Book Pocket Review, Title A New History Of Early Christianity, Author Charles Freeman, Rating 3.5,
A New History Of Early Christianity
This is a very readable historical treatment of the early gestation of Christianity. The approach is explicitly historical rather than theological, allowing the author to examine the early documents and archeology in light of the culture and politics of the early Christian writers. In particular the diverse perspectives and the many contradictions found in their writings can make more sense when considering wider historical influences, such as the region the writer came from, the language(s) they spoke and didn't speak, whether they were Jewish or Gentile, their position in society, and so on.
Book Briefly Noted, Title Why Evolution Is True, Author Jerry A. Coyne, Rating 3.5,
Why Evolution Is True
Jerry A. Coyne
This book has been hailed by some as a clear-eyed exposition of modern evolutionary biology. I found it strong on the science, and disappointingly weak on the intellectual discipline.
Is kneeling during the playing of the national anthem unpatriotic? I served my country, and honor those with whom I served and those who have fallen in service of our country. I also acknowledge those who have fallen at the hands of a police officer during a traffic stop. It is not an either/or proposition. Love of country for me includes looking critically at things that need to be changed.
Book Briefly Noted, Title The Ministry of Special Cases, Author Nathan Englander, Rating 4.0,
The Ministry of Special Cases
In The Ministry of Special Cases Nathan Englander tells a story of the Dirty War of Argentina as if in the guise of Isaac Bashevis Singer. The tale is steeped in irony, told through the eyes of a Jew, Kaddish Pozsnan, even outcast from the Jewish community of Buenos Aires.
I shall to sleep while you are yet dancing
over the endless tile,
sliding, eliding in hectic half-measures,
amid the fractious bile.
I shall to sleep while you are rejoicing,
savoring sweet ecstacy,
enchantment, affection, brief understanding,
moments of found harmony.
I shall to sleep while you are at worship,
leaving your self behind,
Seeking a place for inner surrender,
hoping for faith unrefined.
I shall to sleep while you are triumphant,
making a place for yours,
pounding out beats of perpetual striving,
as whispering worry implores.
I shall to sleep while you yet falter,
yearning for absolutes,
and do you sense that such is elusive,
in spite of your heartfelt pursuits?
I shall to sleep knowing you follow
my path inexorable,
struggle and breathe, discover its gifts,
life ever ends for us all.
So think I on you while I am yet living,
watching at one remove,
in my minds eye your burdens your joys,
yearning your pains to soothe.
Movie Review, Title Five Easy Pieces, Studio Columbia TriStar, Rating 3.0,
The movie Five Easy Pieces was all the rage when it was made, a tale of alienation in a time when many fancied themselves agents of great change, so I decided to finally watch the whole thing, having only seen the famous chicken sandwich scene. Jack Nicholson's performance was excellent. The film, alas, for me, was too psychologically brutal to enjoy, and left me wondering what the point was.
Book Book Review, Title Shut Up, Legs!, Author Jens Voigt, James D. Startt, Rating 3.0,
Shut Up, Legs!
Jens Voigt, James D. Startt
Jens Voigt was a wonderful cyclist to watch in the Tour de France. He was an aggressive rider, willing to attack in breakaways with few odds of success, friendly and available before and after a race. His motto, 'Shut Up, Legs!,' can be appreciated by anyone who rides bicycles long distance, or any endurance athlete for that matter: Muscular pain from exertion must be ignored in the pursuit of endurance feats.