Friday, August 26, 2011

Fantasy Fiction

     I happen to be a Fantasy Fiction buff, and it seems that I have passed this on to at least one of my children.  My youngest will sit relatively still for an hour if I read any Sherlock Holmes aloud.  I don’t think he gets it all because I read the original text, but we found his fiction niche.  It’s nice that I can enjoy the book too.  I don’t mind Babar or George or Madeline; but I appreciate getting to read something with words I occasionally have to look up. 
            It can be difficult to find Fantasy books that do not conflict with Christian values.  C.S. Lewis and Tolkien are two masters of creating a world with different laws of nature and reality yet still operating within a framework of God’s sovereign existence.  There are some modern day authors who have done a great job of this also. 

Madeleine L’Engle:  Ok, so she’s a contemporary of Lewis and Tolkien.  But I can’t tell you how often I mention this amazing woman to be met with, “I completely forgot about her!”  Her Wrinkle in Time series can get a bit emotionally and spiritually dark in places.  The science of worm-holes and travel around the universe could possibly make a young reader’s head spin, but she is absolutely a must read if you have a daughter who likes science!  The only book of hers that I offer up with a caution is Many Waters; intimate relationships and hormonal chemistry might be better left for older audiences.

Chuck Black:  The Kingdom Series is a great read and the bonus is that the series parallels the Bible from Genesis through to Revelation.  My biggest complaint with Black is that he only has one book featuring a female lead, Lady Carliss.  The books are probably written for boys, but I know plenty of girls who have enjoyed his strong female characters throughout the books.

R.K. Mortenson:  While The Landon Snow series is probably my least favorite that I am listing today, it is my eldest’s favorite.  The characters are quirky and very off-the-wall.  The books are an easy read and can be found at our local library.  Each book uses character lessons to bring main character Landon closer in his relationship with the “Auctor.”

Jerry B. Jenkins and Chris Fabry:  The Wormling series is my favorite on this list.  The authors manage to create a character who grows from boyhood into adulthood, with plenty of conflict that doesn’t hinge on the usual teenage angst.  The Biblical parallels are pretty obvious but very well written.

G.P. Taylor: The Dopple Ganger Chronicles is a graphic novel series up to three books now.  All my kids love them.  These beautiful books center around identical twin girls and their side-kick friend.  The girls are real trouble-makers but also have good hearts.  Some people might not like that angels (some female) appear to the girls to deliver the spiritual morals in a ghost-like form. 

The Miller Brothers:  When I first starting The Codebreaker series featuring Hunter Brown I was not impressed, but the ending really redeemed what worried me.  My original thought was that the authors were glorifying the main character’s typical teenage attitude and behaviors.  In the end of the first book though, there is a very nice twist that shows Hunter the problems with the path he has been walking.  This series is not finished yet either, but my daughter is so excited with each new one that comes out.

Christopher Paolini:  The final book of the Eragon series will be out this November!  The eldest and I are very excited to read it.  In fact, I think that she has re-read the series as it stands more than she has re-read any other book.  Hmm, maybe this one is her favorite?  Words have power in these books; magical power if that is a problem for you.  The question of a Higher Power is raised in the books by some of the characters, and the origins of these words of power are discussed but no real answers are offered up as truth by the author.  This series would be good for a child that enjoys discussing such things with you. 

I also recommend the websites:

Next week we can look at some classic books that definitely don’t take place in our world.  What genre of fiction do you enjoy and does your daughter enjoy the same?  Let me know in the comments section!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Spiritual Conditions

The ladies in my wonderful bible study/book club have come up with some very funny ways of looking at our human behaviors.  We all admit to having Spiritual Alzheimer’s, but the rest are my own creation (not to be confused with an admittance of guilt by any other parties).  What spiritual conditions do you have?  Leave me your ideas in the comments section.

I have spiritual Alzheimer’s.  I read my Bible or a great and uplifting book about my walk with God.  Then I put the book down and switch the laundry over, stop the kids from fighting, cook dinner, make the kids share, maybe get some writing done, and…completely forget the wonderful and energizing lesson I had just learned and was so excited about.  In fact, I probably won’t remember anything more about it until I pick up the book the next time, and by then I will feel so bad about forgetting that I might even avoid reading the book again for a while.

I am spiritually deaf.  I pray and pray for God to just tell me what to do about any given situation.  I’m sure He is right there beside me, calmly repeating Himself yet again.  Yet I feel unheard and unanswered.

I am spiritually menopausal.  I go from lukewarm in my faith to red hot in an instant, just to cool off once the mood changes.  Don’t even get me started on my irregular commitment to reading my Bible or praying.

I am spiritual anemic.  I get too busy to read my Bible or even pray.  I am tired and worn out from my lack of connection to God.  Something in me is missing, something that only God can provide.

I am spiritually lice infested.  From a distance, all appears normal.  I look and sound just fine.  But if you get out the magnifying glass you can see the worries and doubts just crawling around in my mind.  Watch me long enough and you will see me twitch and repeated scratch the itch of those doubts.

I am spiritually malnourished.  Ok, so that music wasn’t very “Christian.”  And perhaps, the book I just read was kind of romanticizing some very non-Christ-like behaviors.  These things were filling at the time, but my spirit is withering in cultural-junk-food.

I have spiritual heartburn.  I read that passage about not frustrating my children.  The more I digest it the more my heart aches with conviction.  Honor my husband?  No idols?  I need a Tums!