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review 2017-05-24 16:04
The Antichrist and the New World Order
The Antichrist And The New World Order - Marvin Moore

Throughout the early 1990s, many wondered what would be happening next as the globe emerged from under the shadow of the Cold War.  For many Seventh-day Adventists such phrases as ‘the new world order’ instantly brought to mind end-time events.  Editor and lecturer Marvin Moore in his book The Antichrist and the New World Order presented to both general and Adventist audiences the eschatology—the study of end-time events—and doctrines of the Church to answer some of these questions.

 

Moore begins his book with predictions by economists, politicians, and scientists about what would occur during the rest of the 1990s.  Then using that ‘set up’, he slowly introduces the eschatology of the Seventh-day Adventist church along with historical precedents that they point use to support their thoughts and use to answer claims of an ‘alternative’ narrative of the past from other’s.  Moore deftly navigates the reader through the eschatology beliefs of the Adventist church through Biblical sources, the writings of Ellen White, and historical sources.  Yet his tone of presentation is thoughtful and considerate to anyone reading the book, unlike the confrontation style of other’s that I’ve read.

 

The biggest drawback of the book is the obvious dated current events of the late 1980s and early 1990s, especially the titular phrase ‘the new world order’, the predictions of experts about what could happen before the end of the decade.  However, the dated references and such cannot take away from Moore’s inviting tone.  One of the book best features is Moore’s own experiences in relating his own interaction with non-Adventists friends when explaining Adventist end-time thoughts, even relating how one friend said, “That’s stupid”, before they went out to dinner and how they continued to be friends long after the conversation.  Essentially Moore wanted to remind everyone reading his book that Christian friends can disagree and should not holding grudges because the focus is on the destination in which we won’t be grading one another on how accurate we though the journey would be.

 

Though dated, The Antichrist and the New World Order is a thoughtful look at Seventh-day Adventist eschatology from someone well versed in it though his various lectures.  Being both short, very readable Marvin Moore’s book is very good read for both Adventists and the general public.

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review 2017-05-23 20:46
The Better Story
Life of Pi - Yann Martel

Defiantly funny in the face of total devastation, but more than that, ever hopeful. I guess that last is the best part of strong faith. The important part. Inner piece and enduring hope.

 

Here's the deal: I'm an agnostic. We get roasted inside *grin*. I could go a long while about the difference between religion and spirituality, between faith in god and the faith in the future that makes you stubbornly plod forward. I wont. My mom says "there are no atheist in the trenches". I have no idea what an ordeal like this would do to me.

 

But here is the other side, the thing about being an agnostic: I can accept both stories. I can love and believe in the tiger, and I can forgive the killer boy. The tiger is the better story, but to me, disregarding the second feels like hiding from a horrible truth too hard to accept. Just as disregarding the tiger feels like the cruelty of denying absolution, or the company of hope.

 

Good book. The movie did it amazing justice, tight and beautiful and with lovely, memorable music, so I highly recommend it.

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review 2017-05-19 14:55
Silence - Shusaku Endo

An extraordinary novel about the conflicts of faith. Endo examines personal faith, the silence of God, the dissonance of faith versus experience and what it means to be good. Of course, he also examines the cultural clash between Japanese Buddhism and 17thc Portuguese Christianity. And it's a bloody, gruesome, violent clash full of torture, cruelty, and martyrdom. So, what does it mean to be Christian in the face of such suffering? What is our responsibility to God, and to our fellow human beings?

 

The narrative lives in the intersection between belief and questioning. In the preface to the edition I have, Martin Scorsese writes: "It's this painful, paradoxical passage — from certainty to doubt to loneliness to communion — that Endo understands so well, and renders so clearly, carefully, and beautifully in SILENCE." He goes on to say that SILENCE is "the story of a man [Father Rodriguez] who learns —so painfully —that God's love is more mysterious than he knows, that He leaves much more to the ways of men than we realize, and that He is always present . . . even in His silence."

 

It is also the narrative of Judas, that great and wretched betrayer. Here the spirit of Judas is inhabited by the cowardly and craven Kichijiro, although perhaps not only by him. That is for the reader to decide. Endo forces us to confront one of the most disturbing questions in Christianity. Who was Judas? What was Christ's response to Judas and what did it mean? As Scorsese points out, with the discovery of the Gospel of Judas, "these questions have become even more pressing."

 

The writing is more distanced — particularly in the first part of the novel, far less in the later sections — than might be comfortable for contemporary Western readers, by which I mean more summary than scene. However, if one perseveres, the rewards, at least for this reader, are significant.

 

I will be thinking about and re-reading this work for some time. There is so much to mine here, especially in the last section, where the philosophical and theological questions come into sharp, and agonizing relief.

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review 2017-05-14 01:56
Sabbath Roots: The African Connection
Sabbath Roots : The African Connection - Charles E. Bradford

The observance of the seventh-day Sabbath has been a contentious issue amongst many Christians for centuries in Europe and North America, but one place that may startle many is that it has been the same in Africa.  In his book Sabbath Roots: The African Connection, Charles E. Bradford brings to light many tribal and cultural customs from across the continent giving the reader evidence of the memory and observance of the seventh-day Sabbath from all corners of Africa.

 

With over 2000 years of Biblical history as well as cultural studies of hundreds of tribes across an entire continent as well as the African diaspora to the Americas, Bradford had many sources to navigate and reference to give readers a sense of how Africans fit into the continuing debate on the Sabbath.  Beginning with how God is seen from the Biblical prophets and how He is perceived in the minds of Africans on both the continent and diaspora, Bradford brings to light where each stands to the other.  Afterwards, he delves into the subject of the Sabbath on the African continent in relation to God and to cultures in and outside of Africa.  Finally Bradford turns his attention to the history of Christianity on the continent, with a main focus on colonial period which it was considered both a forced religion from the outside and a religion of protest from foreign occupation.

 

In roughly 230 pages, Bradford had to cover a lot over a wide scope of scholarship and while he did a remarkable job in an engaging text and strong use of numerous sources there was only so much he could do and does leave readers with questions.  The biggest and most important issue deals with the Sabbath itself.  Outside the well-known Black Jewish groups, the Falasha and the Lemba, and writing briefly about the Jewish diaspora in Africa, Bradford does indicate if the cultural and tribal traditions of the seventh-day Sabbath across the continent are all from Jewish contact or a mixture of Noahide memory and contact with Jewish influences.  This lingering question while not invalidating Bradshaw’s thesis, does leave it up to interpretation.

 

Although the question of when Sabbath entered into the cultural traditions of tribes all over Africa is unanswered, Sabbath Roots is still a very welcome addition to information about the seven-day Sabbath.  But Bradshaw’s book should only be considered an introduction, especially in relation to Africa, and should inspire readers to look for more information after reading.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-05-08 20:25
(Pre-)Review: "A Time to Rise" (Apocalypse of the Angels, #1) by Tal Bauer
A Time to Rise - Tal Bauer

It's hard for me to review this book properly right now, because even though I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, it ends with a lot of unanswered questions AND a tentative HFN.

 

I need to know what direction the sequel will take first (and there better be a sequel!), before I finally make up my mind.

 

Because one of my most loathed pet peeves reared its ugly head at the end:

 

a fucking love triangle

(spoiler show)

 

So it could go either way at this point.

 

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