One of my favorite authors/books
Fairy Tale Addendum
Books with Good Movie Adaptations
The Princess Bride by William Goldman: Comic Fairy Tale (same tone as the movie, with more plot) same writer as the movie. (actually thought S. Morgenstern wrote this growing up)
Stardust by Neil Gaiman: A star fell to earth, a man vows to retrieve her to win his bride. Stars, Lovers, Quests. Read it in story or comic form (another good movie adaptation)–oh and it has been filed as a kids, young adult, fantasy and adult book, hows that for the power of a fairy tale!!
The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien: Way more a fairy tale than Lord of the Rings, yay quests!
The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle: The Last unicorn goes on an adventure to try to find her kind and save the world
Children’s Fairy Stories (which are even better when you are an adult)
The Reluctant Dragon by Kenneth Grahame and Earnest H. Shepard (Illustrator): Dragons and Knights don’t quite fight, and its awesome (and the cartoon is fun if you skip the live action stuff)
The Ordinary Princess by M. M. Kaye Princess Amy is gifted with ordinariness–and finds her own way to special happiness
(totally think Enchanted Forest series is a brilliant combo of The Reluctant Dragon & Ordinary Princess)
The Little White Horse: by Elizabeth Goudge and Walter Hodges (Illustrator) Maria Merryweather comes as a orphan and finds the Moon Princess, and a way to help the entire Valley (an inspirational story for most fantasy writers today)
The Light Princess & Other Fairy Stories and The Golden Key and Other Stories by George MacDonald: a favorite of C. S. Lewis. Longer than Grimm’s fairy tales the characters are SO engaging and very traditional fairy tales!
Various Book Reviews or My Hero(ine)
Note the riveting chart of young adult heroines below–what do they have in common (getting over the fact that Hermione was NEVER part of a love triangle)–they are all young fighting women white (sad-day), virgins (probably) with low self-esteem (except Julie from Warm Bodies) and are shy/quiet. Most of them have brown hair, protectors (male of course).
First I need to note the GROSS (and probably sexist) oversight, that Intelligence or smartness was not a factor–whereas I bet if it was about males it would have been!!!!!
That’s it next novel I write (i.e. if I ever get around to writing) it should have a nonwhite (although I am white, maybe I could do a Korean-American girl…I have some cultural experience there), assertive (not quite, even if she likes books…I’m bookish and I am SO not quite), with no Protector (LIKE CIMORENE), who is SMART, has good Self-Esteem, No love Triangle (ugh), don’t know about the virginity thing–I think young heroines tend to be virgins on principle (unless abuse is involved), with black hair (which the Korean thing would totally take care of). Hmmm….Who’s up for cooler Heroines…I think my favorites of the list below are Katniss and Hermione, I have even cooler ones following the chart.
Cool Heroines not included here are Robin McKinley’s heroines (yes all of the them-I’m not going to list them), All of Tamora Pierce and Kristen Cashore (DITTO) Patricia C. Wrede’s Cimorene, Dave Duncan’s Inos, Harry Potter Hermione (who is not a title character, but deserves a better rep then what we have here), Scott Westerfield’s Tally Youngblood, Madeline L”Engle (who was so ahead of the time her feminist characters sound forward thinking even today 30years later), Anne of Green Gables, etc. for more see my fairy tale lists–my classic and my alternative (not well-known) list.
What if the Good Samaritan was really conflicted…????
You know what, “helping” people isn’t always as clear cut as it seems. There seems to be no real way to be a “hero” in bad situations so often you are making the best decisions that you can (you know those times when there is no “right” thing to do or say, you just try to make better instead of worse decisions). Some of those choices are fun like “Should we have children?” for (most) people there isn’t a “right” answer, its just that one solution seems to be “better” than the other…
Then there are the situations where you are helping people. In helping people, its important that you are
a. actually helping (in my family we say it isn’t really helping if a person doesn’t want help–think about that in terms of life, family, addiction, etc.)
b. Setting clear and consistent boundaries (ie making sure you take on a good level of responsibility and that the other person is clear on where their responsibilities lie)
c. You can be sane after the help is given, because sanity is a really, really good thing.
This leads me to the good Samaritan story. What if the person who was left half-dead on the street had some situation where it wasn’t clear that helping him was the best thing to do…maybe it gets the helper into trouble, maybe there had been a story of someone helping a half-dead person earlier that week and getting beat up for it. What if the Good Samaritan knew he would be reviled for helping this Jew. (I think this is something like Jean Val Jean helping Javert, or maybe a Gay person-who is known to be gay-helping Rush Limbah or somesuch evangelical who categorically hated homosexuality)…
So much for being a hero, heh?
But it makes me wonder about Jesus’ call to care for our neighbors, when are we really helping them? How much are we called to sacrifice? What situations are “too much” and when are we neglecting our Godly duty to help others by crossing the street and getting on with the business of our own lives, which already loom so heavy…….
God, Heresy, Illusions, Emergent Christianity, you know the small questions
If you are a hard case theologian you know about the deep debate between emergent Christians (McLaren, Rob Bell, Brian Berghoef, etc) and the more (what is a non-insulting term for traditional, because I totally do not want to discredit these scholars) academic Christians such as James K. A. Smith
If your not, then this post will hopefully help. Here are some of the important conversations going on about whether emergent Christianity is a pick and choose/fluffy type of theology or alternatively, whether the tried-and-true-Christian scholars are providing too many answers on behalf of God instead of letting God give the answers….(that’s it in a nutshell, you can skip to the bottom if you don’t want the in-depth version)
One back and forth is about “God doesn’t need our help” and a more emergent understanding/refutation here.
One of the things hot under debate is giving up God for Lent, which tries to take seriously the critiques of Christianity. An article about Giving up God for Lent is here. This is something I am trying and a critique that it is a movement for intellectual (eggheaded) theologically trained (clergy) young (millenials)…which he definitely has the audience right, I am all of that–oh and I really appreciate the respectful tone of this critique…
RESTART HERE IF YOU’VE SKIPPED DOWN!!!!
As us young folks try to struggle with what church means to us–ie the emergent church, and what it could mean to the nones….I find all of this debate and forethought invigorating. Sure we don’t have the answers, but I think that looking at THEOLOGY as the source of our institutional woes (as opposed to programming, attendance or money) is a grand start.
To me the answers are to start doing the things we know the church is good at, and then build from there (strength based training anyone? anyone? ). How can we be community centers (we used to be good at that) how can we form relationships with our neighbors (we could be good at that) how do we work for social justice (I always say that human rights issues should be the ones all Christians can agree on)….
And yes we have gone through such questions before, What if God was one of us? Jesus Christ Superstar, Godspell, The Quest for the Historical Jesus come to mind. But remember, whenever people are thinking and talking about God, they are, in essence, working out their faith–and isn’t that what we at the church want to encourage? Questions, speculations, riddles and wonders about God? It’s certainly Biblical…
My church is taking its slow, we are starting farmer’s market with no ulterior motive for members or money (or at least attending to when we think about these ulterior motives) and simply getting to know the neighborhood. We are thinking theologically about our church space (we are blessed with a “great location” it would be great if we could prayerfully use it), we are consciously trying to accept people whereever and whoever they are through the strength and guidance of the Holy Spirit (Won’t You Be Our Neighbor?)…
I don’t know where this is leading, but hey, at least we are talking about it–I’d be even more excited to see these “opposing” viewpoints working and praying together, after all doesn’t the body have different parts for different reasons? (1 Cor 13:1-13)
When your heart is breaking….
Yesterday my heart broke….It was a difficult day with sad decisions and a good look at how temptation effects our lives….
Isn’t it interesting how it is easier to believe and remember evil than good? (for more on Good and Evil look here)
If you preach a sermon 90% about gospel and 10% about sin, most people remember the sin portion.
Why is evil so much easier to connect with? I think some of this has to do with our insecurity. Ted talk The Power of Vulnerability tackles this issue with storyteller/researcher Brene Brown.
In fact a lot of people I know don’t believe in Hell (Christians obviously included)…
So why then are the “less happy” endings more believable??? Why is it that “truth is hard” is the “real world” mantra
I don’t think life is shit and we struggle through it the best we can. I don’t think life is brutish, nasty, short. I think there is MORE than that.
But when my heart breaks, when difficult decisions are made, when people don’t show love and care towards one another, when people-hate-the-sin-not-the-sinner, when they fall back on smile-Jesus-Loves-you, when they use religion (as the TED video says) to provide answers instead of exploring faith), when people struggle with addiction, when parents don’t take good care of their children….
When these things happen, when its clear that the world is not perfect because of our self doubt, it is important to remember Jesus made us and loves us exactly the way we are…
Jesus believes that we are equipped, as those made in God’s image and as co-creators, to spread the good news…
How do we know this? Because Jesus spent time as one of us. Jesus went to the desert and endured the Devil telling Jesus …you are not good enough, you are not a success, you can’t help in God’s work, you need (food, drink, success, fame) Me, the devil, to get there…Matthew 4:8-10 (Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”). And Jesus says, no, the way is through love and God, its through knowing myself as an intricate, important and beloved part of God’s plan and I don’t need to be perfect/in control/married/successful/rich to do that…I just need to be grounded and centered on God (Matthew 4:10Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.) Take that evil. Yes, evil exists, yes life is difficult, no I don’t think we have to accept the chains of temptation, we don’t have value our “Success” the way the world does. Instead we can depend on God (we don’t need to dull the pain or even control it), we can know Christ has been there, understands that we stumble and loves that about us, because we are stumbling on his path, we are doing the best we can, and we are created in his image. We participate in Lent, so that we can participate more fully in Easter–we participate in Lent, because its a part of life, but we also participate in it so we can acknowledge that EASTER wins!!! All the time, everytime (even during Lent, Easter creeps through on Sundays!!!) Easter like Christmas, needs to be lived (see my post on Being Christmassed for more)
Please note: I discuss heartbreak and difficulty as a tangible part of life (for more look at Anne Lamott’s thoughts here)
BUT: The Good news has written the ending for us, and we can Participate in God’s Celebration…we don’t have to just watch or hum along to God’s Concert–we can party and scream all the words<<——–THIS IS THE MESSAGE, try to remember this, don’t walk away already forgetting the good news
Good News: Jesus is the Savior
Better News; So you don’t have to be (subtext you get to help!!)
So the hard decisions were made, I am continuing to pray, to live into hope, to put into practice God’s love and care and to trust that my participation although it feels small is important and that the love I show has had meaning…and really knowing that heals my heart even as its broken (just as God heals are brokenness in a broken world)…I wonder if this is how Christ feels when he makes loving and difficult decisions on our behalf…Good news JESUS is the savior….Jesus loves ALL of us, no matter what. Amen.
Review “The Cadet of Tildor” by Alex Liddell
Synopsis: In contrast to some heroines who’s self-assurance manifests primarily as vanity (cough, cough Throne of Glass), this heroine Renee is self-determined, independent and likable. She fights the cause of a Cadet (kind of a musketeer for the King) because she believes in fighting evil, and she strives to figure out whether the cadets are the way to do that….
Review: The mysterious rogue of a teacher (Savoy) is not as fascinating to me as I’d like, but overall the plot was well put together, the characters interacted well, and there was some growth in the main character (HOORAY). I think the sequel is fairly promising, and the main character def. makes this novel worth the read–esp. as a strong female character….
It’s a beautiful day in our neighborhood…
A new catch phrase that we have been working with in the church is “Won’t you be our Neighbor” yes…in the spirit of the great Mr. Rogers…
If you recall the words the song it goes
Its a beautiful day in the neighborhood, a beautiful day for a neighbor, would you be mine? could you be mine? I’ve always wanted to have a neighbor just like you..I always wanted to live in the neighborhood with you.
How many times do we tell that to people–we love you exactly as you are, we always wanted someone, with all of your idiosyncrasies, annoyances, complaints and problems here!
How often are we able to get rid of the bottom-line, how often do we love people exactly the way they are–instead of who they could be or who we wish they were…
(Nowell calls it forgiving one another for not being God).
Why did people follow Jesus…why did they leave everything…
Luke 5:1-11Once while Jesus was standing beside the lake of Gennesaret, and the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, 2he saw two boats morred at the shore of the lake; the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. 3He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little way from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. 4When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” 5Simon answered, “Boss, we have worked all night long but have caught nothing. Yet if you say so, I will let down the nets.” 6When they had done this, they caught so many fish that their nets were beginning to break. 7So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both boats, so that they began to sink. 8But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!” 9For he and all who were with him caught in the amazement at the catch of fish that they had taken; 10and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.” 11When they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed him.
Why did the disciples leave everything and follow Jesus? I think its because Jesus loved the disciples exactly as they were!! I think that feeding people and fishing in a lake town is probably very, very important, it isn’t as important as building a community….
And building that community means welcoming people who are spiritual and not religious, it means going out and meeting people wherever they are instead of requiring them to understand our concept of church–it means opening up to the fact that Jesus did not say follow me and tithe, follow me and become a church member, follow me and be sure to sit in pews in an A framed church for worship–Jesus said “I love you exactly the way you are, follow me I always needed someone JUST LIKE YOU (for more on that, read a blog about God making us perfect by Jim Palmer here) with your ideas of worship, your sense of God and your understanding of Life, follow me, I love you, so follow me” and I think that they did…
So can we do it? Can we leave our church buildings, our pews and our projects…can we go into the world and work to love and accept each other exactly as they are–children to the infirm, sick to the well….can we put a sign on the church door and tell people we’ve “Gone Fishing?”
What do you think?
PS here is the most awesome Garden of my Mind remix for Mr. Rogers 🙂
Les Mis: In any other story Javert would be the hero….
and other reasons why Les Mis is awesome
1. Its about real people struggling through their problems, and dealing and coping with them as best they can (they don’t end with a happily ever after or a death, instead life keeps going)
2. The love interests are not the main characters–like Disney’s Sleeping Beauty the story isn’t really about the young couple but all the people connected with them
3. …and yet it is a love story, its a story about seeing God because “when you love you see the face of God” not because God is not just the emotion love, but because love is real and hard
4. The music–not only is it brilliant but the entire musical is a fugue–all parts of one whole piece, threads in the tapestry, reflecting the reality of what life really is (One Day More=point and case)
5. In any other story Javert would be the hero–he even gets the hero’s ballad, he is just in the wrong story, because he has the wrong prespective, and he’s on the wrong side. How often is this true that people are doing things because they REALLY, REALLY believe in them, but still somehow they are wrong…CHRISTIANS everywhere should take notice. There is no such thing as a checklist for Christianity or living life right, faith is a struggle, life is hard and choices are not so easily seen…
6. Ultimately is a story about grace
Here is my synopsis of Les Mis: Grace, it makes bad guys into good guys and good guys into heroes.
7. Death, Resurrection, Grace, Psalms (You know that song “Turning through the years, note how the words don’t change but the meaning does–too bad it was cut from the movie its totally a Psalm), the coming of the kingdom (hint: the barricade is between heaven and earth) and of course love.
1st Cor. 13:1-13
13 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned,[a] but have not love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;[b] 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
Luckily my church saw Les Mis last week and got to touch on some of these themes, and guess what the lectionary was…God is so Good…I will close with scripture to ruminate 🙂