Sunday, September 26, 2010

Be Careful What You Wish For!

Even grown-ups love a Cinderella story. Masquerade by Nancy Moser escorts our inner- princess into the late 1800’s where high society flourishes and the lower class barely survives. And never the twain shall meet. Nor would it be proper for them to associate.
Lottie Gleason is born into the British upper-crust and has been comfortably insulated from the likes of problems with politics, business and even struggles within her own home. She gets a crash course in Adulthood 101 on her 19th birthday when she discovers her family is being shunned thanks to some indiscretions by her father. Before her ship can totally sink, Lottie is forced to accept a marriage proposal from a wealthy American who hasn’t caught wind of the tarnished Gleason name “across the pond” in New York. Lottie doesn’t want to marry this stranger and Lottie is used to getting her way.
Dora Connors is Lottie Gleason’s maid. She has lived on the streets and experienced life in the gutter. Since the age of 13, however, she has been attendant and confidant to Lottie. They are very close, yet they both know their place. Dora is to accompany Lottie on her voyage to America, where she will start a new life as well.
Somewhere across the expanse of the Atlantic, a plan forms in Lottie’s mind. A plan to escape the restraints and expectations of her family and chase her own dreams. Dora can be Lottie Gleason, Dora can marry this strange man, and Dora will be glad to do it because it is a chance to better her life beyond her wildest dreams.
And so each girl assumes a new identity and they both live happily ever after. 
Yeah, right. While Dora steps into New York society with only the occasional stumble, Lottie falls flat and hard and finds herself seeing how ‘the other half” live. More than seeing, she is experiencing it first hand. 
Both girls find that “a man makes his plans but the Lord orders his steps” as they discover their masquerade is not the neat little package they had hoped. The character issues that are addressed and the relational honesty that is necessary for love and friendship to flourish are learned in the fire of the streets--and the mansions--of New York. 
Masquerade is a cinderella story. One of the best kind. No fairy godmothers here. Rather, the God of the universe helping two girls find their purpose, their love, their friendship and their true identity.
***In exchange for my honest review, Bethany House Publishers supplied this book to me free of charge.

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At the Intersection of Creation and Evolution: A Dream

The alliterating story below is based on a dream I had several years ago. Please contact me for permission to reproduce.

Darkness devours me.

I am enveloped in emptiness.

Are my eyes open or are they closed? I strain against this shroud of night and still see nothing.

What is this place?

An image illuminates in front of me. A large, leafy tree streaks past and vanishes.

It deserts me to the darkness again.

In a moment, more images appear. A rapid succession of snapshots and thoughts clamor before my eyes and mingle in my mind.

I see seedlings. Several supple shoots have emerged before me and then swiftly stream away.

“The first trees on earth were not seedlings”, my mind observes. “They were not created as small insignificant saplings.”

That thought is rapidly replaced with a vision of a man.

He’s maybe 30; he is muscular and needs to shave.

He fades away.

In his place I see an infant.

A tiny bundle of pink skin upon a soft blanket flickers briefly in my brain.

“Man was created with age,” is the next statement I hear. “Adam did not begin his life as a baby, he began as a grown man.”

The voice seems like my own.

The thoughts do not.

Reeling before me now is a blur of rivers, forests, mountains and even layers of the earth. It is like a movie rushing rapidly before my retina.

The soundtrack of this epic is proclaiming a peculiarly plain concept:

“The earth was created with age. Creation and evolution are not in total opposition. There is a reason that science finds the earth to be quite old: it was made that way.”

Thoughts continue to tumble through my mind; pictures parade before me. I listen in amazement to what seems to be puzzlingly profound and yet rather apparent all at once.

“Adam was created as an adult. Trees and plants were made fully grown.”

I suddenly feel quite certain that, if I were to chop down some of the trees that had been spoken into existence, I would find a range of rings running through their trunks.

“The earth was brought to life with age built into it… just like Adam. He did not begin life as an infant. The earth came into being with what it would need to sustain the life that was created. It was old when it was young. The world was
made with maturity; it was also produced with purpose.”

These thoughts are thrilling. Why had I not seen this before? It seems so simple. Obtusely obvious. Had others not observed this correlation? If they had, why wasn’t it being candidly conveyed?

In the span of thirty seconds I have been ravaged by a radical revelation. I feel the weight of its worth resting on me; it is tantamount to tangible.

I am neither a theologian nor am I a scientist. I don’t claim that the ethics of evolution are completely compatible with the Bible’s account of creation. But certainly Science can come concurrent to creation and affirm our faith with facts.

Of course, the Omnipotent Originator of the Universe is exceedingly elusive to what our mind could ever envision. Above what science could ever extensively elucidate.

Accordingly, creation is confounding too. Each diverse discovery deems it more marvelous to grasp. Many scientists have reluctantly relented to the theory of Intelligent Design.

That’s why, alongside those facts, we also need faith.

Lying inexplicably at the intersection of those two essential elements is an exceptional endowment: the intermittent insight of our dreams.