In the light of the protests happening around the country, I wanted to share something brief with you before we get to our usual review. I don’t know where you stand on these issues, but I appreciated Jonathan Rogers’ recent newsletter, “A Time to Listen”:
Now is an excellent time for white folks like me to listen more than we talk, to read more than we write. It is the writer’s responsibility (and privilege) to use his voice to tell a truer story than the one one the world is telling. Today I think the best use of my voice is to encourage you to listen to some voices you may not have listened to in the past. Lord knows I haven’t listened the way I should have. “A riot is the language of the unheard,” said Martin Luther King. So let’s listen . . .
I encourage you to read the whole email, even if you don’t make it back here again afterward. Rogers dedicates the rest of it to a list books, podcasts, and other resources that give those of us who haven’t listened the way we should have an opportunity to listen to voices we haven’t heard before (or, perhaps, that we need to hear again).
I don’t think you need to hear much else from me on this, other than that I am learning to listen, too. And for those of you marching: thank you. Our family is praying for you.
Not long ago, a single spider could clear any room of our house. (I take no pride in saying that I was often the first one to leave.) One report of a spider in the play room and no one would go up there again until Mitch had killed the offender and presented evidence of a body. One web on the front porch, and no one would sit in the rocking chair out there until every corner of the porch had been swept.
But now we have pet spiders—three of them. Goldie, the garden spider, hangs her web outside our dining room window. A wee baby spider just set up shop over a planter on the patio. And Rosie, the incredible redback jumping spider, tucked her burrito-shaped web into a crack in our raised garden bed. We visit her every day and often, to Rosie’s chagrin, the little girls hover right over her, chatting and pointing.
We learned more about spiders. They became not a whole scary lot of bugs that run, as C. S. Lewis once unforgettably observed, like disembodied hands, but individuals: a male house spider, horrifyingly large, but just hanging out in the corners of our dining room, looking for a lady friend. A garden spider, not spinning its web across our porch steps out of spite, but because she’s hoping to snack on a few of the bugs that try to snack on our hellebore.
Just as this shift isn’t limited to spiders (we now have snail friends, and roly poly friends, and it’s all I can do to keep the younger girls from keeping ladybugs in their pockets), it isn’t limited to one book either. But if I had to choose one book that has taught us to love the world around us a bit better, and see it in a little more detail, I’d choose Indescribable.
Indescribable sits in the windowsill near our table, and hardly anyone grumbles when we pull it down to read at dinner. This book is a curious mix of Scripture, scientific exploration, devotional readings, and fun “Bet you didn’t know this!” facts about our world.
Each reading looks at some incredible aspect of the world and considers, without reaching far for the connection, what that aspect says about God. The death of stars; our respiratory system; shark’s teeth—each of these topics spark wonder in us, and each of these can teach us something about God. When so many people assume that God and science stand in opposition to one another, Louis Giglio shows us that science does not inevitably lead to skepticism but can instead teach us to recognize, through even unlikely things like spiders and snails, the personality and joy of God.
Giglio has introduced us to incredible facts about whales and volcanoes and trees and snow. But he doesn’t just point at those things and say, “Isn’t this cool? Isn’t it great how this happens?”—and then walk away. Instead, he points from the tree to the Tree Maker and says, “Look what this says about him. Look how purposeful and wonderful this tree is. Enjoy it. And through it, know the one who made it.”
“The heavens declare the glory of God” (Psalm 19:1), and so do redback jumping spiders named Rosie. Rejoice.
Indescribable: 100 Devotions About God & Science
Louis Giglio; Nicola Anderson (2017)