Table manners

Book review A None’s Story

This is my opinion. If you don’t want dessert, just say, “No, thanks.”

This book review is on the talking book library 88037 “A None’s Story” by Corina Nicolaou.. And yes I spelled it correctly, you silly smart device spell checker. Remember how I once wrote that I don’t particularly like book reviews. well, sometimes, it’s because I don’t like the book, but I can’t help myself and have to read it to the end.

Perhaps a disclaimer to begin with. The book is a “journal” of the author’s own experience. Therefore the attraction for me to discover how she constructs the memoir. The author did not write about the events at their time and is relaying on hindsight to fill in the memory gaps. Hindsight always has a “clear” vision for the individual employing the task. Her vantage point does not necessarily make her opinions perfect, but they are her own.

First of all, Corina explains what a “none” is: someone who if the chance were given them to fill out some religious survey goes to the bottom of the list and marks “none.” No census or survey has ever been my pleasure either, but hearing the term made me feel like somehow I had been born in the dark ages.

Everyone wants an identity. Or rather everyone wants to identify with others. Being alone makes one feel very vulnerable. Just ask the little calico that I put out with all of the other black cats. She A feels alone. Her singleness leads her to continue to search for food in a separate location than all of the others. We do not know if she refuses to eat with the pigs (the other cats) or if they will not led her dine with them.

Being alone causes a searching, a seeking, or an inner desire be part of a club, a group, or a family. Single people in their twenties will search out some bonding to give them a sense of fulfillment. Married couples often just find that need nourished in each other or in their career. Church in the larger metropolitan society lost it’s grip on the singles and the yuppees- the career builders. Small communities are following this suit surely also.

In the book, it seems that Ms. Nicolaou moves from the family unit into the career days of life with a loss of identity. Her search for meaning through the tale as told in the book made me think of a lost child searching for a family to dine with each evening.

She tells of her going from church to church, to synagogue and so forth as if she were searching among the fast food restaurant chains looking for God at the tables. And it made me think of a book I read one time that taught me about table manners.

My first address is to Corina’s search to identify with some religion or another. Looking for God is not the same as looking fro your favorite Campbell’s soup can. God is not in a soup can. While you might like one thing or another better and choose one soup as your favorite, God can not be condensed into a soup can. Neither can you find Him by church hopping. Eating Chicken noodle one week and then clam chowder the next will surely leave you empty, hungry and unable to identify with any of the Progesso soup mixes. I felt so sorry for her as she wanders around like a lost sheep in search of her “soul.”

Changing family dinner tables every night of the week, does not make you a member of that family. If I were to go eat with the Anderson’s one night, the Rigano’s the next night, and the Qualin’s the next, I am not any more an Anderson or Smith than I was the day before. Identifying with a religion does not happen because I visited their santum.

It was saddest of all to me that no one ever explained John chapter 3 to her. She seemed like such a lost Nicodemus. One that never heard Jesus’s statement about being born again. The only thing that makes me beholding to my maiden name is that I was born into my father’s house. But the amazing thing about my Father in heaven’s family is that I was adopted in. His adoption of me was like a being born again.

No matter how long the book goes on (I think I have five hours of listening yet) I am sure she never gets the table manners. Even my dog has to learn the table manners expected of her in my home. God has table manners also.

Going from church to church and building to building and meeting to meeting, I am surprised by the fact that they all make it so complicated for Corina to understand the truth about God through all of her searching. Explaining a relationship with God like table manners is about the best way I have ever heard.

God gave us everything we need to know in one Book: the Bible. It’s like the manual on life. Some people call it Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth. The simplest way to look at is table manners. If we want to dine at His eternal banquet table, we have a few table manners to learn.

The invitation. God does not stuff us like turkeys at thanksgiving dinner. He invites us to come join Him. It’s as simple as “would you like dessert?” Yes or no. God gifts us with His love. Do we except or reject? If Jesus was who he said, do I believe it or walk away.

Once we accept the invitation to life as He offers it, then it’s all about learning to behave properly at His table. His table is here now as well as in the future at His eternal mansion. Behaving with table manners is our whole lot in life. Learning to say please pass the rutabagas, and thank you and your welcome and so forth. Do I need to say more?

Table manners from the vantage point of the none’s story is more like picking all the spices in the world and putting them into one dish. Uff dah. There’s my grasping of my husband’s Norwegian heritage. Maybe one should consult the recipe book written by the Creator of all those spices before cooking a dish that will end up like dog food. Or worse. I wonder how well a None would be educated at my dinner table.

How about your family celebrations? Do they include a blessed view of the Creator? An invitation to the future banqueting table? Someone might just be watching you next time you eat out.

Once when our family went to a home school convention, after the event while we out to eat at a restaurant, someone payed our billl. It was an amazing surprise for us. We felt God had blessed our weekend and our family. Our dinner table conversation, the way that we all interacted with one another was just given a stranger’s approval. I am not seeking a stranger’s blessing. I am seeking the approval of the Creator. And knowing that I will never really get it without Jesus standing in my stead.

Yes, I will finish the book. My disappointment in the lost sheep not finding a “fold” in Christ is evident. I am sorry that she did not find this verse.

Isiah 64:4 “For since the beginning of the world

Men have not heard nor perceived by the ear

Nor has the eye seen any God besides You,

Who acts for the one who waits for Him.” (NKJV)

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