"Words without poetry lack passion; words without passion lack persuasion; words without persuasion lack power."

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Abba's Child Review

I have decided to write  a short personal review for select books that I read and post them for the purpose of expounding various thoughts I have while reading the text, and also to share my opinion on the writing itself.

Book: Abba's Child
Author: Brennan Manning, published 1994, 2002
ISBN: 978-1-57683-334-6

 The published purpose of the book is the following: "I began witting Abba's Child with one purpose in mind- to recover the passion the fired my desire to enter the seminary and seek ordination to the priesthood. In the process I discovered that all I wanted from the years of silence and study was to fall in love with God." -Manning.

The book genre is non-fiction, religious.

When I began reading Abba's Child I had low expectations, but for no other reason than I figured Manning couldn't possibly write book with superior content to the several other literary works of his that I have read. The truth is I could not have been more wrong. I was amazed to find a fresh perspective to common issues of the identity of humanity and of Jesus. The last half of the book kept me glued to the pages.

The intended audience seems to be the comprehension of level high school age and up; people seeking to learn more about how they function in relation to the bible and to the life of Jesus.

The author's style stays true to formal diction but is conversational enough to be informally understood. I feel the material is related to easily, full of impact, and helpful. The main points of the book were fluid and coherent. The material suits the intended audience well.

I was personally effected by the book in several ways. The author writes about an impostor that dwells within each one of us that is characterized by judgmental ways, and insecurity. He continues by identifying the cure to this impostor to be found in knowing our identity as abba's child. If you would like me to expound on this concept contact me via comment or email and I would be happy to, but I don't want to give it all away. The idea that really impacted me is the idea that Jesus IS God incarnate. The way he conducted himself with people, and the things he did were a direct reflection of how God feels about us. That is something I myself, and I think a lot of us have always known, but I had never realized the significance that concept has on my perception of God. To know that the God that led his people out of Egypt, who flooded the earth, and who created this earth is the same God that will eat dinner with tax collectors, will forgive and affirm the prostitute, and who teaches that if someone forces you to go one mile with them, go two miles with them..is the SAME God is incredible.

I highly recommend this book no matter your religious orientation. It is a good source of self reflection and a humble, genuine approach to recognizing and supplementing the negative elements of ourselves. The book is a breath of fresh air in its genre, and offers a close intimate perspective of the Jesus of the bible.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

You see this, but I see that...

Recently I have encountered people in my life who are experiencing struggles. The kind of struggles that produce perspective and character that define how an individual views every aspect of life. Many of the conclusions people come to really break my heart.

Never before have I recognized how much perspective can alter EVERYTHING in a person’s reality. Everything meaning things like God, family, friendships, work and passions.

Even if all of the evidence is available and recognizable, human kind sometimes chooses self or denial over factual evidence or faith.

This idea really expands and validates the concept of free will, and just how relevant that it is. We choose, even on the microscopic level, how we view a situation that is full of fact, reason and feelings.

I recently read a wonderful book entitled Abba's Child, written by one of my favorite authors of his genre, Brennan Manning. The script was a unexpectedly life-changing and I highly recommend it. I intend to submit a brief review on the publication later this week. One of the concepts Manning discusses in the book is the following: 

"We unwittingly project onto God our own attitudes and feelings toward ourselves... But we cannot assume that He feels about us the way we feel about ourselves -- unless we love ourselves compassionately, intensely, and freely."

The idea is that many people project and characterize God by the the perceived faults they see in themselves. I feel that this concept can also be applied to other people in our life, passions we have, and our general perception of reality. The things we don't like about the way we operate, or the past mistakes we have made, can often directly effect our our perception of reality.

I am not seeking to define what reality is, for that subject is one of its own, but I do feel it is important to magnify the relationship between free will and negative perspectives of reality. People often choose the way they view life by exercising free will to see what they want to see. 

While I do not intend to define reality at this time,  I do believe there is solid truth that can root people in a clearer perspective of what I find to be reality, and I want so desperately for people to live within the freedom of the following...

The truth that they are "compassionately, intensely, and freely" loved by the creator, and that they are placed in the time period, and geographical location for divine reasons.

It is a shame that a truth so freeing and so full of strength is alienated by distractions of any measure.

To close I will leave you with another perspective-widening view on the perception of reality.

"To understand reality is not the same as to know about outward events. It is to perceive the essential nature of things. The best-informed man is not necessarily the wisest. Indeed there is a danger that precisely in the multiplicity of his knowledge he will lose sight of what is essential. But on the other hand, knowledge of an apparently trivial detail quite often makes it possible to see into the depth of things. And so the wise man will seek to acquire the best possible knowledge about events, but always without becoming dependent upon this knowledge." -Bonhoeffer

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Today Marks The First.

First of the new year.
 First blog post.

The past month of my life seems as though it screams one central concept within all my experiences.


Breathe in every moment. Further explained: The ability to see the beauty within the ashes is the fuel for our joy, and the foundations of our hope.
I am not speaking of an over dramatized experience, but instead a perspective; a way of life.
I spent Christmas day with my family in Florida and I truly treasure every second of it. Our visit to the beach together put into practice the underlying concept of breathing it in. Let us stop and recognize tomorrow may never come, all morbid thoughts set aside, this may be all we have.

This year that has come to a close has been more than incredible because of what I learned and the experiences I had.

I traveled to California to see my sweet friends graduate high school, spent a week in beautiful Colorado with Young Life, went to New Orleans for the Smoothie King Franchise conference, flew to New York and spent time in eclectic coffee shops as well as in dance studios, and ended my year of traveling with a trip to Florida.

I climbed a mountain, Repelled off a cliff, visited the ocean, traveled to 3 out of 4 corners of the USA, met several new friends, slept in a New York hostile, started wearing glasses full-time, took a semester off of school, started teaching dance again, watched one of my best friends graduate college, and became a pescetarian.

I now attend the University of Texas at Tyler full-time and I am studying Journalism and Psychology. This past fall semester I wrote for the university newspaper, and I wouldn't trade that experience for the world. I was privileged to write a series on student addiction and an editorial explaining my opinion on the subject. While writing the series, I was able to interview leading specialists on the subject which I personally benefited greatly from. I am so grateful for the entire experience.

I must admit, though the above actions were unforgettable and fed my soul, my favorite times were instead the hours I spent writing in my journals and reading books full of words from the wise, creative people who have walked this earth before me.
Also, the hours and hours I spent with the beautiful people in my life. My family, my Younglife girls, my amazing friends, and the new people and strangers that I come in contact with each day. Without these people, my soul, mindset, and faith would not be challenged and shaped the way that it is.
Thank you.

I have been discussing with people lately the concept that we are forced to rest in the unknowns of life. We do not know if we will live the next 5 minutes, and with that knowledge in mind, are we living in such a way that we would feel satisfied with if it was all that we had? If we were honest with ourselves, if this was it, would it be enough? We must live intentionally.

I have realized what I define to be life to its full- Love God, Love people. As long as these elements are of my utmost priority, I feel I have lived a life worth living.

Although there was unsurpassed beauty in the last year of my life, there was also darkness. In the fall semester, I dealt with some of the toughest parts of my heart because of the challenges I faced with school and the business of life. I had to say goodbye to people who heavily influenced my life. I walked through life with, and carried the burdens of people who faced depression, questioning there existence, struggling with strongholds, and death.

So, this New Year, this new beginning as we see it in our human minds, let us cut lose and breathe it all in.
Friends, Let us together recklessly pursue life to its full.

But a speck of dust blown in the wind. 
What a beloved speck of dust life is indeed. Such urgency is married with the realization that tomorrow is never promised. 
Urgency to complete all we wish to accomplish. 
The question must be summoned- what is buried deep in us; what do we desire to see finished? 
One can only imagine what a life of urgency would portray.

Barriers broken.
Purest love in action.
Forgiveness dealt with zeal.
Reckless pursuit of life to it's full.

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