The Ragamuffin Kid

occasional rumblings of the bedraggled, beat-up and burnt-out

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I am a traveller on my way Home, passing through this little land. It's a lovely place, though nothing compared to where I'm heading, I was told. I have journeyed through several valleys. Not the kindest place I must say. But hey, I've had some "mountain top" experiences too. They made me long for Home. I heard there are no valleys at Home. I have met some fellow travellers along the way. But mostly find myself among locals. If you're local, please bear with my quirkiness. I know my accent and ways are puzzling sometimes. If you're a fellow traveller, keep going. We should be reaching soon. Bon voyage!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

God's Blog and Anne Frank

I just finished Anne Frank's diary (more on that later) a week ago and suddenly felt the motivation to write. I take that as a good sign. When I'm writing I'm processing my thoughts. So yeah, it's a good thing to think about what I'm thinking.

Lately I have resorted to borrowing books from the local library. In the past, most of my books were bought from particular stores as most of the time I know what I wanted and where to find them. It's always easier to get them from one place rather than having to search the library. And of course I had a bigger budget for books then. So the library is my saving grace now.

Two titles caught my attention that day, God's Blog by Lanny Donoho and Anne Frank: Beyond the Diary. I am very pleased with both.

In God's Blog, Donoho uses the latest communication tool to introduce many biblical principles on a wide variety of subject ranging from creation, to music, to laughter. It is a refreshing new way to rediscover God again. You get the feeling that God himself is talking to you. That was how I felt. It is actually a very small book that can easily be finished in one sitting. I wasn't expecting deep theology but I think I went away with something even better - a renewed appreciation for the God that I have come to know and love. God is not limited to deep and mighty things. In fact, most often he speaks to us through ordinary, simple things.

Here's an excerpt from the book, speaking of music....

"The gift of Music is an expression for and from your soul...and your soul is connected to Me. After watching and listening to so many of you do so much with this gift today, I want to pass along a message:

This gift inside you is a piece of Me.

If it makes you want to move or dance, if it stirs your soul and calms your spirit, if it makes you wanna shout or run or ..... makes you move faster on your treadmill while it is piped into your head through your iPod....

it's Me.

I AM the music.

Remember this: The next time you download a song from the internet (legally, of course), or sing a song in the shower, or turn on the radio in your car to hear your favorite oldies, or slip on a pair of Bose noise-reduction headphones that you paid two hundred bucks for, and your favorite song comes in ringing through your eardrums....and your heart and soul become enthralled with sound....and your mind is enveloped with this amazing thing called music - remember....

what you're hearing is a gift
from your Creator
because I love you
and I want to
stir your soul."

There is another "post" which is also one of my favourites, about God wanting to burst the bubble his people have created to separate themselves. I really want to share that with you but alas I need to move on to the next book.

I know most of you have read Anne Frank's Diary. After all, it's one of the world's most widely read book. Through her writing, Anne Frank has become of the most renowned and discussed of Holocaust victims. I was never interested in history, let alone the history of a minority race. But all that changed when I became a Christian. Suddenly history comes alive because all of history becomes His-story. Naturally, the history of His chosen people, the Jews, became of particular interest to me ever since, not only because I could trace their story all the way back to Abraham in Genesis but also because what happens to them continue to have a bearing on present day history and beyond.

Now back to the book. The diary, which was given to Anne on her 13th birthday, chronicles her life from June 1942 to August 1944. She died in one of the concentration camps when she was only 16. Beyond the Diary is a photographic remembrance of this young Jewish girl whose story of adolescent life during the German occupation of Netherlands in World War II has touched millions and opened the eyes of many millions more to "the folly of indifference and the terrible toil it takes on our young" as Hillary Clinton puts it. I have not read The Diary itself but I will. I intend to read The Critical Edition because I like that it contains almost all the different diary texts, as well as information on the Frank family's background, their life in hiding, and their betrayal.

I am glad I started with Beyond The Diary because it provided some needed context and there is something so humanizing about those photographs. In them, Anne has not yet passed into historical legend. I felt a chill down my spine every time I look at those photos. They were such ordinary photos of everyday life that I could easily find in my own album. There was Anne in her bathing suit with her sister and a group of neighborhood friends and Anne when she was a toddler and later on in grade school, and many others more with her family, all of them with smiling faces that speaks only of innocence. All these before the diary, before the attic. Knowing the fate that waited them was what brought those chills. I recalled descriptions off the dark pages of Wiesel's Night and horrific images from Speilberg's Schindler's List and contrasted it with the bright and innocent tone of Anne's writings and those photographs. It is therefore noteworthy and particularly heart warming to read these words from this young girl, who also writes about ordinary day to day issues that besets an adolescent life, like disagreement with parents, sibling rivalry and boyfriends. Anna Quindlen wrote of Anne in the introduction to Beyond the Diary,

" We know Anne Frank the victim and Anne Frank the fugitive. This is Anne Frank the free, the living, the person who was able to write what has become a life lesson for millions of us in the years since: "In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart."

Wouldn't you say she is one amazing girl?



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