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Archive for the ‘Reviews: Books & Movies’ Category

Barrabbas

This interesting video does a good job of portraying the reality of one man’s freedom granted by Christ. I wonder if we will see Barrabbas in heaven some day. The sacred text never tells us of his conversion, but one must wonder still. The marvel of the gospel is the granted pardon on the basis of faith alone in the work of Christ.

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big-questionsSo you want your house to be more like a business. Well not really, you just want your home to be organized enough that you can find harmony for the souls of all that live there. A great place to start would be with a legitimate strategy for home sanity! This is the point of “The 3 Big Questions for a Frantic Family”, Patrick Lencioni, Jossey-Bass Press, 2008

My wife went away to a ladies conference and picked this book up while there and asked, no demanded that I read it. After the ensuing fight/discussion I sat down to do my assignment. I have a confession to make: I love “free spirit make the plan on the fly” living. I thought this book would say I was the problem, but no this book actually gives freedom to every person by revealing a key issue called “context.” What is context you ask? Context is the key to the Rubik’s cube of a families existence. It is seeing how things fit into the whole. Read the book for more details?

Here is why this book has a good design: It is written like a story. The chapters are super short. The ideas are very workable. The situations are real and valid. Many very good examples are given.

Here is what I wished the book could have done: Relate to Biblical data some. Discuss objectives of families values and assign worth from God’s perspective. Give me an excuse to not do what was being proposed. Okay, so that last one is probably a strength after all, but still now I have to admit my wife was right again!

Now what is the big plan? Simply put a real method of discerning and organizing your family toward achieving goals is set forward. The whole thing takes an hour or so to set up, and then only minutes a week to keep going. The remarkable feature is it gives a realistic method of evaluating what to do, and determining what not to do as a family.

To the authors I say thanks, as you will too.

Copies can be purchased on any major booksite i.e. Amazon.com or through www.tablegroup.com (Patrick Lencioni site).

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The story is repeated all across America, two pretty decent people are married yet their marriage is a wreck. It is headed for divorce unless something dramatic happens. Caleb (Kirk Cameron) is a local fire chief, and Catherine (Erin Bethea) is a hospital PR director. The outwardly cute couple face a home life devoid of joy, and they decide it’s not worth keeping. The movie introduces something you normally don’t see on the screen, the God of the Bible, to find hope in solving their challenge.

Okay, so I like to watch Jane Austin stuff and this just falls short in drama and storyline, but Fireproof is believable. In fact, beyond believable, it is the kind of situation that really happens in marriages. One of the issues Christian film makers have is developing realism. Does a Christian movie maker have the freedom to show David and Bathsheba on the screen of a 21st century drama? Obviously, Alex Kendrick (Director) didn’t think so.

I am not sure, but I must consider this, most people can imagine the appropriate f-bomb or Internet porn site, so that it is not necessary to depict it on the screen. Do couples fighting in their marriage need help in understanding how to fight? I don’t think so. What the movie does provide is some realistic hope and suggestions on where to turn. Like for instances: show a little compassion, read your Bible, find some good friends that will give proper advice. How about this concept: talk with someone who faced a similar challenge and overcame it! Wow! Now that’s some good direction.

The movie is less drama, but still believable especially when compared with Facing the Giants (previous movie by the same company). Truth is movie making is hard work and we really don’t need to beat people over the head with the challenge and then say the flick is a waste.

Fireproof makes a very good point of a Biblical marriage values in the present secular world. The creators decided not to hide behind the excuse of we can’t make it as good as Hollywood so we give up. The film is very clear to the Bible’s ideals of lifelong marriage, forgiveness rooted in Christ’s sacrifice, and appropriate ways to live out ones faith toward others in the workplace. PS not everyone will accept you! Kids can see this movie, but it may not be a theme they readily grasp.

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“The Shack” by William P. Young, Windblown Media ISBN 978-0-9647292-3-0

 

Almighty God fixing you pancakes in the morning sounds like a stretch. Hang on though; he’s also black and a woman. This is the kind of stuff sure to make a hard core theologian squirm. But don’t give up, the message of grace is there and worth pondering again.

 Now this book is not about evangelism. It is a study in how a personal relationship with God helps those who have great issues of damage from living in this world. Consider this, we were made to have a relationship with God so if we are damaged, our ability to relate to God has probably been harmed as well.

Now instead of your average book on pain “The Shack” is a story about a man who, like Job, is mystically granted that interview with God, just minus the three unhelpful friends. Here is where the rub comes in: God isn’t anything predictable.

 Amazingly, Young does a great job of revealing the role of pain in God’s plan of redemption. The character that plays the role of Jesus is a sort of cool geek. If you can get past these images, the message is thought provoking. The roles of the Godhead are being explored in how they function in relating with man.

 The whole book will take a slow reader less than a weekend, but let me give some frank evaluation. The theology is sometimes simplistic, but just when you are about to give up on the book a profound statement or reflection keeps you reading. The author is clearly attacking legalism and cultural Christianity. It is sometime unclear, but apparently reformed theology is not a favorite of William’s.

 Repeatedly, Young returns to the basic theme of God’s sustaining unconditional love. This love is such that the believer can know he is secure. You don’t earn it, but it is granted through faith. Those are sweet words to read!

I personally have just read through Job, and was struck by the differences between God’s encounter with Job and the one we see in “The Shack.” This conflict clearly should be resolved in favor of Job and the inspired text! Yet, “The Shack” does maintain a tension between God and man that is in keeping with the Job tale.

 A friend summed up his recommendation with these words, “A seasoned Christian will profit from reading, but be wary of some of the details.” I would add that the story is generally well told, and helped me reflect on my relationship with Christ.

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