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  04:34:00 pm, by Airycat   , 545 words  
Categories: Book Reviews, Fiction, Religion

The Shack by Wm. Paul Young

The Shack by Wm. Paul Young

For me, this book started out like one of Ann Rule's true crime books. It's set in the Northwest and details a lovely day gone terribly wrong and some of the heartbreaking aftermath. Then Mac went to the shack.

I did not read this book as fiction. Nor does Young present it as fiction. The complete story leaves it up to the reader how to interpret it. I choose to accept it as a vision. I don't believe that something that is "merely" fiction can change a person as this "experience" changed Mac. (Fiction can change people who read it, but I don't think Mac would have been changed by reading this as a story. He experienced it, whether it was a literal experience or not falls into the debate about faith and religion and reality. In this case the experience came before the writing. Normally, the written work comes first and, yes, a reader can become so involved as to be changed by the experience.)

I loved Mac's view of God and his view of Jesus's humanity. I believe any Christian can relate to these views even if it's not quite their own view. To me it shows the boundlessness of Who God is. I didn't quite understand his view of the Holy Spirit, but it did manage to to convey an uncertain understanding of exactly who the Spirit is as a separate person of the Trinity. Or perhaps it is only because of my own uncertainty that I saw it that way.

The most important message of the book is the loving relationship within the Trinity and that it is the aspiration of all mankind. It is unquestionably a message Jesus had for his followers. Readers may not feel it the way Mac did, but, I believe that Young managed to capture the sense of this relationship very well in his writing.

I was leery of this book when I started. I've read too many "religious" books that were either not well written, had a bland, lecturing message, or both.The Shack is well written in such a way that did not feel lectured to. It presents what happened to Mac as Mac experienced it and lets the reader draw his own conclusions as to the "reality" of it in a way that maintains the validity of the message. It's not what I would call evangelical, but fulfills the admonition in 1 Peter 3:15 to be ready to give an account of why one believes. At the end, my wariness had dissolved to praise to God.

EDIT: Young said in the August issue of Guideposts "The book is true, just not real, like a parable. I may not be exactly like the fictional main character, but what that man learns about the healing power of love and forgiveness, the liberation of the soul through transparency and grace, is a journey I know well." It was the forward and the similarity of names that led me to believe that Mack was someone who actually related this tale to Young. I agree with the first like of Young's quote, however. It's just that it was Young, himself, who experienced the lessons in this book, albeit in a different context and manner. ~Airycat 09/20/09


  10:39:00 pm, by Airycat   , 719 words  
Categories: Chitchat

Saturday Night

Is pretty boring around here. Iqbal is watching soccer and I've been attempting to catch up with my LJ friends list and Xanga subs. I'm gonna have to skim more than I have been.

Google tells me I also have 583 (!!) unread posts there. Fortunately quite a few of those are ones I can simply click as read after skimming the titles.

I have another book review to write, but I have a harder than usual time doing the religious books, especially those that are evangelical in purpose. I suppose it'll be blander than usual and I think my reviews are too bland to begin with. ::sigh:: The book was not bland, though. You can't condemn a biography for plot, but this lady's life has been exciting, if not always pleasant. Oh, well. Maybe in time I'll develop, if not a knack, maybe a certain credible ability. I think I prefer the discussion questions -- with or after a group discussion of the book. With those, I can write up a storm, talking about theme and what not. No worries about spoilers. But a spoiler makes for a bad review. Next up might be a poetry book or two. I have exactly no idea how to do that. I finds it far easier to write poetry than write about it, not that my poetry is great, but some of it is fair.

Back and legs (both) ache a lot today. This coming week I'll be scheduling therapy. I suppose it's too much to expect to actually get in this week. We'll see.

I have finally found something to drink that is calorie free and tastier than tap water. It's Lipton's Iced Tea mix To Go. I just get filtered water from my fridge and add a packet of the tea mix. They don't add vitamin C, which is good for me. I was drinking Kool-Aid, but aside from not many flavors geared to adult tastes, it does have vitamin C and too much C makes me way too acidic. I'd rather not have to take Tums every day! Anyway, I'm back to drinking a lot. The To Go flavors are good -- Mandarin Mango, Blueberry Pomegranate, Raspberry Lime, Cherry Blossom and Apple Cranberry. There are some other citrusy flavors (like lemon), but I didn't care for them and thought too much C naturally.

I keep the packets in a flower pot on my desk.

It rained a lot today. Made it kind of hard looking around Lowe's. I ended up getting a decorative sprinkler for my corner garden. Mom got some tall primroses and soaker hoses for her vegetable beds. Magnolia and red bud trees burst into bloom this week. The daffs started to bloom last week. I have one hyacinth in a pot that's blooming. The small primrose has been getting stronger color. I can she that I need to repot them so that they have good dirt or they won't make it through another hot summer and then winter. They love this middle weather, though and are very brightly colored. A arrowhead are coming up all over. I dug out and discarded so many of the bulblets or tubers or whatever they are, it amazes me that there can still be so many. I think they are the rabbits of plants. I wonder if deer would like them.

Besides reading books more, I have been working on my website. Mostly, it's been just maintenance work, although I did revamp the face of my LocalHabitation page and the connections of each of the pages that now connect to the b2 blogs (updates, recipes and photos). I made a private blog for my family, but they're all a bunch of tech phobes, I think.

I don't really get Twitter. I've read a few of the titter posts on LJ and most of the time it seems that it makes no sense except to the one to whom it's directed. I can see wanting to send someone a short message, but isn't that what texting is for?

I thought there was something I wanted to say, but I can't remember what. I think I'll go read. The recliner is more comfortable than the desk chair.

Hmmm... I need to figure out how to fix the "Listening to" button. All I get is an error.


  08:19:00 pm, by Airycat   , 258 words  
Categories: Book Reviews, Biography, Religion

The Dalai Lama's Little Book of Inner Peace: The Essential Life and Teachings

I read this little book in one night. The first half of the book gives a brief autobiography, a summary of the state of Tibet and a summary of the state of the world. None of this is in depth. In the second half of the book, he talks about his own beliefs and how they bring inner peace. The book, as a whole, gives a good background of who the Dalai Lama is, in a well rounded, if not detailed, manner. I have several books in my library by the Dalai Lama, but I'm glad that I read this one first

The book is the words of the Dalai Lama, himself, but the book was put together by Frédérique Hatier. The quotes are kept individual and titled topically. Reading the quote following any title would provide food for thought, and for the most part would be suitable meditation for any religious belief. Even as a Christian, though I disagree with some of his beliefs about God, his words provided me the opportunity to affirm my own beliefs. Though we disagree on that one point, there is very little else we disagree on. And there is no argument with this disagreement. Our paths vary slightly (much less than I thought, though the one point is a major one), but our goals are the same. We both desire love and peace for our world.

This is a book I enjoyed reading and will read again, although probably not straight through, but rather, as an adjunct to my personal meditations.

Little Book of Inner Peace

  05:39:00 pm, by Airycat   , 91 words  
Categories: Updates

Photoblog Now Has Album Links! (Recipes! format revised, too)

With some help from Ed at the B2 forums, I figured out how to get the albums listed.

I also saw a lot more stuff on the widget pages. I hadn't really looked at those before, but now that I know they are there, I will be checking them out to see if any are useful to me.

The catagories widget already was on my Recipes! blog, but I figured out how to move it. The side bar there now is more efficient. Now I just need to add more recipes!


  05:35:00 pm, by Airycat   , 357 words  
Categories: Book Reviews, Fiction

Goblin Quest by Jim C. Hines

I was delighted by Goblin Quest by Jim C. Hines. I couldn't imagine liking a goblin, but Jig is a very likable character, without giving up all of his goblin-ness. The story kept my attention the whole way through. Despite interruptions, I could always start where I left off without having to go back a few pages to get back into it.

Though the quest plot is pretty straight forward, Hines gave Jig and company enough twists and turns to keep it interesting. I was never able to predict what was coming next. Despite the twists and turns nothing seemed contrived. At about page 275 I was certain I knew where to find the rod of creation. I was wrong, but where it actually was, was much more satisfying.

The only negative thing I can think of in this book is that the human characters are one sided. There was a bit of background about them that explained them a little, but we never saw any depth. Darnak, the dwarf, was given much depth. The elfin girl fit in between Darnak and the humans.

This all works OK though, because this is Jig's story, not a human one. While it would have been nice to have more character depth for all the characters, what is there reflects Jig's interaction with those characters and he tried to have as little interaction with the humans as possible. He had the most interaction with Darnak. Riana, the elfin girl, was usually very guarded with him

To my surprise, I also found that this story had me thinking about the nature of God and man's (and goblin's and others') relation to and faith in God and God's relationship with all of his creatures. This was totally unexpected. This is not a pretentious story. The "magic," from a god and otherwise, is an integral part of the story and doesn't insist on the reader thinking beyond the story. But it's there if you want to think about it.

I'd recommend this book for anyone who wants a light and fun story to read. It was particularly relaxing to me after reading several "literary" novels in a row.

Goblin Quest

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