Friday, February 22, 2008

Book Review: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe

Title: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe
Author: C.S. Lewis

How can you not love this book? I've had it read to me several times as a kid, read it in college before the movie came out a few Christmases ago, and reread it a few months ago when I ventured into the full Narnia series. Most people (especially reading this) have probably read the Narnia books, particularly this first book, being the most well-known of the series. It contains a favorite quote of mine, the conversation between Lucy and Mr. Tumnus, in which Mr. Tumnus says tha Aslan is not safe "but he is good."

Elaborating on the plot of this book would be rather pointless, because, as I stated earlier, I'm guessing that most of the people reading this post have already read the book. Instead of belaboring the book's virtues (and they are many), I'll simply say that I loved rereading this book. Always have, probably always will. As of this writing, I'm nearing halfway in The Silver Chair and have announced my intentions to move to Narnia more than once.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Love your enemies

Recently, Corey and Mike, two guys from my church, created a set of posters to help challenge Christians to love their enemies. They are powerful, and to some, offensive. But they contain truth that we all need to hear. The truth that we are called to love everyone--Hitler or Mother Teresa. It's the same truth that's contained in the idea that God loves Billy Graham just as much as He loves a stripper.

Go on over to their blog and be challenged to love Hilter, Osama and others we've been told it's "okay" to hate. The truth is, it’s not okay to hate anyone. Especially if you call yourself a Christian, we are commanded to “clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” (Colossians 3:12) Notice it doesn’t say anything about people deserving our love. If we only loved those who deserve it, we wouldn’t love anyone, because we are all sinful. The truth is, you and I are just as wretched as Hitler or any other “bad” person who’s ever lived. It's only by the grace of Christ that we are redeemed and made "loveable."

[Note: I tried to upload the images here but wasn't able to.]

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

What does it look like to be pro-life?

As I’ve blogged about previously, the idea of being pro-life (not just anti-abortion) is a topic near to my heart. I was thinking the other day about what it looks to like to be actively pro-life. Here are a few things I’ve come up with; I’d love to hear other people’s ideas.

1. Babies=blessing. Next time a couple announces they’re pregnant, congratulate them. Even if it’s their third child. Or fourth. Or fifth. Or…you get the idea. Babies are always a blessing.

2. This one might get me in some trouble, but I’m going to go for it anyways. Be joyful and loving to unmarried parents. It’s not the baby’s fault mom and dad haven’t made marriage vows; why should we treat them like it is? Don’t squelch the joy of a baby, made in God’s image. Instead of giving looks of judgment, give a hand of grace. If a 17 year old girl is suddenly pregnant, she’s going to need all the help she can give. As I have stated before, I believe that babies are always a blessing, even if the circumstances in which they were conceived were not.

3. Don’t stare, point, make rude comments or ask “don’t they know what causes that?” when you see a large family. Yes, they do know what causes that and they probably enjoy it. ;) Train yourself to think “how awesome!” when you see a mom with six kids, instead of “poor woman.”

4. Baby-sit! Hanging out with kids/babies not only prepares you for marriage, it expands your worldview and affirms the blessing of marriage by allowing the parent[s] to get away. It is an honor and joy for to be able to baby-sit for families that I know; I love it.

5. Affirm the value of the elderly. I’m convinced that older people are a dreadfully underused wealth of information and knowledge in our society. We shut them up in nursing homes instead of drawing on their wisdom.

Thoughts? Other suggestions? I’d love to see them!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

One Silent Night in Bellingham

Last night I ventured into the local Deaf community, quite a big step since I didn't know anyone there. I had visions of everyone using book-perfect ASL with beautiful non-manual marks and wonderful facial expressions...and me not understanding any of it. Of course, that wasn't true. Like a lot of Deaf events I attended while at Bethel, this one had more hearing people than Deaf, mostly students from the Jehovah's Witness church wanting to be able to communicate with those who have been coming to their church. There were also students who sometimes forgot to sign if they were speaking and who were writing down new vocab words...oh, the memories.

It was slightly comforting to know that they haven't been studying it as long as I have, so then I felt better (and signed slower....I sign way too fast when I'm nervous). Getting to know everyone really was enjoyable. It was so good to know that I can still sign! I got the contact info of two girls (one Deaf, one hearing) and I hope to be able to hang out with them sometime.

I have a story about one good voicing moment I had when I was mentally interpreting what one lady was saying, but I won't bore you all with that right now.

So, moral of the story is that, by the grace of God, I enjoyed myself, despite not knowing anyone and having to use my second language. The fact that I could even remember ASL after being at a quiz meet all day is a miracle, for real.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Tips for a Good Life (or Your Best Life Now!)

Far from being a review of Joel Osteen’s book, I thought I would share some tips for enriching your life with my dear readers. They range from the mundane to the, uh, mundane.

1. Wash your hair in cold water. Hot water + your hair = bad news bears. Hot water strips the hair of moisture. As torturous as it may sound, using cold or lukewarm water really is best for your beautiful tresses.
2. Walk instead of drive. Saving gas + saving pollution + getting exercise + being outdoors + listening to podcasts (some of us don’t have cd players in our cars) = good times all around.
3. Use handsoap with lotion in it (or some form of moisturizing). We recently got some at work, and it has made a noticeable difference in how dry my hands are.
4. Eat lots of baked lentils with cheese. They are cheap, healthy and yummy. Recipe provided upon request.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Are you a fan of hell?

I recently read an article called "Why I'm a Big Fan of Hell," and despite its potentially revolting title, the author had some good and thought-provoking points.

It goes like this...God created everything, including eternity, correct? (See Acts 17:24) Everything God created is good (1 Timothy 4:4); as the author points out, God knows what He is doing and "to say that I'd do without hell is to suggest that I could do a better job fashioning an eternity than God can." We can't improve upon what God has created. God, being all-knowing and all-powerful knew the necessity of hell. God is holy, therefore, hell is necessary. It actually promotes God's holiness.

A conversation with a friend recently prompted this question: Is it good for sinners to go to hell? After thinking about it, I concluded that yes, it is good, but it would be better it they repented. However, I was quickly corrected in this thought--for whom is it better? The Potter or the clay? The Bible says that our unrighteousness enhances God's holiness (Romans 3:5-7) and the same way, so does hell. [Note: I don't feel like starting a debate about double-predestination, that's why I didn't bring up Romans 9; so sue me ;)]