My Two Favorite Books

My first all-time favorite book is the Holy Bible. It is made up of Old and New Testaments that give testimony to God’s redeeming action on behalf of all creation. It is the account of God’s love and mercy with a rebellious people who do not deserve His grace. It is through the Scriptures that I can hear God’s voice, learn who I am, what my vocation is and what it means to be like Jesus in His Kingdom while I anxiously await His second coming.

My second all-time favorite book is my passport. It is small but it allows me countless adventures that have shaped who I am today. This book has taken me places I never dreamed of going – rural towns in the Andes Mountains, indigenous villages in the Brazilian Amazon, South American shantytowns, gigantic Latin American capitals. Thanks to this little book, I have learned to communicate in four languages. I have met and interacted with people from literally all over the planet.

I will continue to give away copies of the Bible whenever I can. But sadly, I cannot give anyone a copy of my passport – it would useless to anyone else.

IMG_3732Thanks to my reading of book 1 and my frequent use of book 2, I have spent much time reflecting on what it means for Jonathan Hanegan to be Jesus in today’s world. This Spirit-guided reflection is born out of the reading of Scripture and an experience-with-God. It is also shaped by the living testimony of other brothers and sisters in Christ.

Some people I dearly love have shown some concern regarding the way I see the world. For the moment, we have arrived at different interpretations of Jesus’s exhortation to love our neighbors. We disagree on what it means to pledge allegiance solely to God’s Kingdom. We understand differently our call to be peacemakers in a war-torn world.

I appreciate your concern. I appreciate your patience with me. And I solicit your prayers as I continue to wrestle with what it looks like to be Jesus to everyone I meet.

My website and my Facebook profile are a microcosm of what I think “the good life” is. I share pictures of my family, friends, church activities, books I am reading as well as essays and news articles that I think are important. If you disagree with what I write or post, I ask that you comment respectfully and help me understand what you believe and why it is important to you. If at all possible, let’s do it over coffee!

My prayer is that all I say, do and represent rings true with Jesus’ person, ministry and message of peace, love and reconciliation that our world desperately needs.

Flannery O’Connor’s Revelation

“Please help me dear God to be a good writer and to get something else accepted.” These are the words written by Flannery O’Connor in her prayer journal sometime between January 1946 and September 1947. At this point, she did not know just how much of her work was to published and cherished by so many!

This past Thursday we learned about the great American author, Flannery O’Connor. We read her short stories “The Artificial Nigger”, “Good Country People”, “Revelation” and “Judgment Day”. Here’s the handout we shared with the group:

Flannery O'Connor

Flannery O’Connor is able to arouse our sense of justice but at the same time draw us toward a greater self-awareness of who we are and how we see and treat “the other”. Her stories often mention prejudice and race in the Southern United States. Despite living in a different time and place, her words still speak clearly today and call us dwell upon what kind of people we are today. O’Connor’s revelation story can lead us to our own revelation, if we allow it to.