[leaders’ bootcamp: frankenstein]

[leaders’ bootcamp: frankenstein]

In the post prior to this one I mentioned that I did not know what to expect from this training camp and wasn’t too excited about it at first because I was tired and just feeling blue for some reason. Then my mood went from blah to bad.

Once we came to the camp, immediately we were gathered together, right there with our suitcases and bags, and briefed on what is going on. We were to take a questionnaire and fill it out, give it to the coaches, and only after that we were told which room we live in and stuff.

I decided to be cooperative and cheerfully sat down to write the answers. A few questions slowed me down. Two stopped me completely: favorite author and favorite book.

If you know me, you know that books for me are as necessary as the air that I breathe. I am a reading addict. When I don’t have a book of my own, I read over the shoulder what my neighbors in the trolleybus are reading or examine all the ads on the walls of the metro train. As a result, I have LOTS of favorite books and authors.

I sat for probably 3 minutes before I wrote down Ted Dekker / Dean Koontz as favorite author (could NOT choose between those two) and couldn’t decide what to write for my favorite book. The Bible would be too right of an answer (it’s not just a favorite book, it’s THE Book, therefore it doesn’t count). I joked that maybe I should write Harry Potter just to give them something to discuss over dinner, but then wrote Frankenstein (because I really did enjoy reading that book and want to re-read it again). The entry below was written right after I came to my room, or more like stormed into my room.

They gave me a weird look when they saw what I have written.

“Frankenstein?”
“Yes and there is a ton of lessons to learn from that book, spiritual lessons included. I wrote about it on my blog, can give you the link.”
“Okay,” they all replied but looked unconvinced. How could a good Christian like a book like Frankenstein, their look seemed to say.

I walked away, feeling hurt. I have been judged by the books I like quite often in my life. I had arguments with my mom, my pastor, and a few other people along the way. Books are a very important part of my life and when something that I like so much is judged by the cover? Ugh. I bet those guys haven’t even OPENED Frankenstein. I doubt that they even know who Frankie is and that he’s the creator, not the monster. Dean Koontz gave him the name Deucalion, but in Shelley’s writing he was nameless.

It took me a few hours (until next morning) to get over that hurt. But I have once again learned the important lesson of not judging people by the looks (or the “cover”).

So often I see a person and I automatically decide whether I like him / her or not based on his / her appearance. With time, I have learned to treat most people I meet with respect and trust, but there were times when I was so mistaken in my silly attempt to judge and missed great times of blessings because I did not want to come up to that person before.

And it was funny to me that I have been forced to protect the book that was about the very reason we gathered together for the training – to learn how to treat kids better and correctly. The book that talked about the lack of love and how that can make a monster out of a very loving creature.

Some of the kids I encounter in the camps come with very difficult background. Some have troubles in their families, some don’t have families, some have problems with health, some may have problems with behavior because of all those troubles. Sometimes I am tempted to react to the bad behavior without thinking about the reason for the behavior. Once I do know the reason, it becomes easier to deal with those “problem kids” and they change because they know that you love ’em and you are there for them.

Have you ever read Frankenstein? (Watching a movie doesn’t count).

Do you think that a Christian should read only Christian books or there are lessons to be learned from other books too?

Have you ever judged the person before you got to know them based on one little fact and then realized some time later that you missed a great opportunity to make a wonderful friend?

P.S. If you’re interested in those blog posts that I have mentioned to the coaches, here’s the first one and here’s the second one.

  • I have never read Frankenstein. I think maybe for me there is a fine line. I mean, I let my kids read many of the classics that talk about witches and spells. Some people would think this is wrong. However, I always feel if good vs. evil is shown in the proper lights, that there is something to be said for it. However, I refuse to be sucked into those vampire Twilight books. First of all, not huge on stupid love stories and secondly, vampires are not my thing. So for me, there is a line. I do not think a person should be judged by a book or music or movies even. I think that you really have to know the person before making any kind of judgment, if at all. I have some friends who say they are Christians, but then they are way too into worldly things. I hardly ever hear them talk about God at all. I think I am more judgmental of people like that who don't hardly breath the word "God" than someone like you who obviously loves God. I just think that its unfair to judge someone like that. I would have probably felt like you did. Sorry you had a bad experience. Gotta share the love, so ((HUGS))

    • I haven't read Twilight yet, either, but I am thinking about reading it because a lot of girls at our youth group are in love with those books / movies, and I want to know what it talks about so that I can point out the good / bad parts in it. Cannot do right now since I don't know anything about it, except for the fact that it's a vampire / werewolf / people love story.

      Heh… I am quite stubborn when it comes to books and when someone tells me not to read something because it is not a Christian book and I know that they haven't bothered to even open it and take a look, but only base their opinion on what they have heard. That was the reason I've read all Dan Brown's books (and actually liked a couple of his that did not talk about religion) and also the reason why I've read all Harry Potter books (well, the stubbornness was the reason I've read the first book, and then I just wanted more and more, because of the numerous lessons one can learn from those books)… My pastor still looks oddly at me when I mention Harry – he cannot stand him. But, I am set in my opinion…

      thanks for the hugs! 🙂

  • I too think there is probably a fine line. I like to read all kinds of books but find that my work dictates a lot of what I read. Away from work I like to read fiction/mysteries/westerns but have so little time to do so and they are more in the Christian vein. I have read both Lance Armstrong books since I am into cycling (very non-Christian). I liked Les Miserables, Red Badge of Courage and the Invisible Man. An interesting movie is "Extraordinary Gentlemen" with Sean Connery. The characters are literary subjects: Dorian Gray, Alan Quartermain, Invisible Man, etc. I have not read HP and have absolutely no desire to read the Twilight series. Ans sorry…I can't get into Dekker. But I love ya anyway! 🙂

    • why can't you get into Dekker? just doesn't appeal to ya or for some other reason? (just curious).

      like i mentioned above, the only reason i want to read twilight is so that i can relate to the girls from the youth group. they are WAY too enamored with it but i do not have the authority right now to say that the book is wrong because i have not read it and they know it.

      • I read a couple of Dekker's books and found them to be not my style. I think one of them was "Three." Is that the one about the multiple personality guy? one other one too but can't recall it. I think it is a style/content issue.

        • ah. yeah, that was Three. i've read (and own) Black / Red / White / Green, Three, Adam, Martyr's Song, When Heaven Weeps, Thunder of Heaven, and Heaven's Wager… Martyr's Song series were amazing – if you didn't like the dark sides of the Three or the other book you've read, you'll like Martyr's Song… splendidly beautiful.

          the only drawback with me being in love in Dekker's writings is that i cannot get his books over here, in Ukraine… all the books that i've got were brought by my boss whenever he went to the States…

        • ah. yeah, that was Three. i've read (and own) Black / Red / White / Green, Three, Adam, Martyr's Song, When Heaven Weeps, Thunder of Heaven, and Heaven's Wager… Martyr's Song series were amazing – if you didn't like the dark sides of the Three or the other book you've read, you'll like Martyr's Song… splendidly beautiful.

          the only drawback with me being in love in Dekker's writings is that i cannot get his books over here, in Ukraine… all the books that i've got were brought by my boss whenever he went to the States…

  • I think that there is a line. I do believe that God can and does reveal His truths through many things.

    • amen. God certainly can use anything to get His point across 😀

  • Davide

    In general, I think a Christian should read as widely and be as informed as possible. I do think there is a line, of course – when the material you expose yourself is flatly immoral and rather than stimulate your thinking, simply stimulates gland secretion (porn, gruesome movies with no point whatsoever but make you puke, and everything else that may fall under this category). Frankenstein and other classics? No problem. Nabokov? Maybe not

    • Hey Davide, great to see you here! hope you've enjoyed reading 🙂

      I agree wholeheartedly with what you've said. indeed, if we're reading / watching something just to feel something (and i don't mean just get emotional when your favorite character dies or struggles in life), then there's no point to doing that and that's a waste of one of the most powerful resource that was given to us – time.

      thanks for stopping by and adding to the discussion!

  • apocolyptic-and-insa

    Hey! I'm really sorry that they judged you like that. That's not fair and not very Christian. 🙁

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