the reader in a quiet corner

hi, i'm ceecee. my reading interests can be described as eclectic.

i made this account just in case goodreads implodes, but will be eratically updating here.



Dinner with a Perfect Stranger: An Invitation Worth Considering - David Gregory I totally forgot I owned this book. I hid it in a part of my shelf where I would easily miss it, at the bottom. It's too bad I didn't like it, though. My friend gave it to me for Christmas, and I know she had good intentions. No doubt she was persuaded by the blurbs in the book, and since I liked spiritual fiction/non-fiction she must have thought it would be perfect for me. You know it wasn't the case. And for that, I am truly sorry to my friend.

So here's my problem with the book: It was more focused on marketing Christianity than a life-affirming belief in God. I do believe in and love God, I just do not like how some people think one religion is better than the other. I was raised a Catholic, and studied in a Catholic school but it was also a scientific-focused school, and, well, I wanted to figure out things for myself.

I like the idea of religion as a unifying body, but I don't like how it divides people as well. There was this one story my teacher told me of a girl who had an after-life experience. The girl met Jesus, and saw her mother (or some woman she knew, I can't remember), who wasn't converted to Christianity, burn in hell. So apparently, no matter that you were a good person while you were living, if you weren't a Christian, you're still going to hell? What the hell?! It makes me so angry. If there is an afterlife, I still believe in justice. But I don't believe in an afterlife. Which makes me a black sheep of Catholics, but there you have it.

This book didn't anger me like that story of the girl with the near-death experience did. But it still reminded me of that much-hated story. It was more like "Okay, this book is trying to sell me Christianity but I'm not buying it." I would so love to meet God. But,as one reviewer pointed out, the Jesus in this book was "mainstream." Not enigmatic, or eloquent. If I was really having dinner with a guest like the Jesus in here, I would be, "Ooohkayyy, now stop shoving it down my throat."

Again, it was too bad, since I had hoped this book would be life-changing, and make me comfortable with Jesus as my savior. What I got away with this book was, " Sinners are punished, but God loved us so much he didn't want us to all go to hell, so He sent Jesus instead to die for our sins, and eventually for all of us to be forgiven. Instead of all of us getting punished, only one person did, and it was God Himself. It's really humbling."

Yes, really humbling. But where have I heard that before? Oh, yeah, in Catholic school, and numerous Sunday mass. This aspect of Christianity has never particularly moved me, even when I wished it did. What amazed me more was God Himself, the all-forgiving, who created this awesome earth. His perfect timing, His Presence. I always liked to believe that what you do with your life, the "now", is more important than being in a certain religion. Let me give you a hippie vibe and say, "It's all about Love, man. Love is all you need". So who cares which religion you belong to?