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Theology for Dummies

Have you ever read any of the “For Dummies” books? You know which ones I mean?

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They are pretty iconic. I mean, most people would recognize them simply by the cover, even if you’ve never read one of the books. They have somewhere around 2,500 titles and over 2 million books in print. Crazy, right? The appeal is that they are easy to read for the average person and present the information in a design where the important stuff is made known so that you can recognize and remember it. I think I read one in high school but I don’t remember what it was.

But to be honest, I kind of stayed away from them because I didn’t like reading stuff written for “Dummies!” (Yeah, pride. I know.) I considered myself a pretty well-read person, for which you can thank my parents. My Dad used to read to us all the time as little kids and he can still recite the “Three Billy Goats Gruff” from memory. In fact, if I were to go home and my Dad was read a book to my younger siblings, I would be in the front row.

When we got older, my Mom read us books like King Arthur, Pilgrim’s Progress, and Canterbury Tales. We read a lot. I love books and reading. I used to get in trouble for reading too much (actually, I used to get in trouble for getting upset when people interrupted my reading…) Old English? No problem. Beowulf? Bring it on. Deep theology? My favorite.

But things are different now. My brain capacity and concentration capacity are different. And although the desire to read deep things is very real, I find myself wishing someone would write a “Theology for Dummies” book. Which sounds like a contradiction, I know. But I simply can’t comprehend the books I used to be able to read- which is SO frustrating! For instance, I’ve had Bonhoeffer’s “The Cost of Discipleship” sitting on my shelf for about a year now. I’ve probably started it 4-5 times and never been able to get past the first chapter because I don’t understand what I’m reading. No matter how many times I read the same sentence, I don’t get it. (Is there a kid’s version of this book??)

I used to be able to read several books at the same time and keep up with all the themes. Don’t believe me? Look what popped up on my Timehop today:

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This was what I was reading four years ago. I liked reading more than one book at a time so that if I didn’t feel like reading one book, I had another to turn to.

But not now. It’s been frustrating but also very humbling for me. The person who used to pride herself in reading the great books of the world has been brought down to the level of a child and is thankful that she can read at all! That person who used to have 6 books by her bed that she was reading all at once is now thankful to be able to open her Bible and comprehend one single verse in it. Thankful to find those authors that do write simply. Ultimately thankful that salvation isn’t for the wise or all-knowing people but that you just have to have faith like a child. That it’s simple. Just thankful.

 

But…if you happen to find a “Theology for Dummies”, let me know. 😉

 
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Posted by on April 18, 2018 in books, epilepsy

 

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The Pollyanna Project

I used to love the movie Pollyanna. As kids we would go over to my Aunt Tammy’s (who shares a very similar taste in movies as me) house and that was the movie I always picked to watch. I think it was probably her optimism that I liked the most. I was always an optimist and loved that about Pollyanna.

For those of you who (gasp!) haven’t seen the movie or read the book, Pollyanna is an orphan who comes to live with her strict aunt and somehow manages to find the good in every situation and person. She plays this game called “The Glad Game” and no matter what position you put her in, she will find something to be glad about. Of course she has some trouble at one point but I’m going to let you watch the movie and find that out for yourself!

So the other day, I had too much time on my hands to think and thoughts were creeping in about all the things I missed in life and wanted back. I found myself complaining inside. I was getting frustrated, uneasy, and unhappy and finally I had had enough of it. I sat down with a notebook and wrote out every single thing I missed from my ‘old life.’ Every thing I wished was different. Every thing I wasn’t content with. It was almost a full notebook sheet. Things like:

“I miss being able to drive”

“I miss working at the Farm”

“I wish I always felt a passion for devotions and prayer”

And then I turned the page. And for each line on the previous page, I wrote a very specific corresponding thing I was thankful for on the new page:

“I am thankful for so many friends who give me rides”

“I am thankful for my time at the Farm and that I still see my Farm family”

“I am thankful God’s Word is alive and working and he hears me when I pray”

Just like Pollyanna, I came to a point where I sat and stared at one line for a long time, unable to think of anything to be thankful for. Finally, I simply wrote, “I am thankful for salvation.” I’m glad when all else fails that I can always fall back on that and be utterly thankful and grateful for it.

Do you know what I did next? I tore out the first page and threw it away. I’ve done this same thing again since then and you know what I am left with? Pages of thankfulness. Reminders of God’s grace and goodness towards me. It may seem like a silly or simple thing to do but it really has helped. I’m calling it the Pollyanna Project (because who doesn’t like alliteration?).

We have so much to be thankful for, whether it’s big or small things. We just need to take the time to see them and express our thanks.

 
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Posted by on January 21, 2018 in thanksgiving

 

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