Welcome to the online home of Tim Challies, blogger, author, and book reviewer.

Tim Challies

Challies on FacebookChallies on Twitter

Rebellion, Kindle, Amazing Grace and Other Miscellania

I’m off to a late start today. We had a regularly scheduled parent-teacher kind of conference for my daughter (who is in Kindergarten/Preschool) and my wife had to first observe her in her class for an hour and then to speak with the teacher for a few minutes. Turns out our girl is near the top of her class in everything. So we’re pleased! But, because I had to keep an eye on the baby while Aileen was at the school, I’m running a couple of hours late. So I’m going to use this opportunity to mention a few things that have been on my mind recently. These are some of the articles, products or sites I’ve bookmarked over the past few days.

Rebellion of Thought

Here’s an interesting-looking product I just stumbled across yesterday. Rebellion of Thought is a DVD that seeks to answer these types of questions: “What is post-modernism? How has it affected our culture? How will it impact our future? What is the role of the church in a post-modern world? Does man truly need God or is God merely a fairytale idea left-over from a past cultural experiment? These questions are the launching point for Rebellion of Thought, as filmmakers, The Brothers Williamson, examine a new generation that refuse to accept authority, code and convention. How do believers in Christ express their faith in a compelling, relevant way?” The DVD features interviews with such notables as D.A. Carson, Jim Spiegel and Gene Edward Veith, Jr. You can view a trailer here at the film’s official website. The film can be purchased through Amazon: Rebellion of Thought.

Amazing Grace

Last night Aileen and I sat down to watch Amazing Grace, the story of William Wilberforce (through the Playstation 2, as it turns out, since it refused to play in our DVD player). We both agreed that the movie was well done and definitely worth the two hour investment in time. It is rare to see a movie where the hero is a true Christian and one who was motivated primarily by his faith. Though it was not without its flaws and small historical inaccuracies (for example, Wilberforce would never have known the hymn “Amazing Grace” set to the tune we sing it to today) it was largely accurate. The filmmakers made a point of having Wilberforce declare that he did not find God, but that God found him (which is exactly how Wilberforce would have said it himself). I loved hearing Newton declare, “I am a great sinner, but Christ is a great Savior.” While I thought the film could have played up Wilberforce’s motivation a bit more, showing that his faith was a prime motivator in his quest to end slavery, I still thought they captured his trials and stubbornness. The acting was top-notch and the sets were very good. If you haven’t seen it yet, consider renting or buying it. You can get it, of course, at Amazon: Amazing Grace.

The Future of the World in 23 Pages

The Independent, quite provactively, really, calls “Policymakers’ Summary of the Synthesis Report of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment” the future of the world. “For all but the most perverse of sceptics, it ends the basic argument. And it also urgently warns that the risks are greater, and possibly closer in time, than was appreciated even six years ago, when the third assessment was published.” They compare it to Scripture. “It is chapter and verse, it is Holy Writ: you may not agree with it, but this (backed up by the full reports) is what the world scientific community thinks. Its opening words are magisterial – almost Biblical – in tone. ‘Warming of the climate system,’ it pronounces, ‘is unequivocal’ . It goes on to spell out that the atmosphere is rapidly warming, snow and ice are melting across the world, and the global sea level is rising at an increasing rate; yet the problem is solvable if governments act decisively.”

Regardless of your view on human agency in global warming, such a document can be alarming. But as Christians we know that not even the best and the brightest scientific minds can predict the future of the world with any accuracy. One thing we can predict, I think (and with some accuracy) is that if these people have their way, we’ll “solve” the “problem” with a whole lot more legislation, many new government controls, and a great deal of new spending.

Scarlet

Stephen Lawhead fans will be delighted to hear that Scarlet, the second part of his “The King Raven Trilogy” is available. It seems to have been released a couple of months ago and somehow slipped past my radar. It continues Lawhead’s alternate telling of the story of Robin Hood. I reviewed the first book Hood. The second is available now at Amazon: Scarlet.

Kindle

On Monday Amazon finally introduced the world to it’s new Kindle wireless reader device. Though it launched to lukewarm reviews, Amazon quickly sold through their initial stock and have begun a waiting list. The product uses what they call a revolutionary electronic paper technology that allows electronic reading to feel more like reading a book on paper than on a typical computer screen. The screen has no backlight, so does not tire the eyes (but also cannot be used in the dark).

My first thought was that the Kindle is almost unbelievably ugly and that it looks like a relic of the 1980’s. John Gruber at Daring Fireball thinks it will fail: “So the Kindle proposition is this: You pay for downloadable books that can’t be printed, can’t be shared, and can’t be displayed on any device other than Amazon’s own $400 reader — and whether they’re readable at all in the future is solely at Amazon’s discretion. That’s no way to build a library.” I am inclined to agree, but would still be interested in giving it a go. Business Week takes another position and declares that Kindle is the iPod of books. Time will tell. I am asked to read a lot of manuscripts these days and can’t help but think the experience would be more enjoyable on that screen rather than on a computer screen. Maybe if the Kindle were just a couple hundred dollars less expensive.

You can take a look at the Kindle right here.