Friday, July 27, 2018

Five Minute Friday: THIRTEEN

Today I'm linking up with the Five Minute Friday community, where we write for five minutes on a given prompt. This week's prompt is THIRTEEN

(Our group leader, Kate Motaung, chose this word because her oldest child was born thirteen years ago today in Capetown, South Africa.)


When my youngest brother Errol was getting married to Alycia, they asked me to do a Scripture reading for the wedding ceremony.

I asked what they'd like me to read, and my brother said, "Maybe you could read that Corinthians 13 passage."

I said, "Oh, you mean FIRST Corinthians 13, the chapter on love? The one that starts like this...?"

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

"Yeah, that's the one."

"Or," I asked, "Do you perhaps mean SECOND Corinthians 13?"

FINAL WARNINGS. This will be my third visit to you. Every matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. I already gave you a warning when I was with you the second time.


 "Or," I went on, "Maybe you'd prefer REVELATION 13?"

THE BEAST OUT OF THE SEA. The dragon stood on the shore of the sea. And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. It had ten horns and seven heads...


"First Corinthians 13 will be great."

There are actually other chapter 13's in the Bible that would be good for weddings, like

Hebrews 13: "Keep on loving one another..."

And others that aren't so great, like

Romans 13: "Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities..." 


Psalm 13: "How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?" 

So next time you're asked to read Scripture at a wedding (or any other gathering, for that matter), be sure to check ahead of time that it's the right passage. Otherwise you could get yourself in a lot of trouble!


(On a related note, here's a post I wrote a few years back which includes a funny little story about the Scripture passage I read at my aunt's funeral.)

Sunday, July 15, 2018

July 2018 Quick Lit: what I've been reading

Considering I've written only one blog post since my last Quick Lit post on June 15, it would seem that I've been doing a lot more reading than writing -- which isn't necessarily a bad thing! (And I have been doing other writing, just not on my blog.) Anyway, I'm linking up again today with Modern Mrs. Darcy for Quick Lit, where we share short reviews of what we've been reading.

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng.
This is Ng's second novel; her first was the award-winning Everything I Never Told You. Little Fires is centered on the Richardsons, a respectable, successful family whose lives are turned upside-down when single mother Mia Warren and her daughter Pearl move into the Richardsons' rental house.  Boundary lines start blurring when the Richardsons hire Mia as their housecleaner/cook, when Pearl becomes involved in various ways with the Richardsons' teenage kids, and when Mia takes the opposing side in a custody battle that the Richardsons' close friends are waging with their baby's Chinese birth mother. I was completely engrossed by the well-developed characters and the way Ng moves smoothly between their points of view, slowly teasing out their motivations and their many secrets. A very good novel.

Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Caroline Fraser.
This Pulitzer Prize-winning book is fascinating from start to finish. It shows that the reality behind Wilder's beloved "Little House" series was in many ways quite different from the tale of pioneer triumph and self-sufficiency that Wilder told. In fact, the very first chapter of the book describes in detail how homesteaders, with the help and encouragement of government policy, destroyed or displaced many of the Native American tribes living in the west -- belying the common image of pioneers as brave conquerers of uninhabited territory. We also get a more complex look at Wilder's parents, particularly Charles, whose repeated financial and agricultural failures result not only from "Providence" or government decisions but from poor judgment and even, at times, deceit. Clearly he was, in part, the loving, hard-working, fiddle-playing Pa of the books -- but he also jeopardized his family's well-being many times with his reckless schemes.

The latter half of the book focuses on Wilder's complicated relationship with her only child, Rose Wilder Lane, who grew up to be a talented but often mentally unstable woman. The book describes the two women's strange collaborative process whereby Wilder would write drafts of her books and her daughter would edit and rewrite, often to make the narrative more dramatic.

After reading this book, you will never look at the "Little House" books in quite the same way again -- and I think that's a good thing. It's useful to know the reality behind even our most beloved stories.

Charlotte Bronte: A Fiery Heart by Claire Harman. 
I enjoyed this 2015 biography of Bronte; however, I honestly didn't find it provided much new information that I hadn't already read a few years back in Margot Peters' Unquiet Soul, published in the 70's. (Even Harman's title seems derivative.) Peters' book completely engrossed me, whereas Harman's book, good as it was, didn't have quite the same emotional intensity. There's lots of interesting detail here, though: if you haven't read any Charlotte Bronte biographies and you want to start with something relatively recent, this would be a good one to go with.

What about you: what have you been reading this past month?