Category Archives: Books

Late Night with Random Thoughts (#2)

It’s 12:34. I can’t fall asleep. My body is exhausted but my mind is in midday stride. I have a test tomorrow that I need to study for but I can’t concentrate on the material so I find myself delivering my thoughts to you.

Just finished reading a book called Tribes by Seth Godin. It’s all about leadership and it’s importance in today’s world of movements and tribes (groups united by a single vision/motive/product). Really enjoyed it and got a lot from it. Need another good read now.

Sometimes I get behind on stuff and it overwhelmes me. It happens with schoolwork. Today, it happened with my room. I was supposed to clean it (we just moved into a new house and are in the process of unpacking boxes) but I didn’t know where to put anything so I just didn’t do anything for awhile. After some time of doing nothing, I felt behind and overwhelmed. My mom gave me some practical/obvious tips and You gave me some much needed encouragement. I was able to get a lot done. I hate being immobilized.

Regarding the new home, it is quite amazing and fits our needs perfectly. It is a lot smaller than our previous behemoth of a house but I like that very much. It forces us to be closer as a family. We can no longer all go into separate corners of the house (all the kids rooms are about five feet away from each other). We have a huge (by East Valley, Arizona standards) backyard with a pool and patio with fireplace. And we have numerous parks and fields in our neighborhood. I love it. Thank You so much!

When someone encourages me, it’s one of the best feelings in the world. I want to give other people that feeling.

Sometime soon, I need to apply to college.

Packers. Ouch! Losing to the previously winless Bucs? They only had to go about ten yards everytime they touched the ball. Our offensive line is stinky.

I’ve been listening to Switchfoot’s new album Hello Hurricane and it is really good. Sound is rocking, anthemic, and ambient. Lyrics are full of hope in the hard times. Really, really like this album!

Wondering, if I had the chance to go back to either Morocco or Rwanda, where would I choose?

Goodnight. I hope I dream about freedom.

Love/Courage/Wisdom

Love without courage and wisdom is sentimentality, as with the ordinary church member. Courage without love and wisdom is foolhardiness, as with the ordinary soldier. Wisdom without love and courage is cowardice, as with the ordinary intellectual. But the one who has love, courage and wisdom moves the world.

 – Ammon Hennacy (Catholic activist 1893-1970)

Muslims, Christians, and Jesus

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In preparation for my trip to Morocco, I’ve received a lot of reading material regarding Muslims and overseas work and stuff like that. I haven’t really read much of it but I did read a book that is not on the “required reading” list by Carl Medearis called Muslims, Christians, and Jesus. The Medearis’ are family friends and Carl and my Dad are pretty close. Though I’ve never actually met Carl, I feel like I know him farely well because I’ve listened to him talk numerous times. The Medearis’ lived in Beirut, Lebanon for twelve years trying to follow Jesus, all the while collecting many incredible stories.

Carl is one of the most intriguing story tellers I’ve ever listened to. I’ve heard his stories over and over again and they haven’t gotten old yet. He is all about trying to follow Jesus. Carl is not the smartest or coolest person I’ve ever seen but it doesn’t matter because with him it’s all about Jesus. Everything is about Jesus. Jesus is the answer, not the cliche.

Carl is a refreshing breeze on top of everything that is wrong with the religion of Christianity. Instead of reading biblical texts, he tells stories from his own life that illuminate truth. Instead of trying to convert people to another religion, he builds relationships focused on Jesus and lets God do what He does. Instead of defending his faith with sound theological answers, he speaks to the heart.

The book is kind of an introductory course into the world of Islam. Living in the Middle-East for twelve years has given Carl incredible insight into the religion of Islam and the people it includes. Instead of highlighting the differences between Christianity and Islam, he focuses on the things the two have in common. Namely Jesus (surprise right?) Muslims believe that Jesus (Isa) was a prophet of God (Allah) and that he was sinless, righteous, rose from the dead, was aided by the Holy Spirit, was God’s preferred messenger, was near to God, was blessed, performed miracles, had the title Christ, and is God’s word. God gave Jesus the New Testament, in which is guidance and light. God taught Jesus the Bible and wisdom. All of that is in the Qur’an. WOW!!!

So with all that in mind, why would a Christian (“little Christ”, someone who follows Jesus of Nazareth) skip right to the end of the story when talking to a Muslim (“one who is submitted to God”, someone who respects Jesus very much but does not believe He is God). Why not just talk about Jesus’ life and His teachings and build a relationship on that.

While this book definitely focuses on relationships between Muslims and Christians, it has a message that all Christians need to hear no matter who they have relationships with. Take a time out from the religion of Christianity and discover who Jesus really was and really is. You might be surprised at what you find but you won’t be dissapointed. I don’t think that was the lone message or even the main message of the book but it’s what I remember. If you have the chance, definitely check it out for yourself.

The Watching Of Watchmen

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The past couple of days I’ve been encountering the ultra-mania surrounding the release of Watchmen. From the moment I first saw the trailer months ago, I knew this movie would be big. A visually stunning adaptation of a monumental graphic novel directed by the same guy who did 300, it had all the markings of a blockbuster.

Seeing the initial trailer was the first time I had ever heard of Watchmen. My initial reaction was that it looked weird and stupid. After seeing a few more trailers, I came to grips with the reality that I actually thought the movie looked quite cool and that I might actually want to see it. I began to take a closer look into the graphic novel by Alan Moore. I wanted to know what all the hype was about, why the book was so important. Through extensive research on Wikipedia I found out that it was the first real look into the dark side of masked superheroes. It retreated from the honorable, chivalrous heroes of old and marched on with a bleak  realism, highlighting the internal strugglings of its protaganists. It sounded like a very interesting read. The more and more I learned about the book, the more and more I was interested in the movie.

These last two days (the movie came out yesterday) I’ve been reading critical reviews and “family friendly” reviews to see what the reaction was to the movie. Being that it is rated R and directed by Zack Snyder, I figured that it would be pretty violent and that there would be a scene or two that I would need to fast forward. I pretty much banked on the fact that I would not see the movie in theaters but would still see it eventually. After reading what I’ve read, I’ve come to the conclusion that I will never see the movie. It is, to be succinct, overtly violent and grotesquely sexual almost to the point of being pornographic.

Normally, I would not feel the need to talk about a movie like this but this one bothers me. Watchmen (and 300) looks extraordinarily pleasing to my eyes. The cinematography is magnificent. Mr. Snyder has an excellent visual eye. But looks can be deceiving. The aesthetic beauty of the film is like a trap for innocent (albeit ignorant) eyes. I have heard numerous friends express their interest in seeing this movie. I feel like they are willingly walking into a trap. I feel for them especially because I have walked into many bad situations willingly and suffered the consequences.

I don’t really have any sort of conclusion to this post. I just felt like I needed to write it. While I’ll never see the movie, I do wish to read the graphic novel at some point. I do like the ideas and themes that it explores. I realize it’ll for sure have some of the same problems that the movie has so I’ll have to be careful. I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it. ‘Till then… whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

What Is To Come

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Tonight, I plan on finishing a book by Dave Schmelzer called Not the Religious Type: Confessions of A Turncoat Atheist. I started it yesterday and it is quite spectacular. So far, it’s been like reading my own thoughts fleshed out with more unity and far superior writing. Once I finish it, I plan on going back, rereading it, and posting some of my thoughts. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who seeks hope or truth or love or all of the above. I look forward to sharing my thoughts, ’till then may God bless you.

My Favorite Author

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Ted Dekker is without a doubt my favorite author. He has an incredible gift for telling stories. He expounds through several different genres (thriller, action/adventure, horror, romance, fantasy, futuristic, drama, mystery, and more). And he does it all while centering on the  great Light which is Jesus.

The way he portrays love is breathtaking. The way he shows innocence is inspiring. The way he writes insecurity is real. The way he depicts trust and faith is flat out awesome. His showdowns between good and evil are epic. And his characters are so relatable.

I started reading Blessed Child, one of his earlier books, a couple of days ago and it is quickly becoming one of my favorites. It’s about a boy named Caleb who is raised in isolation by a faithful priest in an Ethiopian monastery until the age of ten. When it is finally time for him to leave his safe-haven, he flees to Los Angeles from a rebel army with a Peace Corp worker and a Red Cross nurse. The boy performs miracles that no one can explain. He is innocent beyond human reason. Dekker and co-author Bill Bright seem to be fleshing out what Jesus said about His disciples and the Kingdom of Heaven in John 14 and Matthew 18.

I look forward to finishing the book and reading all the other ones that I haven’t read yet. They flesh out the words of Jesus in a really unique way.