Thursday, February 25, 2010


Evangelicals are an interesting lot. They also get a large amount of bad press, so I thought I'd come to their aid and clear up a few things.

The problem is that there is a great aversion among the general public to people forcing their opinions on other people. Usually this doesn't actually translate to forcing anything. Rather, it is a euphemism for "They think I'm wrong!" We, sadly, live in a world that believes the logical fallacy that all viewpoints are equally true, and that if you have the audacity NOT to believe that all viewpoints are equally true, you are forcing your opinion on people.

By the way, I call it a logical fallacy because it is. All viewpoints cannot be equally true. It's impossible. It's closely related to the idea that something is true for you because you believe it. Sadly, as much as I may believe the sky is green with red polka dots does not make it so, even for me. But I digress.

Evangelicals. There are several factions of them that take it too far. The Westboro Baptist Church comes to mind (I will not link to that horrific website. Google it if you're curious), as do the many crazies who stand on street corners, damning all they see to a fiery eternity. These are not the evangelicals I would have you think of. Think of the quieter evangelicals. The ones who cling to their faith and truly believe that you should believe in it as well. The ones who may have argued with you (for the record, they shouldn't have) over Christianity's validity and grew increasingly frustrated as you refused to convert. I have been that evangelical. We are seen as a bit pathetic and misguided. Why can't they just let people think what they wish and leave everyone to their own beliefs? Why do they have to insist that everyone believe as they do? What judgemental people!

Here's the scoop on that. Most evangelicals are not aiming for judgemental. They ascribe to a belief that, for one, claims inherently to be the only way to salvation. There is no way around that claim in Christianity, and it is made, not by Christians themselves, but by the cornerstone and deity of the faith! Christ did not claim to be a way, or even the best way. He claimed to be the ONLY way. For two, they are commanded to tell other people. Not asked, not suggested. Commanded. For three, you have to understand the way the evangelical sees the world. The evangelical see themselves (or should see themselves, if they are honest) as a sinner whose only salvation was Christ. Therefore, they look around at the world and see a world full of people headed for a terrible, horrific fate. To an evangelical, it's as if the whole world is dying of cancer, and they have been handed the cure, but no one will believe them. An evangelical feels like they are screaming "This doctor cured me! He gave me the cure, and I don't have to die! I'll take you to him! He can cure you too!!" and everyone else just says "I don't see this doctor. I don't believe you!" as they continue toward a painful death, trying myriad other cures that do not work or work for only a little while, when the true cure is so easily given. Try for a moment to empathize with how frustrating that must be, for someone who truly believe in only two roads, and sees the majority of the world headed down the wrong one.

The evangelistic spirit does not seek to be right, or to "win" by converting X amount of souls. Yes, there will be those whose pride gets in the way and who debate with you and lose sight of the message, but cut these some slack. By their own admission, they are not perfect, only forgiven.

Sadly, today's evangelical finds little opportunity to proselytize loudly. In today's world of "believe what you will, but leave me alone", the mere mention of Jesus's name is enough to shut down the communicative channels, sometimes permanently. Most have been reduced to being "lifestyle witnesses", living well and hoping someone will someday ask.

I am a terrible evangelical Christian. I struggle with the daily life of someone who strives to be like Christ. I struggle internally with my faith. But I know the road I am on leads to paradise, and I wish you were on it with me. To all those I have not done a good enough job of telling this to, forgive me.

This post is dedicated to Daniel Ian Rosoff, for whom I did not do enough. For him, I was and am burdened with a love that is as close to Christ's love for humanity as I ever care to come. I pray constantly that someone better than I will show him the way to Christ.

It is also dedicated for Kicae, for whom I did just enough. I look forward to the day I see him again, and we will need no interpreter.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I love the girl who writes Barefoot Foodie. I hate her a little too, because she is riotously funny, something I will, sadly, never be.

I'm supposed to be reading Emma right now. Or The Count of Monte Cristo. I'm procrastinating.

Emma apparently inspired the movie Clueless, which I have never seen. The Count of Monte Cristo inspired the movie The Count of Monte Cristo, which I have seen, and also which has Jesus in it. It really does.

Anyway, That's all for today. Have a super one.

Monday, February 22, 2010


I followed a link today only to have myself redirected to a picture on facebook. It was a horrifying picture, which is what I get, I suppose.

Anyway, according to the little red flags at the top of the page, I have four messages and something like 13 notifications. It was all I could do not to say "To heck with Lent! I'm not a Catholic!!"

But I remained strong and navigated away.

I'm not sure what it says about my life that I am suffering withdrawels from digital media. It's a little sad, really.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


I rediscovered Audiobooks last month, during an unsuccessful hunt for the book "Marley and Me" in print at my local library. They had it only on Audiobook, and so, being that I had a "Winter Book Challenge" challenge to complete, I checked it out.

This is not a review of Marley and Me. If it were, I would just have to tell you that I hate dogs, but I still spent most of this book in tears. Also the guy who reads it must have been someones cousin or something, because he is the most stoic and most gay reader of audiobooks that I have ever heard . A stoic gay is truly something to be heard.

I digress. I'm on my fourth audiobook at the moment, Alice I Have Been, by Melanie Benjamin (incidentally, this is a pen name, which is proclaimed loudly in her author bio, right next to her real name. Tell me, is there even a point in writing under a pen name if you're just going to tell everyone who you are anyway?).

The thing I've grown to love about audiobooks, especially ones told in the first person, is that it is (obviously) like someone telling you their own story. It seems a little silly to say that, but it's truly what I love about them. I connect to the characters better, and i all feels a little more real to me when I listen on audiobook.

The obvious trouble with audiobooks is that so far, almost all of them have made me cry, and, as everyone knows, the moment you begin to cry in your car, you begin to feel that there is a giant yellow arrow pointing to you, alerting all the other drivers in the vicinity to your weepiness. I actually play it up a little, hoping that someone in the next car will feel oh-so-sorry for me. I'm an attention whore like that.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010



My Husband and I celebrate, if you can call 40 days of self-denial "celebration". Which I can't.

This year, despite my mother-in-law's urging to "take something on" instead of give something up (As I told my mother, there are only so many slots in my life, and they are all full), I am giving up Facebook. My sweet link to the outside world. My dear facebook. I'm not a face-to-face social animal. I need the protection of the internet to form "meaningful" "relationships" with other "people".

I'm a little broken up over it, actually.

Paul is giving up video games, which I know is as hard for him as giving up facebook is for me. I can see this while thing ending in a giant compromise about 20 days in, for both of us.

In place of video games and facebook, we are starting the Love Dare, which we began on Valentine's Day. It's endorsed by Kirk Cameron, who is, dare I say, the Tom Cruise of Christianity, albeit slightly less creepy.

Also I need to start reading my Bible again. Apparently there's some good stuff in there.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Good Samaritan

I took my charges on an outing today, the first time I've taken B anywhere in my car. We went to the public library, not only my favorite place, but a good place to look for biographies on Scott Joplin, which is what T needed.

The trip went well, but it was cold and raining when we left, so I left the kiddos under the library awning so I could go get the car. When I pulled up, T got in, I got B in her seat, and then, it began. A car was waiting behind me, making me feel nervous, as if I took more han three mintutes, and angry soccer mom would come charging out of the car at me. In my worry, I failed to notice that my seven books and my purse were still sitting in the basket of the stroller. The stroller stoutly refused to fold, but I wrestled into submition, all the while giving apologetic smiles to the driver of the car behind me.

After three failed attempts to get T to push the button that opens the trunk, I ran around and did it myself, internally swearing at his 11 year old lack of vehicle knowledge. That's when it happened. I lifted the stroller into the trunk, and six books, a book on CD and a red stamp pad fell with myriad thumps, to the wet pavement. At that moment, I was cold, wet, nervous about my imagined screaming soccer mom, and now my library books were in a wet heap on the ground. I put my head in my hands and felt the tears welling up in my eyes.

Then a car door slammed. I looked up to see a man about 30 coming my way, bending to pick up my books. He said nothing except a soft "no problem" in responce to my stammered, tearful thank you's. I slammed the trunk shut, he climbed back into his van, I climbed into my car, and both of us drive away.

Whoever he is, I hope he knows that he completly made my day and renewed my faith in people. Thanks, Library Man.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


I waited to do my Monday book review, partially because I forgot, but partially because I wanted to wait until I had finished Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz. Rarely do I find a book so blessedly amazing as this one was.

The story is that of a young man named Odd Thomas. He sees what he calls the "lingering dead". Basically ghosts who still have unfinished business here or who love the world too much to move on. He also sees Bodocks, evil spirits that gather whenever and wherever they sense impending violence and carnage. After a strange visitor visits to the cafe where he works, Odd finds himself racing to stop the deaths of hundreds of people.

The book is beautifully written, managing to combine humor, love, and tragedy in a perfect balance that never seems forced. It is over 60 chapters long, and yet I never felt that it was dragging along or that nothing was happening. I laughed out loud at certain points, yelled at Odd to "Run!" at others, and, when the tragedy struck, I sobbed. Nothing recommends a book to me more than it's ability to find myself so entrenched in it's pages that I weep for the sorrows of fictional characters. To date, I have only had this happen with five books. Six now, with Odd Thomas.

This book will break your heart, but I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone.

Monday, February 8, 2010


As my beloved Chargers opted not to make it to the Superbowl this year, I wasn't insanely interested, except for the commercials, which, sadly, I missed most of due to my SIL's recent acquisition of Sims 3. It's fun, if less than user-friendly. However, to review:

Previews: The previews for Alice in Wonderland and the Wonderful World of Harry Potter have me salivating for both. The one for AIW in particular was simply lovely. The preview for Robin Hood was decent, but after having read Stephen Lawhead's Hood, I don't know that I'll be satisfied with a film rendition of anything else.

Commercials: Doritos was the victor this year, with the little kid and his order to "Keep yo' hands off my mama, Keep yo' hands of my Doritos". Snickers came in a close second, if only for the use of Betty White, who I can't believe is still as alive as she is.

Tebow: The whole world just needs to knock it off with the whole Tebow thing. I didn't see the halftime show, but the controversy leading up to it was preposterous. To all the Anti-Tebow Ad people - Shut up. CBS can show whatever they want when they are the ones airing the Superbowl. They are a television station. They aren't required to be non-partisan, and Tebow's mother is certainly entitled to her freedom of speech, and the church which funded the commercial is free to spend their money however they want. To all the Pro-Tebow Ad people - Shut up. Gloating over this woman's freedom of speech is not classy. If a Pro-choice woman had done what she did, you wouldn't be talking about her freedom of speech, you'd be yelling about how inappropriate it is for someone to push a political agenda during the Superbowl.

The Saints - Well played, Gentlemen. Well played.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Have You Read It?

If you haven't ever read A Voice in the Wind by Francine Rivers, you should. Go buy it. Or get it from the library. Something. Just read it.

I don't often cry from books, but even on my fifth or sixth reading of this one, which it is, I still cry at least seven different times. The characters are so perfectly real and alive that you feel as if you are reading an account of true events rather than a work of fiction. Not just true events, but events that happened to a dear friend, which is what Haddassah, Marcus, and even Julia, terrible, petulant Julia, become as you read the book. I know the end of the story, which comes in the second book, An Echo in the Darkness, but I still cry at the end of VITW. It gets me every single time.

So yes. Read it.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Can I Just Say..

Stephen Lawhead is slowly becoming my favorite author. I am currently in the middle of Hood, and it is blowing my mind. In a good way.

Sadly, however, when asked by T, my oldest charge, what I was reading, this is the conversation that ensued:

T: Whatcha reading, Ms. Rai?
Me: Hood. It's a reworking of the story of Robin Hood.
T: Who? (side note: WHO!?!?!?!?!)
Me: Robin Hood.
T: *blank stare* (at this point, panic is rising in me)
Me: Robin know, legendary hero..."rob from the rich to feed the poor"?
T: He STOLE from people!?
Me: *sigh*

People ask me why I want to be a teacher. This is why. Because kids don't know who Robin Hood is.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Five people follow my blog. I'm actually quite thrilled about that. It satisfies the needs of the attention whore in me.

Observations for today -

- The Diva Cup = Woman's greatest invention. It's not gross, I promise.

- Eight months is the awesomest age on a baby. B (my charge) is basically the coolest kid ever.

- I've read over 6000 pages this month...well...not this month. Last month...the one that ended two days ago. That's a heckava lot of pages. That's a dissertation...times 3...or 6. How long is a dissertation?

- I have the best librarians. I went to the library yesterday, accompanied by my husband, who NEVER goes to the library, but took the opportunity of sneaking kisses in empty aisles, which made me feel like we were in high school. It was not a bad feeling. Anyway, we were getting ready to leave, and one of the librarians walks by and says to me "They sang your song on the Grammys last night, and I thought of you!" I don't need to ask which one. My name is Rhyannon, only one letter different that the title of the Stevie Nix song "Rhiannon". What astounded me is that this woman, who sees hundreds of people a day, remembered not only my face, but my name, and rememebred it enough to want to let me know that Taylor Swift and Stevie Nix did a duet of my song on the Grammy's. Hows that for making a girl feel special?

Monday, February 1, 2010

BOOK REVIEW: Elfland by Freda Warrington

I finished Elfland by Freda Warrington earlier this week, and it has to be said that it has renewed my faith in the fantasy genre. Fantasy has a tendency to be sappy and eye-rollingly laughable. Elfland is neither.

The basic premise is we share our world with a much older race called Aetherials. Many of them have chosen to live on earth in a human form, but they can travel between their world and ours by way of lychgates throughout the world, and every seven years, by way of The Gate. At the opening of the book, Lawrence, the Aetherial Gatekeeper, senses a great threat behind the Gate, and seals it and all the lychgates, allowing no one to come in or out. Rosie, Sam, Jon and Lucas, four young Aetherials, are trying to find a way to open the gates without allowing either world to be destroyed by the evil that lurks within.

The story is complex, but in a way that reminds you of real-life stories. Life is never just one storyline, but many that weave in and out of one another, each one affecting all the others. Elfland is this way. The complexity is at times confusing, but not overly so, and the story is comprehensive enough that no one story feels as if it was undertold. The world Warringotn creates is rich and tangible, making you wonder if Elemental beings really do hide out in the trees and under rocks. The characters have their faults and their victories, and no one, much as in life, is exactly how they seem on the surface. The characters deal with drug abuse, infidelity, murder, questionable sexuality, incest and unclear motives. Warrington manages to fit all this into a book that is under 500 pages, without ever being overwhelming. It's a great read, though not a quick one. Set aside several days or even weeks, depending on how fast you read, before picking up this book.

This week I also read: World War Z by Max Brooks, I, Robot by Isaac Asimov, Sloppy First by Megan McCafferty, Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater