The Casual Vacancy: A Sermon on Poverty

Casual Vacancy

One of my favorite books of all time is Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss. And as much as I love it, the first 200 pages are a bit hard to stomach. We see the main character, Kvothe, stumbling homeless through the streets of Tarbean, orphaned after an attack on his parents, and we keep asking ourselves what the point is. And then, all of a sudden, we see it. And the book doesn’t let up after that moment. Part of me wonders if that process of realization is part of what cemented the book’s pedestal status in my mind.

There’s a moment, about one-fourth of the way through J.K. Rowling’s newest bestseller, The Casual Vacancy, when the story clicked for me. Continue reading →

Fear and Fowls

Dead Space 2

What follows is a post I wrote about a month ago, but never published, ironically, out of fear of looking like a dork. Thought I’d finish it and put it out there.


A few weeks back, I watched my brother play the game Dead Space 2 and squealed in dread for the majority of the experience. I’ve always maintained that scary anything isn’t my cup of tea, and it really shows when I’m met with jaw-busting and bladder-loosening terror.

The whole ordeal got me thinking about fear in general. I was shocked to realize just how much it rules my life in other, less funny ways. Continue reading →

Faith and Speculative Fiction

Science Fiction

There are typically two types of books that I lean towards when populating my reading list: Sci-fi/Fantasy books or books on theology and Christian living. It’s a strange combination, I suppose, but says a lot about the things I ponder, when I’m not thinking about Batman or cheeseburgers. As an aspiring author, these are actually the two types of writing that I’d like to delve into some day, and there is usually a stark separation between the two (although I’ve shared before how I think this should not always be so).

Over the weekend, there were some interesting discussions going on in a few Christian blogs about the absence of speculative fiction (sci-fi/fantasy/horror, etc.) from the world of Christian publishing. This all seemed to start over at ReveLife with a post about how Science Fiction Goes with the Christian Life, which discusses the myriad of thematic elements that are relevant for Christians in the realm of sci-fi. Personally, I think it raises some good points, especially considering that science fiction’s most powerful ability is to turn the magnifying glass on present culture by way of the future or the seemingly impossible. For reference material, see: Battlestar Galactica, the series. Continue reading →

Why I Write: The Power of Story in the Human Narrative

Years ago, when I was traveling to different churches and seeking a job as a youth pastor, I ended up at a fairly conservative Baptist church. I don’t mean to pick on that denomination, but while there on my interview, I was put into a bit of a bind by a particular question I was asked in front of a group of parents and students. “Do you think it’s OK to watch rated R movies?”

The reason this question proved to be so awkward was that it’s loaded with assumptions, and implications for the wrong answer. It also is the kind of question that makes people look at Christians all goofy. Continue reading →