I originally gave this book only two stars, but decided the reader of this review, if used to the usual scale of ambition among Filipino novels, might...moreI originally gave this book only two stars, but decided the reader of this review, if used to the usual scale of ambition among Filipino novels, might misunderstand me.
You see, I'm convinced this book is a milestone for Philippine books, earning it a place in the history of Philippine storytelling. And when I give it 2 stars, I do so on a scale that has Orson Scott Card and Ursula leGuin at the 5-star mark. Karen Francisco's opus, while in many ways technically flawed, is good enough that to not place it on a scale with the greats would do it a disservice -- although on such a scale it might not score as highly as it otherwise might. Francisco's narrative has ambition, chutzpah, and with some editing, an appeal capable of crossing ethnic or national boundaries.
Don Richardson's Eternity in their Hearts plays an important role in my bookshelf - it, along with a handful of CS Lewis' works, the primary bridge be...moreDon Richardson's Eternity in their Hearts plays an important role in my bookshelf - it, along with a handful of CS Lewis' works, the primary bridge between the "Christian" shelf and the "Cultural Studies, Anthropology, and Anthropology" shelf.
Its premise is that, within the fabric of each of the world's cultures are embedded threads -clues in the form of stories and traditions - that point the way to the Gospel message. If a missionary is senstive to such stories and traditions, it becomes easier for him or her to communicate the good news of Jesus Christ in a way that is deeply understood by peoples hearing it for the first time.
You can imagine how this would be controversial.
Imagine if a people reached by the gospel message for the first time believed in, say, a creator deity. Would it be appropriate to associate the name of God or of Jesus Christ to that deity? Where lies the boundary between a people's belief in the one true God, creator of heaven and earth, vis-a-vis, say, a Sun-idol?
Richardson takes up the matter very seriously, but there are those who strongly disagree with him. In fact, most Christ-believing readers will come to this book inclined either to strongly agree or strongly disagree with Richardson.
Me, I tend to approach the idea with much caution, and only ever on a case-to-case basis. But I think it must be taken seriously, lest the evangelist become guilty of "adding to the gospel" in the act of insisting that the people he shares the gospel to understand it and react to it in exactly the same way the west does, coat and tie and songs about winter and spring and all. (Or have we forgotten that a good number of people never reached by the good news have never even SEEN snow, much less winter?)
Read it with open eyes and ask yourself if your understanding of the good news of Jesus Christ has been embellished by the specific patterns of your culture. And ask yourself if it is proper, in passing on the message, to force your own culture upon these people.
But keep talking to people - within and outside your culture - about Christ. We believers were commanded to. This book is good because it might just help you do it more effectively.
RE de Leon Agoo, La Union 12:18 AM December 9, 2011 (less)
Finished reading The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit? This is the next Tolkien book I'd recommend, a good introduction to Tolkien the essayist and th...moreFinished reading The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit? This is the next Tolkien book I'd recommend, a good introduction to Tolkien the essayist and the short-story teller. The short story "Leaf by Niggle" and the essay "On Fairy Stories", alone, are worth the purchase, and the other pieces are pretty good too. (One wishes the poem "mythopoeia" were here too, but alas, it is not.)
The only downside to this book is that it overlaps with quite a few other Tolkien anthologies. But in most cases, that's okay, because the scholarly tone of most of Tolkien's work means only very few people collect all Tolkien the anthologies, anyway.
At any rate, if I were to come up with a list of BASIC Tolkieniana (er... that looks strange. No wonder that term isn't used more often), it would comprise of: 1. The Lord of the Rings; 2. The Hobbit; 3. The Tolkien Reader; 4. The Silmarillion; and 5. Humphrey Carpenter's "Tolkien: A Biography"
And then you can explore the rest of Tolkien's body of work as you see fit, based on what you've sampled. But if you want to get to know Tolkien's work with any degree of credibility, the material you find in "The Tolkien Reader" are must-reads.
RE de Leon 11:20 PM January 5, 2010 Agoo, La Union, Philippines(less)
The degree to which you enjoy this book will depend on exactly how much you like Tolkien. Unlike The Silmarillion, this piece, as with the rest of the...moreThe degree to which you enjoy this book will depend on exactly how much you like Tolkien. Unlike The Silmarillion, this piece, as with the rest of the books in these series, is comprised of fragments of text cobbled together by JRR Tolkien's son Christopher, with Christopher's notes on the evolution of the material. It will give you insight into Tolkien's process of writing. And it will show you the various directions Tolkien was headed in whilst writing the Silmarillion. And yes, there is great story here, but it is incomplete, and it'll take hard work on your part to piece the parts together, even with Christopher Tolkien's guidance. If you're still interested, congratulations. You're a real, deep-down Tolkien fan. Ifr you aren't, no need to fret - but there's no need for you to buy this book either. I can't imagine not having a copy, though.
RE de Leon Agoo, La Union, Philippines 10:51 PM January 5, 2010 (less)
Said to have been noted by CS Lewis himself as his favorite authored book, this piece was written rather late in his life and benefitted from the inpu...moreSaid to have been noted by CS Lewis himself as his favorite authored book, this piece was written rather late in his life and benefitted from the input of his wife Joy. (They didn't meet and get married until very late in life.)
I tend to believe this is Lewis' best work of fiction. And second only to The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe on the list of must-read Lewis fiction.(less)