Heroes And Monsters
– Josh James Riebock
Yet another book recommended to me by my daughter-in-law.
This is a memoir like no memoir I’ve ever read. It is, as the author states, “A true story… except for the parts that aren’t.” That’s because like “Walter Mitty,” “Ally McBeal,” and “The Life of PI” the author expresses many of life’s realities through fanciful renderings. The result is a sad, funny, tragic, triumphant journey of life in the real world.
The writing exposes how we all have the potential for both good and bad. We are simultaneously “heroes and monsters, both arsonists and architects at the corner of the damned and the divine”.
It’s also about relationships: With God, with others, and with ourselves.
(Some of the material came at a very good time for what life is throwing at my wife and I right now.)
This book is published by a “Christian” publishing house, but expresses the author’s spiritual journey in a way that I find somewhat universal. It’s a very engaging and encouraging read without being “heavy-handed.”
If you like memoirs, I think you’ll really, really enjoy “Heroes and Monsters.” If you’ve not been into memoirs in the past, this one is a great piece with which to start.
Read more comments and reviews by clicking HERE.
“A beautiful book…Josh tells his life story with lively prose that explores the paradox of human splendor and wretchedness while dangling hints of redemption…For Josh, the road traveled with God is twisting, bumpy, potholed…and well worth the ride.”
A Few Quotes:
– We hold each other. Sometimes, that’s all we can do.
– For a human, discovering that their perceived reality is inaccurate sends a tremor through their soul.
– A dream is a piano without keys. Fear calls everyone a friend. But dreamers, well, fear cozies up to them the most.
Buy the book. Click HERE.
– Yes, I knew that life could be cruel to people, but I never knew it could be this cruel to me.
– Flawed people I don’t mind; it’s the perfect ones who scare me.
– For the first time in my life, my dad isn’t a hero or a monster to me. Just a man trying to find his way.
Buy the book. Click HERE.
– A friend isn’t someone who lets us be ourselves. A friend is someone who will die to keep us from becoming anyone else.
– Here in eternity, death has been exposed as the greatest hoax in history.
– All good things must come to a beginning.
Buy the book. Click HERE.
Heroes And Monsters. January 12, 2014
WHY? October 27, 2013
So often, when tragedy strikes in the life of a Christian (well, and many others, I guess) the first response is “why?”
Why is this happening to me/us/them?
There’s also “What?”
What is God trying to teach us?
What did we do to deserve this?”
I look back at when I was in the “Charismatic” movement. Everything was cut and dry. Life, even “life in Christ” often boiled down to the reasons why. Tragedy almost always was the result of a lack of faith, God’s punishment, or even demons in the pictures on your wall. [Yes, folks. We actually taught that.]
I am thankful for my faith in Christ, and I’m thankful that although it may not seem as comforting as my former theology, I find it much more real and grounded. I thank God for so many of the “stirrings” and teachings that led to, and have continued since, leaving institutional religion. Not the least of these is no longer focusing on “Why?”
I’ve said in the past, often the answer to “why?” is simply “sometimes life sucks.”
Good things happen to “bad” people.
Bad things happen to “good” people.
I don’t get it.
But, not focusing on “why?” helps move us on to “What now?”
For sure, that doesn’t keep you from being sick with worry. It can, however, keep you from wasting time on a question that likely has no answer. Certainly no discernible one.
I hate that bad things happen to good people; things they certainly don’t deserve.
I hate that life can be so fucked-up, bat-shit crazy.
I get mad at God. Terribly terribly mad.
And still, I pray to the very God I’m angry with.
The very God whom I’m not sure will grant my request.
And I believe that God is perfectly OK with that. I don’t need to feel guilty for some purported lack of faith.
Without some form of faith, I wouldn’t be talking to God in the first place.
People, I guess, mean well. But when someone is struggling, the last thing they need is pat answers, platitudes, and a handful of scripture quotes.
“Why” is a natural question.
It’s an honest question.
But in sorrow or tragedy, it’s not a very useful one.
I know it’s not useful for me.
I don’t care why.
I need to know “What now, God?”
Some Quotes From The Shack November 26, 2009
— Here are just a few quotes from “The Shack.” If you haven’t read this book, don’t listen to the nay-sayers.
This book is, with no question in my mind, a God-thing. —
Buy it HERE. –
“Does that mean,” asked Mack, “that all roads will lead to you?” “Not at all,” smiled Jesus…”Most roads don’t lead anywhere. What it does mean is that I will travel any road to find you.””
“All I want from you is to trust me with what little you can, and grow in loving people around you with the same love I share with you. It’s not your job to change them, or to convince them. You are free to love without an agenda.”
“So no, I’m not too big on religion…and not very fond of politics or economics either…And why should I be? They are the man-created trinity of terrors that ravages the earth and deceives those I care about. What mental turmoil and anxiety does any human face that is not related to one of those three?”
“Trust is the fruit of a relationship in which you know you are loved.”
“Just because I work incredible good out of unspeakable tragedies doesn’t mean I orchestrate the tragedies. Don’t ever assume that my using something means I caused it or that I need it to accomplish my purposes. That will only lead you to false notions about me. Grace doesn’t depend on suffering to exist, but where there is suffering you will find grace in many facets and colors.”
In seminary [Mack] had been taught that God had completely stopped any overt communication with moderns, preferring to have them only listen to and follow sacred Scripture, properly interpreted, of course. God’s voice had been reduced to paper, and even that paper had to be moderated and deciphered by the proper authorities and intellects. It seemed that direct communication with God was something exclusively for the ancients and uncivilized, while educated Westerners’ access to God was mediated and controlled by the intelligentsia. Nobody wanted God in a box, just in a book.
“”Sometimes honesty can be incredibly messy””
“I don’t need to punish people for sin. Sin is its own punishment, devouring you from the inside. It’s not my purpose to punish it; it’s my joy to cure it.”
“We are not in a chain of command. We are a circle of relationship.”
“Authority, as you usually think of it, is merely the excuse the strong use to make others conform to what they want.”
“Relationships are never about power, and one way to avoid the will to power is to choose to limit oneself- to serve.”