Not my cuppa tea. So I thought.

Posted on September 17th, 2008 by Blue Collar Goddess

“Sometimes we are too busy with the concerns of living to give much thought to life.” ~ Thom Lemmons

I had a different post about a different book recently plotted and planned for this garden of ours — that all changed earlier today when I went shopping with my daughter at a local thrift store for her Homecoming Dress. 

(For those of you in other places not stateside, Homecoming is an annual high school ritual marked by a football game [the other kind, not soccer] with the local rival school, and a formal dance the following evening — it’s a great excuse for the kids to get very dressed up and for the parental units to take pictures.  It’s usually the last time we see our kids looking this good until Prom, or the “Spring Formal”.)

While my daughter perused the clothing aisles of the GoodWill Store, I perused the massive used book selection.  For reasons still marginally unknown to me, I snatched a small hardbound novel off a shelf and flipped thru the pages. 

Jabez -- a novel
Jabez — a novel

Traditionally, I don’t read “Christian Themed Books”.  They make me feel guilty for not following through with all the promises I made in Sunday School.  I have enough self loathing these days, thank you very much.

God and I have had a careful relationship over the past few years.  I try not to blame deity for all the crapulence in my life (or yours) and God tends to leave me alone.
Once in awhile I wave to God.  I think we keep a respectful distance from each other — and that may be about to change as a result of reading this wee bit of historical fiction. 
Honestly, I’m doing some research for a paper that a few colleagues and I are collaborating on; it’s the true reason I decided to haul the tiny book home (a steal at a buck, and now that I’ve read it, the first person to send me their address can have it . . . )
I made the mistake of opening the book up when we came home an hour or so later, and I couldn’t put it down.  Not once. 
I tend to be in the process of reading four or five books at a time.  It’s rare that I’ll finish even a small novel in one sitting, however the prose of author Thom Lemmons allowed me to have a front and center seat in the narration of the life of the protagonist.  Jabez was a real person, and some of you may have heard of the Prayer of Jabez.  He is mentioned in the Bible, 1 Chronicles 4:9.
What the author did — was to give us gentle readers the opportunity to discover the meaning of having a conversation with something as deeply personal as God, and you most certainly do not need to be a Christian to have this conversation.  Jabez wasn’t. 
In fact, Jabez wasn’t quite sure what to believe in, but he did allow something profound in his spirit move him to peace.  Spirit touched spirit, and then it touched me. 
Two hours later, I finished the book and I was stunned at the power of such a simple thing as 129 pages.  I was entertained and inspired.  So inspired, that I took a gulp and decided to share the experience with you.
I deeply identified with Jabez.  For many reasons.  Not the least of them being that God just wasn’t my cuppa tea.  So I thought.

20 Responses to “Not my cuppa tea. So I thought.”

  1. Jim says:

    Thanks for sharing this, the background and this well written piece that has taught me a new word.

    Crapulence. :-)

    Anyway courage all round with this post and the idea of the G word often turns me right off iin conversation or when browsing Mind, Body & Soul titles but frame it as Zenlike, Buddha or following an IN or an OUT breathe and I can roll with it….

    ‘God is a gas – he’s everywhere’
    – British Comedian Alan Partridge as played by Steve Coogan, now doing the rounds in Hollywood.

    I’ll just have to get a copy of this one myself now – you’ve inspired me.

    • Blue Collar Goddess says:

      Hi Jim!
      I wish I could take credit for the word “crapulence” but alas, it hails from the brilliant mind of my soul sister the poet Feith Stuart. She had been trying to come up with a word to describe the good and the bad mix in her life at one point, and thus it was created.

      At least I’m fairly certain it was her creation. ;-)

      * * *

      As for the novel in question, there is something deeply appealing with regards to the writing of Thom Lemmons. His particular brand of prose is what I term “just enough” to have the reader process a moment without going overboard.

      He writes for “everyman” but the language is not base or common, it’s simple without being preachy or what I term sermony. You don’t have to be a Christian or even a “believer” to obtain some pearl of wisdom or truth from this novel. I’m going to find his other books — we’ll see how they stand up to the test.

      • Jim says:

        Ok great -you’ve just inspired me to start a BOOK section at forums here at GSTF so members can recommend books to each other – films, songs and all that jazz. A media section, perhaps!

        • Blue Collar Goddess says:

          Well, I DID say that I’d be half and half! (not the creamy stuff that goes in coffee . . .)
          Half Inspiration, Half Books.
          I was trying to cover ALL my bases with one post! ;-)

  2. Bridget Jones says:

    Hi Blue Collar Goddess, interesting one, I think I may be a bit slow this morning. Mind sharing in what way you were inspired please? Thanks! :)

    • Bridget Jones says:

      Jeez!! I AM slow!! It’s the evening ha! ;)

    • Blue Collar Goddess says:

      Hello Love!
      (to be said with a British Accent . . . much marveled and adored!)

      Good question.
      I was inspired to begin believing that God wasn’t some old man in the clouds pointing his finger at me, waiting … anxiously … for me to fail. To slip on his great big banana skin, and then let me burn in hell.

      It feels . . . weird and kinda tingly. Like . . . oh I dunno . . . like . . . maybe someone “out there” does give a damn?

      Without trying to sound pathetic and whatnot, I really REALLY do feel alone 99.95 of the time and . . . frankly? I’m getting sick of it.

  3. Urban Pagan says:

    does this book tell how he did that trick with the water and wine?

    • Blue Collar Goddess says:

      Ah. Yeah.
      Um . . . this little novel didn’t have a whole helluva lot to do with JC. In fact, it had nothing to do with JC because . . . well, it was BEFORE the time o’ JC.

      No water. No wine.

      At least not water turning into wine.

  4. aussiecynic says:

    GDay there Goddess…
    nice post…

    I am sorry not to share your gusto for the God thing…
    I am however more of a spiritual type.. but take the whole god thing from a completely different approach…
    Not being of any religion or faith af anysort I am afraid, I do not begrudge others belief’s and respect each to their own.. in a dare I say more Pagan way..
    My life has been full of spirit and miracles of a sort and I give thanks to what ever got me there and never take for granted any blessing I am given..
    However God I do have respectful relationship… it goes like this…
    GDay God hows things?
    God has a giggle…
    So what have you got planned for tomorrow..
    God totally cracks into fits of laughter…
    I see so i am on my own for that one…
    God near wets herself in fits of hysterics…
    So its going to be another fun filled day I take it..
    God You got that right…

    Every so often God throws me a bone and lulls me into a false sense of security, only a shortwhile later to pull the rug out and piddle herself laughing… another successful day…..

    I do think God has better things to do than sit and watch us going about our business… can imagine how boring it must be watching peole drinking coffee in starbucks, or sitting answering phones in an office…. let alone blowing each other up… when ther are supernovas and the whole Universe to explore…. hmmm….
    I dont know perhaps God does, perhaps God doesnt… one day I will know but I am no rush to find out…

    • Blue Collar Goddess says:

      Heya Doll … (American for ‘chook’ ;-))

      I’m right there with you too — I’m not very much into the whole “God Loves Us and We Should Adore and Obey Him” thing either.

      Or the whole, “if you don’t do these ten things you’re gonna burn in hell, but hey, I love you . . . ” gig either.

      This wee little tome moved a piece of spirit inside of me to begin to believe, however faintly, that I might matter. Me. Little ol’ me.
      That … well … He/She/It does care.

      I think they classify this as “the Holy Spirit”. It was and still lingers on as a very interesting, and very . . . deeply profound feeling. Can’t quite put it into words yet.

      I’m workin’ on it …

      • aussiecynic says:

        I do think its cool how something so seemly small can have such a large impact on you…
        My cynical nature doesnt allow this to happen to me….
        To find such comfort is wonderful and I am pleased for you in many ways, with hopes it continues…
        My experience is much more as I described and seriously The Gods do enjoy a good old fashion laugh at my expense..
        But I do think we have come to an understanding and this is becoming less and less.. I am however wondering if this is that false sense of security creeping in there… lol…
        I am however Happy for you….
        and do hope you find something you need out of it…. so many do .. I just cant understand what it is… perhaps I already have it… Have no idea

        • Blue Collar Goddess says:

          Rob Breszney of Free Will Astrology says that we’re living in the times of the Apocalypse now. So let’s dance.
          He also tries to get us to start practicing Pro-noia. Which is the belief that the Universe is conspiring with us, not against us.

          I know … I know. It’s a toughie, because I felt JUST LIKE YOU.
          I’m just tired, yanno? Tired of feeling like Sisyphus. There HAS to be more to this. There HAS TO BE.


          We’ll see if I’m just trippin’.

        • aussiecynic says:

          I must admit I do agree with you on this…. and yes the universe does conspire… lol… thinking back ..
          there does have to more to this than what we see…
          and must admit to believing in the times of the Apocalypse now theory… not so much in the destruction the earth blown to bits however the way things are going it is a possibility…. but the world as we know it ending…. the world we grew up in is going..

          Conspiracies I can run with… evil

          There are many things I have experienced in my day to day life which has lead me too this place I am.. and have seen many more things I am yet to explain and I do rather like this…
          If you feeling great then I must say good on you.. any time you can feel happy, great and comforted must be a good thing…
          If your trippin’ then hey why not..
          if its free then even better and if its from chemicals then it has to be good for you…

          Seriously I am pleased you have found something which is comforting and giving you strength all be it from an unexpected source…
          keep us in the loop..

  5. kluless says:

    Intellectual honesty is ALWAYS refreshing

    Spiritual honesty… is a singularly amazing thing.
    Thank you for sharing – I needed to read this.

  6. Blue Collar Goddess says:

    Heya CC!
    I was raised in a profoundly Christian household. As a teenager, I even submitted poetry to the Church’s widely distributed youth magazine — I had several pieces published. Doctrine is not new to me, and I have read the Bible several times. It was required for a portion of my schooling!

    My entire foundation was about being “perfect”. As a Mormon youth there is no room for mistake, self indulgence or temptation. The standards I was raised with when I moved in with my cousins who lived in Utah at the tender age of 12 were strict, unforgiving and often hypocritical.

    It was the “hypocritical” that finally did me in. When I turned 18, moved out and began experimenting with other religions (they were my new drug) I found that God was much larger than I had ever believed possible. It was at this point in my spiritual awareness that I realized faith is something held in the heart and a belief is something held in the head.

    You are so correct — all God wants is for us to keep the faith in our hearts and for us to keep that line of communication open!

  7. I am so sorry for your “religious” experiences that you had. So, many churches (and I believe other religions) become so focused on what you look like on the outside to others or about doing something to please God. Versus, Christianity which is about love, acceptance, foregiveness, grace and not focused on works. But, alas Christians are human and many tend to see things in black and white when I see doctrine and theology, the older I become and the more I know the grayer it becomes (including my hair). I hate the feeling that most Christian churches give (which is so contrary to what the Bible teaches) that you need to be sinless before you come…give me a break all have sinned and all continue to sin. And, there is no hierarchy all have the same consequence.

    Sorry to go off so. I guess, I became angry at the way you were treated and how twisted the church can make the Bible. I’m not so mainstream in my Christianity…I think that shows. Thanks for sharing your personal experience. I am glad that you left because the only way a religion becomes your faith is by questioning and searching and finding answers yourself. Then, it becomes conviction and your beliefs and a little easier to take that leap of faith further. Continue on searching and reading even if you think you don’t want to…listen to your inner voice. Especially, the one that says, “chocolate.” LOL!!!

    ClinicallyCluelesss last blog post..Thinly Veiled Denial ~ Child’s Play!

  8. Blue Collar Goddess says:

    Again, I agree with you 100%!
    I’m not so mainstream Christianity either. Sometimes I think that if Christ were here today, he wouldn’t BE a “Christian”. :-)

    I don’t know if I grok the whole “He Died For Our Sins” program — there’s just too much ancient history that goes beyond the traditional and fundamental teachings — tendrils of truth that lead to the mythologies of the ages long before Christ was born. We’ve [as in humans] always had some kind of God born from a virginal mother, some kind of God who shed his blood to keep us alive and forgiven, some kind of story to point to “The Sun of God” to test our faith.

    What I do believe, possibly for the first time (thanks to _Jabez_) is that God might really give a damn.

    And that’s really something from this Blue Collar Goddess.

    I think … dare I say it? That I believe in ‘something’ real and true associated with divinity.

    My very soul is moved by the mere thought. I think … I think I have hope.
    What a concept!

  9. Well, I am very much a Christian for me the bottom line is who is Jesus Christ to you? You know the whole thing…and boy, have I questioned, but it is my faith and conviction.

    I feel excited that that simple book seems to be leading you somewhere and gave you a slightly different perspective in your soul. Yes, God cares. :-)
    ClinicallyCluelesss last blog post..Thinly Veiled Denial ~ Child’s Play!

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