Lessons from the Tree

Photo: CKirgiss
Unlit by day

I love my book tree just as much unlit by day as lit by night. It’s gracious like that.

Like all beautiful and bookish things, there’s more to this book tree than just a tapered stack of tomes. There is truth. Loads of it. Mostly about the Church and her people.

Lesson 1: If one book falls, they all fall. (Really – is it too obvious to state?)

Lesson 2: Each book brings something unique to the tree – colors, textures, topics, covers, authors, views, titles. The variety is astonishing.

Lesson 3: The tree is made entirely of books that were either destined for the trash pile or stacked in a junk shop before being rescued, bought for a price, carried home, and given new life.

Lesson 4: Some of the books have divergent views on such things as history, humanity, and society, but they all agree to play together nicely and be part of this particular tree.

Lesson 5: Together, these books make something bigger, better, and more beautiful than they do alone.

Lesson 6: Even the smallest amount of book tree light pierces the surrounding darkness.

Photo: CKirgiss

Lesson 7: The inner book tree lights radiate the space within, then spill out the cracks, tumble over the pages, and radiate the space without.

Photo: CKirgiss
Inner light, outer glow

Lesson 8: The seemingly ordinary books are quite as necessary as the fancifully decorated books.

Photo: CKirgiss
(extra)ordinary

Lesson 9: The tree stands tall and true only because it is built on a foundation that is strong and level (and also happens to be made out of an old shed door decorated in crayon by the neighbor girl).

Photo: CKirgiss
On this table I will build my tree.

Lesson 10: The tree brings me joy. Great, great joy.

So should the Church. And so can the Church. But often she does not because (sometimes) each of her books determines to write its own story, construct its own foundation, and be its own individual tree.

And yet the Lord loves her (and her books) still. Glory be, that is Good News indeed.

[Just one more thing…]

My particular book tree has its own peculiar mix of doctrines that I discovered only after constructing it. (NOTE: The views of my tree do not necessarily reflect the views of this blog or its author.)

My book tree:

is ecumenical

Photo: CKirgiss
Dante and Catholic Philosophy

embraces teaching that is both didactic and narrative

Photo: CKirgiss
Pinocchio and English-French Dictionary

is evangelistic

Photo: CKirgiss
Billy Sunday

wallows gleefully in human depravity

Photo: CKirgiss
The Seamy Side of History

is egalitarian – or maybe complementarian?

Photo: CKirgiss
Call of the Wild and A Girl of the Limberlost

is confidently heaven-bound

Photo: CKirgiss
The Country Beyond

warns against backsliding

Photo: CKirgiss
The Danger Trail

deals with behavior lapses simply and swiftly (and – let’s hope – privately)

Photo: CKirgiss
It Never Can Happen Again

encourages daily surrender and sanctification

Photo: CKirgiss
Little Journeys

puts a high priority on children’s ministries

Photo: CKirgiss
Complete Cheerful Cherub

cares for those in need

Photo: CKirgiss
The Sick-A-Bed Lady

follows a congregational form of government

Photo: CKirgiss
The Little Minister

and lastly, has a definitive view of baptism.

Photo: CKirgiss
Water Babies

the Word became flesh

Confession: I own too many books. Not just a few too many, or some too many. A lot too many.

Someone keeps saying it’s a problem.

I keep not listening.

So when I got an email today from one of my literature students with “book tree” in the subject line, I was intrigued. I thought it might be some kind of narrative thematic diagram resembling a family tree, which would be pretty cool.

But it wasn’t.

It was an idea. For a book tree. (Go figure.) Made out of books. To look like a tree. You know, for Christmas and all.

Which was so much cooler than cool I can’t even put it into words.

This email, and the resulting fervor it whipped up in my soul, is precisely why I don’t Pin. I would forfeit my life to this and that and such-and-such and so-and-so and ladeedahdeedoo and pretty soon I would be a crazy person who only converses with glue sticks and rotary cutters.

Truly.

Proof positive is that I spent several hours tonight constructing this:

Photo: CKirgiss
“The Word became flesh.”

It was a lot more work than I expected. The light schematic is pathetic. In a few places, I had to jerryrig shims of folded paper to keep things level. I didn’t know how to finish it off. I made a mess of my bookshelves.

But oh my, I am delighted. Beyond words. Because not only do I love my books (too much, says someone) but I love the season that my new book tree celebrates. The incarnation. The Birth of Christ. The eucatastrophe of mankind’s history (for all you Tolkien fans).

Breathtaking indeed. Beyond words.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)