Thursday, February 14, 2013

This Valentines Day ... Love Wins

Happy Valentines Day!  Mark surprised me by calling me at work yesterday afternoon to ask me out. :) It was our first time away together since Jhon's been home and even a short time away was nice. The kids were thrilled - mac n' cheese and chicken nuggets? Screen time on a school night! Score.  We left around 6 and they were all showered, homework done. A new record. 

We've never been really big on celebrating Valentines Day with the kids before. They get so much stuff at school and whatnot, that I usually just make pink pancakes and call it good. But we decided to do a little more this year. Mark said that he wanted them to think of it as a day to be with people you love, your family, rather than a chocolaty -romantic holiday to get all worked up about. What a great lesson from your dad. :) 

So we made some little cards with their names and hearts and (of course) glitter, let them have Pop Tarts and candy for breakfast, decorated the table with some flowers. Even this really small gesture had a big affect. They were all smiley.  Loved it.  Then I took 3 of them for their well child exams. Nothing says love like shots right? But it went okay. They were happy to head off to school to celebrate their "100th Day" and have a Valentines party in the afternoon. Fun fun. 

[My over-zealous trip to the library!]
Also, last night I finished up a book that I also wanted to mention titled, appropriately, Love Wins. I picked up this book on a total whim at the library last week. I've heard of the author, Rob Bell, since he is (was) a pretty famous pastor from our area. But we've never attended his church and (I'll admit) I was never particularly interested (in the church or the book). But I decided to give it a shot. I didn't know much about the book other than it was considered rather controversial and I heard he took a beating from a lot of Christians. 

Upon digging into the first chapter, the first thing that jumped out at me was the style. It is composed of a lot of little paragraphs, more free-flowing and conversational than books typically are. It almost read more like a sermon than a book. This turned me off at first, but once I got used to it, the style actually made for a very quick read. 

The book touches on a few hot button issues with Christianity such as heaven and hell and the traditionally accepted ways that you end up in one or the other. I hesitate to get into the content of the book too much. For one, I don't feel like being yelled at.  Two, I think it's helpful to go into it with an open mind (at least I'm glad that I did).  Here's a bit of a summary of the book that I found online though, which provides some insight into its controversial nature:

"The main issue discussed in Bell's recent interview regards Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived, in which the former pastor questioned the existence of hell and the evangelical teaching that only those who believe in Jesus Christ go to heaven."

I will say this. Regardless of what you believe - and whether you find Bell's arguments persuasive or inflammatory - its a book that just might make you think. Might make you ask questions about doctrines that have been accepted as true for hundreds of years. Bell offers Biblical support, including discussions of some very well-known parables. I have asked Mark to read it, as I think it would be a good discussion point for us, especially as we work to shape the faith-focus of our family.   

I will also say that I really liked the book. I think Bell has a knack for capturing the power, the omnipresence of God, but never minimizing His complete and utter love for us. And, as Bell himself says, "[N]one of us have cornered the market on Jesus, and none of us ever will."

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