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Evening in the Palace of Reason

The next book for book club is James R. Gaines' Evening in the Palace of Reason.  This history recounts Johann Sebastian Bach meeting Frederick the Great.  Frederick set the changing tastes of Europe at the time and "old Bach" was seen as a curmudgeon of the old ways.  Frederick's court, including Bach's own son, set a musical test they thought the old master couldn't pass.  Not only did Bach compose a masterpiece answer, his A Musical Offering testified to his faith.  This book not only tells the story of that encounter but of the conflict between worldviews, between faith and reason, between parents and children.

The Hiding Place

Alena has written some thoughts since we will miss the June 3 discussion of The Hiding Place.

I’m so thankful that the book club chose to read Corrie Ten Boom’s The Hiding Place. I’m only sorry that I’ll miss the discussion of this moving autobiography! I had never read this story before, and I found the deep faith expressed by Corrie Ten Boom and her family incredibly inspiring. Their trust in God’s goodness amidst the darkest of times, their love both for the vulnerable and for their persecutors—and the ways in which the Lord worked through their suffering—are a powerful testimony. Their family was steeped in the Scriptures, and this was a profound reminder of the strength imparted through God’s Word. I enjoyed hearing about their practice of morning Bible reading—punctual down to the minute!—that included the family, shop employees, and anyone who wanted to join in. I marvel at Betsie’s eyes of faith that saw in every hardship an opportunity to share the Gospel with the hurting. I wonder at her thankfulness to God in all circumstances, and at His faithful response to her thanksgiving. Hebrews 12:1-3 speaks of how the example of the Old Testament saints can inspire us: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” The Ten Booms took heart in the Suffering Servant, and have joined that great cloud of witnesses who point us to Him.

Next Book: Mission at Nuremberg

We will meet April 22 to discuss Mission at Nuremberg.  This history tells of the LCMS pastor called to be chaplain to the Nazi war criminals on trial after WWII.   If you want to hear about the book, check out this podcast interview

Next Book: Humor on the Way to Heaven

Book Club takes up Janet Gillespie-Orsborn's Humor on the Way to Heaven for our March 25 meeting.  We met Janet last year and she's now married former member Larry Orsborn.  The book talks about caregiving at life's end and the positive role humor can play in that care.

Next Book: A Wrinkle in Time

Book Club takes up Madeline L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time for the February 25 meeting.  There's a ton of commentary about this book on-line.  If anyone has a favorite, post it in this thread for those who have read the book before.

February Nominations

Nominations for February’s book club include:

Humor on the Way to Heaven by Janet Gillespie-Orsborn is renominated.  Janet is married to Larry Orsborn and visited Holy Cross last year with him.

Andy Andrews’ The Noticer is also renominated.

Rev. Jonathan Fisk’s Broken:  7 “Christian” Rules that Every Christian Ought to Break as Often as Possible is nominated.

J.D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy is nominated.

Madeline L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time is nominated.


Humor on the Way to Heaven has a youtube video to tell its story, here.  The book is written from the experience of caregiving at life's end, shining a light on the humor that can be found even in the midst of grief.  The book is available in e-format and paperback.

The Noticer is available in every format, but not through our libraries.  The Noticer is part fiction, part allegory, part inspiration.  This book is about perspective, imagining a mysterious old man wearing jeans, a t-shirt, and leather sandals who shows up in people's lives when everything seems to be going wrong.  The old man offers a little perspective, noticing things that might just change some lives.

Broken is written by an LC-MS pastor, published by CPH.  It also has a video to explain what it’s all about here.  The book challenges rules that many Christians think they ought to live by, which are actually contrary to truly following Jesus.  It is available in ebook and paperback.

Hillbilly Elegy is a recent NYTimes bestseller, a memoir about growing up in Kentucky and Ohio.  The book is often noted for explaining recent political trends; it also has a lot to say about the religion and culture of Appalachia.

A Wrinkle in Time is a classic scifi/fantasy novel just over fifty years old, now set to be released as a Disney movie.  The author, Madeline L’Engle is an American Episcopalian.  Though a tale about young children and for younger audiences, there is plenty here for adults to discuss, especially before its release as a movie.

Gene Veith's Spirituality of the Cross

Given the busyness of Advent and Christmas, the book club elected to move their meeting time back to the first Sunday in January.  We will meet after church again and are looking for volunteers to help cook the meal.  

Gene Veith's The Spirituality of the Cross won the vote for next book to read.  Gene Veith has an active and interesting blog, updated daily at  He has written much about our faith, especially on the topic of vocation.  A discussion thread on his book will follow in a few weeks.