Friday, January 13, 2006

If you're going to get on your biblical high horse, at least learn how to ride.

Hat tip to Blue Gal for today's post, Best Bible Lesson Ever. BG has linked to a radio interview (or is it a podcast?) of Don Alexander, a former school principal who has written Darnia's Quest: A Spiritual Journey to Awaken Your Imagination. (Worst. Title. Ever?) He bills this as a Christian alternative to Harry Potter. Mind you, he has never read a single one of J.K. Rowling's books (you'll need to scroll to the bottom of that MyWestTexas article). He doesn't need to. And I doubt he has seen Brokeback Mountain, but he has made up his mind about that, too. It's also quite clear from the interview that he has read only one verse from Leviticus, but he's not afraid to use it to support his all-consuming fear repressed shameful des -- oh, Lord, I can't say it! hatred of homosexuals. Hmm. What do they have to say about Alexander's book over at Amazon?
Christian Alternative to the Harry Potter Series - Five Stars
Quite Simply the best Christian Book for kids out there right now. It has adventure, romance, and a plot so thick that you'll want to read it again and again. If your child reads Harry Potter, get them hooked on the Dar's Quest series--then they'll leave Harry. And so I asked myself: WWJGD? Jesus' General wouldn't take this lying down. He'd head on over there and post his own review. Thus:
Disturbing Homo-Erotic undertones - One Star
As a Christian Father of three impresionabel young children, mr.Alexander's BOok disturbed me greatly. Mind you, we only read (we Read A Loud) the first page, but that was enough to decide me. For shame, mr.Alexander!!! PS i understand from Your radio Interviws you never read a Harry Potter book, yet you say such bad things. So I dont feel to bad only reading one page of yours. I'll let you know if Amazon picks it up. In the meantime, you have your work cut out for you. D.


Anonymous ROF said...

Good Evening, Mr. Hoffman --

I left this review of Darnia's Quest: A Spiritual Journey to Awaken Your Imagination over at in similar fashion as Jesus' General's little adventure w/ Women Who Make the World Worse : and How Their Radical Feminist Assault Is Ruining Our Schools, Families, Military, and Sports by Kate O'Beirne. Whether it's actually posted or not is anyone's guess. I think it took over a week for the general's review to be posted.

Quite simply one of the most banal and patronizing so-called Christian Books for kids out there right now. It's adventure, romance, and plot are so contrived and "copy-cat" that you'll want to stop reading it after a page or two. If your child reads Harry Potter, keep them hooked on that and thank the stars for a good reading habit -- then they'll never leave Harry.

No books should be burned to inhibit thought, but this one should be toast in the market place and returned to distributors without their covers.

After listening to the pod cast w/ Don Alexander over at Blue Gal's, it was invigorating to establish a counterpoint to the obviously sympathetic praise heaped on the book by the other two (at the time) "reviewers."

Alexander said, "Satan is after them at a young age. We are after them too ... to get them to grow/start a walk with Christ ... and to be themselves as well."

Yes, he & those like him obviously can't (or won't) see the dichotomy: if you brain wash them w/ supernaturalism & all the bigoted, prejudicial notions that go w/ that (at least in the vocal fundamentalist view), how can they possibly "be themselves as well?"

1/13/2006 09:48:00 PM  
Blogger Douglas Hoffman said...

if you brain wash them w/ supernaturalism & all the bigoted, prejudicial notions that go w/ that (at least in the vocal fundamentalist view), how can they possibly "be themselves as well?

Amen, rof.

Don't know if you caught the fracas over at Mel Gibson's blog, but he made much the same point. Here's my favorite quote from Mel:

"If as you say, your faith is not to be toyed with, how do you know that someone else is not going to be able to toy with it, if I was able to reassure you with a quote justifying slavery, Elizabeth? How do you know that people in positions of authority are not using the Bible to mislead you right now?"

Great stuff.

1/13/2006 10:09:00 PM  
Blogger Shelbi said...

I listened to the Pod-thingie, and I have to say that while Alexander is a bit of a nincompoop, the guy doing the interview didn't really give him a chance to articulate what he was trying to say. They both seemed to be flinging scriptures left and right and it was all taken out of context, so neither one really made a valid point.

Alexander bringing up Lot and Sodom and Gomorrah to justify the position that homosexuality is wrong pisses me off, though.

Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed because of the all around wickedness of the people. They were hateful, selfish, and mean to strangers. That's why God destroyed them. It had nothing to do with their sexuality. I actually blogged about this scripture the other night. I may or may not have argued my point convincingly, but I tried.

I am a Christian [if you didn't know] and I don't have all the answers[read: almost zero] But,I am no longer content to listen to what the 'religious leaders' say about things, so I'm doing the research on my own [thank God for the internet!]

One thing I've noticed, though, is that the people on both sides of an issue, whether political or otherwise, seem so angry. It's like nobody really listens to each other because they're so caught up in their hatred of the other side.

Seems like if people could calm down a little and be objective, we could figure out that, whatever political affiliation or sexual orientation we have, in the end, we're all just humans.

And Christians should remember what Jesus said, "Love your neighbor as yourself." That includes everybody, not just their fellow religious right-ers.

Oh yeah, that whole "Christian Harry Potter" thing was stupid too. And it's another thing that pisses me off about Christians. Why do we just take everything other Christians say as 'the gospel truth' without ever doing research of our own?

But that sends me off into another rant, and I've taken up enough room here on your comments.

Thanks for your patience, Doug, and for your blog. I enjoy it muchly.

1/14/2006 12:41:00 AM  
Blogger Douglas Hoffman said...

Thanks, Shelbi. I agree, the interviewer bullied the guy, but Alexander didn't seem to have much point other than, "Woe is us, the direction our country is headed, blah blah blah, is this what you want your children exposed to" then don't expose them to it "blah blah blah."

The interviewer had a point, the same point you've made: love is the most important message. Jesus didn't have a monopoly on love, but it does seem to me that he focused on it much more than the Jewish prophets. But that's precisely the portion of the message that's lost on many so-called VOCAL Christians like Alexander.

As for the Lot story, I've studied this too, although from the Jewish POV, of course. From my reading, it struck me that even the Orthodox Jews, who do an amazing job squaring the circle (explaining to their own satisfaction tough-to-explain aspects of the bible), have trouble with Lot. By the way, you might enjoy Elie Wiesel's essays on various Old Testament figures, Wise Men and their Tales. Recommended reading, even for agnostics and atheists. He writes that well -- and besides, these stories are part of our cultural heritage.

1/14/2006 08:58:00 AM  
Anonymous ROF said...

Good Morning, Mr. Hoffman --

I see that neither your nor my “review” of Darnia's Quest: A Spiritual Journey to Awaken Your Imagination at Amazon has appeared to leaven the pair of enthusiastic yea-sayer reviews. I wonder if delays of this nature aren’t standard procedure for the initial negative reviews; wouldn’t want to deter sales too soon. Of course we know from the JG experience that once that gate is open, a flood may occur. So sad, too bad -- not.

I suppose that if our reviews are published, we should gird ourselves for attacks by the “grammar/typo nazis” seeing as how we both made some errors. I’m a little surprised that none have appeared here at Balls and Walnuts; they seem so alert everywhere else.

I wish you had a date stamp for your comments section. Of course, if they’re supposed to be ephemeral, I suppose it makes no difference, but when I go back over comments about previous posts, I’d prefer a sense of time line.

I don’t have a scab on my lip, but I’ll be back -- sometime soon.

1/15/2006 07:19:00 AM  
Blogger Douglas Hoffman said...

Hi rof,

My errors were all intentional (I thought yours were, too ;o) Cheap shot, but these guys who call themselves Christian and use the Bible selectively bolster their hateful beliefs really get my goat.

I hope Amazon doesn't post my review, because that would mean someone with half a brain screens them before posting. Speaking as a guy who hopes some day to be reading his own book's reviews on Amazon, I'm pulling for that outcome.

I'll check options to see if I can get a date stamp as well as a time stamp.

Today's word verification: oodont. I think that's a real word. Egg tooth?

1/15/2006 08:46:00 AM  
Anonymous ROF said...

Good Afternoon, Mr. Hoffman --

“Oodont.” Eggtooth? Maybe, but I prefer to think it’s her exclamation when you’re ready to leave her side too soon. ;>)

A relative “newbie” to the blogs, I’m now finding them much more fun w/ a “modern” machine that actually operates correctly. It even allows me to spell your “verification” words, & I can get on w/out nearly as much frustration. However(!), I have finally been forced to write my “blurbs” on a word processor, copy/paste & then “tag” as needed. I make way too many errant “clicks” w/ these old hands & have lost more than one beautifully written piece. A surgeon, I am not (humanity sighs w/ relief).

I’m curious whether you are notified in some way if there’s a new comment posted at an older posting like this (sorry for the redundancy, I’m not sure of the correct terminology here) or if you have to find it yourself. At different sites, it seems like I sometimes find a topic that “requires” my attention, but I never know if I’m spitting in the ocean. The site owner, or another commenter, may deign to acknowledge a comment, but frequently not.

Shelbi’s (above) URL leads to a 404. I wanted to read what she wrote before I responded to her post. I wish, if she reads this, she’d try posting that again.

By the by, I am “reassembled” in part -- but not that part.

1/15/2006 03:12:00 PM  
Blogger Shelbi said...

Well crap! I tried to be all cool and use the freaking HTML, but it appears I'm just not getting it.

Here it is in long hand. You should be able to just cut and paste it into your browser.

Sorry 'bout that.

1/15/2006 09:05:00 PM  
Anonymous ROF said...

Good Morning, Ms. Shelbi (& You, too, Mr. Hoffman) --

The “technical” learning curve in these blogs isn't all that steep (for a commentator), but I’ve learned it’s easy to increase the grade by not thinking & trying before asking. Less obscurely, Ms. Shelbi, paths to your blog are not dependent on your skills in HTML, & I do not mean that critically. Yesterday, I triggered the Blogger “comment cop” when I tried to include a URL address (as I have already done here & elsewhere w/ no problems). I have a suspicion of the cause, but that’s not germane at the moment.

Regardless, after I posted my second comment yesterday w/ my reference to your post, I “discovered” the reason for the blue highlighting & underlining of your name at the beginning of your posts: a direct pipeline to your Profile & hence (Doh!) to your blogs, Shelblog & Nip It In the Butt. May haps, I’ll bop over there for a chat sometime.

Hmmmm. I was able to do HTML just fine for the "preview" of this comment. My suspicion may be confirmed: doing HTML in a word processor may introduce "unseen" info that Blogger cannot handle. Direct tagging & copy/paste from the site URL "bar" seems to be the ticket.


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