Posts belonging to Category Books

A Wrinkle in Time Feature Film

There’s a new film version of A Wrinkle in Time in the works by the same people who brought us the first two installments in the new Chronicles of Narnia series. From The Hollywood Reporter:

Jeff Stockwell has been hired to adapt author Madeleine L’Engle’s classic time-travel head trip, “A Wrinkle in Time,” for Cary Granat and his new Bedrock Studios …

The BBC made a film version of the young-adult novel, and Dimension produced a telefilm for ABC in 2004. Disney carried remake rights from that deal and is developing the new feature iteration with Bedrock, which had negotiated rights to the property from the L’Engle estate. Catherine Hand also is producing, and L’Engle’s granddaughter, Charlotte Voilkis, is exec producing.

Granat has a relationship with Disney from when his Walden Media produced such films for the studio as the “Chronicles of Narnia” series and “Bridge to Terabithia,” co-written by Stockwell. L’Engle wrote a handful of follow-up novels to “Wrinkle,” now called the Time Quintet, and Disney’s Rich Ross is seeking more franchise material in the mold of the female-driven success of Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland.”

A Wrinkle in Time was one of my favorite books as a child, and I enjoyed the other books in the series as well. I don’t know if they can pull a whole film franchise out of the series, but I am excited that at least Wrinkle will get the big screen treatment. Any other Madeleine L’Engle fans out there?

HT: CT Movies Blog

Related post: Madeleine L’Engle Passes Away (1918-2007)

Are Ebooks Dead?

I am fascinated with the emergence of the Ebook market and try to read everything I can on the subject. I would have loved to attend the O’Reilly Tools of Change for Publishing Conference this week (my brother was there), but now that they are putting some of the addresses online, I am doing my best to catch up. Here is a great presentation on Ebooks and how technology is impacting the publishing industry.

Are Ebooks Dead? -Skip Prichard (Video length: 19:52)

Michael Hyatt of Thomas Nelson Publishing has a good summary of the conference here: The O’Reilly Tools of Change for Publishing Conference, along with some great quotes from the conference. The money quote as far as I am concerned? “Obscurity is a bigger problem for authors than piracy.” (Tim O’Reilly; see also linked article below) As the book industry enters the digital age, publishers need to look carefully at the early missteps taken by the music industry and avoid making the same mistakes.

What are your thoughts on Ebooks and how they will change book reading and publishing?

Related article: David Pogue Revisits DRM Question about Ebooks

Christian Missionary Growth in the Nineteenth Century

The nineteenth century was a time of unprecedented Christian growth around the world through global missions. Mark Noll highlights the following areas of rapid growth between the years 1800 and 1914 in his book, The New Shape of World Christianity: How American Experience Reflects Global Faith. (pp. 40-42)

  • The number of Protestant foreign missionaries in the world grew from 100 missionaries in 1800 to over 21,000 missionaries by 1914.
  • The portion of the world’s population that was Christian grew from 23 percent in 1800 to almost 35 percent in 1914. This rate of growth represented the fastest proportional growth of the church since its earliest centuries — and over a period in which world population grew more rapidly than ever before.
  • The number of non-white Christians grew from 28 million in 1800 to 149 million in 1914. This meant that in 1914 the number of non-white Christians in the world was rapidly nearing the number of all Christians who were alive in 1800.
  • The number of languages with Scripture increased from 67 languages in 1800 to 676 languages in 1914.

For a great visual of this amazing growth, see the flash video map on the History of Religion.


I recently finished reading the novel, Gilead, by Marilynne Robinson. The premise is simple. An elderly pastor who married late in life writes a series of letters for his six-year old son to read when he is an adult. The pastor knows he will not live long enough to see his son grow up, so he writes these letters in order to share those things he would have wanted to tell him when he grew older. The letters are full of wisdom and insight, and at the same time they tell the story of the pastor’s life. Robinson’s writing is wonderful, and the book serves as a good reminder of those things that matter most in life — particularly God, family, grace, love, forgiveness and friendship. Even when you disagree with the author’s conclusions, she leaves you plenty to think about. Here are some of my favorite selections:

Opening paragraph: “I told you last night that I might be gone sometime, and you said, Where, and I said, To be with the Good Lord, and you said, Why, and I said, Because I am old, and you said, You aren’t very old, as if that settled it. I told you you might have a very different life from mine, and from the life you’ve had with me, and that would be a wonderful thing, there are many ways to live a good life. And you said, Mama already told me that. And then you said, Don’t laugh! because you thought I was laughing at you. You reached up and put your fingers on my lips and gave me that look I never in my life saw on any other face besides your mother’s.” (p. 3)

On dealing with difficult people: “This is an important thing, which I have told many people, and which my father told me, and which his father told him. When you encounter another person, when you have dealings with anyone at all, it is as if a question is being put to you. So you must think, What is the Lord asking of me in this moment, in this situation? If you confront insult or antagonism, your first impulse will be to respond in kind. But if you think, as it were, This is an emissary sent from the Lord, and some benefit is intended for me, first of all the occasion to demonstrate my faithfulness, the chance to show that I do in some small degree participate in the grace that saved me, you are free to act otherwise than as circumstances would seem to dictate … [The other person] would probably laugh at the thought that the Lord sent him to you for your benefit (and his), but that is the perfection of the disguise, his own ignorance of it.” (p. 124)

Responding to a question about predestination: “There are certain attributes our faith assigns to God: omniscience, omnipotence, justice, and grace. We human beings have such a slight acquaintance with power and knowledge, so little conception of justice, and so slight a capacity for grace, that the working of these great attributes together is a mystery we cannot hope to penetrate.” (p. 150)

On the limits of apologetics: “In the matter of belief, I have found that defenses have the same irrelevance about them as the criticisms they are meant to answer. I think the attempt to defend belief can unsettle it, in fact, because there is always an inadequacy in argument about ultimate things.” (p. 178)

On covetousness: “I don’t know exactly what covetise is, but in my experience it is not so much desiring someone else’s virtue or happiness as rejecting it, taking offense at the beauty of it. That’s interesting. There is certainly a sermon there. ‘Blessed is he who takes no offense at me.’ That would be the primary text. I hope I have time to think it through.” (p. 188)

On loving others: “I fell to thinking about the passage in the Institutes where it says the image of the Lord in anyone is much more than reason enough to love him, and that the Lord stands waiting to take our enemies’ sins upon Himself. So it is a rejection of the reality of grace to hold our enemy at fault. Those things can only be true. It seems to me people tend to forget that we are to love our enemies, not to satisfy some standard of righteousness, but because God their Father loves them.” (p. 189)

On how we can never fully know another person: “In every important way we are such secrets from each other, and I do believe that there is a separate language in each of us, also a separate aesthetics and a separate jurisprudence. Every single one of us is a little civilization built on the ruins of any number of preceding civilizations, but with our own variant notions of what is beautiful and acceptable — which, I hasten to add, we generally do not satisfy and by which we struggle to live. We take fortuitous resemblances among us to be actual likenesses, because those around us have also fallen heir to the same customs, trade in the same coin, acknowledge, more or less, the same notions of decency and sanity. But all that really just allows us to coexist with the inviolable, untraversable, and utterly vast spaces between us.” (p. 197)

On loneliness: “I have mentioned loneliness to you, and darkness, and I thought then I already knew what they were, but that day it was as if a great cold wind swept over me the like of which I had never felt before, and that wind blew for years and years … [It] threw me back on myself, and on the Lord. That’s a fact, so I find little to regret. It cost me a good deal of sorrow, but I learned from it.” (p. 236)

On his son’s face: “I can tell you this, that if I’d married some rosy dame and she had given me ten children and they had each given me ten grandchildren, I’d leave them all, on Christmas Eve, on the coldest night of the world, and walk a thousand miles just for the sight of your face, your mother’s face. And if I never found you, my comfort would be in that hope, my lonely and singular hope, which could not exist in the whole of Creation except in my heart and in the heart of the Lord. That is just a way of saying I could never thank God sufficiently for the splendor He has hidden from the world — your mother excepted, of course — and revealed to me in your sweetly ordinary face.” (p. 237)

Francis Schaeffer died 25 years ago today

Author and pastor Francis Schaeffer died 25 years ago today. Schaeffer’s books had a big impact on my own Christian growth and development. Schaeffer’s main strength was his ability to grasp the big picture and show you how it all fit together. He was an engaging thinker who helped you to think about the whole of life from a Christian point of view.

Here is an interesting interview with author Os Guinness on Francis Schaeffer that points out some of Schaeffer’s strengths and limitations. If you are interested in reading some Schaeffer for yourself, these are the books that I would most recommend:

Too Many Choices

Earlier this week I shared a quote from Kevin DeYoung’s book, Just Do Something: A Liberating Approach to Finding God’s Will. Here is another good quote to ponder:

Of the five reasons for our obsession with finding God’s will, this may be the most crucial: We have too many choices. I’m convinced that previous generations did not struggle like we do trying to discover God’s will because they didn’t have as many choices. In many ways, our preoccupation with the will of God is a Western, middle-class phenomenon of the last fifty years … My hunch is that most of our obsession with knowing the will of God is due to the fact that we are overburdened with choice. (Just Do Something, p. 16)

What do you think?

Related post: Just Do Something

Just Do Something

Kevin DeYoung has a new book out on finding God’s will called Just Do Something: A Liberating Approach to Finding God’s Will. This looks like a great book, especially for high school or college-age students. Here is a sample quote:

In short, God’s will is that you and I get happy and holy in Jesus. So go marry someone, provided you’re equally yoked and you actually like being with each other. Go get a job, provided it’s not wicked. Go live somewhere in something with somebody or nobody. But put aside the passivity and the quest for complete fulfillment and the perfectionism and the preoccupation with the future, and for God’s sake start making some decisions in your life. Don’t wait for the liver-shiver. If you are seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, you will be in God’s will, so just go out and do something. (Just Do Something, p. 61)

On the same topic, I would also recommend the following:

  • Decision Making and the Will of God, by Gary Friesen. Friesen’s book presented a new paradigm when it was first published in 1980 and influenced many of the books that followed. This one is longer and more in-depth than the others, a true classic in its field.
  • Finding the Will of God, by Bruce Waltke. Waltke does a good job of explaining why some of the more popular methods of finding God’s will are closer to paganism than Biblical Christianity.
  • Discovering God’s Will for Your Life, by Ray Pritchard. Pritchard’s book is practical, readable, and Biblical with lots of examples.

Do you know of other good books or resources on knowing God’s will that you would recommend?

A Praying Life, by Paul Miller

A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World, by Paul Miller looks like a great new book on prayer. Here are some recommendations for the book:

“Paul Miller refuses to separate the spiritual life from the rest of our daily living. In A Praying Life, he shows the difference that constant communication with Christ makes in the everyday experiences of life, especially the life of the family. Reading this book will help you make prayer a more important part of your own life story by integrating prayer into the daily routines of life.”
 - Dr. Philip Ryken, Senior Minister, Tenth Presbyterian Church

A Praying Life is a deeply moving testimony to God’s power in prayer. Paul Miller shares his life and biblical wisdom to instill in us, his readers, a “heart that becomes a factory of prayer” – that is, a passion to speak to God honestly and in a way that will change our life and the lives of others for whom we pray.”
 - Tremper Longman III, Professor of Biblical Studies, Westmont College

“Honest, realistic, mature, wise, deep. Warmly recommended.”
 - J.I. Packer, Professor of Theology, Regent College

“Charles Spurgeon wrote, “Prayer does not fit us for the greater works; prayer is the greater work.” Paul Miller’s superb book calls us back to this ‘greater work,’ reminding us of the joy we find in our Lord’s presence and equipping us with practical insight on how to recapture the intimacy and power of a praying life”
 - Ken Sande, President, Peacemaker Ministries

“This is as fine a book on prayer that you will ever read, but it is so much more. It is the story of our struggle to actually live like we believe our Heavenly Father really does love us. If we did, nothing could keep us from being committed to the day-by-day hard work of prayer. Paul exegetes our struggle in a way that is convicting, insight giving, and encouraging. This is a book on prayer that actually makes you want to pray!”
 - Paul David Tripp, President, Paul Tripp Ministries

Related post: The Sin of Prayerlessness Series

Where the Wild Things Are Trailer

Aaah, my all-time favorite children’s book is now a movie. Where the Wild Things Are, based on the classic storybook by Maurice Sendak, is scheduled for release on October 16, 2009. Here’s the trailer.

(Video length: 2:05)

Are librarians allowed to do that?

So I am at the library today checking out John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, and the librarian at the counter tells me, “I think we have this on video if you would rather see the movie.”

English Farmer Builds Model of Herod’s Temple

Scale Model of Herod's Temple | Alec Garrard

78-year-old Alec Garrard has spent more than 30 years constructing a 1:100 scale model of Herod’s Temple in his back yard. The original temple was built by King Herod the Great between 19 B.C. and A.D. 4 and was destroyed by the Romans in A.D. 70. Garrard’s model measures 20ft by 12 ft and is considered one of the best representations of the historical temple in the world.

“I’ve always loved making models and as I was getting older I started to think about making one big project which would see me through to the end of my life,” Garrard said. “I have an interest in buildings and religion so I thought maybe I could combine the two and I came up with the idea of doing the Temple. I’d seen one or two examples of it in Biblical exhibitions, but I thought they were rubbish and I knew I could do better. I have been working on it for decades but it will never be finished as I’m always finding something new to add.”

Thousands of visitors from all over the world have come to see the model, and Garrard provides them with binoculars so they can see all the details.

Scale Model of Herod's Temple | Alec Garrard

Garrard has written a book with information about the temple and detailed photographs of his model: The Splendor Of The Temple: A Pictorial Guide to Herod’s Temple and Its Ceremonies. You can also view a picture gallery of the temple model here.

Related post: Behold the Temple!

Okay, here are some real reviews on The Shack

In case you didn’t know, The Shack is a novel written by William P. Young that is selling like crazy and has been called everything from “wonderful” to “heretical” (and everything in between). I haven’t read it yet, but I have read quite a few reviews on it, so I thought I would share some links with you in case you were interested in learning more about it. And even though I haven’t read the book myself, here is the link to My Review of The Shack. (Note: I finally got around to reading it. Although there were some good things about the book, I thought the negatives outweighed the positives, and I would have a hard time recommending it.)

Tim Challies has written two reviews for The Shack. You can read his briefer review here or download his 17-page in-depth review here.

That The Shack is a dangerous book should be obvious from this review. The book’s subversive undertones seek to dismantle many aspects of the faith and these are subsequently replaced with doctrine that is just plain wrong. Error abounds. I urge you, the reader, to exercise care in reading and distributing this book. The Shack may be an engaging read but it is one that contains far too much error. Read it only with the utmost care and concern, critically evaluating the book against the unchanging standard of Scripture.

Mr. Dawn Treader reviews Tim Challies’ review and then adds his own thoughts on the book.

These are all valid theological soft spots in the book. Kudos to Challies for exposing them … Still, I found The Shack an interesting read and it challenged me to think about forgiveness more deeply, and for that, I am grateful. I look forward to getting into many great conversations about The Shack, particularly with my non-Christian friends.

Melinda at Stand to Reason offers a mixed review.

You’re going to be surprised. I was. I liked it. It does reveal some things about God well and things I’ve never really seen attempted in literature before. You’re not going to be surprised. I wasn’t. I didn’t like it. I have some serious concerns about it. I can’t recommend it. I can’t condemn it.

And finally, trinity scholar and comic-book artist Fred Sanders offers a mix of reviews from five different perspectives: 1) The Kids-Book Author, 2) The Naive Believer, 3) The Worried Theologian, 4) The Literary Snob, and 5) The Haiku Artist. Here is a sample from the Kids-Book Author review:

Did you like Mack’s Trinity?
Did you like Mack’s persons three?
Did you like how Jesus talked?
Did you like that water walk?

I did not like Mack’s Trinity.
I did not like Mack’s persons three.
I did not like how Jesus talked.
I did not like the water walk.

That Mack in Shack!
That Mack in Shack!
I do not like that Mack in Shack!

Oh, and did I mention My Review of The Shack here? What is your review of The Shack?