I just reread this book and once again I loved it. It is a wonderful story that makes me think deeply on life, truth and faith. And it makes me shed aI just reread this book and once again I loved it. It is a wonderful story that makes me think deeply on life, truth and faith. And it makes me shed a few tears. Owen Meany is a great character, and the supporting characters are mostly rather good. I did forget how dull the narrator, Owen's friend Johnny Wheelwright, is. He never seems to have much emotion about anything, seemingly detached from all that goes in throughout the story. But maybe that is the point: next to the towering figure of Owen Meany, everyone else is uninteresting. I stand by what I said when I first read it:
This is one of my favorite novels of all time. Interesting and surprising and inspiring....more
Everyone is buzzing about this book, it is the hot book right now in some circles. I found the story to be well-told and engaging. The author draws usEveryone is buzzing about this book, it is the hot book right now in some circles. I found the story to be well-told and engaging. The author draws us into the pain of the father, Mack, whose youngest daughter is kidnapped and murdered; we experience Mack's pain as he struggles with her loss, with forgiving himself, and eventually with having to forgive the murderer. Just the story alone gives much food for thought on forgiveness.
The controversial aspect of the book is that Mack goes through much of this soul searching as he spends a weekend with God who appears to him as the Father (an African woman called "Papa"), the Son (Jesus, a middle eastern man), and the Holy Spirit (Sarayu, an Asian woman). The author is careful to note that though all three appear in human form, only Jesus has become human flesh (the Word became flesh). It appears the author is attempting to stay true to orthodox trinitarian theology with three persons who share one being. The way they appear is to intentionally shock Mack: he expected God to be a gray-haired white man so he gets a large African woman. If God is going to appear to someone in a fictional story, the appearances in this way do not seem to be heretical.
Overall I think there is good and bad in this book. Those who denounce it as evil should slow down and find the truths in it. On the other hand, those who embrace it as one of the best books ever should also slow down and realize that the Shack's image of God falls short when critiqued in light of Scripture. Think of Isaiah's vision of God in Isaiah 6 and John's vision of the throne room in Revelation 4-5; the majesty and the grandeur of these visions is a long way from the easy-going God in The Shack. That presents a problem for the theology of The Shack: how do we reconcile Papa with the Biblical Father God? God is certainly loving, as the Shack emphasizes, but there is also judgment and awe-inspiring majesty, which there is no hint of in the Shack.
Basically, my opinion is that The Shack is a decent book to read and to drive us to think on forgiveness, reconciliation, God's purpose in the world, evil, and love. Maybe it can help us correct some false images of who God is: the distant, uncaring, almost Deistic deity that many Christians in America seem to believe in. Conversely, we need to realize The Shack offers a skewed version of God more in the image of what humans desire God to be than what Scripture shows God to be....more
Anne Rice is courageous for attempting to tell the life-story of Jesus in a first person narrative. This book chronicles his life from the time his faAnne Rice is courageous for attempting to tell the life-story of Jesus in a first person narrative. This book chronicles his life from the time his family leaves Egypt for Nazareth up to his time in the Temple questioning the rabbis. It is clear that Rice did much historical research into the first century and has a desire to be accurate in her portrayals.
Perhaps the most valuable part of the book is the few pages in the epilogue where Rice shares a bit of her own spiritual journey back to Christianity. She reveals many of the authors and books that helped her along the way and influenced her in the writing of this book. She also explains her rationale for utilizing some of the legendary accounts of Jesus' childhood from outside of scripture.
Overall, Rice attempts to get into the mind of the orthodox Jesus who is both God and man. Through this book we see the human Jesus grow in his awareness of who he is, his relationship to the Father and his purpose. Jesus emptied himself of his divinity when he took on flesh; at the same time he was divine from the moment of his conception. In writing a novel from Jesus' perspective there will always be a lot to critique and question for no one really knows what was going on in his head as he grew up in first century Palestine. I recommend this book as it is written out of respect, honor and love of Jesus.
For a detailed critique focused on the historical setting (Jesus and his family were probably not in Egypt for 7 years, the rebellion in the book would have taken place after they returned to Nazareth) check out Ben Witherington's review: http://benwitherington.blogspot.com/2......more
I first read this book years ago in college. Recently I felt compelled to read more fiction, and I thought I'd return to this series. This book got meI first read this book years ago in college. Recently I felt compelled to read more fiction, and I thought I'd return to this series. This book got me hooked on the Wheel of Time series years ago. Like many fantasy novels it takes up a classic story: young man leaves home life as a farmer, finds adventures in the world and discovers he is 'the one'. In this story the young man is Rand al'Thor, the adventure is finding the Eye of the World and defeating the Dark One, and the question is whether Rand is the Dragon Reborn. The story here is straightforward, though reading it again and knowing where the story goes, I was surprised at how many seeds for later plots were laid in this book. Overall, an entertaining read good for a Sunday afternoon....more
This was my third Michener book and I have enjoyed each of them! Centennial started off slow, the chapter on the land was a drag for me. But soon theThis was my third Michener book and I have enjoyed each of them! Centennial started off slow, the chapter on the land was a drag for me. But soon the story pulled me in. There were a few other places where I felt the story dragged, but overall it was great! I still liked The Source and Chesapeake better, but I will definitely read more Michener....more
This story of plague and how people deal with it, set in the African town of Oran, is well-told and thought-provoking. Camus gives us memorable characThis story of plague and how people deal with it, set in the African town of Oran, is well-told and thought-provoking. Camus gives us memorable characters and weaves in a good bit of philosophy. We have the Christian priest who at first sees the plague as a judgment from God before undergoing a change in views, while wrestling with the question of providence and whether a Christian can see a doctor. The main character is Dr. Rieux, a staunch atheist who in fighting the plague, even though his work appears to do nothing to stop it, is seen as honorable. In this Camus is teaching his existential philosophy that though life is meaningless to rebel and live some sort of meaningful life. Overall, this was a good read and I recommend it for any who wrestle with meaning, morality and other such questions....more
Lewis, of course, gives a well-written and intriguing story of Dr. Ransom who is abducted and taken to a far-off planet where he meets all kinds of inLewis, of course, gives a well-written and intriguing story of Dr. Ransom who is abducted and taken to a far-off planet where he meets all kinds of interesting characters and has adventures. Mixed into the story is a good deal of moral philosophical discussion. Good stuff....more
Good story. We travel with Professor Ransom to the planet Perelandra (Venus) where there exists an unspoiled world akin to the Garden of Eden. It is uGood story. We travel with Professor Ransom to the planet Perelandra (Venus) where there exists an unspoiled world akin to the Garden of Eden. It is up to Ransom to fight against the evil forces that want to destroy this world also. Lots of food for thought here. Again, and not surprising since it is Lewis, a fictional story is filled with philosophical and theological speculation.
Very different from the first two books in the series. I thought it was faster-paced with more fleshed out characters. Liked it, but like the first twVery different from the first two books in the series. I thought it was faster-paced with more fleshed out characters. Liked it, but like the first two books it will not go down as a favorite....more
The Chronicles of Narnia, though enjoyed by adults, are children's books. Till We Have Faces is a wonderful story for adults. In the Narnia stories ChThe Chronicles of Narnia, though enjoyed by adults, are children's books. Till We Have Faces is a wonderful story for adults. In the Narnia stories Christian symbolism is thinly veiled while here it is more profound and disguised. Lewis gives us a story with deep meanings, but finding them requires much thinking. I finished this book a few days ago and I am still pondering on what the "moral" of the story is; I presume I will return to this book often. Symbolism and deeper meanings aside, Till We Have Faces is fantastic story-telling. Written from the persepctive of Princess Orual as a complaint to the gods. Ugly Orual's beautiful younger sister Psyche is sacrificed to the gods in hopes of turning the failing kingdom's fortunes around. Weeks later Orual goes to retrieve her beloved sister's bones, only to find that Psyche is happily living in an enchanted land as the bride of the god (Cupid). Orual's protective love for her sister immediately causes problems...but I don't want to give the story away! Read it! You will enjoy it as a story and you will find much food for thought.