Monday, March 25, 2019

Lesson Six, Lessons from a Sheep Dog

Hagerman Bible Study Notes
18 March 2019
Matthew 7:1-14
Proverbs 8
Mark 4

Our Lesson in chapter six was titled, Love and Discipline. In it Keller discusses the need to discipline his dog when she misbehaved. He says that he loved her too much to watch her be swayed from her purpose by a damaging distraction. He likened this to how God disciplines us and quotes Hebrews 12:6-11. We discussed God's discipline and how Peter was quickly restored to Jesus when Jesus asks three times, "Peter do you love me?" We touched on how God would be unworthy of worship if He didn't demand obedience or love us enough to insist on a right relationship.
Keller speaks early in the chapter of John 14-17. He makes the case that, like we are to Jesus, Lass was companion, co-worker and friend. We spoke about how God's discipline establishes boundaries and order and allows for strong lasting relationships.
In our Scriptures from Matthew we covered; judge not lest you also be judged, do not cast your pearls before swine, and if we as evil give good gifts, how much more so God who is good. The passage in Matthew ended with the golden rule. Our passage from Proverbs is the chapter on wisdom and we reflected on choosing God's instruction over riches. In Mark 4 we discussed the parable of the sower and having ears to hear.
We closed in prayer noting that we would meet Monday at the Community Center in Hagerman.
Thank you reading. Bev

Lesson Five, Lessons from a Sheep Dog

Hagerman Bible Study notes from March 11
Matthew 6:16-34
Psalm 104
Job 38

Lesson five was titled, the Test of Faithfulness. Keller speaks of Lass becoming frantic when she loses sight of her master. In observing Lass's behavior, Keller saw the necessity of being quietly steadfast and faithful wherever God placed him. He makes the case that God asks us to be loyal steadfast friends, and Keller demonstrates in the negative using the example of Lass. He says that when Lass was distracted, she became useless and often did more damage than good. Keller says that it is essential for us to examine our lives to learn what diverts us from God's calling for us as His co-workers.
Thinking of myself as a co-worker in God's great Economy gives me pause. It stirs in me a sense of urgency and I thank Keller for his clear analogy.
Keller ends this lesson saying that it is our job to be faithful where God places us.
Our teaching from Matthew covered instructions on fasting, storing up treasures in Heaven, and the light of the body is the eye. When we spoke of not serving two masters, we likened it to Lass serving her distractions or serving Keller. We spoke about not being anxious and how this assisted steadfastness.
In Psalm 104 we marveled over the glory of God's creation and then in Job 38 we marveled over God's gentle rebuke of Job about God's creation.
We spent some time talking about forgiveness and how to forgive when we don't have a name or a face, but feel betrayal anyway.
We closed in prayer.
Thanks for reading, Bev

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Prairie Fires Book Review

Written by Caroline Fraser,  Prairie Fires is a biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder, her parents, grandparents and daughter couched in a history and discourse of the American frontier.
The biography finds purchase in the final third of the book, describing how the Little House books came about.
In most of the reviews I've read, Little House fans adored Prairie Fires. They cut their 'reading teeth' on Wilder's books, many learning how to read from the Little House books along with how to accomplish many other frontier tasks. I don't disagree that Wilder helped form the frontier conscience of our nation, but I think this was unwitting on her part.
Wilder was not my first read. In fact, my mother tried to get me to read the Little House books but I found the work tedious and too shiny. (Funnily enough, I found Prairie Fires tedious also.) I knew even at five and six years of age, that I was being forced to swallow the Pollyanna without much story. I just couldn't find a footing in the books and if the books were bad the television series was deplorable. My tastes ran more to fantasy, which I knew wasn't real and enjoyed it all the more for it. I mention all of this 'me' stuff because I am an unreliable reviewer for this book.
I admired Fraser's research but became bored with her preaching about the sins of early American governments. This nation is an easy target and often exploited. But as a writer she is surely entitled to her own soap box. I just thought the book would have been a much better read without the discourse.
The other thing I took issue with was the pressure of the 'truth.' Wilder wrote rosy children's books. I think it would be clear that she had help writing them and that she kept to the sunny-side of major tragedies. I see no reason to dive into Wilder's past in order to state the obvious and be so exercised about it that countless references fill the book. Maybe this is unfair to Fraser who is a talented writer and remarkable scholar. Like I said, I am an unreliable reviewer.
So why read the book? If you are interested in the American frontier, read this book. Farser's research is superb.
If you treasured Wilder's series, read the last third of the book. It is a well detailed story, if a bit skewed against Rose. Perhaps Rose was a quarter bubble short of plumb. I am not so convinced in this telling, which seems to rely on Rose's political views as much as other facts. But I did enjoy how Wilder developed her stories and her skills.
The final reason to read this book is to join the discussion which is full and rich and very American. Thanks for reading. Bev