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The Mortal Instruments: Good, but perhaps not appropriate for all

June 6, 2011 1 comment

So I haven’t updated this blog in almost a year and now I have decided to update to review another YA series.  Since I don’t really waste much time with series I don’t like, it’s obvious I found this one enjoyable.  I decided to do this review because of this Wall Street Journal article that blew up twitter a couple days ago.  The author talks about YA novels that are dark and painful and may be inappropriate.  Sometimes I tend to agree.  There are many novels out there that seem to go too far pushing the boundaries of social decency.  The real question is, where do we draw the line?  And who gets to draw the line?  Something that seems inappropriate to me may be completely appropriate according to others.  What if someone decides that YA can’t or shouldn’t include anything to do with Christian faith?

That all being said, let’s take a look at The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Claire.  I’ll try to do this without massive spoilers.

This series follows a teenage girl as she discovers what and who she is.  This is basically what all teenagers are trying to do, but hopefully without demons trying to kill them in the physical world.  The books are artfully written and Claire is VERY good at both action scenes and character development.  I never found anything heavy-handed like I did in Suzanne Collins’ Mockingjay.

The key to this book is, parents need to use their discretion.  If you don’t know what your kids are reading, you should.  I must admit I don’t always know, but when I read YA I am looking at it as something for my kids to potentially read.  Perhaps I’m looking at it wrong though.  I believe that yes I, as a parent, have the obligation to keep some things from my children until they are able to handle it.  In some cases my responsibility is to make sure they aren’t exposed to certain things at all while I am in control.  In the case of this series, I think it may open up some avenues to talk about certain issues if the child is mature enough for it.  I think that determination has to rest with the parent.

There is very intense romantic tension between some characters in this series.  There is some intense making out that is completely in character and it adds to the story instead of taking away from it.  The real problem I have with this series is that there are main characters who are homosexual.  No I am not a homophobe.  I do however know that homosexuality is antithetical to a holy life.  Therefore I can’t condone it in this book.

I may yet let my son read it.  He’s 15 and I think the discussion might be worth it.  I will NOT be letting my 11 year old daughter read it yet.  I also won’t let her watch PG-13 movies.

So, I guess I recommend this series with some serious reservations.  It is not for the children of lazy parents, but well worth it if you are willing to know what your kids are reading and willing to discuss it with them.

Hunger Games series

December 13, 2010 Leave a comment

Last summer I started reading a series based on my SIL’s recommendation.  It started with The Hunger Games and continued with Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins.   I approached this YA series with some reluctance.  It is written from first-person POV and in present tense.  I usually have a problem with just one of these.  I was worried that both together would be a big stretch for me to read.

I was completely wrong.  The story connected immediately.  I was immersed in the life of Katniss Everdeen and her problems in the far distant post-post-apocalyptic future.  Her character is well developed as is the background of the nation of Panem.  Ms. Collins does a great job of exposition through dialogue and introspection.  She gradually lets us know that Panem is the former site of the USA.  The Capitol is somewhere near modern-day Denver.

I won’t give a synopsis here.  Wikipedia seems to have a good one, but beware spoilers.  My 10YO daughter loved the first book and can’t wait to get her hands on the second.  I just finished the last book.  After really enjoying the first 2 books, I excitedly began the third and final book in the series, Mockingjay.  Read more if you don’t mind spoilers. Read more…

This Old House

December 2, 2010 2 comments

The old floor creaks as I step in through the familiar door, remembering to catch the screen behind me before it can painfully bark my heels…again.  The old place is eerily quiet and alien in its emptiness.  Yet somehow adding to the alien feeling is my intimate familiarity with the house. Read more…

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By Grace through Faith, not of works…

November 25, 2010 Leave a comment

A concept I have trouble with sometimes is that our salvation is not from works.  Oh, I get the idea.  We are saved by grace through faith not works.  Eternal life is the gift of God.  But, what of the commandments.  Doesn’t God expect me to be holy?  Isn’t that works?  If God rejects me for a lack of holiness doesn’t that mean I am saved by works?

Peter talked about it in  I Peter 1:16, quoting from Leviticus.  “Be ye holy for I am holy.”

God demands righteousness from us in order to enter heaven.  Not just compared to others, compared to himself.  Mother Teresa herself couldn’t enter Heaven based on her own righteousness.  She could not have stood in God’s presence during her life and lived through it.  The Apostle Paul would have been destroyed by facing God in his own righteousness.

Romans 3:9 says “There is no one righteous, not even one.”

Paul is saying that though there is value in being a Jew, even being a Jew doesn’t make you righteous.  The Law came through the Jews.  The Savior came through the Jews.  God treasured the Jews but He used them to show the world that we can’t possibly be good enough for him.  The law was simply to make us “Conscious of our sin.” (Rom 3:21)

If the Law wasn’t given to make us righteous but to let us know that we aren’t righteous, how can we be righteous enough? Ah!  That is a fantastic question.

Paul answers it in Romans 3:21 through the end of the chapter.

God made his righteousness known outside the Law by showing us through Jesus Christ how it can be lived.  However, ONLY Jesus was capable of doing so.  Romans 3:23 says “For ALL have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”  Very clearly every one  of us is guilty of sin.  No one deserves to go to Heaven.

We know that there is no forgiveness of sin without the shedding of blood (Hebrews 9:22).  Therefore Jesus, the only one not deserving death and destruction, was sacrificed in our place.  His blood met the price demanding ours.  God did not punish the sins that went before the sacrifice of his Son as they deserved because his Son would die for them.

This sameness, resulting from all mankind being fallen and unworthy, and all of man’s sins being forgiven means that no one has the right to boast about his spiritual heritage.  The Law, not meant to save us, is not worthless.  Jesus did not set the Law aside.  He fulfilled the Law.  He showed all of  us Righteousness.  Because of Him, we now are justified (made just) through faith, not the works of the letter of the Law.

On this Thanksgiving Day here in the USA, I thank God for His Son.  I thank Him for His forgiveness.  Most of all I thank Him for giving me a way, in my unrighteousness, to be able to put on His righteousness and be able to one day see Him face to face.

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…and after that, the Judgment Hebrews 9:27

November 17, 2010 1 comment

I hear about judgment all the time.  “Judge not lest ye be judged.”  (Matthew 7:2)  This is a popular sentiment amongst those who are guilty.  No one wants to be judged.  I know I don’t want to, especially when I’m wrong.  For one thing it messes with my sense of pride.  We as humans don’t like to say, “I was wrong.”  What this scripture talks about is people looking at the lack of holiness in others and using that as a way to call attention from their own problems.

Romans 2 also talks about judgement.   It tells us not to judge there, too.  Paul is telling the Roman church that they are guilty of many things they judge pagans for.  It isn’t for them to judge anyway.  God will judge everyone and use the same measuring stick on all of us.  Guess what?  Not one person in this world will measure up on God’s Measuring stick.  You must be this Holy to enter Heaven.  I know I don’t come up anywhere close to the line.

The first part of Romans 2 talks about Christians behaving as badly as anyone else.  Paul asks the Christians if they expect to be spared the judgment they pronounce on the pagans.  “Or do you presume upon God’s patience and long-suffering and kindness?”    God is kind.   God is long-suffering.  God is also holy.  God’s kindness is intended to draw you to repentance, not further into sin, presuming upon His kindness even more.

Everyone will be judged equally (v. 11).  It doesn’t matter whether you are in church every Sunday.  God will judge all men according to their works (v. 6).  This is not to say that what we do earns heaven, but if we can judge an apple tree by its ability to produce apples, God can look at the life of a person and will know whether or not they are truly Christians.

Paul ends the chapter talking about circumcision.  It is not physical, but spiritual.  He says the physically uncircumcised will judge the physically circumcised because the Law-quoting and judgmental Jews were giving lip service to Godliness.  The uncircumcised in this passage will follow God, rather than following the letter of the law and infringing as far as he thinks he can.  He lives by the spirit of the law, which is to say, a holy life.  Not according to man’s rules, but according to God’s principles.

I hope to be part of that uncircumcised group that follows God’s principles.  Lord, help me to be truly changed in you.

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The Foolish Things………I Corinthinans 1:27

October 18, 2010 Leave a comment

In I Corinthians 1:27, Paul writes that God uses the foolish things to confound the wise.  I was reading another blog entry here on WordPress (I won’t link to it) by someone pointing out the foolishness of believing in God.  His point was that man has come so far.  Only fools and idiots would believe in God or the supernatural at all.  I read this and immediately called to mind Psalm 14:1 “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There  is no God.'” Read more…

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Sooooo busy…

October 11, 2010 Leave a comment

I thought leaving job #2 and only having one job would make it easier to write.  I was wrong.  Every time I turn around I have another obligation.  I am busier now than I was two weeks ago.  I only get to go to bed earlier and see my family more.  At least there are some positives.

Well, I hope to have my next Romans post up later this week.  Wednesday at least, I hope.

 

Till then…

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