Literary Insights

Literary Insights: A Book Lovers Review

Friday, December 7, 2012

Christmas Candles

Have you ever wondered why we put candles in the windows at Christmastime?

Wonder no more. During the seventeenth century, the British conquerors of Ireland implemented harsh laws aimed at eradicating Irish traditions. Irishmen were forbidden to vote, send their children to school, purchase land, or own a horse worth more than twenty-five dollars. Irish priests were driven out of the land and warned never to return under penalty of death.

On Christmas Eve, despite the iron hand of their conquerors, Irish families of faith placed a single candle in each of three windows—or three candles in one window—to represent Joseph, Mary, and Jesus. These candles signaled to a traveling priest that the doors were unlocked and he was welcome to come in, share a meal with the family, and celebrate “Christ-mass.”

These Irish believers understood that, in the words of the apostle John, Jesus is the Light that shines through the darkness, “and the darkness can never extinguish it” (John 1:5). No matter how many laws are enacted to try to snuff out the gathering of the saints, such laws are no match for the Light of the World!

Excerpted from The Adventure of Christmas by Lisa Whelchel
Daily Reflection: How can you be a light to the world?            

Monday, December 3, 2012

Bold as Love: What Can Happen When We See People the Way God Does by Bob Roberts Jr.

  Bold as Love combines anecdotes of Roberts' personal discoveries, lessons he learned about his own beliefs and suggestions to build similar experiences across America. Roberts’s suggestions are both timely and relevant.  Texas pastor Bob Roberts Jr. attributes his heart change to being challenged by a Saudi Arabian prince to do the impossible; to somehow bring Muslims and Christians together in the buckle of the Bible belt. That was the start of something new for his congregation; as its members began hosting an event drawing Christians and Muslims. A frequent speaker on this subject, Roberts has written Bold as Love: What Can Happen When We See People the Way God Does, with the aim of helping Christians live out their faith among people of all faiths.

            “Globalization”, Roberts says, “has changed American neighborhoods, giving Christians close-at-hand opportunities to demonstrate the gospel to people from all over the world.” He urges Christians to be honest about their beliefs, not to dilute them, and to begin by loving people and building relationships. He believes this requires bold love, not “shy faith,” which must focus on serving God and following His commands, even taking the first step. Further, he has found that nothing builds relationships like serving side-by-side with people who practice a different faith.

Today's unprecedented mass migration has resulted in diverse, powerful world religions living next door to one another. Picking our faith passively, or throwing our hands in the air, is not an option. We must speak frankly, but lovingly, with all religions in today's compact world. 

            Roberts takes a good amount of time to describe his term "multifaith," which reflects his real goal: people who passionately believe their own faith, and passionately want to know their neighbors as real people; which is different from “interfaith” that tries to meld all beliefs into one. Distinguishing between “interfaith” and “multifaith,” Roberts doesn’t advocate the concept that “all paths lead to God.” Interfaith gatherings tend to “ignore core truth.”  Roberts says multifaith efforts acknowledge “we have fundamental differences, but the best of our faiths teach us we should get along.”

            Although I agree with what Roberts says is needed, this book does give one much to think about. I believe there is a fine line to walk with others and still be salt and light to the world. It is commendable to work for “peace on earth” I am concerned that we will only preach a social gospel (let’s just be friends) and leave out the eternal gospel. The mission of the Church should be to preach the Gospel of the death, burial and the resurrection of Jesus, so that people on their way to hell under the judgment of God for sin can turn to a Merciful God and be saved.   I recommend this book, it isn’t what you might think and will get you to evaluate just what you really believe. I received this book from Handlebar Publishing in the Blog Network program for my review.

break on through