Archive for the ‘Book Reviews’ Category

Nefertiti by Nick Drake

Just finished Nefertiti by Nick Drake.

Known archaeological artifacts and places are nicely woven into the story. Amarna, the tombs, the houses and walls, implements, cosmetics, toys, food and drink, boats, the river, animals, scrolls and the scriptorium and offices, the bust with one eye complete – he brings these to life. Being immersed in the physical place of ancient Egypt was worth the read.

The politics are very intriguing. What must have happened amongst the royalty and the priesthood in this amazing culture when Akhenaten tried to replace polytheism with monotheism? And what happened to Nefertiti? The problem with Drake’s characters is that they use Modern Western thinking and idioms. He knows the word Ma’at, even used it at least once. But his hero prefers the chaos and disorderly life of the streets and all the intelligent players have motivations indistinguishable from Modern skeptical atheists. The Modern worldview of his characters was a constant distraction.

His plot is interesting but requires a deus ex machina; I find it almost impossible to believe the historical Egyptians would have responded as written by Drake to its intrusion. He smoothly introduced a number of characters, some of whom become important and some who remain minor.

His strength seems to me to be weaving historical artifacts into an interesting tale. His weakness seems to appreciating an ancient worldview and creating characters and motivations that depend on it.

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Cussler

I had listened to a couple stories on tape by Cussler while driving a lot one summer, and I liked the stories. I started “Inca Continue reading

Terminal Man

Finished “Terminal Man” by Crichton. It was painful to read. It was written the 70’s. Personal Computers did not yet exist. Continue reading

Addictions: A Banquet in the Grave, Chapter 7

If the root of our problem is false worship, then the answer is knowing and worshipping the Lord.

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Timeline

Crichton’s Timeline fuses quantum theory with with a slice of life from the fourteenth century, during the Hundred Years War. I don’t know if there is a particular moral, apart from the usual “Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.” There is an iconic young tech billionaire who values science and money over people.

 The story is more about the slice of life from medieval times than about science fiction. Crichton picks on historicists who lose the sense of reality in all of their theorizing.

The trip back to medieval times is quite fun and interesting. His view of the people and lifestyle and the reality of it all makes a fun read.

Addictions: A Banquet in the Grave, Chapter 4

In which he describes the descent into addiction. He uses the model of idolatry to to trace a trajectory from being unprepared, starting a friendship, growing infatuated, loving and betraying, and finally worshipping. This is the descent from sin through slavery to tragedy.

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Addictions: A Banquet in the Grave, Chapter 3

He suggests idolatry, adultery, foolishness, a beast’s attack, and even disease (!) as biblical metaphors for addiction.

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Addictions: A Banquet in the Grave, Chapter 2

John 8:34 says we are slaves to sin.

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Addictions: A Banquet in the Grave, Chapter 1

Our beliefs and theology affect us, but we are often unaware of many of our own beliefs that float around in our hearts. Other people can help us discover some of those beliefs; sometimes our unconscious beliefs are fairly obvious to others but hidden from ourselves.

Welch takes issue with AA and the disease model of addiction.

Addicts are worshippers who are devoted to something (pp. 11-12) They are in bondage, out-of-control. People can be addicted to a great many things, but a uniting factor seems to be a quick (seconds or minutes vs. days) physical response that makes one feel better.

Addictions: A Banquet in the Grave

It seems I have started blogging more books than I will finish. But I am trying.

Addictions: A banquet in the grave: finding hope in the power of the gospel, by Edward Welch.

Edward Welch refers to Proverbs 7 where a young man wanders by a known house, just in case he might get in on a little action. He is pounced upon and willingly led away, but to his own grave. Addictions are like this. Addicts are enjoying a banquet in the grave.

 I am very interested in developing my own theology of addiction. Something that deals with the reality of physical and mental addictions without ignoring the sin element. I believe that at the core, the issue is flesh vs. Spirit (Gal 5, Phil 3:1-10, Rom 10:1-4, Eph 2:8-10, Rom 3:19-26, etc.) and flesh vs. grace and faith. However, addictions raise some very difficult questions and reveal some paradoxes about human freedom. So I am interested in seeing what Mr. Welch has to say.