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3.15.2013

Beware the Ides of March

On March 15, I can't help but remember senior high English class and reading Julius Caesar. Again, this morning, as nearly every year, the phrase "beware the Ides of March" came to mind. The Ides of March is simply the middle of March, historically speaking. However, it has a second meaning because of Shakespeare.

I wish I could say I was a huge fan of Shakespeare plays, but it wasn't my favorite. For old times' sake, lets go back to high school English for a moment. 

Julius Caesar Act 1, scene 2, 15-19

Caesar:  Who is it in the press that calls on me? 
I hear a tongue shriller than all the music 
Cry "Caesar!" Speak, Caesar is turn'd to hear.

Soothsayer: Beware the ides of March. 

Caesar: What man is that?

Brutus: A soothsayer bids you beware the ides of March.
Caesar was warned not to go to the Theater of Pompey for a Senate meeting, but he went anyway. And [spoiler alert in case you never read the play], he was assassinated. His final words to his friend Brutus, "Et tu, Brute?" reveal the terrible betrayal of a friend.

The situation beckons a classic, "I told you so," but really, are we much different? It seems we often learn the hard way too. A friend cautions against making a huge relationship mistake, but we have to go there anyway. We know that a decision goes completely contrary to the Bible, but that doesn't stop us. The boss says, "If you're late one more time, you're fired," and a week later, we lose track of time and show up late again. 

Whatever the situation, there's likely some kind of warning. If not from an external source, that little voice we call a conscience speaks up. 

What's your Ides of March? What warning have you ignored against better judgement? Your March 16 could be a lot better than Julius Caesar's!


 

3.07.2013

Book Review of 'Sent' by Hilary Alan

Hilary Alan and her husband did what few people have the guts to do. They sold their home and possessions in an affluent community and moved halfway around the world to answer God's call to serve. It wasn't easy, and by most American standards, it made no financial sense. But when they obeyed the call, Hilary and her family discovered that God had a valuable lesson to teach them in trusting him.

The book Sent: How One Ordinary Family Traded the American Dream for God's Greater Purpose is a memoir/biography of the Alan family adventure. I enjoyed Hilary's story, and was inspired by her strength. The book reveals some of the realities over overseas missions work that many  of us in comfortable suburbia forget. The stories were raw, and the author's emotional connection real.

The one thing I really wanted in the book was a strong takeaway for the reader. The epilogue is the place where it was really addressed, with the question "What are you waiting for?" However, throughout the book, I longed for something in each chapter to take away. I felt like an outsider looking in on the Alan's life, and while it was inspiring, I really wanted to engage more with the concepts that could be drawn from their experience. I also found the stories repeated a few parts that were mentioned earlier in the book. That made it feel a little disconnected, as if chapter 'xx' wasn't connected to chapter 'xy'.

The biggest positive about the book is that someone who is facing the decision to do something similar to the Alan's and serve overseas will probably have a strong sense of connection to the material. It's also a great reminder of ways that I could be praying for overseas missionaries. Hilary Alan is a good writer, and anyone who really enjoys biography will really like this book. God bless the Alan family on their continued faithful discipleship!

I received a copy of this book for review purposes from the Waterbrook Press. My reviews are objective and honest.

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