Tag Archives: Christian

Classic Monday: Avoidance + Confession

So, I haven’t done a Classic Monday post the past few weeks.  Why?  Because I feel pressured every time I look at the pretty, vintage copy of The Big Fisherman laying on my nightstand, inviting me to crack its spine and dive in–which I do.  The problem is, there are so many other things to read, too!

Here’s a confession: for as much as I love reading, I’m a slow reader.  And an ADD one at that…I struggle with books that don’t move quickly enough and I have a terrible habit of starting too many books at a time.

How does any of that relate to Classic Mondays?  I had all of these grand delusions intentions about reading a classics chapter every day, finishing four classics this year, etc.  But I never factored in my reading ADD or Pookie’s playtime needs.

And I don’t want to skimp on playtime because I feel guilty!

So, I come to you, my reader friend, with a new goal: if I read a chapter a week and finish just one classic this year, I will feel successful.

Phew, with that off my chest I can share with you about chapter 10!

Voldi meets a bunch of Romans and Lloyd C. Douglas philosophizes about Roman culture, with accurate predictions (through the guise of characters) about the downfall of Rome.  It was fascinating and I understand where he was going, but it wasn’t executed to the best of his ability, in my humble opinion.

Then Voldi goes on his way, traveling toward Galilee with a tip from a Roman: he should seek Ben Zadok, the lawyer who got Fara her job in the palace, so I’m sure Voldi and Fara will soon be reunited..though the way their paths cross should be interesting.

Voldi passes through Nazareth, where the food, the people, and the surroundings are unappetizing and unwelcoming.  But he does meet with a farrier who tells him about Jesus as a child.  I like the way Douglas portrays Jesus in his youth; Jesus is said to have been shy around adults but eager to tell other children about a wonderful country where

there was no winter and no darkness–and the rivers never dried or overflowed–and nobody was ever sick–and nobody died–and nobody wept.  And everyone loved the King….The country was at peace.  There were no soldiers, no forts, no prisons, no alms-houses.  Everyone had some work to do, but not for money.  There wasn’t any money.  No one was rich; no one was poor.  And flowers grew everywhere and always–but nobody gathered them (278, 279).

Doesn’t that sound like the place to be?  One day, one day…

Finally, a little fiction!

I don’t know what it is about motherhood, but I have found it darn near impossible to get through a novel these days!  Finally, the happy day has come in which I plowed through the last 100-or-so pages in an evening and have that satisfied, finished feeling.

The book?  The Thorn by Beverly Lewis.

But before I talk about the book, I must give a little background on my relationship with Beverly Lewis.

No, I don’t actually know her or anything, but I had never read Amish fiction before I read her books, and I think I had only ever read one Christian novel.  I was working at a library and commuting to university two days a week…two hours each way (it was only for a semester, but still pretty crazy).

After one round-trip with nothing but the radio to keep me company, I knew something needed to change.  I started scouring audiobook titles as I shelved them and happened upon The Covenant, the first of the Abram’s Daughters series.

And oh. my. word. I fell head over heels for the simplicity of the lives but the complexity in the story. As I was only months from my own wedding, I desperately wanted a happy ending for Leah and Jonas…but I had to get through five books to know whether or not it happened!  I love how Beverly Lewis keeps you on your toes, makes it seem as though a happy ending is impossible, then gives you an ending that is satisfying, plausible, and unexpected all at once.

Plus, isn’t she cute as a button?

The Thorn follows Rose Ann as she cares for her injured mother, courts a beau, and tries to keep a wayward neighbor fella–adopted by the local bishop when the boy was nine–from leaving the Plain life behind.  Meanwhile, her older sister longs to get back to her Amish roots…even though she married an Englischer and has a daughter.

I can’t say much more without giving away the game, but it was delightful to get through a novel, and I can hardly wait for book two of the trilogy, The Judgment, to make an appearance at my local library!

When you’re looking for a good novel, who do you reach for?

Classic Monday: Fishie Update!

Classic Mondays are posts about whatever classic work of literature I happen to be reading at the time. Mostly, this is for my own benefit as a “reading log” of sorts, but those who need a little help through these sometimes-intimidating books or want to know more about them before diving in may find these posts useful. But be warned: full disclosure and lots of spoilers ahead!

FINALLY, right?  I’ve been itching to read The Big Fisherman and to write about it for awhile, but circumstances are a real pain in the patoot.  Anyway, I read chapters eight and nine, so here goes:

In chapter eight, Fara begins work at the palace.  She gets along with others easily, and the work is enjoyable.  Then she learns that John the Baptist is being held prisoner there.  She offers to take him his meals, and they are able to speak openly once again; she is even able to offer him time in the sun, which he has not seen in weeks or more.  She tells him about seeing the Carpenter, that he speaks of peace and love rather than overthrowing the government and wrath as John had expected.  John sends her to see him again, telling her to say that John the Baptist wonders if he is the one or should he look for another (sound familiar?).

Simon also went to see the Carpenter, yet again.  Simon is living on his boat, his head racing.  He is convinced that he will befriend the Carpenter and offer to keep the masses from piling on him so.  The Carpenter has something else in mind: Simon sees him on the beach and joins him there.  The Carpenter tells him to follow and though Simon admits how sinful he is, the Carpenter simply says

“I have come to save sinners, my son” (225).

Goosebumps, no?  Simon follows him along the beach and they collect James and John, the sons of Zebedee.

And then, we go back to Voldi.  Have I mentioned Voldi yet?  I didn’t pay much attention to him in the beginning, and I was ready to dismiss him again.  But he gets into a thrilling battle with a horse thief while searching for Fara, and I couldn’t help but enjoy following his storyline.  You see, Voldi is in love with Fara and knows that she set out to kill her father.  He is determined to find her and is hot on the trail.  Then he meets up with a Roman aristocrat and they strike up a friendship in which Voldi bares all.

But here’s the kicker: the Roman is on his way to pick up Antipas the Tetrarch, Fara’s father.  And Voldi gets to come along.

And so the plot thickens!

P.S. I would love to hear from anybody else reading a classic…whatcha reading?

Classic Monday: Fishie, chapter 7!

Classic Mondays are posts about whatever classic work of literature I happen to be reading at the time. I shoot for reading five chapters a week (one per weekday), then share what I have read here. Mostly, this is for my own benefit as a “reading log” of sorts,but those who need a little help through these sometimes-intimidating books or want to know more about them before diving in may find these posts useful. But be warned: full disclosure and lots of spoilers ahead!

Well, I really didn’t expect to be able to write today: my family was supposed to be in-state to visit a culinary school my little brother is interested in (oh to have a chef in the family–I can hardly wait!), and we were going to join them in that city for a little hotel getaway.

Blizzard of 08

And then they got snowed in.  And our getaway went Poof.  So long.  Sayonara.  No pool time, along-with-the-hubster time, no visit-with-mom time, no dinner out, no free continental breakfast.

Do not pass GO, do not collect $200.

Blog instead.

So, chapter seven of The Big Fisherman is all I got through this week, but it was pretty good.

The beginning follows Fara on a visit to the home of David, the Sadducee who suspects who she is.  Alone in the garden, she confesses everything to him–even her plans to kill Antipas the Tetrach, her father.  David advises against it, stating that it is impossible…unless she were to work at the palace.  Later, we find out that she has taken a position there at David’s urging (so it’s obvious he’s not a huge fan of Antipas–though the book shows that nobody is).  Hannah worries about Fara because the palace is such a morally compromised place, and that is all we see of Fara for now.

Simon has once again gone in search of the Carpenter (that is, Jesus), and his heart seems to be changing: when he sees the crippled and lame who are searching for Jesus, Simon hopes that He is the real deal because he pities them.  And doesn’t every follower of Christ know this feeling?  The deep-down heart change that can’t be explained until Jesus grabs hold?

While Simon is trying to find Jesus, he has a brush with a prince: Joseph of Arimathea.  The author portrays him as young and arrogant, angry at Simon when he alludes to the fact that the Carpenter pities the rich.  Joseph and his men follow the crowd, too, to listen.

The way the author describes Jesus’ preaching is reason alone to read this book.  If you haven’t already gotten the hint from my previous posts, you must read this book.  Anyway…as the sermon draws to a close, a woman asks Simon to help get her blind daughter to Jesus to be healed.  The crowd is too thick, so Simon takes the girl in his arms and pushes through.  He sees Jesus face-to-face for the first time and the author’s description gave me chills:

“And now–now–at last–he stood face to face with the strange man of Nazareth, close enough to have touched him….He looked down into a pair of tranquil, steady, earnestly inquiring eyes.  They held him fast; they brightened with a friendly smile, almost as if two long-time companions were meeting after a separation….

It was such a gentle gesture that it seemed like a caress when Jesus laid his hand lightly upon the little girl’s eyes….At the touch of Jesus’ hand, she relaxed and drew a babyish sigh of relief and reassurance.  Simon’s eyes suddenly swam blindingly as Jesus’ forearm rested on his own.  It was a strange sensation.  he knew now what it was that had suddenly soothed the child and freed her of her fears.

Jesus was praying.  He had closed his eyes, and was praying in a soft voice barely above a whisper.  His prayer was made to his “Father,” and it was as if they two were closeted together in some secret place.  In a tone of intimate companionship and confidence he asked his Father to give this little one her sight, for it was through no fault of hers that she could not see.  Then–and there was a note of sadness and longing in his voice–he prayed that all men everywhere, groping in the shadows, might be led into the bright sunshine of his Father’s love….

Simon thought he couldn’t bear it–when it happened.  He gasped involuntarily and stifled a sob.  The incredible thing had happened!  It was impossible–but it had actually happened!  Jesus had gently moved his hand from the child’s eyes and…she had slowly raised her wondering eyes to his–and smiled.  Then, turning her head, she gazed bewilderedly into Simon’s face; and, seeing his tears, her own little eyes overflowed.

As I said before, you must read this book.  And even the haughty Joseph of Arimathea was amazed by the things he saw.  As the story gets better and better, you can bet I’ll have more chapters to report on next Monday!

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Review: Radical by David Platt

Talk about a game-changer.

David Platt got under my skin with this quick-reading, hard-hitting book: is pursuing the American dream–house, kids, good job, security–Christian?  That is, if we pursue the things of this world, can we truly be pursuing Jesus Christ?

That question alone stops me in my tracks.

No, Platt is not saying that I (or you or anyone) must sell my every possession in exchange for a one-way ticket to Africa to live life as a missionary, but he’s imploring us to check our hearts.

Our desires.

Our true motives.

He offers story after story of people in this world hurting, dying, needing Jesus.  Can I sit in my well-heated apartment when people in my own community lay their heads to sleep on cold benches?  Can I gorge myself on my favorite snack when children in my country go without food?  Can I spend my time and money at the mall when people across the world can’t even get a glass of clean water?

Platt does not merely offer stories and statistics to make the reader feel bad; he offers real, doable solutions that can be implemented by singles, marrieds, families, widows, kids–anybody.  And this year, I’m all about doable.

{The main premise of the book is this: Jesus called you.  He called you to take His love to the world, where you are and everywhere else.}

I would write more specifically about the book, but Professor and I are going to read through it together, one chapter a week.  After our reading and discussion, I’ll fill you in on the book’s contents and our discussion.  Suffice to say, I highly recommend this book and look forward to changing the world–here, there, and everywhere.

This book was provided by Waterbrook Multnomah as part of their blogging for books program.  The thoughts and opinions expressed are entirely my own.

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