Recently I was telling a fledgling high school freshman of ninth grade trials as a way of relating to him that each season of life passes... and for many of us we are only too glad that junior high and high school fall into the "passed" (or is it "past") category.
Over the years I have found reading and movie watching to be escapes for my brain- the stories filter themselves into my present and past circumstances and have helped me- maybe not solve problems a great deal- but at the very least to view my own world differently. Freshman year was probably defined by Ender's Game a novel by Orson Scott Card.
In the past weeks it feels as if there is barely enough time to me to take in as much as I usually attempt to but I did want to share a bit of the book I am currently reading (as usually, I put this book off because so many people told me to read it): The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning. Manning was a Catholic priest for years who began writing and speaking even then but fell into a habit and addiction of alcohol. After submitting to the recovery process, he re-entered spiritual life but not the life of a priest- describing himself as a "vagabond evangelist". He writes this in his opening chapter:
"Because salvation is by grace through faith, I believe that among the countless number of people standing in front of the throne and in front of the Lamb, dressed in white robes and holding their palms to their hands (see Revelation 7:9), I shall see the prostitue from teh Kit-Kat Ranch in Carson City, Nevada, who tearfully told me she could find no other employment to support her two-year-old son. I shall see the woman who had an abortion and is haunted by guilt and remorse but did the best she coudl faced with grueling alternatives; the business man besieged with debt who sold his integrity in a series of desperate transactions; the insecure clergyman addicted to being liked, who never challenged his people from the pulpit and longed for unconditional love; the sexually abused teen molested by his father and now selling his body on the street, who, as he falls asleep each night after his last 'trick', whispers the name of the unknown god he learned in Sunday school; the deathbed convert who for decades had his cake and ate it, broke every law of God and man, wallowed in lust, and raped the earth.'
"But how?' we ask'
'Then the voice says, 'They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.'
'They they are. There we are - the multitude who so wanted to be faithful, who at times got defeated, soiled by life, and bested by trials, wearing the bloodied garments of life's tribulations, but through it all clung to the faith.'
'My friends, if this is not good news to you, you have never understood the gospel of grace."