Ramblings

A Handful of Children’s Picture Books

I have a slightly different (and more colorful!) review post for you today! I thought I’d take a rabbit trail into children’s picture books and see if I could find any with good Christian messages you could add to your collection or check out from the library. Being an Auntie myself, I’m always bringing a few hardcovers home to read to my nieces and nephews, but it’s difficult sometimes to find any with Biblical messages. Here are a some brief thoughts on what I’ve come across lately!

Continue reading “A Handful of Children’s Picture Books”

Ramblings

Why Romantic Christian Fiction and I Don’t Go Steady

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We’ve been spending time together (off and on) for quite a few years now, so it may come as a surprise to some friends that I haven’t made a serious commitment yet. Here’s why!

  • He’s so predictable. I mean, I love a guy who’s dependable, but I always feel like I know exactly what he’s going to do and say before he does it.

By nature, Romantic Fiction revolves around… a romance. Before I even open up the pages of this type of novel, I know that the girl will end up with a/the guy by the end, usually married. If she didn’t, it would probably end up categorized as something else. For me, this destroys a lot of the suspense and leaves me thinking “just solve this silly problem already so you can end up together.”

Bottom line: good Romance has to have an engaging plot and a fresh perspective to hold my interest to the end.

  • He’s not always as innocent as he seems.

Sadly, sometimes I think authors, even Christian ones, approach their work thinking something along these lines: “Hmm, how much tension can I stuff in this to keep my readers’ hearts racing and cheeks red without it actually being labeled as lustful?” Kiss scenes especially can go too far, and characters often end up in vulnerable situations even though “nothing happens.” Descriptions of physical attraction are often over-the-top, with men who somehow always end up shirtless and showing off their ridiculously rippling biceps.

Bottom line: good Romance doesn’t feed lustful, objectifying thought patterns.

  • Sometimes he seems pretty spiritually shallow.

The Christian messages in these books can easily fall into the categories of vague or forgotten. How many plot synopses have you read that go something like this:

Marie-Anne Rose travels from x to y interesting location in z—epic, fascinating time period that featured lots of gorgeous clothes and settings. She meets Eric, the handsome (rancher, sheriff, soldier, duke, doctor—pick one) but a big obstacle is in the way of happily ever after. Will Marie-Anne’s faith get her through????

Now, don’t get me wrong, faith in God through trials is an excellent topic. That said, some of the romances I’ve looked at make God almost an afterthought of the book… others give the false impression that strong faith always results in all your dreams coming true.

Bottom line: Good Christian romances point to Jesus, whose sacrifice for mankind is the greatest love story of all. The character’s relationships flow naturally from and further a plot centered on biblical truths.

 I like Romance the best when he pairs up with some of his friendship genres, say History or Adventure! I could mention some other things I’ve noticed about him (maybe I should do a sequel post sometime?) but for now I’ll leave off here. Somehow I don’t think I’ll ever break up with him entirely, but I try to spend time together only when he’s at his best—focused on glorifying God.  

 

Ramblings

Sneak Peek, My Hands Came Away Red

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I’m wrapped up in the beginning of My Hands Came Away Red by Lisa McKay, and so far I’m feeling optimistic! I have a distance to go before I can say whether this will earn four stars, but here’s a glimpse inside:

     “I would like to go to Bible college,” Mani whispered, as if sharing a secret too precious to say out loud. He looked out over the water, unclenched his fist, and let the handful of sand he’d been clutching dribble out.
“My teachers at school know about a Bible college in Bandung. Can you imagine? Three years just to study the Bible and learn about God?” He sounded awed.

Without context I’m not sure if you’ll be affected by this passage the way I was; “Mani” is a young man on a remote island of Indonesia. His father is a pastor there, and the protagonist of the book, Cori, is part of a mission trip to help them build a church.

I’ve reread this paragraph a couple times, touched. While I’ve never been to a Bible college, I’ve had 23 years to study the Bible and learn about God. Easy, convenient access to countless resources, sermons, Godly counsel and all the time I needed to apply myself. Even so, how many times have I been in awe of these gifts?  I may catch my breath a little tonight when I open up the New Testament or reach for the (free) commentary I checked out from the library.