Sunday, November 30, 2008

November Reading List

93. Inkdeath (ua), by Cornelia Funke
94. The Ashes of Worlds (ua), by Kevin J. Anderson
95. A Cat on a Beach Blanket (ua), by Lydia Adamson
96. Freddy Goes to the North Pole (ua), by Walter R. Brooks
97. Watchmen (gn), by Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons
98. Babylon 5: Signs and Portents (pb), by Jane Killick
99. Babylon 5: The Coming of Shadows (pb), by Jane Killick

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thankful For .....

A wife who extends both grace and mercy.

A teenage daughter who seems to have her life together.

The best job possible, for me.

The best church I could possible be a part of.

A world where we get glimpses of the future Kingdom.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Remembering Mom

3 years ago this past weekend, my mother passed away. This is what I read at her memorial service.
My mother had the great misfortune of losing her mother twice. She first lost her to Alzheimer’s, and then after 10 years of her slowly slipping away, she lost her finally to death. Those ten years tore her heart apart, with her mother physically with her but not really "with her."

But I am here to tell you that right up to the end, Marilyn was, well, Marilyn.

I spoke to her on Saturday, and yes, she was tired and the conversation was not long, but we talked about what we always talked about, and we joked about what we always joked about. I let her know how our new home construction was going. We talked about whether Dana would ever get out of last place in the family football-picking competition.

She was all there, right to the end: her joy of living was there, her sense of humor, her love for friends and family. All of those things that she taught me, those things I hope I've learned from her, those character traits I want to manifest in my life. I hope to bring honor to her memory, for as long as I walk out my life, on this side of the veil.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Podcast Review

Spirit Blade Underground

This is a weekly 30-minute podcst focusing on geekiness from a Christian point of view, and Christianity from a geeky point of view. It is produced by Paeter Frandsen, who is both a geek and a Christian.

The podcast follows a 3-part structure. Paeter begins by updating listeners on the progress he has made in producing audio dramas, which he defines as "Christian Sci Fi and Fantasy that is unsafe, unsterilized ... and unleashed upon your ears and imaginations." His first effort, the 3-hour Spirit Blade, is available free in the podcast archives. His latest project, "Dark Ritual," is available for purchase on, the first 40 minutes of which are available free as a preview. Note that these are not for the faint of heart, but if you find that prairie romances are not your cup of tree, check it out.

The second part of the podcast is Paeter's take on geek culture -- TVs, movies, games, books, and comics. Every now and then an interview with a Christian in the geeky arts is included. Paeter's reviews are interesting in that they rate works on both "quality" and "veracity," allowing him to separate out the spiritual aspects of a work from its artistic merit.

The third part of the podcast is a Bible Study, ususally following a chapter-by-chapter format. I find these studies well-researched and well-reasoned, and after listening to more than 60 podcasts, I could not guess where he fits into the theological or denominational spectrum. And that's a good thing.

I enjoy the Spirit Blade Underground podcast and recommend it to culture-savvy, modern Christians. It is one of the best-produced podcsats I've run across, and I personally find the content enjoyable.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Book Review

Leaper, by Geoffrey Wood.

This is a surprising read coming from a CBA publisher. Well, technically, WaterBrook Press is a division of Random House, so maybe that gives them a little more freedom. Hmmmm.

Anyway, Leaper tells the story of James, a recently-divorced slacker who finds one day that he has the ability to teleport himself. Or as James views it, the ability to leap from one place to another. But to paraphrase Spider-Man, with great power comes great pressure, great stress, and great disappointment. And in James' case, it also comes with great soul-searching, seeking out of God's will, and the occasional run-in with the police.

I enjoyed the light tone of the novel, the sense of humor that Wood brings to James and his predicament. As a writer, I know that ideas are a dime-a-dozen, execution is a little tougher, and ending a novel well is quite difficult. Ienjoyed the ending, as it actually wrapped up the story -- there is a temptation in super-hero stories to set up the character situation for ongoing adventures. Wood avoids this temptation, which I appreciated.

There are two distinct ways that this novel does not fit into the CBA model -- again, as a writer, I appreciate this, and it gives me hope for some of my more unusual ideas. First, there is not a salvation scene anywhere in the story. And second, James is a (moderately faithful) Catholic, and gains much wisdom from his priest. Both of these traits I found refreshing.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

the great cloud of witnesses ...

Yesterday was for remembering the great heroes of the faith. Today is for remembering the nameless, the anonymous, the unknown.

All Souls Day is to recall all of those that have gone on before us, the body of Christ across space and time, who led the way in faith and practice, in holiness and forgiveness, in prayer and service, in life and death.

They are rightly called The Church Triumphant.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

To those who've gone before ....

November 1 has been the day historically that the church specifically remembers those giants of the faith who have gone to their eternal reward. Thay serve as examples for us in their faith, their holiness, their service, their teachings, and for some their martyrdom.

Among those officially designated by the organized church as "Saints" whose lives and works have particularly impacted me this last year include Jerome, Thomas More, Father Damien of Molokai, and Maximilian Kolbe.

"Unofficial" saints whose lives and works touch me are Dietrich Bonhoeffer, C.S. Lewis, and John Wimber.

Lord, thank you for including us in such a large and diverse body, and for giving us so many examples of so many different ways to live out a relationship with You.