utorak, 30. listopada 2012.

Books, Books, Books

Two books left a deep mark on my soul and mind in the last few months: The Prodigal God by Tim Keller and The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert by Rosaria Butterfield.

Some of the ideas from The Prodigal God really stayed with me, and I'm thinking about making a little 'speech' out of it for our ladies' Christmas meeting. I hope I'll be able to write it down here when the time comes. I especially cherished the notion that Christianity had always been 'nešto treće' or 'tertium quid' - something third, something entirely different. "To most people in our society, Christianity is religion and moralism.  The only alternative to it (besides some other world religion) is pluralistic secularism.  But from the beginning it was not so.  Christianity was recognized as a tertium quid, something else entirely." ( Tim Keller, The Prodigal God) And it's for both: 'younger' and 'older brothers' of this world.

The Secret Thoughts... is another great book, the kind that you just can't stop highlighting lines in. The lady who wrote it encouraged me so much in many respects. I admire her courage and clear voice, her non people-pleasing descriptions of Christian life and struggles.  However, I admire her also for her writing.
She holds a PhD in English. Her "historical field in English studies was 19th century literature and culture." Before her conversion, she was very much like a professor of mine, who also specialized in Victorian, Feminist and Queer studies. I loved Critical Theory and writing papers; in a way it resembled hermeneutics. My knowledge of the Bible gave me a sometimes surprisingly strong and powerful basis for everything I studied in my Literature courses. My final paper was on Victoriana - historiographic metafiction. For that paper I read me some Genette, which was so satisfying. Anyway, what struck me as playful and 'highly textual' was Mrs. Butterfield's use of different genres in her book: the covenant membership vows of the RPC, her address to all graduate students, as well as the entire sermon from her wedding. I'd love to hear her talk about her "weave".

As I said, one cannot stop highlighting in The Secret Thoughts... Here are some of my personal favourites:

"Christians still scare me when they reduce Christianity to a lifestyle and claim that God is on the side of those who attend to the rules of the lifestyle they have invented or claim to find in the Bible."
"When you die to yourself, you have nothing from your past to use as clay out of which to shape your future."
"Faith is not a feeling. Faith rides the waves of the treachery of life on the Christian worldview that you own. Faith and worldview are intimately intertwined." WOW!

I am currently reading I quit by Geri Scazzero, Natasha's Dance by Orlando Figes and The Drowned Vault: The Ashtown Burials#2 by N. D. Wilson. I hope to write more about it soon.

srijeda, 24. listopada 2012.

I know I haven't blogged in, like, forever

"I know I haven't blogged in, like, forever", as a fellow Twitteritarian would remark, but here I am. So let's make the most of it.

Family life - going full blast. Jakov 9, Josip soon to be 8, Luka almost 3. School is a much bigger challenge to my kids than it ever was for me, which still surprises me at every turn. Somehow I thought it would be different. But, I concede, this IS better, for He definitely knows what He's doing.

Miro is very busy serving in many ways to our church and town, and studying for his MA in NT Theology. One more week of absence in November and then we part no more. I wish.

I've started reading more and also translating and editing more. Recently I started translating for the HRT (our national radio television station), which was a great boost - for a while there I started doubting my talents, lost in the maze of family micromanagement where, I guess, most of us feel like failures. Some of us and sometimes, at least.

I seldom blog, which made me think about why it is so. I think that my own mental and our family dynamic is overwhelmingly intricate and my mind rarely finds shortcuts in expression, which results in a reluctance to "jot it all down." Therefore, I will try to restrict my writing to reviews of books, whether children's or adult, fiction or non-fiction and random thoughts on varied subjects. Emphasis on random.

Today I edited a scholarly summary on a Croatian Protestant noble family from the 16/17 century. The author is a wonderful American missionary who had spent most of his life in Croatia, and will now get a superb opportunity to give a summary of his work about this family to none other than our President! Soli Deo Gloria!

petak, 24. veljače 2012.

A little snippet of me - lazy, but determined:)

Luka cried in the night. He often does that. It's usually the result of a dream, but sometimes it's because he's pushed off all of his blankets and is cold. So, every time I hear his cry at night, I tell myself - a real mom would get up and see which is it, no matter how tired she is. And then I tell myself that for 5 minutes. And then I get up. :)

srijeda, 22. veljače 2012.

Married to a Pastor

It's done. The ordination service was wonderful. There were guests from many different towns in Croatia, and I hope everyone of them felt loved and truly 'invited', because that's exactly what we feel for them.

I saw that Miro enjoyed it, and from his side it was a service full of love and thankfulness and appreciation for God's sovereign and intricate and infinitely-beyond-our-minds grace and plan, as well as many dear brothers and sisters that God put on his way. Especially for his school in Krapina - the Theological Biblical Academy.

Our years in Krapina were in many ways our formative years. We came there as born again believers with the Holy Spirit within us, but still, our worldviews and our habits were that of wild men and women, if you will allow. Living there, in that community, we were immersed in Christian 'culture', Christian day to day living, without hypocrisy and holier-than-thou attitude, but humble, God-centred, disciplined and loving Christian living. Upon leaving that school and that community, we were different.

Of course, God has used the years after that to change us and work on us, as He always, in His love and grace, does. Perhaps those years were even more formative, but in a way that is less visible. Since those were the years of waiting, of wondering, of humiliation, in a sense. Those times really refine, without you yourself noticing anything. You actually feel like you're worse than ever, and then realize that you've changed. But I digress...

Anyway, it was a beautiful service, in the presence of our Lord and Savior. My prayer for Miro has always been that the Lord makes him into a shepherd after His own heart, and that - it remains.

Jeremiah 3:15: Then I will give you shepherds after My own heart, who will feed you on knowledge and understanding.

četvrtak, 16. veljače 2012.


OK. My brother does have Crohn's disease and has been living with it for the past few months rather well. He changed his eating habits, and takes his medicine regularly. Soon he will go for another test in Zagreb, but all in all, he's doing well. No fever. :) Praise the Lord.

Other than these things, he's been doing really well... emotionally. We saw him during the Christmas break, when we stayed with my family for 2 weeks. I used to be afraid to look at him sometimes, because he used to be eager to interpret looks as threats, as attacks, as acts of belittling or scorn, although I tried my best never to feel or act that way toward him.

Anyway, this time... his look and his eyes were the most welcoming eyes in that house. Whenever I felt embarrassed or just caught myself in an awkward pause, his face was there to help me. Not because he used it, aware of the effect, but just because he was so friendly toward me. And everyone else. It was just... wonderful. I praise God for that, too.

Well, in other news, and pretty exciting news - Miro's Ordination service is this Sunday! I am not a fan of ceremony, when ceremony is its own end, like a custom. However, I am in awe of a meaningful ceremony, an event where words MEAN something, something beyond usual, everyday use of them. When you say something and in a special way you are aware that HERE and NOW God is here, listening, because it is a vow to Him. So special. May God be glorified in it, may His character be magnified and exalted among us on Sunday. Because everything is from Him, through Him, and for Him. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.