Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Sword and Pen: The Poetry of Holy Worlds

I now have some works published in The Sword and Pen, which is described as:

From fanciful rhymes to rich ballads to sober prayers, "The Sword and Pen" is a collection as diverse as the people who wrote it. A compilation of over 130 poems, drabbles, and six-word stories written by the members of Holy Worlds, this collection showcases the heart and spirit of writers dedicated to capturing their words for Christ. Join an adventure that flows from dragons and battles to love and death. No two poems are alike. 

For now, this special collection is only available as an e-book on Smashwords, but will eventually be available on Amazon as an e-book and in print.

(c) 2012 Jonathan Garner

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Book Review: Dinotopia by James Gurney

After their ship sinks in a storm, a father and son are rescued by dolphins and taken to an island. As they begin exploring, they find a strange land where humans and dinosaurs can communicate with each other and live side-by-side, in most cases peacefully. Since there seems to be no way to get off the island, the father and son begin adapting to their new home and discovering the many wonders of Dinotopia.

The vivid and exceptional art is the main draw of this book. While the inventiveness of Dinotopia is sometimes implausible, most of the time it is fascinating to look at. However, the story that ties the pictures together is weak and lacks focus, leaving the colorful pictures to carry the book.

A flaw that is even bigger than the weak story is its obsession with political correctness, so that one can hardly turn the page without being hit over the head with some sort of preachiness. Whether or not you will find the book readable will largely rely on your ability to ignore this pervasive element. Those who like dinosaurs or good art in general might find it worthwhile to just look at the pictures and ignore the text.

Content is all mild, involving mild violence, minor immodesty, and matter-of-fact references to the body waste elimination required by the dinosaurs, which is only notable because the dinosaurs are considered equal to humans. Not surprisingly, evolution is also referenced.

(c) 2012 Jonathan Garner

Monday, January 23, 2012

Are You A Saint?

Are you a saint? You might say no. You’ve sinned. You haven’t done great things for God. But let’s look at the definitions of saint:

saint 1. n (Christianity / Ecclesiastical Terms) a person who after death is formally recognized by a Christian Church, esp the Roman Catholic Church, as having attained, through holy deeds or behaviour, a specially exalted place in heaven and the right to veneration -- Collins English Dictionary

saint n. 2 a person who is exceptionally meek, charitable, patient, etc. -- Webster’s Dictionary

For the LORD takes delight in His people; He crowns the humble with salvation. Let the saints rejoice in this honor and sing for joy on their beds. -- Psalm 149:4-5

While the world has many definitions of saint, according to the Bible, a saint is not someone canonized by the Catholic church or someone who is particularly righteous in some way, but simply anyone who is saved by faith.

If you have been saved by faith and are a child of God, then you are a saint. We all have flaws, but our Savior does not, and it is through His righteousness and not our own that we are saved and made saints.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. -- Ephesians 2:8-9

[God] has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of His own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. -- 2 Timothy 1:9-10

Love the LORD, all His saints! The LORD preserves the faithful, but the proud He pays back in full. -- Psalm 31:23

And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. -- Colossians 1:10-14

The saints of the Most High will receive the kingdom and will possess it forever—yes, for ever and ever. -- Daniel 7:18

We have to trust in Christ’s righteousness and sacrifice to be set free from the sins that burden us, and dedicate our lives to Him. Then we are saints. Not perfect now, but being made perfect through One who is perfect.

If you didn’t know before, do you know now: Are you a saint?

*All Bible verses are from the NIV.

(c) 2012 Jonathan Garner

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Book Review: Forbidden Doors, Book 1: The Society by Bill Myers

When two teens and their mom move to a small California town, they soon suspect that dark forces are at work. After living in South America for years, they recognize the signs of demonic influence, and realize that some of the people they encounter are unwitting pawns of hell, while others willingly serve the darkness. As their faith is put to the test, they have to remember and be guided by the power of God’s truth.

The Society is the first book in the Forbidden Doors series by Bill Myers, a YA series I liked a lot as a teen. I was curious to see how the books held up now, and for The Society at least, I have mixed feelings. It was solidly written and moved along at a fast pace through a slight story that was decent enough for a series novel. However, a recurring allegorical dream sequence involving knights playing football felt out of place and detracted from the story. Other than that over-the-top element, the rest of the story worked. Mild violence and fairly strong horror make it best for teens and up.

(c) 2012 Jonathan Garner

Monday, January 9, 2012


After an unplanned hiatus from posting on my blog, I’m back and ready to start posting regularly again. I have some changes planned for the blog in the coming year, including a wider variety of articles (with a focus on writing and entertainment), and at least one book giveaway. More details on the giveaway will be coming soon.

What are your plans for this year?