Thursday, January 26, 2006

The Da Vinci Code

Warning: Possible plot spoilers ahead

I started the book on Friday night at 11:30pm. I only read the Prologue which is not even 3 full pages and I was interested. I spent much of the day reading on Saturday as it was a lazy day with no agenda for us. I only got to read a little bit on Sunday between services and company. I finished the book on Monday afternoon after my immigration medical. Obviously at the rate I was reading it, you can tell that I enjoyed it. For a mystery novel, it had all the right elements. I'm not an book review expert, just my humble opinion. It was fast paced and kept me guessing.
One of the neat aspects of the book are the use of anagrams. I found myself trying to figure them out before the characters did. However my complete lack of art knowledge was my main obstacle. As a Protestant Christian, I did wince when the British Royal Historian Teabing began his diatribe on the "facts" of Jesus' life. He asserts that Jesus' marriage to Mary Magdalene is a matter of historical record. He then proceeds to refer to The Gnostic Gospels as his source. From the scant research I've done about the criticisms of this book, his use of this book is called into question. Why Dan Brown chose to include a book that has been widely criticized and apparently refuted by many scholars one can only guess. I'll let you conduct your own research into the matter if you so desire. The historian goes on then to claim that Jesus and Mary not only were married but that they had a child whose name was Sarah. He then asserts that this royal blood line(Mary supposedly came from the tribe of Benjamin) is the real meaning behind the Holy Grail, Royal Blood. Much of this being "hidden" by Leonardo Da Vinci in his painting The Last Supper.

Since I know nothing about some of the historical topics covered in the book, I am at a real disadvantage in knowing what is truth and what is fiction. So I probably will spend a fair amount of time with Google and Wikipedia to get it all sorted out. However, the one thing I know to be true is that Jesus, the Son of God, is who the New Testament says He is. If you're in doubt, do some research. But don't take Dan Brown's word for it.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Nate Saint's story

Here is a news article about this upcoming movie.
And here is a link to an article discussing the controversy surrounding this movie produced by Every Tribe Entertainment.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Lessons from the School of Prayer

This is the title of Chapter 1 of D.A. Carson's book A Call to Spiritual Reformation.
Let me briefly list the eight lessons he gives to shape a successful prayer life.
1) Much praying is not done because we do not plan to pray.
- Wise planning will ensure that we devote ourselves to prayer often, even if for brief periods: it is better to pray often with brevity than rarely but at length.

2) Adopt practical ways to impede mental drift.
- You can do many things to stamp out daydreaming, to stifle reveries. One of the most useful things is to vocalize your prayers....It simply means you articulate your prayers, moving your lips perhaps; the energy devoted to expressing your thoughts in words and sentences will order and discipline your mind and help deter meandering.

3)At various periods in your life, develop, if possible, a prayer-partner relationship.
- ...Praying is an immensely intimate business--and intimacy in one area leads to intimacy in other areas, [so choose an appropriate partner]. Prayer partners are as valuable for the discipline, accountablity, and regularity they engender as for the lessons that are shared.

4)Choose models--but choose them well.
-Most of us can improve our praying by carefully, thoughtfully listening to others pray. All[good models] are characterized by a wonderful mixture of contrition and boldness in prayer.

5) Develop a system for your prayer lists.
- Many Christians who give themselves to prayer, however find that in addition to such published information[i.e. Operation World], it is wise and fruitful to prepare their own lists.

6) Mingle praise, confession, and intercession; but when you intercede, try to tie as many requests as possible to Scripture.
-This rich mixture is nothing more than a reflection of the many different components of the kind of relationship we ought to have with the God of the Bible.

7)If you are in any form of spiritual leadership, work at your public prayers.
- It is not a question of pleasing our human hearers, but of instructing them and edifying them. Good praying is more easily caught than taught.

8) Pray until you pray.
-We are especially prone to such feelings when we pray for only a few minutes, rushing to be done with mere duty. To enter the spirit of prayer, we must stick to it for a while. If we "pray until we pray", eventually we come to delight in God's presence, to rest in His love, to cherish His will.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Still bookish

One of the many downsides to finishing a much enjoyed book is that within a day or so the story and its characters or the topic and its adherents become like a distant relative. You enjoyed them so much when they were with you but since time has elapsed since your last visit you don't have a reason to keep them at the forefront of your daily activities. The problem is further compounded by starting a new book with new faces and issues. Life has moved on and there are fresh plots and points to rehash in your mind as you absentmindedly wipe the counter or put on your coat. Favorite parts to smile again over or stirring ideas to rekindle. Reading is a necessity in the civilized world, but reading is anything but civil. People and their problems, real or imagined barge into your brain when you are least expecting or at least unintentionally expecting it. Before you know it, you have spent the last four minutes of your drive to the bank wondering what plot turn is next. And of course you have no recollection of what turn you just made as you sail through a yellow light. Scrubbing the sink and you'll wonder if the author is as witty in real life as they are on paper or does the editor help put those things together that make you spontaneously smile. Oh, yes. Reading is certainly not civil. How can one politely explain that they have not been listening to the last full minute of your conversation because something was said five minutes ago that made them think of their current reading material? Realizing that you just smiled over something that you can't explain without getting into a full blown book talk. So you just smile demurely and hope they'll let you get home to your book!