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The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid. - Jane Austen

Steve Ross – Marked

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I recently went on our Church Parish Weekend, and had the pleasure of helping out with one of the youth groups for the weekend. One of the resources given to each of the children during the weekend was a copy of Marked by Steve Ross. It’s a graphic novel representation of the Gospel of Mark, something I would never have even though of reading.

But like some of the kids, I went back to my hotel room the first night we’d been given it and read the whole thing in one go, I think I stayed up past 1am just so I could finish it. I was completely gripped by the style of the presentation and the unusual take on some of the familiar stories.

It’s amazing how you can think of something in a brand new light when someone presents it to you in a way you’ve never seen before, and this novel achieved that many times, so many ‘a-ha! moments’.

I’d recommend this to any young teenagers (our group was 9-14 years old), and also to older teens and adults who just want a different take on the gospel to refresh their minds. It was great later in the weekend as we read through the NIV version of the gospel to see the kids relating it back to the images they’d seen in the novel and the way they lit up. Simply brilliant.

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Good Friday

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I can’t quite believe that it’s Easter already, this year has gone by so quickly. I have managed to stick to giving up chocolate for Lent though, even if it did mean that I couldn’t eat the gorgeous smelling dinner that my sister cooked earlier this week (who puts chocolate with Turkey?!). I’ve also mostly managed to stick to the two books that I started reading for Lent. I’m not at the end of them yet, but I’m just going to carry on reading until I’ve finished.

As it’s Good Friday, I wanted to share my favourite Good Friday Bible verses with you:

My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will. —Matthew 26:39

My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done. —Matthew 26:42

This verse comes from just before Jesus is arrested, when he goes to Gethsemane to pray. He knows what is going to happen and why, and he is willing to do it to save the rest of us. It’s something that I need to learn, sometimes God wants you to do something and you just need to realise that if it’s God’s will, there’s a reason for it and you just need to get on with it and stop fighting against it.

As it’s Good Friday, I’ll probably watch The Passion of the Christ tonight. I first watched it a few years ago with my parents and we had to stop half way through as we were all so upset by it. I’ve watched it every year since, and it’s always a struggle to get to the end. Seeing everything so brutally on screen just hits home how big the sacrifice was. But it’s not something that should be avoided, in fact, I should make more of an effort to remember it all year round.

 One last thing, seeing as though it’s Good Friday, I’ll share a bit of my good news. My Dad and I have been on a new plan to eat healthily and go to the gym more often, and since Christmas I’ve lost 39 pounds and my Dad has lost 30 pounds. There’s still a long way to go, but I’m very pleased with myself for keeping up with it. Let’s just hope we can avoid too much chocolate after Sunday!!

Review: Rob Lacey – The Liberator

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rob-lacey-the-liberator-e1330254420433As I have already read this book a few times, I knew it was going to be great, but I was surprised how much I enjoyed it. Every time I read it I get something different out of it, and this time I finished the book feeling more connected than I have in a long time.

If you don’t know, The Liberator is a re-telling of the life of Jesus, but the language in the book is brought completely up to date, Lacey was definitely not afraid to change it up a little. It make the book very easy to read (once you get used to the new language he has used – e.g. Prophets are called God’s Couriers, and the temple is referred to as Religious HQ). Here’s an example from the book, from Matthew 5:17-18:

It’s time to rumble the rumours: I’m not here to bulldoze through Moses’ Big Ten Rules. I’m not here to do a character assassination job on God’s Couriers. I’m not here to finish off the Instruction Manual. No, I’m here to complete it. Straight up, on the level, nothing’s getting deleted from Moses’ Contract – not the smallest dot from your paper print-out, not the tiniest pixel, not the faintest watermark – zip. Not till every ending, from main theme to smallest subplot, gets wrapped up and filed under ‘C’ for ‘Complete’.

Compare this to the NIV, and you can see the difference:

Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.

Throughout the book are little fictional pieces, for example articles from a newspaper called ‘The Jews News’, and interviews with people from the time. It’s all very fun, and does help you see deeper into the story – a very clever idea.

As I mentioned in my last blog post, Lacey was battling cancer when he wrote this book, and he passed away shortly after it was published. It’s a shame, as he was truly talented and had a natural gift for communication and explanation.

I would recommend this book to anyone wanting to get into the Bible or find out more about the life of Jesus, or to anyone who has read the Bible many times and wants a refreshing take. If you’ve read this book and liked it, I would also highly recommend The Word on the Street – another book by Lacey in very much the same style, only this time he takes on the whole Bible – a very worthwhile read!

5-5