Lexi Grǘdden Solomon has had a rough life. She married poorly, her husband getting hooked on meth and then dealing before being sent to prison leaving her to raise Molly by herself. Grant, that's her husband's name, had these two contacts, Warden Pavo and Norman Von Ruden. Warden was the main dealer, the one who got him hooked. Norman was another businessman who got hooked and his life began to fall apart. During the time Grant was zoned out on meth Lexi had an affair with Norman. Her sister tried to end it, but the one time she saw Norman he killed her in broad daylight. That was seven years ago. Now, after all this time, all three of these men find their way back into her life, and she's about to come apart at the seams. To top matters off Lexi's dad had to be put in a facility for the aged after having a breakdown upon Tara's death (Lexi's sister). This was further complicated when her mother took off on her whirlwind writing trips, returning every so often just to see how she's doing...or to be more precise ow Molly is doing.
Enter Grant again, on parole, Ward again, with a demand that cannot be kept, and Norman who is up for parole. Enter a hulking man who happens to turn up at every opportunity and you pretty much have the story, only it won't follow normal logic. The ending is powerful and leaves you with more questions than you had, while answering all those questions at the same time. There are several places where the writing could be a bit tighter, but they are overshadowed by the powerful message in the story, and some real literary genius. This story doesn't have quite the edge you'd expect of a horror story, but it has that and more for a good suspense. In any event it's a book you won't want to miss.
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I apologize for not being more active, but not having other reviewers or books to review, it's been a little difficult. However I want to let you know about this wonderful DVD "God's Not Dead." Working at the library I found it on our shelves and took it home. When I brought it back I raved about it. I wanted to take it out again, but it seems word gets around. It's always on hold for someone else. That's great.
The opening scene is in a freshman college philosophy class. The professor states he is an atheist, and asks that if everyone will sign a paper with 3 little words on it he can dispense of the dust and get to the subject. Those 3 words are "God Is Dead." One student cannot sign that. He is given 3 chances to argue the case of the existence of God before the class.
Fueled by hate on one side and a determined love of God on the other this is not your simple movie. The poor kid researches and goes off on a journey of his own to state his case. The end is nothing short of amazing. I guess telling people stuff like this is one of the reasons I can't get a hold of it a second time. It's really that good.
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May our Lord be with you now and always. Remember, God is in control, even when things look like they're crashing all around you. David
Friday, April 29, 2011
Thursday, April 28, 2011
Please do yourself a favor and watch something else. This movie is the pits. I'll explain that in a bit. In fact this movie is so bad I had to put a post up here to warn people about it.
At first you aren't sure where Brian Dannelly is going with this. I requested the movie from another library thinking it would be good Christian fun. (After watching the stand up routines of The Apostles of Comedy I was in the mood for more good Christian comedy. Saved! didn't deliver, not even close).
The film stars Jena Malone, Mandy Moore, Maculay Culkin and Patrick Fugit in the most distorted view of Christians I've ever seen. Jena Malone plays Mary, the good girl who has it all together until her boyfriend tells her he's gay. Believing Jesus has told her to save him by having sex with him she not only does not save him, but gets pregnant in the process. Mandy Moore plays Heather, the most obnoxious Christian you'd ever want to meet. She is quick to judge others by her own set of rules, and finds herself lacking in the end when everything comes unraveled. (She even plows her minivan into a huge statue of Jesus knocking its head off. One of her more famous lines is answering Roland's (Maculay Culkin) question about Jesus not being white. "Of course he's white. You're such an idiot." Roland happens to be a cripple due to a fall out of a tree. He's also not a Christian, at least that's what he says. Right like real Christians are so quick to call others idiots and put them down. Roland falls for the only Jewish person in the Christian school, run by Pastor Steve, who is having an affair with Mary's mother. There literally is so much in this that opposes, makes light of or outright mocks true Christianity. Yes I have seen people who have called themselves Christian act like some of these characters, but few of them know their Bible or can boast of a personal relationship with Jesus. They don't even know what that means. One of the amazingly twisted things in this movie is that this Jewish girl (Cassandra), who has been booted out of every other school is portrayed as the hero of the movie. She's the one with compassion and pulls Mary, Patrick Roland and others together.
Let me explain some things. I do not hate homosexuals. I hate the homosexual activity. The people themselves can be very loving and wonderful people. Nor do I hate or despise Jewish people. I usually find them to be energetic about their beliefs and interesting to talk to. I've been invited to their Passover Seders, asked to read during their Sabbath observances, and was even introduced to the Grand Rebbe up in these parts, and he prayed a prayer of blessing over me. (I also prayed a prayer of blessing over him).
People are people. We are all sinners. All of us deserve Hell. Not a single one of us deserves to go to Heaven and be with God, not one. Yet, the true message of Christianity is that God loves us so much that He came down in the form of a man, the one we call Jesus, preached, taught, healed, drove out demons, was arrested, tried, beaten, tortured beyond human comprehension, made to carry His own cross until He was physically unable to do so, died for all of us, whether we accept Him or not, rose from the dead, ascended to the Father and is coming again. It is Jesus who makes me perfect before my Heavenly Father, not because I am perfect, but because He is perfect and has taken my sin on Himself. He has done the same for everyone else. When He was dying on the cross He looked down through the corridors of time and saw you and me and loved us. How do I know this? Because as He looked at us doing all the unkind, evil, sinful things we do on a daily basis He said, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." If you are willing to accept that kind of love, to receive this beautiful grace from God just call out to God and ask for it. For the Bible says, "Whosoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." It doesn't say you have to go to a certain church. It doesn't say you have to keep a certain catechism. It doesn't say you have to dress a certain way or talk a certain way. All God asks is that you accept the gift of His son's death for you, and ask that same son into your life. That's it. Oh there's more if you want to grow in the Lord, sure. But basically that's it. His love. It's all you'll ever need.
So instead of getting all bent out of shape by watching this movie, watch another one instead. I strongly suggest The Secrets of Jonathon Sperry, or if you like something a little different try one of the Chronicles of Narnia movies (or better yet read the books) or even The Lord of the Rings. There is a lot out there that is good. The Bible is true. God is both loving and just. He's not up there waiting for us to trip up so He can strike us down with lightning bolts. Neither will He sit idly by and let you or me destroy our lives. If you learn one thing and one thing only learn that He loves you with an everlasting love. Then start from there. At some point you'll need someone, a pastor or minister or priest, to help you by teaching you the Word of God, but for now all you need is to come to Him. He will teach you. He will comfort you. He will protect you in the palm of His hand.
Christianity isn't joining some hip club or elitist group. It's becoming part of the family of God, walking in love as Jesus loved the Father and walked in His love. So the true Christian will love ever other Christian. They will put them above themselves, and they will love those who aren't even Christians. Why? Because that's what Jesus does. He gave us the example of walking in love and the Holy Spirit to empower us to do just that.
My heart was truly saddened by this movie. The actors, I'm sure, didn't realize how grossly irreverent they were. Too bad they couldn't have put their talents to work to give us a true Gospel message, and yeah, it could have been funny.
Posted by David at 11:42 PM
Wednesday, April 06, 2011
There are a lot of really great people I've met over the years through The Christian Fiction Review Blog, but possibly none so energetic, complex and entertaining as Caprice Hokstad. Caprice has helped out with CFRB practically since her membership cleared. Folks who have read our book tours may remember those little buttons for the different CFRB Members. Caprice made them, and did a lot of the HTML as well. She's a great encourager too, which shouldn't come as a surprise, although she has one difficulty, to my knowledge. Caprice seems to find it difficult to accept encouragement...but I try anyway.
Caprice is author of The Duke's Handmaid and Nor Iron Bars a Cage, two excellent pieces of fantasy. I call it high fantasy even though you won't find any magicians working their spells or magical creatures. It is simply a book about a different society done with the flare and panache of any swashbuckling fantasy you've ever read.
I could say a whole lot more, but I can just picture this marvelous woman turning beet red about this point (either from embarrassment, or more likely with anger) so I'll hold off. I do want to provide a link where you can read a very insightful interview. Robynn Talbert gives a remarkable interview that I think you will all enjoy.
Robynn's Interview with Caprice Hokstad
Posted by David at 9:33 AM