Sunday, September 17, 2006

After our church, Westminster, "did" Rick Warren's "Purpose Driven Life" program, I responded to that torture by writing Warren a one-star review on What discredited the book for me was Warren's assertion that his Saddleback Church was the chosen venue of worship for a number of CEOs whose God-given purpose in life was to become rich, where they could do their part for the Lord's kingdom by writing checks. Gathering excessive wealth for one's self (while the people at the bottom end of the ladder in their company struggle to make ends meet) is greedy. The writing of checks is not DOING God's work, it's FUNDING God's work.

TIME magazine ran an article this week on what is now called "Prosperity" teaching: that God wants me to be rich, a message touted by preachers a la Joel Osteen, who has his name boldly emblazoned on the front of Lakewood Church. As you can guess, I don't subscribe to this materialistic blasphemy. God doesn't bestow luxury on us just because we want it. It's about what GOD wants, folks. As Jesus said, "The poor will always be with us." If we're all writing checks, who's going to take care of the DOING?

Much to my surprise, TIME quotes Warren opposing the prosperity movement. I still think his book is repetitive, boring, and ineffective, but I give the Reverend credit for choosing the right side on this one.

Thursday, September 07, 2006


I signed up at this thing called Reader Views. They send you a few pages of a book each day for a week, so you can try books you wouldn't see otherwise.

Last week they sent me a book titled "Avengers." The first two days of it were intriguing: a cruise ship rescues two half-starved, dehydrated people found standed on an undamaged boat. There is something mysterious about the couple.

Then, on the third day, I realize the full title is "Necroscope: Avengers." The couple turn out to be vampires. The quality of the writing dives from golden to garbage. Gross violence is an understatement. What I learn is that vampires can do anything except sunbathe. They are infinitely strong, infinitely smart, infinitely skilled, infinitely disguise-able, and infinitely invincible (which makes them infinitely un-believable). Therefore, it is a foregone conclusion that when vampire vs. man, vampire wins. What else is there to say in such a book? What kind of person salivates over the endless gory details to follow? I've read a few of these books before. They are very pro-vampire. It's as though the authors aspire to be one!

Vampire novels have about as much redeeming social value as kiddie porn. And yet there are fans of this genre. I know some that fritter their nights away on role-playing games about this stuff. Full-grown adults, no less.

Hey vampire wannabes: that flashing thing in the mirror is your idiot light.