Archives For Media

Includes small break downs of media I like and book reviews.

Today, I write for me and not for money
Today, I write to be free and not funny
But if you laugh, that’s ok
And if want, you can still pay
I don’t mind if you find these lines behind
Lacking in some way or in some wit
This is what I’ve written
Sorry if you can’t handle it

White boy in the ghetto
Losing a game he never played
White boy on State Street
Pretending he’s not afraid
White boy in the suburbs
Cries over what he saw
White boy on Second Street
With a heart rubbed raw

Today, I write for the city and not for me
Today, I write for children who are not free
And if they were free, they wouldn’t know
What to do, who to be, where to go
You would find that behind the anger
In their collective mind
A soul lacking in many ways but not wit
Humor was all they had
To help them handle it

White boy in the suburbs
A year since he quit the game
White boy on Prairie Street
Worried that when they fail
He will receive all the blame
White boy left the ghetto
Moved on from the pain and fear
White boy on Second Street
Has anxiety even after a year


If you liked this, you might like (but probably not) my book, My Evil Rhyme Schemes. You can buy it for Kindle at Amazon for a dollar!

evil-rhyme-schemesHere’s some super-duper awesome news: I’ve published my first book in the Kindle store!

My Evil Rhyme Schemes is a collection of poems and essays from the past few years. Currently, it’s selling in the Amazon Kindle store for $.99—so get your copy while supplies last!

I plan on having my second book, I Don’t Belong Here, published by the end of the summer/beginning of the fall.

For the Glory!

Phil —  March 9, 2013 — Leave a comment

One of my favorite bands from high school/college, the OC Supertones just released a new album after having been broken up for seven years. Entitled For the Glory, this is an incredible album that has been speaking to me for months.

Continue Reading…

At present we are on the outside of the world, the wrong side of the door. We discern the freshness and purity of morning, but they do not make us fresh and pure. We cannot mingle with the splendours we see. But all the leaves of the New Testament are rustling with the rumour that it will not always be so. Some day, God willing, we shall get in. When human souls have become as perfect in voluntary obedience as the inanimate creation is in its lifeless obedience, then they will put on its glory, or rather that greater glory of which Nature is only the first sketch. For you must not think that I am putting forward any heathen fancy of being absorbed into Nature. Nature is mortal; we shall outlive her. When all the suns and nebulae have passed away, each one of you will still be alive. Nature is only the image, the symbol; but it is the symbol Scripture invites me to use. We are summoned to pass in through Nature, beyond her, into that splendour which she fitfully reflects.

CS Lewis from The Weight of Glory
Preached as a sermon in the Church of St Mary the Virgin
Oxford, England, June 8, 1941
Published in THEOLOGY, November, 1941
Download it here!

The First Sketch of the Greater Glory

This short book is Lewis’ admittedly fictional account—he was inspired by some sci-fi stories he’d read—of a dream/vision of Heaven and Hell. The story itself is a bit complex, though beautifully written. (Though, keep in mind, Lewis wrote his books sixty-some years ago as an Irishman in England, and the language he uses reflects that.)

The story, however, is merely the vehicle by which Lewis offers the reader some thoughts and ideas he’s had concerning the afterlife. One of the passages I liked best was one in a woman, beautiful and bright, in Heaven tries to convince her husband, a twisted and dwarfish soul, to remain with her in Heaven where he can grow and flourish and be freed from his misery. He rejects her love, the love of Heaven, and the little bit of joy he had tasted in her presence. He tells her that if she really loved him then she would come back with him to Hell. This, of course, does not happen, and the dwarfish figure vanishes, consumed by its own misery and self-pity.

Lewis and his spiritual guide then have a conversation about the scene where Lewis finds it hard that the woman wasn’t touched by her husband’s misery. The love and joy that flowed through the woman, in the face of such suffering from a loved-one, seemed somehow wrong:

‘…Is it really tolerable that she should be untouched by his misery, even his self-made misery?….What some say on Earth is that the final loss of one soul gives the lie to all the joy of those who are saved.’

‘Ye see it does not.’

‘I feel in a way that it ought to.’

‘That sounds very merciful: but see what lurks behind it.’

‘What?’

‘The demand of the loveless and the self-imprisoned that they should be allowed to blackmail the universe: that till they consent to be happy (on their own terms) no one else shall taste joy: that theirs should be the final power; that Hell should be able to veto Heaven….Either the day must come when joy prevails and all the makers of misery are no longer able to infect it: or else for ever and ever the makers of misery can destroy in others the happiness they reject for themselves. I know it has a grand sound to say ye’ll accept no salvation which leaves even one creature in the dark outside. But watch that sophistry or ye’ll make a Dog in a Manger the tyrant of the universe.’

To be honest, I had no idea what that phrase “Dog in a Manger” meant. After a short trip to Wikipedia, I found out the basic idea of the phrase is of someone who guards something of value from others, preventing them from enjoying it, while at the same time refusing to enjoy it himself. Thus, the point is that some will never open themselves up to the love of God—no matter what some might say (Matthew 23:13).

I could go one writing about the various lessons communicated in this book, but the most pertinent one for me was this: Heaven is vastly confounding to the finite mind, and it is good that it is so. If we were now able to understand Heaven in such a way as to say, “It’s like this and that and so on…” then it must not be much of an eternal paradise. The Heaven that Lewis describes is one that is more real, more layered, and more complex than could be understood in a single visit, especially when that visitor is observing Heaven with a still finite of the first creation. If Heaven is for Real is a true account of visiting Heaven, then Heaven must be a fairly simplistic and un-challenging place.

Paul experienced a reality so startling and shattering that he was forbidden to relate the experience to anyone. John was only allowed to relate certain vignettes from his peek behind the veil and even these passages of Scripture are layered in apocalyptic imagery, poetry, symbolism, and incomprehensible prophecy. To point to these passages as literal statements of how Heaven will be at The End—for the Heaven in which we will spend eternity with God after the war has finally been won has not yet been revealed—is to assume too much about the various layers that comprise the text. This is a mistake that many “I went to Heaven” stories make: their Heaven is too small.

But what, you ask, of earth? Earth, I think, will not be found by anyone to be in the end a very distinct place. I think earth, if chosen instead of Heaven, will turn out to have been, all along, only a region in Hell: and earth, if put second to Heaven, to have been from the beginning a part of Heaven itself.

CS Lewis from “Preface” to The Great Divorce

Currently Reading: The Great Divorce by CS Lewis

Book Review: Heaven is for Real

Phil —  September 17, 2012 — Leave a comment

Heaven is for Real coverHeaven is for real, but this book isn’t.

A lot of people I know and care about have read Heaven is for Real and raved about it, but—and maybe I’m too cynical—after The Shack swept through unchecked in many Christian circles, I decided that I would try to check every book that appears to be gaining a ridiculous amount of popularity. Thus, here I am.

Summary

Heaven is for Real is the story of four-year old Colton Burpo’s three minute—but how does time really work in Heaven?—trip to the Great Beyond while his body lay on an operating table suffering from a burst appendix. When Colton returned to Earth and recovered from his medical ordeal, he began to relate to his parents several amazing tales of meeting Jesus and exploring Heaven.

The Good

I don’t want to attribute anything good to this book because I really don’t want people to read it, but since many already have…
Continue Reading…

Good Books on Heaven

Phil —  August 8, 2012 — Leave a comment

I’m looking for some good books about Heaven. I’m reading one right now, and I’ve got a bad waiting in the wings.

Here are three books I have read and found to be very good and very helpful in understanding Heaven and the life that we lead on Earth while we wait for the next world to be revealed.

The Gospel of the Kingdom: Scriptural Studies in the Kingdom of God by George Eldon Ladd

The Great Divorce by CS Lewis

The Slumber of Christianity: Awakening a Passion for Heaven on Earth by Ted Dekker. **Update: While I do agree with the author’s position that we need a greater desire for Heaven, he seems to be positing a spiritual-only Heaven, which I don’t agree.**

I’m aiming to reread these books this year. When I do, I’ll review them on the blog.

Do you have any suggestions for my pile of books?