The Bookshelf, The Parlor, The Young Texas Reader, and the Monthly

The Texas Bookshelf is different from the The Texas Parlor, . The Texas Parlor carries "general" bookish information and non-book information and even different Texana news and notes of use to the bibliographically challenged and other nosey folks intersted in historical, literary, and cultural observations. Will's Texana Monthly may carry material from either blog, but extends itself beyond those, especially for longer compilations or treatments. The Monthly, the Bookshelf and the Parlor are all companions. So, is the Young Texas Reader which specialized on books and such things for the youngest to the teenagers.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Amazing Grace - Spence

Amazing Faith of Texas: Common Ground on Higher Ground.

By Roy Spence with the People of Texas. Stories collected and edited by Mike Blair and photography by Randal Ford. Austin: GSD&M/Idea City Press, 2006. Many color photos. 156 large pages. Pictorial jacket. ISBN 987-0-9722825-2-9 Hardback and black cloth, $24.95.
A photo of a person, a church, temple or synagogue, or natural or urban landscape is on most alternate pages facing a classic quotation or a story by or about a person or congregation or spiritual matter tucked into the folds of Texas. Between the covers you’ll find Methodists, Baptists, Catholics, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Mennonites, other Christians, Native American shaman, Unitarians, Jews, Moslems, Bahi’a advocates, Hindus, Buddhists, and of course the unconventional Texan, according to conventional standards, but God may have other standards.

Ron Conatser, rodeo cowboy and preacher at the Risin Sun Cowboy Church, shares that God “Bought me this dance hall in ’91 and got [me] busy preachin’ the Word of God to whoever walks in the door. We’re a Word church. No denomination. Just a place where people can come just the way they are and worship God. Pretty simple. No red tape.” Pastor Rudy Rasmus explains “Faith is like riding in a car with Ray Charles driving.” Evelyn Romig, from Howard Payne University, muses “I think Jesus looks at us today and says, ‘What did you miss in what I said about loving one another?’” Carlisle Vandervoort, a Hindu in her meditative posture, may agree, “Now I try to see God in everyone. And that’s a real test sometimes.” Houston mayor Bill White recalls that during the Katrina rescue certain passages gave him action, “When I was hungry, you fed me….” Bob Decker, a policeman, recounts “Life is a freeway to God,” and that freeway led him to help the people in the paper houses across the border. Liz Melton goes to the “Church of Nature” to fly fish and watch the sun, the birds, and the ripple of the river, and Anna Huff finds religion in the trees. The most beautiful photo portrait is of Eduardo Salmon, a WWII Vet, and he recalls “I remember sitting in a foxhole in the Ardennes forest. It was freezing. The artillery was crashing all around us; bullets were flying…,” and he later reflects “I don’t understand why it bothers some people that someone may worship differently from them.”

Spence’s volume is divided into three parts, like a three-point sermon maybe: “Common Ground Found in Faith,” “Common Ground Found in the Golden Rule,” and “Common Ground Found in Values.” If you find the book and turn the pages without finding your heart strangely warmed, you’ve got the wrong book.

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