Posts Tagged ‘Tis the season of…books!’

Yes, that's right boys and girls! It's ANGEL TIME!!!

I have a son who flies through books.  I can’t keep him stocked with them.  He really likes fantasy novels and he likes thrillers.  So what more natural fit than a supernatural thriller?  Even better, it is a Christian book written by an acclaimed author, a fallen away Catholic turned atheist who has returned to the Church

The book I’m excited about is Anne Rice‘s Angel Time in the Songs of Seraphim series.   Catholic Exchange reviewed it and the monk/librarian/CE reviewer Br. Benet Exton wrote this about it:

This reviewer has never read any of Anne Rice’s Vampire stories, but he has read her more recent fictional books on Christ and her memoir about her life and her conversion. He has seen two of the movies based on her vampire stories, Interview with a Vampire starring Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt and The Queen of the Damned. Rice’s new book is the total opposite of the vampire stories.

Since her conversion, Rice began writing about Christ, and now about angels. These “angels” are not like the ones imagined by New Age followers. She has studied what Christianity teaches about angels. She has consulted the works of St. Thomas Aquinas and Fr. Pascal Parente’s book The Angels to write about them. According to Christian teaching, angels are disembodied spirits. Each is his own distinct species of angel. There are also various classes of angels or heavenly persons which are mentioned in the Scriptures. St. Paul lists nine classes, or ranks (also called choirs). Only three angels called “archangels” are named in scripture: St. Gabriel, St. Michael, and St. Raphael. There are good angels and there are bad angels. The bad angels are led by Lucifer, otherwise known as the devil or Satan, and by other names.

According to Christian teaching we humans do not become angels when we die. We become disembodied souls that will have a human body again at the Resurrection.

Anne Rice’s new book is very entertaining, and contains a conversion story of its own. An assassin, Toby O’Dare, has an experience that changes his life so much that he is willing to do anything for God. He wants to make up for all the wrong he has done. That God forgives even assassins is something most of us accept with great difficulty. We humans may think that a notorious sinner is beyond forgiveness, but God does not work that way. This fictional story of Toby and an angel, Malchiah, permits Rice to present a number of teaching moments in the story, if one is alert to them. They are correct according to Christian teachings and the Scriptures, and undoubtedly reflect on Rice’s own life and her conversion (especially clear to this reviewer after reading her memoir). Although, Rice of course was not a notorious sinner her character O’Dare was.

Anne Rice researches the historical background for her books and she has done well with this one too. Since O’Dare tells God and the angel that he is willing to do anything to make up for his sins, Malchiah sends him back in time to correct a situation in 13th century England involving Catholics and Jews. One will have to read the book to find out what happens, suffice it to say that the book keeps the reader enthralled — as many reportedly were by her vampire stories, so she is now doing with her angel stories. This book is a first in a series she plans to write while works continues on her fictional series on the life of Christ. Anne Rice must be doing well with these Christian fictional books since some are bashing her for them. This new book is highly recommended to those who want to read good Christian fiction and about angels.

So if fiction is your game, I am recommending you put this on your Christmas list.  It was on my shopping list, but it’s in the “checked off” column now.

Oh, as if it could get better, this is the first in a series so if my son gets hooked, I have a whole line of books I can go back to every gift occasion.  Score 1 for mom!

Read Full Post »

Dinesh D'Souza contributes yet another intellectual blow to the new atheists.

From now until Christmas, I am going to post frequently about really great books out there you should consider getting for me someone.  Like this one!  ==>

Dinesh D’Souza has a new book out proving the existence of an afterlife.  Dinesh is a writer and political analyst mostly known to me from The National Review.  But his work in Christian apologetics of the last few years has been outstanding.  He comes at it from an intellectual rather than a biblical or theological viewpoint which is quite effective for the new atheism.  (Remember:  we have to meet them where they are.)

From his series Dinesh D’Souza on Life After Death at the Catholic Education Resource Center:

Here is my presuppositional argument for life after death. Unlike material objects and all other living creatures, we humans inhabit two domains: the way things are, and the way things ought to be. In other words, we are moral animals who recognize that just as there are natural laws that govern every object in the universe, there are also moral laws that govern the behavior of one special set of objects in the universe, namely us. While the universe is externally moved by “facts,” we are internally moved also by “values.” Yet these values defy natural and scientific explanation, because the laws of nature, as discovered by science, concern only the way things are and not the way they ought to be. Moreover, the essence of morality is to curtail and contradict the powerful engine of human self-interest, giving morality an undeniable anti-evolutionary thrust. So how do we explain the existence of moral values that stand athwart our animal nature? The presupposition of cosmic justice, achieved not in this life but in another life beyond the grave, is by far the best and in some respects the only explanation. This presupposition fully explains why humans continue to espouse goodness and justice even when the world is evil and unjust.

Notice what the presuppositional argument does not say. It does not say that because there is injustice in the world there must be justice somewhere else. Nor does it say that the human wish for a better world is enough by itself to produce another world that is better. Rather, it begins with the recognition that while science explains much of nature very well, there is a big part of human nature that science does not seem to explain at all. In particular, evolution does a good job of accounting for why we are selfish animals, but it faces immense challenges in accounting for why we simultaneously hold that we ought not to be selfish. Far from facing the facts of life, like every other animal, we continue to cherish ideals that have never been and will never be fully achieved. We are flawed creatures who act as if we ought not to be. We know that we live in an unjust society where the bad guy often comes out on top and the good guy often comes to grief, yet we continue to hold that this is not how it should be. We continue to say things like “what goes around comes around” even though we know that in this world it is not always so. Despite the harsh facts of life, we tirelessly affirm that it should be so. Our ideals, in other words, contradict the reality of our lives. It seems that we, uniquely among all living and nonliving things, seek to repudiate the laws of evolution and escape the control of the laws of nature.

Dinesh has a way of putting complicated theses forward intelligently while also accessible to the rest of us.  Hey, even Christopher Hitchens begrudgingly gave him props for this book.  Check it out!

Read Full Post »

If you know me …here’s what I want for Christmas!  just kidding.  I’m a bit of a book-a-holic.  I admit it and admitting my addiction is the first step toward…hopefully getting more books for Christmas.  ;-)

Here are Sr. Anne and Sr. Julia, book browsing and making recommendations.  Oh, and the Pope’s  Jesus of Nazareth book really IS awesome.  (I managed to get that book TWICE last year when I bought it for myself before Christmas Day.  Oops!) 

Ugh, I can’t seem to embed it so here is the link.  Enjoy!

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts