The Book Reviews

I have read an odd collection of books recently and I thought I would discuss some of them. This is a pretty random collection so there should be something for everybody.

The Unlikely Disciple by Kevin Roose
Kevin is a sophomore at Brown University who goes undercover at Liberty University for his 2nd semester. Based on what he knows about the Founder and President(Jerry Fallwell) he anticipates a semester of anti-abortion rallies and hazing homosexuals. Upon arriving he tries to navigate the christian college subculture(ring by spring,DTR) while learning more about Falwell. The author acknowledges going in his view of Christians has been shaped by the liberal media but he he is honest about finding out what Christians are really about. If you went to a christian college I guarantee you will like this book.

The Accidental Billionaires by Ben Mezrich
I picked this up just because the author wrote Bringing Down the House which is a book I really like. The movie 21 was based on that book and was your usual smart move of changing a great book to make a very average movie. This book however is about how the founders of facebook who started it to meet girls on campus who wouldn't talk to them face to face. The drawback to the book is Mark Zuckerberg(brains behind the operation) refused to be interviewed so Mezrich "recreates" conversations. There is a lot of mystery behind who had the original idea as a couple different Harvard guys later sued Zuckerberg. At the same time Zuckerberg becomes a rock star in the among college kids and business investors when he leaves Harvard to land in Silicon Valley. The ending leaves you hanging and overall the book sucked. Moving on......

King Raven Trilogy(Hood, Scarlet, Tuck) by Stephen Lawhead
The series is a retelling of the Robin Hood story with a different perspective. They have a bit more of a sci-fi feeling, Robin Hood meets Lord of the Rings. Fortunately they are not 500 pages a piece and good writing always makes for good reading. Too many sci-fi books are encyclopedias on steroids and I am not great at finishing every book I start . Lawhead has written a number of series with a Celtic background and he incorporates that here. This series is a good one and I recommend it. A quick piece of advice, I felt like Hood started slow and actually stopped reading it until I was told it gets better quickly.


Abortion:The ultimate bailout

A few months ago I heard a woman discussing an abortion she chose to have many years ago. She was explaining her reasons at the time and was now reevaluating those after later regretting her decision. This is a sad story but what stuck with me were the reasons she gave for her abortion. It finally clicked and I realized that I heard a similar argument from people who had supported the bank bailouts from the government! I know that sounds really random but let me explain further.
When she talked about her pregnancy she mentioned it caught her off guard. She was in college on an athletic scholarship and had one more year left to get her degree. If she had the baby it would result in her losing the scholarship and working full time. She was not willing to make that sacrifice and wanting her degree, finished college. She had worked hard and her dreams and goals were too big to be tossed aside. A few years later she met a man, got married, and became a stay-at-home mom. She talked about how her degree didn't seem worth as much anymore and she wished that she had dropped out. She realized it would have been very difficult at the time, forced her to set aside her own plans, endure social stigma.but enduring would have been worth it. She realized her mistake soon after having the abortion but was thankful to have endured everything. She is currently happily married and has a number of kids. Now the real question:how does this have to do with the bailout? Let me summarize the events in her life.
1. Compromise (sex)
2. Failure to take responsibility for her actions(abortion)
3 Regret as a result of the first two steps(loss of a child).

The most important event leading up to the housing crisis was the decision to reduce the standards set for allowing people to receive loans for homes. The argument was made in a lawsuit from ACORN that these standards were leading to discrimination. This led to a record number of loans which allowed the banks to profit off the interest. The situation worked fine until home prices dropped, then people owed more on the house than it was worth. As homes foreclosed banks inherited houses they could not sell and began running low on capital due to a lack of mortgage payments. When it got so bad they were declared "too big to fail." That is to say the the argument was if the banks had to declare bankruptcy and restructure the consequences would be too great. They avoided the consequences of making bad loans by receiving TARP money. This was 15 years after the lawsuit(the ACORN lawyer was a Harvard man from Chicago.)The future will show if any lessons were learned and how society will look back at these going ons in the future. But look at the pattern in the financial market....
1. Compromise(changed laws intended for financial safety to avoid discrimination)
2. Failure to take responsibility for actions(banks given more money)
3. Regret as a result of the first two steps (I think it will happen but time will tell)

We see patterns in our culture which are scary. But the most interesting thing is that this is not new! As a matter of fact, go back to Adam and Eve in the garden....
1. Compromise(eating the apple after God told them not to.)
2. Failure to take responsibility for actions(Adam blames Eve, reminds God He gave Eve to her.)
3. Regret as a result of the first two steps(kicked out of the garden of Eden)

I have spent a lot of time thinking about all this and have learned many things. I started out writing this to focus on abortion and step number 2 which I think is important. I believe abortion fuels irresponsibility. I believe any rights regarding abortion should focus not on the woman but the life inside her. I hate that it is not a life when the woman takes it but is when the woman dies in a car accident. I love how a mother will give up her life for her child and weep because some women can't give up 9 months. That being said while writing this 3 things have stuck out to me. I will present them in a manner which I believe is rather appropriate.
1. Compromise is always the first step leading down a bad path.
2. Failure to take responsibility for actions reveals immaturity that will lead to repeated failures.
3. The easiest way to avoid having regrets is refusing to compromise.

Intellectual Honesty and Discernment

It seems like Intellectual Honesty is the new cultural catch phrase. I have heard it a lot lately and it is a phrase that needs to spoken less and practiced more. I have chosen this as the topic for my first blog because I hope it defines and describes it. I am not looking to be a warrior in the blogosphere, shooting down enemy combatants left and right. My goal is to be upfront and honest about my beliefs and explain my thought process. I think by doing this I will help myself and my readers think about any assumptions they have. Here is a simple test, just two questions, true or false.

1. T or F Barack HUSSEIN Obama is the Antichrist. He is doing the work of the devil and any or all ideas will directly lead to socialism. He is always lying and hates all republicans as shown by lack of bipartisanship.

2. T or F President Obama is a savior sent by God for this time. There has never been a President to match in terms of intelligence, poise, charm, and ideas that will help our country. He is always sincerely telling the truth and therefore we should never ask questions but do what He says. He is a different politician who wants real change and absolute bipartisanship which the Republicans will never give Him.

I know that is a very simple test, but if you answered either of those questions true then you might as well move on. There is nothing that will ever be said here or anywhere that will impact you because you lack discernment. A lack of discernment is why Dr. Laura will never run out of calls and Mr. Springer(Jerry!Jerry!) probably had more guests lined up when the show ended. As a nation too many do not want or are incapable of thinking through an issue on their own. We become sheep who are easily led(they are the dumbest animals!). This is a difficult process but I believe it is necessary and in the next few days I will share some of my own thoughts. Many people who love to attack the views of others are often not skilled in critical thinking. It is much easier to loudly attack the views of others than it is to clearly explain how you have reached your own views. Sadly enough too often it is the former fueling the blogosphere . That is not the high ground! I have started my blog to encourage others to think clearly while examining our current culture. Go back to that little "test" and read both questions. How much would I have to remove before you would say true? My guess is just the lines about the Antichrist and Savior! Yet that does not make these two personifications of him contrasting any less. I am always shocked to realize how intelligient people can take the same facts and reach two directly opposite opinions every four years. But that is for another day.