Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The Confessions of X by Suzanne M. Wolfe

This is a novel. It is based on Saint Augustine's Confessions where he shares about his romance with the only woman that he ever loved. I have not read those writings myself. Suzanne M. Wolfe launches into the first chapter right away. She does not include any introduction to this novel. This book contains 37 chapters. Then the author ends with with a note about how she used information from Saint Augustine's Confessions as the basis for this novel. She includes 12 discussion questions at the end of her novel. She wraps it all up with acknowledgents of those who made her book possible, and an author bio. Suzanne M. Wolfe herself grew up in England. She read English literature at Oxford UNiversity and has cofounded the Oxford C.S. Lewis Society. She is Writer in Residence at Seattle Pacific University and has taught literature and creative writing there since 2000. This book is endorsed by other well-known authors.

This novel is quite interesting. I read through it quickly. I liked the subheadings as I did not have to write in the book. I plan to place this book as a "freebie" on my OneLadyFights4life.com book giveaway webpage. It is that good. The title indicates that this is a woman who had something of a "shady" past but who had a good heart and who deserved protection. This book meets my expectation in that regard, and more. At first, as I began reading, I had to warm up to the novel. That is because this story is set in a different time and in a different culture. It was when Augustine came into the picture that it began to make more sense to me and get more interesting. Because the book had portrayed "Lady X" as a concubine, I knew that a marriage was not going to happen. While I always sensed to concunbines were not wives, I knew they were not synomynous with prostitutes either. I know that concubines were common in Scripture and were ancient versions of our modern "common-law wives." In both cases, this is a monogamous live-in relationship where the couple cannot get married for some reason. In the case of Augustine and "Lady X" I could not understand why her low social status kept her from being marriage material for Augustine. What a snob system! I thought. Of course, the hearts of people have not changed, but in the days of Augustine and "Lady X" it was more institutionalized. I was saddened, awed,and angry at a system that resulted in the outcome of the relationship between Augustine and "Lady X." My concept of concubage was clarified when I read this book and saw that concubines were not shady women. However I remained unclear as to "Lady X's" relationship with Christ even at the end of this book.

I recommend this book for all those who like to read fiction. I recommend this book for all those who follow the history of Saint Augustine. And I recommend this book for all small groups who like to use novels as the basis for their groups. This is because of the discussion questions at the back of this book. I recommend this book for people of faith to read as a wholesome alternative to the torrid, steamy novels that are out there. I don't normally recommend Christian novels as a regular fare for Christians as we are to make the Bible our main source of nourishment. This book has lessons of love, commitment, loss, self-sacrifice and redemption.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Booklook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to give a favorable review of this book.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Support Autistic People of All Ages

This week's post is about autism. I have not covered this subject in a long time. Yes, this is a prolife blog and always have been. I have just not been so vocalabout my worldview until now. But I still am just as prolife about those who are already born, as I am about the unborn. THat is because, as in autism, many people need our voice and more support to get more out of life.

Autism Affects All Of Us As A Society

I've stated this before. Autism affects all of us as a society. One reason is that many among us are autistic. This includes those who have not been diagnosed and those who do not disclose their diagnosis. There is still a stigma attached to autism. They sense that they would lose good jobs and that people may treat them "differently." Some marriages have been ruined because the spouses did not know of the one's autism, merely thinking that the other was plain incompatible. A high pecentage of adults on the spectrum are unemployed or underemployed. They are forced to collect Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability (SSD). I know that you can guess what this adds up to. Collected tax dollars! This is bad for everyone. These adults would be much happier contributing to society. If only they were given the tols to deal with autism that can interfere with holding a job. In spite of the stress of employment, people are happier working. You know that you are contributing to society and that your income is earned. You get a sense of accomplishment. You can build relationships. Depending on the job, you can get promotions and other forms of recognition. Many people would gladly pay taxes if they were given the tools to deal with what can interfere with keeping a job. Many may not even be diagnosed with autism; they and their bosses may think they are merely lazy or incompetent. Many may not have the social skills to interact with supervisors or co-workers. Autism wandering also is a big problem in the world of autism. This is where autistic children vanish because they have wandered. Too many children have been found dead in bodies of water. It's true that most are found safe. It is easy to judge the families and say, "They should have watched their child better." The sheer frequency of these autism wanderings means it's not a simple matter of parents becoming better parents. Moost tragically, a few caregivers have snapped and have killed or tried to kill, autistic children. It's easy to judge these caregivers as "monsters." Is it this simple?

Autistics Need Our Support and Hindrances

Autistic people and their families need support. They need the support of the general community. I know that the factions in the autism community have not helped the cause. I'm taking about the how these factions argue about autism, what causes it and how it should be managed. I'm talking about factions about how to raise autistic children and how to teach autistic adults to deal with their issues. The "cure" people see autism as a disease to be defeated. They focus on changing autistic people to accommodate themselves to the world. The "acceptance" people see autism as just a difference in how one's brain is wired. Symptoms can be managed to increase one's odds of being accepted. UNlike the "cure" camp, the "acceptance" camp does not try to make autistic people typical. The "acceptance camp" seeks to advocate for autistic people so that society will accommodate to the autistic. The "acceptance" people see autism as a part of a person's identity; the "cure" people see autism as a separate part of a person that needs to be eliminated. Both factions war with each other and tend to bully each other. This lack of unity has not not helped us get acceptance or understanding from the general public. But it is because autism is a complex neurological disorder that factions exist. And this community needs our support. They need it because without acceptance and understanding they will keep experiencing failure. We should rather see many more of them become taxpayers rather than collect benefits. Most of them would rather be employed. Families want their children to have all the tools they need to succeed so they can live up to their potentials. Many minority and low-income families would empower their children to do well, if only they had access to diagnostic and support services.

How You Can Help

You may wonder how you can make any difference. Everyone agrees that diagnostic and support autistic services are needed. Most of us in the autism community agree that these services need to be funded. Efforts have been made to obtain federal funding and have not yet been successful. But this does not mean to give up. So how can we help? I have created a petition for this. It calls for Congress to fund diagnostic and support autism services. It calls for funds to be released to each of the 50 states in the U.S. I used to have such a petition on another account, but I have redone the campaign on my primary account. Even if you signed that petition, you need to sign this petition. If you have already signed this newest autism petition, thank you! You can do even more. You can share it over and over!

If you have not yet done so, sign this autism petition!

If you have already signed this autism petition, share it!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Dangerous Love by Ray Norman

This is the memoir of the experiences of Western missionaries. The book opens with the heartrending tragedy that will define much of this book's narrative. Ray Norman tells his story, and his family's story, in 11 chapters. He ends in a postscript that updates the reader about what is going on with him and his family. Norman ends it all with with ackknwledgments about those who made this book posdible. The very end of this book ends with his bio. This author was raised in rural West Africa. His own parents had been medical missionaries. After he finished schooling, he worked in Africa and the Middle East for over 15 years. In 1999, he jined World Vision International as the national Director for Mauritania, an Islamic nation. At one point, he returned to the U.S. so his children could finish their educations. He retuned to World Vision in various administrative roles. Currently, he and his wifeserve in villages and areas in the West. The rest of the time they travel. The author has two grown children.

This book is an education. It educates us on the unique challenges faced by missionary families. It educates us on the major challenges that Muslims face in their countries. The beginning re-enactment of the defining event of this entire book, drew me in right away. This book is fairly easy to read. But because this is set in a fifferent culture, I got lost in the narrative sometimes. As I read the recounting of the attack on the author and his daughter, I wondered, "Where was the wife/mother during all of this?" I didn't grasp until later in the text, that she had been traveling during this time. I was unclear as to why she went on that trip. I could not understand her cold response to her husband when she came back. She even seemed angry at him for "letting himself and our daughter" get attacked." I took a dislike to her ever since, though the author, her husband stressed that she had warned him to be careful of such attacks and had been traumatized herself. From the portrayal of the daughter, she seemed to be wise beyond her years. I found myself feeling a pang of envy for this family. This author testifies to how God moved unmistakably in his family and in the lives of many Muslims he and his family served. This family and Christians outside the West, are often richer than us in the West. They are richer in the ways that count. They have spiritual weath and are richer relationally. I liked the author's openness about his emotional struggles. He denies that he is a hero. I thought he was overly generous in taking more than his share of responsibility for situations he faced, including the attack on him and his daughter. This book made me yearn for a different Christianity than what is usually seen in the West.

I recommend this book for every person interested in overseas missionary work. This book will give you an accurate picture of what overseas missionary work is like, especially in hostile areas. This book will give you an honest view of the unique challenges and rewards of such involvement. You will see that while it is hard, it is worth it. I recommend this book for every pastor. It will not only bless them but also give them a realistic picture of what being an overseas missionary is like. They may appreciate betterthe unique challenges and rewards of their members who may be or want to be overseas missionaries. I recommend this book for another group who may be uncomfortable with its message. This is the many in Western Christendom who have come to confuse cultural Christianity with Biblical Christianity. This book will show you that the two are very different. THe author and his family had been outside the West for a long time. So their walks with Jesus were not influences by Western compromise. This book can be a wake-up call for many Christians.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Booklook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to give this book a favorable review.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Two More Ways to Make A Difference

We all say that we want to make a difference.

You no doubt have seen images of destitute children on TV. Then you were asked to sponsor such a child.

You have probably heard about the evils of abortion. You have been urged to stop it.

You have likely seen Amber Alerts and have heard about high-profile missing persons cases. You have been asked to help find them.

You no doubt get annoyed by websites full of paid ads. So do I.

I have created a new website, not just another blog. This website does have a blog but it is more than a blog. It is my desire and aim that you will never see annoying, paid ads on it. THose are for business websites. This site contains resources to enable you to help end abortion and help pregnant women. It reaches out to pregnant women in crisis and to women who have had abortions. I make it clear there that I am 100% prolife. I am prolife not only about the unborn, but about those who are already born. That's why I feature missing persons on static pages. That's why I post about missing persons cases. I also have a feature where you can submit prayer requests if you want to. Others who like to pray, can pray for you. If you do not want to post on a prayer wall, you can send me your private prayer requests. This site is not just antiabortion, but prolife. I do not make any money off it. I never will. I plan to keep improving it and optimizing it. It is my goal to be a blessing through this website. God willing, I will keep it up and running for a long time.

Facebook pages are often used to stay in touch with website visitors. Though I already have Facebook pages, this one is to communicate with those who may or do visit my site. You can support me and the website by "liking" the page. I use the page to post directly from the site what I have there. On any Facebook page, you need to interact with a post or photo in some way, to keep seeing the posts. You engage by commenting, clicking the "share" button or simply "liking" the link. I hope that you will do this with my website-based Facebook page.

It's not about only making a difference. It's about becoming a community. I can't do it alone.

Lisa DeSherlia

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