Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Bokondini. And Books.

Not sure it gets much better than this.  A simple cottage in the mountains, rain on the roof to rhythm you to sleep at night, bacon breakfasts on the wood stove, stream fed micro-hydro electricity 15 hours a day...and shelves full of books.  The three of us are just finishing up a great break in Bokondini (central highlands of Papua.)

Too much rain clogs the hydro inlet with debris...
and gives us an excuse to have a candlelit dinner.

Speaking of books, here are ten I read in past year that were particularly good.  In no specific order:

Paul Miller: A Praying Life.

Learned desperation is at the heart of a praying life.

The eminently quotable G.K. Chesterton makes my list three times.  All three classics are well worth reading, and the Kindle versions are free.


There is one thing that Christ and all the Christian saints 
have said with a sort of savage monotony.  
They have said simply that to be rich 
is to be in peculiar danger of moral wreck.

If our faith comments on government at all, its comment must be this:
that the man should rule who does NOT think he can rule.

...the more I considered Christianity, 
the more I found that while it had established a rule and order, 
the chief aim of that order was to give room for good things to run wild.

Mysticism keeps men sane.  
As long as you have mystery you have health; 
when you destroy mystery you create morbidity.  
The ordinary man has always been sane 
because the ordinary man has always been a mystic.

The poet only asks to get his head into the heavens.  
It is the logician who seeks to get the heavens into his head.  
And it is his head that splits.

All Things Considered

An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. 
An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered.

In the end it will not matter to us whether we wrote well or ill; 
whether we fought with flails or reeds.  
It will matter to us greatly on which side we fought.


But in order that life should be a story or romance to us, 
it is necessary that a great part of it, at any rate, 
should be settled for us without our permission.

Exactly at the instance when hope ceases to be reasonable 
it begins to be useful.

Maurice Herzog: Annapurna

A mountaineering classic that inspired a generation of mountain climbers.  This is one of the few tales of the modern era that deservedly brushes up against the label epic.  In 1950 Herzog and his team first had to find Annapurna before they could climb it...and in doing so be the first humans to stand on a peak higher than 8000 meters.

In my worst moments of anguish, 
I seemed to discover the deep significance of existence 
of which till then I had been unaware.  
I saw that it was better to be true than to be strong.

Ed Viesturs: No Shortcuts to the Top

Viesturs was the first American to summit all 14 peaks higher than 8000 meters.  I found it fascinating that his success (and survival--the mountains claimed many of his colleague's lives along the way) was due in large part to the number of times he turned back--often within sight of the summit.  This came from his unyielding adherence to his philosophy of mountain climbing:

Reaching the summit is optional. 
Getting down is mandatory.

This struck me as so central to how we achieve safety in the unforgiving environment of flying light aircraft in Papua that we've pilfered Viestur's motto, modified it, and adopted it as a flight department:

Completing the mission is optional.  
A safe landing is mandatory.

Dallas Willard: Hearing God

A great companion to Brother Lawrence's The Practice of the Presence of God  and Frank Laubach's Letters by a Modern Mystic

In the last analysis nothing is more central 
to the practical life of the Christian 
than confidence in God's individual dealings with each person.

Laura Hillenbrand: Unbroken

Quite simply one of the best stories I've ever read.

David Platt: Radical the American dream, where self reigns as king, 
we have a dangerous tendency to misunderstand, minimize, 
and even manipulate the gospel 
in order to accommodate our assumptions and our desires.

The cost of nondiscipleship is profoundly greater for us 
than the cost of discipleship.

David Watters: At the Foot of the Snows

I recently posted on this one...fantastic read of God moving into the hearts of a remote Himalayan people group.


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