Monday, December 28, 2009

Jesus Mean and Wild

I was intrigued by the title of this book when I saw it at CBD a few months ago, so I brought it home. I've had that little niggling thought in the back of my mind for a long time that Jesus is more than just Mr. Nice Guy. He was tough and stern. He got angry and yelled. But we like to focus on Nice Jesus. The first line of this book is "Jesus loves you and has a difficult plan for your life". Not exactly the kind of the thing we're used to. We like the nice things, like "Jesus loves you!", "Come to Jesus and he will fix everything", "Jesus, meek and mild". That's too often the message we send. And yes, Jesus does love us and he is kind, but he's more than that. If we bother to read the New Testament at all we see him angry, rebuking, commanding.

We try to romanticize Jesus and the Christian walk making everything seem bright and rosy. We seem to think that once we decide to follow Jesus that everything becomes perfect and we never suffer again. Where in the world did we get that idea?!? Not once does the Bible ever say that! It says the complete opposite many times over! That in order to follow Jesus we will suffer and we will have to deny ourselves.

This book starts with two familiar stories about Jesus that we seldom put together. In the first chapter of Mark we read about Jesus being baptized. You know the scene, he goes in the water and comes up to the heavens opening, the Spirit settling on him like a dove and the words of God saying "This is my Son, whom I love, in whom I am well pleased". Then there is the story of Jesus being tempted in the desert for 40 days and nights. What we (or at least I) miss is the fact that it says "immediately" in between these two accounts. Jesus is baptized, hears the words from heaven, and is immediately driven to the desert to be tempted! This is Jesus. The Son of God. The one that God is well-pleased with. If he is sent through such suffering right after being baptized, why do we expect less?

And why do we only see God as a softy waiting for us to need coddling? "He is instead a God who is in control of history and is in control of our lives...he is gentle and merciful and kind. But he is also strong to save. And he loves us so much he refuses to pamper us" (p28). We can't pick and choose what features of God or Jesus we like and which we don't. "Once you domesticate Jesus, he isn't there anymore. The domestic Jesus may be an interesting fellow, a good friend, a loyal companion, a helpful business associate, a guarantor of the justice of your wars. But one thing he is not: the Jesus of the New Testament. Once Jesus comforts your agenda, he's not Jesus anymore" (p19).

I'm only in chapter four, but I have so many things I could write/talk about! This would be a great book to study with a group! Since I don't have one, maybe I'll write a blog for each chapter.....hmmmm......for now, let me leave you with a few quotes I really like.

"This is not a world for shallow people with soft character. It needs tested, toughened disciples who are prepared, like their Lord, to descend into hell to redeem the lost...God's got the whole world in his mind, and he's looking for people who are keeping that world foremost in their minds as well." (p31)

"Repentance is...deciding that you have been told a pack of lies about yourself and your neighbor and your world. And it is deciding that God in Jesus Christ is telling you the truth. Repentance is a realization that what God wants from you and what you want from God are not going to be achieved by doing the same old things, thinking the same old thoughts." (p38)

"We must stop thinking of God as infinitely indulgent. We must begin to grapple with the scary and exhilarating truth that he is infinitely holy, and that he wants the same for us." (p 39)

"This aspect of holiness has two dimensions: the shaping of our character to be set apart in godliness and the shaping of our calling so that our lives will be set apart for God;s purposes. In short, to be holy is to dedicate all that we are and all that we do to God." (p44)

"This is one reason a life of holiness frightens us, why an encounter with the real Jesus can be so unnerving. When he comes into our presence, we sense the chasm between his holiness and our uncleanness...the one who loves us is the Holy One who wishes to make all unclean things holy. That means the one whom we cannot stay away from is the same one who is out to destroy those very habits, sins, notions, addictions and self-justifications that we think we can't live without. And there are times when we feel as if Jesus is out to destroy us. It is a wonderful and fearful thing to fall into the hands of the real Jesus." (p46)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Code Blue

I came out of the cafeteria at work today to be told "Did you hear that page? Code Blue in the West dining room!" (I happened to be working on West today). I go taking off down the hall thinking "Crap. Am I ready for this?" and "Hey I get to learn what to do!". I get to the dining room and they tell me that the patient was brought back to her room, so I go taking off down the hall. I get to the room and find out that it was not, in fact, a code blue. The patient had a fainting spell, which happens occasionally. Someone decided to call a code blue for that and send 20 concerned nurses to our floor. Fun way to come back from lunch!
On a lighter, happier note, here's some pictures from my NYC trip! I'm too tired to edit or elaborate, so just enjoy.




























Tuesday, December 15, 2009

oops

I just realized that I missed the start of the 12 Days of Christmas I was going to do. Hmmm......welll.....Guess I'll either start late or forget it. I've been kinda busy lately. NYC pics will hopefully be up tonight. For right now, I'm subbing at the high school and sincerely wishing to take off and travel around the world.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Attention Please

I will be going to NYC tomorrow! I am quite excited and decided to share :) Stay tuned for pics and tales early next week!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Stay Icy

Despite the first real snow of the season that falling outside right now (yay!), this post is not about the weather. Its a book review! Or, rather, a book series review. And this should be really interesting trying to explain/review without giving anything away or making it confusing, so lets jump right in!

I just finished the Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld (comprised of Uglies, Pretties, Specials, Extras, and Bogus to Bubbly) and LOVED it! I am now a fan/expert on all things Bogus to Bubbly, Crim to Cutter.



In Uglies we first meet Tally Youngblood, a 15-year-old girl living in a futuristic society (roughly 300 years after our own). She is not-so-patiently waiting for her birthday so she can turn pretty. You see, everyone one is considered ugly until the surgery on their sixteenth birthday turns them pretty, bringing with it a whole new beautiful lifestyle. The New Pretties live in their own town where their only job is to have a really great time. This means non-stop parties, drinking and anything else that brings them pleasure. Just before the big day, Tally makes a new friend who turns her world upside down. Shay isn't sure she wants to have the surgery. She has heard of the fabled town of Smoke where everyone stays ugly forever. When Shay goes missing, the authorities (that no one believes exist) give Tally the worst choice she can imagine: Go find Shay and turn her in, or never turn pretty. The decision Tally makes forever changes her world in ways she never expected.

Now stops my summaries. If I continue to describe the rest of the series, you'll know too much and it will ruin the series for you. I will say, however, that Extras is not fully about Tally....she's not the main character. Also, Extras isn't as great as the rest of the series, but still a good book.

These books are soo good (or bubbly or icy, in Tally-speak, depending what book you're in), even though they sound really weird....and they sound weirder the more you try to explain it, which is why I gave up. Basically, its this futuristic society that sort of shows what humanity become if we continue as we are. We will fully become the Rusties (the "ancient" humanity that destroyed the world with battles over stuff, space and popularity). It sort of makes you think about the implications of a world where everyone is pretty.

The books are filled with really cool tech-toys like hover boards, bungee jackets, flash tattoos (which are actually real!), eyescreens, and costume-surge (plastic surgery that wears off in a day). There are all kinds of cliques (Crims, Tech-Heads, Manga-Heads, Kickers, Sly Girls, Special Circumstances, Cutters....this could go on a while). And you have guaranteed action in each book...usually involving the top-secret, highly-rumored government authorities, Special Circumstances. To top it all off, there's so much fun slang! Like "bubbly", "eye-kicking", "brain-missing", "icy", "SpagBol", "dizzy-making" and so many others. I've started using them in real life because they're so fun! And if thats not enough for you, there's even some romance throughout the series. (Are you a David fan, or Zane?? Frizz?)

So, if you like young adult fiction, action or sci-fi books, you'll like these. My brother thought I was ridiculous when I tried explaining them to him, but after the first few chapters, he was hooked. And once you've read them, tell me so I can have someone to talk about them with! Its been painful to not write everything that happens in these books! Oh! And last note. Bogus to Bubbly is the "insiders guide" to the series, not an actual story. It gives more background to the technology, how the author came up with some things and names, what certain things mean or look like. It also has a "history book" that explains all the history from the Rusties, to the Diego war, to after the Extra's...experiment (I can't say what it is!).
Don't be a bubblehead, read the books! Hope you enjoy them as much as I do! **Ashley-wa**

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Yumminess

Ashley's Guide to Yumminess in Six Easy Steps
Step one: Rediscover the Garlic & Herb Popcorn-on-the-cob you bought last year at the farm.
Step Two: Decide that tonight is the perfect night to finally make it.
Step Three: Melt butter, mix with the spice packet, pop the popcorn, cover in said butter mix

Step Four: Pour yummy Garlic & Herb Popcorn into fun popcorn holder
Step Five: Enjoy yummy Garlic & Herb Popcorn while watching Pixar's Shorts with your sister and reading Around the World in 80 Dates.
Step Six: Blog about the yummy Garlic & Herb Popcorn while including pictures.
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