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Here are some noteworthy reads found recently.

On Giving Criticism As a Christian, HT to Challies.

Personality Assessments and the Wondrous Knowledge of Being Known, HT to True Woman. While some personality tests are helpful, Lore Ferguson Wilbert says, they are limited. “I cannot worship at the altar of my personality, but I can look at it honestly and ask the creator God to make and remake me until Christ comes again.”

Biblical CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) vs. Worldly CBT in relation to depression, HT to Challies. Applying truth to our thoughts.

5 Better Ways to “Argue” About Social Injustice, HT to Challies. If you’re not aware of it, there’s a maelstrom all over the internet concerning just how social justice should be exercised and to what degree it should be under the purview of churches and governments. As with most online storms, there’s more conjecture, accusation, and misrepresentation than there is real conversation.

Lawnmower Parents Are the New Helicopter Parents, HT to Story Warren. “Lawnmower parents go to whatever lengths necessary to prevent their child from having to face adversity, struggle, or failure. Instead of preparing children for challenges, they mow obstacles down so kids won’t experience them in the first place…But in raising children who have experienced minimal struggle, we are not creating a happier generation of kids. We are creating a generation that has no what idea what to do when they actually encounter struggle. A generation who panics or shuts down at the mere idea of failure. A generation for whom failure is far too painful, leaving them with coping mechanisms like addiction, blame, and internalization.”

Hope When Hope Is Lost, HT to Out of the Ordinary. “While we commemorate the stories of freedom fighters, we tend to overlook the vast majority of regular people like my grandmother whose own hopes were sacrificed on the altar of someone else’s ideologies, ambitions, or societal norms. Their stories deserve to be heard as well.”

When Disability Makes Your World Feel Small.

A Writer’s Prayer, HT to Out of the Ordinary.

I’ve read biographies of Amy Carmichael, one of them a few times, and several of her own books. So seeing this tour of the Dohnavur compound that the Lord enabled her to build, where she lived and ministered most of her life and where she died and is buried, meant a lot to me. It was neat to see there are still people there who knew her personally.

Laudable Linkage

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve been able to share noteworthy reads recently found around the Web. Hope you’ll find some of them interesting as well.

How the Lonely, Invisible, and Unnoticed Can Glorify God.

Taking the Risk With Christian Community.

Ten Reasons Why the Church Gathers.

Don’t Always Follow Your Conscience.

The Bare Essentials: What I Tell My Daughters About Modesty.

The Story of a Male-identifying Little Girl Who Didn’t Transition. “When we begin to tell boys that they must act ‘this’ way, and that girls should act ‘that’ way, and that if they don’t, they are transgender;  we put children in these tiny boxes that create confusion, frustration, and sometimes, lifelong psychological and emotional damage.”

Me, the Lord, Pizza, and Celiac Disease.

A Call For Plodding Bloggers.

The Backside Blessings of Blogging.

Brown Sugar Toast, a new-to-me blog by Christa Threlfall, has been running a series titled Dwelling Richly: An Interview Series on Studying the Bible in which she interviews various women about their time with the Word of God. I’ve just come into it recently, but I have enjoyed catching up with a few from women I know (Claudia Barba) or know of (Mardi Collier, Pat Berg, Jen Wilkin) as well as others I don’t know.

Alicia Reagan, the friend of a friend, shared this video of the new movie “Me Before You,” the trailer of which looks pretty cute, but the ending is horrible and a step backwards for disabled people. Sherry discussed the book here.

And finally, I thought this was really cute: a day in the life of a panda zookeeper. I guess it doesn’t pay to rake leaves with pandas around. 🙂 Love how roly-poly they are.

Laudable Linkage

Here are some good reads discovered recently – perhaps you’ll find something of interest here as well:

I Can’t Be Good Much Longer, HT to Challies. Loved this.

A Simple Way to Spend 45 Minutes a Day With the Lord.

A Post Mortem on A Year of Biblical Womanhood. I still haven’t gotten to this book yet, but Wendy brings up a serious issue with how the author handles the Word of God.

How Should I Handle Anger When Disciplining? I always appreciate Jen’s thoughtful and careful approach to topics.

I Won’t Force My Kids to Go to Church. Reasons to rather than not to, as I originally thought by the title.

Let Heroes of the Faith Teach You Today. Regular readers know I advocate reading biographies of Christians who have gone before us. Here is another reason to: “A diet consisting largely of blogs and books written by modern-day men and women who have lived a mere three, four, or five decades in affluent America is a recipe for spiritual malnutrition.”

Little House on the Prairie to Get a New Film Adaptation. I’m not sure how I feel about that. It will depend on how it is handled. I also enjoyed the links here to a segment with 8 of the TV show cast members together after some 20 years or so. Fun to see what they look like now!

Finally, I saw this video at The Story Warren and found more information on the typewriter artist, Paul Smith, here. He was born with cerebral palsy and not expected to live long, but he lived to be 85. He began using a neighbor’s discarded typewriter when he was about 11 and eventually began creating amazing works of art using only about 10 keys. What a reminder not to judge someone’s abilities and soul by outward appearances. And to concentrate not on what you can’t do but on what you can.

Happy Saturday!

Book Review: Joni and Ken: An Untold Love Story

Joni and KenAt 36, Joni Eareckson felt that marriage was probably not in God’s plan for her, not only because of her age, but because of her paralysis resulting from a diving accident in her teens. Who would be willing to take on all that would be involved?

After Ken and Joni met at church, then got to know one another, then started dating, Ken felt he could. He knew he loved her and he felt their marriage could work.

Joni was afraid he idealized her. He had read about her before meeting her, accompanied her on mission trips, heard her speak, and even though she tried to be realistic about herself and her humanness (when the leg bag collecting her urine broke in public while on a tour behind the Iron Curtain, she quipped that that was God’s way of not letting the attention and acclaim go to her head), she was afraid some people thought of her more highly than they ought to.

But after much time together and discussion, they married, And though they loved each other dearly, after some years the relentless details involved in Joni’s care began to wear on Ken. He began to pull away, to need time to himself to get away from it all. Soon their lives were on nearly parallel tracks, rarely intersecting. She had had a ministry and association before he came on the scene, and he felt unneeded in her world: he had his teaching and coaching and fishing trips.

Then unexplained and excruciating pain descended on Joni, not only requiring more care, but causing frustration because nothing seemed to help. And then came a cancer diagnosis…

Marriage has its rough spots anyway, but add all these to the mix, and any of them could break a marriage. In Joni and Ken: An Untold Love Story, with Larry Libby, they want to make clear that what pulled them through was not their own strength, but God’s grace when they came to the end of their own strength. They don’t want to come across as super-saints, but as real people who found God’s grace sufficient in the most trying of times “to attain a new level of love rather than simply surviving or grimly hanging on” (p. 15).

I loved Larry Libby’s preface, talking about fairy tales and sad love songs, then musing:

We all dream dreams and know very well that they don’t always work out. Life is particularly hard on high expectations. Things hardly ever fall together the way we would have scripted them. The fact is, if we put our hope in a certain set of circumstances working out a certain way at certain times, we’re bound to be disappointed, because nothing in this life is certain.

So what’s the solution? To give up on dreams?

No, it is to realize that if we belong to God, there are even bigger dreams for our lives than our own. But in order to walk in those bigger dreams, we may face greater obstacles than we ever imagined and find ourselves compelled to rely on a much more powerful and magnificent God than we ever knew before (p. 15).

I know it’s the style these days to have a book jump back and forth in the time line, but it is somewhat confusing and choppy, and I think would have flowed much better maybe by opening with one incident and then flashing back to the beginning and progressing from there to the current time.

There is one kind of odd spot in the book when Joni had a horrible night suffering from pneumonia and prayed that Jesus would manifest Himself to her in a special way. As Ken ministered to her, suddenly she said.”You’re Jesus!” She went on to say that she could feel His touch through Ken’s, could see Him in Ken’s smile. That I can understand, but manifesting Jesus, being a conduit through which He can work, isn’t the same thing a being Jesus. And I think that’s what she ultimately meant.

I scanned some of the reviews on Amazon and was surprised to find some criticism that the book didn’t contain enough or reveal enough. I thought it was quite gracious of the Tadas to reveal as much as they did in order to show God’s grace and to encourage others: the rest really is none of our business.

Overall I loved the book and would recommend it to anyone.

I linked to this speech of Joni’s before, but it shares a condensed version of some of what is in the book.

(This will also be linked to Semicolon‘s Saturday Review of Books.)