Category Archives: Uncategorized

My Review of H. G. Wells’ THE ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU

The Island of Dr. MoreauThe Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A thought-provoking book about the dangers of science unencumbered by morality and man’s penchant for wanting to play God. An added benefit for me: a chance to see how the relationship and nature of man and animals was viewed through the eyes of a late nineteenth century writer.

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A Brief Review of Orson Scott Card’s SPEAKER FOR THE DEAD

Speaker for the Dead (Ender's Saga, #2)Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A profound book with interesting characters and a plot that keeps one reading. I really enjoy how Card interweaves science, theology, and philosophy. I will read this again and again.

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A Review of April White’s Dark Fantasy MARKING TIME

Marking Time (Immortal Descendants, #1)Marking Time by April White

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A well-written book that is brimming with action and interesting characters. The research on Victorian England is well done and thorough. Overall a book I plan on reading again.

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Review of GOOD FAITH by David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons

Good Faith: Being a Christian When Society Thinks You're Irrelevant and ExtremeGood Faith: Being a Christian When Society Thinks You’re Irrelevant and Extreme by David Kinnaman

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

David Kinnaman is president of Barna Group, a leading research and communications company that works with churches. Along with his co-author Gabe Lyons, Kinnaman and Lyons use a host of polling data to build the case that Christians are viewed as extreme and irrelevant by American society.

Kinnaman and Lyons then go on to describe, based on their own investigations, the best way for churches to fulfill their historic mission of following the teaching of Christ while benefiting society and relating to a society given that they are painted as extreme and irrelevant. Churches ought to continue to contribute to the betterment of society as a whole through their charitable work.
Every church that I have been a part of over the years has, of course, done this to some degree (my wife and I have had fellowship with many different denominations in Canada), but now a church’s participation in a charitable event either alone or in partnership with others will almost never be recognized as such by the media. The church’s involvement will either be unrecognized altogether or the charitable activity will be treated as if it is unrelated to the church’s main mission (of course it is not). The message for me is to recognize this charitable connection in other church organizations and to point it out, since the media will not.

For me the most helpful discussion was found in Chapter 7 on how to respond to modern secularism which works to banish all religious expression from the public square on the grounds the very presence of religious expression would be offensive to some members of the public. Kinnaman and Lyons advocate on behalf of a view by John D. Inazu which is called Confident Pluralism or Principled Pluralism. A metaphor of a potluck dinner is used to explain this concept. Everyone is able to bring their best and favorite dish to the potluck, but no one is required to try any dish. So everyone, regardless of their World View is allowed to participate and present their best in the public sphere but no one is required to subscribe to that view or participate in whatever activity that view engenders. This has been helpful for me but means we all need to champion access to the public sphere for all views, not just our own.

In summary, I had some points of disagreement with the authors, but I appreciated their data-driven approach to the subject. Their description of Principled Pluralism as a common ground in the public sphere was most helpful. I very much recommend this book to others.
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Wishing You a Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year

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Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year to family, friends, and readers. What’s behind this picture of a bridge over a castle dry moat? Find out what’s new with author Peter Kazmaier and his writing.

Merry Christmas!

Christmas Cactus_croppedTo my friends and readers, Kathy and I would like to wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and blessings in the New Year.

R. A. Heinlein’s BETWEEN PLANETS

Checkout my Goodreads review:

First published in 1951 this details the exploits of a young man caught in a war of independence of the Venus colony from earth.

For me this is a book worth re-reading. On the one-hand it’s a science fiction story that lacks the cynicism and pessimism found in many more recent SF stories. On the otherhand it also gives a glimpse of the thoughts of scientists in the 1950s about Venus as a planet (a tropical jungle world, likely teaming with life) rather than the high pressure, searing hot planet we know it to be today. It’s interesting to see how wrong scientists can be about a world until a probe actually lands there.

If you enjoy action-packed space stories, filled with optimism and hope, I think you would enjoy this book as I did.

Between PlanetsBetween Planets by Robert A. Heinlein
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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Rodney Stark’s GOD’S BATTALIONS

God's Battalions: The Case for the CrusadesGod’s Battalions: The Case for the Crusades by Rodney Stark
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I know a book is superb, when the data presented opens up my eyes to new perspectives that I had not encountered before in my education and reading. Rodney Stark makes a thoroughly referenced case for the rationale and motivation of the Crusades. In contrast to the message I encountered in school, Stark argues convincingly that:

“The Crusades were not unprovoked. They were not the first round of European colonialism. They were not conducted for land, loot, or converts.” (page 348).

Particularly troubling for me was Stark’s evidence that modern scholarship deliberately overlooks many atrocities directed at Christians and citizens in Christian centres such as Baibars’s treacherous massacres of Christian and Crusader populations even after surrender agreements had been pledged (inter alia see for example page 232).

I can only suggest you read this book and weigh the evidence for yourself. It is well worth the read and will serve to counter balance much of the one-sided information that is taught about this important era in history in school today.

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The Battle for Halcyon by Peter Kazmaier (Review)

Check out this review of THE BATTLE FOR HALCYON.

David Hershey

In Peter Kazmaier’s fast-paced Halcyon Dislocation we read the story of an island university that disappeared from our world and appeared in a new, mysterious place.  Much of the story introduced us to this new world as university students along with naval officers stationed on the island explored the new world.  We learned that an evil force named Meglir had brought the university to his world and was possessing one of the faculty.  At the end of the book Meglir was defeated, but with him still present a sequel was clearly in the works.

The Battle for Halcyon is that sequel, picking up about a year after the events of the first book.  Dave Shuster, the main character of the first book, remains the main character here.  His exploration of the world leads to encountering a whole new civilization of humans.  But these humans, unlike Dave and the humans of…

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