Back from Maine and Caught up . . . Almost

Whew . . . what a couple of weeks. I’ve been able to sit back and really appreciate our blessings over the course of the past two weeks. In a matter of two weeks I’ve been able to spend some good quality time with my wife. I suppose it is the last hoorah before Astird (after last night’s episode of The Office, our unborn child will be known until Astird until further notice – if you missed it, watch it on line!). We spent a week in Maine. We flew to Portland, spent a day there, and then drove up the coast through L.L. Bean land in Freeport, ME, and enjoyed the rest of our trip at the Oceanside Meadow Inn bed and breakfast on the ocean in Prospect Harbor, across the harbor from Acadia National Park. It was one of the most incredible places I’ve ever been. I’d tell you all about it, but I’ll let the pictures do the talking. They are on another computer – I’m hoping to upload them to my new flickr account soon. We also took a really neat side trip we weren’t planning on taking further up the coast and, actually entering New Brunswick, Canada, visited Campobello Island – follow the link to learn about it – it was really neat.

Monday night we went to the Monday Night Football game in Cleveland where the Browns took on the Giants in a beat down that lit that city up unlike I have ever seen. We hung out and tailgated a few hours before kick off with some friends. It was incredible. Got to my parents house at 4:00 am – that was kind of rough – but well worth it.

Tonight ends our little two-week escape from reality as we will be attending our first musical of the season (we have season tickets again this year) Frost/Nixon. Neither of us know much about it, so it will be interesting. Our social calendar has never been this full, but it has been nice to enjoy that time. We’ll come crashing down to reality tomorrow. My last j.v. football game is tomorrow and I’ll be done for the season. I am taking the advancement test on Nov. 1 to become a class 1 official to be able to do varsity contests next year. That’ll be fun – if I pass.

I have a few things that have been rumbling in my mind to post here. One involves a book that everyone has been talking about. Another is a reflection on my current political status. And just some other ramblings. Since I’ve already posted at length here today, I’ll think I’ll just comment a bit about the book and get political next week – I’m sure you’re disappointed!

Everywhere I look folks are talking about The Shack. Just Google it and I’m sure a million blogs alone will come up. I didn’t really know anything about it other than everyone was talking about it – apparently I wasn’t listening to them! So, I picked it up and Mary Beth and I read it together in Maine. In many ways it wasn’t at all what I thought it was going to be – but at the same time, I didn’t have a clue what to expect. Anyway,

It’s the story of a father wrestling face to face with God over demons of his past – a poor relationship with an abusive father and the horrible murder of his daughter. Wm. Paul Young uses a vivid narrative to wrestle with some of the most challenging points of faith. There is a flury of folks debating over the intricacies of Young’s theology. Interesting, as a “trained” theologian, I didn’t spend much time reflecting on that (probably means I’m not trained very well!) , but instead engaged the story as it was. Without giving much away, God shows up in the story as three separate people: a large black woman, an intriguing and mysterious Asian woman, and a joe schmo Jesus. I loved the depiction of the three members of the trinity! It had to make you smile, and at the same time think!

I don’t want to delve much into the book other than to say that I didn’t like it in the beginning, but it grew on me. It was a bit cheesy at first, but as I worked through it, it grew, and then I thought the ending was great – fitting and provacative. On the cover of my copy Eugene Peterson’s comment is, “This book has the potential to do for our generation what John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress did for his. It’s that good!” I’m not sure that I share his enthusiasm quite to the extent that he does, but it is a good book nonetheless.

I think the true modernists will really struggle through the work focusing not on the well-described narrative and instead labor through -ologies and -isms that don’t seem quite to fit into the “correct” box. I think it’s funny how people freak out about stories like this instead of allowing them to simmer and transform us. I have already found myself using it as a solid reference work for people who have dealt with tragic, traumatic situations and severely wrestle with the “why?” and the “How could he?” questions – something we all at times have to address.

In the end, it left me reflecting on my faith and challenging my transparence and commitment. I enjoyed it and think it will be profitable for all. And . . . that’s all I’m going to say about that.

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