by Mel cross posted from her blog When Cows and Kids Collide
All quotes from Sarah Mally’s book will be in blue text.
This chapter is titled “Have a Life Purpose Bigger than Marriage”. That sounds promising – but that material was already covered poorly in the chapter titled “When God Says Wait”.
The Giant and Dragon allegory section falls flat. I think the root of the problem is that Ms. Mally hasn’t focused on the difference between internal and external quests. Temptation is an internal issue. Avoiding Lies is an internal issue. Since Sir Valiant is fighting against internal issues, the allegorical solution must align with a solitary knight. Training legions of knights to fight against Temptation and Lies doesn’t work.
The last oddity about the Giant and Dragon section is that the King is strangely reliant on a very young knight of from some unexplained lineage. Successful monarchs know how to balance the desires and strengths of the noble families that underpin a stable reign. Handing off control of any number of knights and squires (*sighs* letting it go….) to a young nobody is a great way to be deposed by disgruntled nobles.
Thus ends the allegory and begins the advice section. This advice section is a mishmash of vaguely hopeful cheerleading about being single interspaced with mindless personal stories.
The main theme is that women should use their single years to do ministry of some kind. That’s a theme I could support. The problem comes with the stories she picked:
- Sarah is feeling sad one day because she’s never been in a romantic relationship. She prays and realizes that wanting personal happiness is a bad purpose in life. Sarah’s going to work at making everyone else happy because that’s what God wants! At the risk of stating the obvious, her second goal will be impossible if everyone decides to forgo personal happiness like she did…..
- Melissa was mad at her dad. Because she didn’t immediately rid herself of anger, she felt angry about everyone and everything in her life and “hurt people in her life” (pg. 152) before she realized that the real key to happiness is overlooking negative things about other people.
- That story is a perfect setup for major depression and a great way to train children to attract abusers. Finding the people in your family deeply annoying is a normal, universal part of growing up. The phase doesn’t last forever so CP/QF writers need to stop treating mild teenage rebellion like high treason.
- A 15-year old decides to found a Bright Lights group for the girls in her area. The girl thinks this is a great idea and feels awesome about this choice.
- Hey! We have a story that supports the theme! That’s 1 in 3. Whoo-hoo!
- The Mallys are trying to get to a place on foot before it closes in a busy city without extra time. They run into a parade that is blocking their route. The Mally family proceeds to make their way down the parade route by snaking through the crowd, going in and out of shops, etc., until they get ahead of the parade to cross the street. Sarah alludes to the fact that the Mallys must have been pretty annoying to parade watchers, but the family didn’t stick around to hear any complaining. They make it to the place with time to spare.
- I think the Mally family needs to work on being better humans. Having five people who are carrying items start plowing through a parade crowd is simply rude. What kills me is that they picked the least effective way to get around the parade I can think of. They would have saved even more time if they walked back a block or two and traveled on a street that parallels the parade route. Walking on a nearly empty sidewalk is much faster than weaving through crowds. Another possible trick is walking towards the end of the parade instead of trying to race in front of the parade. Plus, they could probably cross the parade route between floats if they timed it right in most locations.
- The Mally Family takes two cars to church each week because not everyone can get ready on time. One Sunday morning, someone left them a GPS module and power cord in unmarked envelopes in their front door.
- Ms. Mally attempts to spin this into discussing how important knowing where you are is in getting your life in order. My mind is blown that a family of 5 can’t get Mr. Mally to get to church on time. I am also really confused as to why someone would leave a GPS device in envelopes without an address. More to the point, this has nothing to do with the theme of the chapter. That’s 1:5 that are on-topic.
- The Mally Family are in Florida and carrying all of their people-traps for conversions. They decide to visit a family friend named Clorinda. Clorinda wanted to advertise the Mally Family’s visit at her retirement home, but the administration had a policy against “outside religious groups”. The Mally Family offers to play harps in her room for a group of friends as an opening to conversion. Clorinda thinks this is great. When they get to the home, the elevator to the upper levels is broken. Since they can’t carry the harps up the steps, they ask permission to hold their meeting in a ground-floor meeting room. Permission is granted. Lots of people show up to hear them play the harps and do chalk drawings. The administration is ok with this. The elevators start working when the Mallys are done.
- The fact that the home only has a single elevator that stopped working is far more concerning to me than the potential states of the souls of the people there. In case of a medical emergency, making paramedics evacuate a patient down a stairwell is time-consuming and potentially dangerous. This is also age-appropriate for high-school students; I went with our women’s choir to sing at local retirement homes in the area.
This is all of the material for chapter eight. Chapter nine brings some new crazy to the table when the Queen has a talk with her daughter…..
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