Month: November 2017

C.S. Lewis on the Church Body – How Demons Influence Us to See Each Other

C.S. Lewis on the Church Body – How Demons Influence Us to See Each Other

Make his mind flit to and fro between an expression like “the body of Christ” and the actual faces in the next pew. It matters very little, of course, what kind of people the next pew contains. You may know one of them to be a great warrior on the Enemy’s side. No matter. Your patient, thanks to Our Father Below, is a fool. Provided that any of the neighbours sing out of tune, or have shoes that squeak, or double chins, or odd clothes, the patient will quite easily believe that their religion must therefore be somehow ridiculous.
~ C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters



Common Phrases Heard Within the Church Body

Everyone within the church body, when they are being honest with others and themselves, can admit to having judgmental thoughts about their brothers and sisters in Christ. Sometimes these thoughts, when not shared in secret with bosom buddies, are shared in public. Sometimes even to the judged individual’s face. Examples of these nasty comments are listed below:

  • “Ouch, my ears! Is that guy trying to sing? We really need to go to a church where we can get some good tunes.”
  • “She looks like she’s from the 80’s. And he has sideburns down to his chin. Why can’t this church catch up to the times and show a little style? It’s so old fashioned and outdated.”
  • “OMG. Is she still eating? She shouldn’t be eating that. I mean, seriously, what a glutton. Does she even care if the homeless are fed?”
  • “The preacher thinks he knows everything. He probably hates us because we don’t believe everything he preaches. Imagine if he knew what we did the other night, ha!”
  • “Am I the only person who does anything good around here? Why can’t people help the poor minorities, abused women, and starving animals like I do?”

Do I return such judgmental thoughts, especially when someone makes them about my loved ones or me? Yes, I do! I’m just as hypocritical as the next church body member! Does that mean Christianity proves itself to be a false religion, creating only strife and discord? No, not in the slightest. But don’t believe me. Believe the God-inspired layman named Clive Staples Lewis.



Screwtape’s Instructions to the Demon-in-Training Regarding the Church Body

Quoted above is the big shot demon, named Screwtape, in C.S. Lewis’s novel, The Screwtape LettersAlbeit this paragraph portion showed up in only the second chapter, C.S. Lewis managed to pin a major struggle within the church body. A struggle that has separated church body members since the beginning of time: How church members compare their faith to other people’s faith.

Let’s use an example to clarify what C.S. Lewis wrote in the portion above:

Fred lives in a small town and works at the local bakery. Because he enjoys baked goods so much, his weight far, far exceeds what the BMI scale states as healthy. Unbeknownst to most people who enter his bakery, Fred reads Scripture every morning and night, prays everyday, gives food to the metropolitan homeless shelter, and serves in several positions at the local First Baptist Church. Paula doesn’t know any of this about Fred.

Paula recently accepted Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior. She had been hungry for many years, and she always struggled to keep a roof over her head. Wishing to learn more about her faith and serve with fellow Christians, she stopped by at the town’s First Baptist Church to hear a sermon. During the sermon, she spotted Fred.



Fred was hard to miss. Due to his size, he breathed heavily and loudly. He also had a tendency to fidget, which made his chair squeak. When the pastor made a joke, Fred laughed loudly. But, despite Fred’s joviality and kindness in greeting those around him, Paula was disgusted.

For when Paula looked at Fred, she saw an obese man who did nothing but draw attention to himself. To her, his size indicated he had a poor work ethic ,and he had struggled very little in his life. It was a very long and pampered life, from the looks of it. She hated Fred. He seemed to represent everything she ever wanted, but was always being denied, because of people like him.

All who knew Fred, loved Fred. But people, who have only recently come to the faith, can see nothing beyond their own personal struggles. C.S. Lewis knew this. He also believed demons help influence the new believers to think in these ways. Let’s not mistake what makes a believer a new believer: Someone who enters the faith, proclaiming to know and love God, but never growing closer to God and maturing in Christ, will always be a new believer. C.S. Lewis recognized a new believer’s vulnerability to the devil’s lies, regarding all areas of life and belief.



Remaining Strong in the Church Body

Please don’t think that I have a final solution to this problem! Other than with the countless prayers and daily readings I try to maintain for my own faith, I’m incapable of maintaining pure thoughts toward anyone, let alone my fellow believers in Christ. Even when I pray, I find my thoughts turning scornful and judgmental. But, I have hope. Just as everyone who struggles as I do has hope.

The one, true God knows how His followers struggle. For Christians only have righteousness through Christ. So, when believers neglect God and fall and fail, they can always turn back toward God and find forgiveness. To take action against humanity’s propensity to judge each other, probably the best course of action, other than prayer, is to remember our need to love each other.



Love is an action. Our feelings sometimes contradict how we should behave toward someone, hence why we must choose love and respect. Even toward people we disagree with. So, whether you love or hate your church body, Christians need to recognize all people fall short of the glory of God. And this applies to all people.

Therefore, the next time you see someone in a negative light, reconsider how God sees this person. Christians and nonbelievers alike are God’s children. So, if someone in your own church’s body seems to exemplify the very things that you’ve grown to hate, reconsider whether you see the person correctly. Or if God can justify your hate.



Thanksgiving Festivities – Celebrating with British Thanksgiving Crackers

Thanksgiving Festivities – Celebrating with British Thanksgiving Crackers

Cost Plus World Market has brought joy to many adults and children with their British Thanksgiving crackers. “Crackers?” my American reader asks. “What joy could small bits of crunchy, unleavened bread bring?”



British Thanksgiving Crackers
Small party favors found in the British Thanksgiving crackers

We speak not of the food! Holiday crackers, especially those made for Christmas, are small party favors handed out to guests. Many contain small toys for children to play with during the festivities. Others, favoring the adults, contain small, useful items, such as nail clippers.

Where to Find British Thanksgiving Crackers

Every American knows the happenings on Thanksgiving Day: Slave over the stovetop early in the morning, eat the Turkey, dressing, and potatoes and gravy in the afternoon, sleep until nightfall, and finish the day with some pumpkin pie. The same ole’ tradition year in and year out.

My husband and I decided to change things up a bit this year. For long before the holidays, maybe as early as September, Alex spoke about purchasing some crackers for Christmas. I, like many, knew nothing about this British tradition, but itched at the idea of celebrating the holidays in the British style.



British Thanksgiving Crackers
My fierce Pirate King husband!

During one particular shopping trip to Cost Plus World Market, we found them. “Oh, look at these, Mary! Thanksgiving crackers!” said Alex. I looked over, tired but interested. They appeared festive and fun, but my husband, as excited as he was, decided to overlook them and spare the expense. I refused to let that happen.

“God knows that if a product runs out, the store likely won’t purchase any more for the holiday. We should get them now in case we can’t get any for Christmas, ” I said. This convinced him, so we picked the only design available and bought them then and there.



How to Bring Festivity to the Family with British Thanksgiving Crackers

Sadly, my four-year-old niece was absent from our family’s Thanksgiving dinner and celebration. She might have enjoyed the British Thanksgiving crackers, especially the snaps upon ripping open the crackers. She certainly might have enjoyed some of the toys found within the crackers.

Nevertheless, after eating the pumpkin and pecan pies, I grabbed the crackers from their place on the entertainment center and let everyone pick their cracker from the box. Other than having some difficulty in pulling open the crackers, everyone enjoyed the crowns, toys, and jokes inside (the jokes being particularly clean-cut and funny).



British Thanksgiving Crackers
And me, showing off my card deck.

My mother was laughing and excited to put on her crown. Alex donned on all his toys and looked like a fierce pirate king. I freely expressed my own joy upon receiving a tiny card deck, with British royalty representing the joker. And even my father placed the paper crown upon his head.

Since my family isn’t the type to stay up and drink the night away, everyone soon retired for the night. Afterwards, Alex and I decided together to buy some of the Christmas crackers found at Cost Plus World Market (which only came out a couple weeks ago). Because, no such thing as too much fun has ever existed in our book!



Amazon Bought the Global Television Rights to The Lord of the Rings – Why This Presents an Ethical Dilemma

Amazon Bought the Global Television Rights to The Lord of the Rings – Why This Presents an Ethical Dilemma

Cue the funeral dirge. For a company, which entertains complete disregard for the Christian faith, has acquired certain rights to Tolkien’s work. That’s right: Amazon bought the global television rights to The Lord of the Rings.

Why Amazon Bought the Global Television Rights to The Lord of the Rings

We Christians cannot fully blame Jeff Bezos for acquiring the global television rights to J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth. For the Tolkien Estate and the Tolkien Trust had presented these rights to him, as well as to other companies with wholly different views than J.R.R. Tolkien. Jeff Bezos merely presented the most attractive monetary agreement.

Why Amazon bought the global television rights to The Lord of the Rings requires little speculation: Jeff Bezos wanted more money. Whatever he paid for the right to televise The Lord of the Rings (LOTR) must have appeared as small change compared to the calculations for how much a LOTR miniseries would gain in profit. Jeff Bezos simply saw a great opportunity handed to him.



Amazon Bought the Global Television Rights to The Lord of the Rings and What It Said About the Tolkien Estate and Trust

Declaring Jeff Bezos as the only greedy investor in this deal denies the greed working behind the Tolkien Society. Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy was wildly successful, and the Tolkien Society decided they wished for more such financial successes. A simple conclusion based on the common transactions and deals performed among organizations around the world.

Since Amazon bought the global television rights to The Lord of the Rings, Christians need to pray for God’s help. Because if the Christian messages in the LOTR trilogy are to remain intact, God must perform a miracle. For it seems the Tolkien Society chairmen care little about the faith elements which J.R.R. Tolkien incorporated into his work.



Ethical Dilemmas Behind the Deals When Amazon Bought the Global Television Rights to The Lord of the Rings

Why do I conclude the Tolkien Society cares little about J.R.R. Tolkien’s faith? I came to this conclusion because, based on international news found on the Internet and in the Wall Street Journal, Jeff Bezos supports causes that oppose Christian beliefs. To me, selling global television rights to The Lord of the Rings to a man who disregards God, the Son, and the Holy Spirit seems like folly.

To maintain the integrity behind The Lord of the Rings, and remain faithful to the remarkable Christian author, we must hope Jeff Bezos instructs his crew to stay true to the books. Making Tolkien’s beloved characters perform in ways defiant to what is right and true would skew the beauty in J.R.R. Tolkien’s messages. As would also be true if the evil characters performed kind acts.



Amazon Bought the Global Television Rights to The Lord of the Rings and We’re Going to Watch It

As a general rule, my family never buys from Amazon, unless someone presents us with a gift card. However, even spending someone else’s money given to Amazon feels wrong and dirty. Why? Amazon supports causes, such as gay marriage, that the Holy Bible informs Christians to recognize as an abomination. Therefore, we, as Christians, generally refuse to support liberal organizations when they adamantly hate us for our beliefs.

In this particular case, I will make an exception. Since this blog focuses predominantly on British food and British flicks, I will find someone who has an Amazon Prime TV and watch the LOTR miniseries with them. Then, hopefully, I will be able to report to my readers how Amazon remained true to the stories. Though, I highly doubt such will happen.

Who is excited for Amazon acquiring the global television rights to The Lord of the Rings? Do you think Amazon will do well and skew the story only slightly? Or do you think Amazon will use this opportunity to demean J.R.R. Tolkien’s work?



How To Quit a Job and Begin Behaving Like a Tolkien Character

How To Quit a Job and Begin Behaving Like a Tolkien Character

This blog post is for my few loyal readers: Grace, peace, and goodwill to you from God above. Please allow me to share a little about my life, the beginning to behaving like a Tolkien character, and what it entails for Mary Loves the UK.



How To Quit a Job After Five Years and Start Behaving Like a Tolkien Character

What occurred at my job yesterday – or what was then my job – I encourage my readers to avoid doing with their own jobs. I flamed out. Placed under strict restrictions about absence for medical reasons, I had little choice other than to walkout. So, walkout I did.

My employer was unhappy, and shared her hard feelings with me on the way out. I wish I could say I responded well, but I didn’t. Tears issued forth, and nothing could stop them. After a few well-targeted insults from my previous employer, I told her I would leave immediately. And I did.

Was this a wise decision? Did I behave as well as I had hoped to? No. But, since I have vacated my work post after five long and hard years, I now must move forward. I must embark on a Tolkien-like journey.



What Behaving Like a Tolkien Character Looks Like

Many Christians believe J.R.R. Tolkien created his Middle Earth to symbolize Christianity and the Christian walk. For, supposedly, the hobbits resembled men and women who went through trials and grew stronger and wiser as individuals. Other Middle Earth peoples resembled angels and demons.

To behave like a Tolkien character, one must experience growth in his or her life. Most growth involves pain and suffering. Moreover, if someone wishes to become a better person through their pain and suffering, then God must be involved. For even Tolkien recognized God’s presence, authority, and majesty.



What Behaving Like a Tolkien Character Means for Mary Loves the UK

Well, first and foremost, I will write more on J.R.R. Tolkien and his works! Delving into the symbolism and his characters is my intent, so if anyone would rather avoid any talk about God’s presence in this man and his work, then I advise staying away from this blog.

But! If people do wish to know more about how several great British men knew and loved our heavenly Father, then please, stay with me. We will explore what inspired J.R.R. Tolkien’s creative genius, and how it has passed the test of time, influencing and encouraging millions of people.

Thank you, my few loyal readers, for reading. May God shape us all according to His will.



Keira Knightley and Ralph Fiennes in The Duchess – Critical Review

Keira Knightley and Ralph Fiennes in The Duchess – Critical Review

Actors Keira Knightley and Ralph Fiennes worked together in the worst movie plot I have ever seen, entitled The Duchess. Though two or three weeks have passed since I watched this movie, I dare not watch it again for a simple review. For The Duchess movie ought to disappear from the record books.



The Disastrous Plotline in The Duchess

The Duchess
Keira Knightley as “Georgiana, The Duchess of Devonshire”.
Photo by Nick Wall

Never before have I seen a historical woman so skewed in a movie to fit the feminist agenda. Though I have yet to acquire a book on the Duchess of Devonshire, I know just enough from online sources to realize the woman’s greater accomplishments. Other than those of surviving a bad marriage.

Keira Knightley played the young woman who became the Duchess of Devonshire. Carefree and flexible, she left her friends to elevate in social ranking by marrying the Duke, William Cavendish. Right from the beginning, the screenwriter showed Duchess Georgiana as being the poor victim who must produce a male heir for a despicable man.



The Duchess
Duke William Cavendish of Devonshire

How did the Duke show himself despicable? Well, he chose his wife’s traveling companion as his mistress. Expressing her anger at the relationship, Duchess Georgiana verbally spat at the Duke and proclaimed to never make love with him again. Upon which the Duke forced himself upon her, and then went back to Lady Bess Foster. From the rape came Duchess Georgiana’s first and only son.

When the Duchess found a childhood friend who loved her deeply, the Duke forbade any love affair, despite his own with Lady Bess. To remain in contact with her daughters and son with the Duke, she permanently disconnected with her friend, who later became Prime Minister Charles Grey. Lady Bess comforted her, so Duchess Georgiana soon stood down and allowed Lady Bess and the Duke to marry. From her one-time affair with Sir Charles came a daughter, whom the Lady Georgiana visited frequently.



Feminist Activists Seen at Work in The Duchess

The Duchess
Keira Knightley as Georgiana, the Duchess of Devonshire stars in THE DUCHESS, a Paramount Vantage release. Photo by Peter Mountain

Real-life Duchess Georgiana played a large and significant role in fashion and politics. Whereas the Duke seemed moody and disinterested in common affairs, the Duchess would actively participate in the political dinners and gatherings. Hence how she came across her childhood friend, Sir Charles Grey.

Moreover, Duchess Georgiana was anything but a saint. For in her marriage to the Duke of Devonshire, she acquired massive amounts of gambling debt. This also served to prove her relations with the political heads, because gambling served as a frequent pastime among the ladies and gentlemen.

To finetune the plot, and keep the movie from showing as something unpolitical, more emphasis should have been placed on the social times. For during the time in which the Duchess lived, religion had a strong hold on how people behaved. Many things done today didn’t exist in England’s past. Therefore, to expect Duke William Cavendish to behave the same way as modernday husbands is ridiculous.



Recommendations for The Duchess

Movie critics loved this movie. Something which makes sense to me, considering the generally widespread liberal agenda sweeping across Europe and the United States. According to the critics, since this movie criticized men, it was a masterpiece.

As for me, I found the film completely unfair to men and historically ambiguous. The Duchess of Devonshire had power! She was no fainting damsel in distress. Consequently, I cannot in good conscious recommend this film. While the costume designer created beautiful garments, he failed to save the disastrous plotline. So, please, spare yourselves the pain and watch something historically and politically sound.



How To Properly Cook a Jamie Oliver Recipe – Fresh Tomato Soup vs. Evening Butties

How To Properly Cook a Jamie Oliver Recipe – Fresh Tomato Soup vs. Evening Butties

I dared to argue with Jamie Oliver’s instructions on a certain meal once before, concerning his “Old Boy’s Omelette” recipe. This time was different. For this time, I presented two Jamie Oliver recipes at one meal, and one far outranked the other. Welcome to the match between Fresh Tomato Soup vs. Evening Butties.



Presenting the First Contestant: Fresh Tomato Soup and Little Cheddar Soldiers

Fresh Tomato Soup vs. Evening Butties
All the ingredients laid out for the meal preparation.

Searching through Jamie Oliver’s Great Britain recipe book revealed an amazingly simple soup. After buying the ingredients at the local Sam’s Club and Walmart Supercenter, I rolled up my sleeves and set to work on creating Fresh Tomato Soup and Little Cheddar Soldiers.

Creating Fresh Tomato Soup first involved blending the main ingredients: tomatoes, garlic, basil, and so forth. Jamie Oliver provided me some freedom in how smooth I wanted the soup. So, I made the soup chunky, and I set it to boil.

Fresh Tomato Soup vs. Evening Butties
Little Cheddar Soldiers straight from the oven.

As the soup began to boil, following the instructions, I cut some crusty bread and made Little Cheddar Soldiers with them. Allow me to cut straight to the chase with these Little Cheddar Soldiers: They were outstandingly good! I had followed the instruction to a T, adding good amounts of sharp cheddar, thyme, and Worcester sauce, and the resulting flavor was beyond my imagination. Every soup should have these elongated, cheesy croutons.

Returning to the Fresh Tomato Soup, I read the instructions and realized Jamie Oliver had provided me with more freedom regarding the sea salt, ground pepper, and white wine vinegar. He wrote down the instructions to season to the cook’s taste. And that’s where the match between Fresh Tomato Soup vs. Evening Butties began….



Presenting the Opponent: Evening Butties Filled with Meats and Sauces

Within the breakfast section in Jamie Oliver’s cookbook existed a few paragraphs on the traditional Breakfast Butty. Reading the page gave me the idea of creating Evening Butties – an idea which Jamie Oliver suggested in his cookbook – to go along with the soup. The meat-filled butties looked particularly good, so I set to work.

Picking up some flavorful spicy sausage at Walmart, my husband sliced the links into manageable pieces and cut them in half. He grilled them on the stovetop. Earlier I had defrosted some Sam’s Club bacon from the freezer. Taking this, Alex sizzled the bacon in its grease and served them alongside the sausage links.

Fresh Tomato Soup vs. Evening Butties
My Evening Butty creation, with help from my husband.

After I sliced some rolls, I placed them in the toaster to make them even crustier. Popping up from the toaster as delightfully soft and crusty, I proceeded to add some Heinz ketchup and Worcester sauce on one side, and HP Sauce and Worcester sauce on the other side. Like Jamie Oliver had said, the sauces simply melted into the crusty bread, yet without turning the bread into something soggy.

To satisfy all those coming to dinner, I separated the bacon and the sausage and put them into separate rolls. This way the dinner guests had two sandwiches to choose from. But! Fresh Tomato Soup still had some throws to punch….



Why Salt Can Be  an Enormous Mistake in Cooking

You guessed it, I over-salted the soup. Thinking the Fresh Tomato Soup as good, yet somewhat bland, I poured in some sea salt, ground pepper, and white wine vinegar. On the first seasoning round, the soup still tasted somewhat bland. Thinking some extra sea salt would solve the dilemma, I generously poured some in. Oops. One particular guest and I refused to finish the soup at the dinner table based on how miserably salty I had made it.

Fresh Tomato Soup vs. Evening Butties
Fresh Tomato Soup vs. Evening Butties presented for a table of four.

Meaty Evening Butties won the match between Fresh Tomato Soup vs. Evening Butties. The pure, unadulterated taste from Jamie Oliver’s recommended butties far outdid my attempt at creating flavorful Fresh Tomato Soup. Merely leaving out the salt probably would have done better.

Nevertheless, I recommend both recipes to every cook out there. The Little Cheddar Soldiers go fabulously well with the Fresh Tomato Soup, and the Evening Butties serve well during any time of day. As for me, I need more practice in seasoning soup.