Why Bother?

A few days ago, I was editing some Bible study lessons when I came across the author’s question:

Why did God even bother with Jonah?

I’ve asked myself that same question, not because of the infamous run-away-and-become-food-for-fishes story but because of what follows. The still largely unrepentant prophet goes to Ninevah and gives the fire and brimstone speech. Jonah is all about God’s judgment, maybe still a little bitter about being on the receiving end. He can’t wait to watch the city crash and burn. He even goes up on a hill to make sure he has prime seating for the big Sodom and Gomorrah moment.

Problem is, he didn’t check the itinerary before taking his seat. God promised judgment if the people didn’t repent. Unlike the prophet, the Ninevites were all about God’s mercy. They repented. They grieved that their sins had offended God. They begged for a reprieve, and God granted it.

Jonah was not happy with that turn of events. So why did God bother?

However, in the split second it took for my mind to run through Jonah’s faults, the study writer immediately fired another question:

Why does God bother with any of us?

Ouch! Even guessing where that story was headed, I fell right into the same trap Jonah sat in: condemning and judging from a distance. Waiting for God to show how awesome I am by punishing everyone else.

At first, I answered that question by comparing it to human love. No one’s perfect, but I still love a lot of people. My parents, my husband, my church. Myself, of course. We’ll never be angels, but I love my people as they are.

But God’s different. Unlike other people, His love encompasses not only what we are but what we can be. God’s love can change us. It does change us. Gradually, we become less like Jonah and more like Jesus.

That’s why God bothers with us.

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The Big One

Today, my niece turns one. In honor of the occasion, I put my crocheting expertise to use and made a beautiful little summer dress:

It’s the first garment I’ve ever made. Granted, making it for a one-year-old makes it a less challenging enterprise than it would be to make something for myself. However, I still think my crocheting experience is extensive enough that soon I’ll be able to reach my ultimate goal: making something worth making without a pattern. Somehow, I don’t think my ferret sweater really counts.

Dr. Acula

In my continuing quest to keep my brain from rotting, I moved to the next classic on my list: Dracula. My expectations were pretty high because I recently read a book called The Historian, which was supposed to have followed in the legacy of Dracula, and it was excellent.

Unfortunately, I can’t really say the same for Dracula. I was expecting more than a monster story, probably because it’s often compared to Frankenstein. There is no comparison: Frankenstein is immeasurably better. It undoubtedly deserves a place as “literature,” no matter how you define the term. While Dracula is a classic, it should probably not be elevated to literature.

It starts out great. Jonathan Harker’s introduction to Castle Dracula and its occupant is eerie and quickly moves to suspenseful and terrifying. Once the Count makes it to London, however, the character cast becomes paper cutouts of each other. The only character with a distinctive voice is VanĀ  Helsing, and that’s only because he has a German way of saying what everyone else is saying.

The book is worth reading only because the character of Count Dracula remains such a pervasive figure in entertainment. My personal favorite is, of course, JD’s Dr. Acula in Scrubs.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s

I saw Breakfast at Tiffany’s for the first time yesterday. I’m still not sure how I feel about it. It reminds me a little of The Great Gatsby in that, though none of the characters is really endearing, there’s still something about their plight that draws you into it. That and the whole “trying and failing to solve problems with money” thing.

I wonder if they could have been a little more subtle than naming the main character “Golightly,” though it’s certainly apt–Holly Golightly flits from one thing to the next (be it men, conversation topics, drinks, whatever) with as much direction and sense as a butterfly. Enter Paul Varjack, world-weary one-hit writer, who should have run screaming in the opposite direction after his first meeting with her. He just wanted to be let into the building, and their meeting circled around her strange disconnected conversation and him helping her find her shoes and accessories in such obvious places as in the potted plants. She’s the mad old cat lady and her cat doesn’t even have a name. Any sane person would’ve run.

I’ll give it one thing: though it’s predictable in several elements, it’s anything but formulaic.

Even after this, I don’t know how I feel about it.