Thursday, February 25, 2016

A Million Little Ways by Emily Freeman

Initially I felt A Million Little Ways was redundant. Own Your Life by Clarkson, Best Yes by Terkeurst, the writings of Shauna Niequist, and a zillion other books have a similar message: Find what it is God created you to do. And DO it.

But Emily adds a fresh, sweet voice to the discussion. The subtitle is "Uncover the Art You were Made to Live" and Emily encourages her readers to use their talents for God's glory and their joy. Her emphasis on our being able to "make art" because we are made in God's image really resonated with me.

You know creating is more than paint and clay and lyrics. You know there is art alive within you... You are an image bearer and that is not about you becoming famous or important or promoted but about you becoming more fully yourself for the glory of God. (p. 210)

The reason the book touched me in ways the others did not was because Emily seemed to know how I struggle with my giftedness. She writes, the natural thing to do when hints of your own design scare you is to run. (p. 62) She talks about how God gives us certain abilities and then asks us to use them in audacious ways that scare us because of our deep-rooted feelings of inadequacy.

My favorite part of the book was the chapter on "Crazy Ideas." In recent years I feel that God has given me some crazy ideas: planting a church with my husband in a city where few people see their need for God, editing a devotional book in Portuguese, and hosting a ladies' retreat with a focus on prayer. All these ideas scare me to death, but make me wholly dependent on the Lord, which is a good thing.

Emily gently chastised me for my fears and urged me to "embrace my image-bearing identity" and to "offer myself alive to the world" because I am God's workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works. (Eph 2:10)

To summarize, Christ is in you and wants to reveal himself through you in a million little ways - through your strength, and also through your weakness...

This is a very worthwhile read if you know what your gifts are and yet suffer with self-doubt.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Brave New Family by G.K. Chesterton - Part 2

G.K. Chesterton is better understood in bite-sized chunks so I greatly appreciated the editor of Brave New Family compiling G.K’s wisdom on the subject into digestible paragraphs and chapters.

In my last post I quoted a few of his thoughts on marriage and this week I want to highlight his insights into motherhood, especially the idea that mothers should work and let someone else raise their children. (Although written 100 years ago, his words are quite contemporary.)

The State thinks think they can do a better job and leave the mother to do something more meaningful. The actual effect of this theory is that one harassed person has to look after a hundred children, instead of one normal person looking after a normal number of them. Normally that normal person is urged by a natural force, which costs nothing and does not require a salary, the force of natural affection for his young... If you cut off that natural force, and substitute a paid bureaucracy, you are like a lunatic who should carefully water his garden with a watering can, while holding an umbrella to keep off the rain. (p. 56)

A woman's function is laborious, because it is gigantic, not because it is minute. I will pity Mrs. Jones for the bigness of her task; I will never pity her for its smallness. (p. 113)

And my favorite: Progressive people are perpetually telling us that the hope of the world is in education. Education is everything. Nothing is so important as training the rising generation. They tell us this over and over again, with slight variations of the same formula, and never seem to see what it involves. For if there be any word of truth in all this talk about the education of the child, then there is certainly nothing but nonsense in nine-tenths of the talk about the emancipation of women. If education is the highest function of the State, why should anybody want to be emancipated from the highest function of the State? If education is the largest thing in the world, what is the sense of talking about a woman being liberated from the largest thing in the world? (154)

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Brave New Family by G.K. Chesterton - Part 1

I just finished reading the horribly depressing, The Flipside of Feminism by Venker. (My review on Goodreads is here.) Thank heavens I could balance it with Chesterton’s humorous and insightful Brave New Family. BNF is an anthology of his writings on marriage, sex, and motherhood. Chesterton cannot be improved upon so I without further ado, here are some of his choice quotes on marriage.

Of all human institutions marriage is the one which depends upon slow development, upon patience, upon long reaches of time, upon magnanimous compromise, upon kindly habit. (p. 23)

I have been requested to write something about Marriage and the Modern Mind. It would perhaps be more appropriate to write about Marriage and the Modern Absence of Mind. In much of their current conduct, those who call themselves "modern" seem to have abandoned the use of reason; (31)

They have invented a phrase, a phrase that is a black and white contradiction in two words: 'free love,' as if a lover ever had been, or ever could be free. It is the nature of love to bind itself, and the institution of marriage merely paid the average man the compliment of taking him at his word. (p. 51)

I was pleasantly surprised at Chesterton's frank discussion of sexuality (100 years ago!) and appreciated this quote:

The moment sex ceases to be a servant it becomes a tyrant. (p. 187)

Stay tuned for more in my next post. . .

Friday, February 5, 2016

E-Books vs. Physical Books - Part 4

I hope this is the last post I write on this subject since I'm starting to sound like a broken record. (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3)

The bottom line is that our brains function differently when we read physical books than when we are reading on a screen. We concentrate better and remember more of what we read when using physical books.

The source of many of the articles I've read on this subject has been Canadian pastor Tim Challies. So you can imagine my surprise when he recently declared he was going "all in" with digital books.

I agree with many of his reasons for preferring digital books (convenience, less clutter, etc.), but can't believe he's ignoring the negatives that he himself has pointed out to his readers. I say, let's keep a balance.

I'm glad Edie at Life In Grace wrote this post about the importance of physical books. I had heard the argument about having books around so that your children will be able to see what influences you (see Our Bare Shelves, Our Selves). But Edie's argument about book time being the perfect antidote to screen overdose is excellent.

What do you think? Am I a lone voice crying in the wilderness?