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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Shack

The Shack by Wm. Paul Young is a publishing phenomena. It's subtitled "Where Tragedy Confronts Eternity. It is a novel about faith. A father loses a child. The question comes to him as to presence of God in a world filled with evil and unspeakable pain. In his search for answers he finally visits the the shack where his young daughter was murdered. There he meets God, who is a black woman who makes really good pancakes. Huh? Jesus a young middleaster fellow with a big nose. Very understanding and kindly is he. And The Holy Ghost, who likes purple, appears to be of Asian extraction and is otherwise quite undescribable.

Obviously it's a fairy tale. An allegory of the quality of Pilgrims Progress? I think not. Fairy tales though, can provide wonderful moral lessons or be just plain silly. Millions of people have, apparently, felt this book to be a life altering reading experience. At least many, who might be of a less than a traditional Christian point of view, have recommended it to their friends. That's how I got it. Perhaps it's a derivative of the "Emergent Church."

The writing is weak at times and the lengthy dialogue seems trite at points. Yet, to many the underlying questions and answers must be profound.

I don't believe in fairy tales. I know all about losing a child. A good book reviewer should be able to tell his readers whether a book is worth reading or not. I can't do that because, theologically speaking, quite simply this book was way beyond my understanding. You see in the end, it is a matter of faith.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Growing Up

When I was growing up in St. Paul in the 1950's:
A little house with three bedrooms, one bathroom and one car on the street. A mower that you had to push to make the grass look neat.

In the kitchen we only had one phone,And no need for recording things, someone was always home.

We only had a living room where we would congregate, Unless it was at mealtime in the kitchen where we ate. We had no need for family rooms or extra rooms to dine, When meeting as a family those two rooms would work out fine.

We were the last kids in our neighborhood to have a TV. We only had one set, and channels maybe two or three, But always there was one of them with something worth the view. My dad thought he got a bargain from "Mad Man" Muntz you see. It was a giant 17 inches and black and white indeed.

For snacks we had potato chips that tasted like a chip, And if you wanted flavor there was Lipton's onion dip. Store-bought snacks were rare because my mother liked to cook, And nothing can compare to snacks in Betty Crocker's book.

Weekends were for family trips or staying home to play, We all did things together -- even go to church to pray.
We all loved to go camping then, here my mom is helping pack the stuff and to this very day, Mrs. T and I like still like the woods as long as we can stay. Sometimes we would separate to do things on our own, But we knew where the others were without our own cell phone.

Then there were the movies with your favorite movie star, And nothing can compare to watching movies in your car.

Then there were the picnics at the peak of summer season, Pack a lunch and find some trees and never need a reason. Get a baseball game together with all the friends you know, Have real action playing ball -- and no game video. Now they speak of the Boyz In The Hood. Well, here we all were then. Boys and girls together playing Robin Hood. That's me, lower right hand corner, getting ready to shoot. The game never tired for us as it always was a hoot.

Remember going to the store and shopping casually, And when you went to pay for it you used your own money? Nothing that you had to swipe or punch in some amount, Remember when the cashier person had to really count? The milkman used to go from door to door, And it was just a few cents more than going to the store. There was a time when mailed letters came right to your door, Without a lot of junk mail ads sent out by every store. The mailman knew each house by name and knew where it was sent; There were not loads of mail addressed to "present occupant." There was a time when just one glance was all that it would take, And you would know the kind of car, the model and the make. One time the music that you played whenever you would jive, Was from a vinyl, big-holed record called a forty-five. The record player had a post to keep them all in line, And then the records would drop down and play one at a time.

Oh sure, we had our problems then, just like we do today, And always we were striving, trying for a better way. Oh, the simple life we lived still seems like so much fun, How can you explain a game, just kick the can and run?

This life seemed so much easier and slower in some ways, I love the new technology but I sure miss those days. So time moves on and so do we, and nothing stays the same, But I sure love to reminisce and walk down memory lane.