Friday, November 15, 2013

Noah the movie

From the trailer, it looks like there's an interesting movie headed our way>

NOAHSynopsis: After visions of an apocalyptic deluge, Noah, the world’s only righteous man, is chosen to undertake a divine mission to build a massive ark to save his family and all of creation before the impending rains fall and the flood waters rise. 
: Russell Crowe, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Jennifer Connelly and Emma Watson
: Darren Aronofsky 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Prototype: a review

Some of us remember from school that a prototype is an early sample of a product, it’s built to test a concept or process and it is to act as something to be replicated. Jonathan Martin, in his book “Prototype: What Happens When You’re More like Jesus than You Think?”  ( suggests that Jesus is the model that was used to test the product or the concept, and He is definitely someone that we should try to replicate and learn from.  The knowledge of Christ shapes our identity. Then, once we realize that Jesus loves us, we can begin the incredible faith journey that takes us beyond our wildest imagination. This book is an affirmation of the fact that Jesus can and does take some of the most unlikely people and shape them for His service. It is also a reminder that all Christians are called to be witnesses to God's glory.
Martin’s bio says that he leads the liars, dreamers and misfits of Renovatus (a church for people under renovation) in North Carolina. The book includes many of  Martin’s  stories, but it also includes the stories of many of the people that labor along side of him.  And each story is full of grace. At the church where I serve, we also celebrate the communion mea each week. It never gets old, and Martin has helped me to understand why: “we are tasting the future”. He reminds the reader of the disciples on the road to Emmaus:  “it doesn’t matter how clueless and blind we might be, when we break bread, all of a sudden we can see Jesus again.
Renovatus may be a refuge for liars, dreamers, and misfits, but they seem to know how to ‘be’ the church. And that is what makes this book worth reading. It’s a call to action, a call to get back to basics and follow Jesus. Not the Jesus that we've invented based on pictures from the 15 century, but the Jesus that is described in the bible. Jesus: love who turned the table upside down in the temple. Jesus: the image of the invisible God and the first born over all creation. (Col 1:5) Prototype calls us to community, to worship, to serve, to be the hands and feet of God.

Tyndale House Publishers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book . 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

review of the global war on Christians

Remembering the old admonition that it’s wise not to talk politics, religion, or sex, I acknowledge that in taking on 2 of the taboo subjects, John L. Allen, Jr., took on a difficult challenge when he set out to write about the war in which the Christian Church is currently engaged. In his book The Global War on Christians: Dispatches from the Front Lines of Anti-Christian Persecution (Image, 2013), he presents the state of the Church from a perspective of how she is being persecuted. He presents a global overview  addressing Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and Eastern Europe, writes about the myths concerning Persecution, (only where Christians are a minority, no one saw it coming, Islam, and it’s really political –and tells us why the myths are toxic. And then he addresses what he calls the ‘fallout, consequences and response.
I requested to review this book, thinking it would be helpful for a class I’m taking dealing with world religions…in retrospect, I wish I had chosen something else.
The cases of abuse that Allen documents are certainly disconcerting and give cause for alarm. It reminds me once again of how for the most part, we in the west have it pretty easy. We can practice our faith without too much fear of repercussion. Martyrdom is not the norm in the west. On page 273, Allen cites Todd Johnson talking about David Barrett who reportedly, when asked to name the most effective form of evangelism, replied “martyrdom’.  We may admire the martyrs, but most western Christians are in no hurry to join their ranks.
Included in Part III are 2 chapters that might be helpful to those who see the current situation as a precursor to the demise of the Christian church. Allen calls chapter 13 “Spiritual Fruits of the Global War”, and chapter 14 “What’s To Be Done”. He does have some suggestions here for those that assume that the end is near, and points out that in the past, as a result of persecution the church has always rallied and become stronger.
Although the book may seem to be written to galvanize the Church, to stir her from apathy and into action, it often seemed inflammatory to me. My heart bleeds for those who have suffered as a result of this war, and I’m sure that there are incidents around the world, but I was left, unfortunately, with the sense that people groups, governments, and above all, other religions, were being demonized. This may not be the author’s intent, and just my perception, but reading this book reminded me of the ‘war on terror’: the enemy was strangely undefined, but somehow portrayed as omnipresent and an overarching evil.
A main concern with this book is found in the acknowledgements (and if I hadn't agreed to read and review, I probably would have stopped reading on page ‘x’).  Allen states” While I don’t cite individual source material, because doing so would be too cumbersome, I want to acknowledge the main organizations, media outlets and individual experts upon whom I've relied:”. As a student, I find that to be totally unacceptable.  Although he states that he is compiling facts, to not give credit to the person who has done the work is considered plagiarism in most circles, and it also makes it difficult to know how much is fact, and how much is exaggeration, lies or partial truth used to further the author’s cause.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a review.