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Jesus is THE Adventure Hero

>> Thursday, July 28, 2011

Have you ever took a close look at your library or DVD collection? Last week I was on the prowl for some chick flicks to lend a loved one recovering from surgery. It took me by surprise to discover that, besides a few shelves of family and kid-friendly films (Classic Disney fanatic in residence), I own very, very few chick flicks.

Despite my femininity and affinity for chocolate most of my DVD collection contains, um, adventure and action flicks.

Granted my hubby has bought more than his share of bad-guy-gets-what's-coming-to-him films, but A LOT of the choices were my favs. Like Braveheart (I'm a sucker for kilts and medieval battle scenes), Gladiator (Roman battle scenes, too), the Patriot (maybe it's a Mel Gibson thing), the Narnia movies (I would have bought them even if I hadn't read the books with gusto), the Harry Potter movies (I bought them BECAUSE I read the books with gusto) and the Star Wars movies (seriously good fun, no matter how old I get).

Shows something about my tastes, doesn't it?

Although I am more than content to live in a semi-rural town where very little happens, deep down inside I crave adventure. But does that jive with my faith? Can those interests be spiritually uplifting and edifying?

I think so.

Jesus is, after all, THE adventure hero.

He was born into incredible difficult circumstances in a terrible time. A Roman emperor had brutally taken control of the civilized world and was maintaining that control with political viciousness. His lackeys followed suit. Joseph and Mary were living and working in fearful, oppressive conditions and had to flee in order to protect the life of their only Son.

Jesus’ adult years were filled with adventure. Fighting the establishment, striving for the common man, trekking through the rough, escaping death by stoning, encountering demons.

And, of course, the sacrifice of Jesus Christ is the epitome of heroism.

My heart never fails to swell with emotion, passion and that physical desire to praise Him whenever I dwell on the cross. There are so many levels to that moment in history, but adventure, heroism and action are present.

And you only have the skim through Revelation to get an idea about the challenges and battles we're headed for. Sheesh.

Don't get me wrong. I am not comparing the birth, life, sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus to an action adventure movie. The age old story is bigger, wider and deeper than anything the world of literature and Hollywood could ever hope to create. But that's my whole point.

Adventure and action spark something in me - a drive, a need, a hunger. Jesus Himself spoke of the narrow gate and the hard way. He told His disciples what they would experience. He didn't sugar coat, didn't downplay, didn't avoid difficult truths and challenging paths.

And that speaks to my soul. It speaks deeper and louder than any ole’ book or movie could. It inspires me, like the stories of foreign missionaries that battle unspeakable hardships to tell others about the Gospel. Like the accounts of Paul or Peter or other peeps in the Bible that spoke out in the face of grave danger against known and powerful enemies.

Some would call me naive. Some would call me desensitized. But stories that bring heroism and challenge to life get my blood pumping and my brain engaged.

Just as romances remind some people of the love of God, these stories twist in my gut and charge my muscles with the quest and journey that is the Christian life.

Move over, Mel. Jesus is THE adventure hero.

Swinging My Sword,

Thanks for the pics - Kim Traynor (a statue of the real William Wallace at Edinburgh Castle) and sxc/samplediz (arms open for adventure)


Indignant and In a Bubble

>> Wednesday, July 20, 2011

It's been a few weeks, but I'm jumping back into the fray with Patty Wysong's alphabet-inspired meme, A2Z4U and Me. Since I have a prejudice against "I"ntroducing myself (please see that bio tab thing above for further details), we're going to head down another path together for the letter "I."

I've been called a fiery redhead (disclaimer - that was not part of an introduction). And there have been plenty of moments when my father or my husband or even my children have glared at me with those "settle down" eyes. But despite a tendency to get my knickers in knots, I do not get indignant very often (unless, of course, you decide to get between me and my morning coffee - kidding... sort of).

This week however, thanks to my RSS feed and a tiny bit of spare time, I've been pushed to the point of becoming indignant. Don't worry, FW blog, it's not your fault. And the MikChiks and Connecting Now comment makers have been ever full of endearing and witty advice.

It all happened while following a trail that began at the Allergy Moms blog. The night was neither dark nor stormy... it wasn't even night, to be frank... but it did get a little scary.

My preteen son has a serious peanut and tree nut allergy, so the practices of reading ingredient lists and allergy-related blogs is old hat to me. This particular blog is often practical and educational - something I admire in any publication. And this week's post directed me to another feature article in the Wall Street Journal. (Disclaimer number two - I have never, ever before read the WSJ although it is obviously highly practical and educational. Apparently I do not admire those traits as much as I thought.)

In this WSJ article Sandra Beasley discusses her new non-fiction memoir "Don't Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales from an Allergic Life." I haven't read the book... yet. But what I have deciphered from this article and the subsequent blog posts, comments and online discussions is that Ms. Beasley is weary of establishing nut-free zones in schools, ball parks, airlines and other public arenas. She seems to feel that this practice is potentially unhealthy and dangerous (for the children) and unnecessary (for the adults).

Ms. Beasley herself has serious allergies and speaks from a position of knowledge about a topic that, like it or not, most of us are facing with increasing frequency.

My response to said article? Without trying to sound childish and petty... Humph.

For obvious reasons (named Andrew), I do not agree. However, her opinion and statements have caused me to consider many things. Am I (still) attempting to place my child in a bubble? Am I harming, rather than protecting him in the long run? Will he really turn out to be part of "a generation of rebellious teenagers with food allergies, navigating the world of late-night drunken Waffle House binges and ordering hash browns cooked on a griddle that may or may not have been scrubbed free of egg (or peanut)"?

To top it all off, I recently had an unpleasant experience with a grade school principal who reminded me (in that tone of voice only principals can perfect) that my son is now old enough to "self-advocate." Double humph.

On the one hand I am being told that "manipulating shared adult environments with bans and "free" zones does not help those with allergies learn to fend for themselves in the real world." On the other hand I'm being told that my boy is old enough to fend for himself without the support of the educators I entrust him to daily.

But, after thinking about it all with a slightly calmer head (and more than one latte), I have come to a few conclusions:

  1. Andrew IS old enough to self-advocate. That does not, however, void the principal of his/her duty to provide reasonable (and necessary) safety precautions while my son is under the school's care (including a secure place to store an extra Epipen, one or two adult contacts within the staff that my son can approach with questions, concerns, etc. and a genuine acknowledgment that his life has value and is worth the extra attention his condition requires.)

  2. Nut-free zones are not everywhere, people. We still run across way more incidents and areas that pose a threat to my son, rather than places where he is assured this extra level of care. I'm not keeping score - neither should you.

  3. My son is actively involved in the management of his allergy. And he always has been, according to his age and responsibilities. If the measures that our school has in place are creating a bubble around him, then he is fully aware of the dangers beyond that bubble and is learning to deal with them step by step.

    The things he can handle now are quite different than the things he could handle as a kindergartener. Dialogue continues, as does building awareness. I am thrilled that Ms. Beasley is confident and knowledgeable regarding her allergy. She cannot, however, project that onto all of the others dealing with serious allergies on a daily basis.

  4. Do we not, as a community, have the moral responsibility to be aware and considerate of the issues our children face? Would you let a potentially vicious dog loose on a playground, knowing that some kids may be able to take care of themselves but many cannot? Sure the dog bites may only result in "discomfort, not death." But are you willing to take that risk?

In the case of serious food allergies, is it appropriate to teach children how to handle their situation? Yes. Equip them with the tools and knowledge necessary to live their life? Yes. But don't mistake protection and reasonable limitations as a bubble. And please don't complain so loudly that you inadvertently communicate a lack of respect and an attitude of negligence towards the life of a child.

That's sure to get a few people indignant.

Thanks for the pics - sxc/ale paiva (enraged dude) & sxc/crystala (peanut love... not so much)


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