Reflections from Seminary Students

Book Review–Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire: Book 1)

June 1st, 2012 § 0 Comments

Game of Thrones has be receiving increased popularity over the last several months as George R.R. Martin’s series of novels (the first five are currently published) are being made into an HBO series. While the HBO series seems to be greatly exaggerating the number of scenes including sex, nudity and incest, it appears fairly accurate in terms of fighting, drinking and foul language.  Religion plays an interesting role in the book as some, the Starks, pray to the old gods, while others have abandoned them for new, more relatable, and less creepy gods.  The book itself is compelling, although very light on the fantasy particularly compared to The Lord of the Rings Trilogy or The Kingkiller Chronicle.

Instead of having a single protagonist there are eight point of view (POV) characters in the novel, which leads to a multilayered, though at times a frustrating read as storylines are picked up and abandoned for a time every chapter.  The following is a short look at each of the POV characters and their role in the novel. » Read the rest of this entry «

Book Review–The Bluest Eye

May 18th, 2012 § 0 Comments

Toni Morrison’s first novel, The Bluest Eye, centers around the complexity of race and how this determines beauty.  While Morrison wrote the novel in the late 1960s, she was contemplating an encounter from her childhood.  Morrison recounts in the preface that she was confounded as a child when her friend, another African-American girl, wanted to have blue eyes.  Morrison, even as a girl, was disturbed that her friend could not see the beauty in her own natural features.  Interestingly enough the only dark body with blue eyes in the novel is a cat who promptly, though accidentally, is killed after the main character Pecola sees the strange feline. » Read the rest of this entry «

Book Review–Gilead

May 11th, 2012 § 0 Comments

Gilead, Marilynne Robinson’s 2004 novel, is one that I have heard a lot about for several years.  It is one of those books that seems to come up in discussions of favorites. The novel won the  2005 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Critics Circle Award.  In addition President Barack Obama lists Gilead as one of his favorite books on his facebook page.  I attempted to read Gilead on a midnight greyhound to Spokane once, but the slow pace of the book could not compete with my increasingly strong desire to sleep or the strange characters that night busses always tend to collect.  This time around I was much more successful as we were reading Gilead as a class for THEO 6720: Vocational Discernment & Discipleship. » Read the rest of this entry «

Book Review–11/22/63

May 4th, 2012 § 0 Comments

If you could go back in time to change our current future, would you?  And even more importantly what would you change?  This is the very question posed to 30-something, divorced, High School English teacher Jake Epping by his odd frycook friend Al.  Al discovers a “rabbit-hole” in the supply closet of his restaurant that leads to Tuesday September 9, 1958 at 11:58 AM.  After Al sends Jake in the past for a root beer he explains a bit about the rabbit-hole. » Read the rest of this entry «

Book Review–The Great Divorce

April 20th, 2012 § 0 Comments

One of my favorite theological concepts to study is eschatology.  Eschatology, or the study of “last things,” centers around what we as Christians believe will happen at the end of time, what happens to our souls and bodies after death, and what the afterlife might look like.  While the questions that eschatology asks may seem nothing more than esoteric speculations for the future, I am fully convinced that our beliefs about eschatology deeply impact how we live our lives.  As Karl Barth writes in Dogmatics in Outline eschatology is the most practical of theologies:

The Christian hope does not lead us away from this life: it is rather the uncovering of the truth in which God sees our life.  It is the conquest of death, but not a flight into the Beyond.  The reality of this life is involved.  Eschatology, rightly understood, is the most practical thing that can be thought.  In the eschaton the light falls from above into our life.  We await this light.

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