Saturday, July 31, 2010

Good, Better, Best: Three Reviews of New Media

I am a sucker for tear-jerker storybook animals like Lassie and Black Beauty and Misty of Chincoteague.  Therefore, I was disappointed when Blind Hope: An Unwanted Dog and the Woman She Rescued did not quite turn out to be the moving pet story I thought it would be.  Mostly, it's the true story of a young woman emerging from a destructive past and slowly realizing what following Christ is all about.  The neglected Australian shepherd Laurie adopts aids her in learning authenticity, trust, joy and hope.  I found the writing style distracting, as needless dialogue and awkward narrative make the story seem a bit forced.  I ended up skim-reading parts.  Still, there are nuggets of truth and heartwarming anecdotes any dog-lover will enjoy.  And yes, I did cry when the dog died.  Except she didn't die.  Oh, you'll just have to read it yourself to know what I mean.  Keep reading to learn how to get a free copy.  (This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.  You can purchase it here.)

I'm fairly certain Phil Vischer, of VeggieTales fame, has more creativity in his pinky toe than the rest of us 7 billion inhabitants of Earth possess collectively.  Don't you love it when someone with a God-given talent uses it to build up the kingdom?  That's reason number one why I was excited to hear of the release of Phil's "What's In the Bible?" DVD series in March.  The other reason: we've got heaps of bibliology-illiterate folks sitting in our churches these days.  Many Christians aren't prepared to intelligently defend their faith and the Book on which their faith is (or should be) founded.  I have a hunch that's partly because when they (we) were kids, they learned Bible stories without really learning the Bible.  What is the Bible?  How did we get it?  Why is it organized the way it is?  Is it meant to be taken literally?  What does the word "bible" even mean, for goodness' sake?  These are some of the questions Phil Vischer sets out to answer for kids, using a delightful cast of puppets, catchy songs, high-quality production, and lots of humor.  I love, love, love the concept.  After hearing glowing reviews, I purchased the first (of three, so far) DVD ($14.99), including two 25-minute episodes: "What Is the Bible?" and "Who Wrote the Bible?"  I laughed and learned and I tapped my toes to the music.  Yes, I would love to add my glowing review to the rest.  However, some unsatisfactory tiptoeing around controversial issues gives me serious reservations.  The most disturbing is how the narrative of creation in Genesis chapter 1 is left open to interpretation.  According to Phil, it's a matter of opinion whether or not God created the world in six literal, 24-hour days.  He even invokes the worn-out and illogical argument: "with the Lord a day is like a thousand years" (2 Peter 3:8).  (For an excellent 2-minute rebuttal, listen to this.)  Alas, if only there were some way to edit out these moments of wishy-washy theology, I would heartily endorse "What's In the Bible?" DVDs.

And now we come to a product I can endorse, yea even urge you to purchase.   In fact, it deserves a post all its own.  It deserves a blog all its own.  Shoot, it deserves an internet all its own.  It is "Counting Stars", singer/songwriter Andrew Peterson's July 27 release.  I am still digesting these 13 songs of a Christ-follower's struggle and peace, longing and fulfillment, transgression and redemption.  Andrew's music always moves me deeply and this is perhaps his most intimate collection yet.  Give me a little more time to absorb.  For now, I'll simply quote Jonathan Rogers: "These songs aren’t safe. They hunker down and wrestle around, and they come up limping. The hope they express is hard-won."  Hard-won hope; authentic, unshakeable hope: that's the album in a nutshell.  You will not regret purchasing it.

Thanks to the good folks at WaterBrook Multnomah, I have a free copy of Blind Hope to give away.  For your chance to win, leave a comment recommending a book/movie/album you've recently read/watched/heard.

1 comment:

  1. What? No one wants a free book? Who cares if it's mediocre. It's free. FREE, I tell ye.


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