Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Book Review - Glaen

Glaen - by Fred R. Lybrand

I’ve always been skeptical of books that claim to be novels but are actually nothing more than sermons in (lame) disguise.

Glaen was not one of those books.

The subtitle says it right off - A novel message on romance, love, and relating. No tricks. The message is the main point of the book. But once you know that, you can relax and dive into a compelling story woven through with relationship principles that we learn along with the main character, Annie.

Glaen reminded me a little of Peter Kreeft’s books in which Socrates travels to different places in time to have lively discussions with everyone from Marx to modern college professors. But more plot happens in Glaen, so it’s a bit more readable.

Enough about the style. What, you might ask, is the book actually about?

A Girl, a Professor, and an Assignment about... Relationships?

The Socrates-like character, the mysterious professor Glaen, helps Annie, a college student, with an assignment about how relationships work. She makes observations, notices lies and countering truths, and discovers the “secrets” of great relationships that are almost too simple to believe (but rarely practiced). Her observations come in the midst of interaction with her parents and friends.

This is not another dating vs. courtship book. I guarantee that the core principles in Glaen are applicable to you, whatever the state of your relationships – single, dating, or married. 

Personally Challenging

This book came out at a perfect time in my life! Not that I have fully begun to live out all the truths, by any means, but I have been given unmistakable opportunities to practice them.

I can’t give away the plot, or tell you everything Annie discovers – you’ll have to read the book yourself to find out! But I will share one truth (for now) and how it has challenged my thinking and actions.
Lie – If you follow the right process, you will be guaranteed a good marriage.

Countering Truth – No process can guarantee a good relationship, because there are no future guarantees in relationships. Relationships happen in the present.

A while back I adopted the notion that if I just do things carefully and right, God would give me a permanent (and reasonably perfect) marriage some day. To this end, I began reading about and clinging to the concept of courtship instead of dating. It seemed such a great plan, I thought.

But as various conversations in conjunction with this book have been teaching me, even the best plan cannot guarantee the future. Cling to good principles, yes, but then leave the future to God and focus on being honest, putting others first, speaking the truth in love, and relating without strings or requirements.

Here’s a quote to that effect that I copied and stuck on my desk:

When someone accepts the fact that she cannot know the future, then a new kind of power or opportunity comes into her life. She can quit trying to force and manipulate the future. She can quit trying to control her relationships. In fact, she should finally be able to start enjoying the relationship once she gives up on trying to guarantee its future.

Glaen, page 77

This principles in this book are tough, but in the end also incredibly freeing. If you’re hungry for truth that will help you start relating in a way that works, go with Annie and meet the strange character, Glaen.

Posted in the March of Books on YLCF

Thursday, March 04, 2010

short-and-fast posting attempt

Can I write and post an entry in  7 minutes?  Let's see!  How about a cool picture? 

Yikes - took me 5 minutes to decide on a random one!  This is from my trip several years ago to Iowa to visit my older brother, Sam.  I think we're at Panera Bread.  Don't I have a fine brother?  He's not only handsome - more importantly, he's a man of character and deep thought.

Wow, there went my 7 minutes of blogging! Things to do today, places to go, people to see... farewell!

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

A random ramble - West Texas Wind

Note - I wrote the following "ramble" probably two-and-a-half  years ago, when I was living with my Abilene family out in the country.  Sometimes little things stir memories which simply must be recorded, and this was one of those times.  Reminds me of where I've been, of days past, of God's whispers and gifts from my childhood.  He's the same God today, and no less full of wonder and beautiful mystery.     

Today I smelled the wind. He was lusty and strong, and brought smells of watered grass. Not sure why, since it was only a warm winter day, with more ice to come. Maybe it was just the grass’s growing pangs, like the souring scent of a bowl of bubbling yeast dough. But it said, “Remember me, old friend? I know you, girl from the West Texas middle-o-nowhere town.”

And I remember the little league fields, my brothers playing, I on the cold stands or in the dirt with toy animals, whipped about by the unchecked gusts. Or stepping outside to dibble in my garden, to carry trash to the huge dumpster and hope I wouldn’t have to chase any old napkins across our acres, or running out on adventures through the back lot of mesquites and tall grass and threat of rattlers and lure of forts.

Sometimes it could be such a cold through-your skin chilly wind. Or in summer it was hot and parching, like a giant trying to melt the ice that actually wasn’t on you. Spring and fall, though, were nice. Then it was gentler, with the excitement of change. Growth and coziness. The two beautiful calls, one outdoors, one in. The heath and hearth both beautiful, both hinted and hummed and heavily hearkened by my friend, the gusty wind.