Tuesday, January 20, 2015

book available for free for a few days

More to the Story is available on Kindle for free for a few days.

It's a short work, basically three brief writings centered around some scriptural passages. They aren't meant to be satirical or sardonic, though a few sacred cows may be singed a little bit in them.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

the falsest of dichotomies

Every now and again, I'll read something that at least seems to hint at some kind of divide between the God of the Old Testament and Jesus in the New Testament.

To my experience, it's rarely plainly stated in such terms. The language is usually more weaselly. It might, for example, involve statement about how Jesus is the true revelation of God, and how we have to interpret the Bible, especially the Old Testament, through Jesus.

Of course, that does make sense. But then, the Jesus they try to set up turns out to be not much like the Jesus found in the New Testament.

For example, I've come on a few who try to question the existence of Hell using such an argument. Apparent, the fact the Jesus spoke of Hell as a very real place doesn't factor into their interpretations.

This kind of thing is often used by those who are theologically liberal.

For example, they will attempt to put a kind of separation between the God of the Old Testament, who often told people to go to war and told Israel to conquer to the Promised Land, and Jesus in the New Testament, who told people to love their enemies, bless those who curse you, and so on. They try to portray Jesus as being in favor of their pet forms of nonviolent resistance.

But the truth is this--Jesus never disapproved of anything the Father said or did in the Old Testament, and the Father never disapproved of anything the Son said or did in the New Testament. As Jesus Himself plainly stated, "I an the Father are One", and "Before Abraham was, I am". To put it another way, the God who told Yeshua (Joshua) to cross the Jordon and conquer the Promised Land is the same Yeshua (Jesus) who told us to love our enemies. There are not cross-purposes, there is no split between the two, there is not disagreement in the Godhead. Jesus did not attempts some kind Occupy Heaven stunt.

The same Jesus who spoke about loving enemies also told his disciples to sell a cloak to buy a sword. The same Jesus who spoke about loving enemies was the one who called His enemies hypocrites, blind guides, and said their father was the devil. Start getting your mind around these apparent (though not real) contradictions before trying to make the Godhead a family squabble.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

book review—Heartless by Anne Elizabeth Stengl

large as life fairy tale

Fracturing fairy tales has become common in modern-day story telling. It seems like TV shows and movie where spins and twists are put on fairy tale and folklore stories are pretty frequently put out. Of course, one gets a steady diet of that from Disney, but they are far from the only practitioners.

“Heartless” is, in many ways, another modern take on fairy tales, but one that is different from some of the others I've come on, and one that I like rather a lot.

A lot of the expected elements are in it. There are princes and princesses, strange places where strange things can happen, dragons and warriors, heroes and villains. There is love and loss, heroism and cowardice, selfishness and sacrifice.

But maybe the big difference between this fairy tale and the classic kind, a difference that I think may make “Heartless” more suited to a more grown-up reader than the kiddie version of fairy tales popular nowadays, is that most of the people in it are not larger than life. With a couple of exceptions, they are not paragons of virtue, nor are they dripping in evil and villainy.

Una is not the stereotypical fairy tale princess, Felix is not prince charming, and Leo is not a knight in shining armor. They are, in a sense, only as large as life. They act like how we act, they do the things we do, they act selfishly and rashly, they make shallow decisions, and they hurt those around them in profound ways. They aren't the stereotypical sympathetic characters, they are in fact rather frustrating. Just like we are.

One of the biggest parallels I saw between this story and Christianity is this—Una is loved by the fairy prince even when she treats him badly and as an enemy. This was a reminder to me of how “God showed us His love for us in this, that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us”.

Overall, this is a work of creative and imagination, as well as well thought out and fairly sound in it's allegorical representations of Christianity. I can recommend it very strongly.