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April 23, 2009

Daily roundup

April 21, 2009

Daily roundup

What Social Conditions Promote Reconciliation?

As We Forgive 2 Jordan Ballor over at Acton's Power Blog turns his attention to As We Forgive in week two of my fourteen-week blog tour. (Aren't familiar with a blog tour? It's the poor man's--er woman's book tour.) I'm hoping to use these 100 days to raise awareness and support for reconciliation in Rwanda. As the week unfolds, look for a review of the book on Acton's site, some personal reflections, and some Acton Institute folks weighing in on a recent trip to Rwanda.

Ballor introduces the Power Blog's question of the week: What social conditions promote reconciliation? I'd be interested in hearing our Point readers weigh in on that one as well.

By the way, I just heard that As We Forgive has already gone into its second printing!

April 20, 2009

Daily roundup

There’s a Thing Called Grace

09speaker_joe After spending many years living a sordid lifestyle and promoting the same through his art, by the grace of God, screenwriter Joe Eszterhas had a change of heart. 

On April 25th, Biola University is hosting a conference about faith and the entertainment industry at which Eszterhas is the keynote speaker. 

If you can't make the conference, you might consider purchasing Eszterhas's book, Crossbearer: A Memoir of Faith.

(Image courtesy of Biola University)

April 17, 2009

Daily roundup

A prodigal returns

Wilson The very last thing I ever imagined myself saying to A. N. Wilson was "Welcome home, brother." God is good!

(Image © Sutton-Hibbert/Rex USA)

Gift idea

Elementscover For those of you who like to do your Christmas shopping early (what is wrong with you?), here's one you can add to your list for Gina, Catherine, Lori, me and all the other book nerds of your acquaintance.

The Elements of Style, the definitive writing guide by E.B. White and William Strunk Jr., turns 50 on Thursday. To mark the anniversary, its publisher has released an elegantly bound, gold-embossed hardcover edition containing notes about the book's history.

This would be a much better gift than the one suggested by the Dorothy Parker quote at the end of the NPR piece:

"If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, the second greatest favor you can do them is to present them with copies of The Elements of Style. The first greatest, of course, is to shoot them now, while they're happy."

(Image © Longman)

April 16, 2009

Daily roundup

’Jesus is an Elephant’

Colbert Ehrman The traditional view of the divinity of Christ and the crucifixion narrative gets a defense from an unlikely source.

(Image © Comedy Central)

The god who makes you happy

Michael Gerson, writing of a new book on neuroscience's exploration of religion:

"How God Changes Your Brain" has many revelations -- and a few limitations. In a practical, how-to tone, it predicts "an epiphany that can improve the inner quality of your life. For most Americans, that is what spirituality is about." But if this is what spirituality is all about, it isn't about very much. Mature faith sometimes involves self-sacrifice, not self-actualization; anguish, not comfort. If the primary goal of religion is escape or contentment, there are other, even more practical methods to consider. "I didn't go to religion to make me happy," said C.S. Lewis, "I always knew a bottle of port would do that."

April 15, 2009

How else am I going to live?

Art.marlee.matlin.cnn Actress Marlee Matlin appeared on Larry King Live Monday night and talked with Joy Behar (who was sitting in for King) about her new book and a long-ago abusive relationship with actor William Hurt, her co-star in Children of a Lesser God.

Behar: You're very nice to him in the book. You have an acknowledgment in the book for William Hurt.

Matlin: Look, he is a very good actor. I have nothing but the utmost respect for the work we had together. I was a fan of his before I met him.

Behar: But if he hasn't apologized and you still feel that he was very wrong in the way he behaved, why do you acknowledge ... ?

Matlin: If he apologized, I would forgive him, but I won't forget.

Behar: You won't forget, no. But you've forgiven him in this book, it seems to me.

Matlin: How else am I going to live? How else am I going to live? You have to try to find the heart to forgive.

That last line by Matlin reminded me of Catherine's book As We Forgive. Many of the survivors of Rwanda's genocide discovered that same truth. Catherine began writing her book on Rwanda as I was finishing up my book on children of divorce. That theme of forgiveness ran through both our manuscripts, and we had several discussions about why we forgive and how we forgive and what God requires and doesn't require of us in this whole process. There were no easy answers. 

One thing stands out to me. Whether it's an actress forgiving an abusive boyfriend, a genocide survivor forgiving the man who killed her family, or a young adult forgiving a parent for abandoning the family, seen from the outside forgiveness is one of those things that does not make sense, especially when the perpetrator has not asked forgiveness. And yet, for the person living with the deadness that accompanies pain, forgiving is often the only way back to real life.

(Image © CNN)

April 14, 2009

Daily roundup

John Steinbeck, prophet?

Joads_grapeswrath Today is the 70th anniversary of the publication of Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath. As this article states (backed up by another article that we posted here recently), the author had some prescient words for our own generation: 

"If I wanted to destroy a nation," he wrote in 1966, "I would give it too much and I would have it on its knees, miserable, greedy and sick."

(Image courtesy of Getty Images)

’As We Forgive’: Glimpsing the face of Jesus

Speaking of As We Forgive, Mary DeMuth has the sixth and last part of her interview with Catherine up at the My Family Secrets blog.

Resurrection Hope in the Valley of Dry Bones

Ezekiel Speaks to the Dry Bone

The hand of the Lord was upon me and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley, it was full of bones. He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. He asked me, "Son of man, can these bones live?"

I said, "O, Sovereign Lord, you alone know." (Ezekiel 37:1-3)

I had an email yesterday morning from one of the Rwandans I interviewed in my book, As We Forgive. As you may or may not know, this is an especially hard time in Rwanda, as this April marks the 15th anniversary of the genocide. My friend was particularly asking for prayer amidst this season of remembrance, and shared with me that they've just unearthed some more bones and will be able to finally bury his fiancée's father.

In Rwanda, so many bodies were dumped into mass graves. When I read a passage like Ezekiel 37, I can't help but think of these piles of bones bleached by the African sun in open graves. Here's the thing that gets me: The hope of the resurrection amidst a picture like this. 

Continue reading "Resurrection Hope in the Valley of Dry Bones" »

April 13, 2009

Daily roundup

April 07, 2009

Daily roundup

April 06, 2009

Daily roundup

Hope amidst the Bones

Rwanda_slah This week's Newsweek features the Chairman of Prison Fellowship Rwanda, Bishop John Rucyahana, who returned to his Rwandan homeland after the genocide to help rebuild the broken nation. Ellis Cose documents some of his experiences in this week's piece:

When Rucyahana got back to Uganda in mid-July, he rented a minibus, hired a driver and took to the road with 10 other pastors. They crossed into Rwanda and made their way to Nyamata, near Kigali, the capital. The violence had died down but death was everywhere: "We saw mass graves; we saw dead bodies. In one home, we found 27 dead bodies. . . ."

Rucyahana had to act. Initially, he ran seminars, urging people to repent and rebuild. But that wasn't enough. So in 1996, he packed up his family and returned to the land of his birth to preach hope standing on "a pile of bones," as he puts it. One of his first tasks was to build a boarding school for orphans: "Having lost a million people, lots of babies were left behind." The school in Musanze, near the Volcanoes National Park, opened in 2001. It is now one of the best schools in the country. It is called Sonrise, which, Rucyahana explains, "means the Son of God rises into the misery, into our darkness."

I share part of Bishop John's story, and one of the stories of a student at the Sonrise School/Orphanage, in As We Forgive. To read his full memoir, take a look at his own The Bishop of Rwanda. I'm so glad that the wider world is being introduced to Bishop John, the recipient of BreakPoint's 2009 Wilberforce Award, and to the amazing things God has been doing in the aftermath of this tragedy.

By the way, on this day, 15 years ago, Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana's plane plummeted from the sky after being hit by a missile. It became the albatross around the neck of the Tutsi people when Hutu claimed that the RPF shot it down. The sudden streak of a missile and the fiery light of a falling plane were a diabolical kind of fireworks that night--evil's unseemly opening ceremonies to a hundred days of slaughter that would consume the country.

(Image © Newsweek)

April 03, 2009

What would Jesus walk on?

Ecopalm_247 The green movement has hit the second greenest Christian celebration, Palm Sunday, when fronds of green palm branches are waved by children and adults in church services only a few months after all the Christmas (or Chrismon) trees were taken down. This year, in a move that might make the Sleeths happy, a number of churches have gone free-trade with their palm fronds. Spending a few more dollars, they are buying palm fronds through a university project that promises sustainable farming and fair wages.

Gina's post on the Sleeths' book has generated a lot of discussion about the green movement and how (or if) it should intersect with our faith. What do you all think? Is the idea of free trade palms one you'd like to see in your church?

(Image courtesy of UMCOR/Lutheran World Relief)

Narnia: Darkness in disguise?

Wardrobe

Writer Laura Miller had a book-length attack of the vapors over the discovery that C. S. Lewis, author of her beloved Narnia books, was a Christian. For her, Christianity is "a black hole, sucking all the beauty and wonder out of Narnia."

Dr. Devin Brown of Asbury College takes Miller on in an article at the C. S. Lewis blog:

Although she devotes most of her book to describing her rocky relationship with the Narnia books, she is never able to articulate exactly why learning that they represent C. S. Lewis’s attempt to put his most foundational beliefs into story form “horrified” her.

Would she have felt so horrified had she discovered Lewis was a Buddhist?

What would be said about a Christian who first loved a book but then became angry and rejected it after discovering its author was, for example, Jewish or Muslim and that the story reflected his or her underlying beliefs? My guess is that such a reader would be labeled as narrow or bigoted, and rightly so.

Miller states that in Narnia we find a “better” world, a world “fresher, more brightly colored, more exhilarating, and more fully felt,” a world that is “merry, enchanted, and boundless.” She then goes on to maintain that the Chronicles of Narnia are “really just the doctrines of the Church in disguise,” an institution which she asserts is characterized by “endless proscriptions and requirements,” by “guilt-mongering” and “tedious rituals.”

One of these claims must be false.

Read more.

(Image courtesy of the C. S. Lewis Blog)

April 02, 2009

Daily roundup

April 01, 2009

Daily roundup

Going green for God

Go Green Yesterday I spoke on the phone with Nancy Sleeth, author of the new book Go Green, Save Green. Sleeth and her husband, Matthew, are the founders of Blessed Earth, "an educational nonprofit that inspires and equips faith communities to become better stewards of the earth." Her husband and daughter have also written books on the subject. (We don't yet have the books here, but review copies have been shipped to our office, so you'll be hearing more about them in the future.)

Matthew Sleeth was an emergency room physician who was becoming concerned about what he saw as an increased incidence of environmentally caused diseases (in one week on the job, he saw three women in their thirties with breast cancer), as well as what he heard scientists saying about the decreasing of living material on the earth. He left his job and the Sleeths became what Nancy calls the "poster family for the downwardly mobile." Once they had made drastic reductions in their own energy usage, they set out to help others do the same.

At the same time, the Sleeths were starting a new "faith journey." Nancy had been raised Jewish and Matthew Protestant, but aside from celebrating holidays, the family had little interest in religion. Nancy quips that in their house "the Fiddler on the Roof slipped down the chimney and laid Easter eggs." But her husband had discovered a Gideon Bible one day in the hospital during a slow day, and "he picked it up and read the Gospel of Matthew and his life changed." Nancy and the children soon followed suit. Thus, Nancy says, "Our stewardship journey and our faith journey were parallel."

The Sleeths believe that helping save the creation is a way to honor the Creator, and that the Bible makes a solid case for taking care of the environment. "It's old theology; it's nothing new," Nancy explains. "We're just reminding people." The response they're getting from churches around the country has been "amazing," especially now that Christians, like the larger population, are trying to save money as well as natural resources. That's fine with Nancy: "I don't care if it's motivated by economics, it's doing the right thing." 

Continue reading "Going green for God" »

Weapons of Mass Distraction

Quiverfull As the resident "birth dearth" guy, I wasn't prepared for my reaction to this NPR story. As a Catholic who has written a lot about the impact of falling birth rates (if you are so inclined, Google "Roberto Rivera" and "birth dearth" or "empty cradle" to see just how much), you would expect that I would applaud a story about my evangelical brethren eschewing birth control and having big families.

Instead, I felt kind of creepy. It obviously wasn't the subject matter and it wasn't the families featured in the report -- I liked them a lot.

It wasn't the quality of the reporting, either. While, as my friend Terry Mattingly will tell you, the press doesn't "get religion," NPR does. This is especially true of Barbara Bradley Hagerty. And it certainly wasn't anything that Kathryn Joyce, the author of Quiverfull: Inside The Christian Patriarchy Movement, had to say. I tune out terms like "Patriarchy movement" and those who speak them.

No, what creeped me was what Nancy Campbell, "a leader of the Quiverfull movement," told NPR:

"The womb is such a powerful weapon; it's a weapon against the enemy . . . I think, help! Imagine if we had had more of these children! . . . My greatest impact is through my children. The more children I have, the more ability I have to impact the world for God."

Sigh. Stuff like this strengthens my growing conviction that translating the scriptures into the vernacular was, on balance, a bad idea. While I guess that I should be grateful that Campbell doesn't think that children are literally projectiles (although you never know), calling them "weapons" is the kind of thing that if we were Jewish would be called a shanda fur die goyim (a shame before the Gentiles), something that brings us all into disrepute before the world by confirming some of the worst suspicions about us.

Continue reading "Weapons of Mass Distraction" »

March 31, 2009

Daily roundup

’As We Forgive’ makes the rounds

Catherine_web_t599 Catherine's book, As We Forgive, has been getting some great press. A sample:

Chuck and Mark have also covered the book, and Mary DeMuth continues her Q&A series with Catherine here. And Catherine will be doing an interview for Key Life Radio and be featured in By Faith in the near future.
(Image © Catherine Larson)

March 30, 2009

Immunized against Idiocy

Check out this delightful refutation from the Clapham Institute of a new, and ridiculous, claim being made in a recent IBM ad -- that "math is the only language all human beings share."

March 27, 2009

Daily roundup

Open book thread: In memoriam

Open book 2 Yesterday was the 15th anniversary of my Grandpa Albert's death. I'm dedicating this week's open book thread to him. 

Not because he was a great reader -- in general he was content with the newspaper and the TV news -- but because the title character of my favorite short story, "Neighbor Rosicky" by Willa Cather, reminds me so very much of him. There are some significant differences in ethnicity, appearance, family situation, and so forth. But in the essentials -- such as his care for his family; his love of his farm and of nature; his work ethic; his kindness; his desire to be a peacemaker; and even his health problem -- Rosicky brings my grandfather back to me strongly. So strongly that the first time I read the story, the climactic moment made me burst into tears.

That doesn't mean it's one of those stories that set my teeth on edge. Far from it. Even with the sadness that's woven into it, the denouement is a beautiful, satisfying tribute to a life well lived.

You can read the story here. And if you'd like to tell us about a story or book that's touched you deeply in some way, use the comment section below.

Little D day

LittleDorrit My review of Little Dorrit, which begins Sunday on PBS, is up at NRO. Some of you may also enjoy this Boston Globe piece, which compares the miniseries to Lost!

I'll be blogging about the show at Dickensblog every Sunday night while it runs, so come on over after each installment if you feel like engaging in a little discussion.

(Image © BBC/PBS)

Corroborating ’The Truth about Forgiveness’

Bernard Williams Since Sunday, folks have been telling me about the Washington Post Magazine's piece "The Truth About Forgiveness." I finally had the chance to read it today and was blown away. The story follows Bernard Williams and the murder of his son, nicknamed "Beethoven," by a neighbor, William Norman. 

The writer, Karen Houppart, does a fantastic job recreating not only the crime, but the subsequent meeting in prison between this bereaved father and the neighbor who killed his son. I won't give away the ending but there is definite movement toward forgiveness and reconciliation in this piece.

It struck me while I was reading it that this is the same story I've told in As We Forgive, only in a different context. The chronology is even the same. This murder happened in Baltimore in 1994. The murders I write about happened in Rwanda in 1994. And so the length of time that has gone by for the bereaved is also the same. The methods used to bring healing are very much the same: restorative encounters between offender and victim, marked by remorse and repentance on behalf of the guilty and risk and radical grace on behalf of the offended. The truths that get them there transcend context.

The writer mentions a movement in our society toward embracing forgiveness, not just for those from a religious background, but by scientific research also. Here's a snippet:

While spiritual leaders have long asked folks to accept the benefits of forgiveness on faith, the secular world has lately jumped on the bandwagon -- and proffered scientific evidence to support this view.

Continue reading "Corroborating ’The Truth about Forgiveness’" »

March 26, 2009

Daily roundup

March 25, 2009

Whatever Happened to Spiritual Discipline?

Praying-hands It's a perennial problem: some people think they can buy their way into heaven. Here's the latest scheme: paying for a computer program that promises to "give you the satisfaction of knowing that your prayers will always be said," even if you don't actually pray. 

For those who are tempted to purchase this spiritually deadly product, there are a number of books which can direct you on how to develop healthy spiritual discipline.

To get you started, here are two recommendations:

* The Art of Praying: The Principles and Methods of Christian Prayer by Romano Guardini

Guardini says that a person who is seriously seeking God cannot rely upon spontaneous prayer because "steadfastness would vanish." He continues, "[P]rayer is not merely an expression of the inner life which will prevail on its own, but is also a service to be performed in faith and obedience."  

Unless praying becomes a discipline, we can experience a range of negative emotions--everything from "boredom" to "hostility." Unless we develop intentional prayer, Guardini warns, all other activities besides prayer "appear...more attractive and more important."

As for forgetting to pray, as the website advertisement blithely puts it, Guardini also warns against "specious justifications." Say it like it is--you just don't feel like praying. After all, one wouldn't want to add lying to oneself or God to the list. 

Continue reading "Whatever Happened to Spiritual Discipline?" »

March 24, 2009

Daily roundup

Hooked

Hooked In the past few weeks, both Chuck and Wendy Shalit have reviewed Hooked: New Science on How Casual Sex Is Affecting Our Children, by Dr. Joe McIlhaney and Dr. Freda McKissic Bush. I have an interview with Dr. Bush in the works, but in the meantime, both of these reviews are well worth a read. 

(Image © Northfield Publishing)

Quote for the day

One of our longtime and highly esteemed Pointificators once asked to be reminded when it was time once again to check Dorothy L. Sayers's great play cycle The Man Born to Be King out of the library. He had the Christmas season in mind, but my own preferred time for a rereading of this classic is right before Easter. So everyone consider this quote (one of my favorites) your reminder!

"The Master's the only good man I ever met who knew how miserable it felt to be bad. It was as if he got right inside you, and felt all the horrible things you were doing to yourself. . . . But I don't suppose Judas ever let him in. He was too proud. I think it was harder for him than for people like Matthew and me and that poor robber on the cross. We know we're so awful anyhow that it's no good pretending we're not, even to ourselves."

Spoken by Mary Magdalen, Play 12, "The King Comes to His Own," in The Man Born to Be King

March 23, 2009

Daily roundup

’As We Forgive’ Q&A, parts 3 and 4

Mary DeMuth has two new installments of the interview with Catherine on her blog, here and here.

They were expendable

Knowing The following contains extensive spoilers about the recent films Watchmen and Knowing, so I'm going to put almost the entire post under the jump. Proceed at your own risk!

Continue reading "They were expendable" »

March 20, 2009

A threat to Christian books in prison

Prison chapel libraries may soon become sparser if the Bureau of Prisons gets its way. In its zeal to prevent inmates from becoming violent religious radicals, the BOP has proposed a policy that would snatch from inmates' reach any materials that “could” incite, promote, or suggest violence. Religious liberty groups, such as the Alliance Defense Fund, are up in arms. Rightly so.

The Bureau of Prisons’ proposed language casts such a wide net that many Christian books and even the Bible itself could wind up on the banned list if someone can conjure up their possible link to violent behavior. The BOP tried something like this a couple of years ago by setting up the Standardized Chapel Library Project, which created a black list of religious texts to be removed from prison chapels. The list was so extensive that it threatened prisoners’ right to practice religion. Thankfully, the Second Chance Act discontinued the Project. The Second Chance Act also tried to prevent any future BOP schemes by allowing the Bureau to only remove materials that “seek” to incite violence. Apparently, the BOP has little intention of remaining within the bounds of the law.

Keeping inmates from becoming religious radicals is necessary for public safety. But the BOP’s broad, hazy language poses a grave threat to peaceful religious expression. If the BOP is truly interested in protecting us from violence, it will encourage inmates to read books that lead to their moral transformation. 

Genius book titles

Mister Ego It's been a pretty good week for these. First there was Mister Ego and the Bubble of Love (thanks, again, to Bookshelves of Doom for that one). I don't even begin to know what to make of that. Then there was Batman and Philosophy: The Dark Knight of the Soul, which wins the award in the subcategory of Genius Subtitle.

Anyone got any more?

(Image © Namaste Publishing)

Open book thread

Open book 2Go here (and do a bit of scrolling) to see what I've been reading this week. Then come back and tell us what you've been reading!

March 17, 2009

’Unwind’ and the imagination

Unwind As I was looking at one of my favorite book blogs recently, my eye was caught by this review of Unwind by Neal Shusterman.

Generations from now, after the Heartland War, life is protected from the moment of conception until age thirteen.  Between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, the parents or guardians of the now-teenaged child have the option to "unwind" -- to retroactively abort -- him or her.  If the parents choose to do so, the teen is sent to a harvesting facility where their body is taken apart and reused. . . .

Unwind was outstanding.  Really freaking outstanding.

I was impressed by, well, everything.  It deals with abortion without ever ever ever feeling preachy -- I didn't once feel that Neal Shusterman revealed his opinion on the issue.  It was action-packed and exciting (I read the last few chapters with my heart in my throat) yet that there was so much to think about -- the characters have conversations about the soul, whether it exists and where it is, and about when life begins.  There are things that can be interpreted in different ways -- some people will attribute those events to science whereas some may attribute the same events to something less tangible. 

The three major characters have distinct personalities, and the character development (especially of the two boys) is very well done and the secondary characters never blend together or into the background.  The unwinding scene is as stomach-turning as anything I've ever read by Stephen King, but without being graphic or gory.  While exploring different visions of our future world, I look for a couple of things beyond the future-stuff:  to see enough of the familiar to make it still seem like our world and to see how our language and stories have evolved.  In Unwind, I found both.

Continue reading "’Unwind’ and the imagination" »

’As We Forgive’ Q&A, part 2: REACHing for forgiveness

We've gotten a little behind (this installment went up last week), but here's the second part of Mary DeMuth's six-part Q&A with Catherine about As We Forgive.

DeMuth: On page 91 of As We Forgive, you describe Dr. Everett Worthington’s path to forgiveness. What is the acronym he created?

Larson: Dr. Worthington, one of the world's leading researchers on forgiveness (his work is sponsored by the Templeton Foundation) uses the acronym REACH to talk about the forgiveness process.

The R is for recall the pain. He says that we need to go back and remember the event, remember what happened and allow ourselves to feel that pain. I would add here that when peace, or shalom is broken, that there is a righteousness to our anger and grief. If we didn't feel those emotions, there would be something broken in us. The evils done to us are "not the way [it's] supposed to be" to quote Plantinga's Breviary of Sin. But [it's] what we do with those emotions.

The next step, E, is empathizing with the offender. This doesn't mean excusing or condoning what that person did. It does mean thinking through the wrong from that person's perspective, trying to feel with that person, even imagining the circumstances, events, and emotions that led that person to that place.

The third part, A, is Altruistic gift of forgiveness. At some point, you extend the gift of forgiveness. I like that he uses the word "gift" to describe forgiveness. Forgiveness is a gift--one of the costliest gifts any of us ever offers.

The next letter, C, stands for Commit publicly to forgive. Worthington believes that a public commitment to forgiveness helps us when we come back and doubt ourselves. Committing publicly makes us not only more accountable, but also makes this act of the will tied to a specific time and place in our minds.

And finally, the H is for holding on to forgiveness. So many times when you hear people talk about forgiveness it sounds like this one time act that you do. I suppose in some cases that's true, but in many cases fresh memories or pain is going to resurface and we're going to have hold on to that [commitment] we made to forgive. That's one reason I often talk about forgiveness as a journey.

Read more.

March 13, 2009

The Paradise War

The Paradise War I've been on a Celtic kick of late, reading a couple of T.M. Moore's books on St. Patrick and Celtic Christianity, as well as re-reading Thomas Cahill's How the Irish Saved Civilization. However, a new-to-me find in a related fictional vein is Stephen Lawhead's The Paradise War (the first book in The Song of Albion trilogy). I've not finished it yet, but I'm already enthralled by Lawhead's story and, most definitely, his prose style. How can I, an English teacher, not love passages like this? The main character, Lewis, is describing what it's like to listen to a bard tell tales of Albion:

She sang their loves and hates, their striving and peacemaking, their glorious feats and pathetic failures, their wisdom and folly, their wondrous lives and miserable deaths, their towering great goodness and their shocking evil, their mercies and cruelties and triumphs and defeats, and the eternal verity of the endless cycle of their lives. She sang, and the length, breadth, height, and depth of human life passed before me. When Gwenllian sang, I knew what it was to be human....To hear [her] sing was to enter a waking dream of such power that time and the elements faded away....When Gwenllian sang, those who heard tasted of a higher life.

I suppose it is fitting that an author would capture so perfectly what it means to read and experience stories. Are there are any other Lawhead fans out there, especially those who have finished the Albion trilogy? If so, weigh in with your thoughts about why you like his works.

(Image © Thomas Nelson)

March 12, 2009

Putting his money where his mouth was

A new book details a Victorian-era attempt at what we today might call "restorative justice," conducted by -- guess who?

March 11, 2009

Daily roundup

March 10, 2009

Daily roundup