Monday, June 27, 2011

Five books that changed who I am

There's been a few people blogging about books that have changed who they are. Soph at Storms Dressed as Stars, shared and gave an open invite to join in. I can't resist an open invite, when memes can be kinda exclusive.

I have puzzled and thought. There must be five transformative books in my collection. I can think of books that I've loved, books that I've cried over, books that I've waded through. I have a pile of books that I would like to read, but haven't yet. But books that have changed me?

A Bridge to Teribithia. This is the first book that really moved me emotionally. I lay on my bed and cried as I read (not the whole book, but the sad part). It awakened in me a sense of the power of stories. I read it when I was about ten or eleven. The other book that stands out as deeply moving, like this, was Of A Boy by Sonya Hartnett.

When I was studying medicine, I read The Audacity to Believe by Sheila Cassidy. She tells the story of going to Chile and working as a doctor. She was a Catholic follower of Jesus and she tried to live out her faith. I found this really challenging and it influenced how I wanted to work in the future.

The Bible itself has changed me, but I want to highlight the effect of the Psalms on me. I did a course about the Psalms once and read it through a few times. I always found that reading a book and talking about it (eg. in high-school English) gave me a deeper love of it. This happened with the Psalms. Suddenly the words were passionate and spoke to me face-to-face. I began to understand why the word of God had been described as being sweeter than honey and purer than gold, through reading the Psalms.

The Art of Pastoring. I found this book in the (Morling College) library once and read it because I liked the blurb. Reading it made me see ministry differently. It emphasises loving people and serving them with your life. It was one of the first books that challenged me to listen to people and their stories. That ministry is about building real and genuine relationships and living a life of faith together as family. Challenging.

The final book I've included represents choosing to work in psychiatry/mental health. It wasn't just because of this book, but this book was the starting point for me to see the possibility of healing for disease or trauma through therapeutic/transformative relationships. This book helped me learn but also helped me keep thinking and reading about the mind, how it works and the resilience that helps people recover from all sorts of pain or abuse.

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