I love books that give the big picture. I also enjoy books that give details and argue over interesting and important minutia. Books that do both tend to be hit or miss, in my experience. The Book That Made Your World does both, and does them pretty well.
The book is thick, but don’t let that deter you. Vishal Mangalwadi argues, in clear and concise prose, for the basis of many specific good attributes of Western Civilization upon the Christian Bible. Addressing the roots of liberty (government and morality), compassion (medicine), the free market (trust), missionary work, education, and several other key aspects of a successful culture, Mangalwadi shows how Western Civilization has done the best job of creating and growing these, and how their current forms and expressions (as distinct from what we may have considered their historic forms) are directly or indirectly attributable to the Bible and Christianity in general, and often, the Reformation in particular.
It has been a dream of mine to write a book arguing factually for the supremacy of conservative ideology and Christian theology and their connection and relationship. While not addressing conservative ideology specifically, by nature of expressing support for the primary forms of Western Civilization as being tremendously beneficial to the entire world, The Book That Made Your World essentially is a book of conservative thought. And by showing the basis of these systems of our culture in Biblical Christianity, Mangalwadi has written a book critical to our world and culture at this time.
Disclaimer added under protest due to the anti-free speech ambitions of the Obama administration: I received a copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers and BookSneeze.com in exchange for writing a review. They did not pressure me in any way to write a favorable review.
First thoughts on the 8.8 quake that just struck Chile: Is this it?
The earth is heaving as if it is in labor.
The quake hit about 100 miles from Santiago, the capital of Chile. But reported death toll right now is only 78 people.
My thoughts and prayers are with those on the ground in Chile.
But back to the initial thoughts.
How long ago was it that seismologists were screaming the world was heading towards “the big one”. A massive quake level 9 or higher on the Richter Scale that would decimate a significant area of even highly developed and well constructed buildings.
A disaster of biblical proportions, it would be called, even by atheists and agnostics and dont’-careists.
I don’t know if this is it. I don’t have a crystal ball or special word from God that the end is here. But I know that God wants us to be vigilant, ready, always choosing our next steps based on His greater glory and with the continual awareness of the impending end of days.
The constant reminders in the New Testament, especially, though they are the words of men expecting a return of the Christ within their lifetimes or very shortly thereafter, are included nonetheless at God’s behest. God wanted us living between Christ’s first and second comings to live always in the hope of His imminent return, both as a justification for the struggles we deal with on earth as His ambassadors, and as a guide to our thoughts and actions.
Christ is returning, of that we are sure.
Whether He comes through the upheaval of earthquakes shattering the sure footing of this earth we each trust too much, or through the twisting terrors of tornadoes scarring the skies, or hurricanes or typhoons or the soft, sweet winds of a summers’ afternoon, He will still come.
And for the people in Chile now dealing with the aftermath of such destruction and ruin, I pray their succor will not just be of their physical homes, but also include a rebirth in their own lives in the salvation of Christ.
The Gospel According To Lost is not an explanation on how to use the stories and characters and ideas of the hit TV series Lost to witness to people. It’s so much more than that.
It’s a relatively short read for the size of the book. Clearly written considering the depth of the subjects it deals with. And it makes me want to finish the series.
Readers of this blog and friends know that I’m deeply concerned about the deeper things in life. Actions and externalities interest me, but intent, thought, background, worldview and philosophy hold my attention far longer.
From Hurley to Locke to Ekko and everyone between and beyond, The Gospel According To Lost explores the characters beyond their surface. Jack’s super-hero complex. Sayed’s assurance that he is beyond redemption. Kate’s inability to get beyond her terrible past.
And then it shows how the growth in each character embodies a growth we can empathize and sympathize with. We’ve either been there ourselves or we can see it as normal to the human condition. And it all revolves around a redemptive process. Some experience redemptive change, some cannot make that leap and so are left grasping in futility.
I recommend this book for anyone who loves the TV series Lost, for anyone who enjoys great literature for it’s character depth and wants an exploration of characterization in a newer medium, and for anyone seeking to understand an icon of our popular culture which has with such strength and depth provided this intriguing and complex look into each of our hearts and lives.
Or if you just want to see how the grand scope of the Bible can be effectively applied to our modern lives in a constructive and informative way, The Gospel According To Lost is for you.
Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates is a racist. And an opportunist and publicity hound for the sake of his racist cause.
He brings no resolution or improvement to the cause of race relations.
Professor Gates had just arrived home with his driver from a long trip, and found his front door damaged and unable to open.
In an affluent neighborhood site of two men, with a backpack over one shoulder, trying to shove their way into an apparently locked door is suspicious, regardless of the race.
A neighbor called the police to report a possible home invasion/robbery taking place.
Apparently it took around 20 minutes for the cops to arrive, by which time Professor Gates had found his way in the back door.
The police officer, responding to the possible home burglary report requested identification of Professor Gates.
Professor Gates commented back to the effect asking if it were now illegal to be black inside ones own house.
The Police officer arrested Professor Gates when he exhibited “loud and tumultuous behavior”.
If I call the Police reporting a home invasion burglary in progress, the Police responding to the call are required to verify the occupants of the home are there legitimately and that the occupants are safe.
The Police officer responding to this situation was trying to ascertain the nature of the situation cautiously and according to his responsibility before the law and those he served. I don’t doubt some of the Police Officer’s pride was injured in the affront he received from Professor Gates, and this may indeed have contributed to the eventual outcome.
How hard would it have been for Professor Gates to respond peacefully and maturely and with deference to the arm of the Law asking him for identification?
A question I’m certainly not the first to ask: If Gates’ house were robbed while he’d been away and the Police Officer who responded allowed himself to be racially browbeaten into allowing the thief to continue on their way, what hell would the Office have faced?
Professor Gates may be well known, but that doesn’t mean he’s universally known. This ignorance may have come as a shock to the tired Professor as he was winding down from his long flight.
But the obvious problem was the chip he was carrying on his shoulder.
Gates’ reaction to this situation can bring nothing but embarrassment to those he purports to represent in his success, and illustrates a point I made a long time ago:
When any person, regardless of any unchangeable characteristic (such as race, gender, etc), is advanced artificially because some higher “level” of society is not “diverse” enough, that one’s most harmed are: first, the individual or individuals being elevated, and second, those they represent symbolically or actually. Role models are important, there are none who can deny this fact. When a whole generation of black Americans are seeing role models in the form of rap stars who are in and out of jail as frequently as they are on and off the stage. When the women the girls look to dress like whores and sluts, selling and subserviating themselves to men and boys. There is no respect or honor here, there will be precious little in the generation who looks up to them.
Professor Gates heads the W.E.B DuBois Institute for African and African-American Research at Harvard. It is telling that the philosophy of the departments namesake is very likely at play here. W.E.B DuBois championed the idea that the best way to resolve racial inequity in reconstruction America, post Civil War, was to find the top former slaves and other blacks, and advance them to very high positions. My commentary above was in response to this faulty idea.
A man is less a product of his surroundings than he is a product of his ability and character.
General Colin Powell, a military strategist and capable man of unimpeachable reputation and ability, was able to come up from roots in poor and depressed inner city life. And the scientist and inventor George Washington Carver was able to leave the life of servitude he was born into and grown into one of the premier inventors and scientists of all time.
The road to success, for all people no matter their immutable characteristics, should be paved only with the sweat of their own effort, the paths of their own choices, and the foundations of their own character.
Professor Gates apparently believes that the Police Officer, because he was white, was incapable of normal and balanced thought racially, and therefore addressed the REAL root of the problem, as he saw it, by accosting the Police Officer with his own queries upon the request by the officer that he identify himself.
The Bible tells that what we are passionate about will be revealed by what we say. What consumes us cannot be hid because it will show in our words.
It would appear Professor Gates’ heart is filled with extreme racial sensitivity. When I see an Officer of the Law, he sees a racist.
Professor Gates has shown he is not worthy of the respect given him. There are many better people than him, more worth of recognition and respect. And when the need for true role-models for the multitude of children and youth and even adults and anybody else aspiring to true greatness look to him, he fails them in exchange for a few fleeting moments of infamy.
One wonders what he sees in the seats in his classrooms.
Just to take a quick quote from the article about the Reverend Jessie Jackson.
He promised “fundamental changes” in US foreign policy – saying America must “heal wounds” it has caused to other nations, revive its alliances and apologize for the “arrogance of the Bush administration.”
The most important change would occur in the Middle East, where “decades of putting Israel’s interests first” would end.
Jackson believes that, although “Zionists who have controlled American policy for decades” remain strong, they’ll lose a great deal of their clout when Barack Obama enters the White House.
Initially ones reaction might be to think that the “Reverend” Jessie Jackson is just trying to show his support of Senator Obama. However, I have a feeling that this is Jackson’s true belief. I cannot speculate on how he arrives at this anti-semetic conclusion, but I can tell you that he lacks some basic biblical knowledge.
“I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” (Genesis 12:2-3)
We live a world that is larger that political differences, national pride, or international cooperation, but is defined by spiritual warfare. God has given nations a simple formula for survival, Bless My People. Genesis 12:2-3 should really be our primary international agenda and paradigm.
Reverend Jackson, you invoke power from the most high and have been working to be a difference. However, is it really so easy to forget who gave you this authority, who gave you this direction, and what he commands. I am no biblical scholar, but I see a very clear command.
I don’t know about you, but I think it would make sense for us to follow it.