Theological ThinkTank

Reading Records: Call of the Wild by Jack London

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***SPOILER ALERT also TW: Harm of animals******

I know, I know… Two book reviews in less than a month. I was just as shocked. But truthfully I was so happy to see that I actually finished two books within a reasonable time. And despite the last book’s memoir theme, this book a little more imagiative. To the point a movie was made with Harrison Ford (always read the book–even on this one, I would say it’s better to read the book.) And admittedly I listened to this one on audible while taking my long dog walks within a few weeks.

However, this book has a long standing history with me. In sixth grade–we were given a list of books to choose from and I selected Call of the Wild by Jack London. To be honest-it was mostly because I loved White Fang the movie and thought since the author was the same that it would be the same “connection with the wild spirit” as his other book. So, I wrote a brief report, barely read any of the book and turned it in.Little did I know that my teacher knew I had not done my work, explained it to my mother and she not only grounded me with a massive room clean but also forced me within 1 weekend to actually re-read the book & write the correct report. It was a hard but nice lesson in responsibility and honesty.

So when the movie came out this year–I made a special effort to make sure to read the book again. And while I saw the movie, absolutely loving it, I still worked thru original story of the book.

Call of the Wild is a work of fiction by Jack London with a dog as the main character. His name is Buck and it starts with Buck’s kidnapping and travel to the new world of the Yukon. He is beaten, traded, locked into a sled dog team that delivers mail across the territory in the harshest conditions. It finally ends with the Buck being pushed to the breaking point and a gentle soul of a man comes along and nurses him back to health before Buck journeys into the wild wolf pack.

The book was beautifully written. It had this harsh but strong appeal to it, like one walking thru the hard snow in the Alaskan territory. I know its Jack London’s specialty (see White Fang and several other short stories), but it was as if you were Buck the dog. Feeling each of this trials, his struggles, his joyful moments where he becomes on with the wilderness and those depressing moments where he learns some humans beat dogs for sport.

I will say I am glad I just listened to this book. I think having something tangible in my hands would have made it more difficult to digest, especially the parts of animal torture. Especially because at the time I was walking my dog. But if you have seen the new movie–I believe for once this movie actually stays true to the book. And not in the sense not it describes EVERY detail. But it does include the book’s message. It embodies the word “inspired” or comparable. The creative liberties the writers and directors took were respectful, classic and well done. It also allowed for children to understand the books teachings (like beating a dog is bad) without going into the painful almost chalkboard scratching pain inducing feeling you get from reading the book.

So if you have not read or listened to this book (or even if you have), I recommend it highly. Even if you love animals. It will be a true classic pleasure!

Stay Tuned…

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Don’t worry Muse-loving readers– the frequency of the blog posts may go down but the content is coming. I have a long list of blog ideas to work through and eventually I will get back up to posting when they are complete.

Counter Productive

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So a couple of posts ago I talked about how excited I was to finally have someone look and see if I’m officially autistic. I was so excited, typed out 2 pages of all things i could remember from my childhood that may be associated with being autistic and tried to prepare for this meeting. I prepared myself mentally and physically and couldn’t fathom the idea that in all this excitement the inevitable happen: We had to reschedule.

Now-don’t get me wrong. Life happens. I get that. And the impression I got from this psych in the one live communication I had with her over the computer was that she was confident in helping people where they needed it. So here I was — need helping–and reality and stereotypes stepped in. Something or someone else decided it wasn’t to happen that day. I also keep mind that she was providing a free service (another reason why I am just getting to venting about this) and that I may be lower on a priority list than others who pay and need more immediate services.

person with head down in arms on top of several notebooks and glasses on notebook with the appearance of being overburdened with the items at hand.

But to me–it was immediate. I had finally found something that would either help self-validate my concerns about myself or at least point me in the right direction. Now–with that meeting less than 2 days away–I am anxious/upset/nervous about trying again to meet up online. What if it happens again? Do I make sure I tell her how I feel? And my emotional well-being is so irregular right now due to LIFE that I 1) want a break and 2) know it cannot happen that way.

Hopefully Friday will come with meeting with this psych and things I really want to talk about will happen.

A little randomness

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I haven’t run out of topics I swear. But occasionally I like to not focus on all the series things and do something fun. So today, I searched “Holidays for April 17th https://www.checkiday.com/4/17/2019 ) and I thought I’d look at the things that our calendar is stating we are to celebrate today lol.

NATIONAL CHEESEBALL DAY

While I’m sure we have all made a nice habit of enjoying these little delights due to staying inside– today is an excuse to eat some more. Nice!

ELLIS ISLAND FAMILY HISTORY DAY

https://www.libertyellisfoundation.org

Check this link out to see if your family came thru here and honor the day! I think i see someone from mine that came over in 1909 from Hamburg Germany!

and the random piece of history? — Today in 1986 the world’s longest war where a shot was never fired ended today. It was between the Isles of Sicily & the Netherlands. It was a total of 335 years-wow!

Hope this brings a little joy into your lives. I may start slowing down on blogs here but don’t worry–I’m still here!

Worship and Being Autistic

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Wow-Yesterday was Easter. Until this year, arguably one of the most heavily packed church seasons. A day that typically, any autistic would be super nervous about since 1) there is an overload of sensory stimulants from increased volume of people, food (honestly things that smell horrible) and energies; 2) it is hard to read people on what their doing because it is a holiday and neurotypical people like to communicate differently on these type of days and 3) did I mention the sensory stuff? Did I? OK-just checking.

As my previous blog discussed, my son colored in my Bible. And part of our discussion came up about what we worship. We determined that while the Bible is sacred and holy, we do not worship it, the paper that it is on or the people who wrote it. We are called to worship God. And it got me thinking– what would worship look like from an autistic point of view? I actually have been thinking this a lot–when I got to church, trying to wonder if what we’re communicating would translate to someone who communicates differently. It’s not something a lot of people think about normally– let alone in church.

Well, first is how we define worship. It is adoration to God. I would argue it does not need to be proper. It does need to be set apart. Something of praise and singing (maybe) and thanksgiving. Hey-King David danced naked in front of the Ark of the Covenant in worship of God (yep-look it up and NO, I do not recommend this at all in public.) But other than that-it really doesn’t have any guidelines. Prayer is part of worship. Singing definitely. Reading of the Word and a message for sure. And even communion is part of worship-gathering together to eat at God’s Table. when you break it down-it truly is fantastic. I love worship. probably my favorite thing to do. But that’s because I’m musically talented.

For an autistic though–any one of those things could be a trigger or a sensory overload or the opposite where its a hyper focus and they (**cough me cough**) cannot stop. (As a side note: I would have no problem living in a sanctuary or church. It’s always beautiful in my mind. Maybe i have all those overnight sleepovers at church to thank as a kid, who knows.) So I think as Christians we need to thinks/see/live worship differently. Just as we are experiencing now. Maybe for an autistic, it is a prayer room. Where one spends time in silence to God. Or maybe its a blank canvas with all types of markers and crayons. Or drums set up perfectly in line to bang against for a good 20 minutes. Or to just be silent. Talking is not necessary for worship. Or maybe its turning off the lights. Or using a favorite smell (oils are good for this) for incense to focus your mind and senses on God.

I wish I had photos of this–but after I traveled to Munich, Germany, I was part of running a 24-7 prayer room for a week in the downtown area of my school town. We were allowed in a location that was going out for lease. We were able to build it up a little and maintained a small bed/sleeping area for the overnight security and managed to keep people praying for an entire week. And while it did not last long ( there are 24-7 prayer rooms going on around the world actually)– I felt that it was more of a 24-7 prayer/worship room from the way we ran it. We have a bible reading corner with different types of Bibles, a map of the world where you could pin things to pray for those around the world. We had a news source area if you were motivated to prayer for certain situations. And we did have worship a couple times, including communion for those who wanted to participate. (if you want to see what is being done, here’s the group: https://www.24-7prayer.com . Or read the book “Red Moon Rising”-dang the imagery is great)

Then second-what do we worship. Well, that’s easy (you’d think). We worship God. But sometimes during the week, in other realms, we don’t really worship him. We worship the green coffee god, or the money god, or the “i need to fit in or be popular’ god. Worship should be God focused. If you get lost about it, pray. Seek out healthy places of worship. For a while, I couldn’t focused so I listed to a christian radio station. now-don’t get me started I feel the Christian Rock scene is complete outdated and needs a revamp and redefinition-but-I did it to help keep me focused on God. And it helped. I don’t worship my Bible. But having its pages to interact and explore with helped me reopen myself to worship. Circling back around to the original comments–My son getting involved in the only way he knew as an autistic 3year old kid was a little worship together as a family. Sometimes I hope he comes out of childhood remembering.

If you’re autistic and Christian-let me hear your ideas for worship? Anything you’d like that doesn’t happen at your church? Anything you love about your services?