23 Apr 2008

Leaves from the Codex

Author: Bobby Valentine | Filed under: Bobby's World, Books, Exegesis, Ministry, Preaching, Spiritual Disciplines

Here it is a Tuesday evening. I had some hot wings for dinner and put off coming “home” as long as possible. Most evenings I am by myself these days and I do not do “alone” very well. When God said it was “not good for man to be alone” there are actually some mss that read “it is not good for Bobby to be alone!” 😉 But here I am. In the evenings I cannot watch TV so I read. I have been preparing for my Pepperdine Lectures and have just been reading. My interests tend to be fairly wide anyway but here are some titles that may be of interest to some of my readers that I have plunged into over the last two months that have nothing to do with my Pepperdine topic … Jerry Rushford will be worried.

First and foremost I have revisited the wise sage Dr. Seuss. I bought Horton Hears A Who! (Party Edition) before seeing the movie. I read this book with my girls and we laughed and giggled. It is also productive of thought. It remains a great classic.

Baseball season is upon us and my friend Jerry gave me a copy of the 2008 Milwaukee Brewers Media Guide. One of the most delightful books I have read in a long time is Wayne Curtis’ And a Bottle of Rum: A History of the New World in Ten Cocktails. I bought this book in the airport on the way to Philadelphia and had half read on the way there and finished it on the way back. Curtis not only loves rum but shows some delightfully interesting ways in which rum has actually played a “pivotal” role in the development of western culture … including the American Revolution. For a good read I do recommend it.

I have been reading some books on divorce recovery as well. Suzy Brown, who has commented on this blog, has been an inspiration to me. Her book Radical Recovery: Transforming the Despair of Your Divorce Into an Unexpected Good had blessed me. I have not found the “unexpected good” yet but her book is so practical and so grounded in life. Her “Survival Six” back in December were the things that probably saved my life. I have talked with Suzy on the phone and fully hope to meet her at Pepperdine. The book has some gut wrenching poems at the back … for those experiencing divorce or those who want to authentically minister to those in divorce this is a primary text. Thank you Suzy for your grace!! I have also worked my way through Dana Hood’s I Will Change Your Name: Messages From the Father to a Heart Broken by Divorce. This book is a series of devotions for those going through divorce. I have been blessed by it. I bought both of these books at the ACU Press booth last year at the ACU lectures. Both sat on my desk for months waiting for me to read. On December 16 they became a priority. I have read Suzy’s book 5x … I almost have it memorized. She is wise … when I read her I say she knows what she is talking about because she has mapped out my feelings almost to a T.

One of my Shepherd’s loaned me a book edited by Elias Kopciowski titled Praying With the Jewish Tradition. I have prayed my way through this book and I have been enriched. In my time of crises it has been easy to slip into the “pray only about my crises” mode (and I have done that on MANY occasions!) but this book has helped me with a much more balanced prayer life at this point of my journey.

I picked up James A. Connor’s Kepler’s Witch: An Astronomer’s Discovery of Cosmic Order Amid Religious War, Political Intrigue, and the Heresy Trial of His Mother at Bookman’s when I took Rachael and Talya to this used bookstore. It is a fascinating look into the world of 17th century Europe and a generally overlooked giant of science and faith … Johannes Kepler. Connor weaves a brilliant narrative with all the things mentioned in the title. This book is of interest to those who love religion, science or pop culture … I actually forgot the book had footnotes!!! It has been a good companion on several nights.

I just finished Thomas Cahill’s Mysteries of the Middle Ages, And the Beginnings of the Modern World. I have thoroughly enjoyed Cahill’s previous titles in his Hinges of History series, all of which have made it onto the best seller list. His How the Irish Saved Civilization won a fan in me. Cahill is not afraid to celebrate how faith has shaped western culture and he continues that in this volume. You certainly do not have to know anything about the middle ages to be enriched by this book … a cup of java will do just fine. Lavishly illustrated for those who have to have pix and very well written … he just might convince you that the “dark ages” are of critical importance to our lives today. Imagine that!

I have been rereading through the Apocryha over the last few weeks too. Don’t know why but I have. I have made it back through Tobit, Judith, 1, 2, 3 and I am currently reading 4 Maccabees. I will come back to Sirach and the others shortly.

Over the last few days I have also reread my good friend John Mark Hicks book Yet Will I Trust Him: Understanding God in a Suffering World. There is not a person on the planet I respect more than John Mark. I have been in his classroom, stayed in his home, been with him as he buried a son and watched him as he went through a divorce on top of that. This book is not theory for the author. I have read this book before and thought it was brilliant and persuasive. Now I read the book with a completely different goal in mind … I want to learn to trust God as he has. Being in the “circle of lamenters” has forever altered my view on many things.

And finally I have devoured the Psalms (in several different translations (The Hebrew-English Psalter, Robert Alter’s The Book of Psalms, Peterson’s Psalms – The Message, NRSV) I have read the Psalms regularly for years but now I live in the world of the Psalms. I set my alarm, and if I am not awake already, I get up at 4 am for Matins, come back to the Psalms for Lauds at 5 and Prime at 6 … I visit them for Terce and Sext, None, Vespers and Compline. I cannot explain how this rhythm has helped me. I can either focus on my situation or pray the Psalms and sing Te Deum … I have chosen the latter. I know God is there even when I do not get a word in response from him.

Well there you have it … a few leaves from the codex. All these books are worthwhile in some respect. Perhaps you will find a title that intrigues you and you will take it up and let it bless you in some fashion. I am working on “gettin’ a life …” 😉 Make sure you watch the Weird Al
White & Nerdy” video in My Videos to the right … it explains a lot!!

Tolle lege,Bobby Valentine

12 Responses to “Leaves from the Codex”

  1. Wendy Says:

    Bobby, I am composing a blogpost about what books are on my bedside table. Will be up tomorrow.

    If the evenings drag, there is always Big Poppa’s Palace to visit!

  2. preacherman Says:

    Bobby great post as always brother. Keep it up! You have such talent. I hope you had a great earth day!
    Kinney Mabry

  3. Tim Archer Says:


    I hope to see you at Pepperdine. I’ll be out there all week.

    God is faithful!

    Grace and peace,

  4. Gardner Hall Says:

    Are you a super speed reader? I would be thrilled to be able to read ten percent of what you digest.

  5. Anonymous Says:

    “White and Nerdy”… Weird Al and Donny Osmond in the same video. Gotta love that.
    Jeanne H.

  6. Keith Says:

    Bobby – I just wanted to say how sorry I was to hear of your divorce, brother (on WICOC group).

    You and your family are in my prayers today.


  7. Matt Dowling Says:

    Bobby, do you ever wonder into the book of common prayer or other helps for the daily office, aside from your reading the psalms during the canonical hours? I’m looking for reading suggestions when asking…

  8. Zack Says:

    Just read several posts. My heart goes out to you dear brother.
    I pray God gives you grace, love,and peace in this time.
    The Weird Al video is very funny!
    Be blessed!

  9. nick Says:

    Speaking of the codex, you might find this blog interesting:


    The author makes the following assertion that is right up your alley:

    “Until the invention of the printing press, there had never been in existence two copies of a biblical book that were identical. The invention was a catalyst for a theological approach to the nature of biblical inspiration that could not exist previously.”

    What do you think?

  10. Matthew Says:

    Thanks for letting us know what you are reading.

  11. Frank Bellizzi Says:

    Bobby, I spent a few years very much alone. Believe it or not, you will probably look back in a few years and be thankful that you had this time with yourself. What I mean is, you might then see some value and good in this time that you are not able to see right now.

    But I am so sorry that you are experiencing what you are going through these days. Just to hear you mention it brings back feelings of mine that must be a lot like some of what you feel now. You will continue to feel that way for a long, long time, I’m sorry to say. But in the years to come, it won’t be nearly so sharp as it is now.

    I would tell you to get some exercise, eat well, try to maintain (or establish) regular sleep. Oh, heck, I’ll put the rest in an email. I didn’t realize all of this was going on, because I thought your previous references to divorce went much further back. I’m praying for you today, my brother.

  12. Dee Andrews Says:

    Bobby –

    ‘ve been reading your posts, including the one about your divorce.

    I, too, have been divorced and understand and have experienced every one of the “symptoms” that you have described both here and on other blogs (including Danny Dodd’s blog).

    My own divorce was a long time ago, but it troubles me still, so I feel close to you in the after effects.

    Much love to you and your family and I pray that you will be uplifted by our Lord and Father.

    Much love to you!


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