The Silver Chair

silver-chair-theThe Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

The Good Quote: I asked my Dad once if he ever wondered if the Bible was fake. His answer went something like this, “Yes. But whenever I have I look back at my life, I have absolutely no regrets for where I have followed the Bible, and seem to always regret where I have wandered away from it. So, I would live by that book even if I thought it was all made up. But, that of course keeps me from believing it is all made up.”

In The Silver Chair, the Green Witch had convinced the kids that what they remembered of Aslan and Narnia was all a dream, that her underworld was all that was real. So similar to living here, where any mention of Heaven seems to be an escape from reality, where our world seems to be all there is. Puddleglum’s answer to the Green Witch was similar to my dad’s response to me.

“One word. All you’ve been saying is quite right, I shouldn’t wonder. . . But there is one more thing to be said, even so. Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all these things—trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and Aslan himself. Suppose we have. Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones. Suppose this black pit of a kingdom of your is the only world. Well, it strikes me as a pretty poor one. And that’s a funny thing, when you come to think of it. We’re just babies making up a game, if you’re right. But four babies playing a game can make a play-world which licks your real world hollow. That’s why I’m going to stand by the play-world. I’m on Aslan’s side even if there isn’t any Aslan to lead it.”

The Bad: This is CS Lewis. He doesn’t write bad. But could he dance like John Belushi? I hope not. A man shouldn’t be good at everything.

The Ugly: Puddleglum. The way Lewis describes him, he is super cool, but flat ugly.

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Sooooo….Basically, I’m Right: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

SoooooThe Good: The subtitle for the book is, How I Didn’t Allow a Disease to Defeat My Spirit. That is SO the book. It’s full of terrific stories about bees, the Tooth Ninja, and even planting plants upside-down. Only someone who has lived with the continual pain of Lyme disease can simultaneously convey the feelings of hopelessness and hope, of sadness and humor. I recommend this book for anyone who needs a good laugh, as well as for everyone who believes life is bad enough to give up. Reading it is like sitting in Starbucks with a close friend who is encouraging you through their pain.

The Bad: I think the backstory is in the wrong place. The book doesn’t start with a bang, and it could. If any of the middle crazy chapters were put at the beginning, it would suck you in. It’s also important because chapter one is what comes up on Amazon when you click on the book. Starting with explaining the title and backstory may have hurt sales. Once you hit chapter three, you can’t set it down until finished. So Emilee, if you are listening, swap chapter 3 or 4 or 5 or 6 with chapter 1, and then you can retire on your earnings.

Just remember me.

The Ugly. Lyme disease is way uglier than I realized. To keep going is one thing, to keep going with an undefeated spirit, that is cool. Well done Emilee!

 

 

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

dawn-treaderI have a good friend who claims this is the best book in the Chronicles of Narnia series. I like her anyway. She is SO wrong.

The Good Quote: There were parts to love– the dragon, dufflepuds, stopping the slave trade– in spite of this being the worst book in the best book series ever. I suppose my favorite part would be when t he ship was heading into nothing but blackness. Everyone wanted to turn around–the captain of the ship, the King, and even previous King Edmund. But then obnoxious Reepicheep the obnoxious mouse spoke up.

“‘And why not?’ he said. ‘Will someone explain to me why not.’

No one was anxious to explain, so Reepicheep continued:

‘If I were addressing peasants or slaves,’ he said, ‘I might suppose that this suggestion proceeded from cowardice. But I hope it will never be told in Narnia that a company of noble and royal persons in the flower of their age turned tail because they were afraid of the dark.’

‘But what manner of use would it be plowing through that blackness?’ asked Darinian.

‘Use?’ replied Reepicheep. ‘Use, Captain? If by use you mean filling our bellies or our purses, I confess it will be no use at all. So far as I know we did not set sail to look for things useful but to seek honor and adventure. And here is as great an adventure as ever I heard of.'”

The moral? Don’t bring talking mice on trips.

The Bad: This is CS Lewis. He doesn’t write bad. But did he know how to adjust the valves on his car? I’m guessing not, and that makes me feel good. A man shouldn’t be good at everything.

The Ugly: Eustace Scrubb. Where did he dream up that name?

 

Prince Caspian

prince-caspianThe Good Quote: There were two parts of this book I really liked.

1: When back in Narnia they found that some of the animals weren’t good, talking animals anymore, like they had been in previous trips. Instead, some had gone wild, and it was hard to know if an animal wanted to talk to you – or kill you. Then Lucy said, “Wouldn’t it be dreadful if some day in our own world, at home, men started going wild inside, like the animals here, and still looked like men, so that you’d never know which were which?”

Good question.

2: Not long later Lucy can see Aslan the Lion, but the rest of her company can’t see Him. Aslan lets Lucy know they needed to go a different direction, but the company can’t see Him, and they disagree. It just isn’t the logical, safe way to go. So, they take a vote, and Lucy loses. Of course, their direction almost gets them killed, they change direction and Lucy gets to see Aslan again. That’s when things take a surprising turn.

“For a long time she was so happy that she did not want to speak. But Aslan spoke. ‘Lucy,’ he said, ‘we must not lie here for long. You have work in hand, and much time has been lost today.’

‘Yes, wasn’t it a shame?’ said Lucy. ‘I saw you all right. They wouldn’t believe me. They’re all so—‘

From somewhere deep inside Aslan’s body there came the faintest suggestion of a growl.

‘I’m sorry,’ said Lucy, who understood some of his moods. ‘I didn’t mean to start slanging the others. But it wasn’t’ my fault anyway, was it?’

The Lion looked straight into her eyes.

‘Oh Aslan,’ said Lucy. ‘You don’t mean it was? How could I–I couldn’t have left the others and come up to you all alone, how could I? Don’t look at me like that . . . oh well, I suppose I could. Yes, and it wouldn’t have been alone, I know, not if I was with you. But what would have been the good?’

Aslan said nothing.”

The illustrations of following Christ throughout the series are remarkable. Love it.

The Bad: This is CS Lewis. He doesn’t write bad. But did he know how to quilt, or sweat copper pipe when he had a leak under the sink? I’m guessing not, and that makes me feel good. A man shouldn’t be good at everything.

The Ugly: The truth at the  end of the above quote. It goes on to say,

‘” You mean,m’ said Lucy rather faintly, ‘that it would have turned out all right–somehow? But how? Please, Aslan! Am I not to know?’

To know what would have happened, child?’ said Aslan. ‘No. Nobody is every told that.’

‘Oh dear,’ said Lucy.

‘But anyone can find out what will happen,’ said Aslan.”

And that is the beautiful truth.

 

Help Me Walk the Walk

smyrna-church-persecuted-2-8-11“If you remain faithful when facing death, I will give you the crown of life.” Jesus, Rev 2:10

“Help me walk the walk.” Steve

I’ve missed the application of Rev 2:10 – it’s not just faith in persecution – something bigger is going on here.

In context the church in Smyrna is facing persecution, and in the future people will be thrown into prison. Some may die. So God is telling them to  get ready now, to be faithful even to death, if that is what is coming for them.

But I believe it also applies to Macen, and Steve, and my parents – people who were faithful to God when facing death. Not persecution death, but cancer or Alzheimer’s or yet-another-stroke death. When Steve was diagnosed I asked him how I could pray for him. He asked me to “pray that I would walk the walk God has for me.” He was concerned he would get mad at God, and be a poor example for his boys still living at home. He didn’t want to die a poser, a man who could follow God in the good times, but dumped God in the hard times.

More recently I watched 17-year-old Macen walk the walk. I watched my parents do the same. It’s not just faith in the face of persecution that is going on here. It’s faith in God when God seems unfaithful. It’s knowing God is good all the time when the circumstances, which God could change, are not good. It’s walking the walk when the walk sucks, in faith that God’s walk is better than the walk we would rather be on.

Lord, help me to walk the walk You have for me.

The Horse and His Boy

horse_and_his_boy_by_elandainBest quotes from Narnia!! This is my son Micah’s favorite book of the set — it’s somehow different from the rest.

The Good Quote:

I say!” said Aravis. “I have had luck.”

“Daughter,” said the Hermit, “I have now lived a hundred and nine winters in this world and have never yet met any such thing as Luck. There is something about all this that I do not understand: but if ever we need to know it, you may be sure that we shall.”

It reminded me of the first of all the Star Wars movies, when the origional Obi Wan said, “In my experience, there is no such thing as luck.” But CS Lewis wrote it first.

The Bad: This is CS Lewis. He doesn’t write bad. But I’m guessing he would have been lousy at skydiving, had he tried it, and that makes me feel good. A man shouldn’t be good at everything.

The Ugly: There are continual rumors about making this book into a movie, but it never seems to happen. That’s just ugly.

The Real “Utter Nonsense” of Missions and International Ministry.

My daughter Megan, setting the world straight on missions. Really.

LateToEveryParty

I keep coming across the same arguments against Christian ministry and not just from those outside the church, but from Christians.  We’ve all heard the claims before, they are 2000 years old. While reading this morning I came across this passage where Paul speaks directly to these criticisms: 1 Thessalonians 2:3-9 (NIV)

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1 Thes 2:3 “For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you.”
Claim  1. Christians are ignorant or have hidden motives and therefore, mess things up.
– Christian organizations value freedom and education and will won’t stop working even after making mistakes.

Paul said, “We do not spring from error”, something Christians are learning to do better. It’s scriptural to not spring from error, it’s also scriptural to spring into action. Paul didn’t say  “we sit in perfection to avoid messing up.”

Get involved, be intentional and get wise…

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The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

lionwitchwardrobewallpaper1024Best quotes from Narnia!!

I received the Chronicles of Narnia for Christmas from my daughter, having worn out our old set reading them over and over to our four kids. So, I thought I’d do The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly book reviews on these, some of my favorite books.

 

The Good Quote: “Is–is he a man?” asked Lucy.

“Aslan a man!” said Mr. Beaver sternly. “Certainly not. . . Aslan is a lion–the Lion, the great Lion.”

“Ooh!” said Susan, “I’d thought he was a man. Is he–quite safe?” . . .

“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

 

The Bad: This is CS Lewis. He doesn’t write bad. But I bet he was lousy at auto-mechanics. And that makes me feel good. A man shouldn’t be good at everything.

 

The Ugly: Turkish Delight. Immediately addictive chocolate. That’s flat evil.

Miracle on Voodoo Mountain

voodoo-mtThe Good:

A 24-year-old girl from the States goes to live in Haiti and lives. And God changes her life. And her community. Sometimes there is nothing more unbelievable than the truth. Fiction could never been this crazy. I’ve been going to Haiti since 2007, and this book brings you as close to being there as you can get short of a plane ticket.

This is a MUST read.

 

The Bad:

The restavek system, voodoo, crime, humidity, fake orphanages, child slavery. . .  But not the book, the book is terrific – about a young girl moving to Haiti and watching God work to defeat the restavek system, voodoo, crime…

 

The Ugly:

The Son of God Orphanage was the ugliest part of the book for me – even worse than the voodoo. At least voodoo is what it is, it doesn’t pass itself off as light. Anyhow buy this book, it’s the first time i’ve found myself crying while reading in a LONG time. If you want to know more before ordering here you go!

http://www.respirehaiti.org/

Meanwhile, I’ll be back in haiti soon, at a ministry we believe in. Someone needs to write it a book! http://mcmhaiti.org/

 

Interrupted

interruptedInterrupted: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, by Jen Hatmaker

The Good:

In spite of the current LGBT controversy around Jen Hatmaker, this is a good book. Not great maybe, but it has some terrific humor, combined with some convicting truth that make it a worth-while read. It is one of the best books,on helping “the least of these” in our own community, that I have read.

For those who don’t know, Jen’s affirmation of LGBT relationships resulted in her books being pulled from LifeWay Christian Stores. I support LifeWay in that, but it doesn’t take away from the good teaching in this book. The problem is that now it is difficult to recommend Interrupted, when you don’t know where the author is going with her life and theology. Most who start down this road of accepting most of the Bible while reinterpreting parts, end up reinterpreting most and accepting parts.

But, back to the book, I absolutely loved this quote she put in by Soren Kierkegaard “Take any words in the New Testament and forget everything except pledging yourself to act accordingly. ‘My God, ‘you will say, ‘if I do that my whole life will be ruined.’” She followed that quote in a new paragraph with, “Dreadful it is to fall into the hands of the living God. Yes, it is even dreadful to be alone with the New Testament.”

 

The Bad:

Jen makes a point of sacrificing for people like the disciples – world changers, but also for people like Judas. We may be willing to be broken for future martyrs, gospel writers, and world changers, but it is much more difficult to be willing to be broken for a Judas. I thought that was a great point, convicting and true. However she ruined it, in my view, when she then talked about Judas being at the first communion. She says on p. 62 that “Judas was at Jesus’ table, eating the broken bread that was His body.” Actually, by this time we know Judas had left. He was out rounding up the Pharisees to come arrest Jesus, not eating with him. Had she stopped with Jesus washing Judas’ feet, that would have made the point.

So, either Jan didn’t do her research, or she is stretching the truth in order to make her point. Neither one makes me rest easy. I love her point, that we don’t get to opt out of living on mission because we might not be appreciated by those we are caring for. But, Judas wasn’t there, and saying he was ruined the chapter for me.

 

The Ugly:

If you are a guy, Jen Hatmaker may be a new name to you. But she has 670,000 following her on Facebook. That’s more than John Piper with 431,000, double Tim Keller with 295,000, and triple the largest church in the United States, Life.church with 215,000.

This gifted a writer, with this large a following, can do great things for Christ. Jen already has. We have lost so many to liberal theology after getting a following, Jen deserves our prayer support to do exactly what she wrote. “Take any words in the New Testament and forget everything except pledging yourself to act accordingly.”

I can recommend the book, but not the author. . . yet.

But having said all that — here is another great quote.

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