Friday, July 31, 2015

5 Animal Symbols of Jesus

I recently became a columnist for TRC magazine, and this is my first article as a columnist.

The Bible sometimes uses animals as symbols of Jesus. Each creaturely picture of Christ has striking elements that make it memorable, sometimes because it fits so perfectly and sometimes because it is completely unexpected. These wildlife images help us understand important aspects of His nature and accomplishments, from His love to His might, from His sacrifice to His victory. Here are five animal symbols of Jesus. Read More

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Movie Review: Little Nemo - Adventures in Slumberland

The Story: A boy named Nemo is troubled by vivid dreams, none of which are real. Then one night, messengers are sent by the king of Slumberland to bring Nemo to be a playmate to the princess of Slumberland. When Nemo arrives, his naive tolerance of a troublemaker ends up unleashing a living nightmare that only he has any hope of stopping.

My Thoughts: The most notable thing about this unusual movie is the animation. Spectacularly imaginative dream sequences and colorful fantasy scenes are brought vividly to life at a level of masterful artistry that few films have ever matched. I found it worth watching for that fact alone, and many fans of traditional animation may feel the same way.

Sadly, the rest of the movie doesn’t live up to the animation. Although the story is fine overall, it has a weak ending and gaping holes that are never explained. The holes can perhaps be attributed to the dream-like tone of the film, but even so, they lessen the impact of the story. Also, despite the film having many good messages, a troubling hint of moral ambiguity lingers at the end.

Content Overview: Mild crude humor. Some mild violence and scariness that is perhaps slightly more intense than usual for a G-rated movie.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Book Review: William Carey: A Biography by Mary Drewery

The Story: William Carey was a pioneering missionary of the 18th century in a time when missions work was mostly ignored by Christians. His life serving God in India was so filled with triumph and tragedy that it seems like fiction, and it shows the great things that a single man can do when faithful to God.

My Thoughts: I’ve read some slowly-paced biographies, and fortunately, this is not one of them. It was almost as easy to read as a novel, despite the significant amount of information given on each page. The inspiring and unique life of William Carey is described vividly and yet succinctly, offering a solid, accessible resource for those interested in his life.

The author tends to take a moderate stance on many of the controversies of the era and of Carey’s personal life, and while this often appears wise, in a few places it seems timid. Aside from that, however, the book is excellent, and I recommend it. Anyone who enjoys biographies, missionary tales, history, and shining examples of faith will find much to like.

Content Overview: Safe for all readers.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

7 Criminally Underrated Rock Songs

Sometimes rock songs may be hits when released, but still achieve far less success than deserved. Or they may fall through the cracks and become inexplicably little-remembered. Or they may come from such an unlikely source that rock fans haven’t given them much notice. I want to bring attention to some of these forgotten, ignored, or unappreciated classics.

Here, in no particular order, are seven criminally underrated rock songs.

#1 “Let the Day Begin” by The Call

What better way to begin this list than with one of the greatest rock songs of all time? I prefer this seemingly forgotten gem over most of what gets played on the average classic rock station.

#2 “Run” by Collective Soul

Pretty much every single and every album from Collective Soul could be classified as criminally underrated, and “Run” is perhaps the best example. It’s a powerful ballad that never gets old.

#3 “Lord of the Dance” by Steven Curtis Chapman

Steven Curtis Chapman is a living legend with a long and hit-filled career. “Lord of the Dance” shows why and is one of many songs that proves he deserves even more popularity than he’s seen so far.

#4 “King of Comedy” by R.E.M.

The catchy guitar riff, experimental vocals, and satirical lyrics seem like the perfect recipe for a mega-hit, but this song was hardly noticed when it was released.

#5 “Colored People” by DC Talk

If I had to pick one song on this list as the most under-appreciated, “Colored People” would be it. The combination of profound lyrics with moving music creates a masterpiece.

#6 “Cowboy Casanova” by Carrie Underwood

Although this song has a country twang, it out-rocks most rock songs in recent memory. “Cowboy Casanova” perhaps got the appreciation it deserved from country fans, but—understandably—not yet from rock fans.

#7 “Love Don’t Die” by The Fray

The Fray outdid themselves with this catchy, insightful rocker. It’s my favorite song of theirs. Strangely, however, “Love Don’t Die” wasn’t as successful as some of their other hits.

What do you think of this list? Are there any songs you’d like to add?

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Cover Reveal for Implant by J. Grace Pennington

I've enjoyed all of J. Grace Pennington's novels so far, and she's got a new book coming out soon called Implant. It's her first dystopian tale. Today, she revealed what the cover will look like.

Here's the synopsis:

Welcome to the world of a universal cure.

Gordon Harding didn't ask for the life he has. He didn't ask to be orphaned. He didn't ask to go through life with cancer. And he certainly didn't ask to be pulled into a future world without warning--a world where every human being is controlled by means of a medical implant.

And when he learns that he's the only one who can destroy the base of operations, he's faced with an impossibly painful choice: either hide and let the world decay under this mysterious futuristic force, or rescue humanity from oppression, knowing that there's someone out there who is willing to use any means necessary to stop him.

If you'd like to learn more about Grace and her writing, here's how:

Cover designer's website: