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-“Riverworld”

by Dr. D ~

By Phillip Jose Farmer (New York: Tom Doherty Assoc.,LLC, 2010, 443 pages, including two books: “To Your Scattered Bodies Go” and “The Fabulous Riverboat”)

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The first half of the book follows Sir Richard Francis Burton who along with everyone who ever lived from early Neanderthals up to 2200 AD were resurrected at the same time into a new world along a nearly endless river.

Everyone starts off nude and without hair and It takes a while for folks to get use to their new circumstances and the parameters of the new world that they find themselves in. First they discover that many of their basic needs are taken care of each day provided by mushroom-shaped towers called "grailstones" found along the river at regular intervals.

Every person has been provided with their own personal mess kits commonly called ‘grails’ which they can place into the grail towers 3 times a day for food, drink, and other items like liquor, tobacco, drugs, and candy. The weather is perfect and there doesn’t seem to be any diseases but people can still get hurt by accident or on purpose. The resurrected folks can also die by accident or be killed but later they find themselves ‘resurrected’ again at another location along the river. Some even commit suicide hoping for a better location next time along the river.

Soon the newly resurrected people are forming protective groups that later become governments over areas of land along the river. They build homes, towns and new nations.

Religion

The old earthly religions are now rejected by most folks since this new ‘River World’ doesn’t seem to relate in any way to any of the old religious teachings. Both the ‘evil’ and the ‘good’ and everyone between from the former life has been resurrected together in this new world with total recall and no distinctions from the previous life.

A new religion started up with the idea that this new world was an opportunity to start over and become better people and make a better world without making the same old mistakes that were made in the former world and life. The new religionists are pacifists.

The Storylines

The first story revolves around English explorer Sir Richard Burton who is driven to find out who is behind the ‘resurrection’ and what it is all about. He comes to the conclusion that a super race of beings resurrected everyone who ever lived on Earth as some kind of experiment. In fact one of the super beings appears to him from time top time to help him along the way with important info. Former Nazi leader Hermann Goring is one character that keeps on showing up, first as an opponent to Burton, then later sometimes as a friend, and finally as a new resurrection religionist.

The second story revolves around Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) and his efforts to produce a new magnificent Riverboat like he use to captain down the Mississippi. His major allies and opponent is the former King John of Robin Hood fame. The story is delicious in its many twists and turns right to the end. Twain does finally build his boat but it quickly ends up far different than he planned.

The two stories merely wet ones appetite for more and there is more. Tor (Tom Doherty Assoc.) is in the midst of republishing the series and this is only the first with more to come. Can’t wait.           *Top

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-“Heart of the Assassin”

by Dr. D ~

By Robert Ferrigno (New York: Scribner: Simon & Schuster, 2009, 356 pages)

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A non-stop action/adventure stand alone novel. The third and final book in the ‘Assassin’ series-previous: “Prayers For The Assassin” and “Sins of The Assassin

The year is 2045. The former United States is split in two major nations including The Islamic Republic based in Seattle and the Bible Belt in the south with a capitol in Atlanta. The Aztlan Empire (Formerly Mexico) is ready to gobble up the entire Southwest and there doesn’t appear to be any way to stop it.

Time is running out for the ‘Old One’ to establish his international caliphate. He is 150 years old and is finally degenerating. The hero of the ‘assassin series’ Rakkim is off to the contaminated Washington DC zone along with techno nerd Leo to find a sacred relic that could bring the two warring factions of the old USA back together again and counter the Aztlan encroachment. Sarah does prevail in her plans for using the ‘relic’ but in a way even she doesn’t expect.

The story starts off with Carbon–skinned super warrior Gavenholtz vowing to get Rakkim and kill his entire family. The fake preacher Malcolm Crews actually has a few real healings and seems to be somewhat changed by it all. The cruel Grand Mullah of New Fallujah- Ibn-Azziz finally has his confrontation with Rakkim after he tries to condemn survivors of a girls school fire. After all the girls were not fully clothed in their burkas since the fire was in the middle of the night.

In the end it can be said that ‘divine providence’ saves the day.

Most of the ‘organized’ religion in the series is something that most of us would rather avoid, particularly the Islamic fundamentalists and the fake Christian preachers. There are no really ‘good’ religious leaders anywhere in this series even though religion is front and center throughout. Nevertheless the story does turn out right with the ‘good’ winning out and ‘evil’ basically losing along with far better prospects for the former USA on the horizon.

This leaves us to speculate that the author may not care for organized religion all that much but does hope against hope for some kind of order and divine providence in the universe anyway. At least that is what this series seems to represent.

I highly recommend all three books. The author gives an uncanny picture of what the country might be like if the Muslims ultimately prevail and turn at least a portion of the United States into an Islamic Republic—a very scary prospect.               *Top

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-“Digging into WordPress”

by Dr. D ~

by Chris Coyier & Jeff Starr (Self Published, 2009, 400 pages)

image Self published and available in PDF form and as a ‘spiral bound’ book. The two authors really know what they are talking about when it comes to the WordPress blogging program.

<<Read the Rest on Blogging Ministry>>

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-“The Power of Surrender: Breaking Through to Revival”

by Dr. D ~

By Michael Catt (Nashville, Tennessee: B & H Publishing Group, 2010, 305 pages) 

Is the ‘prosperity gospel’ hindering revival? Pastor Michael Catt, senior pastor of Sherwood Baptist Church of Albany, Ga. believes so.

Pastor Catt makes a number of observations about revival in his new book:  “The Power of Surrender: Breaking Through to Revival”

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Here’s what he has to say about Revival and the Prosperity Gospel:

“Sometimes the prosperity gospel and the feel-good gospel tell people what they want to hear, But] when you lay that by the side of Jesus’ teaching [to] take up the cross – the only reason for the cross in the first century is to die – and to die daily, to crucify your flesh then you have to think how does this fit?”

“I can’t go to a guy that only has a towel around his waist and lives in a dung hut and tell him the good news you’ll get a Mercedes and you’ll go from dung to stucco because it probably won’t happen. But the power of the life changing Gospel can happen.”

The actual focus of the book is on sacrifice and revival and eliminating everything in the church that stands in the way of a new revival coming to America:

“If we’re hungry and thirsty after God, if there is a desire for more, if there is a holy dissatisfaction with the way things are, believing that surely God died for more than what we are seeing in our typical church today…”

In the book pastor Catt talks about how God is moving in his own congregation doing a sovereign work bringing many closer to God:

“We are now seeing people walk through the baptismal waters. People are being saved. Members are inviting their lost friends and unchurched neighbors. Attendance shot up. Why? Revival produces evangelism.”

Sherwood Baptist is famous for producing such movies as “Facing the Giants” and “Fireproof.”                *Top

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– “The Lost Symbol”

by Dr. D ~

By Dan Brown (New York: Doubleday, 2009, 509 pages)

image Another fast paced Robert Langdon novel by Dan Brown. This time the focus is on Washington DC and Freemasonry. Professor Langdon produces under pressure and threat once more to solve every clue and symbol put before him. The life of a close friend, Peter Solomon, is in jeopardy and Robert works overtime in a pursuit all over the District to find the need clues that would save him.

The perpetrator is ruthless and someone with a major grudge against Peter who is wealthy and a major leader in the Masonic lodge. The participants in this scenario include major players from the Intelligence community, politics, the police, religious leaders, and prominent masons. Peter’s sister who is a major scientist on the brink of a major break through is also involved and in danger.

Of course there are several twists and turns in the story that keep you on your toes and begging for more. At one point Langdon is even killed? The evil terrorist/bad guy in the book is chilling to the bone to say the least and his origins are surprising. The inter workings of several government agencies also lend an interesting backdrop to the whole affair.

The parade through Washington DC’s famous buildings, monuments, and artifacts that have some kind of Masonic tie is interesting. This will probably increase the tourist trade at the Capitol seeking out the particular symbols and landmarks portrayed in the book. Folks will now want to take a second look at the famous painting- “The Apotheosis of Washington” in the rotunda of the Capitol building and maybe gander at any visible symbols on Washington’s Monument.

Philosophical and Religious Underpinnings

Christians will find this novel to be far more comfortable than the last two since the focus is on Freemasonry. However there is a prevailing view supported in the novel that there are hidden ancient secrets yet to be revealed that will take humanity to another level. Secrets that will also surpass any current scientific, philosophical, and religious understandings and render all traditional religions like Christianity as passe’.

The philosophical underpinnings of the work are rather ‘new age’ and feature the idea of ‘apotheosis’, that humanity with the proper knowledge can be transformed into a form of godhood. It is that legendary special knowledge that is sought after by the evil bad guy in this novel.               *Top

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