“One who cannot cast away a treasure at need is in fetters.”
This past weekend I did something I never thought I would do: I got a tattoo (my first and most-likely last!). My daughter has quite a few, and we had talked for a couple of years about getting one together as a mother-daughter thing, but we couldn’t decide on a picture or graphic to use that we both liked. To be honest, we don’t have a lot in common when it comes to interests, music, hobbies, etc., but The Lord of the Rings is something that she and I, in fact our whole family, are big fans of: both the books and the movies. And that ended up being the inspiration for our twin tattoos.
The Lord of the Rings story, while a fantasy set in an alternate world and reality, contains so many themes and Biblical principles about life and what is true. We witness how power can corrupt one’s values and perspective. We see the threat of evil and those who are willing to risk everything to defeat it. We observe the loyalty and dependability of friends who have sworn to stick by each other no matter what, and fight side by side towards a common goal. We watch as characters from different cultures and backgrounds set aside their differences and learn to value one another as individuals and appreciate their uniqueness and worth. We read of normal, inconsequential people achieving greatness simply by being courageous, faithful, and determined to do what is right.
“Who can listen to objections regarding such a book as this? It seems to me a national benefit, and to every man or woman who reads it, a personal kindness.” – William M. Thackeray on A Christmas Carol
It seems an appropriate time to reshare my thoughts on this well-known story, mainly because it’s an opportunity to talk about a book by one of my favorite authors. I know Dickens isn’t for everyone; he can be rather wordy, and many of his novels are REALLY long (like, 600+ pages). His stories always have complex plot lines with lots of characters and interesting twists, and he has created some of the most interesting and memorable characters in all of literature, Ebenezer Scrooge being one of them. Continue reading “‘Tis the Season – to Try a Little Dickens!”→
“The only Bible verse Rayford could quote by heart was Genesis 1:1: ‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.’ He hoped there’d be some corresponding verse at the end of the Bible that said something like, ‘In the end God took all his people to heaven and gave everybody else one more chance.’ But no such luck.”
Last fall I did a series of reviews I entitled, “Books every Christian would be better off NOT reading.” For the most part, I didn’t write full reviews of these books because most of them I haven’t read, nor, to be honest, do I intend to. My observations and warnings were based on excerpts and other reviews I’ve read. The first book I discussed in that series was Left Behind by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins. Well, here it is, 20 years after Left Behind was published and my curiosity finally got the better of me; I actually read the first book, and now I have some of my own observations and concerns to point out. Continue reading “20 Years Later: Left Behind Leftovers”→
“There will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves…and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned;and in their greed they will exploit you with false words” (II Peter 2:1-3).
In Part One of this series, after some introductory remarks about the purpose of this series, I shared concerns and reviews of three books:
#1 – Left Behind by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins
#2 – The Prayer of Jabez by Bruce Wilkinson
#3 – Jesus Calling by Sarah Young
“There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors.”
Martin Luther is quoted as stating, “The best way to drive out the devil, if he will not yield to texts of Scripture, is to jeer and flout him, for he cannot bear scorn.” I believe that was one of C. S. Lewis’s purposes for writing The Screwtape Letters. In this creative literary work, Lewis has composed a series of letters from a chief demon named Screwtape to his apprentice, his nephew Wormwood, as he offers him guidance and advice.
Of course the entire work is for the most part based on speculation, for we know very little about how Satan and his cohorts operate or what goes on in the spirit world around. We do know, however, based on Scripture, that Satan is real and that spiritual warfare is ongoing and has been since the fall of Man in Garden of Eden (Genesis 3). Continue reading “A Sneak Peek Behind Enemy Lines: The Screwtape Letters”→
The biggest challenge I have faced when writing reviews on books I’ve enjoyed and have included on my list of books I think every Christian should read is writing about books I read years ago. I could re-read them (and some I intend to), but there are so many books on my yet-to-be-read list that I don’t often re-read books. As I have been discovering many other good sites that focus on books, I’ve found some great articles and reviews that have already been published, so I thought “Why re-invent the wheel?” So, this is a “Reblog” of a well-written review (actually series of reviews) of The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J. R. R. Tolkien.
It appears at or near the top of every popularly chosen list of the best books of all time. It cast a lasting spell on the fantasy genre, where it set the tropes that would be explored for nearly forty years before darker, more ironic low fantasy, Harry Potter, and contemporary urban fantasy could even begin to put a dent in its armor. If you asked most readers to name a fantasy book, it would be the first words from their lips. Still, some readers and critics insist on taking cheap shots at The Lord of the Rings (hereafter “LOTR”).
Some say that it oversimplifies the struggle between good and evil. Others accuse it of racism because many of the forces of evil are dark-skinned. Some decry the shortage of female characters. Some simply find it too hokey. Some blithely accuse it of being loaded with clichés, but you can’t…