Bob and Weave

Musings of an impostor. Welcome to the masquerade.

Archive for January, 2012

the best modern novel i’ve read

Posted by flyingbk on 01/28/2012

From my Shelfari review of The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson:

It’s rare when a book lives up to the hype. By the time I opened the book, I had read the myriad of glowing reviews and I admit some skepticism. The doubts increased as the first 100 pages or so appeared slow and aimless. But then after that- pure magic. The love story that dominates the final half of the book is breathtaking and impossibly well-written, and the setting of a freedom-less nation only adds to the poignancy. After I finished, I had trouble sleeping as themes and characters felt woven through my brain and heart. I agree with the Daily Beast’s review: “The year is young, but The Orphan Master’s Son has an early lead on novel of 2012.”

Couldn’t have said it better! My favorite novel of all-time (I really haven’t read that many) is The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins (which you can read for free on the Kindle!). But this book by Johnson has easily become my favorite modern novel. I’ll try to write a longer review another time, but for now, let me excerpt one of many deliciously written parts. This takes place when a girl realizes that  Jun Do (that main character) is kidnapping her:

“My God,” she said. “You’re one of them.”
Sand blew into the bag, into her eyes.
“Believe me,” he said. “I know what you’re going through.”
“You don’t have to be a bad guy,” she said. “There’s goodness in you, I can see it. Let me go, and I’ll sing for you. You won’t believe how I can sing.”
“Your song has been troubling me,” he said. “The one about the boy who chooses to quit rowing in the middle of the lake.”
“That was only an aria,” she said. “From a whole opera, one filled with subplots and reversals and betrayals.”
Jun Do leaned close now. “Does the boy stop because he has rescued the girl and on the far shore he will have to give her to his superiors? Or has the boy stolen the girl and therefore knows that punishment awaits?”
“It’s a love story,” she said. “I understand that,” he said. “But what is the answer? Could it be that he knows he’s marked for a labor camp?”
She searched his face, as if he knew the answer.
“How does it end?” he asked. “What happens to them?”
“Let me out and I’ll tell you,” she said. “Open this bag and I’ll sing you the ending.”

Finding love in a loveless land and culture is one of the indelible themes of this novel. And there’s many, many more wonderful scenes like this one.

Read. This. Book.

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Building a Heaven or Hell?

Posted by flyingbk on 01/24/2012

Every single and married person should read Timothy Keller’s The Meaning of Marriage. I’m going through it again as I review notes for my upcoming (and highly anticipated) sex and dating sermon series for my youth group kids. (Heh. heh. heh.) I came across this terrific poem by William Blake (from his Songs of Experience) that Keller quotes. May we all be people who are truly building “a heaven in hell’s despair”!

Love seeketh not itself to please
Nor for itself hath any care
But for another gives its ease
And builds a heaven in hell’s despair.
Love seeketh only self to please,
To bind another to its delight,
Joys in another’s loss of ease,
And builds a hell in heaven’s despite.
-“The Clod and the Pebble,” William Blake

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a day that will live in infamy

Posted by flyingbk on 01/23/2012

UPDATE: A legal scholar’s post on the awfulness of the Roe decision (and Doe).  And another take from Albert Mohler, which features the startling but true quote: “Abortion is as American as apple pie.” Finally, a book excerpt from John Piper on how pro-life Christians should live under a pro-abortion president; there is excellent advice here.

—–

Today is the 39th anniversary of the worst Supreme Court decision ever. It’s a day that has led to the American slaughter of over 50 million babies in the name of choice.

Check out what our assuredly unashamed pro-abortion president said in ‘celebration’:

President Barack Obama says the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade is the chance to recognize the “fundamental constitutional right” to abortion and to “continue our efforts to ensure that our daughters have the same rights, freedoms, and opportunities as our sons to fulfill their dreams.”

Our president is right, of course. Legalized abortion on demand has given to both our daughters and sons no rights, no freedoms, and certainly no opportunities when they’re aborted.

It continues to sadden me to no end that our first black president is stridently in favor of something that is literally decimating the African-American population in our country. Consider these stats from blackgenocide.org (a site I highly recommend if you want to be educated on this issue):

For every two African American women that get pregnant one will choose to abort. A black baby is 5 times more likely to be killed in the womb than a white Baby.

Did you know that the founder of Planned Parenthood, Margaret Sanger (whom I remember was presented to me as a saint in my high school history class), was a blatant racist and eugenicist who once said, “Colored people are like human weeds and are to be exterminated”? No wonder about 2/3 of Planned Parenthoods are found in areas with a high percentage of blacks; Sanger’s vision and legacy lives on.

Meanwhile, we have an African-American president who is so radical that he had no problem voting three times against the Born Alive Infant Protection Act as a state senator in Illinois. Even the most pro-choice politicians tend to vote in favor of this act. But not our leader of the free world. Sigh.

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Surf’s Up 1-20-12

Posted by flyingbk on 01/20/2012

Some quick links for the weekend:

Hmm, I got served. Shortly after posting my last blog which included a pot shot at liberals, I read this book excerpt. Well done, Mr. Crabtree; I could certainly a lot from that technique. And I’m about to start your book as well as I plan on sharing its insights with my student leaders.

Then again, our vice president is the gift that keeps on giving. And the Solyndra story continues to remind us of the follies of greater government intervention.

The March for Life is this Monday. Wish I could be there like I was in 2005. Here’s a good reminder that as Christians, it is our duty to pray for the ending of abortion.

On a much lighter note, this news would be a major boon for Mets fans. Lewin is very good. For those who have ever listened to Wayne Hagin call a baseball game, let us rejoice that he will no longer be the radio man for the Mets. I remember constantly getting upset that he would use up 50 words before finally telling me what happened on a specific play. Mr. Hagin, Robert Southy once wrote, “It is with words as with sunbeams.  The more they are condensed, the deeper they burn.” Your way with words did make me burn though, that’s for sure.

Interesting post by Timothy Dalrymple, who is becoming one of my favorite modern philosophers. He is also an evangelical that fervently supports Mitt Romney for President. His Open Letter to the Romney Skeptics is worth pondering. I’m still thinking about it.

Some of you probably already know the story about the cowardice of the captain of the Costa Concordia. If not, here’s a well-written recap. Utterly despicable, and I hope he gets prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

I recently finished Candice Millard’s The Destiny of the Republic, a phenomenal tale of the rise and assassination of President James A. Garfield. It’s an easy and engaging read. For a Cliffs’ Notes version, check out this piece from Smithsonian Magazine. It’s such a tragedy that Garfield would’ve easily survived if he had been shot 15 years later; most doctors at that time just didn’t understand how infections were so insidious.

Finally, here’s a trailer of a new documentary coming out. Its title is the three deadliest words in the world: “It’s a Girl.”

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Props to R & R

Posted by flyingbk on 01/18/2012

*Props to my man R.A. Dickey, who has quickly ascended to the coveted title of My Favorite Met over the last couple years. Props to Robert Allen for climbing to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro and raising money for Bombay Teen Challenge, a ministry that aids those trapped in the claws of the red light district of Mumbai.

Dickey is an absolute joy to watch on the field. His knuckleball dances and baffles the batter, catcher, umpire, and even Dickey all at the same time. He pitches with a missing ligament in his right elbow, and has enjoyed a late career renaissance in which he’s been one of the more valuable pitchers in baseball over the last two seasons. I try not to miss any of his starts; collectively, they’ll probably be one of the few highlights of the 2012 Mets.

Off the field, he’s also a deep and engaging individual who reads a lot and loves Star Wars. He interacts with his fans via Twitter, and his profile there (Father, Husband, Christian, Pitcher, Author, Adventurer, Star Wars Nerd, Reader, Ninja in Training & Cyclist) is nothing short of pure awesomeness. Go read his interview (Part One, Two, Three, Four) with Amazin’ Avenue back in December 2010; like me, you’ll be struck by how thoughtful his answers are. Man’s got heart. I cannot wait to read his memoir, which I believe is coming out in the next couple months.

*Switching over to politics, I would like to give props to my man Rick Santorum. Ever since I read his book It Takes a Family years ago at a Fort Lee Borders (that’s now been long closed down), I have a been a big fan. I’ve always appreciated his convicted and principled stands on abortion and traditional marriage. He does a great job explaining conservative positions (for one recent example, read his answer to the first question in this interview. Good stuff.).

He was the one candidate in the Republican presidential primary that actually stopped in every single county in Iowa, and his efforts proved worthwhile as he could be certified the winner there. So even though he most likely won’t get the nomination (Romney’s practically a shoo-in at this point), props to you Rick.

One more thing I’d like to mention about Santorum. As you may know, two prominent liberal commentators– Alan Colmes and Eugene Robinson, the latter whose columns are so comically devoid of sound logic that he might as well be called the male Maureen Dowd– callously made fun of Santorum regarding his decision to show his dead baby to his children before burial. Both attacks were utterly despicable, and quickly retracted.

It floors me how liberals attack conservative politicians and their personal decisions (the way people went after Sarah Palin and her Down Syndrome baby was equally appalling). The column to which I just linked above states that it comes with the territory with running for national office, and I can agree with that regarding the expectation of increased scrutiny. But I thought liberals were all about respecting a woman’s and family’s private decisions. Oh, maybe that’s only the case when said woman/family chooses to abort. In that case, they’re to be applauded. Indeed, we live in a perverse culture.

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Books for ’12

Posted by flyingbk on 01/03/2012

I finished my principles post. Included in that post is the desire to read more relevant books that will promote personal and spiritual growth. So here’s what’s on my list to read in the first few months of 2012 (again, links are to the Kindle page):

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson (I’m hoping to learn from the life of this entrepreneurial savant.)

The Book of Man: Readings on the Path to Manhood by William J. Bennett (I want to help the boys in my youth group become men.)

When Teens Pray: Powerful Stories of How God Works by Cheri Fuller and Ron Luce (I hope to inspire my kids concerning the power of prayer while being inspired myself.)

Practicing Affirmation by Sam Crabtree and John Piper (I’m looking to share insights from this book with my student leaders.)

The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God by Timothy Keller (This book will be useful in my sex & dating series come Februrary. And of course, I hope this book is very relevant in my life soon enough!)

Memoirs of an Ordinary Pastor: The Life and Reflections of Tom Carson by D.A. Carson (I’m definitely looking  to be sharpened in ministry by this work.)

There are others on my to-read list (including simply for pleasure books), which I’ll share at another time. The reading and learning has begun!

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