Not a Bad Book Day

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Today was a good book day. 

I received three books, all on the subject of marriage.  First, was Michael Haykin's The Christian Lover:  The Sweetness of Love and Marriage in the Letters of Believers.  I tried to get a copy of this when I was down in Louisville in February.  But, it being so popular, his own bookstore at his own seminary was sold out.  It's great to finally have a copy.  

I won't hold it against Michael that he did not include the one letter from Jonathan to Sarah, Edwards of course, asking her to come from Boston because the kids have headaches and he's at his wit's end.  (She was there visiting an aging uncle who was about to die and taking a inordinately long time to do so.)

But what Haykin does include is remarkable and more than compensates for my petty observation. 

Here's a great paragraph, from page 33, setting up a letter from hymnwriter Benjamin Beddome to hymnwriter Anne Steele.  She rebuffed his proposal of marriage, despite his poetic excellence.  Then Anne went on to rebuff yet another proposal.  Anne thought marriage "came with many thorns."  Her sister, Mary, countered "everyone else put up with the thorns," adding, besides "flowers grew on the thorns" [the quotation is of Haykin's summary of Mary's counterpoints].

The best, to me at least, were the letters from Helmuth von Moltke, martyred during the Holocaust, to his wife Freya.  You just have to read them; they can't be summarized.  I am grateful to Michael for introducing me to this couple.


Thank you, Michael, for this fine book.  My wife and I will enjoy it.

There were two others, both on marriage and both from John Piper, Velvet Steel:  The Joy of Being Married to You and This Momentary Marriage:  A Parable of Permanence.  I've just dipped in to both.  Here's what I've found so far that stands out, Piper's critique of what he calls "the cultural mirage," before he gives us "a vision of marriage higher and deeper and stronger and more glorious than anything this culture--or perhaps you yourself--ever imagined" (20).

But, here's what grabbed me the most.  The first two words, after Noel Piper's "Foreword," are:  Dietrich Bonhoeffer (13).

You have to get the book to read what the engaged but never married Bonhoeffer has to do with marriage. 

That also is the link between Haykin's book and Piper's.  Piper begins with what Bonhoeffer offers due to his experience during the Holocaust and the hands of Hitler, while Haykin ends his book with what Helmuth Moltke offers through his experience.

Lord, deliver us from the affliction of our comfort so that we may appreciate anew--and rightly--our loving spouses and our relationship to them as codisciples.  

Posted April 14, 2009 @ 10:13 AM by Stephen Nichols
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