Sunday, April 22, 2012

She is too fond of books, and it has turned her brain.

Book photo by Asta (from her bookshelf)

Books have been very much on my mind lately. I am surrounded by them at work (a library). I work and play at writing them. I read them (all the time), and in my previous post I shared my book culling efforts.

As a  novice with the Third Order of the Society of Saint Francis (an Anglican order for everyday people like me) - I am going through a period of formation. Today I was reflecting on Saint Francis' attitude toward book knowledge. He was very wary of it, to the point that he actually discouraged it. Thankfully our order today encourages study, but as I read more of the reasons for Saint Francis' concerns I realised that he just might have had a bit of a point. Here are some of the thoughts that have been rattling around my head:

Perhaps we can become so puffed up with learning that we are unable to come 'naked' and humble before our God.

Perhaps knowledge can become a God in itself.

Perhaps we may begin to think that we are better than our brother or sister who is less well educated.

Perhaps from all our learning we can be so busy telling others how to live that we forget to do the work ourselves - and so we do plenty of talking (or writing) without doing what we preach.

Just maybe too much concern with knowledge could be considered little different to excess wealth.

And maybe we aren't discerning enough about what we read.

Any thoughts?

Asta x

The title of the post comes from Louisa May Alcott's 'A Story of  Experience'.


  1. St. Francis makes a valid point. Maybe we are to use our book knowledge as a jumping off point to incorporate what we have read and critically evaluate the information as it applies to our time and our lives. Tweaking it to make sense for us and our values and inner compass. Take minimalism for example...I have few possessions now compared to my earlier life and yet by many standards still have a great deal as I have tools for my art and trade as well as components and supplies. Without all my jewelry supplies I could get rid of an entire file cabinet and a large antique cupboard not to mention a safe! I have recently let go of costume jewelry parts by donating them to another artist and that has cleared a cubic foot of space. Not much you say? It all adds up in my small work space.

    Another example would be my reading up on traveling light. Many of the items listed by pros I could forego entirely! I use unrefined Shea butter for conditioner, face cream and lotion as well deodorant. A small tin lasts a surprisingly long time.

    I guess my final thought is there isn't one...we must each incorporate what we learn into usable knowledge for our everyday existence.

  2. I like to learn new skills,get more knowledge.