Project Black Bear

Thursday, January 26, 2017
“What does your job consist of, Dr. Hamilton?”
“Most of the time, I clean up messes other people make through foolish decisions.”
China flashed DeeDee an ugly look. “What is it with man and dumb decisions?”
DeeDee learned and whispered in her ear. “Maybe it’s because he’s never made any.”
Kemper’s brows pulled together. “I’m not sure I follow you.”
Dr. Hamilton looked out across the sea of kids, then directly into Kemper’s eyes.. “I would be out of a job if people, especially teenagers made better decisions.”

by Lissa Halls Johnson, Focus On The Family Publishers, 1994
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Target Audience: Girls 13-18
Subjects: Obedience, Authority, Wisdom, Pride
Summary: They’re so cute! And the poor things are hungry! Just look at how desperate they are! Why else would they dare to break into Magda’s kitchen? So China and DeeDee decide to leave scraps out in the woods for the bears. If they are fed well – and away from the campers, surely they’ll leave the camp alone, right? Now if only they could solve their problems with Dr. Hamilton as easily! The man is rude and arrogant and a downright jerk! He seems to look down on them merely because of their age. And the girls are getting really sick of his insults! There has to be a way to show him that teenagers can be responsible and make good decisions! But how?
Notes: Project Black Bear is the third in the seven book China Tate series about a tenth grade girl whose parents are missionaries in Guatemala. She has returned to the states to spend a summer with an aunt, hoping to find a place to fit in. She finds her place at Camp Crazy Bear and winds up staying and working in the kitchen for the summer. The series tells of the adventures she has in friendship and learning responsibility.
In this third book China and DeeDee learn the hard way the importance of obedience. In chapel, they hear a message about the importance of obeying God – even when they don’t understand why the command is there. But they fail to apply it to the “Obey your parents and those in authority over you” commands. So they feed the bears they have been specifically commanded to not feed and the bears get used to human food and seek it out and someone gets hurt because of their actions. They get all mad at Dr. Hamilton for viewing them as irresponsible and yet prove him right through their disobedience. They get excellent advice at the end from Kemper who tells them to take responsibility for their mistake, confess it and let it go instead of accepting the idea that they have to be stupid and worthless because they messed up. He quotes Romans 8:28 to them  (And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose) and challenges them to look for how God can use this tragedy for good. He also explains that good doesn’t mean happy. They don’t have to be happy about the tragedy, just be able to move on from it to see how God can work in it.
Spiritual Content Recommendation Scale: 5/5
Reviewer: J:-)mi

1 Samuel 15:22 – But Samuel replied: “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.

John 14:23 - Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.


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