Friday, December 20, 2013

Angels & Demons

They're hiding in the darkness until the time is right 
preying on the vulnerable when they've lost the will to fight
You won't know of their presence they're silent while they work
camouflaged by ignorance, in anonymity they lurk
Oblivious of their intentions
their prey must quickly cope, to prevent cruel victimization they seek, angelic hope
The enemy of the demon shines bright, with no disguise
oozing warmth and tenderness with serenity in her eye. 
The battle between good and evil is raging in my mind 
The angels aid salvation 
The demons want your mind....

Poem by Jason Lee - posted to 2013 poetry contest on 




Sunday, April 7, 2013

Book Review: The Gospel of Inclusion by Bishop Carlton Pearson

I'm horrible about giving up something for Lent and sticking with it. So in recent years, I decided during Lent to read a book with a religious theme, someone's experience of God or something spiritual and mystical. This seemed a more positive way of participating without torturing myself with giving up bread, alcohol or cake.

This year I choose "The Gospel of Inclusion" because I heard tell of Bishop Pearson's fascinating journey on the NPR radio program "This American Life". Bishop Pearson's transformation, loss, struggle and ultimate gain is a compelling story.

The problem with this book is it preaches to the already converted. As Bishop Pearson found out first hand when he lost practically his whole congregation, you cannot persuade "Christians" away from a dogmatic, rules & regulation, judgmental, bigoted, fire and brimstone mentality. This type of church-goer needs this way of thinking, otherwise they feel lost in the vastness of this world.

So everything he imparts in the book is to those who already have a more open, inclusive, spiritual way of looking at God, religion and faith. I didn't really come away with any new revelations.The book does touch on what was lost of the real message of Jesus and his teachings, due to the formation of "religion". So much of what we are taught has been influenced by the politics and power struggles which took place starting year 1.

I believe Jesus came to remind us of our own power and divinity, but this message was deliberately obliterated, and manically stamped out to keep control on societies. It was good to hear Bishop Pearson speak on this in similar terms.

I recommend the book, but be prepared for some redundancy.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Gabriel's Inferno/Gabriel's Rapture Quick Review

Here's my latest mini book review on Sylvain Reynard's Gabriel's Inferno and Gabriel's Rapture:

"How to Stretch a Short Story Into Two Novels"

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you? 
It's obvious Reynard tried way too hard to recapture the lightening in a bottle that is "50 Shades of Grey":

Like Christian, Gabriel is extraordinarily rich and a troubled soul. Orphaned as a child and raised by the perfect adoptive parents. Including a sister who is the only one not intimidated by him. He even has an unstable ex-girlfriend wanting him back.

Like Anna, Julia is a 23 year-old, innocent student, studying literature. And just as stupidly clueless. She even has a very similar relationship with her father.

It's a drawn out romance with minimal plot, centered around dialog & sex between the two protagonists; but believe it or not, the dialog is not as good as 50 Shades, which was not exactly pros. And the sex doesn't even come close!

What was most disappointing about Sylvain Reynard’s story?
The one thing the story had going for it was the many references to the middle ages poet Dante Alighieri and his muse Beatrice. The climax of the book would be the perfect opportunity to bring their "alter egos" full circle. Instead Gabriel leaves clues for Julia to let her know why he's disappeared, by quoting another middle ages couple. This wouldn't be so bad except Julia doesn't pick up on any of the literary references, even though she's supposed to be getting a Harvard Doctorate on this stuff!

Then once all is revealed she doesn't even feel stupid or apologize for being so obtuse.

What didn’t you like about John Morgan’s performance?
Narrator John Morgan had the perfect voice for Gabriel, but because there is so much dialog, it would have been better if Julia had been read by a woman. Morgan sounded like a strange drag queen and never seemed to have the right inflection for Julia's emotions.

Any additional comments?
These characters were not delightful or interesting enough for two books. If she had combined "Gabriel's Inferno" and" Gabrriel's Rapture" into one book, it would have been passable in terms of plot and romance.

But trying to stretch such a simple story into two books, made each novel feel weighted, full of exposition and never ending.

I know you're probably wondering why I read the second book if I was so dissatisfied with the first one. I was curious to see if things would pick up. More importantly, Gabriel and Julia's physical relationship, was supposed to heat up in "Gabriel's Rature", which it did, but again, not worth a second book. 

PS - Why was Gabriel's ex-lover named Paulina and Julia's other suitor "the Angel F'er" named Paul?