Friday, November 30, 2007

frivolous friday

Brassica oleracea var. Ovis aries

cranberry shortbread

2 cups butter
1 cup icing sugar
3 cups flour
1/2 cup corn starch
2 cups dried cranberries

Cream butter and sugar.
Add flour and corn starch gradually and beat till fluffy.
Add cranberries and mix by hand until the batter clings together.
Shape into logs and refrigerate.
When thorougly chilled, slice and place on cookie sheets
Bake at 350 for 12-14 minutes.

The shortbread recipe above is from my Mom. I got the idea of adding cranberries to shortbread from Rita T. - our church's domestic diva (although I see it's elsewhere on the net). She also suggested adding chopped nuts like pecans, hazelnuts or walnuts.

Thursday, November 29, 2007


Seize the moment


Thursday Challenge

Next Week: RED (Flowers, Fruit, Vegetables, Wine, Cars, Signs, Clothing,... )

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

shall I jump out of the window?

If you have trouble understanding the sub-prime mortgage crisis -- or the markets in general -- you'll learn a lot from these English chappies.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

exploring my home town

Since moving to Langley at the end of August, we've been exploring its streets and alleys. Along the way, we've made some lovely discoveries -- like the wood carvings done by Pete Ryan. So far, we've found six.

This is my favorite. It's called "The Conductor" and is at the corner of 204th Street and Fraser Highway in Langley.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Jesus glows in the dark

It was the day the kids were to get their Christmas presents. Excitement electrified the air in Bill Wilson's bus as he drove around the Bronx, picking up kids for Sunday school.

At one stop, the little girl who clambered up the steps stopped beside him and handed him a ball of newspaper, covered with Scotch tape. "For you," she said.

He took it from her. "Thank you very much," he said, placing it aside and easing the bus back into traffic.

But the little girl kept standing beside him. "Open it," she said. "You have to open it."

"But we're driving," he said.

"You have to open it now."

"It's a woman thing," Bill said when he told us the story in church yesterday. "I knew it wouldn't do to argue. So I pulled that big school bus as far over as I could on that narrow street, took that taped ball and started unwrapping it."

The kids from the bus crowded around as he peeled off the layers of newspaper. Finally he came to the center and a little plastic creche. It was broken and dirty. She'd obviously found it.

"Thank you," Bill said. "That's great." Cars were honking behind him and on the street a couple of traffic cops approached. He made the motion of putting the gift down, but the little girl wasn't done.

"We have to cover it," she said. She took the manger ornament from Bill, cupped it in both hands and reached it up to him. "You cover it."

Bill did.

"Now look at it," the girl said.

Bill peeked under his hand and saw that from the baby Jesus figure came a greenish glow.

Beaming, the little girl said, "See - Jesus glows in the dark!"


Bringing the light of Jesus to the ghettos of New York is what Bill Wilson has done for the past 25+ years. Now he and his team of 150 staff and 300 volunteers drive 60 buses to minister to 40,000 kids weekly. Metro Ministries is the biggest Sunday School in the world.

Metro Ministries is international. They have Sunday Schools in various places around the world including the garbage dumps of Manila (Philippines). And invitations keep coming in to start more Sunday Schools -- from India to the Gaza strip.

Bill was himself abandoned on the street by his mother when he was 12. "You stay here," she told him that day, as she left him on a street corner. "I'll come back for you."

She never did. Three days later, a man passing by in a truck noticed him. He and his wife gave Bill water and something to eat, then paid the $17.50 it took (in 1961) to send him to camp. Five hours later, Bill was at an Assemblies of God youth camp where his life was turned around.

It's no wonder that he speaks with such conviction about the power of the individual to make a difference. "Can one person make a difference?" was his message to us yesterday.

It's online. Listen to it here.

Bill Wilson:

If you want something you've never had before, you've got to do something you've never done before.

Whatever makes you mad -- that's what God will use you to change.

If you see a need and can fulfill that need, that's the call.

Sidewalk Sunday School.
Check out Metro Ministries video library.

A short video overview of Metro Ministries

Saturday, November 24, 2007

book review: The Subtle Knife

If you read here regularly, you will have seen mention of The Golden Compass, a movie that's slated to be released in theatres December 7th. It's based on a book of the same name, written by Philip Pullman, an outspoken atheist.

Though the anti-Christian message in The Golden Compass movie has supposedly been toned down from how in-your-face it is in the book, it's well known that movies spawn interest in the books from which they were taken.

The Golden Compass is the first in a trilogy of books - His Dark Materials - by Philip Pullman. The second book is The Subtle Knife. Hollywood is planning a movie about it too. Below is a review of The Subtle Knife, written by Ken Kilback, a local Kindergarten teacher. He first posted it in a forum to which we both belong. He has given permission for me to post it here. (Thanks so much, Ken!)


Title: The Subtle Knife
Author: Philip Pullman
Publisher: Scholastic, 1998
Genre: Fantasy
ISBN: 0590112899

I mentioned last week during the previous discussion that I had just started The Subtle Knife, the second book in the His Dark Materials trilogy, of which The Golden Compass is the first book in the series.

Well, I finished the second book today, and as someone else mentioned before, it was definitely much darker and much more disturbing than the first book.

In the series, there are multiple earths with doorways, both natural and human-made, that connect them with one another. The title of the book refers to a knife that humans on one earth created, not knowing that it can slice through anything, including the fabric of space and the smallest of elementary particles.

We also find out that the dark matter of the universe is not only conscious and sentient, but is/are also the rebel angels of the original Fall. The boy, Will, has become the new knife-bearer and he is also given a new task by a number of characters, including angels, and that task is to kill the authority, God. the girl Lyra, is also part of the plan and she is now being referred to as the new Eve, the one who disobeys and brings new life.

The first book in the series speaks a lot against the church in particular and Christianity in general, focusing a lot on all the evil things that have been done in the name of God. What makes this second book in the series so disturbing is the value it places on disobedience.

All the characters that we meet, in addition to the boy and girl, are being called to the side of the rebel angels -- to what is being referred to as "the right side" in the book -- and the direction in which the book is pointing is that a great war is coming (in the next book) and this time "the right side4 will win."

As one character in the book points out to another, the war is "...between those who want us to know more and be wiser and stronger, and those who want us to obey and be humble and submit." The emphasis in this book is the need for humans to take control of their own destiny and not allow God to "dictate" what he thinks their destiny should be.

It's been said that Pullman wrote this trilogy in response to the Narnia stories. I read on his website that he admits this. One thing he points out on his website is that he hated the ending of the series. He hated the fact that the children die at the end of Narnia. From his website and from this trilogy it becomes apparent that he blames God for everything bad, not even trying to consider that maybe the bad things that have been done in His name have been done by people making a choice to follow sin rather than God.

I'm not sure whether people are aware of this, but Pullman recently won the Carnegie of Carnegies. The Carnegie is already an important prize for children's literature. The Carnegie of Carnegies means his books were voted the best of children's books in a ten-year period. His books received the first of these Carnegie of Carnegies.

If you were to read his books, though, you would find them completely driven by ideas rather than plot or characters. The plot and character development seem secondary to the idea itself and so the characters have never seemed real to me.

The other thing I've found about his writing is how confusing it is in point of view reference. There is lots of lack of POV consistency, even within the same paragraph and even often within the same sentence.

In nearly every way the book doesn't read as a children's book, at least not for what seems to be the target group. It's much more of an upper YA novel, I think, than anything for younger children and yet it's the younger children who will be reading it and being directed to hate everything associated with God.

And once again, there was no balance in the book either. Everything associated with god is being shown as "impure" and "evil" while everything associated with the rebel angels is shown to be "pure" and "just." It is indeed a very disturbing series.

Read also The Golden Compass Has No Moral Compass - a review of the movie by Matt Barber - Canada Free Press.

Friday, November 23, 2007

book review A Promise to Remember by Kathryn Cushman

Title: A Promise to Remember
Author: Kathryn Cushman
Publisher: Bethany House, October 2007
Genre: Contemporary fiction
ISBN: 0764203800

The story waited for her on the back page. A half-page article, complete with photo, of the boy who had taken Jeff’s life.

The muscles in her neck tightened so that breathing became difficult. She looked at the large headline beneath the photo: Phelps family donates $45,000 to scholarship fund in son’s honor.

…How dare they? The family had no right to glorify their son. He killed Jeff.

With these deft strokes from Chapter one, Kathryn Cushman leads us into the world of her first novel, A Promise to Remember.

It doesn’t take long for single mom Melanie Johnston’s wrongful death suit to reverberate around Santa Barbara’s tony Hope Ranch neighborhood. Will Blair Phelps’ Vitasoft partners be able to overlook this new financial threat? Will Andie Phelps’ fundraising committee let her stay on as president of the Old Time Fair? And how secure is Melanie’s job at Alford’s now that all Andie’s friends are shopping elsewhere as a protest against her presence there?

Characters figure large in A Promise to Remember. It is fascinating to watch the three parents deal with personal tragedy. I found the two moms, Andie and Melanie, an interesting study in opposites. Past adversity has given Melanie backbone and tipped the sympathetic character scales (for me) in favor of the feisty Melanie over the pampered and whiny Andie most of the time. But there is no real villain among the three. I empathize with all and gave the biggest cheer to Andie and Blair at the end. Many of the characters grow in their understanding of themselves and others during the story, which makes for a reading experience that is not only entertaining but also worthwhile.

The plot is lively and complex. Just when I think things can’t get worse they do, and this problem-heaped-upon-problem style makes for a captivating and fast-paced read. All the story’s loose ends are finally pulled snug, but not until the last pages.

The story’s themes of parenting, dealing with the death of a child and forgiving – oneself and others – are sure to give the book widespread appeal The Christian faith of several main characters figures large in suggesting answers to questions the plot raises about life and death. A “Questions for Conversation” section at the end of the book would make it a good book club choice.

All in all, A Promise to Remember is an impressive debut for Cushman. After this strong introduction, fans of contemporary Christian fiction will no doubt await a next book with anticipation.

frivolous friday

Next generation carnivorous plants
(Genetically altered chickens? Genetically altered plants? Or a genetically altered photo?)

Thursday, November 22, 2007

happy thanksgiving

black & white

Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair - Sand sculpture

Thursday Challenge

Next week: HAPPY (Smiles, Laughter, Hugs, Children, Beautiful Things,...)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


In the last months I've learned the inductive method of Bible study devised by Kay Arthur and Precepts Ministries. In class we went through two books - Jonah and Jude. Now that our class is over I'm on my own I've decided to work through 1 Peter this way.

If you've done this kind of study, you'll know its method is to start with careful observation of the text. At the beginning of the study, you gather material about the writer and the recipients.

This week I've been looking at the people on the receiving end of 1 Peter. Among other things, Peter calls them as "pilgrims", "sojourners" and "aliens," depending on what translation you use.

Christians today are all those things too.

We're pilgrims - wanderers, who are on a journey to a sacred place.

We're sojourners - those who stay or dwell temporarily, as foreigners taking up temporary residence.

We're aliens - not freaky-looking martian creatures (although sometimes it feels that extreme) but citizens of another country who owe our allegiance to that other place, inconsistent and incongruous with, and opposed to the place we live in, thus often feeling estranged and excluded.

I find it comforting to see this spelled out in the Bible. It makes me feel normal and understood. Because though in many ways I feel comfortable in my North American culture, in others I feel odd and know that I'll never completely fit in. Like this morning when I heard the tail-end of a local talk show where people who expect the world as we know it to end and not go on like this forever were the subject - or rather I should say, the laughingstock - of the segment.

I'm glad that I can look forward to a time and place where I will feel like a citizen, where I will fit in and where I can stay forever.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Madeleine L'Engle said...

We can't take any credit for our talents. It's how we use them that counts.


Inspiration usually comes during work, rather than before it.

-- Madeleine L'Engle

Photo: Wark/Dumais House, Langley, BC, very near my home has a wraparound veranda, solid wood frame and turn-of-the-century ornamentation.

Monday, November 19, 2007

november recipe roundup

Don't forget - today is Recipe Roundup day at Semicolon's blog. Lots of yummy holiday recipes here.

monday mural

Changing times - Langley, B.C., McBurney's Plaza

Saturday, November 17, 2007

food for thought

How much does your family spend on groceries in one week? Here are examples of other families from around the world.


Germany : The Melander family of Bargteheide
Food expenditure for one week : 375.39 Euros or $500.07
Favorite foods : fried potatoes with onions, bacon and herring, fried noodles with eggs and cheese, pizza, vanilla pudding

Japan : The Ukita family of Kodaira City
Food expenditure for one week : 37,699 Yen or $317.25
Favorite foods : sashimi, fruit, cake, potato chips

Kuwait : The Al Haggan family of Kuwait City
Food expenditure for one week : 63.63 dinar or $221.45
Family recipe : Chicken biryani with basmati rice

China : The Dong family of Beijing
Food expenditure for one week : 1,233.76 Yuan or $155.06
Favorite foods: fried shredded pork with sweet and sour sauce

Egypt : The Ahmed family of Cairo
Food expenditure for one week : 387.85 Egyptian Pounds or $68.53
Family recipe : Okra and mutton

Ecuador : The Ayme family of Tingo
Food expenditure for one week : $31.55
Family recipe : Potato soup with cabbage

Chad : The Aboubakar family of Breidjing Camp
Food expenditure for one week : 685 CFA Francs or $1.23
Favorite foods : soup with fresh sheep meat

Photos are from the book Hungry Planet by Peter Menzel. See more of the photo essay "What the World Eats" here.

Friday, November 16, 2007

frivolous friday

I had a suspicion it would someday come to this


Lots more photo doctoring at

Book Review: Just Jane by Nancy Moser

Title: Just Jane
Author: Nancy Moser
Publisher: Bethany House, September 2007
Genre: Historical fiction
ISBN: 0764203565

I scratch out the words, dip my pen into the well of ink, and try again. It is not the first time I have scribbled and scratched, obliterating one word or phrase for another….


I quickly put pen to paper, eager to capture the phrase before it returns to hiding: It is a truth universally acknowledged…that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.

These are the words that introduce us to the world of Nancy Moser’s newest historical fiction Just Jane. It is a pastoral, slow-paced world where family members keep up with each other by writing letters and paying extended visits. It is a world where men call the shots while women keep house and have babies, where women marry more for practicality than love, and where a girl without much wealth isn’t much of a catch. It is the world of Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice as lived by their creator, Jane Austen.

What struck me first about the book was the style in which Moser chose to write it. She has Jane telling her own story (first person, present tense) in the language of the day. I wasn’t sure how I would handle 350 pages of:
Our journey proceeds exceedingly well; nothing occurs to alarm or delay us. We find the roads in excellent order, have very good horses all the way… etc.

But the strangeness soon wore off and I hardly noticed it, except with appreciation at the parts where the archaic style sets off Jane’s wit and sarcasm brilliantly:

“I nod to the Miss Maitlands, who are both prettyish, with brown skin, large dark yes, and a good deal of nose. The general has got the gout, and Mrs. Maitland the jaundice. Miss Debarie, Susan and Sally are all in black but do not carry off such severity well. I am as civil to them as their bad breath allows.”

All that to say that the book shone in the characterization department . Moser portrays a convincing Jane from her first exuberant appearance at age 20, to the final scenes of a more subdued, wiser and self-assured woman of 40-ish.

Not surprisingly, plot is not the highlight of this book as it follows the gentle contours of Jane’s life. It’s not that she didn’t live a life of profound highs and lows. For things like moving house and canceling an engagement are earth-shaking events to her. But these are hardly the things of high suspense for today’s jaded reader. Even so, I had no trouble staying with the story just to spend more time with the interesting people and to finally discover the answer to the big question – when will Jane finally get published?

Themes of marriage and family are central, especially at the beginning of the book. The focus changes later as Jane searches for meaning and self-authentication in her writing. The eventual publication of her books is a great vindication, and in the end she is at peace having done what she feels she was meant to do.

The Christian angle of the novel is treated subtly. Jane’s father and several brothers are ministers, and Jane lives in a milieu where belief in the Christian faith and the Bible are bedrock and assumed. Moser is true to this when she has her characters speak of God and faith in spare but telling terms, especially during crises when the topic would naturally come up.

Jane herself is far from a goody-goody. She is at times catty, snobbish, overly sensitive, a lover of gossip, self-centered and very needy. She is also idealistic, fun-loving, loyal, a hard-worker, determined, a lover of children (albeit in moderation) – and witty.

As I read the book I wondered how many of the story’s incidents really happened, versus how many were the fruit of Moser’s imagination. Moser answers that question in an end section. Her explanation along with the story and the way it is told left me feeling that Moser did her best to give us the essence of Jane Austen’s life in more ways than one.

Fans of fictional biography in general and Jane Austen in particular will not want to miss Just Jane.

Thursday, November 15, 2007




Thursday Challenge

Next Week: B&W (Black and White Things, Things with Little Color, B&W Photos,...)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

cranberry harvest

The other day while driving to our walk along the Fraser River, we passed these cranberry harvesters.

Here is the harvest process as described by the Canadian Cranberry site:

During harvest, many growers flood their bogs causing cranberries, which have small air pockets in the center, to rise. Growers then use water-reel harvesting machines to loosen cranberries from their vine causing them to float on top of the water. These machines look like miniature combines with cylindrical spool-shaped metal beaters attached to the front. After floating to the top, berries are corralled onto conveyers to waiting trucks which take them to receiving stations and eventually processing plants where they are used for juice, sauce, and other processed foods.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Regal "Come Again" Cookies

Another Recipe Roundup is just around the corner. It will be posted a week from today - Monday November 19th. Here are the taste sensations the roundup is after this month - from Semicolon's blog:

The November Recipe Round-up count down begins here and now! The category is Holiday Recipes, and I’m specifically looking for those special Thanksgiving and Christmas and Hannukah recipes that make your family’s celebration a little richer and those that get you all into the holiday spirit.

So, put up a holiday recipe on your blog. Then post a link to it on Semicolon's Mister Linky Recipe Roundup which is here.

Here is my contribution. It's from the recipe book my Mom hand-wrote and gave me for my birthday shortly after I was married. She made these cookies every Christmas and I have pretty much carried on the tradition.

Regal "Come Again" Cookies

A fruity Christmas cookie

2 cups brown sugar
3/4 cup butter
2 eggs
3 cups flour (all-purpose)
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup raisins
1 cup walnuts
1 cup glacé cherries cut fine
1 cup mixed candied fruit
salt to taste
2 teaspoons vanilla

Cream butter and sugar well.
Add eggs and mix well.
Add flour with leavenings and other ingredients.
Mix and knead with hands for a long time.
Drop by spoonfuls or roll into the size of a walnut.
Bake at 350 F until brown (about 10 minutes)

When I make these cookies, I often omit the candied fruit (I'm not crazy about the taste). Instead I use glacé or maraschino cherries. Sometimes I slice green and red cherries in halves, press the cookie balls flat and put a colored cherry round in the middle of each cookie before baking.

Monday, November 12, 2007

monday mural - Lumby: the good old days

Overlapping images in the shape of saw blades add interest to this wide mural that celebrates Lumby B.C.'s colorful gold rush and logging past.

More Lumby murals at check it out link below.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Remembrance Day

"Lest We Forget" mural - Lumby B.C. (click on photo to enlarge).

The Unconquered Dead

by John McCrae

". . . defeated, with great loss."

Not we the conquered! Not to us the blame
Of them that flee, of them that basely yield;
Nor ours the shout of victory, the fame
Of them that vanquish in a stricken field.

That day of battle in the dusty heat
We lay and heard the bullets swish and sing
Like scythes amid the over-ripened wheat,
And we the harvest of their garnering.

Some yielded, No, not we! Not we, we swear
By these our wounds; this trench upon the hill
Where all the shell-strewn earth is seamed and bare,
Was ours to keep; and lo! we have it still.

We might have yielded, even we, but death
Came for our helper; like a sudden flood
The crashing darkness fell; our painful breath
We drew with gasps amid the choking blood.

The roar fell faint and farther off, and soon
Sank to a foolish humming in our ears,
Like crickets in the long, hot afternoon
Among the wheat fields of the olden years.

Before our eyes a boundless wall of red
Shot through by sudden streaks of jagged pain!
Then a slow-gathering darkness overhead
And rest came on us like a quiet rain.

Not we the conquered! Not to us the shame,
Who hold our earthen ramparts, nor shall cease
To hold them ever; victors we, who came
In that fierce moment to our honoured peace.

John McCrae, a Canadian doctor who served in the Boer War and World War I also wrote the well-known poem "In Flanders Fields" , first published in Punch (England) December 1915.

Several other poems of his are on the subject of war as well. More of his poems are online here.

Friday, November 09, 2007

frivolous friday

book review: My Soul To Keep by Davis Bunn

Title: My Soul To Keep
Author: Davis Bunn
Publisher: Bethany House, 2007
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
ISBN: 0764204351

Brent Stark, ex-Oscar winner, ex-jailbird, is nervous when Stanley, his AA leader, comes to Liz’s party with two strangers in tow. After five years in the clink he has an ex-con’s fear of trouble. Staying out of it by doing a decent day’s work plus getting through another twenty-four hours without a drink are his ambitions now. No matter either that he feels he must tone down his charismatic talent in the Austin, Texas community theatre bit-parts he plays. For he has long ago abandoned any hope of a career comeback.

But when the strangers turn out to be the reps of well-heeled Sam Dupree whose dream it is to make a different kind of film, and Brent finds that Sam is thinking of asking him to be his director, something stirs inside him again. Brent turns out to be Dupree’s man. And so in My Soul to Keep, Davis Bunn tells the story of Brent and his rag tag band of Hollywood has-beens and outsiders as they make the film “Long Hunter.”

Meanwhile in Tinseltown, Sam Menzes and his Galaxy Studio of über directors and actors are at work on “Iron Feather.” Both films feature the same historic character so a showdown is inevitable. The result is a David and Goliath tale where the unscrupulous power and mega bucks of Galaxy threaten to crush faith-based Shoestrong Productions at every turn.

There is never a dull moment in the story as Bunn flips between the Shoestring and Galaxy camps with the agility and clarity of cinematography. His dialogue is very Hollywood in-the-know and his prose lively and muscular with scarcely a word of flab. Witness these nice effects:

“The church was two blocks off Sunset, in a section of Hollywood that was downshifting from rough to creepy.”

“Everywhere he looked the scene was mined with the shrapnel of memories.

“By midnight the street was lined with thousands of custom bikes and the music pounded passing cars with acid-rock fists.”

The cast of My Soul to Keep is as large as any epic. Main characters on both sides are drawn with confident strokes. We experience the world of independent productions through the flawed yet decisive Brent Stark, his optimistic producer Bobby Dupree, cautious actress Celia Breach and a host of others. In Hollywood, Galaxy director Shari Khan along with her ruthless mentor-grandmother Lizu hold our fascination like a couple of cobras.

Despite the book’s high entertainment quotient, it’s not a frothy read, however. Main character Brent asks heavy questions like, Why am I here. Bunn raises issues like getting, and giving, second chances, what it means to be an artist who is Christian, and how faith can impact all of life from how one treats employees to how one responds to all of life. The sum total is one of the most genuinely Christian yet unpreachy books I’ve read lately. I get the feeling that Bunn himself has wrestled with many of these issues in the years he has been involved in both the studio and independent film scenes.

With My Soul to Keep Mr. Bunn has made it onto my list of must-read writers. I heartily recommend this taut thriller cum Hollywood exposé.

Thursday, November 08, 2007


Layers of morning


Thursday Challenge

Next week: PORTRAIT (Family, Friends, Self, Children, Clubs, Pets,...)

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

mixed up flower

We treated ourselves on Sunday to a walk on one of our favorite Surrey walking paths - Mud Bay Park.

The birds (ducks mostly) are back in full force. They summer further north but many spend the winter here - or at least spend time on their way through to even warmer places. This lot is mostly widgeons, green-winged teals, a few pin tails, plus the every plentiful mallards.

I also spied a mixed-up flower. This lupin was in bloom. The beauty is either way late or way early. I guess that's one way to get all the attention!

Monday, November 05, 2007

'The Golden Compass' - an anti-God flick?

Thought Harry Potter was blasphemous? That was kids' stuff compared to the "His Dark Materials" trilogy, in which God is an imposter, angels are sexually ambiguous and the Church kidnaps, tortures and assassiinates to achieve its goals, one of which is stealing children's souls...

So begins the article on "'Golden Compass' Film Angering Christian Groups -- Even with its Religious Themes Watered Down."

Apparently there is an email going around, warning unsuspecting parents of this upcoming release. A friend emailed me the Snopes response to that circulating email. This time the claim that the film "The Golden Compass" (starring Nicole Kidman, to be released December 7/07) contains anti-religious themes has a 'true' status.

The film company has apparently watered down the anti-religious tone - at least in this first movie of the planned three-part epic which are based on books by outspoken atheist and secular humanist Phillip Pullman. Despite that, The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights insists that the film is a vehicle for "selling atheism to kids." Focus on the Family's Adam Holz fears the movie will '"plant seeds" to "ultimately encourage some fans to reject God" (mtv article above).

The email expressed the fear that the film would encourage kids to read not only The Golden Compass but sequels The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass. The claim is that Pullman becomes more outspoken in his hatred for God with each book.

I guess after the popularity of those anti-God books by Sam Harris et al, we shouldn't be surprised that this movement is gaining momentum and getting ever bolder. Plus they see where their future lies -- in indoctrinating kids.

I haven't read the "His Dark Materials" books. But I have taken a look at the trailer on "The Golden Compass" website. I also checked out some of the tabs on the site. It gets fans interacting with Pullman's imaginative and in-your-face-occultic universe.

Take the Alethiometer (the Alethiometer is the golden compass of the book). The instructions say: "Drag the three red needles to lie over appropriate symbols on the face of the Alethiometer while forming a question in your mind. Click the '?' button and the fourth needle will then respond,swinging over different symbols to form an answer..." Smacks a bit of Oija, doesn't it?

Then there's the Daemons tab (pronounced dē'-mon). The introduction to this section begins: "In Lyra's world, a person's soul lives on the outside of their body, in the form of a daemon -- an animal spirit that accompanies them through life." Clicking on "Discover your own Daemon" leads to twenty questions and the discovery your own daemon (? - I guess so; I didn't do it).

Dark. It sends shivers up my spine!

Other links:

movie synopsis (may contain spoilers)

Wikipedia on His Dark Materials - the Golden Compass article: 'His Dark Materials' Writer Philip Pullman Takes 'Narnia,' 'Lord of the Rings' To Task.

Added Wednesday - 11/07/07

Mr. Pullman's website

His views on organized religion:

The trouble is that all too often in human history, churches and priesthoods have set themselves up to rule people's lives in the name of some invisible god (and they're all invisible, because they don't exist) – and done terrible damage. In the name of their god, they have burned, hanged, tortured, maimed, robbed, violated, and enslaved millions of their fellow-creatures, and done so with the happy conviction that they were doing the will of God, and they would go to Heaven for it.

That is the religion I hate, and I'm happy to be known as its enemy.

Quoted from his page on religion.

monday mural

This charming mural from Duck Lake, Saskatchewan shows the energy and exuberance of recess in the one-room school.

For a couple more slice-of-pioneer-life murals go here.

Saturday, November 03, 2007


Faith by its very nature must be tried, and the real trial of faith is not that we find it difficult to trust God, but that God's character has to be cleared in our own minds....Faith in the Bible is faith in God against everything that contradicts him--I will remain true to God's character whatever He may do. "Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him"--this is the most sublime utterance of faith in the whole Bible.

- Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest

Friday, November 02, 2007

Lego the Bible

At least that's the mission Brendan Powell Smith has set for himself. Several years ago he set out to illustrate the Bible with Lego. There are already three Brick Testaments in print: The Brick Testament: Stories from the Book of Genesis, The Brick Testament: The Ten Commandments, and The Brick Testament: The Story of Christmas.

Check out Mr. Smith's The Brick Testament web site for more recent creations. His most current are the stories of David (pretty much uncensored too).

Here's the story "David Spares Saul Again" (click on arrow, top right, to advance illustrations).

frivolous friday

"When graphic artists get bored."

Come back next Friday for another.

hat-tip: thanks Marilyn!

Thursday, November 01, 2007


Pumpkin market


Thursday Challenge

Next week: TRANSPARENT (Glass, Windows, Ice, Water, Cups, Eye Glasses, Marbles,...)

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