07th Dec2012

Things That Leave Me Scratchin’ My Head {Coffee Talk}

by Daenel

Coffee Talk {Living Outside the Stacks}1. Let me state for the record that I believe in that Jesus Christ is the son of God and the only way to Heaven is through Him (John 14:6, Romans 10:9~10). If you’d like to read more about my beliefs, read my Statement of Faith. There was a reason for that, I promise… A school field trip to see a church production of “Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown” was cancelled because of atheist complaints. The organization said students shouldn’t be exposed to a production with Christian themes during a school trip. Seriously, guys, it’s Charlie Brown. The parent was going to allow their child to attend the production for fear of the child being singled out for ridicule. blank stare How about instead of having everyone  cater to you and your needs, you teach your child to stand up for your beliefs? There are many, many things that my kids encounter on a daily basis that go against my beliefs, I don’t shield my kids from that stuff; I explain to them what we believe and why I disagree with XYZ. You know what that does, it teaches your kids to respect and honor themselves and their beliefs. It also teaches them to think for themselves. If you truly believe what you say you believe, be prepared to defend it.

2. Oh, Penn State, as if your image hasn’t been tarnished enough, now you have sorority sisters making fun of Mexicans. Members of the Chi Omega sorority chapter posted pictures of themselves wearing sombreros and ponchos with signs that read “I  Don’t Cut Grass, I Smoke It”. dead How did you guys not know this was wrong? It’s racist, ladies!

What had you scratchin’ your head this week?

04th Oct2011

Book Review: Are We Living in the End Times? By Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins

by Daenel

Are We Living in the End Times?BOOK DESCRIPTION (FROM THE BACK OF THE BOOK)

27 PERCENT OF THE BIBLE IS DEVOTED TO PROPHECY.

But most of us don’t focus 27 percent of our personal Bible study on prophecy.  Why?  We’re confused.  Or intimidated.  Or both.  This book takes away the mystery ~ and the intimidation.

From the creators of the Left Behind series ~ Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins ~ comes a truly astonishing book.  User~friendly for the layperson.  Remarkably complete for the scholar.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Tim LaHaye, who conceived the Left Behind series, is a renowned prophecy scholar, minister and educator.  He has written over 50 nonfiction works that have been published in more than 37 languages.  He and his wife, Beverly, live in Southern California.

Connect with Tim LaHaye on his website here.

Jerry Jenkins’s novels have sold more than 70 million copies.  His books have appeared on the New York Times, USA Today, Publishers Weekly and Wall Street Journal best seller lists.  He and Dr. LaHaye have been featured on the cover of Newsweek magazine.  Jerry and his wife, Dianna, live in Colorado.

Connect with Jerry B. Jenkins on his website here or like him on Facebook here.

MY OPINION

Every time I read a book by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins, I learn something new.  Based on their best~selling Left Behind series, Are We Living in the End Times is a three~part book that examines today’s culture to determine if we are the generation who will see Christ’s return.  The second part of the book takes a step~by~step look at what will happen to those who are left behind after the Rapture and the last section examines the personalities who will shape end time events.

After discussing what the Rapture means to and for Christians, the authors go on to explain in great detail the horrors those who’re left behind will suffer.  This period, known as the tribulation, will be a seven year series of climate, economic and physical trials that will befall the unrepentant.  The authors go to great extremes to explain that these trials aren’t meant as punishment but as a last ditch attempt by God to persuade them to come to the truth of His love before it’s too late.

While the book relies on the Left Behind series for jumping off points, I like that the authors use the Bible, the words of prophecy experts such as John Walvoord and examples from current events to support their theory that we are, in deed, living in the end times.  Some of the events that they discuss that point to this being the end times are:

  • apostasy within the church (think Chrislam)
  • increased interest in the occult
  • deaths from diseases thought to have been irradicated, famine and warfare

I’d recommend this book for anyone who has an interest in biblical prophecy or end times studies.  Whether you’re new to the topic or have studied the subject extensively, I think you’ll find this book informative, thought~provoking and useful.  And, hopefully, it will make you consider your relationship with the lord.

RATING
★★★★★

Disclosure:  I did not receive any compensation for this post.  I simply read this book and learned so much from it that I wanted to share with you.

26th Apr2011

Religious Civility, Where Has It Gone?

by Daenel
Silhouettes of Three Crosses

Image By Microsoft Clip Art

It’s been a couple of days since Resurrection Sunday (Easter to some) and I’m finally in a place where I can write this post without getting teary~eyed…

On Sunday morning, I woke up and checked up on all my people like I normally do.  I sent out “Happy Resurrection Sunday” messages to a few friends and family and then went on about my day.  Later that afternoon, I checked a couple of my usual online haunts (Facebook, Friendfeed and Twitter) to see what people were up to and was shocked at the level of meanness that people were showing towards those who observe Easter/Resurrection Sunday.  Out of respect and love for my Lord and Savior, I will not repost any of the comments, nor will I link to them, but suffice it to say, some of the comments were pretty nasty.

I realize that not everyone observes the religious aspects of Easter/Resurrection Sunday but I do expect a certain amount of respect for those who do.  I don’t know if I was just being hyper~sensitive that day but it seemed like every TV show and movie was questioning the existence of God over something trivial, so to log on to Facebook, Twitter and Friendfeed and see similar comments or derogatory statements from people I consider to be friends just stung.

In the end, I unplugged for the day and chose to focus on things I could control.  I’m not the type of person who shoves my religious beliefs down the throats of others.  I believe in Jesus and I have accepted Him as my personal Lord and Savior (my statement of faith is even posted on the left sidebar), if you have questions, you can ask me.  I do post things related to my faith on my blog, so my religious beliefs are not a secret nor do I want them to be.

I’m not naive enough to believe that everyone has reverence for that day but I guess I just thought people had a bit more, I don’t know, respect…

What do you do when friends or family belittle your religious beliefs?  Do you call them on the carpet?  Or do you just let it go?

27th Feb2010

Book Review: The Gospel According to Lost by Chris Seay

by Daenel

To say that Lost is a phenomenon would be an understatement. Over the last 6 seasons, I’ve watched and listened as viewers have followed the trials of their favorite island castaways and with the final season just beginning, it seemed appropriate for me to review The Gospel According to Lost by Chris Seay.

As many viewers are aware, Lost is more than a story about a group of people who get stranded on an island, it’s a multi~layered story that explores fate, reason, faith, guilt, salvation and a host of other philosophical and religious tenents. And it’s within this framework that Seay seeks to explore the relationship between the television series and the Judeo~Christian beliefs in redemption and salvation. Although he acknowledges the show’s exploration of other religious beliefs, his analysis is grounded in the teachings of Jesus Christ with reference to the Holy Bible.

One of the strongest points in Seay’s analysis relate to the power of words and the belief that they can shape a person’s future. As an example, Seay talks about the names of the characters and how their names influence their personalities. The writers, he believes, put a lot of thought into the naming of the characters much like Jewish parents put serious thought into the names of their children because they knew there was power (or failure) in a name.

Seay also examines the story of Hurley, who believes he is cursed. This curse, Seay writes, can be traced back to the casual utterance of Hurley’s father: “Having hope is never stupid. You gotta believe good things will happen; then they will. In this world, son, you’ve gotta make your own luck.” With those words, Hurley’s father abandoned him, leaving a young boy (and, ultimately, a grown man) feeling “lost” and worthless. Therefore, the question arises, did Hurley allow his father’s abandoment and fruitless words to bury him in hopelessness or could he have escaped the “curse” and made his own luck?

Whether you are a Christian or not, this book offers and interesting analysis of a television series that has offered so much to so many people.

Disclaimer: This book was provided to me courtesy of Thomas Nelson (which is now BookSneeze) free of charge in exchange for a review. To purchase the book, you may click on the picture or the link which will take you to bookschristian.com. I am an affiliate of the company. This does not in any way influence my review.

22nd Feb2010

Book Review: Broken Angel by Sigmund Brouwer

by Daenel

Broken Angel is set in the future where the United States has been divided in 2: the United States, a secular nation, and Appalachia, a land run by religious fundamentalists. In Appalachia, reading is a crime, citizens are drugged and those who break the laws are sent to slave labor camps.

At the center of the novel is Caitlyn, a deformed young woman, who is being pursued by bounty hunters, who want her dead or alive. The reason for the pursuit is left unknown to both Caitlyn and the reader until the end of the novel, which adds to the suspense. Along the way, Caitlyn meets two traveling companions who are also trying to escape to the Outside (the United States, where choice and other freedoms exist). They are assisted along a modern underground railroad by people who travel in mystery and offer the one thing that everyone in Appalachia has long been denied ~ choice.
This novel offers so many opportunities for discussion, especially in a book club type setting. There are the issues of religious fundamentalism and when does religion become political? Should genetic manipulation be allowed? As a librarian, I was also captured by the concept of illiteracy as a method of controling the masses.
Overall, Broken Angel is an interesting read that raises a lot of questions. Although the ending could have been handled differently, I think the thought-provoking themes override that minor flaw.
The song by Cindy Morgan called Beautiful Bird, and is a companion piece to the novel. It completes Caitlyn’s story.

Disclosure: This book was provided to me free of charge through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers Program in exchange for a review. To purchase the book, you may click on the picture or the link which will take you to bookschristian.com. I am an affiliate of the company. This does not in any way influence my review.

14th Jan2010

Sometimes a Fly is Just a Fly

by Daenel

I remember many years ago during my undergraduate studies I was taking a religion course with a wonderful instructor who had a pretty good knowledge of various religious backgrounds. During the course of the class, he discovered that I had been raised Church of God in Christ and, for whatever reason, this amused him greatly. So whenever something weird happened in class, he would look pointedly at me and say “It’s the devil.”

One day during class, there was a fly buzzing around and being generally disruptive as flies tend to do. The fly made it’s way over to where I was sitting and I swatted at the fly unusually hard. My professor snickered and said, “It’s the devil, he doesn’t want you to take this class.” I looked at him, smirked and said “Sometimes a fly is just a fly.”
I’ve noticed that whenever something tragic happens, people look for someone or something to blame. They seek supernatural answers to what seems unnatural (remember Hurricane Katrina and how many people said it was judgement being rained down on the city?). The problem is that sometimes people blame the wrong things or they give credit where credit isn’t due e.g. “The devil made me do it.” Hurricanes happen, earthquakes happen, it’s not judgement or punishment, it’s a part of the weather cycle. Instead of looking for something or someone to blame, maybe it’s best to just remember that sometimes a fly is just a fly.


To make a donation to help the victims of the earthquake in Haiti, please contact Yele or the American Red Cross

15th Dec2009

Book Review: Green: The Beginning and the End by Ted Dekker

by Daenel

I’ve had a difficult time writing the review for this book… Green: The Beginning and the End by Ted Dekker is probably one of my least favorite books. I’m not sure if I dislike it because I’m not a big fantasy fan or if it’s because I had a hard time getting into the story, but this book simply did not appeal to me at all. Which is a shame because I’ve heard so many positive things about Ted Dekker.

This is the story of Thomas Hunter and the followers of Elyon and their battle against the evil Teeleh. Set in a post-apocalyptic world, this is a classic good vs. evil story that crosses between our reality and a fantasy world where two armies are gathered to fight the final battle in the valley of Migdon. Green is both the first and final book in the Circle Series. It is the starting point of the series for new readers and the final book for those who have read the other books, Black: The Birth of Evil, Red: The Heroic Rescue and White: The Circle.

According to the product description, Green can be read as a stand alone book but I found it hard to follow the story and understand the characters, mostly because I felt like I walked in on the middle of a conversation that had been taking place for an hour. Maybe if I had read the other books, I might have understood the story and developed some sort of connection to the characters.

I can’t recommend this particular book but I’m not willing to give up on Ted Dekker just yet. Perhaps he has better books out there.

Disclaimer: This book was provided to me courtesy of Thomas Nelson free of charge in exchange for a review.

22nd Sep2009

Book Review: Kabul 24 by Henry O. Arnold and Ben Pearson

by Daenel

Kabul 24 tells the story of eight Westerners and their sixteen Muslim co-workers and their three-month long imprisonment by the Taliban in Afghanistan. For three months in 2001, the twenty-four members of Shelter Now International (SNI) are held hostage in the days leading up to the September 11th attacks. This book recounts their interrogations, the sham of a trial before the Taliban Supreme Court and their feelings of abandonment and isolation during their imprisonment. But more than that, this is the story of unwavering faith in something greater than themselves – their faith in God and the belief that their mission was just.

Told from the vantage point of the eight Western aid workers: Peter Bunch, Dayna Curry, Silke Duerrkopf, Katrin Jelinek, Heather Mercer, Margrit Stebner, George Taubmann and Diana Thomas, the humanitarians are ostensibly arrested for trying to convert Muslims to Christianity – a crime punishable by death in the Islamic country. The SNI members are held in virtual isolation from each other, their governments as well as their families, while they are questioned relentlessly. During their 105 days of imprisonment, they are left to wonder if the outside world has any clue as to what is going on with them and if they’ve been abandoned by their governments.
The story opens with the account of an unknown woman (who is only identified as a burka) and her march through the city streets on her way to be executed. Her crime is never mentioned but the feeling of isolation, fear and helplessness are a palpable reflection of the emotions the twenty-four would come to feel.
This book does much to explain the religious and political history of the Taliban and their connection to Osama Bin Laden as well as the origins of sharia law. The customs of the Afghan people are also explained in a way that is sympathetic to them and easy to understand.
I enjoyed this book and was pleasantly surprised to find that it isn’t a “preachy” book about faith but rather a testimony about what can happen when your faith remains unshakeable. That’s not to say the hostages didn’t experience moments of doubt in themselves and their governments but not once did they ever question God or His ability to see them through their imprisonment.
However, I do wonder at the boldness of some of the actions of the hostages in the face of the Taliban who are notorious for their brutality. For example, during one of the interrogation sessions, Diana challenges an interrogator about the Holy Trinity using reason. The interrogator is a brother, a husband and a father, therefore, he is the same man with three roles – the same as God (who is the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit). I marvelled that the Talib would allow a woman to speak of religious matters, especially in an open setting like a courtroom.
Reading this book made me question my own faith and whether or not I’d have the fortitude to stand up for my convictions no matter what the personal cost. While I’d never doubt my faith in God, I wonder if I could be so unwavering.
I would recommend this book for those who not only have an interest in matters regarding faith but are also interested in Afghan history and the lives of a few people who have had intimate experience with the Taliban.

This is a Thomas Nelson Book Review

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