Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Literature- The Lonesome Gods by Louis L'Amour

I've joined a book club! It's a lot of fun meeting with these sweet gals once a month to discuss selective readings.  

The Lonesome Gods by Louis L'Amour is a book that was chosen from the Thomas Jefferson Education book list. I likely never would have picked up this book if it wasn't for the club.

I personally do not feel that reading this book caused me to be a better person or to grow. It was challenging for me to get through as I didn't care for the author's style. I also don't care for books with swear words in them. I think there are so many other words to choose in order to better express one's self or character in the book. Many an author has alluded to their characters swearing without the reader suffering through reading the actual words. I appreciate authors who acknowledge that their audience has the intelligence to fill in the blanks themselves. 

The main focus of this story is education and mentoring. The author mentions that Johannes' father (Zach) is a Protestant. Yet nowhere throughout the mentoring relationship does his father teach him scripture nor how to reason from it. I failed to see any good mentoring from the mentors Johannes had throughout his growing up. The author may not have been a Christ follower, however, he should have researched about the belief system he gave the father (Zach) in order to properly develop that character.

I did appreciate the ability to practice applying the Principle Approach to this book, though. That made it worth reading through the book. So, if you choose to read it or have your older children read it as a part of their literature course, here are some things for you/them to consider:

Here are some quotes that caused me to pause and think:

Quote: "The one thing we know, Hannes, is that nothing remains the same. Things are forever changing, and one must understand the changes and change with them, or be lost by the way."
A: How does this uphold in light of scripture? Is it true that nothing remains the same?
B: Ought we to understand AND change with them in all circumstances? That seems like a very broad statement.
A: Ecclesiastes 1:9 King James Version says "The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun." Many things will come under a new guise but the root cause is still the same...
B: If... as... things change in societies, should we change with them if they are not in line with God's Holy Word?

Quote: "To succeed as a human being is not always the same as succeeding in your life's work, although they can go hand in hand."
A: What does it mean to succeed as a human being?
B: What determines success in one's life work? 
A: Man's idea of of success is different than that of God's. The world determines success by status, wealth, level of earnings, etc. Success actually goes back to when Lucifer wanted God's position... God's status! Here is a sermon to read to cause further thought.
B: When you look at all that the world has to offer, and if you can even attain half as much as that, will it matter in the end? When you stand before God on judgment day, do you want to hear Him say, "Well done good and faithful servant?" Will He say that based on your salary, your status, or your wealth? What does scripture say about this?

Quote: "All life is based on decisions. Decide now on what you'd like to become and what you would like to do. The two are not necessarily the same, although sometimes they can be."
A: How have you gone about this in your life?
B: Have your decisions been based on God's will for your life or your own will?
Answers will vary depending on each individual.

Quote: "Actually, all education is self-education. A teacher is only a guide, to point out the way, and no school, no matter how excellent, can give you an education. What you receive is the outlines in a child's coloring book. You must fill in the colors yourself."
A: Do you agree that all education is self-education? Is that different that choosing to learn and apply what you learn?
B: Do you agree that we must fill in the colors ourselves? How does that  statement hold up in light of scripture?
A: God educates and equips us with things we need to know in order to fulfill His will. He did this with Moses, for example. Given this, not all learning is done because we have "self-educated" ourselves. Have you learned anything but chosen not to apply it? 
B: Do we need to "fill in the colors ourselves" or do we  need to wait on the Lord?

Quote: "Neither age nor size makes a man, Johannes. It is willingness to accept responsibility."
A: Is this the only thing that defines what makes a man?
B: What does the Bible say is the measure of a man?
A: Have you known anyone who was responsible but they are not righteous (right with God?).
Read the poem "If" by  Richard Kipling. Do a PA study on this poem.

Quote: "Knowledge is awareness, and to it there are many paths, not all of them paved with logic."
A: Do you agree that there are many paths to knowledge?
B: What does scripture teach us about this?
A: Individual answers...
B:Webster's 1828 Dictionary defines knowledge.
The Bible is clear that knowledge comes from God: 1 Kings 3:9; Psalm 119:66; Proverbs 2
We cannot serve two masters... so therefor there are not many paths to knowledge.

Quote: " Much can be learned from books, but much remains about which no book has been written."
What do you think about this statement?
The Bible is THE book we have that covers all matters with which are important.

Quote: " There is no greater role for a man to play than to assist in the government of a people, nor anyone lower than he who misuses that power."
Is this statement true? Does scripture teach us that assisting in government is the greatest role for man? 
Being involved in our government is important on multiple levels. Especially to help uphold those Biblical Principles that our country was founded on. But, did Jesus emphasize the role of man in government or did he emphasize reaching the lost? Based on Matthew 28: 16-20, what is the "greatest role for man to play?"

Quote: " ...if men are to survive upon the earth there must be law, and there must be justice, and all men must stand together against all those who would strike against what men have so carefully built."
A: What do you think is meant by "the survival of men?"
B: Do you think it matters what sets the standard for justice? If so, what do you think that should be?
C: What do you think about, "... men must stand together against all those who would strike against what men have so carefully built?" And how does this compare to the verbiage in The Declaration of Independence where it says, " is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security."
A: Individual answers...
B: Should God's Holy Word set the standard for justice? 
C: Man has carefully built many things throughout history that have fallen. There are two foundations... we can't serve two masters... our nation was built on Biblical Principles that need to be upheld. Though we must remember to acknowledge that no form of government on earth (established by man) will be perfect or a utopia.

Quote: "We have hedged ourselves about with law, for we know that if man is to survive it must be through cooperative effort."
A:  "... if man is to survive it must be through cooperative effort." Do you think this is agreeable in all circumstances?
B: Why do you think it necessary to be "hedged about with law?"

A: Individual answers...
B: External law is needed to control man when he chooses not to be self-governed under Christ. Only Christ Jesus can change the heart. When we become a new creation in Christ, we live differently.

Quote: "I have never seen such a thing happen, Hannes. My reason tells me it could not happen, but my reason can only judge by what I know, and I do not know everything."
A: Can we only judge by what we know?

King Solomon didn't know who the true mother was of the child. He sought God for wisdom. When King Solomon received wisdom he had the discernment to judge who was the true mother. God gives us wisdom and discernment. He also gives us His Holy Word to hold things up to. 

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