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The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life In God
The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life In God
by Dallas Willard
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $15.56
218 used & new from $2.32

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best non-Scripture on Christian living, April 18, 2006
The driving point of this book is not, as some have mistakenly understood it to be, that the cross does not matter. This book is not written for non-Christians in an attempt to win them over. This is a book written for Christians, to win them over to the full Gospel. After all, Jesus said, "I have come that they might have life, and have it more abundantly." His purpose was not merely to be a sort of spiritual defibrillator to revive us from death, and then leave us be. Although we can refuse to walk with him, he is there to bring us into the life we are always meant to have -- to help us walk out into the light after a lifetime in the cave, to borrow from Plato.

And Willard is correct -- the Bible does not have a terribly complex system you are required to believe in order to get into heaven: 1)) admit that Jesus is Lord (God), 2)) believe that he rose from the dead, 3)) call on the Lord to help you be saved. That's all. Absent from this list: the virgin birth, the inerrancy of Scripture, the doomed status of all mankind, and other doctrines some Christians attempt to use as a salvation litmus test. I believe these are all true and I believe that the indwelling of the Holy Spirit -- the effect of becoming saved -- will lead to belief in these things; however, I do not question someone's salvation if their view of the mechanics (or availability) of salvation is different from my own.

So yes, the Gospel is simple.

Further, Willard explains a great deal about how one does not become holy by not sinning as much, but rather one stops sinning by becoming holy. (His analogy: if you wish to go to London, you don't simply decide that you're not going to Rome; however, going to London necessarily entails not going to Rome.) A genuine pursuit of the heart of God will cause sin to lose its appeal. Focus on merely not sinning will simply refocus the mind on sin, rather than on God.

This is probably the first book that, for me, helped me understand the proper attitude to develop holiness rather than simply be less sinful.

The Chronicles of Narnia - The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (Two-Disc Collector's Edition)
The Chronicles of Narnia - The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (Two-Disc Collector's Edition)
DVD ~ Georgie Henley
Offered by Shopcents
Price: $8.75
46 used & new from $0.49

5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding, April 1, 2006
Yes, the movie was missing some of the best dialogue from the book, as the Harry Potter movies often thoroughly miss some of the most eloquent lines Rowling writes, but this movie was overwhelmingly faithful to the "feel" of the book.

Obviously, there were strong Christian overtones, as with LOTR. The difference is that LOTR was symbolism (hence, Christ is Aragorn, Gandalf, _and_ Frodo) whereas Narnia is allegory, with a more direct 1:1 correlation.

Some of the Christian symbolism was obvious: despite his ability to save himself and destroy the White Witch, Aslan sacrifices himself to save the undeserving traitor, Edmund. He is then raised from the dead, breathes life back into those dead because of the Witch (dead to sin), and kills the Witch, bringing life back to Narnia. He then departs with a promise to one day return.

For those who are curious about further Christian symbolism:

1. The movie ends with the four chasing a stag (even though they have no bows with which to shoot it). The stag is a traditional literary symbol of Christ, so of course here they are pursuing Christ. In the book, it is the White Stag, which is an unambiguous Christ symbol from the Middle Ages. (Medieval literature was Lewis' specialty, incidentally.)

2. The Red Lion is another Christ symbol. Christ as a lion is a symbol derived from the Biblical Lion of Judah.

3. The gryphons, not in the book, are added. The gryphon is part eagle (lord of the skies) and part lion (lord of the earth). Hence, the gryphon is Lord of Heaven and Earth. (Ring a bell?)

4. The phoenix makes an appearance at the battle scene, lighting the fire which stops the armies of the Witch with a wall of fire (shades of Exodus, anyone?). And of course the phoenix is the Resurrection Bird.

To the criticism of addressing an average Joe as "your Majesty" because it provokes pride, you may have Tom Paine on your side but you do not have the Bible, sir. God clearly promises that Christians will inherit the earth -- hence, our role as his children. (Did you think that meant inherit the title of serf?)

And yes, Harry Potter is also Christian fiction. See LOOKING FOR GOD IN HARRY POTTER by John Granger.

The Compleat Gentleman: The Modern Man's Guide to Chivalry
The Compleat Gentleman: The Modern Man's Guide to Chivalry
by Brad Miner
Edition: Hardcover
39 used & new from $3.90

15 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, March 28, 2006
Up front, the only serious disagreement I have with the author is his support for putting women in combat. I understand his reasoning, but his lack of military experience causes him to oversimplify the question.

I find it entertaining that readers here were offended and surprised that a book with a picture of a sword on the cover and references to chivalry (which means, roughly, "horsemanship" -- knighthood) would speak positively of service in war. If you think that nonviolence in the face of evil is the more gentlemanly route (other than in very strict circumstances), then fine. Be the gentleman while your wife and children are killed before your eyes by a criminal. I, on the other hand, will be doing my utmost to defend them. (Defend your wife and children, that is, mine will already be safe.) Those who are disturbed by the use of violence in this "less hostile and disgusting world" should stop using freedoms that were bought for them (not by them) with spilt blood. And perhaps check out a wonderful country such as, say, Somalia, and tell me if the world is *really* less hostile.

Yes, the author should have fought in Viet Nam when he had the chance. Alas, hindsight is 20/20, and at least he now realizes his failing.

I found his discussions of the Templars, in particular, fascinating. Aside from their questionable personal hygiene, they seem to exemplify the very highest sort of warrior ideal. It is also a relief to see a group of extraordinarily brave men get the credit that is their due, rather than more hateful lies about conspiracies to conceal the "divine feminine."

If you are a woman, you will be relieved to know that there are still men out there who "get it." If you are a man, you will understand what it is that you felt was wrong with our society's cult of weak men. This book will challenge you. It did me.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 4, 2010 12:53 AM PST

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86 of 87 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth every penny, August 31, 2005
I've been using Furey's exercises for about a year and even as sporadic as I tend to be, I've gotten great results. I'm a US Marine on active duty, and a squad leader, so I run PT for my platoon. Furey's Combat Conditioning (particularly the Hindu squats and Hindu pushups) has proven very effective at leaving my Marines completely bushed at the end of PT. Even the studs that can run fast or bench press eight million pounds are reduced to jelly by a mere 20 Hindu pushups.

As for myself, while in boot camp a couple of years ago I injured my shoulder doing martial arts training. Though time mostly healed it, bench press (and traditional pushups) aggravated the shoulder. Assuming I had no alternatives, I just sucked it up and drove on. When I discovered and started regularly doing Hindu pushups, however, I found that the shoulder pain vanished and that I actually improved my bench press without weights. (I've since given up weights entirely, for reasons I will outline below.) One of the higher levels of the Marine Corps's Combat Water Survival Test involves treading water in camouflage utilities for 30 min. I tested myself and could only hang with it for 10 min. After a month of working the Hindu squats (but no swimming), I tried again and easily reached the 30 min goal -- after a 250m swim. One last example with the muscular and cardiovascular endurance developed by the Hindu squats -- my company recently did a conditioning hike up a fairly steep hill here in Hawaii. A year ago it would have been quite a challenge for me, but this time I not only got up the hill without any effort, I was pushing one struggling Marine and pulling another up the hill. Even that wasn't a challenge.

As for weight training, I have simply not seen it provide any benefits not available to the practitioner of bodyweight calisthenics. Compare the bench press and the traditional pushup: the bench press trains the shoulders, arms, and chest. The pushup does the same, but also improves core strength (for those in doubt, try holding the up position of the pushup for 2 min without bending your back or moving your arms) and cardiovascular endurance. The Hindu pushup as taught by Furey hits all these areas, but also strengthens the hips and stretches the legs and spine. Weight training shortens the muscles and hampers flexibility, which means that in addition to the time it takes to set up and take down a weight set, you need to warm up and stretch out thoroughly before and after training. With bodyweight calisthenics, you can improve your own flexibility, strength, and endurance in your own room, with no equipment -- naked, if you would prefer it.

As for the supposed risks in Furey's exercises -- yes, I experienced some knee pain when I started the Hindu squats, but it quickly went away as my joints got stronger. I have no knee pain from the squats, and I actually experience less pain now in my joints when running as well. With the bridge, Furey notes several ways to build your body up the bridge (and reminds people to consult their physicians first) -- hands-assisted bridging, wall walking, and bridging over a swiss ball.

It's clear to me that those who have written such negative reviews have never actually attempted Combat Conditioning. I highly recommend it. It seems a bit pricey, but the benefits you will receive make the cost more than worthwhile.

King Arthur - The Director's Cut (Widescreen Edition)
King Arthur - The Director's Cut (Widescreen Edition)
DVD ~ Clive Owen
Price: $4.99
359 used & new from $0.01

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Really cool, November 18, 2004
This is a very entertaining movie. It's not a Good Movie like, say, Gladiator, but it was a very enjoyable way to pass a couple of hours.

As for the reviewer below who questioned Arthur rapidly falling in love with Guinevere -- I, personally, am pretty sure I could fall in love with Guinevere if she looked like Keira Knightley. (Particularly if she liked wearing that leather-strap get-up.)

Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus: Theological Objections Vol. 2
Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus: Theological Objections Vol. 2
by Michael L. Brown
Edition: Paperback
Price: $26.00
48 used & new from $12.00

14 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, May 24, 2001
This book is very, very good. Although I am (sad to say) not used to such thoroughness, I must confess that Brown has done his job very well. He shows an impressive proficiency in the Scriptures and Rabbinic teachings; his knowledge of Hebrew is also useful.
This book is a must in Jewish-Christian apologetics, because most Jewish apologetics are more McDowell than Craig or Habermas; I am pleased to say that although Brown writes with a lucid prose that is lacking in many scholarly works, he covers weighty material thouroughly and logically.
I strongly recommend this book.

Answering Islam: The Crescent in Light of the Cross
Answering Islam: The Crescent in Light of the Cross
by Norman L. Geisler
Edition: Paperback
74 used & new from $0.01

28 of 38 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but not great, April 19, 2001
The introduction to Islam makes this book worth the money. In fact, one Muslim I know of said that Abdul Saleeb (pseudonym meaning, "Servant of the Cross") was obviously a current Muslim, not a former Muslim, since no one else could show such understanding of Islam. Therefore, he claimed, the publishing company must have approached a Muslim and lied about the project to get him to write the intro. :)
There are a fairly large number of typos in this book. The biggest flaw, though, is Geisler's tendency to "shoot from the hip" and repeat himself. He will often say, "The noted Muslim Scholar Abdullah Yusuf Ali..." and then say the same thing on the next page, word for word. He uses quotes several times as those unaware of it, and he generalizes far too much.
This book, though good, should only be used if you have a fair amount of knowledge of apologetics already.

The Historical Jesus: Ancient Evidence for the Life of Christ
The Historical Jesus: Ancient Evidence for the Life of Christ
by Gary R. Habermas
Edition: Paperback
Price: $18.58
37 used & new from $10.48

8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth the purchase, April 18, 2001
This is not the most exhaustive book on the evidence for Jesus, but it is certainly worthy of note, especially for the interested layman. His brief examination of the Shroud may hurt his case for some people, but it made me pay attention and put books on the Shroud on my reading list. In any case, I heartily recommend the purchase of this book, especially for those who are just starting out.

The Historical Reliability of the Gospels
The Historical Reliability of the Gospels
by Craig Blomberg
Edition: Paperback
61 used & new from $1.90

38 of 44 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent introduction, April 18, 2001
This book will probably not make a Christian of you, but it is certainly a good introduction to Gospel study. The primary focus is obvious in the title, and Blomberg makes an excellent case for it in this summation of the "Gospel Perspectives" series. All in all, I would recommend this book. It is hard going at times, but gave me a much better view of what is going on out there in terms of NT scholarship.

Gladiator Signature Selection (Two-Disc Collector's Edition)
Gladiator Signature Selection (Two-Disc Collector's Edition)
DVD ~ Russell Crowe
Price: $23.77
108 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Historical flaws are it, April 16, 2001
There are indeed some historical flaws in this movie, so don't purchase "Gladiator" as a history lesson. As a story, however, it is excellent, with stellar performances by the entire cast. There is no explicit sex (and the only innuendo is shown as desired by one party and rejected by the other, and not accomplished) and only one or two instances of swearing. There are, however, definitely some adult themes of vengeance, incest (desired by the evil emperor, so it's given proper moral context), and gore. Lots of gore. This movie is as gory as you have heard. If that doesn't bother you, however, and great themes of courage, nobility, and justice float your boat, you should purchase this movie.

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