Category Archives: Recommendations

Book Review: Out of the Silent Planet

C. S. Lewis, who is best known for his Chronicles of Narnia series, wrote a trilogy of sci-fi books known simply as “The Space Trilogy.” Science-fiction was what Lewis was famous for before becoming a Christian (and after), and “The Space Trilogy” was his best known work until The Chronicles of Narnia. Published in 1938, more than a decade before Narnia, Out of the Silent Planet was published. I had heard about this book/series many years ago, but I don’t read much fiction and I definitely don’t read science-fiction. However, last year I heard a little more about this first book that raised my curiosity. I do not remember who it was that made the remark, but it was said that Lewis wrote the book, in part, as a push back to the likes of H. G. Wells’ sci-fi. Welles and others like him, would speak of aliens coming to earth from above in order to hurt or enslave the innocent earthlings below. This was a deliberate attempt on Wells and like-writers who were mainly atheists to persuade their readers to start thinking as that which is not earthly/earthy (in other words, that which is heavenly–namely God) is evil, destructive, and to be feared or rejected. To contrast this perception, C. S. Lewis wrote “The Space Trilogy.”

If I were to describe the book in one word, it would be: “Wow!” I absolutely loved the book. It is better than any of the Chronicles of Narnia, by far! If you like Dances with Wolves or The Last Samurai, (or the part in Gulliver’s Travels with the Houyhnhnm/horses), you will enjoy this book. It is similar, but takes place in outer-space. To briefly give a synopsis of the book (spoiler-alert; skip this paragraph if you want to read it yourself), a man by the name of Ransom is kidnapped by two men and put into a space-craft. They plan to sacrifice him to the aliens on whatever planet they are headed to (eventually revealed to be Mars, but has its own actual name: Malacandra). Ransom escapes and befriends different aliens (Hross), learns their language, and becomes part of their tribe. Eventually he is summoned by the higher beings (Sorns) on the planet, but his delay is deadly for his best hross friend (Hyoi) on the planet as his former captors shot him with a rifle from a distance. When he eventually gets to the higher plains where the Sorn live he finds his two captors/murderers captured. Though Oyarsa (the leader) does not believe Ransom to be like those who look like him, they are all sent back (at Ransom’s request) to Thulcandra (earth–the silent planet) with Ransom instructed to make sure the bad guys do not return, if they are able to make it back at all or anyone who would do harm to their way of life. What had been a peaceful planet, in which everything works in harmony, had now experienced murder and disruption. Those who were earthly/earthy had brought evil onto another planet rather than have another planet bring evil upon the earth.

The copy of the book I read, published by Scribner, comes in at 158 pages. This is a copyTrilogy 1 that has tiny print and small margins, so expect your copy to be a bit thicker. Even if you are not a sci-fi guy/gal (like me), I do believe you will enjoy this book. There are definite Christian overtones to this book, but not so easily seen as The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe with an Aslan figure rising from the dead. The overtones could be missed if read by a non-believer (or believer alike). If you’ve read it, let me know your thoughts. I would love to read your comments.

High Commendation 1/12/19

Below are some articles, videos, etc. That I highly commend to you. I do not commend these simply because of the author or because of the subject, but because I have found value and help in reading or watching these. I will put a snippet of the article and then the link if you care to continue to read.

Jared Wilson explains why Christian movies are just plain bad. He has a number of points and I think it’s worth noting them. Much of it has to do with two different starting points (mindsets) of secular and Christian movies. And it isn’t what you may think.

Last month, while out at the movies, my wife and I happened to see trailers for two new movies produced by and for the Christian market — “faith-based films” they call them these days. Both trailers distilled their respective stories down to about 3 minutes of earnest dialogue snippets, tear-streamed dramatic moments, and inspirational footage of sports (basketball in one, track in the other). Throughout both trailers — which we saw on two different days before two different movies — the audience was audibly laughing. I was cringing. The paint-by-numbers aesthetic of the new wave of Christian movies persists in making the faith appear trite, inauthentic, corny, and — worst of all, as far as the culture goes — uncool.

To read more, click/tap on the link below:

Why Christian Movies Are So Terrible

 

Contrary to some, people who are dead and gone in Christian history are not old ghosts  who shouldn’t be read. In fact, many (not all) should be read, and then as always made sure that what they wrote in in accordance with Scripture. This is being Berean-esque. The following link is to a video (or transcript) of why we should read the puritans.

The Puritans have influenced me in huge ways throughout my life. I was nine years  old when I first came under conviction of sin. I felt my sinfulness, went to my dad’s bookcase, and I scanned all of his Puritan books. I saw The Life and Death of Mr. Badman by John Bunyan. I thought, Well, I’m a bad boy, so I better read that book. So, I made my way through it.

To watch the video click/tap on the link below:

Why Pastors (and All of Us) Should Read the Puritans

 

Below is a link to a Facebook video that I came across and found to be powerful. It is a young man evangelizing to the Jews in Israel. How he does it is simply astounding to me. To watch the video (you’ll need the sound on; the subtitles are too fast–at least for me) click/tap on the link below:

“The Forbidden” Chapter in the Hebrew Bible