I’m currently reading two books. By reading, I mean holding them at various times, opening them and staring at a page or two at a time, closing them and then just feeling them in my hands in a sad sort of way.
The first book I’m reading is The Plight of Man and the Power of God by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. It’s a book on a series of lectures he gave in Edinburgh in 1941. MLJ draws out sermonic gold from the first chapter of the New Testament Epistle to the Romans, addressing “The Religious History of Mankind,” “Religion and Morality,” “The Nature of Sin,” The Wrath of God,” and “The Only Solution.” The copy I have is an unstated first edition with musty tanned pages and a blue tattered cloth cover. I just finished the second chapter, dealing with the false premises of comparative religion and the false promises of morality divorced from God.
…[M]an by nature is inimical to God, and does his utmost to get rid of God and what he regards as the incubus of revealed religion. Man, rebelling against God as he has revealed himself and from the kind of life that God dictates, proceeds to make for himself new gods and new religions and to elaborate a new way of life and of salvation.
The “Doctor” pretty much schools us on the fact that man hasn’t bettered himself in some kind of religious upward mobilization, but instead has degenerated ever since Adam’s original sin. This is my first book I’ve picked up by Martyn Lloyd-Jones. I have listened to a couple of his sermons but reading is a more adequate way for me to grasp deeper subjects, and so I look forward to reading the rest of this short book of 120 pages.
The second book I have picked up is John Steinbeck’s Travels with Charley: In Search of America. A buddy of mine, who I grew up with from AWANA clubs through high school, recommended that I read it. I had always meant to get to this Steinbeck tome, but haven’t until a week or so ago. The last time I read Steinbeck was when I was sixteen or seventeen and I read The Grapes of Wrath. I think that was when I started to listen to Woody Guthrie too; I even read his book Bound for Glory and thought it slightly similar to Steinbeck’s book, which in fact did inspire Guthrie’s writing to some extent.
Steinbeck was one of the last American male authors who could say something macho and still sound like he said something poetic. “My wife married a man; I saw no reason why she should inherit a baby.” Pure gold. I’m not very far along in this book either, but like Steinbeck’s epic journey, I’m making headway a little at a time. Presently, I’m at the part where Steinbeck is buying booze in Connecticut. I am loving this book.
Here’s to more reading and thinking, and writing also.