Monday, October 31, 2016

Book review: 'Godlings' by Cy Chase

Godlings is a strange novel. It is supposedly a retelling of the creation story; I didn’t know what to expect other than that. The first few introductory pages left me confused as to what exactly was happening. There’s this female character called Erg who is talking with someone she calls ‘Papa.’ And then there’s this black ball thingy whom Erg calls ‘Mr Ball’ (duh!). Erg tries to talk to the ball, but the ball is... Well, it’s a ball! Honestly, I was left scratching my head. But I lumbered on—with mixed results.

There is very little here of what I would call ‘a narrative voice’; most of the writing is black and white. What we basically get is narrated action and a whole lot of animated conversation filled with scientific terminology from the two main characters. Erg is the ‘Eve’; she’s childlike, emotional, and quite untamed. Atom is the ‘Adam’; he’s gentle, strong, and very protective of Erg. The two struggle to grasp their roles in the new world. They try to deal with the absence of Papa. And it is not long before they fall in love (boom!) and develop a chemistry together. Whether the characters are likable or not, I leave that to you. Personally, I felt conflicted about the way both Atom and Erg try to 'contribute' to each other. Their relationship feels more like a contemporary dysfunctional one rather than the first one in the new cosmos. One can even conclude that Atom and Erg are the Adam and Eve of Americana! There's even a speech about how democracy is good for everyone, and poor Atom has to listen to it just after he saves Erg from a snake bite.

Godlings will probably resonate with most readers. Unfortunately, for me, it is somewhat of a mixed bag. With its lack of compelling insight, it is like old wine in new wineskin.

CLICK HERE to buy 'Godlings' on Amazon.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author and/or publisher through the Speakeasy blogging book review network. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR,Part 255.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Book review: 'The Divine Dance' by Richard Rohr w/ Mike Morrel

Richard Rohr is a Franciscan friar and teacher on the contemplative way of life. The first book I read that was written by him was Falling Upward—an astonishing read which I wholeheartedly recommend. In Divine Dance, Rohr, assisted by Mike Morrell, takes on the subject of the Trinity and what it means for humanity.

If creation is the result of a triune Creator, what are the implications? Too many theological works on the Trinity stress on ‘explaining’ the Godhead, defending it within the realm of logic, and hence missing out on the limitless consequences it has for creation as a whole. Rohr’s attempt is a fresh take on the subject. He focuses on the ‘dance’ between the members of the Godhead. He writes,

Whatever is going on in God is a flow, a radical relatedness, a perfect communion between Three—a circle dance of love.


The dance is unceasing; it has something to say about our relationships. Rohr introduces us to a beautiful artwork—a Russian icon portraying the three guests of Abraham. The three guests, or the Trinity, are seated and about to dine at a table. Quite surprisingly, there is a vacant place at the table—there is room for a fourth person. That person is creation itself. God is not content with a closed dance; he wants creation to join in! From here onwards, Fr. Rohr takes the reader on a journey unlike any other.

Rohr shatters our concept of a god detached from everything he created. He destroys, with meek and sincere charm, this god who is the ultimate critic and judger of mankind. He passionately reveals the triune God who is absolutely and unconditionally in love with creation. This Christ-like God is scandalous to our conditioned ‘dualistic’ minds, but yet so infectious that we are compelled to return his love. His love ‘flows’ unendingly (gasp!).

Nothing human can stop the flow of divine love; we cannot undo the eternal pattern even by our worst sin.

And if you believe there is anger and wrath in God, you know where that leaves you. Heresy, you say? The crucifixion says otherwise; and Rohr’s meditative words illustrates a God who is relentlessly loving and forgiving even when ‘crucified’ by our disconnectedness from his flow of love. This disconnectedness—this hyper individualism is what’s keeping us from experiencing the flow of the Godhead. Participation in this dance is just the kind of salvation we need; Fr. Rohr explains this effortlessly in page after page after page.

What Christianity needs today is a paradigm shift—something that will energize it out of its catatonic state. If the message in Divine Dance is taken seriously and sincerely, I believe nothing will ever be the same, and that includes our families, friendships, marriages, politics... everything! It is why I absolutely recommend this book to followers of Jesus everywhere.

CLICK HERE to buy 'The Divine Dance' on Amazon.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author and/or publisher through the Speakeasy blogging book review network. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR,Part 255.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Book review: 'The Remnant' by Monte Wolverton

The Remnant is a post-apocalyptic story set in a world where religion is outlawed thanks to a cataclysmic nuclear war. The Earth is now ruled by the ‘World Federation’—an atheistic organization that blames religion for the ‘Final War.’ The novel follows Grant Cochrin—husband, father, and Christian. Grant and his family are some of the few who have chosen to practice religion and, as a result, they are sent to a labour camp due to the Federation’s no religion policy. The Cochrin family is content with their ‘jobs’ and ‘security’—until Grant meets a person who tells him that there are Christians who gather in ‘the wilderness’ outside the Federation’s safety zone. The Cochrin family, along with a few others, break out of the camp and are on their way to this mysterious church. This is where the story actually begins.

What seems like a fairly straightforward post-apocalyptic road story slowly turns into a commentary on religious fraud, sensationalism, control, and manipulation. Grant discovers this community of believers and meets with its leader—a self-proclaimed prophet. He is puzzled when he sees the different worldview of this prophet as compared to Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. When I read this, I was surprised at how similar the story is to my own ongoing spiritual path. The Sermon on the Mount was my very first look at Christ’s teachings, and it is Grant Cochrin’s only remaining possession from the Bible. Grant knows nothing of Jesus apart from the famous Sermon, and so did I.

Wolverton builds his story with a steady, if somewhat subdued, pace. There’s enough excitement to keep the reader invested. Grant’s team meets some pretty interesting characters in the wilderness—some of them are downright hilarious. There are numerous funny moments despite the post-apocalyptic setting. And then there are moments that will make the reader think. All in all, Remnant will resonate the most with pilgrims, and I’m sure there are plenty in this world.

CLICK HERE to buy 'The Remnant' on Amazon.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author and/or publisher through the Speakeasy blogging book review network. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR,Part 255.