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Have you eaten any good books lately?

By: Tom Rupp
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Once again it is our annual Thanksgiving week where we celebrate God’s goodness and make a special feast. I derive a peculiar pleasure from the foods of this season. Grocery buying, food preparation, eating (or savoring) and then post-meal satiation each offer its own peculiar attraction. Why do leftovers seem to taste so much better the second and third time around? We are truly blessed to be able to enjoy such bountiful supplies of food. Reading a book is not unlike eating a nice meal. Eugene Peterson, author of the Bible translation “The Message,” is also in the process of writing a five-volume conversation in spiritual theology. I just finished reading the second volume titled “Eat This Book.” The moniker derives from several stories in the Bible where people were instructed to eat a written scroll. When they did so, it was sweet to their taste. It is a living metaphor for what it means to truly receive a word, read a book. “Thy words were found and I did eat them” (Jeremiah 15:16). Peterson asserts that “God does not put us in charge of forming our personal spiritualities. We grow in accordance with the revealed word implanted in us by the Spirit.” He goes on to state that “what we need is not primarily informational, telling us things about God and ourselves, but formational, shaping us into our true being.” “Eat This Book” is Peterson’s attempt to promote “a way of reading that guards against depersonalizing the text into an affair of questions and answers, definitions and dogmas.” There are some books that we go through and others that go through us. We read page one, page two and so on until we get to the end of some books. Then we close it up and put it away. But a certain few books cannot be merely “read.” Said another way, some books we read and some books read us. The Bible, to me, is just such a book. To read it is to look within a mirror. To meditate on it is a feast for my soul. Within its pages I see God, and myself. Perhaps after your meal this Thursday you could sit down with the Book and enjoy another meal, a spiritual meal. Then again, you might want to do it before you eat turkey. That tryptophan sure makes you sleepy. Tom Rupp lives in Folsom and can be reached at truppfolsom@yahoo.com.