Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Jesse called and asked me on his lunch is I'm ready to move to Arizona. After the last few weeks of cold weather, I'm getting close! It's currently 3 degrees outside, without windchill. They are predicting wind chills of 35 below zero tomorrow. The temp is supposed to come back up for the weekend, but then we'll get hit with another 1-3 inches of snow. I'm ready for winter to be over, and we have another two months to go! The county hasn't plowed our road at all. I just hold tight to the wheel with both hands, keep it under 35 and try to stay in the ruts left by other drivers. And because of all the idling I've been doing in the van to warm it up and stay warm, my fuel tank is on E already when I shouldn't have had to fill up until Friday. This kind of weather makes me want to bundle up in comfy clothing, have my whole family close to home, and hunker down until it's over. Do you think anyone would notice if we didn't emerge from the house until spring?

Fallen by Matthew Raley is a surprisingly good read. Jim, a banker and chairman of his church, sees his pastor, Dave, getting out of a strange woman's Mercedes. First, Jim weighs the pros and cons of talking to Dave about appearances and propriety, then when the bombs start dropping, he has to decide not only what to do about Dave and the church, but also has to re-evaluate his own life and faith. This book started out a little slow for me, Jim does an inordinate amount of internalizing. But as he started making choices, the plot moved forward rapidly, and when I finished reading, I was stunned by the depth and honesty of Raley's writing. The story is told in an almost steady stream of consciousness from Jim's point of view, and as he remembers lessons he's learned, he educates the reader (gently) as well. The themes Fallen addresses: the superficiality of churches, fallen leaders, the fake self we show to the world have been addressed in other books, but rarely with this amount of punch-you-in-the-gut frankness. Jim realizes through seeing Dave's sins that he is equally as guilty of living a lie. He presents a face for the world to see that isn't who he is on the inside. When the mask slips, especially in front of his family, he feels threatened and attacks. The kind of Christianity that Jim (and Raley) embraces at the end is frightening in its authenticity. No masks, no pretenses, just true compassionate, loving Christianity that isn't afraid to talk about sin and death. Raley took my breath away as he took the verse Romans 3:10 As it is written: "There is no one righteous, not even one; This book is a wake up call to reject the false Christianity that's easy to embrace and turn to genuine faith that lives each and every day knowing that we are fallen and are only saved by the grace of God.

Mom took Jake into the doctor on Tuesday for a blood test, and his platelets have dropped down to 75,000; half of what he was at 10 days ago. We're watching for bruising, and he has to go back next week to be tested again. It looks like he'll probably need another infusion next week. Please keep praying.