Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis

This book was hard to get into but after about 3-4 chapters it was making more sense. It is actually a very funny book underlined with seriousness and reality of life as a mortal on Earth trying to get back to Heaven.

It is a series of letters written from a senior demon (devil) to his nephew who is working on tempting a normal person which they call "the patient". They try to get him to break all the commandments and go to hell or be damned. They try to break the patients faith and get him to sin. All this is really a good look at human nature and the christian faith. The two main devils in the story are morally reversed. It takes a while to get it straight which person the demons are referring to when they say, "the Enemy" and "the Father". The enemy is God and the father is the devil, it is opposite to what people think.

The funny part is that C. S. Lewis is so right on about peoples failings and temptations while making fun of it all in a serious way, I guess this is called satire. I even saw myself in a few of his examples. This book really made me think about how I pray, how I think about others and what my relationship really is to God. Am I just going through the motions or do I really live a Christian life? Do I give in easy to temptations or do I stand strong? Is every thought in my head my own or did the devil put it there? Is there a flaxen cord leading me down to Hell and I don't even know it? I sure hope there are angels near to help me out!

The book dives into subjects like pride, gluttony, war, and sex, to name a few. The devils are trying to confuse and trick us into doing what is wrong. If they can't get at us then they work on the people around us or the media and they are always working on family members and spouses. Interesting...very twisted and insightful.

I would call it a Broken Book and would highly recommend this classic despite how broken it is...

Movies recently watched...

We really like Redbox, super cheap and convenient ...I wanted to just recommend a few recently viewed movies.

Australia starring Nicole Kidman as Sarah Ashley and Hugh Jackman as "Drover"! This movie takes place right around the pearl harbor attack by Japan. They also attacked Australia in an air raid. The story talks about the Aborigine people and the children that were half white and half Aborigine, which were sadly as mistreated as the African Americans in the USA during the time of slavery. Sarah Ashley has to get 2,000 head of cattle to the boats to sell before the bad guys sign the contract with the military or something but the bad guys are trying very hard to make sure she fails. She also falls in love on the way and she also bonds with a little boy and wants to adopt him. It is a movie full of adventure, drama, and of course romance. (lots of kissing near the end and my kids always gross out.) I recommend it for those of you that can fast forward through the one sex scene!

The next movie I recommend is All Roads Lead Home starring Peter Boyle, Vivien Cardone , Jason Landon, Evan Parke and Vanessa Branch. The story is about a little girl and how she works through loosing her mother, well not only she is working this through but her father and grandfather too. She really likes horses and dogs. She spends time with her grumpy grandpa and learns about life and death and how we have to take responsibility for our pets and our lives.

There are a lot of funny lines in the movie but I think some of them were suppossed to be serious. The character Poovey was really funny. He died of cancer shortly after this movie was filmed.
Poovey:" Some say cats have nine lives. Ol' Linus here has used up about 12. Ran over him twice myself. Something in that maybe. Like never counting yourself out. "

I highly recommend this one for the whole family to see at least once...don't think I could take it a second time around. There isn't much kissing and not even one sex scene. There is a lot of serious talk about killing animals and even pulling the plug on a humans. I am not sure what the movie was trying to take a stand on...for or against. And there is some very cute puppies in this movie. (for all you dog lovers out there!)

Fireproof. Starring Kirk Cameron, Catherine Holt and Ken Bevel (I think he was the best actor or at least had the best lines.) I liked this movie despite it being one of those Christian low budget type movies. It was the same people that did Facing the Giants and they are getting better at movie making. It is about a heroic fireman in a failing marriage (he is viewing porn online, is really being selfish and prideful) and he takes up his father's challenge to be part of a 40-day experiment designed to teach both husband and wife the real meaning of commitment, the Love Dare. The most exciting part of the movie was the car on the railroad track and the firemen try to save the people stuck in the car while the train is coming. I also liked the analogies that were given about marriage (salt and pepper shaker)and the real life struggle from both the husband and wives perspectives when it came to communication and gaining back trust. The best part was how it all came back to God's love for us and the Savior understanding all our weaknesses but loving us still so much that he would die for us. Movies usually don't talk about that important part of life. It was an okay movie, not a whole lot of kissing and absolutely no sex scenes or swearing. Kids would find it boring...okay my husband found it boring too. I liked it, once probably wouldn't see it again.

I also finally saw Twilight. Starring Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart It was pretty bad and way too much staring going on. I think they were trying to portray in love or mind reading. Way too much makeup on the Vampire. Not enough action, the ending moved right along and I wish the whole movie was like the ending. BUT I do like movies that stay true to the book. This one didn't add anything and followed the original story pretty well. Don't recommend it unless every other movie you wanted to rent is already checked out and you have a dollar to waste along with a few hours.
The Twilight Saga: New Moon is coming out Nov. 2009. Yeah for us!

Okay that is it for now. I also don't really recommend Bolt, well maybe just once. It did have a few funny lines and a lot of slobber but I don't think I could see it again. Great for the whole family and the best part was laughing at Mike laughing so hard at the funny lines.

Don't forget the Kettle Corn Popcorn!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Big Love? Big Deal

March 13, 2009, 4:00 a.m.

Yes, Mormons are targets, but let’s not get too excited about it.

By Orson Scott Card

In the aftermath of Proposition 8, it’s open season on Mormons, and the producers of HBO’s series Big Love are in the best position to give the Mormons (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) a big slap.

The series focuses on members of one of several splinter groups that have left the Mormon Church over the issue of polygamy. To understand what this means to Mormons, it’s worth indulging in a little history.

When the Mormon prophet Wilford Woodruff declared in 1890 that it was God’s will that Latter-day Saints no longer take multiple wives, some Mormons clung to the “Principle of Plural Marriage” and rejected the authority of the president of the church.

This is akin to what happened when Protestants declared that they would no longer follow the pope, and polygamist sects are about as Mormon now as Baptists are Catholic.

The fastest way to get yourself excommunicated from the Mormon Church is to advocate plural marriage.

But the polygamist sects still do most of their recruiting among Mormons, and there is a constant struggle between the church and the polygamists.

Many of these polygamists still believe that it is in Mormon temples that their marriages must be solemnized. The temple is a focal point in their religion — but if they admit they’re polygamists, they can’t get in.

So it actually makes artistic sense for episodes of Big Love to center on their effort to get into the temple. It reflects the real concerns of some polygamists, and it is accurate to show the official church as doing its best to keep them out.

You’re not supposed to enter the temples, once they’re dedicated, unless you’re a member of the church who is keeping the major commandments — which polygamists most flagrantly are not.

Big Love is not doing anything new. Anti-Mormon groups have been describing, depicting, or showing ersatz versions of the temple ceremonies for many years. Anyone who wants to know what goes on in the temples can find out with very little effort. So why are we Mormons upset about Big Love’s foray into anti-Mormon “exposé”?

It’s offensive when believers in one religion hold up the sacred rites of another religion to public ridicule. So we’re hurt — but we’re not surprised.

Mormons have always been the exception to America’s policy of religious tolerance. Throughout our history in America, Mormons have been oppressed by government, killed or driven out by mobs, slandered, and libeled — always by fellow Americans who professed to believe in religious tolerance.

So while we don’t like what Big Love is doing, we’re not doing much about it. We’ve learned by observation that protests and boycotts merely increase the publicity, and therefore the viewership, of such hostile productions as the Big Love temple episode.

So the church’s official advice to its members is: Ignore it. (See this, for more.)http://newsroom.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/eng/commentary/the-publicity-dilemma

My favorite response came from Terrance D. Olson, a Brigham Young University professor who does research in family studies. His essay in Meridian Magazine is a lovely explanation of how tolerance works and why it elevates everyone. Those who refuse to respect other people’s sacred things, he says, hurt themselves most of all.

My own essay at MormonTimes.com, published by the church-owned Deseret News, strongly urges my fellow Mormons not to write angry letters, because anger never persuades anybody, and expressing it isn’t particularly Christ-like.

Most Mormons are seeing the Big Love temple episode in the context of the recent outpouring of hatred and bile from those who most vehemently opposed Proposition 8. Mormons have been targeted for business boycotts; some have lost their jobs because they contributed to the campaign to defend marriage.

The result is that few of us have any desire to act as the worst of our opponents have acted. After someone has boycotted a friend’s business, it makes it a bit harder for you to want to call for a boycott.

By and large, while we’d prefer that everybody handle differences of opinion peacefully, we’d rather be persecuted than be the persecutors. The few times in our history when we have departed from that principle, the results have shamed us for generations. Tolerance works better.

What Mormons keep foremost in mind is this: We’re a worldwide church. We might be going through a rough patch in America right now, as we butt heads with the oppressive New Puritans of the American Left, but that has nothing to do with how the Mormon Church is growing in Mexico, Brazil, Nigeria, or Taiwan.

Big Love is just an entertainment; nothing they do will diminish the sacredness of what goes on inside our temples.

Our primary work is helping people in and out of the church to live a more Christ-like life. Now and then, when a deep moral issue is involved, we get involved in political action. But when we do, we expect that others won’t like it, and we take our lumps.

The more they attack us, the more people they bring to us as allies and, occasionally, as converts to our faith. So rave on, brothers and sisters!

— Orson Scott Card is a novelist and critic. For his take on Proposition 8, as a Mormon and prior to its passage, go here: http://www.mormontimes.com/mormon_voices/orson_scott_card/?id=4740

There you have it! I think it is too bad that people have to be mean but it is their choice and we don't have to be mean back. -The Bec-ster

Friday, March 13, 2009

Elantris by Brandon Sanderson

Awesome Fantasy book! New world with creative history's, traditions and interesting characters. Also mystery, magic, romance, political wrangling, religious conflict, fights for equality...I loved it!

This book from from the viewpoint of three different characters. At first it is hard to keep track of it all but I eventually got it mostly figured out. Aerlon is a city built next to Elantris the city of Gods but the Gods have all died or are dead (in a way) They are actually just not complete...and that is what needs to be figured out...how the Gods fell. Luckily there are some pretty awesome characters that come together (fate?) and help a whole nation pull through a hard time.

Princess Sarene is my favorite. She is brave and smart and knows politics! She takes on the forces of evil and out wits a few men along the way. She also finds what she really wants all along...to be accepted and loved.

It was a huge book but it was worth the time to read...almost better then a Anne McCafferey book...only no dragons...sorry.

Whole and Healing Book

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke

Kids on the street...but not your typical city kids like in New York or LA. These kids are in Italy! That right there puts an interesting twist on the story. There are a lot of Italian words, places and customs that make the story so different in a way you can't put the book down. The city is full of tourists, sculptures, museums, old churches, bridges and boats. (There are no cars in Venice it is built on a series of Islands on the Adriatic Sea.)

The kids are homeless but a boy called the Thief Lord helps them find an old theater to live in and also helps them get food and clothing. He steals stuff and they sell it to an antiques dealer. The antiques guy always cheats them but a little money is better then nothing. The Thief Lord is mysterious. They all think he is brave and fearless. The little kids look up to him and want to be just like him. But stealing is bad, right?

Well they have quite an adventure staying out of the way of the cops, hiding from a mean Aunt and playing tricks on a detective. The books ending takes a very unique twist and the kids find themselves in a bad predicament. They have to make some hard choices about their future which they really don't have many options when you are without parents, money and a home.

The kids are brave and they stick together even when it gets hard. With a little imagination the ending is actually pretty fun...an enchanted Merry go round is all it takes to change your life! Want to ride it? Read the book and then decide what you would do.

Slightly Broken, Healing book

Baby sleeps most of the day!

He sleeps and I try to do school with the kids...then he wakes up and I feed him and change his diaper a couple of times then he goes back to sleep. THEN I have to try to round up the kids again to do more school. He still kind of ignores everyone and sleeps through wind rain and snowstorms...also kids singing, yelling, laughing and talking really loud right next to him. He is such a good little boy!

Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke

This was a book about a little boy, a dragon and a Brownie. (what a Brownie is I still don't know... something furry and eats mushrooms). They go on an adventure to find the Rim of Heaven where dragons are safe to live. They are chased by the Golden Dragon...not really a dragon and they meet some nice people on the way and some not so nice things. They also pick up a spy and a raven or crow is following them, he is a bad red eyed crow.
Okay without giving away the story...they have a pretty interesting adventure and it was a very well written book. The book was actually written in German and then translated into English. I enjoyed it and recommmend it to anyone that likes books about dragons.

Whole Book, Healing Book