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Walking Through Fire: A Memoir of Loss and…
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Walking Through Fire: A Memoir of Loss and Redemption (edició 2021)

de Vaneetha Rendall Risner (Autor), Ann Voskamp (Pròleg)

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaConverses
1011,608,886CapCap
The astonishing, Job-like story of how an existence filled with loss, suffering, questioning, and anger became a life filled with shocking and incomprehensible peace and joy. Vaneetha Risner contracted polio as an infant, was misdiagnosed, and lived with widespread paralysis. She lived in and out of the hospital for ten years and, after each stay, would return to a life filled with bullying. When she became a Christian, though, she thought things would get easier, and they did: carefree college days, a dream job in Boston, and an MBA from Stanford where she met and married a classmate. But life unraveled. Again. She had four miscarriages. Her son died because of a doctor's mistake. And Vaneetha was diagnosed with post-polio syndrome, meaning she would likely become a quadriplegic. And then her husband betrayed her and moved out, leaving her to raise two adolescent daughters alone. This was not the abundant life she thought God had promised her. But, as Vaneetha discovered, everything she experienced was designed to draw her closer to Christ as she discovered "that intimacy with God in suffering can be breathtakingly beautiful."… (més)
Membre:Kevin-McAteer
Títol:Walking Through Fire: A Memoir of Loss and Redemption
Autors:Vaneetha Rendall Risner (Autor)
Altres autors:Ann Voskamp (Pròleg)
Informació:Thomas Nelson (2021), 256 pages
Col·leccions:La teva biblioteca
Valoració:
Etiquetes:Cap

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Walking Through Fire: A Memoir of Loss and Redemption de Vaneetha Rendall Risner

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I wanted a good book about suffering but it seems I picked up one that lacks courage.

Of course, I could be just the classic racist trying to place people on a racial hierarchy, but I think it’s true that sometimes people experience the world differently, right. I think she’s half-Asian, although she married a white man and I guess she’s passing for white. The evidence is a little conflicted; she and her sister I think both have Hindi names, and her mom I think has a Japanese name; appearances can be deceiving but she doesn’t quite look the same as others in her family—I think those are her daughters who look very Caucasian, but might actually be quarter-Japanese, but quarter-something is where I think it starts to break down….

You might wonder why I care so much but the answer is the strongest evidence: why no early life? What about cute stories and family values? Don’t evangelicals love families and children (like the rest of us)? Well, sure, unless it raises uncomfortable questions. More people than you might assume feel queasy about interracial marriage, (a few are just against it), and most of the rest, especially in white evangelical circles, just don’t want anything to come up that makes anybody sound racist, like, ever—just don’t call me racist, don’t say anybody was racist, don’t bring up race, shut up. Just shut up. But to talk about your early life as biracial eventually you’d have to talk about racist bullying, and racist treatment directed by at least the odd person or two eventually (in a best case scenario, in a rose-colored glasses scenario) towards one’s *mother*, you know, your *mom*. Unless you just redact it all out, and then maybe you can pass and sell a few books and get your fellow evangelicals to like you, you know, and all because you stuck to the health scare stuff that is Anglo-inclusive, which apply to “everybody”. White people being of course, most of everybody, and the most essential element, and they don’t go through racism, so racism isn’t “everybody” the way that cancer and rare diseases and stuff are “everybody”.

But then with that attitude to write a book about suffering and bravery and sacrifice, to say, in effect, that you’ve learned how to suffer when you’re actively turning away from it, seems to me from where I sit, and although it is easy to say this—a little rich.

…. I’ll spare you the rest of the passing: faith healers are too happy, abortion is the evil of our time, doctors without children aren’t good people. I’ve summarized that sentence in a hostile way, I suppose, and some of the points have some merit, but usually what she says is kinda a cover for what remains unsaid. And most of it, in a book about accepting suffering, is more about turning away and looking out for number one, you know; it’s just not what it claims to be.

…. I also feel like a lot of people sign up to join the Cult of the Great Mother so that they can control people/be important/told they’re ok/grasp after non-insecurity. Maybe that’s what’s going on here. She already has two healthy kids, and the third one is going to die unless extraordinary, non-ordinary measures are taken; it would need to start having surgeries and interventions at birth or it wouldn’t last two weeks. (But this is MY kid, and *I* am important!) Eventually the kid died anyway. Maybe intelligent, moral people can disagree about this decision, or agree that it’s non-ordinary. But what gets me is she’s so full of herself that she thinks anybody who’s not a mother or father shouldn’t be holding down a job. Welcome to the Cult of the Great Mother, Christians, a world where mothers need only mother with other mothers, and shun the outsiders. I’m sorry, but on an overpopulated planet, being a parent is not your one and only non-negotiable thing you have to do. It’s just such a non-starter. Being a parent isn’t a responsibility; it’s a privilege. To be a responsible parent there’s necessarily a whole slew of important tasks and work you have to do, things you have to be given. It’s not a right. It’s not a right. It’s not free. It’s like saying, I thought books and schooling/a car/independence were free. (From the people who brought you, Socialism is evil: I’m entitled to a job/college/a car/everything else/for five people….) And guess what, logicians? If something’s not free, if you have to get it yourself, some people won’t or can’t get it!

But they’re socialists!
And what does that mean for you.

…. One last thing. A lot of evangelicals, like her, write in this weird scientism legalistic evaporated milk kind of way, sucked dry of meaning and metaphor that’s difficult to read.

Jesus: I have other sheep that I must lead. [people = sheep, metaphor]

Evangelical: I get up at 8:08 or 8:09 am every day. [probably, uh, about 8:10]. Then I drive 14 to 19 minutes to work, depending on traffic. [Does God come into this scribal musing at all, or are we just medical students or something?]

And it doesn’t make you smart. I think a fifth grader could reframe a sentence about taking an Uber into a five sentence paragraph about ride-sharing applications complete with the exact time in transit…. but that doesn’t make you smart.

I’m sorry, but it just doesn’t. It makes you a lawyer.

…. To summarize, it’s like someone with a weak ordinary vocabulary pulling down a random volume of a medical encyclopedia and reading it to you. Do you even know what those words mean, even the ordinary ones?…. If you had a strong vocabulary, would you still be this insecure?

…. It feels like the book should be over, like she’s used up the plot already, which is why I keep saying I don’t want to keep haranguing her. (And let’s face it I like yap yap yap.) She really puts herself on a pedestal as the Mother with the Broken Heart, and again the whole thing feels very pseudo-spiritual. Her pain is just her complaint. If people feel awkward around her and don’t know what to say, if the nanny and the cleaning lady can’t console her (como dices en ingles, Very sorry I’m not 1883), well that’s terrible, and if they offer a lamb on the altar of the Sorrowful Mother, then the little priestess turns away and decides that she doesn’t like religion…. I want to believe, I always wanted to believe, that this loss would burn away her self-seeking, but I don’t see it happening.

…. Because listen if you suffer and you don’t want to write a book, that’s your choice. That’s between you and God. But if you do write a book representing Christianity to a fallen world, well now potentially it’s everybody’s business—everybody who has or wants to know about a Savior. (Or the pious defeated mother moaning by the fire from “Angela’s Ashes”.)

…. It’s just not the book she obviously imagines she’s written, what one millisecond of evangelical history might have thought good. Emerson wrote, you know, Everyone in New England journals, and every youth brings her journal to her friend, and if the friend doesn’t like it, she dismisses the friend’s opinion, in one way or another, not imagining that her beautiful experience never really left her head to begin with. (In this case, the journal seems to have been lots of undigested quotes.) I had that quote (the original version) on my wall here for awhile, as a humility thing. Maybe my writing is like that too, who knows. But it’s just so obvious to me, that all her bold be done with Jesus meek and mild one minute (which is her style) and all her bravely upholding the saccharine gospel we all know from 1883 on the other (which I guess is where the substance would be, if there was any oomph in it), are juxtaposed without the slightest observance that they work against each other, any knowledge of a way to choose between them in practice, or any clear example of how to hold them in tension—just a sort of, you know, obliviousness. ‘Oh, did I do that? No, I think it was him and her and them. It was all of you. It was in the air. I had no part of it, and of what it is that I have no part in, I’m not sure.’ Which is disappointing to me, you know, after trying to find the woman voice to find it wasn’t free and could only lead me around in circles. It’s unfortunate in several ways, but foolish in more ways than one to deny.

…. The ugly truth is that there can be in grief something terribly selfish: Me & My Pain become two lordly giants too vast for such a small world to contain.

…. This is more than I wanted to write, but she just makes one gaff after another. I wouldn’t say this to someone I knew, but V is an author, and if you can’t say what you think about an author, then words must not be very useful, ever.

“I’m a woman, so my perceived attractiveness or lack thereof is all that really matters about me.” It’s not like this idea is surprising, though it’s also true she never overcomes it either, despite devoting a comparatively long about of space to it.

What I guess was a half-surprise was the dismissal of being Indian (not Japanese). “I bagged a white boy”, you know.

“My husband and I transcend cultures.”
“Whatever. I’m just glad I have a white husband, and not some coolie.”

I guess that the Christian therapist was sorta helpful. I guess that crackers and honorary crackers can’t challenge the idea that mocha is ugly without exploding like improvised extraconstitutional devices (now I’m just having fun), so they didn’t address that. But they told her that revenge is bad and all that. I guess it’s easier to say that revenge is bad when you also think that justice is bad, like it’s easier to dodge the draft if you’re morbidly obese and unusually lazy and generally incompetent. Of course in reality God wasn’t joking when he said take care of the stranger, the foreigner. “I was just kidding, crackers. I meant the Irish.” But if she wasn’t exposed to any Christian teaching at all, she’d probably think that mocha was ugly and fighting is to the death, since that’s where we basically are now. Indeed, that’s where she started therapy.

…. I am superficially pleased and half-surprised at her minimal family revelation, although we don’t even know what language they spoke, much less what their life was like. “Van R. on Indian culture, hope, and giving back.” “Convert to Christianity, marry a white boy, and start having babies!” “Oh boy, here’s for sex and assimilation! Steamy!” “Start making money, start passing!” Indian Language Culture X = poverty, the end. Poor ass mocha skin, and sin! And my family! I love my family!

I guess it’s still a half pleased surprise though, because the alternative we’re dealing with is, Gosh, I thought little mochas came from impure caverns deep within foreign earth! I never knew they had little mocha mothers and fathers! Praise Jesus for this strange and beautiful world he has created!

…. I still like church. I did not like writing this review, but if one person feels heard who sees the dirty laundry too, then ok. Sometimes it’s better though to just clean shit up at church (mouse droppings, etc) than to read a book like this. For the first two hours sometimes working is better, even than meditating, although after awhile my extreme introversion wins out. I have to go back and hide in my hobbit hole. I think the book is finally over except for the repetition. It’s like going to a meeting: if you get three minutes, then your story takes three minutes; if five minutes, then five minutes: and if you get 200 pages, then you fill them up, lest your story not be quite as special.

PS Now that I’ve attained whiteness, what role will my First Nation play—will I retain some element of its religion or philosophy?
No.
Its politics or identity?
No.
What then? How?
You came here from a historically poor republic. Take this disempowerment then, into our marriage, and all is well.
Praise whiteness, Jesus found the way! Thank you, master! Whiteness for everybody!

…. I’m back. I guess there are times when I just don’t know how to feel about this book. I know I’ve been disappointed, hopefully that hasn’t become something inexplicable. But what kind of book is this, exactly? What is she trying to do? Do evangelical girls disown/rip/protest lying, cheating husbands? Do they stand up for disability rights? Is that what this is? Am I missing something? It just seems like she’s broken, not by choice and thrashing, protesting randomly for as long as it’s about her, and as soon as she can redirecting to being the (new and improved?) sorrowful sufferer. The whole thing comes across as…. dishonest. It seems…. bad.

…. I don’t think she’s a good role model, but I do feel sorry for her, in this undesirable way—the way you feel sorry for an abused child or teenager. I guess it’s a consequence of a culture that still pretty ambivalent about women growing up.

…. That song, though— evangelicals can give you a song about a baby who died of natural causes shortly after birth, (babies should live! It’s the older ones who don’t light that spark, you know), but they’ll never be a Christian pop song about the husband who breaks all the rules of evangelical marriage, both big and little.

…. He literally waits until he gets a girl pregnant and then starts to leave her—twice, not once. And not once in the book (awww, you’re a good mom etc) does somebody say, That’s not Christian. If he were a rebel Buddhist or a lost Muslim or was reading William Blake, it wouldn’t take long to throw your head back and cry, The world, the world! But if he slaps a Jesus sticker over his sin nobody tries to scratch it off and call sin sin.

And especially not if they feel flattered by him.

…. (Re: “I learned something”; translation: “lately life’s been easier”.) I used to like comedies, (which always ended up making me feel like my life was defective because it wasn’t magazine perfect), but now if I was forced to choose I’d take horror instead, which by the end make you feel glad that you’re alive. Horror especially is immersive though, and tv and film are too immersive. Now I prefer drama with political themes, which I can divide into 20-30 minute sittings and have be like a book, or maybe the odd historical comedy which to me would functional similarly.

…. I know that a lot of Christian guys are the aristocrat of the breakfast table because they’re God’s understudy, but it always surprises me how many Christian moms secretly believe that your man is your God, while passively allowing the pulpit to teach that it’s the devil who goes on dates. I think it’s a mess, and to me it’s the world. Christian folk culture is usually just the world, more or less.

…. “Make me feel special, because I’ve always been unfulfilled.”
“That’s so sad.”
“Sad? No, you’re here now. Make me special! Make me worth it!”
“None of us are special, and none of us are non-special. God made us all different, and in some ways unequal. But he did not create special and non-special people. He loves all that he creates, whether great or small.”
“O-kay…. you’re not poor though, are you?”
“I’ve been blessed to live in a country where those who have less are taken care of, at least to some extent. I don’t think that happiness requires luxuries or ad—“
“Ok, you’re a poor, strange weirdo, and because I love myself and I think I’m worth it, I’m done. I’m done.”
“I hope that you find what you’re looking for, even if it’s not me.”
“Ok weirdo. So strange. Such a weirdo.”

…. I loved this book, you say. And I hated your terrible review. Why’d you write it? Why read this book at all?

*cue the dramatic movie scene*

Person with a gun crying in the rain: I didn’t think that it would end this way…. I didn’t want it to end this way. *waves gun* I, Never. wanted it to end this way.

This movie has been rated CTMW for Contains Too Many Words. Viewer discretion is advised.
  goosecap | Mar 15, 2022 |
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The astonishing, Job-like story of how an existence filled with loss, suffering, questioning, and anger became a life filled with shocking and incomprehensible peace and joy. Vaneetha Risner contracted polio as an infant, was misdiagnosed, and lived with widespread paralysis. She lived in and out of the hospital for ten years and, after each stay, would return to a life filled with bullying. When she became a Christian, though, she thought things would get easier, and they did: carefree college days, a dream job in Boston, and an MBA from Stanford where she met and married a classmate. But life unraveled. Again. She had four miscarriages. Her son died because of a doctor's mistake. And Vaneetha was diagnosed with post-polio syndrome, meaning she would likely become a quadriplegic. And then her husband betrayed her and moved out, leaving her to raise two adolescent daughters alone. This was not the abundant life she thought God had promised her. But, as Vaneetha discovered, everything she experienced was designed to draw her closer to Christ as she discovered "that intimacy with God in suffering can be breathtakingly beautiful."

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