Thursday, November 20, 2014

Review: The Kingstone Bible : Volume 4 : The Judges

The Kingstone Bible : Volume 4 : Judges
From Kingstone Media

*PLEASE NOTE: I received a hardcopy of this book to review for the publisher.

Bottom line: I am torn regarding The Kingstone Bible : Volume 4. The weakest entry in the anthology thus far, this graphic novel is a rough read, and I am unsure if that is inherently due to the content or to the execution. One can go through the book quickly, but it is not a pleasant experience. Of course, given that this is a lawless era of Israel's history, perhaps discomfort is the point. You see why I'm torn.

Kingstone pays close attention to their interpretation of the text and as such limits their creative freedom. I believe the book conveys what is presented in the Holy Scripture, which is admirable, but the translation suffers because it does not present more contextualization (which i believe they did to great affect in their adaptation of Genesis).

If nothing else, this book shows Israel’s folly and the horrendous immorality of the ancient world. Between the injustices of the rulers and the harsh mistreatment of women, one can see why God would have placed his chosen people in the geographical location that he did; the great tragedy of Israel’s history is that they fell into the culture rather than changing it.

The Book of Judges almost serves as a microcosmic picture of Israel (and, arguably, the church) as wayward followers. Things go well; God’s people reject him; as life gets worse, they return. When they do, he delivers them, and once it gets good again, they forget. I’ve seen this narrative repeat itself in history as well as in my own life. To see it in such detail on the comic page is difficult.

But it’s not just Israel’s nameless masses or the surrounding enemies that are the problem. Judges is a book of failures and antiheroes. To his credit, writer Art Ayris in no way attempts to put a spin on the multiple protoganists that Judges provides in order to make them Westernized heroes. They are all essentially as foolish and, at times, immoral as any of their enemies, but God uses them for his purposes in spite of their weakness.

This is why the books is so unpleasant; the stories of Judges take place in a sort of outlaw frontier, and none of the characters fit the Western model of hero. In fact, some of the stories are merely displays of the horror among those who clearly reject Jehovah and his law.

Again, The Kingstone Bible: Volume 4: Judges suffers from the narrative problems inherent in any direct interpretation of the original Scripture. The book is confusing, and the characters difficult to engage. This shows interpretive integrity but lacks creative license one might expect or desire to make the book more palatable in the comic medium. The experience is uneven but poignant; and as I said, that may be the reason the book exists. 

The Kingstone Bible: Volume 4: Judges is now on

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Fear, Failure, and Forward Momentum

Well, here we are: midway through the last month of 2014. The time has passed more quickly than I would have expected. Sure, some days have been long, others not so. I've had the pleasure of savoring many moments and etching new memories while also failing to cherish many more that I let slip through my mind.

I'm off my marks for web traffic, blog posts, tweets, and a wealth of other personal goals. I've gained weighed and lost muscle. My love for the Lord has increased even as my strength and discipline seemed to leave me. I'm really not sure how I'll look at 2014 in the long scheme of things.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Recommendation: "All My Love" by Trip Lee and "Dead Preacher" by Jackie Hill Perry

If you've been at the blog for any amount of time, you know I like hip-hop. Just recently I wrote a recommendation for LeCrae's Anomaly, and I have previously also praised the work of Beautiful Eulogy.

Two recent songs have caught my attention, and I thought it worth my time to commend them to you, alongside some honorable mentions. The tracks I'll be sharing today are especially beautiful due to their overall theme of redemption overcoming depravity and brokenness. A great many hip-hop songs focus on the latter, but few end with the hopeful outlook of the below ballads.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Not Sure How Title This One

Some things.

Some things are too difficult to express in words. The pain runs too deep--or maybe it's the shame. See, I've reached one of those mental walls--a point wherein you want to be introspective and think and process, but you can’t. You can’t think about it anymore. But at the same time you know you need to do so. It's a tough headspace (one that makes me feel altogether foolish).

I won't go into details because I can't do so briefly and they would be embarrassing if I did. Needless to say, the devil has sown seeds of envy in my soul, and the harvest of resentment is in full bloom. What's worse, I know it's my fault; I know that I've allowed it, that I've failed to look upward rather around me, that these emotions are toxic. I have been unable to shake them for the better part of the week, and I see no sign of their dissipating. I need to own them (which is why I've confessed them here and elsewhere), and also I need to face them. But I don't know when I will. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Recommendation: The Kingstone Bible: Volume 3 : The Ten Commandments

The Kingstone Bible: Volume 3: The Ten Commandments
From Kingstone Media

*Please be advised that I received a review hardcopy of this book directly from Kingstone Media.

Art Ayris and Company at Kingstone have created another compelling adaptation of the Holy Scriptures in The Kingstone Bible Volume 3 : The Ten Commandments. Tracing from Moses’ birth through Joshua’s death, this volume in the ongoing The Kingstone Bible Anthology provides a fine overview of Israel’s journey from Egypt to the Promised Land, complete with the nation's failures, hardships, and successes.

Monday, November 3, 2014

No Nano This Year...

Yea, that's right: I am not doing National Novel Write Month this November--the first November since moving back to Delaware. I wanted to do it--even told myself third time's a charm, but the truth is that I am not ready. I do not have anything outlined and at my fingertips to write, and if last year's entry has taught me anything, it's that writing a first draft when it's not ready is like--well, frankly a good analogy escapes me. It just doesn't work for me, regardless of how much I want it too.

So what's that mean for the month? Planning, planning, and more planning. Feedback to my latest draft of To Retreat From Romance has been strong, but I doubt I can hit that February release, even at a breakneck pace. Perhaps I can aim for early spring.

Then on to my other project(s).  While concurrently working on Retreat's release, I'll be shifting focus in 2015 to...children's books. Now this will entail far more coordinating with folks, but with any luck, I'll have a release by year end! (I know; it's crazy talk).

Also, the blog is moving. In 2015, the blogspot address will be retired, and the blog will be hosted directly at the Living Life Loving Christ publishing site. Not only that but the blog will also be a bit different, as I have a few "article series" I hope to tackle.

So 2014 has thus far been a strange chapter: no new books, only a single speaking engagement, and hit or miss blog publication--but it was also a year of new friends, esp. the fine folks at Kingstone Media. I'll consider 2014 a transition year, as well as a needed reassessment of 3LC.

Here's hoping it's the right one, and 2015 is a year full of Christ seizing his glory!