Excerpts from: Sailing Between the Stars


So I promised you excerpts from Sailing Between the Stars by Steven James, so this post will contain those. As a heads up, I tried to keep them short and simple in order to help provoke thought and curiosity. Please note that he is a storyteller by nature. This book is chalked full of stories, so these short paragraphs are only getting you a feel for the topics he discusses, not necessarily a feel for the beauty of his writing (which is why you need to read the book)!

From Chapter 1: in the company of fools pg. 16

Every once in a while a skeptic of Christianity will point out those paradoxes as a way of trying to attack the foundations of our faith. But followers of Jesus are already aware of them. We're the first to admit that our God isn't logical, our religion isn't reasonable, and our Savior isn't realistic. Here is our message: we're fools for God; come join us under the big top.

From Chapter 2: seeing with God-shaped eyes pg. 25

When we try to comprehend him, to package him up and explain him to the world, we diminish ourselves. After all, no one has ever been moved to tears by reading someone's resume. To really get to know a person, you get together for a cup of coffee or a bratwurst on the back deck. You become friends by sharing your hopes and dreams, your passions and fears, your heartaches and wounds and secret little embarrassing moments... God isn't a subject to be studied; he's a Person to be encountered. That's why the Bible is the story of God and not the lesson about God.

Chapter 6: ludicrous love pg. 67

Love, just like life, always involves risk. You cannot fully, truly love someone without risking your feelings, your time, your future. Those who are afraid to risk are afraid to love, because intimacy requires risk. Until you open your heart to someone to show them where you hurt the most, you'll never find intimacy or uncover the deepest secrets of love. And until we do that with God, we don't see the true depths of his love for us.

Chapter 13: chewing on God pg. 154

A profound longing for something more gnaws at us all. Yet no one is reassured by the belief that this world is all that there is. I've never met anyone who puts the question like this: "Aren't you glad this is all there is?" People who believe there's nothing more than this life don't find satisfaction, but only despair or resignation. Why would humans have such a universal disappointment in the world unless they were made for something more than this world?"

Chapter 14: dance of the wills pg. 167
I'm also aware that when we try to explain too much of the mysterious interplay of God's will and our own, we run the risk of saying too much or too little. Whenever you talk of mystery, heresy is only a heartbeat away. I've seen some people end up blaming God for not doing enough to save the lost and others end up giving too much of the credit to themselves for entering the dance.
So what exactly is our role in accepting the gift God offers? Is faith the hand that accepts the gifts of God? And if so, do we hold it out to him, or have we stuffed our hands so deeply into our pockets that he has to yank our hands out first before he can hand new life to us?
There seems to be both a divine wooing and a human willing in this process. Yet God is always the one leading the dance.


Chapter 15: the monk, the chainsaw and the king tut life-sized sarcophagus cabinet pg. 183


Sometimes it seems like Jesus wants me to be content, and sometimes it seems like he doesn't. On the one hand, he never let his followers settle in or become comfortable on this planet; instead he told them to think about and store up treasures for the life to come. Yet at the same time he inspired them to embrace every moment as a glorious gift without worry or stress or fear about the trouble tomorrow might bring.


Chapter 17: the bruise on the skin of the world pg. 199 **My favorite**


Some people think evil is the opposite of good, but I don't think that's how things work. If it was, evil would be just as powerful as good. The devil would be an equal match for God. This world would have only 50 percent chance of a happy ending. I don't buy any of that.

Instead, I think evil is the subtle corruption of good. After all, silence isn't the opposite of music; noise is. If you change only a few note of a song, you distort the whole melody, create dissonance, and turn the harmony into discord. Just a subtle distortion, a slight corruption, is all you need to wreck the whole song. By changing a few notes you change everything.

I think that's how evil works. Not by overpowering good but by corrupting it one note at a time: quietly turning self-confidence into pride, physical attraction into lust, pleasure into indulgence, respect into envy, self-preservation into selfishness, ambition into greed. It's not the opposite of good but the tainting of it.

Chapter 20: through the birth canal pg 244-245

Now is our time of anguish. Here on this inexplicable planet of ulcers and fear and graveyards and grief. As we bury our loved ones and bury our guilt and try not to yell so much at the kids. As we glimpse death grinning on the edge of the night, mouthing our name. According to St. Paul, our entire world is groaning as in the pains of childbirth (see Romans 8:22). But the message of Easter is that the final chorus of the galaxy is joy, not pain. The final refrain is life after death to all who believe. Even now, hope is real because Easter is real, and because of that we'll really see Jesus again and receive a joy that no one, that nothing will be able to take away.

So that is your glimpse of this book. Feel free to comment on which paragraph was your favorite, or which one was the most challenging to you. Each comment on any post until June 30th will get your name entered in a drawing to win this book. Your name will be entered for each time you leave a comment.

4 comments:

  1. "To really get to know a person, you get together for a cup of coffee or a bratwurst on the back deck." It's so true. You have to get to know someone first and then you desire to spend more time with them and know more about them. Looks like a great book!!

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  2. Love the new song!

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  3. I absolutely loved the quote "Some people think evil is the opposite of good, but I don't think that's how things work. If it was, evil would be just as powerful as good. The devil would be an equal match for God. This world would have only 50 percent chance of a happy ending. I don't buy any of that."

    That seems to be the message that God is teaching me this week.

    This book seems great... if I don't win it here I will certainly add it to my wish list on amazon (with the others :))

    How long did it take you to read it?

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  4. I love listening to the music on your blog. It brings me peace when it seems like there is so much chaos and running around in my life. Thank you for letting yourself be used.

    Ok now to the book...I like a few Chp 2, 15,and 17. Chp. 20 made me tear because the world is going thru so many birth pains right now but so many do not see and just like Chp 14 said, "when we try to explain too much of the mysterious interplay of God's will and our own, we run the risk of saying too much or too little." Its a thin line, a narrow path, and it makes my soul cry out for others. Our God is an awesome God and He will hold us till the end, there is no doubt of that, just as there is no doubt that our prayers can uphold another (like with Lot when his cousin prayed for him). He promised and He cannot lie. I hold tightly to that whenever times get hard.

    Just like the other blogger Amber I will add this one to my list if I don't win it. Thank you for such a wonderful giveaway!

    FYI: One of my favorite books is "Twelve Extraordinary Women" by John MacArthur. My son gave it to me and I have read it several times.

    GBU!

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