Saturday, June 30, 2012

Come Home

I'm still reading LOTR 1 and have finally finished reading Counterfeit Gods by Timothy Keller about a week or so ago. As of three days ago, I am embarking on an A.W. Tozer Journey Part 2 with That Incredible Christian

Sometimes, when I stumble across a song with great lyrics, I like to post it up here and highlight the bits I fell in love with. But the song below, I couldn't cut out any part. Each verse, pre-chorus, chorus and bridge just sank in my heart and echoed in my mind.

"So you've been running,
Searching for something,
But you're looking in a place you don't belong.
It's never too late,
You can't outrun grace.
No, mercy doesn't care what you've done.
So come home   oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh

You can try to fix your broken empire,
And put bricks on a cracked foundation,
But you'd be building castles on the sand.
There's power in the blood of Jesus,
Your Father's screaming just COME HOME,
He's reaching out His hands."

So, enjoy this as much as I did and am at the moment. 
Come home to the Father.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Sculpted Sentences

"The Christian believes that in Christ he has died, yet he is more alive than before and he fully expects to live forever. He walks on earth while seated in heaven and though born on earth he finds that after his conversion he is not at home here. Like the night-hawk, which in the air is the essence of grace and beauty but on the ground is awkward and ugly, so the Christian appears at his best in the heavenly places but does not fit well into the ways of the very society into which he was born.

The Christian soon learns that if he would be victorious as a son of heaven among men on earth he must not follow the common pattern of mankind, but rather the contrary. That he may be safe he puts himself in jeopardy; he loses his life to save it and is in danger of losing it if he attempts to preserve it. He goes down to get up. If he refuses to go down he is already down, but when he starts down he is on his way up.

He is strongest when he is weakest and weakest when he is strong. Though poor he has the power to make others rich, but when he becomes rich his ability to enrich others vanishes. He has most after he has given most away and has least when he possesses most.

He may be and often is highest when he feels lowest and most sinless when he is most conscious of sin. He is wisest when he knows that he knows not and knows least when he has acquired the greatest amount of knowledge. He sometimes does most by doing nothing and goes furthest when standing still. In heaviness he manages to rejoice and keeps his heart glad even in sorrow."

(A.W. Tozer; That Incredible Christian)

Friday, June 8, 2012

Journey Begins.

I have undertaken the massive challenge of reading J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring and admittedly, after three separate readings at a necessarily-slow pace, I have just finished the prologue which tells the back-story of Hobbits and Bilbo being in possession of the ring. It almost feels like a milestone reaching Chapter 1 and having this page in front of me definitely sparked some excitement of being led on a journey by Tolkien. 

On a sidenote, I watched Clue (1985) today and it was a great movie! It's a film featuring Tim Curry, the most popular actor I know in the cast, based on the crime/mystery board-game 'Cluedo', by the Parker Brothers. I really did not expect it to be so hilarious and well scripted. Absolutely loved the humour attached with the movie and will probably be on the look out for it when I'm next in JB Hi-Fi to buy a copy of it.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Salinger's Catcher

The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger

The Catcher in the Rye was quite an enjoyable read. For all who are fearful of extremely long reads, this one is quite a short one and is packed full with reasons why it is a classic. I know this was a Year 11 high school text in the English syllabus but I never did mainstream English so, here I am ticking a must-read off my list.

Much like Franklin's My Brilliant Career, I absolutely hated the narrator of TCR, Holden Caulfield. The consistently pre-assumed judgements he makes on people are ridiculously irritating despite how it makes reading the book so much quicker. After reading several analyses on this novel, I've concluded that Salinger's attempt at dealing with youth relations and issues are quite exaggerated and dramatic. That being said, a normal teenager's life would probably be too mundane to base a novel on. 

Salinger's use of stream of consciousness is extremely effective in this novel. As the novel is written in first person, it is debatable as to how reliable Caulfield is as a narrator. His biased perspectives on people and self-proclaimed 'better person' makes it difficult for me to sympathise with him being kicked out of Pencey. He claims others are such phonies, and that he but in saying so, reflects the exact image upon himself. Using this narrative technique is extremely clever of Salinger in highlighting the flaws and issues Caulfield is struggling with as he deals with aging and the events in his life. 

Despite how much I disliked Caulfield however, I did thoroughly enjoy the novel as a whole. It  was engaging and the plot developed in a slow and steady manner, just how I like it. Sometimes I feel a clear climax is too unrealistic, which is why I suppose I am drawn towards longer reads or slower-paced novels. But that is just sometimes. 

There's a part in the novel I thoroughly enjoyed reading and I thought I would share it with you readers. Allie is Holden's brother and he is someone I feel who brings Holden back to his senses a little even though he has passed away. 

"When the weather's nice, my parents go out quite frequently and stick a bunch of flowers on old Allie's grave. I went with them a couple of times, but I cut it out. In the first place, I certainly don't enjoy seeing him in that crazy cemetery. Surrounded by dead guys and tombstones and all. It wasn't too bad when the sun was out, but twice- twice- we were there when it started to rain. It was awful. It rained on his lousy tombstone, and it rained on the grass on his stomach. It rained all over the place. All the visitors that were visiting the cemetery started running like hell over to their cars. That's what nearly drove me crazy. All the visitors could get in their cars and turn on the radios and all and then go someplace nice for dinner- everybody except Allie."

Caulfield talks a fair bit about what drives him crazy throughout the novel, but when I read that, I felt his anger and the significance of his frustration. And after that, I didn't put down the novel until I got to the end.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Alignment Transformation

I'm really no good at basing a life-experience on a specific verse. One of my personal goals is to successfully memorise Matthew 11:28-30 (Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." and at the moment, I have not gone past "Take my yoke upon you" because I end up muddling all the adjectives up. Nonetheless, having v.28 in my head is encouraging enough that I find out the rest of it. So, I do encourage memorising Scriptures.

In the last few hours I have been home, I will not lie, I have experienced immense joy. As siblings usually do, my brother and I often fight and argue over petty issues. I would say something that would hurt him, and he would do the same. But something I've realised today, is I have spent more time with my brother in these two weeks, than in the months before since the year began. Not only have we spent more time together, but also, we've been talking more and mind you, my brother is 11 years old with the attention span of a peanut. I won't claim we didn't fight, but there is a sense of joy and peace at home, and bitterness has definitely left my heart. I've found in me a secret compartment of patience and understanding to give to my brother, something I may not have had before.

I've tried to narrow down what it is that has resulted in this change and I've realised, it's none other than God Himself. That really has been the only change in my life since. I won't call it a rejuvenation of faith because I have always believed and never lost faith in the loving nature and deity of Christ, but it definitely was a re-alignment of the steering wheel in my life. I dropped am dropping the bad habits as I go, still learning and still growing, but I thank God that He has revealed to me the problems in me which I need to fix. And instead of trying to fix myself on my own, I'm submitting it to God and drawing near to Him for His help. And as I drew near to God, sure enough, He drew near to me in my life and every issue and concern I had fell into place in His hands (James 4:7-8). Every problem I worried about, I prayed and committed it to the Lord and there's peace. Just satisfying peace. (Matthew 6:32-34)

I'm not saying I have it altogether, that I've got the Golden Ticket to living the perfect life on Earth. I'll probably have another low moment eventually, but while I'm inspired and ever so grateful for the amazing grace of God, I simply want to encourage you who are reading this that I am experiencing the transformation of God, being moulded into His image. It will be tough but it will be for the better. 

I have a t-shirt which says "Be patient with me, for God is still working on me." Never have I understood that statement more, or rather the weight of that. I ashamedly admit that I may not have let God work on me all the time. Maybe I should wear it out more. 

Praise God for wonderful friends and family who have the patience of God in them to deal with me.

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Dalloway

Mrs Dalloway - Virginia Woolf

This one's a classic. When I first mustered up enough courage to start buying books off Book Depository, I spent a good amount of time looking at Top 100 lists, books we must read before we die and all that jazz. Woolf's novel made it to at least 80% of the sheer amount of lists I looked at. So I decided I would get around to reading it and I did! (pat on the back for myself)

The novel follows the progression of a day in the eyes of two characters, Clarissa Dalloway and Peter Walsh. It really is quite ingenious the way the novel's been written in terms of its narration. The 'stream of consciousness' technique is frustrating to read but at the same time, so personal it's quite frightening. As a reader, often we take things for granted and simply understand the perspective of the narrator and accredit it for what he/she is worth. However, sometimes narrators aren't always as nice as we perceive them to be (I am reading The Catcher in the Rye at the moment, and I assure you, Holden Caulfield is a terrible narrator). 

What I really do enjoy reading in this text is the discovery of both narrators from each other. Peter reveals something about Clarissa from long ago and likewise. It's so biased, but yet, so honest. You just really don't know who to believe- does Clarissa really have issues? Can she not hold parties simply because she likes it? Must there always be an insecurity interpreted through her actions? It's really quite mind-provoking. 

From the get-go, I was so curious to know who Clarissa's husband was, and to find that he was a 'safe' man to marry, it was quite disappointing. But that's how it always is, isn't it? She picks the 'safe' choice over the man she should have married. I entitled my little review as 'The Dalloway' because Clarissa in the end, adopted his name and married him- and it ultimately is a choice she made, regardless of her feeling that she lacked the choice. Oh, the irony!

For a short book of less than 150 pages, I did however find it a bit tiresome to read somewhere in the middle but one must persevere and it was totally worth it. In page 42 of my edition, I stumbled upon one of the most satisfying passages I'll ever read. It's the words used and the rising-and-falling of the phrases which really leave me just in awe, comprehending what I've just read.

"Nothing exists outside us except a state of mind, he thinks; a desire for solace, for relief, for something outside these miserable pigmies, these feeble, these ugly, these craven men and women. But if he can conceive of her, then in some sort she exists, he thinks, and advancing down the path with his eyes upon sky and branches he rapidly endows them with womanhood; sees with amazement how grave they become; how majestically, as breeze stirs them, they dispense with a dark flutter of the leaves charity, comprehension, absolution, and then, flinging themselves suddenly aloft, confound the piety of their aspect with a wild carouse." (p.41)


[On a sidenote, I received two Hemingway and Dostoevsky novels in the mail today! I'm excited!]

Monday, May 14, 2012

Bus Girl

I've always liked children and seeing them often brings joy. There's just something about their simplicity and innocence which really makes me smile and today, on the bus, a little girl did just that.

I only had a glimpse of her as she walked past me but she definitely left an impression. She had jet-black eyes, pupils as large as the moon. Her dark skin of her Indian descent brought out those big eyes even more. She had little, but distinct curly black hair tied into a ponytail of whatever there is and her little hand held onto her older brother's as he took her onto the bus. 

She had a baby pink jacket on with matching shoes and a bright pink (I shan't use hot pink to describe a child) dress to go with her little backpack which would really fit my wallet and nothing else. And as I pondered for that long split-second, I just prayed that she would retain that innocence as she grows older. That this world will not corrupt her past the point of no return. That years later, she will still hold on to her big brother's hand and find comfort in him. Don't let anyone take that simplicity away from you. The world may try to throw complications and anger at you, but remember that you were once simple in the past, so you then, can be simple too.