Don’t freak out at a lousy first draft; no one sees it but you and God.”
Death by Detail: “I’ve asked the Lord to make me smarter, or diminish my need for sleep, so that I can be more efficient, but I’m not sure He works that way. He’ll probably say, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, My power made perfect in weakness.’ As it is, the present situation curtails my independence and keeps me nagging God for help all day long—which I suppose is the whole idea.”
Puppy Love: “Aimee wanted to name the dog ‘Artemis’ and I drew the line there, citing conscience objections and Acts 19. Aimee thought that ridiculous, but I told her I will not open the front door every day and call out the name of an ancient Ephesian goddess in the hearing of my neighbors for whom I’m praying knowledge of the true God. I won this one; the dog’s name is Spider.”
Strike up the Lyre: “Turns out there are all kinds of reasons why one likes or hates a song that have less to do with theology than with where you were when you first heard it.”
Get Real: “Story is how we learn theology…Reminding yourself of the real story is good for what ails you. If you’ve gotten too high and mighty, it reminds you that you are ‘dust.’ If you’re feeling like dust, it reminds you of your glorious destiny.”
The Older Woman (on mentoring younger women): “You will not want to be one of those ‘fruitless tress in late autumn’ (Jude 12). For in that late autumn, you are meant to bloom still. The orchard of God wants ancient sequoias whose ‘leaves remain green, and [are] not anxious in the year of the drought, for [they do] not cease to bear fruit’ (Jeremiah 17:8; Psalm 92:14). Where is the permission to dye your hair blue and grab a free senior-citizen bus pass to the Showboat Casino in Atlantic City?”
And some of the best are from the essay titled “Andree’s Aphorisms”:
“A lot of what I thought was my personality was just sin.”
“Thinking a lot is not the same as praying a lot.”
“God is the better chess player. Just obey.”
“Talent is good, but faithfulness is better.”
“My kids have a foggy recollection of things I tried to teach them, and total recall of my phone conversations they overheard from the next room.”
“If you’re not dead yet there is still time to repent.”
The spiritual weight of this volume belies its slimness!
UPDATE (April 14, 2008): Normal Kingdom Business is now out in paperback with a foreword by yours truly, and available at Amazon.