Sunday, October 16, 2016

The Revolt: A Novel in Wycliffe's England - Book Review

Five of five stars!

With vivid and tumultuous words, you are thrown into 14th century action. The story spans part of the life of John Wycliffe, but starts out with another character, a scribe, Hugh West'all, who is reporting on-location about the battle between France and England. He sees one of the archers with a father, worry creasing the son's brow, and the two young men's paths cross various times. Willard, the young archer, is full of bitterness and anger toward those of higher birth, and seeks revenge against greedy friars.

Hugh, meanwhile, becomes a scholar at Oxford. He and his friend Alfred are not much alike, but in one case Hugh and the new scholar, John of Wycliffe, turn the tables on prankster Alfred. The results are most humorous.

You get a slice of life as it might have been back then, with places, smells, characters, and jobs portrayed clearly, yet not ad infinitum. . . . It was not such a great thing that I happened to be eating while I read about the sheep being slaughtered. 

Hugh begins to hear of new things from John Wycliffe, of grace through Christ alone being able to save. Willard, also, hears the preacher and is amazed to hear him speaking against the friars who sell indulgences. 

The dreadful Bubonic plague spreads, and Willard's mother and sister are caught in its grip.

There is a bit of romance toward the end, but it is carefully done.

This is a story that teens and adults, male and female, will most likely enjoy--from battle to archery competition, from a woman tenderly caring for others (including a cat) to Wycliffe teaching and living out his gracious words with little fear of consequences.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Weeds of the Soul

Our apple trees have weeds growing around the base like--well--weeds. Some are wiry grass, some are willowy. Even with wood chips put down last year, the weeds come. We are weeding and adding a heaping amount of wood chips this year.  While I was weeding I thought of some analogies of weeds to sins. I've thought of some of these before, and probably a million others have, too, but I think it is neat that God made His world--even the fallen world--to have correlations and lessons for our lives. Here are some possible correlations.
  1. Weeding takes strength, perseverance, and a desire to clean things up.
  2. Some weeds are more stubborn than others.
  3. Sometimes we have to dig deep.
  4. Some weeds are quite pretty . . . but sap strength and fruitfulness from the tree.
  5. Sometimes we have to use a sharp implement to cut or dig around the roots.
  6. Sometimes just a gentle wiggling and tug will get out a weed, especially if the weeds are surrounded by wood chips (like the Scriptures surrounding an individual).
  7. Sometimes our hands get dirty or we get hurt while weeding, especially if we aren't wearing gloves (prayer or Word of God to protect).
  8. Getting down closer to the roots helps in pulling out weeds.
  9. Pulling out just one weed or two at a time instead of a huge clump can be helpful, making others nearby come up more easily--the roots may be connected in ways we didn't realize!
  10. Weed control--constant upkeep--makes things easeasier.refreshing drink of water or encouraging word is always good.
  11. Sometimes we skip certain weeds because they are too hard or seemingly insignificant . . . but watch out--they will grow!
  12. The final results are beautiful and orderly, more pleasing to all around!
P.S. I don't always philosophize while doing yard work--usually I'm fuller of grumbling thoughts about the heat, bugs, or aching back. . . . There's one "weed" that needs to go!