Thursday, June 10, 2010

Apparent Danger

I've noticed a major difference in Doogie this summer. You wouldn't think that the leap from eighteen to nineteen would be so profound, but it truly is. Much of the difference is in how he communicates with me. It made me think about the stages kids go through in communicating with their parents and how similar those stages are to faith.

From the time Mia was about three, I've been her best friend. She talked to me about everything, in great detail. She wanted me to be a part of her life all the time, and when she'd get home from school, we'd spend the first hour just talking about her day, but she wasn't much for listening. When we first come to faith, we pray all the time and do share every part of our lives with the Lord, praying with him about everything that touches our heart with thankfulness or request, but we don't take the time to listen to what He has to say back.

Now that Mia is seven, she's starting to keep a little more to herself. She has started to realize that I don't have the answer to everything. She still talks a lot, but on occasion now she disregards my advice, and often I don't hear about her having a crush on a boy until it's already over. I think over time that when the everydayness of life settles in, we tend to get caught up in it. We still talk to God daily, but tend to hit the important points, glossing over everything else.

When Molly hit about eleven, she determined that not only did I not have all the answers, I didn't have any of the answers. If I offered advice, it was determined to be the exact opposite of what she needed to do. She keeps me informed of the highlights of her life and expects me to show up to them, but she never turns to me for advice, and even when she does, she doesn't take it. It's frustrating, because I often feel completely out of the loop. For awhile, she hit me up for money and a ride, and that was the extent of our conversations. Now that she's going into her senior year (!) and has her own car (!!) it's getting a bit better. At some point in our lives, we decide that while we love God, He just doesn't have the answers we need (or at least the ones we want to hear), so we stop talking to Him. We pray about the major earth-shaking stuff and demand that He show up. It's a difficult time in our walk with Him.

Doogie was on his own for the last year. Up at school, he couldn't find a job, struggled with his grades, broke up with his girlfriend, and discovered that his parents not only loved him enough to support him through it, but that they truly had some wisdom to share. In the time that he's been home, he wants to talk about everything. School, money, love, life, faith, everything. Often as Jesse and I would be getting ready for bed at 10:30, Doogie would come into the bedroom, plop himself down on the end of the bed and start pouring out his heart. But there's a difference between the way we talk now and when we did fifteen years ago. Now he wants to talk and listen to my response. He understands that all of his parents have wisdom to offer, but he needs to listen to truly hear it. When we really mature in our faith, our prayers aren't just about requests, but about listening as well. We understand that God really does have all of the answers if we just take the time to listen, and that takes effort.

I guess about the time that Mia decides that I have nothing worth listening to, Molly will realize that I really do. Hopefully the two will balance each other out enough to get me through Mia's teenage years. During that time, I'll be spending plenty of time talking to and listening to the Lord, because with my three kids, I need all of the Godly advice I can get!

Apparent Danger by David Stokes is a true crime look at the 1920s murder trial of America's first megachurch pastor. J. Frank Norris was a controversial figure in Fort Worth, Texas. The head preacher of First Baptist Church was well known for his courting of trouble and links with the Ku Klux Klan. After fighting with city leaders for more than fifteen years, he shot and killed D.E. Chipps, a lumberman, in his office saying that it was self-defense. His trial created national interest and was filled with countless colorful figures. Stokes tells the story of the tension between Norris and the people of Fort Worth over the course of twenty years, laying the groundwork for the murder and trial to come. He occasionally throws in his opinion on the case making it obvious that he believes in Norris' guilt, however the evidence he gives doesn't prove that guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. I wish that Norris had personally interviewed some people associated with the case and included some pictures of the main players. I spent plenty of time on Google Images looking up pictures of the main players. The case is truly fascinating, and Stokes presents the evidence and characters well, but the book suffers for not providing the answer that has lingered for over 80 years: did Norris shoot Chipps in cold blood or self-defense?

Thank you to Kathy Carlton Willis Communications for providing me with a copy of this book for review.