Review: If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B Movie Actor

If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B Movie Actor
If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B Movie Actor by Bruce Campbell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I don’t even remember where I obtained this book, but have enjoyed reading about the developing career of Bruce Campbell. When I started the book I had no idea who Bruce Campbell was, but since I enjoy “B” movies, thought I would like to read about some of the “behind the scenes” situations. I was not disappointed. This was a good “continue latter” book for me. I could easily pick up where I left off after weeks of not touching it.

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Review: More Like the Master: Reflecting the Image of God

More Like the Master: Reflecting the Image of God
More Like the Master: Reflecting the Image of God by Randy Jaeggli
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This is a good book on practical implications of the attributes of God. I like the way the author seems quite comfortable in using the Old Testament in teaching. The weakness of the book is the numerous rabbit trails the author takes. They are not refreshing breaks but frustrating dogmatic prooftext arguments for his positions.

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Review: For Laci

For Laci
For Laci by Sharon Rocha
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I picked up “For Laci” at the library, intending to read it as my true crime book for 2012. However after reading the book I don’t think it should be classified as true crime. Having been so close to the victim, she was not in a position to see what was going on. She wasn’t there when the crime was committed and did not have knowledge about the direction or progress of the investigation. The book narrates the initial grief of a mother who has lost her daughter in a crime. I have mixed feelings about this book.

I found the book dull and not well thought through. Some passages just seemed to go on and on about how wonderful her daughter was and how much she misses her. The perspective of the author is very narrow. For example, she passes judgment on someone, and then a few chapters latter does the exact same thing herself.

I did find positive aspects also. The exercise of listening to a mother grieve was helpful to me. The book reminded me that we all have a way of seeing ourselves different than we really are. I was captivated by the responses different characters had to events and influences throughout the book, and I felt guilty at being so impatient with the author in her great loss.

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Review: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” is one of my all time favorites. I feel it has been one of the most influential books in my life. It showed me about thinking freshly about a concept, without having to forget all previous notions. As a seven year old, reading about Aslan slain on the stone table made me realize how Christ was not powerless at the crucifixion, but almighty God giving his life willingly. Having just re-read the book with my wife, I am still emotionally moved by these stories, and especially “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”.

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Review: Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith

Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith
Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith by Jon Krakauer
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Having enjoyed “Into Thin Air” and heard good things about “Into the Wild”, I decided to read “Under the Banner of Heaven”. The experience was disappointing. It reads like a travelogue in crime-history. I had the sense of a distant author, observing the events, without comprehending the religious and philosophical nuances of what he saw. It was a bit shallow.

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2012 Reading Challenge

Inspired by seeing my aunt Linda’s goodreads reading challenge goal, I have decided to set a goal for my own reading in 2012. Every year I have been reading through a theology book, but this year I decided to read 40 books, and specifically find titles in certain categories.

  • Bible
  • Theology
  • Biography
  • Inspirational
  • Classic
  • Science and Technology
  • Christian Fiction
  • Mystery
  • True Crime
  • Bible Commentary



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Sacred Power, Sacred Space

I read “Sacred Power, Sacred Space” by Jeanne Halgren Kilde yesterday.
(248 pages, paperback, Oxford University Press)

The book is written from a heterodox position. The author views Christianity
as being about power and by extension the buildings used for Christian worship
as tools and expression of power enforcement and struggle. Even so the brief
survey was beneficial as it extends from the first century to the twentieth in 248
pages. If only more pages could have been spent on the design, philosophy and
theology and how it materialized in the architecture and less on the soapbox of
power I would have planned to read the book again. As it is I will save myself
the time.

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Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic

I picked up “Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic” by David B. Currie and Published by Ignatius Press. It was a quick read (paperback, 215 page)

This book was a bit of a letdown. On the positive side the Author articulated his unanswered questions in fundamentalism and explains Catholic theology in evangelical terms. The negative side is that his arguments are not all that strong and fail to convince. I have had conversations with Catholic seminarians where Catholic theology was defended much more skillfully. I felt his argument for Eucharist to be the strongest, and yet not convincing. Beyond that, the author’s arguments hinge on the acceptance of the invalidity of sola scriptura.

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Current book list

The first two books on the list are ones I have just finished.

Seamos Dedicados” is the Spanish translation of one of the “Be” series devotional commentaries by Warren Wiersbe. Our Sunday school class has just gone through the book of Esther, and this book was support reading for that class. Through the series the verse that was both a challenge and a comfort to me was Esther 4:14. Mordecai tells Esther that her decisions have personal repercussions to her and her family. (Wasn’t Esther an orphan and isn’t Mordecai her family?) In the same verse we see that God will accomplish His will in spite of what Esther does. (I know, God isn’t mentioned, which ironically ads to the comfort I find in the verse – even when we are away from God and don’t call his name, He is still in control and cares)

My wife and I read “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins together. We initially picked up the book to look at how Suzanne Collins handled description in a first person fictional narrative. The story was captivating, though, and we now plan on reading the next two books. It felt a bit political-social “preachy” but was gripping, hard to put down.

We have now started “Blue Shoes and Happiness” the 7th book in the No1 Ladies Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith. We bought the Book at Barnes & Noble where it is shelved in the mystery section, although I think of it more as a story about a woman who happens to be a detective. Its strength is the description of life in Botswana. It makes you want to visit these places and meet these people. I find I want to keep reading, but I don’t wonder about the plot or the “story” The bishop’s car might or might not come up again in the book, and it doesn’t matter, because we read to share bush tea with Mma Ramotswe and Mma Makutsi.

I have taken up “The Story of Christian Theology” by Roger E. Olson  for my 2011 Theology reading as “The Greatness Of The Kingdom” by Alva J. McClain wedged its way into 2010. I am enjoying it thoroughly. I find I go back and reread previous chapters as events unfold. Although the book is thick in inches, it is light in reading and easy to understand.

On a lighter side I am reading “The Geese of Beaver Bog” by Bernd Heinrich. The author describes the geese that spend time around his house in semi-rural Vermont. I am fond of geese watching (I also like corvids) and am familiar with the area, which adds to my sense of connection. Although Bernd is a professor emeritus in the biology department at the University of Vermont this book sets aside technical language to narrate observations on his neighborhood honkers.

In “More Like The Master”, Randy Jaeggli presents very practical applications to theology proper. Early in the book he states “…the main purpose of the Old Testament was to show the character of God and to prepare God’s chosen people to recognize Christ for who He was-God in human flesh.” I am reading this book in preparation for a course that I will teach in the fall.

My interest in family history has given me with a desire to properly store and care for “family treasures”. From books and wedding dresses to tools and toys, I am learning to properly store and preserve these items. Don Williams and Louisa Jaggar have written a book entitled “Saving Stuff” for people in my position.

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A letter to my son

“It’s a boy,” announced Dr. Edmundson. Those words flooded me with joy. The Lord had given me my desire. A son! You, dear son, were the answer to my prayers.

I was the first of the four daughters born to your grandparents and although my sisters and I love each other dearly, I missed not having a brother. As an adolescent I once prayed, “Lord, if I have to have either all boys, or all girls, please give me all boys.” Your grandmother was one of three daughters and she had three brothers. That sounded like the ideal family equation to my young mind.

Early in my pregnancy, your father and I discussed names for our unborn child. If we would have a boy, we decided he should be named John David. John meas “God is gracious” and David means “Beloved One”. God is indeed gracious and He showed it in giving you to us, our beloved son.

You were the first of the three sons the Lord so graciously entrusted to our care. The girls didn’t arrive and although I would have liked to have had a daughter, I was content with my sons. I remember laughing and telling people that I would let my sons choose and bring home our daughters. Now I have my three sons and my three daughters – the ideal family equation.

Happy Birthday, dear John.



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