The Books on my desk

The books on my desk. Copyright © 2019 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.

Last night, when I tidied up I left a stack of books on the corner of my desk. Seeing them this morning reminded me how much my life has changed. The pile of books is as follows — top to bottom:

  • Personal Journal
  • Work Journal
  • Saint Augustine’s Prayer Book
  • The Book of Common Prayer
  • The Brotherhood of St. Andrew Devotional Handbook
  • The Bible – New Standard Revised Version
Journal Scribbles – an example of the scribbles in the sketchbook half of my journal. Copyright © 2019 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.

Personal Journal. I’ve been using these homemade leather journal covers for several years now. When the notebooks in them get full I simply replace the notebooks with new ones. The first half of my personal journal is a rolling, rambling, monologue about my life which, honestly, is of little value to anyone, myself included. The second and much less populated half is a sketchbook, which contains scant few sketches, but various plans and schematics for projects both personal and around the house.

Work Journal. My work journal is also in two halves. The first is my Bullet Journal, an endlessly expanding list of things to be done, things done, brief notes about progress, and other small snippets of information I think I may need to refer back to. I follow Ryder Carroll’s Bullet Journaling system quite closely, though my notes are probably not as short as the system requires. My other deviation is in keeping my  ‘Collections’ — or project notes in a separate notebook. That’s not really a huge departure as I keep both notebooks in the same cover, making the collections the second half, holding any more detailed notes I need.

Saint Augustine’s Prayer Book. This prayer book was given to me earlier this year as part of the goodies in the Episcopal Communicators’ Conference goodie bag. I’m still learning my way around it. There’s a lot of good stuff in here, but some of the prayers have a tad too much adoration for my taste. More about prayers later …

Book of Common Prayer. The BCP is probably the book I most often reach for. I received this copy when I was confirmed. Over the years I’ve learned my way around it, and it is the primary source of the daily prayers I post on behalf of the Diocese and Brotherhood online.

Mornings and evenings it’s currently taking a backseat while I get to grips with St. Aug’s Prayer Book. I also have another, a combined prayer book and hymnal, that’s great for church, when I need the hymnal, but I don’t use it often in the office.

The Brotherhood of St. Andrew Devotional Handbook. The Devotional Handbook has a few unique entries for men’s ministries and I need to spend more time going through it — that’s why it’s in the pile.

And finally,

The Bible. This is the copy I used throughout my Education for Ministry course. It’s well used with lots of highlighting, notes and exclamation points — typically where I got annoyed with some contradiction or outrageous recorded act. It took me a long time to get over a phobia about writing or defacing books, Especially the Bible! Our friend Pastor Katie says that a Bible’s not complete without lots of notes and highlighting. I’m still not sure. She even has one Bible ripped apart and re-configured in the shape of a cross. The Bible is probably the least used of these books, as it’s much easier to search online. www.Biblegateway.com is a great resource! I  still have the Bible I was given when I left my Church of England school back in 1967, but that copy is now out of date.

So how has my life changed? Well, back in the UK, despite attending a church school and enduring many years of Religious Education, I stopped going to church in my teens. In later life, I considered myself an agnostic.

When I moved to Missouri, it was obvious that church formed a big part of my new family’s routine and I was now living in the buckle of the Bible Belt. I decided that I should educate myself further, the better to ‘know the enemy’ as it were. I signed up for the four year Education for Ministry class. Little did I or Fr. Jonathan know what we were letting ourselves in for. Maybe I’ll write some more about that another day. Fr. Jonathan’s made some pointed comments over the years, the one I remember the best being “You look good in black,” after I led an evening prayer session. I’ve resisted that particular call. Too much studying and work involved. I ended up working parttime for the church as a civvy instead.   

Copyright © 2019 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.