Christianity and Wonder Woman

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I finally got to see the movie Wonder Woman recently.  I wasn’t sure what to expect, although I had heard mostly glowing reviews.

I was a bit nervous that it would be an over-the-top movie that was trying way too hard to make a woman a superhero.  I was so pleasantly surprised!

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(Image not from movie)

I had heard some concern voiced that the movie would be too feministic.  As a Biblical feminist, I am not alarmed by the use of the word “feminist,” however I am against the quasi-feminism that tries too hard (that could be a whole other post for another time).  But I must say that the film did a fantastic job at portraying real feminism.

Diana was raised as an Amazon warrior, living on Paradise Island along with only women.  They were not crazy radicals, they were not trying to do a man’s job, they were not trying to just prove they were strong.  It was simply their way of life.  They were simply people doing their job…which happened to be fighting and training.

A recurring theme throughout the movie was doing the right thing.  “It doesn’t matter what they deserve…it matters what you believe.”  Diana was committed to truth, to justice, to mercy, to doing what was right.  She was not trying to simply be an invincible woman because “I am woman – hear me roar.”  She was just a person doing the right thing.

It was beautiful, I’m not going to lie.  Sure, there were some fighting scenes where I was like, “Well, that’s definitely not realistic.”  But….Iron Man, Thor, Superman, even Batman (and let’s be honest…Batman is by far the best)….definitely not realistic either.  Wonder Woman being a woman had nothing to do with the realistic nature of the film.  It was a super hero movie.  Super hero by definition is not realistic.

Diana ends up leaving her paradise to enter the world of WWI London.  There were several scenes that also highlighted sexism that existed in both that day and present day.  Upon reaching London, Diana had men leering at her, making comments about her place as a woman, and doubting her ability to help…whether in translating languages or in fighting on the battlefield.  Again, this was a place where the script writers could have made a blatant point.  Diana could have been offended and exclaimed, “Excuse me!  Just because I am a woman doesn’t mean I can’t help.” etc  Instead, they portrayed it so beautifully.  You could see the confusion in Diana’s eyes as she was trying to process and understand what was happening. To her, she was not a woman talking to a man. She recognized that they were both just people…trying to help end a war.  She didn’t define herself or anyone else by their gender. She simply took it in stride, and continued boldly and confidently doing her job.  So yes, she did show the men that she was capable, but she did it in a much more beautiful, strong way.

I also appreciated many other aspects of the film, such as the way they portrayed war.  We know it’s an awful thing, but we accept it as a reality of our world.  It was interesting seeing it through Diana’s eyes, as someone who had never seen war or violence in her life.

There was some love interest, and for a minute I was worried that it would go too far and overshadow the progress they had made in portraying a woman super hero lead.  But it was tastefully done, and did not detract from her doing her job.

All in all I thought it was a very well done film in general, and also did a great job introducing a female super hero lead.  It was not just about showcasing a crazy awesome woman (although she definitely was), it was simply about the fight between good and evil.

Here is another post explaining how Wonder Woman reflects the gospel of Christ.

Did you see Wonder Woman?  What were your thoughts?

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Book Review: The Heist

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The Heist: How Grace Robs Us Of Our Shame by Chris Durso (author bio here) is a brand new release.  Since grace has been a huge factor of my spiritual growth lately, I looked forward to reading it.

Unfortunately, I was left rather disappointed.

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The book was so full of anecdotes and illustrations that I frequently lost sight of the main points he was trying to make.  In addition, he frequently added artistic flair to Bible passages and came to applications that best case are not accepted by mainstream Christianity, and worst case are actually adding to Scripture’s words.  As a writer, I am all for trying to get into the reality of Scripture by imagining myself in the story, but it can be taken too far.

While the author did reference hell, there were also several points where I was wondering if he was alluding to a belief in universalism.

His main analogy was that of a heist…how Jesus stole our guilt, shame, and sin, paid our price, and now can receive all the glory that He deserves.  The author was so committed to this analogy, and referred to it so frequently, that it often felt as if he was trying to force his points to fit the analogy, rather than using the analogy to occasionally amplify a point.

While overall I had mostly critiques, there were definitely some parts that were encouraging and my heart needed to hear.  I appreciated the quote on page 132, “God isn’t waiting for you to finish pushing yourself before He restores you.”

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

From Mother to Mother – Miscarriage Book

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A few months ago I came across some books by Emily Long.  I purchased her book You are Not Alone: Love Letters From Loss Mom to Loss Mom and I have read through several portions.

Emily compiled letters written by moms who have had miscarriages.  It is beautiful and heart-felt.  Emily also has a book of letters from and to Dads, a book of her own journey through loss, and a journal to go through while processing loss.

I was browsing her web site and discovered that she was writing a second book of letters from and to mothers who have had losses. I wrote a letter to submit and found out last month that my letter was accepted for final publication.

The new book, From Mother to Mother, will be published on September 12 of this year!

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It will be a compilation of letters from woman who have lost children in early pregnancy, late pregnancy, or after birth.  I am excited to be a part of this and I hope that God will use our story to bring comfort to others and showcase His love.

There’s Nothing to See Here (Or – How I’ve Changed)

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I have been really wanting to get back into blogging.  I frequently have ideas for topics to explore in a post and I have a huge file with such a list.

Every time I sit down to write though, something stops me.  I think it’s mostly fear.

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Fear of what people will think.  Fear that I will disappoint people or shock people or hurt people.  Fear that people will think that I am a different person on my blog than I am in real life.  Fear that people will think I’m too vulnerable.  Fear that people will think that I am sinfully stuck in grief.  Fear that people will assume rude or untrue things about my parents or upbringing.

It’s a hard bondage to be in.  But I’m tired of being in that bondage to fear.  I just want to be me, a twenty something woman who is pursuing the Lord, and who doesn’t shy away from the bumps, bruises, questions, and doubts along the way.

So here is an attempt to do that.

I came across this blog post recently and loved it.  I was somewhat a follower of hers back in the day and I was excited to discover her current blog.  The part that stood out to me the most though was when she said, “There’s nothing to see here.”

I have changed a lot over the years.  It’s true.  I have asked questions and re-evaluated what I believe on so many issues….how I dress, the music I listen to, parenting, marriage, divorce, gender, tattoos, vaccinations, healthy living, legalism, 4 letter words, homeschooling, hair color, body piercings, body image, the Bible itself, the character of God, homosexuality, dating/courting, etc.

On some of those issues, I have changed completely from what I used to believe.  On some I have changed slightly.  On some I haven’t changed at all.  I think you would be hard pressed to find any person who has not changed quite a bit over the last decade or more.

I know some probably look at me and see a completely different person than I was 10, 15 years ago.  And I have a lot of fear of man there.  I fear that people will think I’m just running as far away as I can from what I used to believe.  I fear that people will think that I am discarding the Bible and cherry-picking Bible verses to fit what I want to believe.

What people can’t see, though, is the years and years that literally went into each one of those issues.  I can’t think of a single issue that I didn’t pour hours and hours and years and years of thought, prayer, tears, and Bible searching into.  I haven’t changed willy-nilly.  I am not discarding the Bible, and I am taking care to hold my questions and beliefs (changing or unchanging) up to the light of God’s word.  I read from scholars, authors, and bloggers, on both sides of issues, to make sure I am grasping fully different “sides.”

There’s nothing to see here.  I am just a person who is trying to follow hard after God.  I am just a person who has learned that I would much rather be someone who has doubts and questions and takes them to God than a person who is comfortable with her beliefs and doesn’t continually hold them to Scripture. I am learning to hold many of my beliefs lightly, willing to see if I am in error.

And I feel awake!  Awake to God’s grace, His glory, His joy, His fullness.  I didn’t know if the light would ever shine this way again and I am continually thankful for the work He has done in my life.

I am currently going through Beth Moore’s Children of the Day devotional with a friend, and one of the sections this week was on the topic of being awake.  She was discussing 1 Thessalonians 5:5-6, and the part about being awake as children of the day.  She proceeded to describe what being awake is like.

“Then, blessed be the Name of the Lord, something wakes us up.  Maybe we’ll never be thankful for what shook us out of our slumber, but we can be thankful at least to feel wide-awake.

“Awake to the activity of God around us.

“Awake to His Word on the surface of that page.

“Awake to the lightning before before we hear the thunder.

“Awake to our present season.  Awake to our people.  Awake even to our pain lest it end up meaning nothing…..

“To be awake is to still have questions and not just tidy summations….

“To be awake is to still grapple with mystery….This is the paradox of the crucified life: to lose ourselves in Christ is to find our very lives.”

It is an incredible thing to be awake.  To be alive.  To be walking in dynamic movement in the power of God.  It is sobering.  And humbling.  And sometimes scary.  But I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

So there’s no crazy story here.  The only thing here to see is the working of God and that is a pretty powerful thing to see.

 

Book Review: High as the Heavens

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It has been a while since I was this invested in a book!  I have stated before that I am a hard sell when it comes to fiction, but I must say this one definitely surpassed my expectations.

High as the Heavens, by Kate Breslin, is WWII historical fiction.  It follows the story of Evelyn Marche, a Red Cross nurse in Germany-occupied Brussels.  However, she also is an Allied spy.  With that comes missions, dangers, encrypted messages, etc.

I felt like I could barely put the book down.  It truly kept me on the edge of my seat.  While most books feel predictable and I can see the plot twists coming a mile away, this book kept surprising me.  I don’t think I accurately predicted any of the twists.  (Ok, I’ll give myself credit…I got one twist half right. 😉 )

The other thing I appreciated is how the author didn’t make the main character just a sweet, nice, perfect little main character.  Eve had some very troubling things in her background that she had to work through.  It was very sobering but it kept the book real.

My only complaint is that the last several chapters as the author wrapped everything up did seem to fly by too quickly.  After being so invested for so long, it would have been nice to have more of a wrap-up.

However, all in all, I loved this book and I will definitely be recommending it to others!

Note: I received this book for free from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for this review.

Book List – April through June

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These months have not been so great as far as reading!  April was awesome, since our library had a adult reading program that I participated in.  But May and June slowed down drastically.  I am currently in the middle of four books and about to start another, however, so hopefully I can pick up the pace again in July. 🙂

-April-

Is the Bible Good for Women? by Wendy Alsup

Feelings Buried Alive Never Die by Karol K. Truman

The Shoe Box by Francine Rivers

The Red Geranium by Janette Oke

The Journal of C.J. Jackson: A Dust Bowl Migrant by William Durbin

Unashamed by Francine Rivers

Hope for the Same-Sex Attracted by Ron Citlau

Unspoken by Francine Rivers

Allegiant by Veronica Roth

-May-

Talking with God by Adam Weber

Black by Ted Dekker

June

Agnes and the Hitman by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer

Book Review: Talking with God

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Talking with God is an easy-to-read book about prayer.  Written by Adam Weber (author bio here), it is comprised of short chapters and chatty, colloquial language.  While that might make it difficult for some readers to get through it, that does not lessen the meaning or message.

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The first half of the book discusses how to talk with God and acknowledges that most likely all people, laymen and pastors alike, have struggled with prayer at some point or even for a lengthy period of time.  Couched in that framework of “we’re all in this together,” the first few chapters discuss praying as to a friend, honest conversation with God, trusting in God’s love, etc.

Those chapters were very basic and I was tempted to dismiss them.  But then I remembered the importance of those truths, and I kept reading.  And I’m glad I did.  The second half of the book went into how to pray during various life situations.  For example, the author discussed how to pray when you face storms, when you’re discouraged, when you’re exhausted, when you want to be used by God, etc.

In those chapters, I found some nuggets that I really needed to hear.  Again, it was written simply, but sometimes I think simple is better.  There were no fancy words, no deep theological treatises.  Just simple unvarnished truth.

Note: I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.