All posts filed under: Entertainment

Does Dr. Strange Villainize the Truth? | Movie Review

I’m a Marvel fanboy, through and through. Like many thirty-somethings I enjoy watching my childhood reading material come to life on the big screen, and I love sharing the stories with my kids. We’re a Marvel family for sure. Now that I’ve established my loyalty to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, er… multiverse?… let me say, in the interest of full disclosure, that I’m not a Dr. Strange fan. I never liked the comics or the characters. You might say that my Evangelical roots left me disinterested in a superhero fighting evil with, well, evil — magic spells and goat-head hands. Who needs strange stuff like that when there’s Spider-Man? Really. Ok, so now you have a handle on my presuppositions. Oh, wait. There’s one more vital piece of information that you need to know: I’m a Lutheran pastor. Though I grew up as a fundie, I’ve repented of my pietistic tendencies and find peace and joy living in the feeedom of the Gospel. There you go, now you have all the pieces at play in this post, …

An Advent for Religious Liberty | Book Review

Ray Keating’s third Pastor Stephen Grant Novel, An Advent for Religious Liberty continues to bring to life this heroic pastor. What pastor doesn’t want to be like Pr. Grant? What parishioner doesn’t want him as his shepherd?! At only 157 pages this book is just about half the length of book two, Root of All Evil? (read my thoughts on that book here). I don’t know if it was originally released during Advent, but I wish I would’ve read it during Advent. As a novella it packs an intriguing story into a quick read, perfect for the busy-ness that comes with December! Mayor-elect Adam Pritchett’s over the top personality is Trumpian (for lack of a better word), which enabled me to buy into the rapid and overt attack on religious freedom in the story. How it’s stopped, well, that’s on par with how I’ve come to expect Pr. Stephen Grant to handle things – like a boss. A great teaser story between Root of All Evil? and The River, which I can’t wait to read. Perfect for the faithful who want a seasonal book consumable …

Root of All Evil? | Book Review

Ray Keating’s second Pastor Stephen Grant novel, Root of All Evil? is a fantastic follow up to Warrior Monk (click here for my review of that work). It’s a well crafted political thriller full of intrigue and theological truth. Keating’s world has proven profitable for contrasting good theology with bad. In this book he tackles money and how it impacts the Church. I was impressed with the skillful and varied way the author deposited the money theme into the story: from global economics, to the prosperity gospel, to expenses that come with operating a parochial school, to the concerns laity have regarding their pastor’s salary. Keating’s economist background pays offs big! I can’t wait to crack open the next book!

Warrior Monk | Book Review

With powerful endorsements by both a congressman (Pete King) and a well known reporter (Larry Kudow) on the cover, I was aching to get into this book. The first of Ray Keating’s Pastor Stephen Grant novels, Warrior Monk, catches your attention from page one. It reads like one of Vince Flynn’s Mitch Rapp adventures, dishing out details and action at a fast pace.  And in the midst of that action Keating manages to brilliantly present the reader with thought provoking truths, seemingly little things that aren’t pondered nearly enough, such as a note about church architecture or a relational reality particular to men who hold the pastoral office. At other times he deals with larger topics such as church doctrine and practice. As the story unfolds Keating presents the Christian faith in a real way that any reader will appreciate, exposing differences and difficulties between varying denominations and between the Church and the world without distraction. This perfect backdrop propels the protagonist, and the reader, into the challenges of the book. It’s a spectacular ride steeped in theological intrigue! As a fan of G.K. …