Thursday, January 17, 2013

Home, No, Home?

Tutoring evenings makes me a bit of an NPR junkie. Wednesdays in particular I drive 40 minutes one way to tutor for two hours. It's worth the cash and a bit of aloneness in the car.

Marketplace from American Public Media featured this prose on 01-16-2013 by Tracy K. Smith:

We dream on our backs, eyes shut to the world. Dreams carry us away, but when we wake from them, we're right back where we were when we lay down. For all but the most exceptional of people, dreams keep us from stirring, from making a peep. I'm tired of dreams. 
I'm tired of what we mean when we tell kids (particularly the ones who seem to be up against the most insurmountable odds) to "dream big." What can dreaming really do to help a person prevail against the many perils of poverty and injustice? And I'm tired of the dream that flickers in the mind's eye whenever anyone alludes to the values this nation was founded upon. How relevant is the notion that hard work is all it takes to get ahead in the era of reality TV, Citizens United and widespread acceptance of the idea that wealth equals worth? 
As far as I'm concerned, it's time to wake up. 
Enter, hope, another story altogether. Hope is not about receiving, about being the beneficiary of some nebulous good fortune, it's about putting desire into action. Hope is an idea with an engine. 
Whenever I hear people disparaging the notion of hope -- and I heard a lot of it in the four years following the 2008 election -- I think how used we've gotten to the symbols of action, and how far those symbols sit from action itself: "Like" us on Facebook! And we do, we most certainly do. Then, we scroll ahead and disappear back into our private lives. But the hope I'm talking about isn't a symbol. It sits well beneath the surface of language and requires us to unravel what we say, to de-code what we are routinely told, to verify what we are only just beginning to think. Moreover, it requires us to keep at it, to remain awake to the world. 
Hope makes us agents in our own fates. Hope defies us to sit back and wait. It says, buckle down, gather steam. Hope denies us retreat to the dream.

Read it again (it only lacks prayer for the centered Christ follower) and you'll see connections to my current reading. Although fiction can occasionally still captivate me by opening up another world, non-fiction or someone's memoir on real life take up the slim reading time I have.

Truth, it's what I crave.

My husband and I are currently reading "Radical: Taking Back Your Faith From the American Dream" by David Platt. A review and reflection will come soon, I promise.

In the meantime, read Smith's words again.


  1. I really liked this. I would like to read this "radical" book as well, will try to get it from the library. Maybe we can all have a discussion about it sometime?

  2. David platt has a short DVDwith the same topics as the book. There are 8 or 10 video clips of him giving sermons. The clips are 3-5 min long but very deep. You have to watch them at least twice before discussing. Makes for great conversation and the best part is they are free. You just have to pay shipping which was $4 to Hawaii. May be cheaper for you. We ordered 40 of them and after watching the videos at bible study and discussing handed them out to everyone with the encouragement to watch them withanother friend. They say on them so I would imagine that's where I found them. I just ran across it when googling the book.