A book recommendation: Robinson Crusoe by Defoe. Okay, okay - I know I called it a "boy book" and turned my nose up at it for years. But I've gotta tell you - this is a great book! Yes, it's well written (it's Defoe, duh, our first novelist), and it's a page-turner. I love that I really knew next-to-nothing about this novel before reading it. I knew that some man was stranded on an island, and that at some point he acquired a side-kick named Friday. That was it. So I've thoroughly enjoyed all the little plot developments.
However, that's not what this book is about. This is the story of a man's spiritual journey and the huge spiritual lessons he learns along the way. Since many of my reader-friends out there are devoted Reformed Christians, as I am, then I'm TELLING YOU - you must read this book! I was continually refreshed by hearing the man tell of God's guiding providence and superintending of all things, of his learning to trust in God's acts, even when they appear to bring his misery, of his coming to repentance and absolute trust in God's governance of his life. It is a theological marvel. And all these years it's just had a reputation as a fun little island adventure.
Here's a snippet: "How strange a Checker-work of Providence is the Life of Man! ... I considered that this was the Station of Life the infinitely wise and good Providence of God had determined for me, that as I could not foresee what the Ends of Divine Wisdom might be in all this, so I was not to dispute his Sovereignty, who, as I was his Creature, had an undoubted Right by Creation to govern and dispose of me absolutely as he thought fit."
Talk about a great worldview book. I kid you not -- I have about 35 copies of this book in my classroom, gathering dust. Gather dust they will not do any longer. I can't WAIT to pull them out, slap them on the unsuspecting students' desks, go over Woolf's Introduction (and I told you about the good stuff, but not the bad...), and turn with them to passages in the novel that flatly refute her pagan assessment of the novel's contents. What fun!
A movie recommendation: Bella
Adam and I watched this wonderful movie last night. It was available to us on Netflix to watch at home on our computer. Netflix makes it so easy. But if you have access to this movie, please do watch it. First of all, it is SO clean: I could recall nary a curse word in it. There is no sex scene - I think not even a kiss. Perhaps a little hand holding. It's rated PG-13 because in the course of the story (actually, it's a flashback in the movie), a little girl is hit by a car and killed. But they do not show the gore of this event; it's just sad. The main female character finds out she's pregnant (she's not married) - this is essential to the great plot. But the movie focuses not on how she got pregnant, but on what she will do with the baby. If you're pro-life, this is a wonderful flic. It's a tear-jerker, but in a good way. It won People's Choice Award at the Toronto Film Festival. It's one of those low-budget, under-the-radar, foreign films (well, kind of foreign) that ends up being fabulous.