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Characters Series: Heroines with Names

What’s in a name? Really, I mean it. I recently heard accomplished professional say that the only thing you really own in life is your name. Our pastor preached a sermon on Sunday in which he told us he would give us two names to see how we would respond to each. The first was: Adolph Hitler. After a few seconds of gag reflex, he then gave us the name of our beloved pastor emeritus who is battling cancer. Immediately, a warm feeling and smile came to our minds. This is because name is actually made up of reputation. Reputation is made up of actions taken, or not taken. And our actions come from what we believe deep down. Jesus said that the one who hears His words and puts them into practice would be a Wise Man, and the one who hears and does nothing is a Foolish Man. Two names, two different reputations because of their choices in life.

It seems that many are flippant about the value of their name in this day and age. It used to be that a woman’s honor and reputation was a very precious thing to be protected at all cost. This can be easily observed among the ladies of Jane Austen’s fictional worlds. Elizabeth Bennet and her sisters do not have very much money to entice worthy gentlemen to marry them. However, they still have their dignity if they so choose. The youngest sisters (Lydia, in particular) flaunt themselves in public and behave in totally juvenile and inappropriate ways. Elizabeth is worried about what this communicates to others.  But we are only responsible for our own actions, and as Elizabeth’s father tells her, “Wherever you and Jane are known you must be respected and valued; and you will not appear to less advantage for having a couple of—or I may say, three—very silly sisters.”  When Lydia runs away with Wickham, it does cast an unfortunate shadow across the entire family.  It takes men of excellent character- Mr. Bingley and Mr. Darcy- to look past that and recognize the treasure to be found in the two oldest Bennet girls.

Another Jane Austen character is also not so careful. In “Northanger Abbey,” Catherine’s friend Isabella Thorpe goes out of her way to attract male losers in Bath. Once she has sullied her reputation, she no longer has the respect of others. Her story is a sad one with no happy ending. Incidentally, Austen draws a connection here between a girl’s reading material and the lifestyle she chooses to emulate. Thank goodness our heroine Catherine finds better friends to hang around with before it’s too late!

Does this mean that a person’s good name once lost is lost forever? We certainly don’t have to live or die by others’ opinions of us, but it is very difficult to gain one’s integrity back again. That is why it is so valuable. Proverbs tells us that a good name is more desirable than great riches, to be esteemed better than silver or gold (21:1). And Proverbs 3:4 says, “Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.”

Unfortunately, it is popular in this #metoo culture to be found guilty based solely on the seriousness of the charge. A lot of good reputations have been shot down where there was plenty of accusation in the absence of crime. A heroine named Hero [don’t ask me how she got that name] finds this to be the case in Shakespeare’s famous play “Much Ado About Nothing.” Hero is engaged to Claudio, but an enemy spreads lies about her virginity and she is horribly accused at the altar. A state of mayhem ensues and Hero suffers miserably. We cannot always control what others think of us, and we are only responsible for our own actions before God. But Hero is lucky to have one who challenges her accuser to a duel to defend her honor. (This was obviously back in the day when gentlemen did such things). Because a good name is worth fighting for.

In real life, Billy Graham knew this well. I do not know of a more devoted couple than he and his wife, Ruth. Mrs. Graham asserted that even though her husband was often away on evangelistic duties, the times when he was home was worth more to her than if she had left him for someone else. And the Rev. Graham always maintained his marital loyalty by living by what is now called “the Billy Graham rule” (never being alone with another woman). Many may not follow this lifestyle for different reasons, but the risks do increase. How refreshing to know of two faithful souls who loved God and each other and modeled grace to us!

Another respectable real-life person that has recently passed away is First Lady Barbara Bush. Even if a person doesn’t care for Bush politics, I think deep down most would have to agree that she exemplified good character with good humor. Another Proverb says that “a kindhearted woman gains respect…”

Now more than ever, we need role models whose names inspire us to live similar lives of integrity. We need to be people who value our reputations, so that others will see God reflected through us and praise Him. We need the next generation to know what a good character looks like, amidst a world that says one thing and lives another. What is your name worth?

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Posted by on April 25, 2018 in Character Reflections Series

 

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Listen to “The Man Who Was Thursday” on BBC

Are you in the mood for a little G. K. Chesterton?  I enjoyed reading “The Man Who Was Thursday” a few years ago (see my book review here), but I am enjoying Geoffrey Palmer’s reading of it even more!  For a limited time, you can listen to it for free on BBC Radio 4.

 
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Posted by on April 23, 2018 in Audio/Radio Dramas

 

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Scott Brick videos

Hi, there!  Quick post tonight about one of my favorite audiobook voice over talents: Scott Brick.  The reason why I hold him in high storyteller esteem is because he, Pat Fraley, and Hilary Huber have conjointly perfected many of the techniques behind the creation of audiobooks.  Not only is he easy and interesting to listen to, he just downright knows how to tell a story and do it well.  If you have listened to at least 5 audiobooks, chances are he’s probably narrated at least one of them.  I think his current tally is 600+.

Recently I’ve become addicted to the youtube channel VO Buzz Weekly.  Scott Brick was the featured guest on one of their episodes, which I am sharing here for those interested:

 

 

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Movie Review: “Lincoln”

 

3dead818f8bb0491dba54bfac1dd62b2Based on the book, “Team of Rivals,” by Doris Kearns Goodwin.

Version: 2012; Daniel Day-Lewis; Tommy Lee Jones; Sally Fields; David Strathairn; Lee Pace; Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Genre: historical drama

Plot Summary: [from IMDb:] As the Civil War continues to rage, America’s president struggles with continuing carnage on the battlefield as he fights with many inside his own cabinet on the decision to emancipate the slaves.”

My Review: Disclaimer*: I have not read the original book, so this review will not be comparing it to that work.  Only as a story in and of itself, totally unrelated to the book.  

I remember reading high praise for this movie when it first came out. Actually, I believe I had my eye on it when it was first announced it was in the making, and Daniel Day-Lewis was cast in the role of Abraham Lincoln.  The similarities between their looks are amazing, but would the movie do history and the man himself justice?

Oh wow. I can’t begin to tell you about the amount of research that went into the creating of this film.  I would love to know more about the ‘making of’ it.  I do know that the actors and actresses really gave this one their all and went into full-depth character to accurately portray these historical people.  Day-Lewis in particular researched Lincoln’s mannerisms, way of walking, speech, and voice in order to become him.

I am not so steeped in Civil War history as to know how many facts in this movie are correct, but I do know that it was inspired by the thoroughly researched book, “Team of Rivals,” by Doris Kearns Goodwin. The author worked closely on the making of the film as well.

LINCOLNActing is top-notch. I really felt as though I were viewing a fragment of my country’s history, and that felt exciting.  Even though I knew how history played out, this movie caused me to doubt for a little bit what would happen.  The behind-the-scenes politics of history made for a tense plot and kept me on the edge of my seat.  In fact, it was so identifiable in this day and age and maybe that’s why I felt nervous for what would happen.

One drawback of the film is that many of the historical facts presented escaped me in one viewing. I will definitely need to rewatch it to glean more from it.  Because of this, I felt somewhat confused and didn’t understand some of the plot structure.

However, I did learn a lot about the genius of Abraham Lincoln. I’ve always had the impression that he was so morally simple as to be sort of uninteresting.  Not so!  This man had a talent given to him by God that he used in the time and position he was placed in.  He was an absolute chess-master at politics, but had a core of integrity that kept him straight and true.  I believe watching this shed some light for me in deciding how to vote this past presidential election.  It also caused me to love a person I’ve never met, and left to wonder why God would allow such a man who did so much good and suffered greatly for it, to die at the hands of an assassin so soon after victory was achieved.

My favorite scene is near the end, with the singing of “Battle Cry of Freedom.” It was so inspiring, and caused me to be grateful to God for His working in our country’s history.  When’s the last time you felt excited about history?

 
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Posted by on April 14, 2018 in Movie Reviews

 

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Non-Fiction Books I’m Liking (Spring 2018)

Think outside the box this spring by reading up on God’s creation– both the supernatural and yourself!

The Unseen Realm, by Michael S. Heiser~ I had questions and lots of them.  Of course I knew the answers are in the Bible, but there are many things I didn’t understand.  It was so frustrating!  Then I heard a Bible scholar interviewed on the Moody program, In the Market with Janet Parshall (which you can listen to for a limited time here).  What he had to say was so informative, interesting, and outside the box that I actually tried calling into the program with a question to ask but couldn’t get through because the lines were lit.  Since that didn’t work, I set about to order his book through the library.  I spent countless hours reading, rereading, and copying two composition notebooks full of reference notes.  Even the footnotes were as fascinating as the rest of the book.  I read it so much I was thoroughly wore out with the thing by the time I reached Chapter 42!  And then I went exploring through his website, blog, articles and podcast because he has even more amazing footnotes.  Is this book about spiritual warfare?  That is what I thought it was before I started reading it, but it is not that exactly.  It is more all-encompassing than that.  I would say it is rather more the story of created, spiritual beings and the world’s history from a biblical perspective from the beginning to the end.  Is it about weird, alternative doctrine?  No, you don’t have to worry about that.  Heiser may not always side with traditional teaching, but he always backs his statements up with rock-solid exegesis and his extraordinary knowledge of Hebrew.  I felt in awe of the creativity and majesty of God while reading his explanations of various bible passages.  There is one area where I would disagree with, and that is over the question of whether the Flood was a local or global catastrophe (I side with global).  Although I don’t sense that he specifically intended this, I sometimes felt like God was portrayed as someone who was continually disappointed in His plan to be in relationship with people and kept moving to the next best plan down the list.  It didn’t feel in keeping with the truth of God’s omniscience.  However, I admire his goal of taking the academic out of the stuffy halls and bringing it to the ordinary Christian.  I will be on the lookout for more books by him, and hope there will be soon! [*Note: If you have a hard time getting your head around intense bible study, you may prefer Heiser’s easier version of this information in another book called Supernatural.]

It’s Just My Nature!, by Carol Tuttle~  Remember the old Color Me Beautiful style system from way back when?  All you had to do was match certain colors up to the season you were diagnosed with and you were told you’d be magically transformed.  I devoured that book in my teens and have ever since been interested in color analysis and other systems and classification for personal fashion style.  I love the idea of being one’s own unique personality!  Of course, there are the new 12 or 16 color seasons now.  But I stumbled across Carol Tuttle’s website and videos and learned of a different way to look at things.  Instead of matching colors, her system is more 3-D in that it takes into consideration a person’s inherent energy.  The end result is an honoring of not just the person’s appearance, but also of the way they process life.  One of my resolutions this year was to explore this new ‘typology’ to better understand myself.  I’ve never gone through Carol’s Dressing Your Truth program as far as purchasing anything or setting up an appointment in person, but I enjoyed reading her book and watching her videos online for free.  I love seeing the transformations that come about after someone has worked with her!  (After going through the process, I believe I am a Type 2.)  It’s amazing how it really does involve more than just outer looks and delves into a study of the way we approach and think about life.  I loved getting better acquainted with myself and it even broadened my understanding of how I viewed myself in the past.  Although I don’t subscribe to all of what Carol teaches, I believe one could comfortably embrace most of her energy profiling program.

 
 

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Another Random Books Post, Lots of Creative Spirituality

Hey, there!  I don’t have as many new random books I’ve bought as I have the last couple of similar posts, but here’s my new additions to my library.  I couldn’t help but notice this really illustrates my interests right now.  Several of them have been on my TBR list:

 
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Posted by on April 11, 2018 in Book Shopping

 

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~Quote for 4/10/2018~

 
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Posted by on April 10, 2018 in Quotes

 

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