Books, Reflections

Little is Much

girl-2607176-1

Turkey day approaches. In some ways I’ve been mentally preparing myself for the rush of the holiday season.

Then at other times I just want to tuck into a good book and forget about things for an hour or so. One book out of 10 in my book stack is the Lark Rise to Candleford series, by Flora Thompson.

It is a book that follows the life of a young girl who lives in a tiny hamlet (or village) in England called Lark Rise. Her community is very poor but oddly very happy. It is set in the late 1800s, one of my favorite time periods. Early on in the book I came across one of those quotes that I read over and over.

village-742481

“People were poorer and had not the comforts, amusements, or knowledge we have to-day; but they were happier. Which seems to suggest that happiness depends more upon the state of mind-and body perhaps-than upon circumstances and events.”

from Lark Rise, chapter 3, by Flora Thompson

I finished the book a few days ago and it ended with a description of harvest days and feasts. The hard work and sweat and subsequent festivity and joviality.

The scene put me in mind of another feast day, of a story told long ago.

There was a kingdom where dwelled a wealthy King and his grown son, the Prince. The Prince was to be married, to have a wedding feast and the invitations were sent. But those invited responded with scorn and violence. And so the King, enraged, did away with the violent men.

“Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. Go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find. So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, both good and bad, and the wedding hall was filled with guests.” (From Matthew 22:1-10)

decoration-2697944

I’ve always pictured this as a beautiful scene. Full of warmth and cheer and happiness. Everybody is there. Young, old, rich, poor, outcasts, knights in shining armor. Everybody. All were there. All were invited in.

And its always put me a little in mind of Thanksgiving.

The goodness, the plenty, the laying aside of differences just to be together and be happy and grateful for the blessing of harvest, and most importantly for the blessing of family.

And at the banquet scene, who was most blessed? The King was The Giver of blessings. And I imagine those who felt least deserving were most blessed. For they had nothing to recommend them to attend the feast of a King. They had little. But little was much.

This story speaks of God’s gift of salvation and grace. It is a gift of much to one who has little. Once upon a time, as a young girl that person was me.

And as I’ve gone through life I’ve seen this beautiful pattern. The times I’ve had less have been the times I’ve had more. Less in the material world. Less comfort maybe. But more room for cheer and love in my heart.

thanksgiving-1790008

Life gets simple. And when life is simple, it forces you to look within.

Looking in to see what you value most when you have little.

A simpler life, a shorter budget, it is a gift. So enjoy it. Enjoy your life amidst the harships. The scrimping and saving. The wondering. Enjoy your family and friends, one of life’s purest and greatest gifts. May you be blessed. And well stuffed with stuffing!

A very Happy Thanksgiving to my readers here in the U.S. 🙂

~Rachel

Yes I know it’s early yet to be saying Happy Thanksgiving but if I don’t say it now I’m liable to forget! Mom brain 😛

Reflections

Can a Christian Read Fifty Shades of Grey?

PicsArt_07-21-12.24.51

This post is an edit of the one I wrote March 23, 2015.

Oh boy. You’re writing about that?! You bet. I spent a lot of time figuring out my thoughts on this topic. And originally I had a lot to say, but I realized that the direction that I was taking wasn’t what God wanted me to write. So over a period of time I have written and re-written this post.

“What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are we not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside.”                  1 Corinthians 5:12-13a (NIV)

I have chosen to address this post to a Christian audience. This is mainly because my viewpoint comes from a Biblically based Christian standpoint and it doesn’t seem fair to subject unbelievers to that. Throughout this post, I will share some scripture and my thoughts on why a Christian must abstain from reading this specific brand of literature.

I began this post because I needed to figure out the whys of what I believed about this book. I didn’t agree with those believers who thought that reading Fifty Shades was ok. So I looked at things objectively. I did a lot of research. I also spent a good bit of time seeking understanding in this matter so that I could respond with care.

america-hashigo-1453977

I wanted to know, really know why I shouldn’t read these books which had become so popular. And I also wondered why they were so popular. Aside from the obvious “it’s about sex”.

I see this genre as a response to fill a problem that many women face. I think that this is much of the reason why the Fifty Shades of Grey literature gained so much popularity.

A Few Reasons for Popularity

1) I see that this book is geared towards women, especially moms who might wish to escape from a sometimes busy and demanding life. There is no harm in a novel, but the morality of the content is also important.

2) Women want to be seen as desirable. One of the major themes in the Twilight books and Fifty Shades is that a woman is pursued, wooed and made to feel desirable. Which is something that I would say we all want as women. Again, nothing wrong with that. But God created that desire to be met in courtship and marriage. He created and wanted that exclusivity that existed between husband and wife from the very beginning with Adam and Eve.

wedding-2121789

Talking About Judgement

Is it my place to be judgemental? Yes and no. If it wasn’t my place, then I wouldn’t have felt the prompting to write this. However, I am not of the school of thought which says, “Slather on that judgement!”. Judgement should be made and delivered with a great amount of prayer, thought and wisdom.Thus it is important to remember the words Jesus spoke.

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Matthew 7:1 (NIV)

Don’t judge? For this passage, I dug out my commentary and took a gander at the insight offered there.

“Before presuming to help others, one must undergo some self-discipline and yield to the discipline of the Lord (Ps. 51:10-13).”                                                      -Moody Bible Commentary (2014)

And oh yeah, that happened. The Lord very much worked on my own heart as I began to write this post.

The Flesh and the Spirit

I’ve been reading in Romans chapter 8 where Paul talks about the flesh and the spirit. How they battle for control in the believer’s life. We have to choose everyday which we will serve. Who we will serve. It is not an easy task. I myself have difficulty keeping that balanced mindset.

“Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of the sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace.” Romans 8:5-6 (NIV)

crossroads-1951949

Be Selective About Your Reads

I could easily choose to pick up Fifty Shades and read it. Give in to the voice that says it is ok.

But I’ve heard that gentle voice, that quiet but firm word of caution saying, “Stay away”. And I know I must stay far away from temptation because the Holy Spirit is there to guide me. To help and protect me. My mind, my spiritual health is valued by God. And He wants me to value it too.

Just like what you feed your body determines your overall health. Your skin can show if you’ve been eating your fruits and veggies. Found that one out lately. Your mind, your actions, emotions and thoughts can show you what you have been reading, watching, dwelling on. Even things that you have viewed or read long ago can come up again. Which is why it is so important to be on your guard.

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31 (NIV)

There was a time in my life when I was not as guarded as I should have been when it came to my choice in literature. I learned a very valuable lesson from that and now I am very careful to avoid what is not wholesome. Am I perfect? No. But I do know firsthand that choosing what is unwholesome can haunt, can trouble and linger.

forest-1982443

Conclusion

Ultimately, I do not believe that reading these books or watching the movies are compatible with a life that is devoted to following after God. I can find no scripture that would support that stance.

In conclusion, I have to ask: is it a sin to read this Fifty Shades series? To watch the movies? Everything I’ve read in the Bible and what I know about the series points to a yes. Fifty Shades of Grey is not compatible with the believer’s life. Much caution is needed here. Think twice about reading this book, about watching the movies and listen intently to the Holy Spirit’s prompting.

~Rachel