83 thoughts on “Our Daily Thread 9-26-17

  1. I know what that is!
    Good morning.
    Every time I type that now, I think of the routine in early service at FABC.
    Five people may enter the pulpit. Each one of them will say “Good Morning” We are supposed to say, ”
    good morning” but I usually don’t after the first “Good morning”.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Question for you editors:
    Have you read “A Tale of Two Cities”? I have just got around to reading it. First, and only one by Dickens:
    I think the book is much longer than it need to be. I would take out about half of his words.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. A Lion met a Tiger
    As they drank beside a pool.
    Said the Tiger to the Lion,
    “Why do you roar like a fool.”

    Said the Lion to the Tiger
    with a twinkle in his eyes,
    “They call me King of Beasts”
    “Because I advertise.”

    A rabbit heard them talking
    and ran home like a streak.
    He thought he’d try the Lion’s plan
    But his roar was just a squeak.

    A fox was passing by
    He had luncheon in the woods.
    So, if you plan to advertise,
    Be sure you have the goods.

    By Anon. E. Mous

    That poem, told to me by a cousin many years ago, came to my mind when I saw today’s picture.

    Liked by 7 people

  4. Good Morning Everyone. Yesterday was busy and I had a closing. I sold a young couple their first home and they are expecting their first child in January.

    In personal news…Grandpa found out yesterday that he was getting another little girl. He is beyond himself. He asked if they had a name for a little girl and they didn’t so he has volunteered to think of one. Once again, I have had to tell him that the Mommy may have some ideas of her own and he is only the father-in-law. πŸ˜‰
    Saturday he bought a tiny white rocking horse at the flea market for $10. He has a project. I told him I wanted it repainted white with pink polka dots.
    Step-mother is trying to convince step-son that it makes more sense to buy a house with a payment of $600 rather than renting a house for $900. Especially if that step mother earmarked her commission to help with closing costs.

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  5. Chas, I’ve read A Tale of Two Cities more than once. In this day of fast transportation and communication, when most novels are eventually made into films, we think that words should be used economically. Perhaps, unconsciously, we are thinking of giving the film directors room to develop their artistic interpretation of the novel for our entertainment. But in Dickens’ day, the entertainment was the novel. The scenery, the costumes, the character development, the commentary, and narration were all included in the text of the novel. Dickens wrote for magazines, so his books were published in monthly installments, and were the equivalent of a highly popular TV serial today. The longer it takes to get to the end of the story, the better the audience likes it. It is said, when the last installment of The Old Curiosity Shop (my least favorite of his novels, by the way) was shipped from England to the U.S., crowds met the boat on the wharfs of New England crying, “Does Little Nell [the main character of the book] die?” When I read Dickens, and I’ve read all his novels and most more than once, I just settle back and enjoy the ride for about the first two thirds of the book. By the final third, he begins to wind up for the ending and the suspense begins to build, but most of the book is about the journey, not the destination.

    Dickens excelled in his eccentric caricatures who nonetheless seem almost possible, and he was unparalleled in his ability to make biting social commentary that was also hilarious. Since A Tale of Two Cities is one of his two historical novels, it doesn’t have as much of the bite of his works that are set in the world he knew. Nevertheless, the beginning of the novel brilliantly sums up how we all view the past and, incidentally, the present:

    It was the best of times,
    it was the worst of times,
    it was the age of wisdom,
    it was the age of foolishness,
    it was the epoch of belief,
    it was the epoch of incredulity,
    it was the season of Light,
    it was the season of Darkness,
    it was the spring of hope,
    it was the winter of despair,
    we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other wayβ€” in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

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  6. I thought of Lion of Judah when I saw the header.

    Good morning. I have plans to help do a little cleaning at church today. We seem to have a problem with roaches in the closet where we keep our WMU luncheon supplies. I bought a large storage container at Office Depot yesterday which is made by Ziplock and is suppose to be weather tight so hopefully that also means bug tight. I guess we will see if it is worth my $20 donation.

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  7. Good Morning….another rainy damp day around here…the forest smells heavenly!
    I have read The Tale of Two Cities and enjoyed it very much….Dickens is a favorite of mine. He does use many words but words are good! The reading of them has a way of expanding one’s vocabulary 😊

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  8. Chas, what Roscuro said. I think I’ve read it twice, though I can’t generally say exactly which Dickens books I have or haven’t read. I tried Sketches by Boz and couldn’t get into it, but I’ve read a good number of the rest. I learned years ago that for me they make excellent airport books. That is, if I try to read them at home, it can be hard to make myself focus until I get into the book enough to care, but if I take it on a trip, I begin it in the airport (with no distractions of other things I need to be doing), read it on the plane, and read it every time I have “downtime” wherever I am going, and I usually complete it before the return trip.

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  9. When I saw the header, I remembered a scene at Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo, I wish I had my current camera for it: The lion stood on a rock and roared, and every roar he let out had steam coming out. I got a photo of the roar, but it didn’t capture the steam. But a lion’s roar is really an amazing sound, and it could be heard all over the zoo.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I read Tale of Two Cities in high school and liked it. Someday I should re-read it.

    Carol’s phone is out of commission because she didn’t have the $5 to pay for extra capacity when she bumped over in her usage this past weekend. The man from her church who bought her the phone emailed me last night wondering if she hadn’t (again) paid the bill as he’d tried calling her and the phone seemed to be shut off (again). I brought him up to speed (she had paid the monthly bill for September but went over and didn’t have so much as $5 to keep it going through this final week). He responded that maybe the phone wasn’t that “important to her” after all. He felt she needed it to keep in touch with people but she doesn’t seem serious about maintaining it for that purpose. I will pass on his thoughts to her when she gets the phone back up and running (presumably) this week. Maybe it will catch her attention — and her conscience. Or not.

    Honestly, she can just make you want to bang your head against the wall.

    I told the man he did a good and very generous thing by buying her the phone (he told me at the time that he simply believes Christians should help each other). But I’ve also told him enough about her behavior with money since then that he’ll wisely not give her any more help in that particular form, especially in light of how she’s been so unreliable in keeping up her part of the bargain — keeping the phone he bought for her in good and full operation month-to-month.

    Meanwhile, she told me that the Nook reading tablet she begged me for last Christmas (and which I bought) was now broken. She said there’s a new one out anyway with more features. I just said “I’m not buying it for you.” She said “I know.” But she’ll find a way to purchase it with the back pay she’s expecting from her pension from NY (which has rolled over virtually all year because she never has the $10 to get the needed annual paperwork notarized to receive the money). I gave her the $10 last year when she wound up in the same predicament at the end of the year. She owes at least half of the lump sum to her landlords for back rent and the NY company has already told her that she’ll forfeit the money — all of it — if she doesn’t get that paperwork in pronto. You’d think it would all connect with her somehow to force a change but it doesn’t. Argh.

    I understand failing, I understand defeat & stumbling and falling flat on one’s face, even repeatedly, among us Christians, me included, heaven knows. I don’t understand what seems to be a complete lack of conviction of sin in a particular area so glaring and no effort made to even try to change.

    It’s all making me feel rather judgmental toward her I’m afraid, which I hate feeling. But nothing seems to get through to her on this issue that affects so many of her well-meaning friends who have been so willing to help her (she borrows “spending” money — vending machines, sandwiches or chips from the convenience store across the street) every month from her very generous former roommate — she does pay that back, apparently, when she gets paid each month, but then she’s borrowing from her all over again which just isn’t fair to the ex roommate).

    Sorry, that was a rant.

    I’m having a trying week, I’m feeling easily agitated I’m afraid — yesterday was one of those days when I just felt like I’d simply gotten up on the wrong side of the bed. 😦

    What was that old nursery rhyme?


    β€œThere was a little girl”
    Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882)

    THERE was a little girl,
    And she had a little curl
    Right in the middle of her forehead.
    When she was good
    She was very, very good,
    And when she was bad she was horrid. …

    That be me this week.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. DJ, that rhyme was applied to me by my family when I was small – not because of my behavior (I could certainly be bad, but, being an introvert, I didn’t cause much of a commotion about it) but because of my curls.

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  12. I remember reading Tale of Two Cities in High School. The amazing thing was that as I was reading my Dad would be quoting me lines from the book.
    By the way, I have no idea how any of you italicize anything or bold it, so plain will do.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I don’t see how anyone could “enjoy” A ale of Two Cities. It’s a story of corruption in France which was replaced by heedless evil.
    I saw somebody hounded, imprisoned and executed because he didn’t kneel when the national anthem was played.
    He was hauled off by a mob crying “RACIST”
    A dreary tale, indeed.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. She actually has been diagnosed with mental illness (paranoid schizophrenia) though she’s pretty highly functioning and is good about taking her medications. Her IQ is off the charts, she’s a voracious reader, soft spoken and polite, and yes, she is a believer.

    But she is one of the most challenging people I’ve ever known.

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  15. It really does always help me to remember we are all fallen people (in one degree or another) living in a fallen world, yet saved by the gospel and sustained by the love of God for His people.

    Liked by 3 people

  16. Jo, to italicize or bold, put an i or a b in brackets like this, but use the greater than / less than brackets on the period and comma keys instead:
    [i]phrase to italicize[/i]


  17. OK Donna, that explains it.
    We have to deal with it.
    My problem isn’t nearly as bad. but as I said before concerning Elvera. Seventy percent of everything I do is for, to or because of her.
    But, without her, I wouldn’t have a purpose in life.
    Think about it.

    I read many places by experts. Not just one opinion, mind you.
    That our power grid is vulnerable to attack so that all of North America could be thrown into darkness for months.

    What is never explained is:

    What are we doing about it?
    I know.
    It’s expensive to fix and it likely won’t happen on my watch.
    But someday, it will.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. If I had the authority, I would order everyone to go to the Politics thread and read Tychicus’ 8:08.
    The point is, they might be nice people, but Muslims don’t make good neighbors. The Koran commands them to convert, by force if necessary, all non believers to Islam.
    It’s in their bible, it’s in their history.
    The “Bloody borders of Islam” aren’t limited to countries.

    If you get enough in one place, they will insist on Sharia.
    It should never be allowed in the US.

    No! Not in any circumstance.

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  19. Chas, the evil corruption and the heedless evil are only the background to A Tale of Two Cities. Pastor A once quoted – to my surprise, since he wasn’t the type to make references to cultural works in his sermons – from the final chapter of the book, where Sydney Carton goes to the guillotine remembering the verse Jesus spoke to Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life.” The real story of the novel is one of redemption, how good triumphs over evil through sacrificial love. Dickens was not a Christian, so his idea of what redemption looks like is somewhat flawed, but it is still there. Dickens demonstrates the two cities in the book, London and Paris, to have the same problems: Dr. Manette is unjustly imprisoned for life by the aristocrats in France, while the British justice system seeks to unjustly convict Charles Darnay of treason; a lynching mob makes the prison spy John Barsad fake his death in England and flee to France, while murderous mob in France make aristocrats flee to England. The contrast between good and evil in the book is not between London and Paris, but between the good French aristocrat Charles Darnay, and his evil aristocratic uncle, the Marquis d’Evremonde; between the good bourgeois Dr. Manette, and the evil bourgeois wine seller Defarge; between the good working class servant Miss Pross, and the evil working class peasant, Madame Defarge. It is a more realistic picture of good and evil than some who write about the French Revolution portray, by recognizing that the line between good and evil does not lie in the borders between countries, but in the hearts of every man.

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  20. Carol reminds me of several of my children. We are trying to give them the skills to cope. But, as you know, some are highly resistant and when they leave we have to sit back and watch them flounder, pray for them, and hope the skills will kick in. But the idea of being a user of people is hard to shake because you learn that so many people are nice and would never think bad of you until the bridge is burned and then you move on to the next person.

    Which brings us to sixteen year old son. He did get home and he got three loads done and threw out a lot that he did not need or want but he still has three loads to go. He could have done it all but I make him stop at six. It needs to be inconvenient for him.

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  21. Dickens: very much enjoyed the books that I have read, including The Tale. I believe I liked Little Dorrit or some such thing. And I appreciate the wordiness as that is how the picture is made. It gives a good understanding of humanity.

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  22. Chas, @11:28, I have had a Muslim woman sit by my bed when I was very ill and weep for me. I have been given gifts of food by Muslim friends that fed me when I was hungry and too tired to make food for myself and had little money to buy food. They make wonderful neighbours. Such friends remind me of the Good Samaritan. The Samaritans did not worship God the right way, as Jesus said to the woman at the well. They were hated by the Jews, who had the truth. Yet, Christ used the figure of a Samaritan to show how Christians should do good to those who hated them. There are many cases, over the centuries, of Muslims showing great kindness and humanity to Christians.

    Muslims are not Christians, so they will not seek the things that Christ told us to seek. In fact they may directly oppose the spread of the Gospel, but why should that surprise or concern us? Most of the world is not Christian, not even the people of European descent who live around most of us. I encounter deep opposition to the Christian mindset in my classes, and, despite a sizeable immigrant population from South America, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, the majority of my classmates are of European descent. Christ said the whole world would hate Christians, and not to fear on that account. Concentrating on one block of that world to fear is disobeying the commands of Christ.


  23. I have also been loved on by Muslim people. But the teachings are the teachings. If we decide we must be more accepting and accept Sharia, Christians in America will learn about persecution. Homosexuals will learn about acceptance. Alcohol and drug users will learn things, Rebellious children, especially daughters will learn something.

    My sister was loved on by Mormons and thought them wonderful. I told her that is part of the religion. When they learned she was not going to convert, they would move on. They did. Teachings matter.

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  24. Almost time for me to go face the roaches..😲

    Facebook shows stickbugs that Linda has been facing. 😲😲😷

    I read A Tale of Two Cities in high school. Probably because it was history my brain did not latch into it. I obviously got enough out of it to do well on the test, but I do not think I liked it enough to retain any of it. I should re-read it from a Christian perspective.


  25. I’m in the middle of A Tale of Two Cities now. Somehow I escaped school without reading any Dickens, but I’ve been trying to make up for it. So far I’ve read Oliver Twist and Great Expectations.

    A few months ago I picked up A Tale of Two Cities and it has become my favorite. It was a challenge because I’m used to more light reading. I skimmed through parts of it, particularly those about characters who seemed peripheral to me. I regretted that as I came to the end where those characters became more important and I’d lost track of who they were. So I’m reading it again more carefully, and still enjoying it. Roscuro explained well why I like it.

    I know that movies made from books don’t always work well, but sometimes they do. I notice that several movies have been made of A Tale of Two Cities. Has anyone seen any of them and have any opinions?

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  26. Well, Carol is hardly my “purpose” in life — but being of service to my neighbors and others as a Christian, where I can and to whom God places in front of me, is, and she has been someone who’s been placed in front of me.

    Admittedly, I’ve learned the hard way in some cases with Carol about drawing lines — she’ll take as much as you offer to give by way of your time, energy, service and cash (she’s always grateful, but still … it can just be exhausting). I’ve learned in this past year to say “no” to the financial requests (and certainly not to volunteer monetary aid) & to the numerous trips up to help her with errands (made easier to say no due to my house responsibilities); and yet to still be her friend and to be there when she needs someone (in the hospital, for example).

    I did send her an email today (which she won’t probably see until her phone is back up and running so she can get online again) with the church man’s comment to me regarding her phone being shut down again: “Maybe she doesn’t think the phone is important. My reason for getting her a phone was to help her receive and call friends.” — which should provoke some guilt in her, I would think (I made her feel real guilty the first month after she had her phone when she told me she couldn’t pay the bill for the following month — he also talked to her about that, saying she’d broken her promise to him). I suggested in this email today that keeping that phone (which he invested so heavily in both with his energy, time and finances) up and running 24/7 with no lapses is crucially important for her to do from here on out. It’s a matter of showing respect to him and his gift.

    I suggested maybe she could ask the front desk to hang on to some of her money each month as a cash reserve so she won’t be tempted to spend it all like she usually does (with hours, literally, of getting it). I’ve suggested this before but decided it was worth a shot again in light of how her inability to keep her phone running is proving to be something of a disappointment to her friend who bought it for her.

    And, as I said to him last night, either she will or she won’t (follow through with any of this).

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Another reason Dickens’ and other novels from the 1800s are long is because authors got paid by the number of words they used. Or so I’ve heard.

    I really like most Dickens’ works. The only one I’ve read that dragged to the point of boredom was David Copperfield. Nevertheless, I read it to the end just to see what happened.

    Though he wasn’t a Christian, Dickens lived in an era of Christian morals, and in his works it shows. Good always triumphs and evildoers meet justice, except in ones like A Tale of Two Cities, in which the culprit has someone sacrifice himself. There is the Christian doctrine of substitutionary redemption in that book.

    Liked by 2 people

  28. Not too long ago, I asked for prayer for the relationship between Nightingale & Chickadee. Nightingale, in her strength, can come across as uncaring or bossy to Chickadee (not uncaring towards Hubby or me, but towards Chickadee herself), & Nightingale thinks Chickadee is too weak & doesn’t try hard enough to overcome her anxieties.

    Speaking of her anxieties, Chickadee is seeing a therapist for them, but she “needs” BF [her best friend, the younger sister of the McK family] to come in with her, even into her session with the therapist. I don’t like that idea at all! (Yes, her anxieties are that great. I am still convinced that she has Asperger’s Syndrome, or something close to it “on the spectrum”.)

    The undue & ungodly influence & grip that the McK girls & family have on her is disturbing to me. During this current situation in our family, we have seen how strongly she is bonded with them & seemingly not so much with us.

    It is a poisonous atmosphere my Chickadee is in. I feel they have almost brainwashed her in a way. It makes me cringe inside when I hear YF’s words, & self-righteous & dismissive tone, come out of Chickadee’s mouth on the rare occasions she comments on some political or social issue.

    I pray for God to rescue her from their ungodly influence, yet I end each of those prayers asking His will to be done in Chickadee, even if He wills for her to be there longer, for His purposes. (And that hurts to do that sometimes.)

    And I also pray for God to get through to YF & BF. I don’t know about BF, but YF truly believes that she loves Jesus & is a strong believer (she recently called herself a “progressive Jesus freak”), but in almost every discussion we’ve had on biblical matters, her views have been very unbiblical. (An example: She recently wrote that the traditional family of mother, father, & children, is not so great, & that it is good that it seems to be dying out.) I pray for God to open their eyes & move in their hearts. I don’t want YF (nor BF) to meet Jesus & have Him tell her to depart from Him.

    Liked by 2 people

  29. Since Chickadee is his/her client, the counselor will likely set up some single, one-on-one sessions. Counselors are trained to ‘see things” as they watch and listen to people, so there could be some revealing patterns that emerge and Chickadee may be more likely to listen to a counselor than to even her BF.

    It could be something that (finally) precipitates a separation, who knows.

    Praying the process will be used of God to steer everyone in a good and right direction (and especially Chickadee — as in toward Jesus & back home with her family).

    Liked by 3 people

  30. Thank you, DJ. One of my prayers has been for godly wisdom for her therapist, even beyond her usual wisdom or thought processes. (I imagined her giving Chickadee a piece of godly advice she’d never thought of before, & then thinking to herself something like “Where’d that come from?” or “Why did I say that?” πŸ™‚ )


  31. Some of you have mentioned Dickens not being a Christian, but I have read that he was. I have a small book he wrote about Jesus called The Life of Our Lord.

    However, the way he treated his wife, & the affair he had, could point to his faith not being real, merely a cultural thing.


  32. Donna,


    It’s a male lion. He was at Disney on the safari ride.

    That’s it. πŸ™‚

    And now, one of the ladies…….


  33. Kizzie, I have read The Life of Our Lord. My eldest sibiling-in-law actually gave it to me. In giving it to me, he remarked, having read it, that Dickens seemed to have a Universalist bent based on what he wrote about Jesus. I would agree, having read the book. In it, Dickens talks about how we should follow the example of Jesus in doing good, never about how the blood of Christ, the Son of God, saves us from our sins. I have since read material from biographers of Dickens which states that he was very much convinced by the Unitarian position, which was basically that Christ was a great teacher, but not the Son of God. One of Dickens’ literary colleagues was Elizabeth Gaskell, author of Cranford, North and South, and Wives and Daughters. She was married to a Unitarian minister. They did many good works, but when she speaks about our Saviour in her books, she is not thinking of Jesus Christ in the same terms we do. The Unitarians are not really much different than the Mormons or the Muslims in believing in the existence of Jesus as a great teacher, but in denying his deity.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Praises for an answer to prayer this morning. The kitchen/laundry room floor in this house is old and hard to clean. I had thought that perhaps I could pay to have a new one put down. I took in the house plans and asked about a cost, I will match what they put in the new bathrooms. As I thought about the cost, I decided that I could not afford to do it. I did think that maybe I could scrounge and afford half the cost. This morning someone told me they were willing to pay for half the cost. Amazing.

    Liked by 3 people

  35. Chas, the Unitarians and the Mormons both quote Scripture. They both speak of the Saviour – the Mormons have recently conducted a Christmastime YouTube campaign titled A Saviour is Born. That doesn’t mean they believe what we believe. John stated it best:

    Whosoever denies the Son, the same has not the Father: he that acknowledges the Son has the Father also. (I John 2:23)

    I said Dickens’ idea of redemption was flawed. When we read the end of A Tale of Two Cities, we see that quotation of John 11:25 through a Christian lens of faith in Christ bringing salvation. But in Dickens’ Unitarian theology, salvation comes from the imitation of Christ, not from faith in the death and resurrection of Christ. His quotation of “I am the resurrection” is not meant to show that Carton was trusting in Christ, but that Carton was remembering Christ’s example and following it. To Dickens, Carton’s hope of resurrection was founded in Carton’s own self-sacrificial death done in the imitation of Christ’s self-sacrifice, not in the death of Christ itself.


  36. Kevin @1:08, my favorite Dickens are Bleak House and Our Mutual Friend. The latter is Dickens’ last completed novel, and it has some weaknesses in the plot as well as some slight changes in style which seem to indicate Dickens was growing tired, but the cast of characters are some of his most original. The former is the greatest of his three layered narration novels (the other two being Our Mutual Friend and Little Dorrit). The term layered narration is entirely made up by me, but it is the nearest I can sum up how the books are narrated. In them, Dickens, from chapter to chapter, or sometimes several chapters at a time, changes his narrative voice, to tell a different story in a different setting than the one he was telling before. Gradually, he weaves all these seemingly different stories together – at first, obvious connections appear, but then other hidden connections are revealed.

    I have seen one film and one miniseries of A Tale of Two Cities. Neither was worth it. The film was circa 1930s, starring Ronald Coleman as Sydney Carton. Coleman was all right, but the supporting cast lacked depth (with the exception of Basil Rathbone as the Marquis d’Evremonde – Rathbone did the best villans) and American cinema just didn’t know how to tell a Dickens tale. Also, the actor playing Charles Darnay didn’t look anything like Coleman. The miniseries was done by Acorn, if I remember correctly. Once again, they didn’t find actors who greatly resembled each other for Darnay and Carton, and the production, which was made in the 1980s, reminds me of how my cousin once summed up films from the ’80s, “They used too much hairspray in the ’80s, and it got into their brains, so the movies are all fluffy.” My father, whose eyes have trouble reading print, loves Dickens, so he watches the BBC miniseries productions, which my youngest sibling and I purchased in boxed sets. However, the BBC never made a production of A Tale of Two Cities, though they did of Barnaby Rudge, his other historical novel. I’ve noticed he doesn’t watch the miniseries we have of Two Cities as often as the others.


  37. http://www.christianitytoday.com/history/2008/august/no-humbug.html

    No Humbug
    “A Christmas Carol” remains the quintessential holiday story, but why?


    … Dickens attended an Anglican church, but his beliefs were Unitarian. His God blessed all, his Christ was a very good man, his religious countenanced no creeds, and his Bible yielded only noble precepts for living. In his posthumously published The Life of Our Lord, he put it this way: “It is christianity to do good alwaysβ€”even to those who do evil to us. It is christianity to love our neighbor as ourself, and to do to all men as we would have them Do to us. It is christianity to be gentle, merciful, and forgiving, and to keep those qualities quiet in our own hearts, and never make a boast of them, or of our prayers or of our love of God, but always to shew that we love him by humbly trying to do right in everything.” Not surprisingly, then, there is no Christ in “A Christmas Carol,” which unfortunately renders the story highly suitable for network television and school productions.

    Perhaps, then, “A Christmas Carol” is not only still a hit, but still a cautionary tale. Thanks to Dickens and a host of other Victorians, Christmas consistently warms the heart. Changing the heart, though, requires an entirely different story.

    Liked by 1 person

  38. Oh wait. What was that?? Disney World? That’s not the real deal.

    Here’s the one and only, original Disneyland version (hmmm, some of the jokes are the same, though):


  39. Mumsee, regarding your 12:31 post, I would question the narrative now popular in conservative circles that Muslims would bring more persecution. We talk now about the Christian communities being threatened in the Middle East, but nobody ever really stops and looks at how they survived continuous Muslim rule for one thousand and four hundred years. The dhimmi status of religious minorities in the Muslim empires is often portrayed negatively, but the more I learn about the Christian communities in those empires, the more I question that portrayal. To be a dhimmi in the Abbasid, Umayyad, and Ottoman empires actually exempted one from military service, and only healthy men, in other words those who would be conscripted if they were Muslim, were expected to pay the jizya tax. Furthermore, if those men were in religious orders, such as priests or monks, they were exempt from the tax. Christian and Jewish communities, although they did not hold high office in the empires, did govern their own communities, called the millet system, allowing them to practice their own religious and civil customs. As Western influence, through Western money and trade, came to bear on the collapsing Ottoman Empire, these Christian communities actually were the epicenter of the development of Arab nationalism.

    Today, I was in the library, reading a book written by a Palestinian Christian woman, Matiel Mogannam, who was one of the founders, in 1929, of the Palestinian Arab Women’s Association, a Palestinian nationalist organization (it was for an assignment, as one of my electives is in Middle Eastern history). She, along with her husband and other Palestinian Christians and Muslims, vigorously protested the Zionist movement, and the bringing in of Jewish immigrants to replace the Palestinians. The Christians of the West, especially in the U.S., thought it was a good idea to send the Jews to Israel, but the Arab Christians did not agree. When one thinks about that for a while, one begins to realize that our views of others is often more shaped by our national loyalties, not by our identity in Christ. I watched the clip of the retired Marine talking about the travel, and I wondered why Christians had mixed up his stated concern about U.S. security with a concern for Christianity. There are Christians in Iraq.


  40. Yes, there are Christians in Iraq, and I pray for them. I hope many others do as well. I pray that they will continue to stand strong and be a light to their neighbors. And I understand them wanting to stay there, it is their home and there is a lot of history there. I thank God for them and the example they set.


  41. Mumsee, many of those Christians have forgotten the Gospel, as they are born into Christian families, and have never known the second birth. In searching for their songs on the internet, I discovered a decided resemblance to the more formalized church customs of the Catholics and Eastern Orthodox. The comfortable life they lived in the midst of Muslims for over a millennia allowed them to forget to share the Gospel, and eventually, not even their children knew it. Patricia St. John, who was a missionary to Morocco, writes about this lack of the Gospelamong Middle Eastern Christians, in her portrayal of the Lebanese Maronite Christians in the novel Nothing Else Matters – well worth reading and sadly out of print. The main characters, Maronites, initially take the Maronite side in the brutal Muslim vs. Christian Lebanese civil war (there was actually more than one civil war), in which the Maronite Christians were just as guilty of brutality and the massacre of whole families and villages [to this day, the Maronite Christians control about half of Lebanon’s cabinet, in a country which hosts not only 450,000 Palestinian refugees, but also over 1 million Syrian refugees – the population of Lebanon being 6 million] before coming into contact with the Gospel, changing their focus from revenge to love. There are undoubtedly those who truly know Christ among those communities, and reports indicate that once isolated Christian Assyrians are coming into contact with those who are teaching them more about the faith they think they were born to, but when we pray for them, we should pray that they will truly know the One whose name they bear.

    Liked by 1 person

  42. I read an interesting books several years ago, I tried to find it in the list of books I’ve read in the past 15 years, but couldn’t find it.
    The book was by two Christian women living in Iran and their surreptitious attempts to spread the gospel. If discovered, it would be prison and possibly death.
    If I remember correctly, they escaped to and came to America. Hence, the book. I’ll look again tomorrow to see if I can find it.
    One of them spent some time in an Iranian prison. Horrible conditions.


  43. When I say I am praying for the Christians, I am praying for my brothers and sisters, the ones who are believers and part of His family. For all the rest of the people, I pray that their eyes may be opened. That they will see Christ in His people, wherever they are.

    I clearly can’t pray for them by name, but God, Who lives in me, also lives in them and He knows my prayer better than I do.

    But the concern was, bringing Sharia law here. Would Christians, true believers, not folk who want the name when it is convenient, but true believers, are to expect persecution because the world hates Him. And there have been Christians who have said that might be a good thing as it would wake up the believers.

    But I don’t think the Sharia folk are going to want people living in enclaves of debauchery either.


  44. Well, I said I have the book, but I never said I’ve read the book. πŸ˜€

    It’s just been on a bookshelf for a few years. I think I started to read it at one time, but then turned to another book. Seeing how it is described here, it won’t be staying around.


  45. Best I could determine, this is the book:
    Living Sacrifice Book- “Iran: Desperate for God”

    The authors were anonymous, and may still be in Iran. An enlightening book if you can find it.


  46. Mumsee, sharia law was used among Muslims in those Muslim empires, alongside the millet systems of the religious minorities.

    Chas, the way it is now in Iran is not the way it always has been. The Ayatollah only came to power in 1979.


  47. Well, I’ll be the queen of the mundane and shallow here tonight. You’re welcome.

    I just got in from deep watering the little city tree (I’ve been slacking off on the watering) and now I’m looking forward to watching the first program of the new season of NCIS tonight. Shallow, I know. πŸ™‚ But after a day at work when we’re switching computer programs an I had to somehow pull together a story on a new LA city community plan for our area, it’s kinda nice to just chill.

    Liked by 3 people

  48. LA senior planner said we’d talked before in years past (which I actually hadn’t remembered) and told me what I’d written was accurate — always nice to hear πŸ™‚

    Liked by 3 people

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