Reviews

A Grateful Flashback

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This blog answered a question from the reader a couple weeks ago. The question was, “What books are you grateful this year?” The 2nd one on the list of five was MY BOOK! That’s so amazing. Here is what the reviewer said:

10 Things I Hate About Christianity by Jason T. Berggren~ because finally someone was bold enough to say what is wrong withChristianity these days! Finally someone spoke up about how things arejust too hypocritical and legalistic! Thank you, Jason! I applaud you! <img src=

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Thank you!

Northwest University Reviews 10 Things

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Northwest University has a paper called the Talon. One of the writers, Racheal Arteaga, has reviewed my book for their November edition. Here is what she said:

Hate is a strong emotion, an attention-getter, a buzzword in the political world. But is there more to hate than dislike? Jason Berggren, a punk-rocker turned pastor is stirring up controversy and conversations with his new book, “10 Things I Hate About Christianity”, an exploration of the author’s problems with the Christian faith.
    A former screamer for the hardcore band Strongarm, Berggren had a faith experience in his mid-twenties and began to investigate the Christian faith. While he agreed with many of the principles, he found some tenets of the faith troublesome, even annoying. Rather than walking away from this new found faith altogether, Berggren made the decision to work through each and every one of his disagreements and tensions with Christianity in an effort to make a positive step towards a better understanding of his faith.
    His book has elicited both praise and anger, especially the latter, in regards to his use of the word ‘hate’ in regards to the Christian faith. On his blog and in interviews, Berggren claims to use hatred to incite change within the church. But this hatred is not without purpose. In an interview with ABC Nightline News’ Dan Harris, he says,“I use the term [hate] in an honest, open, passionate expression. It’s a deep, angst-ridden frustration that can propel you to forward motion.” One may say that they hate eating broccoli, or hate country music, but Berggren is unafraid to say it about everything from prayer that doesn’t work to love that is conditional.
    From other Christians to the Bible, especially the King James Version, Berggren spares no touchy issue in his book. Those seeking a political and religious rant will not be satisfied, but readers who seek a deeper understanding of the mysteries of the Christian faith will find a kindred soul in Berggren’s version of hatred. “If there’s any hope that the message of Jesus is gonna happen in modern day,” Berggren says,“we’ve got to be honest. I‘m not claiming to be authentic, but I’m trying.” This authenticity has won over many critics and reviewers alike, even those from outside the religious community.
    Because of his stance on the Christian faith and his views of the problems within the faith, Berggren is not unfamiliar with negative reviews. While many have expressed their agreement, there are many who see “10 Things” as antagonistic or too scathing to be helpful to the religious community. However, Berggren has a different perspective. “I have worked in construction off-and-on for years. The first thing you do before you remodel is demolition. If you ever watch HGTV, you know this to be true,” Berggren says. “You tear down walls and break up old cabinets to make way for the new. That’s what this book and this website [his blog] are about. I am simply trying to change into the person I want to be and inviting you to join me in the process.”

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Rambles Reviews 10 Things

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Here is a review of my book I found over at Rambles.net. It is by Nicky Rossiter:

Well, with a title like that, this book will surely get noticed, and I suppose that is the first rule of publishing. The “anti” lobby will reach for it looking for justification, while the “pro” groups will get it to check it out to try and refute it.

So,to avoid confusion, I’ll state from the start the author is using rhetoric here. Like thousands who went before him, Jason T. Berggren preaches the message by looking initially at the obverse of his beliefs, then working through the arguments to turn that initial thought on its head.

As anyone who has ever believed in a cause, a religion or even a person will agree, there are times when that belief is tested. No belief that is never tested is worth having. If you believe in God and things never go against you, where is the challenge? If you love a person and they constantly agree with you, won’t you get bored?

Berggren is not your average preacher. He does not look the part and he does not write the part. He challenges not just the reader but the faith, and in so doing he attempts to win over one and solidify the other.

The chapter headings cover everything from “Faith through Love”and “Hell” to “Church.” In all of these he confronts the reader with real-life dilemmas, but not necessarily major, life-changing ones. In”Sin,” for example, he presents us with a situation every one of us has encountered. You buy an item and a genuine error is made in the charge.The clerk is too busy or disinterested to notice, but you do. The loser will be a big chain store; do you pocket the change and walk away or do you point out the error? Christianity is clear. A sin is a sin is a sin. That is what can make people hate Christianity.

10 Things I Hate About Christianity will challenge you like this through the range of topics, and I suppose only after reading it can you answer the question of whether you hate these things about Christianity or about yourself. This is a thought-provoking book that could be very useful in group discussion, not just about the religion but about morality and our understanding of society.

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Frank Viola Reviewed My Book

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Frank Viola is a big leader in the organic church movement. He speaks and writes. In fact, I was asked to review his book From Here to Eternity and did. Well, he reviewed my book over at his site Reimagining Church. Here it is:

“10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT CHRISTIANITY by Jason T. Berggren is a refreshing book in many ways.  What I like most about it is that Jason nails many of the problems that many Christians think, but would never admit. This book tracks with some of the things I’ve written, though I think our solutions may be a bit different at this juncture in life.

A Catholic Reviews My Book

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Yesterday I talked about Catholics encouraging people to pray before sex. Today I am posting a review of my book by a Catholic. Her name is Sarah Sharp and it appears at USCatholic.org:


So much for Paul’s assertion to the Corinthians that “the greatest of
these is love.” Jason Berggren openly admits in his debut book,
subtitled “Working Through the Frustrations of Faith,” that hate isn’t
what you’re supposed to feel, but he’s an angry young man and he does
anyway. He hates that parts of his faith don’t make sense, he hates
that faith takes so much work, and he hates that he wouldn’t have it
any other way.


Perhaps making a negative argument for Christianity seems
counterintuitive, but that’s what makes 10 Things so appealing. Young
people struggling with their faith especially will find Berggren’s
musings relevant. They’ll appreciate his focus on the mundane, everyday
challenges of putting that faith into practice.

Some of Berggren’s frustrations make complete sense: It is easy to
understand hating things such as hell, sin, and rules. But to hate
other Christians or prayer or even love? What’s not to love about love?

For one thing, Berggren says, “It seems like it shouldn’t be so much
work, but it is. . . . Love is unnatural that way.” And yet that is
what makes it all the more lovely and worthwhile. “Life minus love
equals zero.”

Far from being a raging diatribe against Christianity, as the title
suggests, this labor of love is Berggren’s attempt to explore what
makes him stay faithful to Christ and dedicated to Christianity in
spite of it all. For Berggren this hate has become as motivational as
love. “We can train our minds to use our hate, and . . . we can create
forward momentum: We sense the tension, wrestle with the issue, win the
battle, learn a lesson, grow as an individual, and move ahead,” he
says.


Often Berggren has more questions than answers. He can’t explain
everything; sometimes he doesn’t even try. He is no expert on faith,
and he’s certainly not holier than thou. He’s just trying hard to
figure it out, and sometimes he, like all of us, just have to work
backwards.


Logo

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iratefilms.com reviewed my book

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Here is a review of my book over at iratefilms.com. It’s a very interesting review. And by the way, it is one of the best sites out there for movie reviews. Here’s what they said:

The dedication to Jason Berggren’s 10 Things I Hate About Christianity says it all, “to those who continue todoubt, are curious about spiritual ideas, and are courageous enough tosearch them out.”

Berggren takes you on a page by page journey of his life through theeyes of a child, a student, and finally a father and husband as hesearches for his personal path to the almighty.  Regardless of yourfaith, this book will be a pleasant read, filled with humor, drama andmoral lessons that don’t come across as preachy or proselytizing.

At times, Berggren uses personal quirks that we might not all share,but that we can all relate to on some level.  We all have things in ourlife that we constantly struggle to keep at bay.  For me, I am a Cokeaddict myself, so when his book started out that way – I chuckled tomyself.

You see, I have known Jason since high school, where he was mybus-mate for a magnet school; that meant we spent a great deal of timetogether as we transitioned from place to place and challenge tochallenge in our pursuit to find out who we were.  He was always thereally cool, down to earth “Christian” guy who I looked up to as anunderclassman.  He also had a three foot red mohawk but could carry outa theological or philosophical debate with anyone on the planet.  Thisbook shows me that he still can, and does.

The provocative title of the book has a double effect, in that itwill draw away some “Christians” and possibly pull in some atheists. But, it is like escargot, I didn’t know I liked it until I tried it. Jason’s book is a lot like that for me, I am glad I tried it, and it isGREAT with garlic (and Coke).

If you want to attack his arguments, you really can’t because heputs things in a personal perspective that defies theologicalcriticism.  Can anyone, can any one man,truly say they know what Godis, what is the correct path to take, or even the right “voice” to useto get to him – or her.  That is me talking by the way, not Jason.

But, it illustrates the point, finding God is a personal journey. So, pick up Jason’s journey, enjoy this book, don’t be taken aback bythe title.

Be brave enough to read this book, and you will see how Jason cameup with the title, it was another bit that made me chuckle.  And,Jason, I think God would be very proud of you – and the other Jason aswell . . . I shall always consider you my friend.

Rick Swift

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Sacramento Interview

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So a few weeks ago the Sacramento Book Review rated my book. It was a great review, and I was very thankful.

But wait there’s more!

Soon after the review posted they contacted me to inform me that the review was getting a ton of hits. Imagine a book with a title like 10 Things I Hate About Christianity: Working Through the Frustrations of Faith would attract attention?  As a result they wanted to do an interview.

This was significant because they review hundreds of books but do very few interviews. Plus, never before had they done an interview with a non-fiction author. And never before had they done one about faith/religion.

That was an awesome feeling.

So click here if you want to listen to it.

Another Book Review

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Here is another review of my book. It is by John Kennedy over at Goodreads.com: My favorite line is, “I haven’t been this
excited about a book for a long time.”
Read it all below:

Rating:
5 of 5 stars



Berggren,
a former pastor and a first-time writer, has a knack for storytelling.
He has done a tremendous job in giving voice to the frustrations that
Christians experience. The Christian life is confusing. Our problems
don’t disappear simply because we go to church or pray harder. There is
a lot about the faith that we can’t explain, and to pretend otherwise
is disingenuous.

To the non-Christian, faith sometimes looks ludicrous. But, as
Berggren explains, :With faith it’s strangely possible to acknowledge
the unexplained, face it, embrace it and move forward. Berggren
transparently offers many life lessons of failure. He shows that we
don’t have all the answers, but that struggles done with genuine
questions can be rewarding.

The book is humorous, relevant and thought-provoking and makes a
person examine his own belief sentence. I hope we can do it as a small
group study. Along with the just-read “Crazy Love,” I haven’t been this
excited about a book for a long time.

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New Book Review

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Another review of my book popped up last week. Here it is:

10 Things I Hate About Christianity…

10things_cover I recently finished reading “10 Things I Hate About Christianity
by Jason Berggren. Let me start by sharing the best quote of the book
that is interestingly enough found in the acknowledgments,
“And
thanks to Bill LaMorey. He has been one of my best and most necessary
friends. Without a doubt, he is the funniest person I have ever
known…”
He goes on to say other nice things, but I do have to keep my pride in check after this past weekend’s message.

In
all seriousness, I quoted that as a form of disclosure. I am not, nor
can be, unbiased about Jason. We are friends, went to Bible College
together, were roommates, worked on a church staff together, etc. So,
forget about objectivity and let me just tell you what I liked about
the book.

Jason, in real life and in his book, is nothing if not
honest. Sometimes, uncomfortably honest. He does not gloss over tough
topics or wrap up unresolved resolve them. In his book he does this to the Christian
faith in a way that is relevant to both Christians desiring honest
examinaissues with pretty paper and a tidy bow so
they look appealing. Instead he painstakingly (and painfully sometimes)
unwraps certain issues that are challenging and uncomfortable in order
to process and tion as well as those that are kicking the tires of Christianity
to check it out.

In “10 Things I Hate…” Jason tackles some
tough topics (10 of them as you might have imagined) like Sin, Hell and
even Christians. He does so not only with honesty, but also with wit
and humor. There are some HILARIOUS stories throughout; my favorite is
the Messianic Rabbi kicking the band Strongarm out of the temple
because parents were concerned that their music was opening a porthole
to hell (ya can’t have kids falling through that)! It is helpful that
Jason shares his struggle with each of these things, but also shares
how he worked through these frustrations. And in some cases how he is
still in the process of doing so. Some of these insights will surely be
helpful to people dealing with similar doubts and struggles. I would
agree with our mutual friend Bob Franquiz who said that the chapter on prayer was perhaps the best.

If
you find yourself wrestling with elements of the Christian faith, this
is a great book to get into some thoughtful, raw discourse about things
that still baffle you or drive you crazy about Christianity.

And if you want some really funny stories about Jason that are not published, just let me know…

By Bill LaMorey

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So in the spirit of full disclosure, Bill is one of my best friends. You may be thinking that means he’s biased. He is….against me. He’s not afraid to say when (and if) I suck. So this review means a lot. You can go to his site and read the original post here.

Found Another Review of My Book

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I stumbled upon another recent review of my book. And by stumbled upon, I mean I surf the web every night looking for them. It’s over at Amazon.com and here’s what the reviewer said:

“I wasn’t sure what I was getting into when I picked up this book, but I
absolutely loved it and couldn’t put the book down, once I got started.
Jason Berggren goes into just about every complaint you’ve ever heard
about Christianity, whether or not you’re a believer in Jesus: the
trouble with faith, the “fantasy” aspect of the Jesus story, how people
interpret the meaning of heaven and hell (and how we end up in either),
the hypocrisy of Christians, the answers we can’t necessarily find in
the Bible, the way some people pick and choose rules to enforce and
then tell us we’ll go to hell if we don’t obey, how sometimes just
being in the wrong church makes us feel uncomfortable.

I’m sure a lot of Christians have felt these frustrations, as have
people looking in from the outside — maybe thinking about joining a
church or just observing things like the fact that folks with the fish
symbol are as bad about cutting them off in traffic as anyone else or
wondering why it is that those Jesus freaks use such weird expressions.
He does talk about the catch words used by Christians. I loved that
because there are some expressions that really bug me, which I won’t
even repeat in church when everyone else is using them.

I really loved the fact that this book was so reassuring. I didn’t
agree with absolutely everything the author had to say, but a good
portion of it rang true to me and I often thought, “Yes! Exactly!”

My favorite part is the bit during which the author talks about
answers and one of the questions he says we can actually answer is,
“Speaking of the flood, how could all those animals fit in Noah’s ark?”
He says it’s actually pretty easy to answer this one and goes into the
math. The closing sentence: “So all the animals and supplies could
feasibly (and easily) fit in the ark. Now, the smell is another subject
altogether.”

I love this author’s sense of humor. He has a relaxed writing style
and rambles a bit, but still does an excellent job of hitting a lot of
salient complaints about Christianity. He has done a lot of thinking
and talking, pondering and questioning and the book is filled with his
thoughts. Highly recommended, whether you’re a Christian or just
someone who is curious about what could possibly irritate a Christian
about his own religion.”

-Reviewed by N. Horner

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Sacramento Book Review

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Here is a recent review of my book as it appeared in the Sacramento Book Review:

“First, let’s get something straight: Author Jason Berggren is
neither atheist nor agnostic; rather, he’s a pretty middle-of-the-road
Christian fellow who has written a somewhat humorous, quite
introspective and not the least bit ranting dissertation on the things
which bug him about Christianity. This not a tirade against
Christianity from the point of view of a person in another religion,
but more like the private observations of the frailties of the religion
and its flock from the perspective of an insider.

Once I grabbed the overall concept of the book as such, it was a
pleasant surprise to see such candor from someone of the born-again
Christian faith in print. For the author’s first book, he’s done a fine
job and I recommend it. When I got to chapter 10 the book reached its
crescendo. The most fallible thing about any institution is of course
its people, and sometimes the behavior of our peers can be downright
embarrassing. It was refreshing to hear from an insider how difficult
things can be for a moderate Christian and to be reminded that there
are good and great people struggling with the challenges of all their
respective faiths.”

-Reviewed by John Cloutman

***


Movie Review: Transformers

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I know I’m late to the game, but I’ve been traveling for 2 weeks. I saw Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen this weekend.

I found it entertaining and worth the big bucks to see it on the bog screen. But I did have to suspend some of my feeling in order to stay involved.

First, the story was a little sketchy. I am very patient with story lines when it comes to sci-fi, so that is a big deal. The whole ‘fallen’ back story got a little tiring.

Second, the sexual innuendo in this film was off the charts. It’s not that I am a prude. For example, I am embarrassed to admit that Borat is one of the funniest movies I have ever seen. But it was as if the writers and director said to themselves, “Okay, now how can we fit a dirty joke in this scene?” And proceeded to.

I can’t say that I would recommend this film. If they do another one, I will likely go see it.

Transformers 2 just barely moved me.

Book Review: From Eternity to Here by Frank Viola

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I just finished reading a book called From Here to Eternity by Frank Viola. Let me begin by saying who this book is for.

This book is written for church leaders and Christians looking to explore some of the deeper subjects of their faith. Specifically, Viola explores and explains the importance of the relationship of church to God. This doesn’t mean the church as a building, but he refers to all believers in Jesus Christ.

My favorite part of this book was the first section. In part one, he breaks-down quite beautifully how important we are to God. He parallels how God created Eve to be the perfect match for Adam with God creating the church (Christ-followers) to be the perfect match for Jesus.

He goes on to say that in spite of the many short-comings of Christians, this creation and pairing was, and is, part of God’s central and eternal purpose. In the same way a spouse loves their mate regardless of their flaws, God is committed to us and loves us no matter what our imperfections are.

Viola also describes God’s love for us like the passion of a lover. Every love story you have ever read in a book or watched on the big-screen, is a faint image of the best love story ever: God pursuing us.

Viola also takes to task the conventional ways of doing church, or organized religion (as he puts it). He promotes what is often referred to as the organic church, house church, or simple church movement. This is a growing trend of people who choose to meet in homes and small settings rather than the larger, organized environments of more established churches.

It is perhaps a punk-rock way to look at church. Rejecting all things ‘corporate’, some Christians want to fully break with tradition and homogenization.

The irony is (as always), that this is just another form of conformity. That’s something I had to face during the five years I spent helping start Calvary Fellowship in Miami from scratch. Eventually, no matter how cutting-edge, relevant, or new you strive to be, there are always core values and best practices that emerge in how you do things.

What I appreciate about Viola’s message, is his emphasis on making sure Jesus is central to whatever you are doing (in church or life). People need to learn about Him (Jesus) and His life above all else.

So if organized or disorganized religion is your thing, or organic or synthetic church (is that the right opposite? Oh well, I’m going with it) appeals to you, make sure you are making Jesus the center of your worship experience. Whenever we get lost in tradition or find security in ritual, we get away from the passion and devotion that needs to be the very center and foundation of our relationship with God.

With Jesus as the center of our devotion, we can keep eternity here and in our hearts.

*Here is a list of other reviews of Viola’s book if you’d like to take a look:

Out of Ur – blog.christianitytoday.com/outofur/archives/2009/05/viola.html
Shapevine
www.Shapevine.com (June newsletter)
Brian Eberly – www.brianeberly.com
DashHouse.com
www.DashHouse.com/
Greg Boyd – www.gregboyd.org/blog/
Vision
Advance – vision2advance.blogspot.com/
David
Flowers – ddflowers.wordpress.com
Kingdom
Grace – kingdomgrace.wordpress.com
Captain’s
Blog – www.captainestes.blogspot.com/
Christine
Sine – godspace.wordpress.com
Darin
Hufford – The Free Believers Network – www.freebelievers.com
Zoecarnate
zoecarnate.wordpress.com
Church
Planting Novice – www.churchplantingnovice.wordpress.com
Staying
Focused – kimmartinezstayingfocused.wordpress.com/
Take
Your Vitamin Z – www.takeyourvitaminz.blogspot.com
Jeff
Goins – jeffgoins.myadventures.org
Bunny
Trails – bunny-trails.blogspot.com
Matt
Cleaver – mattcleaver.com
Simple
Church – www.simplechurchjournal.com/
Emerging
from Montana – wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
Parable
Life – www.theparablelife.blogspot.com
Oikos Australia – www.oikos.org.au/blog/
West
Coast Witness – www.WestCoastWitness.com
Keith Giles – www.Keith.Giles.com
Consuming
Worship — www.consumingworship.org
Tasha
Via – www.tashavia.blogspot.com
Andrew
Courtright – www.andrewcourtright.blogspot.com
ShowMeTheMooneys!
www.showmethemooneys.com/
Leaving
Salem, Blog of Ronnie McBrayer – leavingsalem.wordpress.com/ 
Jason Coker – pastoralia.missionaltribe.org
From Knowledge to Wisdom – isthistheway.typepad.com/
Home
Brewed Christianity – www.homebrewedchristianity.com
Dispossessed
kblog.kevinjbowman.com
Dandelion
Seeds – www.homeschoolblogger.com/Dandelionseeds
David
Brodsky’s Blog- “Flip the tape Deck” – flipthetapedeck.blogspot.com/
Chaordic
Journey – jeffrhodes.wordpress.com
Renee
Martin – www.reneemartinmusic.com/profiles/blog/list
Bob
Kuhn – organicchurchnola.wordpress.com/
Living
with Freaks: www.livingwithfreaks.com
Real
Worship – therealworshipleader.com
Fervent
Worship – ferventworship.blogspot.com
Julie Ferwerda Blog – www.JulieFerwerda.comwww.OneMill
ionArrows.com
What’s
With Christina?! – w2christina.blogspot.com
Irreligious
Canuck – www.irreligiouscanuck.com
This
day on the journey – guychmieleski.blogspot.com
Live
and Move: Thoughts on Authentic Christianity – liveandmove.blogspot.com/
Spiritual Journey With God – www.elvineve.blogspot.com/
Dries
Conje – www.echurch.co.za / www.thejesusfeed.com / www.bookdisciple.com.
Journey
with Others – journeywithothers.blogspot.com
On
Now to the Third Level – www.080808onnowto.blogspot.com
Christine
Moers – www.welcometomybrain.net
Breaking
Point – marybethstockdale.wordpress.com
Hand
to the Plough – www.handtotheplough.com.au
Jon
Reid – jonreid.blogs.com/oneanother/welcome-pilgrim.html
Weblight
www.blog.worldwidewebservices.se
D.
L. Webster – gzmproductions.com/dlwebster
Searching
for the Whole-Hearted Life – wholeheartedlife.blogspot.com

Review: Atlas Shrugged

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“Who is John Galt?”

That’s how Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand starts off. I’ve been hearing about this book over and over for the last year, so I decided I had to read it. I finally finished the book. It was no easy task as it is 1,070 pages long. Hello!

As the book goes on it reveals who John Galt is. Is he a myth or legend? Is he real or an archetype? All are true.

Atlas Shrugged was an amazing book. Should I ever make a list of my top ten books it will definitely make it. The book is set in the late 50’s but it is completely relevant to today. In fact, it scared me as I read on because it was almost prophetic in its fictional depictions and predictions.

It tells the story of a world of countries and leaders that have succombed to the temptation of larger and larger government policies in order to ‘fix’ the problems of society. All under the guise of helping the people, power hungry officials suffocate the creativity, productivity, and individuality of the citizens.

The last outpost and final straw in these world events is America. But in the story, it is barreling toward socialism as hunger, crime, and disease increase.

Rand paints a picture set against the backdrop of a fictional story that projects what may happen should Marxist philosophies prevail on a large worldwide scale. I found it to be very intrguing and terrifying at the same time. The end result is that there are less jobs, less opportunity, and less safety and comfort in the lives of the citizens.

The solution? More government and regulations. It’s a familiar cycle: government makes the problem, and then decides the solution is more government…

As individuals are guaranteed jobs and income not tied to performance, behavior, or creativity it falls apart. In an effort to promote this new enlightenment, the nation’s people actually devolve. And the more this new morality is promoted the less integrity people possess. Productivity, self-worth, and responsibility begin to crumble.

People actually get worse, not better, in an effort to protect individuals from disappointment and failure. As government tries to protect the citizens from themselves, it fails to realize that what the people need is to be protected from the lofty and misguided ideas of government itself.

Sound familiar?

A quote by Thomas Jefferson kept coming to mind as I read. He said something like, “When the people fear the government there is tyranny. When the government fears the people there is liberty.”

I couldn’t believe how relevant this book was for today. And I guess I’m not the only one. There is an Atlas Shrugged movie in the works!

Read it. I highly recommend it. It was incredible.

Don’t shrug it off. Meeting John Galt was quite an experience.

Movie Review: Terminator Salvation

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I saw the gospel according to Terminator Salvation with Christian Bale this weekend. I really liked it. It was well worth the $8 I spent on the ticket. Some movies you just have to see on the big screen.

Once again, we enter a sci-fi story this summer based on the old time-vortex (like Star Trek). It will Swiss Cheese your mind if you try to figure out how this all started. In fact, I was driving home after the movie with my friends laughing as I said (and we tried to figure out), “Which came first: the Terminator or embrio?” It was a play on the age-old philosophical question on origins about the chicken and the egg. Where exactly did John Connor come from? That will bake your mind a little. Is the nerd alert going off?

Anyway, the story worked well-enough and carried the film just fine. As I always say, you have to accept a little ping-pong with the timeline if you are going to watch and enjoy sci-fi. However, there were dull moments. There seemed to be very little emotional buy-in created, as if it was all a little routine. Overall I enjoyed it.

Christian Bale is a great actor. I have always liked him ever since he carried Empire of the Sun for 3 hours at such a young age so many years ago.

The only bad thing, was the new Terminator and supporting actor role played by Sam Worthington. It’s not that he did a bad job. In fact, he was very good. But his accent kept creeping through, and it was a distraction. Not because it was bad or hard to understand. But because it didn’t seem to fit his character.

The good news is, this gives a new birth to create many more movies. I’ve been watching Terminator now for 25 years. Maybe I’ll be watching it for 25 more!

Terminator Salvation was a good revival of an old sci-fi story.

Movie Review: Angels & Demons

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I saw Angels & Demons movie with Tom Hanks this weekend. I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised. Actually, it was amazing. It was WAY better than the Da Vinci Code movie. Although it is totally unrelated, I also thought it was an overall better movie than Wolverine from a couple weeks ago. That’s a hard one to admit too, because I just love the character of Wolverine. But this was a better movie.

I love Tom Hanks. He’s great in everything he does. On a side note, I’d love to see him do a comedy again. Ewan McGregor was spectacular in it as well. He’s become quite a good actor. Of course, I loved when he played a young Obi Wan Kenobi. But this role in Angels & Demons really showed his talent.

I know a lot of Christians (and Catholics) get upset over the storyline and find it highly offensive. I understand, but I didn’t. In fact, I felt the overall message in the end was very positive. I also understand that this is fiction, so I try not to take it too seriously. I highly recommend this movie.

Angels & Demons was a spirited and entertaining earthly escape.

Movie Review: Star Trek

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I saw the new Star Trek this weekend. What can I say? This movie was incredible. As soon as it began, the actions started. It was, by far, the best movie I’ve seen this year. JJ Abrams did a wonderful job retelling this story for a new generation of viewers while respecting the fans of old (yes, that’s me!).

The casting was great. They were young and relatively unknown. But they were all good actors. That was good for two reasons: 1) It made you focus on the character and 2) It makes it cheaper to keep the franchise going in the future. And I’m sure they will do sequels.

The weakest part of the movie was the story. It was still very good, but it’s always a little tricky doing the whole time-vortex thing–not to mention a major sci-fi cliché. But, as a die hard sci-fi fan, I have learned to accept the time-vortex as an unavoidable element of the genre. What can you do? Even better, the story did a good job of laying the groundwork for many sequels to come.

Anyway, go see it. You won’t regret it.

Star Trek boldly went to new places.

Movie Review: Wolverine

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I saw X-Men Origins: Wolverine this weekend with my wife. This movie is getting mixed reviews and I understand why. But I really liked it.

First off, Hugh Jackman is amazing as Wolverine. Admittedly, he is not as mean, gritty, and burly as I picture Wolverine from the comics. Nonetheless, he plays the role so well. He is, without doubt, the highlight and strength of the movie.

Like I said, I liked the movie. Now maybe that’s because I was just happy to get out of the house. I think my problems with it came out of the fact that I tended to look it as an X-Men movie–and judged it as such. But if I looked as it as a movie about Wolverine, it was much better.

I do have to be honest, this was my least favorite in the X-Men series. Still, it was WELL-WORTH the price of admission to see Jackman’s rendition of the character on the big screen.

Wolverine mutated my boring life for 2 hours and I enjoyed every minute of it.

Metallica: Death Magnetic

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I finally got Metallica’s latest album Death Magnetic.

I love it!

It’s hard, gritty, raw, fast, slow, and heavy–like it should be. Some of my favorites on the album are:

Suicide & Redemption

All Nightmare Long

The Day That Never Comes

Death Magnetic has some real pull with me.

10 Things I Hate About Christianity Endorsements

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“A fascinating and rather risky critique of Christianity!”-Dan Harris, ABC News, New York, NY

“Despite the title, with its clarity and authenticity, this is really a positive book. It’s not a negative book.”-Steve Brown, Steve Brown Etc. Show, Orlando, FL

“Whether you agree with everything or not, it’s a very engaging book. It smacks you in the head so you’ll think about what’s really important.“-Barry Lynn, Culture Shocks Show, Washington, DC

“…it was a pleasant surprise to see such candor from someone of the [Christian] faith in print.”-John Cloutman, Sacramento Book Review, Sacramento, CA

“You’re a very honest and transparent guy. It’s a great character trait. You made me mad. You made me think…Your book is a dynamite read.”-Eric Hogue, The Eric Hogue Show, Sacramento & San Francisco, CA

“This title really intrigued me as soon as I saw it. And the more I read, the more I like it…I really appreciate what you’ve put down on paper here.”-Jerry King, The Jerry King Show, Colorado Springs, CO

“As I continued to read, it impacted me on such a personal level, I knew this book was something I would remember for the rest of my life.”-Shamus Neeson, Drive Home Show, Alberta, Canada

“I haven’t been this excited about a book for a long time.”-John Kennedy, Goodreads.com

“I just love this book! I’ve read it twice and I plan on reading it again.”-Don Keith, The Detour Radio Show, Detroit, MI

“You won me over in the first few pages…you tell it like it is and challenge the reader from the get-go.”-Greg Bullen, Off The Book Shelf, Lapeer & Flint, MI

“You’ve actually used the word ‘hate’ quite well. A greatly insightful and intriguing book.”-Stefan Radelich, The Harvest Show, South Bend, IN

“You actually said to stop calling myself a Christian! I think that is a challenge more of us should take to examine our own authenticity.”-Jim Sandell, 11 O’Clock Live, Albuquerque, NM

“I appreciate you’re fresh writing style and you’re willingness to talk about this struggle and growth.”-John Young, John Young & Friends Show, Atlanta, GA

“I highly recommend this book. It’s a great read-especially if you are wrestling with your faith. Your book is brilliant!”-Stephanie Kay, Along the Way, Minneapolis & St. Paul, MN

“What a title! It’s well worth the read.”-Larry Estepa, Mornings with Lorri & Larry, Atlanta, GA

“I love the chapter called Answers where you ask BIG questions that a lot of us struggle with…I think this book can help people in their journey.”-Lorri Allen, Mornings with Lorri & Larry, Atlanta, GA

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