Monday, December 31, 2007

Dominion


I read a lot . . . what can I say? I like books! Anyways, I thought I'd post some quick notes and opinions on here when I finish a book - that way, if anyone is interested (probably not but I like to pretend) they can decide whether or not they want to read it themselves! First of all, let me say that if you haven't read The Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne - you need to! :-) But that's not what this is about . . .

I just finished reading Dominion by Randy Alcorn. Overall, I'd summarize it by saying it was an interesting story that dragged on a little too long. Normally I'm not a good critic because I like most books and movies and I dont like to say anything "mean" about them . . . but I will chance to say that this book dragged - - In particular, there was too much repetitive "preaching" about racism and race issues.

Let me qualify that statement by saying that I was excited when I realized this book was about inner-city life and talked about racial issues (I originally picked it up because I had read and enjoyed the previous book in the "series"). I just felt like he repeated himself too much talking about how prevalent racism still is in the U.S. (something I am even prone to agree with!) It ended up taking away from the story rather than adding to it.

That said, the story itself was engaging and interesting, painting a vivid and fascinating picture of both inner-city life and life in heaven. Alcorn's writing is fluid, if a little wordy. Despite the dragging in the middle (it was hard for me to get through, which rarely happens to me with books), the twists at the end made up for it and left me with a good taste in my mouth about the book. Overall, I enjoyed reading Dominion and learned valuable lessons from it about racism. Alcorn also offers several interesting and profound insights into human nature and spiritual life.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Puzzles . . .


I realized today watching the kids try and put together puzzles at the preschool that it was a perfect picture of their typical attitude towards life in general (I know, it sounds like a stretch - but stick with me . . . )
When a group of five or six of them is given a puzzle to assemble, the first thing they do is grab as many pieces as possible and escape to work on it . . . the problem is, none of the pieces they grab and claim as theirs necessarily fit together, and it is clearly impossible to finish the puzzle without collaborating with the other puzzle-makers with THEIR stashes of pieces. . .

I've found it frustrating and next to impossible to try and help them work together on the puzzle. Their mentality is to grab as much as they can for themselves and then not let anyone near, because they might steal their pieces. I cant help but feel compassion for these kids who live in a world where they have to protect what little they have so it doesnt get stolen from them . . .

However, I think on some level we are all like this in our lives - hoarding and storing up treasures here on earth, failing to see how perfectly the pieces all fit together once we are willing to share and fit our pieces into other people's pieces. The Lord must feel a little bit like I do: tired of trying to constantly explain that we have to share, and frustrated with our tears every time one of our pieces gets taken away. The thing is: when we get "our" pieces taken away, it's often because the Lord has a much bigger picture (the whole puzzle) and we need to give up this piece to make the whole fit together!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

A Journey

Matt asked me to share at Canvas this week the journey that Christ has had me on as I've begun working and serving. Luckily, I lost my voice on Friday (conveniently since I hate speaking in front of people) so instead of speaking, I went through my blogs and journals and pulled out snippets that gave a good picture of the path I've been traveling down. It was a fascinating and humbling exercise to see how far my faith and life have come in the past couple months (it's all happened so fast!) since camp. I am thankful for where the Lord has brought me to and excited to see where He will take me next!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Puppy Power!

Being somewhat of a pushover, I've often wondered what I'll do if I ever have a "strong-willed child". . . Well maybe God is helping me practice, because our new puppy is definitely strong-willed (to say the least!) I know that Charli looks cute and innocent -- but she's not! Rather, she takes every opportunity to pounce on your face, hands, feet or whatever else is available. And she growls fiercely (more like a snarl really) sounding remarkably like a little gremlin or demon-dog . . .

After seriously pondering returning her (stamped "defective") to the breeder - we have enlisted the professional help of a dog trainer! Actually, we just had her check Charli out and make sure she wasnt overly aggressive (in that we wouldnt be able to train it out of her). Susie (the trainer) informed me that she is definitely a dominant and bossy little girl (she was the runt of 11 and somehow still ended up Alpha dog . . . ) but that under that she's super-smart, sweet and not aggressive at all. Great news right?! The only catch is that it means I have to be (gasp) STRICT and (big trouble for me here) firm and authoritative . . . I have to show her that I, in fact, am the alpha dog around here . . .

Indulge me for a minute while I make a little leap that I've been considering since my meeting with the trainer today. . . One thing I've been thinking a lot about lately is how important it is not to give up on kids. Those who have been abandoned to the foster system, who are hard to work with (that's an understatement!) and have been abused, are angry and aggressive and not in the least bit "easy to love" - if God is calling us to adopt kids like this someday, maybe He's using Charli to teach us the importance of patience and perseverance and not giving up when things get hard. As I think about my own personality, and how little my words are heeded by the kids at the preschool and at Metro Kidz (in other words, they dont do what I say or listen to me at all), I realize that maybe learning how to speak with authority and how to establish my dominance will not be a bad thing to learn as I continue down this journey that the Lord has me on . . .

Of course the #1 lesson we learned was to TAKE OUR TIME making decisions, stop being so impulsive and think things through! :-)

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