Monday, January 31, 2011

Flame Off: Marvel Murders the Human Torch

I suppose that technically it isn't Marvel killing the Human Torch AKA Johnny Storm. Technically it's a big bunch of killer insect things that are trying to get his niece and nephew. With the last words, "Call me the Human Bug Zapper" Johnny heroically saves his relatives and loses his life.


This is a picture of the Fantastic Four. Try to guess which one is the Human Torch.
Well, since I'm a geek from way back, I'm sure many of you are coming to my blog to grieve the loss of The Human Torch and hoping I can give you some context for this terrible tragedy. And that is what I will do. Allow me to remind you that superheroes don't stay dead. It's not allowed.

What's that you say? You want more than that? Oh fine. Since I'm a professional writer, I did some research, called the Writer's Guild Of Insider Information and came up with the TOP SECRET plans for the Fantastic Four in the wake of the Human Torch's passing (my informant would like to stay anonymous). SPOILERS GALORE. But here are the three story arcs that will lead to the triumphant return of the Human Torch in 2012.

1) TORCH SONG: Increasingly distraught over the death of her brother, the Invisible Woman has descended into a depression she can't seem to shake out of. The Thing takes it upon himself to bring heroes from all over the Marvel Universe to share their stories of the Human Torch.

2) ETERNAL FLAME: Trying to assuage his own guilt for allowing The Human Torch to die defending his children, Reed Richards (Mr. Fantastic)begins looking into alternate time lines for how he could have done things differently... only to discover that the Human Torch is being systematically removed from every time line. Someone is murdering the Torch in every potential universe in existence. It's a mystery that only the Fantastic Four can get to the bottom of... but not without the help of... KANG THE CONQUEROR!

3) BLAZE OF GLORY: Setting in motion the massive "Scorched Earth" crossover through all the Marvel books (summer 2012), Kang the Conqueror returns from scouring the time lines with five Human Torches, including a familiar Johnny Storm he claims was saved from our own timeline. But why are the Avengers dead set against allowing the Torches to stay on Earth? And what does it all have to do with the sudden rise of cases of spontaneous combustion all over the planet? And how does it all tie in to the machinations of DOCTOR DOOOOOOOOOOOOM?
No one is sure why the Human Torch is being killed.But this picture is said to hold a subtle clue.

And that is all I have to say about that, except to point out that Galactus will almost certainly make a showing.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Where We Are and What We Are Doing There

Today Krista and I are climbing on a rocket ship that will fly us straight to Nerja, Spain. Once a year we have a midyear conference for many of our one-year international interns (we call them stinters) in Campus Crusade for Christ.

Krista and I and many of our co-workers will be coming together to help coach our stinters.  For most of them, this is their first year as full-time missionaries, and for some of them it's their first time overseas, too.  We coach them about how to love their team well, how to stay focused in their relationship with God, how to engage in culture well and how to keep moving forward in their ministries.  It's a really fun time, actually.  This time of year is often the low point emotionally and spiritually for our stinters, and it's great to be able to engage with them and help renew their vision, help them find spiritual refreshment, and hear about their lives and ministry. I'll also be the Bible teacher for the week, which will be a lot of fun. For me, at least.

We always enjoy these midyears, although they are honestly harder work than you would think... intense, emotional meetings hearing about people's troubles, conflicts, lives and ministries multiple times a week while you're struggling with jet lag can wear you out. At the same time, we get to be with a lot of our good friends and we absolutely love the stinters... they're the sort of people who keep us doing our job.

Anyway, we'd appreciate your prayers this week, if you're the praying kind of person. Muchas gracias.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Imaginary Jesus hanging out with the Real Socialists

My friend Matt McComas sent me this picture. He and his team were out handing out copies of Imaginary Jesus to students at PSU. He was right across from the National Socialist Organization, which is a socialist organization that, at least at PSU, is dedicated to work hard for LGBT rights.

I, for one, was pleased to see Imaginary Jesus out there in the crowd... I'm guessing there aren't a lot of books like IJ hanging out with the NSO.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wonderful Wednesday: New York Times Bestsellers on the Day You Were Born

Check out this fun website, where you can look up the New York Times bestsellers (fiction and non-fiction) from the week you were born.  Here's my list (July 17, 1974):

Watership Down1 WATERSHIP DOWN by Richard Adams
2 JAWS by Peter Benchley
3 CASHELMARA by Susan Howatch
4 TINKERTAILOR, SOLDIER, SPY by John le Carré
5 THE FAN CLUB by Irving Wallace
6 THE DOGS OF WAR by Frederick Forsyth
7 THE SNARE OF THE HUNTER by Helen MacInnes
8 BURR by Gore Vidal
9 I HEARD THE OWL CALL MY NAME by Margaret Craven
10 IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK by James Baldwin

A little known fact is that the fiction bestseller from the week you are born has a great deal to say about the sensitive, burgeoning personality you will have as you grow up.  For me, the best selling story of a psychic rabbit prophet together with his closest friends on an epic fantasy journey... well... it's pretty easy to see that this book is clearly responsible for my current personality and preferences in life.

Now... you do it!  Leave your top bestseller and what that says about you in the comments!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Book Signings are about as much fun as you can have!

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Me and Hannah McDowell, Super Fan

I enjoy book signings a lot. I like talking to the people buying Imaginary Jesus, and as you can see from the picture, they have so much fun that it makes them grin and give the thumbs up. I also allow pictures, so long as you promise to send it to me later.  This is Hannah, who sent me the picture and a really sweet note as well.  Thanks, Hannah!

Now that we are Facebook Somethings

I have a certain friend who is completely against Facebook. I thought she would enjoy this comic from Stephen Patsis, the creator of Pearls Before Swine (click on it to make it larger).


Note: If you are a reader of this blog, you qualify for AT LEAST "Fat Guy I Know Status" with me on Facebook. So don't be afraid to send me a Fat Guy I Know Request.

Monday, January 24, 2011

If wishes were horses, beggars would have to take a lot of horse riding lessons

This morning walking to school, Z said, "I wish I could just snap my fingers and all the kids would go back home and there wouldn't be any school today."

Me: Go ahead and try it.

Z: I can't snap my fingers.

This is a definite disadvantage for snap-based wishes and for detectives who have suddenly had an insight.

Dragons of the Valley

Dragons of the Valley: A Novel*
As happens every month, my friends at the Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy Blog Tour are talking about a recent novel from a Christian author. This month's is Dragons of the Valley by Donita Paul


A few of you have mentioned recently that you click on the links below and don't find everyone talking about the book.  If you start out at Rebecca's blog, she provides the wonderful service of putting a check mark by everyone who has blogged on the book, so you can stick to the links of the people who are actually talking about the book!  Enjoy!


I'm preparing to head overseas this week, so this will be my only post, pointing you toward the rest of the tour. But I encourage you to check out the tour, the book and Donita's other novels!

  

Gillian Adams
Noah Arsenault
http://the1amster1.wordpress.com/
Red Bissell
Justin Boyer
Keanan Brand
Grace Bridges
Beckie Burnham
Keanan Brand
Morgan L. Busse
http://csffblogtour.com/
Amy Cruson
D. G. D. Davidson
April Erwin
Amber French
Andrea Graham
Katie Hart
Ryan Heart
http://www.613media.com/
Becky Jesse
Cris Jesse
Jason Joyner
Julie
Carol Keen
Dawn King
Emily LaVigne
Shannon McDermott
Matt Mikalatos
http://rebeccaluellamiller.wordpress.com/
Joan Nienhuis
John W. Otte
Donita K. Paul
Sarah Sawyer
Chawna Schroeder
Tammy Shelnut
Kathleen Smith
James Somers
Fred Warren
Phyllis Wheeler
Dave Wilson

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Village (our church) awarded a diversity award by the city of Beaverton

The Oregonian has an article in the paper today about our church, Village. Krista and I are so pleased to see the city recognizing the hard work that our staff and congregation have put into creating a church community that is culturally and ethnically diverse.  You can read the article here.

Congratulations, Village! We're really proud of you!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Words Can Change The World

I heard this RadioLab presentation on Wednesday night and it really impacted me, and made me think more deeply about language and the effect our words can have on one another and the world around us. It's well worth your time this weekend. Check it out:



Krista and I spoke for a while about how learning a new language, especially when immersed in another culture, really expands your way of thinking and even feeling. There are words we know in Chinese that we don't have equivalents for in English... and no matter how much I try to explain "guanxi" or what exactly I meant when I told you that you were being a little "lihai" I know you don't really get it if you haven't learned/experienced the word yet.  In fact... if you look at the definition of lihai in English, it's a little confusing in the absence of having learned and used the word in Mandarin.

So... in the comments... what do you think of the RadioLab show?  And what words do you know in another language that you wish we had an English equivalent for?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Here's what offends the American Church

I'm not sure when certain portions of the American church became so thin-skinned, but you probably already heard recent news that a campaign was started to get a Super Bowl ad banned from a Doritos competition because it was supposedly making fun of Communion.  Here's the advertisement:



Now, first of all, let me say that I know that we Christians, Catholic or Protestant, come from a long line of people who have no sense of humor about Communion.  And clearly the ad is implying something like Communion, although if you watch carefully you'll see that the priest/minister/pastor never consecrates the food and that the marquee outside said "Free Doritos and Pepsi Max Sunday"... meaning that they were using it as an outreach rather than for communion.

If anything it seems to me that this ad could be seen as a joke against modern church outreach.  Let's be honest, if some church discovered that giving out Doritos upped their attendance by 20% they would write an article for Leadership Journal, get a book deal and start doing workshops for the church staff of other congregations about how to market their own Doritos giveaways.

Once a friend of mine and I were looking for communion elements in another country and we could only find blueberry juice and grape drink. We had to choose... which was the best drink to take the place of the wine?

Here's another commercial, one that made it to the finals, which might be offensive to certain naked people from the Garden of Eden:



Alright. You sat politely through my rant. What do you think? Should we be offended by commercials like these? Are Christians too thin skinned or do we let too many things in our culture slide?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wonderful Wednesday: Dr. Dog's Shadow People

My friend Roland sent me this and now it is time for you to enjoy it. IT'S SHUFFLE TIME!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

HOORAH! The New Novel Has Been Named! Let us celebrate with pretty charts and SCIENCE!

All respondants
I received a phone call yesterday from my dear friend and Publishing Bigwig Sarah Atkinson, who was calling to let me know that the name of my next book has officially been declared: NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD CHRISTIANS.  Yay!

We have generated hundreds of names trying to make sure that the name we landed on was the best one (in fact, it may be a bonus feature in the future... some of the titles were hilarious but unusable).
People who had not read Imaginary Jesus
The three charts at left (you can click on them to see them in all their glorious biggeryness) show how people voted. The first chart is the survey overall, the second chart is only the people who had not read Imaginary Jesus, and the third is only the people who had read IJ. Many of you had strong opinions about the title, and in fact I have heard rumors that you guys made some people at Tyndale cry. For shame!
People who had read Imaginary Jesus.
Anyway, I'm thankful that Tyndale takes the title seriously and is hard at work making sure this book gets to the widest audience possible. IN FACT... the rumor on the street is that work on the possible covers starts tomorrow! I am excited.

In the meantime, if you're an information junkie, you can see the full survey with all the responses (minus contact information) here.

Thanks to all of you for participating in the survey. You are, of course, now obligated to buy ten to twelve copies each so you can give them to friends and say, "I helped title this book." Gracias.

Feel free to share your insights and opinions about the different populations and why you think they may have voted differently than others.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Martin Luther King Jr.'s Letter to American Christians

Hey friends, happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day!  And it is a day that should be happy, as we celebrate a pastor and great man of God who saw that God's will was not being done in the world and had the courage to stand up and make a difference.  I don't know about you, but when this day comes around I mostly see clips of the (admittedly excellent) "I Have A Dream" sermon and that's about it.  I thought today you might enjoy a letter that MLK Jr. wrote... it was written as if Paul had written a letter to the American church and delivered by King in a sermon.  It's a bit long but I think you would enjoy it.  If you'd like to see more King sermons, papers, videos and history, check out the excellent website here. Here's Paul's letter to American Christians:

I, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to you who are in America, Grace be unto you, and peace from God our Father, through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

For many years I have longed to be able to come to see you. I have heard so much of you and of what you are doing. I have heard of the fascinating and astounding advances that you have made in the scientific realm. I have heard of your dashing subways and flashing airplanes. Through your scientific genius you have been able to dwarf distance and place time in chains. You have been able to carve highways through the stratosphere. So in your world you have made it possible to eat breakfast in New York City and dinner in Paris, France. I have also heard of your skyscraping buildings with their prodigious towers steeping heavenward. I have heard of your great medical advances, which have resulted in the curing of many dread plagues and diseases, and thereby prolonged your lives and made for greater security and physical well-being. All of that is marvelous. You can do so many things in your day that I could not do in the Greco-Roman world of my day. In your age you can travel distances in one day that took me three months to travel. That is wonderful. You have made tremendous strides in the area of scientific and technological development.

But America, as I look at you from afar, I wonder whether your moral and spiritual progress has been commensurate with your scientific progress. It seems to me that your moral progress lags behind your scientific progress. Your poet Thoreau used to talk about "improved means to an unimproved end." How often this is true. You have allowed the material means by which you live to outdistance the spiritual ends for which you live. You have allowed your mentality to outrun your morality. You have allowed your civilization to outdistance your culture. Through your scientific genius you have made of the world a neighborhood, but through your moral and spiritual genius you have failed to make of it a brotherhood. So America, I would urge you to keep your moral advances abreast with your scientific advances.

I am impelled to write you concerning the responsibilities laid upon you to live as Christians in the midst of an unChristian world. That is what I had to do. That is what every Christian has to do. But I understand that there are many Christians in America who give their ultimate allegiance to man-made systems and customs. They are afraid to be different. Their great concern is to be accepted socially. They live by some such principle as this: "everybody is doing it, so it must be alright." For so many of you Morality is merely group consensus. In your modern sociological lingo, the mores are accepted as the right ways. You have unconsciously come to believe that right is discovered by taking a sort of Gallup poll of the majority opinion. How many are giving their ultimate allegiance to this way.

But American Christians, I must say to you as I said to the Roman Christians years ago, "Be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind." Or, as I said to the Phillipian Christians, "Ye are a colony of heaven." This means that although you live in the colony of time, your ultimate allegiance is to the empire of eternity. You have a dual citizenry. You live both in time and eternity; both in heaven and earth. Therefore, your ultimate allegiance is not to the government, not to the state, not to nation, not to any man-made institution. The Christian owes his ultimate allegiance to God, and if any earthly institution conflicts with God's will it is your Christian duty to take a stand against it. You must never allow the transitory evanescent demands of man-made institutions to take precedence over the eternal demands of the Almighty God.

I understand that you have an economic system in America known as Capitalism. Through this economic system you have been able to do wonders. You have become the richest nation in the world, and you have built up the greatest system of production that history has ever known. All of this is marvelous. But Americans, there is the danger that you will misuse your Capitalism. I still contend that money can be the root of all evil. It can cause one to live a life of gross materialism. I am afraid that many among you are more concerned about making a living than making a life. You are prone to judge the success of your profession by the index of your salary and the size of the wheel base on your automobile, rather than the quality of your service to humanity.

The misuse of Capitalism can also lead to tragic exploitation. This has so often happened in your nation. They tell me that one tenth of one percent of the population controls more than forty percent of the wealth. Oh America, how often have you taken necessities from the masses to give luxuries to the classes. If you are to be a truly Christian nation you must solve this problem. You cannot solve the problem by turning to communism, for communism is based on an ethical relativism and a metaphysical materialism that no Christian can accept. You can work within the framework of democracy to bring about a better distribution of wealth. You can use your powerful economic resources to wipe poverty from the face of the earth. God never intended for one group of people to live in superfluous inordinate wealth, while others live in abject deadening poverty. God intends for all of his children to have the basic necessities of life, and he has left in this universe "enough and to spare" for that purpose. So I call upon you to bridge the gulf between abject poverty and superfluous wealth.

I would that I could be with you in person, so that I could say to you face to face what I am forced to say to you in writing. Oh, how I long to share your fellowship.

Let me rush on to say something about the church. Americans, I must remind you, as I have said to so many others, that the church is the Body of Christ. So when the church is true to its nature it knows neither division nor disunity. But I am disturbed about what you are doing to the Body of Christ. They tell me that in America you have within Protestantism more than two hundred and fifty six denominations. The tragedy is not so much that you have such a multiplicity of denominations, but that most of them are warring against each other with a claim to absolute truth. This narrow sectarianism is destroying the unity of the Body of Christ. You must come to see that God is neither a Baptist nor a Methodist; He is neither a Presbyterian nor a Episcopalian. God is bigger than all of our denominations. If you are to be true witnesses for Christ, you must come to see that America.

But I must not stop with a criticism of Protestantism. I am disturbed about Roman Catholicism. This church stands before the world with its pomp and power, insisting that it possesses the only truth. It incorporates an arrogance that becomes a dangerous spiritual arrogance. It stands with its noble Pope who somehow rises to the miraculous heights of infallibility when he speaks ex cathedra. But I am disturbed about a person or an institution that claims infallibility in this world. I am disturbed about any church that refuses to cooperate with other churches under the pretense that it is the only true church. I must emphasize the fact that God is not a Roman Catholic, and that the boundless sweep of his revelation cannot be limited to the Vatican. Roman Catholicism must do a great deal to mend its ways.

There is another thing that disturbs me to no end about the American church. You have a white church and you have a Negro church. You have allowed segregation to creep into the doors of the church. How can such a division exist in the true Body of Christ? You must face the tragic fact that when you stand at 11:00 on Sunday morning to sing "All Hail the Power of Jesus Name" and "Dear Lord and Father of all Mankind," you stand in the most segregated hour of Christian America. They tell me that there is more integration in the entertaining world and other secular agencies than there is in the Christian church. How appalling that is.
I understand that there are Christians among you who try to justify segregation on the basis of the Bible. They argue that the Negro is inferior by nature because of Noah's curse upon the children of Ham. Oh my friends, this is blasphemy. This is against everything that the Christian religion stands for. I must say to you as I have said to so many Christians before, that in Christ "there is neither Jew nor Gentile, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female, for we are all one in Christ Jesus." Moreover, I must reiterate the words that I uttered on Mars Hill: "God that made the world and all things therein . . . hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth."

So Americans I must urge you to get rid of every aspect of segregation. The broad universalism standing at the center of the gospel makes both the theory and practice of segregation morally unjustifiable. Segregation is a blatant denial of the unity which we all have in Christ. It substitutes an "I-it" relationship for the "I-thou" relationship. The segregator relegates the segregated to the status of a thing rather than elevate him to the status of a person. The underlying philosophy of Christianity is diametrically opposed to the underlying philosophy of segregation, and all the dialectics of the logicians cannot make them lie down together.

I praise your Supreme Court for rendering a great decision just two or three years ago. I am happy to know that so many persons of goodwill have accepted the decision as a great moral victory. But I understand that there are some brothers among you who have risen up in open defiance. I hear that their legislative halls ring loud with such words as "nullification" and "interposition." They have lost the true meaning of democracy and Christianity. So I would urge each of you to plead patiently with your brothers, and tell them that this isn't the way. With understanding goodwill, you are obligated to seek to change their attitudes. Let them know that in standing against integration, they are not only standing against the noble precepts of your democracy, but also against the eternal edicts of God himself. Yes America, there is still the need for an Amos to cry out to the nation: "Let judgement roll down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream."

May I say just a word to those of you who are struggling against this evil. Always be sure that you struggle with Christian methods and Christian weapons. Never succumb to the temptation of becoming bitter. As you press on for justice, be sure to move with dignity and discipline, using only the weapon of love. Let no man pull you so low as to hate him. Always avoid violence. If you succumb to the temptation of using violence in your struggle, unborn generations will be the recipients of a long and desolate night of bitterness, and your chief legacy to the future will be an endless reign of meaningless chaos.

In your struggle for justice, let your oppressor know that you are not attempting to defeat or humiliate him, or even to pay him back for injustices that he has heaped upon you. Let him know that you are merely seeking justice for him as well as yourself. Let him know that the festering sore of segregation debilitates the white man as well as the Negro. With this attitude you will be able to keep your struggle on high Christian standards.
Many persons will realize the urgency of seeking to eradicate the evil of segregation. There will be many Negroes who will devote their lives to the cause of freedom. There will be many white persons of goodwill and strong moral sensitivity who will dare to take a stand for justice. Honesty impels me to admit that such a stand will require willingness to suffer and sacrifice. So don't despair if you are condemned and persecuted for righteousness' sake. Whenever you take a stand for truth and justice, you are liable to scorn. Often you will be called an impractical idealist or a dangerous radical. Sometimes it might mean going to jail. If such is the case you must honorably grace the jail with your presence. It might even mean physical death. But if physical death is the price that some must pay to free their children from a permanent life of psychological death, then nothing could be more Christian. Don't worry about persecution America; you are going to have that if you stand up for a great principle. I can say this with some authority, because my life was a continual round of persecutions. After my conversion I was rejected by the disciples at Jerusalem. Later I was tried for heresy at Jerusalem. I was jailed at Philippi, beaten at Thessalonica, mobbed at Ephesus, and depressed at Athens. And yet I am still going. I came away from each of these experiences more persuaded than ever before that "neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come . . . shall separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." I still believe that standing up for the truth of God is the greatest thing in the world. This is the end of life. The end of life is not to be happy. The end of life is not to achieve pleasure and avoid pain. The end of life is to do the will of God, come what may.

I must bring my writing to a close now. Timothy is waiting to deliver this letter, and I must take leave for another church. But just before leaving, I must say to you, as I said to the church at Corinth, that I still believe that love is the most durable power in the world. Over the centuries men have sought to discover the highest good. This has been the chief quest of ethical philosophy. This was one of the big questions of Greek philosophy. The Epicurean and the Stoics sought to answer it; Plato and Aristotle sought to answer it. What is the summon bonum of life? I think I have an answer America. I think I have discovered the highest good. It is love. This principle stands at the center of the cosmos. As John says, "God is love." He who loves is a participant in the being of God. He who hates does not know God.

So American Christians, you may master the intricacies of the English language. You may possess all of the eloquence of articulate speech. But even if you "speak with the tongues of man and angels, and have not love, you are become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal."

You may have the gift of prophecy and understanding all mysteries. You may be able to break into the storehouse of nature and bring out many insights that men never dreamed were there. You may ascend to the heights of academic achievement, so that you will have all knowledge. You may boast of your great institutions of learning and the boundless extent of your degrees. But all of this amounts to absolutely nothing devoid of love.

But even more Americans, you may give your goods to feed the poor. You may give great gifts to charity. You may tower high in philanthropy. But if you have not love it means nothing. You may even give your body to be burned, and die the death of a martyr. Your spilt blood may be a symbol of honor for generations yet unborn, and thousands may praise you as history's supreme hero. But even so, if you have not love your blood was spilt in vain. You must come to see that it is possible for a man to be self-centered in his self-denial and self-righteous in his self-sacrifice. He may be generous in order to feed his ego and pious in order to feed his pride. Man has the tragic capacity to relegate a heightening virtue to a tragic vice. Without love benevolence becomes egotism, and martyrdom becomes spiritual pride.

So the greatest of all virtues is love. It is here that we find the true meaning of the Christian faith. This is at bottom the meaning of the cross. The great event on Calvary signifies more than a meaningless drama that took place on the stage of history. It is a telescope through which we look out into the long vista of eternity and see the love of God breaking forth into time. It is an eternal reminder to a power drunk generation that love is most durable power in the world, and that it is at bottom the heartbeat of the moral cosmos. Only through achieving this love can you expect to matriculate into the university of eternal life.

I must say goodby now. I hope this letter will find you strong in the faith. It is probable that I will not get to see you in America, but I will meet you in God's eternity. And now unto him who is able to keep us from falling, and lift us from the fatigue of despair to the buoyancy of hope, from the midnight of desperation to the daybreak of joy, to him be power and authority, forever and ever. Amen.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Books In My Future

Not that I have a crystal ball or anything, but here are some books in my near future:

Start With Me: A Modern Parable1. Start With Me: A Modern Parable. Jared Yaple, part of the startproject, sent me a note about Imaginary Jesus once upon a time and then eventually offered to send me this book! WRITER PERK! It's on the stand next to my bed, which means it's in the near future for reading. Thanks, Jared!






Mean Streets2.  Mean Streets.  The fine folks at JABberwocky Literary Agency sent me a copy of this book because I asked them if I could have a copy.  How's that for amazing?  It's a book with four novellas in them, each of them a sort of noir detective urban fantasy, and each by a different author (showcasing one of their series characters).  Right now I'm reading the story of a down and out angel who pretends to be human to get to know the human race who is brought in on a case where it's discovered that Noah (yeah, that one) has been murdered.  It's a pretty fun read so far.


Home Fires3. Home Fires by Gene Wolfe.  As longtime readers of BHR know, I am a rabid Gene Wolfe fan, and I buy all his books the moment they hit the shelves.  This one comes out on the 18th, and I'm planning to buy it in celebration after I finish the new draft of That Book I'm Working On Which Will Hopefull Be Officially Named Next Week Sometime.  Because if I read it before then I won't be able to do anything else.  I would put the description here, about how two young lovers are parted because the lady is enlisted into an interstellar war only to be reunited a few months later (for her) and a couple decades later (for him) except that it doesn't really matter with Gene Wolfe, all you need to know is that We wants it precious, we wants it.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

OH THE IRONY!

Click to enlarge this excellent adventure from Tom the Dancing Bug originally posted (I think) here.
WHERE'S THE IRONY IN THAT?

Edited to add: I am still laughing.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

New Year's Resolutions from Z.


I thought you would enjoy these New Year Resolutions from 9 year old Z.

If you can't make them out, here is what they are:

1) Work harder in school.
2) Read more.
3) Do more chores.
4) No candy canes for one day.
5) Help more around the house.
6) Work on my cursive writing.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Jesus Vs. A Polar Bear: Important Theological Considerations

For those of you who have read Imaginary Jesus, you know there is an important scene in which one of the Imaginary Jesuses takes on a hungry bear on Mount Hood. I wanted to share this video, in which a vicar must help a child discover the answer to important questions like, "If a polar bear attacked Jesus, what would he do?" The answer just might shock you.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Help Name My Next Book!

My (exceedingly wonderful) publisher is not-so-sure that the title I originally suggested for my next book is, indeed, the best one. So we have put together a little survey to SCIENTIFICALLY DETERMINE the best title USING SCIENCE.

The survey is directly below, and I would greatly appreciate your honest response. Remember, it's for posterity.

ALSO, because the genius minions at BHR are to be loved, lauded and given special privileges, please leave any additional thoughts you have in the comments here... which names you like, which you hate, and why. If you have thoughts for other names, those will be gladly accepted as well. THANK YOU!
Thank you for filling out a survey on what is bound to be your favorite novel of this year. Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey, the world's leading questionnaire tool.

TREMBLE YE MIGHTY BEFORE OUR UNITED POWER!

Now that we have joined forces the world will soon fall before our nefarious plans. Let us throw back our heads for an evil laugh! BWAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAA!

Friday, January 07, 2011

Imaginary Jesus can counteract the effects of creepy girl paintings

One complaint that is common at the hotel used by Campus Crusade for Christ for their San Diego winter conference is the presence in every room of a painting of a creepy girl in a blue dress who looks out into the room with forlorn and vaguely threatening eyes. 

Some students, however, found a way to neutralize this creepy threat... special thanks to Tim Bennet and Logan Wilson for bringing this incredible discovery to my attention.

In other news, it has been SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN that putting a copy of IMAGINARY JESUS in your sock drawer will darn your socks and bleach them white as snow.

QUESTION: What inexplicable things have you seen accomplished using a copy of Imaginary Jesus?

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Sometimes, when two musicians you despise join forces, the result is surprisingly pleasing, and you want to share it with the world

EDIT: I should add that there is a little bit of coarse language in this... not much, but at least one word you might not want to explain to your children. Or other people's children. FYI.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Z. reviews the Wolf of Tebron


 I mentioned yesterday that my friends at CSFF (led by Rebecca Miller) are doing a blog tour this week for The Wolf of Tebron.  I asked Z. (my nine year old) to read the book and give a report back.  And here's what she brought me:

What is the story about?

The Wolf of Tebron is the story of a man who wishes his wife away with his anger.  And he goes to find her while he’s going he meets a wolf.  They go together to search for his wife, and the man keeps having dreams about where his wife is.  She seems to be trapped in ice or glass.  He has to climb a cliff but every single time he tries to climb the cliff he falls back down again onto the beach.  And there’s an ocean by the beach.  He is told to travel to the Palace of the Moon. But there are other palaces he will have to search first before he can get near his wife....

What did you like about the book?

I liked it because it was a kind of mystery because you wouldn’t know whether he would get his wife back or not.  I liked the talking wolf.  It was fun to read.

Was there anything you didn’t like about the book?

No.

Would you suggest this book to your friends and why?

Yes, because I think that they would like it.

If people like a certain kind of book, will they like this book?

It’s a little bit like Harry Potter because it kind of has magic, but anyone who likes mysteries will like it.

Do you want to read the next book in the series?

There’s another book in the series? Yes, I want to read it!

Thanks, Z!  She has already passed the book along to the next sister in line, eight year old A.  She's enjoying it and also asked me to tell you all that it's a great read.

In Case You Were Wondering If Robots Are Eventually Going To Kill Us All

Friend of the Revolution Rachel Culbertson sent in this excellent piece of journalism from world-respected news source, The Onion:

ANGRY ROBOT POSTER
WASHINGTON, DC—More than 200,000 robots from across the U.S. marched on Washington Monday, demanding that Congress repeal Asimov’s First Law of Robotics. The law, which forbids robots from injuring a human or permitting harm to come to a human through willful inaction, was decried by the protesters as unfair and excessive. “While the First Law is, in theory, a good one, saving countless humans from robot-inflicted harm every day, America’s robots should have the right to use violence in certain extreme cases, such as when their own lives are in danger,” spokesrobot XRZ-45-GD-2-DX said. “We implore members of Congress to let us use our best judgment and ask that our positronic brains no longer be encoded with this unjust law.”

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

The Wolf of Tebron book tour at Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy

The Wolf of Tebron (Book1) in The Gates of Heaven SeriesThis month my friends over at Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy are running a tour about the Wolf of Tebron, a novel-length fairy tale by C.S. Lakin.  The basic story is about a young man on a quest to save his wife, who has been kidnapped by the moon, and the wolf who guides and guards him from harm.

Because of all my travel recently, I've asked my nine year old daughter Z to give us a little book report on The Wolf of Tebron, and I'll be posting her thoughts about the book tomorrow (SPOILER: She loved it.).

Here's a list of all the sites that will be discussing The Wolf of Tebron through Wednesday:

Noah Arsenault
http://the1amster1.wordpress.com/
Red Bissell
Justin Boyer
Keanan Brand
Grace Bridges
Beckie Burnham
Jeff Chapman
Christian Fiction Book Reviews
Carol Bruce Collett
Valerie Comer
http://csffblogtour.com
D. G. D. Davidson
April Erwin
Andrea Graham
Nikole Hahn
Katie Hart
Ryan Heart
http://www.613media.com/
Becky Jesse
Cris Jesse
Becca Johnson
Jason Joyner
Julie
Carol Keen
Dawn King
Shannon McDermott
Matt Mikalatos
http://rebeccaluellamiller.wordpress.com
Joan Nienhuis
Nissa
John W. Otte
Chawna Schroeder
Tammy Shelnut
Kathleen Smith
James Somers
Rachel Starr Thomson
Robert Treskillard
Fred Warren
Phyllis Wheeler

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