Into the Book

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Posts by Jesse Rice

  1. Anse Bundren promised his wife he would take her back to her hometown of Jefferson before she died. Addie’s family burial ground was in Jefferson, and Anse promised to bury her there. So when Addie fell sick, and the doctor said she was near death, Anse began to pack up the family and prepare for the day-long ride to Jefferson. Then, the day before they were ready to leave, Addie died. Still, Anse had made a promise. So he loaded his wife and her newly-made coffin into the wagon, bundled up his grieving children, and departed for Jefferson.

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  2. Women Writers of the Early Church

    Much is made of the writings of the Early Church Fathers: St. Augustine, St. Athanasius, Origen. Yet, hardly any attention is paid to the female writers of the Patristic Period. Granted, there are far fewer female writings from that time. However, what few writings there are give great insight into the liturgy, theology, and courage of the Early Church. A Lost Tradition: Women Writers of the Early Church collects four writings written by women between 200 and 500 AD, and the result is wonderful.

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  3. “The medium is the message” –Marshall McLuhan.

    As a communication theorist, McLuhan believed that the presentation of an idea formed the idea as much as the content of the idea itself. Therefore, transferring an idea from written to verbal form does not just modify its presentation, but the very idea itself. Mennonite Pastor Shane Hipps takes this concept and applies it to the Church. Our culture has transformed from a typographical culture to a digital one. How are Christians to respond without compromising Christianity?

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  4. David Platt was a megachurch pastor when he became convicted of whether he truly followed Jesus. After all, Jesus was a wandering preacher who never even had somewhere to lay his head. David’s confidence in American Christianity finally shattered when he visited a Church in Asia. Believers there risked their reputation, their income, and their very lives because of their faith in God. Platt risked nothing. As he looked at his life, he realized that not only did he have weak faith, but that aspects of American Christianity worked against anyone who sought to have radical faith. That is why Platt wrote this book: to point out the fallacies of American Christianity and to call people back to Christ and to a radical faith.

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  5. When he was nine-years-old, Matthew Gallatin experienced God. He grew up in a Christian family, so he always knew of God. However, it was on that day that he truly experienced God. The rest of his life would be spent figuring out how to respond to it.

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  6. Pope Francis may be one of the most unusual Popes of the modern era. He came into his role as Bishop of Rome only after the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, something which had not happened for 700 years. Pope Francis also had the oddity of being born in Argentina, making him the first non-European Pope since the eighth century. However, Pope Francis has also caused a stir among the liberal and conservative sides of Catholicism. Firstly, through his radical mercy for those outside and estranged from the church, but also through his unwillingness to simply rewrite Catholic doctrine. In this time where the Catholic Church has faced so much scandal and corruption, Pope Francis may be the perfect man for the job. Yet, who is he? Where did he come from, what has he done? Pope Francis, through no real effort of his own, may be the most well-known person on the planet right now, but I for one knew very little about him. Thus, what better way to learn about him than to read his biography?

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  7. Imagine a good man. Not Jesus, for he was both human and divine in one. No, imagine just a really, really, really good person. What would that man be like? How would he interact with our world of selfishness, poverty, evil, and hatred? And, while we’re thinking, what if Jesus were just a good man? What difference would it make if he were only a perfect man, teaching wonderful morals, who then died? These are the questions Dostoevsky explores in The Idiot.

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  8. Gwynplaine is not your normal guy. Sure, he was a child slave who was abandoned by his owners when he was yet young. Sure, he adopted a dying infant when he had no family of his own. Sure, he now lives with a misanthrope playwright who would prefer to talk to his wolf than another human. That’s a little out of the ordinary. Still, what is really different, what everyone notices about him, is his face: a cruel, lasting trick of his owners, setting his face into an eternal laugh. Of course, his face sets a stark contrast with his life. He tries to make the best of it, but it’s not easy. The infant he adopted, lovingly named Dea, is now blind. The three of them (Gwynplaine, Dea, and the playwright, Ursus) barely scrape by on the cash they bring in from Ursus’ plays. Unfortunately, after suffering through a miserable life for twenty some years, Gwynplaine is facing an even more difficult issue: one of the heart. For all of his life, he has been in love with Dia. Now, against all odds, Gwynplaine discovers he is the son of a Lord. Rightful husband of beautiful Duchess Josiana (who also loves him), he is given the chance to use his newfound power to fight for the poor. Yet, to do all of that, he must give up Dea. A chance to do what is right, or a chance for love. The choice is no laughing matter.

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  9. It had been five years since Sam Chase had visited his grandparents in Philadelphia. Since then, he had lived only in Baltimore. It was strange how so short a distance could highlight such a difference between temperaments in the north and south. In the south, folks respect a man’s right to search for his runaway property. In the north, folks (well, certain folks), give you the stink eye for doing so. Why, Sam’s own grandparents looked uncomfortable when Sam mentioned that his friend Wesley was in town looking for his father’s runaway slave. ‘Course, Sam knew his grandparents were Quakers, and staunch abolitionists at that, but the law clearly states that runaway slaves must be turned over to their masters. Sam wasn’t about to go against the law. So when Wesley and the local constable come looking for the runaway, Orlando, on Sam’s Grandpa’s farm, Sam eagerly shows them around. But, despite the constable’s incessant searching, there are no slaves to be found.

    Then, the next night, Sam runs into Orlando. Suddenly, Sam is faced with a choice: does he hide Orlando so he can get to Canada and be free, at the risk of breaking the law; or obey the law and hand Orlando back to his master. See? You’d never have to deal with these type of issues back in Baltimore.

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  10. Trouble in the New Republic! Tensions are high as the government has split into two parties, arguing over the proper role of the Senate. One side (the Centrists) declare that the only way for true peace and unity is through a single, strong, centralized government. Others (the Populists) say that the only way to remain free, to avoid a return to the Empire, is through local government watching over its own community. These differences of opinion have been prevalent throughout history, but only now does it seem that people can no longer even communicate with those of differing ideals. If this internal bickering cannot be resolved, the New Republic may crumble without even a Death Star in sight. (more…)

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Into the Book was born out of a crazy idea of a blog that'd provide book reviews for teens. There aren't very many book review websites out there exposing awesome, high-quality Christian literature, and there are even fewer that target teenagers. Since 2009, we've been providing high-quality book reviews to the world through our blog. Into the Book has grown around reviews since then, but it remains our oldest project.

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