Thursday, May 29, 2008

I Shared the Gospel in Class Yesterday

Well, sort of. I mean, as close as you can at a public university.

I was teaching about target marketing, and I used as an example the first Narnia movie from the Christmas season, a year ago. I talked about the general ads that were on TV for the movie, presenting it as a fun, adventure fantasy movie with great special effects and exciting battles. Then I explained that C.S. Lewis was a Christian who wrote the Chronicles of Narnia to explore various religious themes, and therefore churches and Christian bookstores were also heavy promoters of the film.

With a picture of Aslan on the screen behind me, I talked about how Edmund's poor choices led him to be condemned to die at the White Witch's hands, but that Aslan stepped in as a substitute and died in his place, so Edmund could go free. Then Aslan rose from the dead, and led the armies of Good in warfare to defeat the White Witch once and for all.

I said, "You don't have to have spent a lot of time in Sunday School to know what that story is really about."

I can drop biblical references and Chirstian principles in lectures every now and then, but this was the first time I actually explained an allegory for the Good News.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Movie Review

Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (PG)

If "The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe" is the gospel story, consider Prince Caspian a story of the church in the Dark Ages. More than a millenia has passed in Narnia since Aslan's sacrifice, and the land has been overrun by Goths and Vikings (oops, I mean the Telmarines), led by King Miraz. Aslan, the talking animals, and the 4 kings and queens have all become legend, and their historical reality is considered dubious.

The four Pevsesies return to Narnia after a year has passed in their time. They soon meet the young Prince Caspian, Narnia’s rightful heir to the throne. He flees as Miraz (his uncle) plots to kill him so he can place his newborn son on the throne. With the help the courageous talking mouse Reepicheep (an all-time favorite Lewis creation, portrayed wonderfully in the film) and a range of other formerly-hidden creatures, the Narnians, led by Peter and Caspian (who don't always work weel together, to put it mildly) seek to find Aslan, destroy Miraz, and restore magic and wonder to the land.

Often considered on of the weaker Narnia novels in terms of plot and action, the movie includes an extra battle scene and introduces a mild romance between Susan and Caspian. But movies and books are idfferent media, and I am more than willing to forgive deviance from the book to make a good movie.

And this is a very good movie, no doubt. Not as clearly a story of the gospel as the first movie, but if you want lessons and messages and references are important to you, they are there, if you look and listen.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The College Search

We recently took my (11th grade) daughter on her 5th college visit. We have taken her to 2 Christian colleges, and 3 traditional liberal arts colleges. As a professional academic myself, I steered her away from the crazier mainstream colleges, and towards the more academically rigorous Christian colleges.

I have been interested in her thinking, and have learned some things about her throughout the process. She has realized that wherever she goes, she won't exactly fit in. At a mainstream school, she'll be an outsider for her Christian worldview. At the Christian school, she'll be an outsider for her engagement with modern culture and post-evangelical leanings.

Her decision is in what context she wants to be "outside the box" -- and what box she wants to be outside of.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Book Review

Mosaic: Pieces of my Life So Far, by Amy Grant.

This is a nice collection of essays, song lyrics, as well as bits and pieces of biography of Grant's life. Organized thematically instead of chronologically, it bounces around from her early singing days to her current life with Vince Gill, growing up with lots of sisters to approaching middle age to raising kids and step-kids. She writes about her struggles with depression, touches on her divorce from Gary Chapman, and explains where many of her song ideas came from.

Some of the stories interested me more than others, but I found it overall an enjoyable read.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Podcast Update

As I reported earlier, I got an iPod for Christmas, and was looking for good podcasts to listen/subscribe to. Well, I have now found a bunch of them, ranging from church history to modern culture to music to bible teaching, covering a range of perspectives: orthodox, catholic, reform, evangelical, post-evangelical.

Good ones I've found include: Coffee Cup Apologetics, Converse with Scholars, Daily Audio Bible, Ears to Hear, Generally Speaking About the Church, In the Studio w/ Michael Card, Internet Monk, Kingdom Rain, St. Irenaeus Ministries, SaintCast, Simply Othodox, and Theology Unplugged. I don't recommend to people I don't know well, but I enjoy all of these, and encourage anyone looking for some podcasts to at least check some of these out.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

April Reading List

I am going to start poistng my reading lists here, every month. Books read are something I have kept track of for the last few years. {note: books 1-29 were Jan, Feb, & March}

30. Why We Read What We Read, by Lisa Adams & John Heath
31. A Case of Crooked Letters, by Lori Copeland
32. Never Think, Always Know by Walker R. Filbert
33. Now & Then by Robert B. Parker
34. Fantasyland, by Sam Walker
35. Revenge of Innocents, by Nancy Taylor Rosenberg
36. The Appeal, by John Grisham
37. America Alone, by Mark Steyn

Currently reading: The 13th Tale (about 60% done), Before I Wake (60%), The Reason For God (< 20%), and Two Towers (just started)