I have been given the opportunity to do some reviews on some books from a few different publishers. Some of them do not quite fit into the focus I have for Living Infuzion, but obviously have some good information. Here are some of my perspectives on some pretty good books! Enjoy!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

90 Minutes in Heaven - The Movie

Here is the link for the movie trailer:

On September 15, I had the opportunity to go and see the movie 90 Minutes in Heaven, based on the book by Don Piper.  It stars Hayden Christensen and Kate Bosworth as a Christian husband and wife.  He’s a pastor, firm in his faith and looking to plant a new church.  On his way home from a conference, his car is hit by a truck, and he is killed.  In the chaos of sorting out the accident on the road, another pastor comes along and asks to pray for the man in the car, Don Piper, who emergency workers have already said is dead.  They are only awaiting the coroner to make the pronouncement official.  Pastor Piper was left as dead for about 90 minutes, but comes alive when prayed for.

The bulk of the film is about the struggle that the couple goes through during his recovery.  He is severely broken.  The conflict comes in a few places: Pastor Piper in his pain and agony, versus his desire to let himself die and go back to heave… his home, and how does a pastors’ wife and teacher manage her husband’s recovery, and kids and support structure and bills and his desire to just die?
In general, I thought this story was good.  It’s almost too hard to watch because of such turmoil that the couple is able to overcome.  But they did overcome.  I think at points the film was a little too slow.  It could have been about 20 minutes shorter.  There was a technical flaw in one scene that was distracting.

I wasn’t sure what to expect with this film, but I thought there would be more about heaven.  I go back and forth with this.  I thought there should be more about heaven, but at the same time I’m always leery of putting heaven on screen because I don’t think our imagination can do it justice from a film perspective.

As a Christian, I hope many others will see this film about perseverance in time of struggle, and how the faith of others can bring us through the toughest of times.  Seeing Pastor Piper at the end of the film in excellent health and preaching was very encouraging.

Thanks to Graff Martin for the passes to get to see the film.  This has been my honest review.  

Friday, January 2, 2015

Burning Questions: Exploring Where the Evidence Leads

“Burning Questions: Exploring Where the Evidence Leads”, is a DVD series put out by Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM).  This is a course in apologetics and it has six episodes that are about a hour each: 
Episode one: Is there a God?
Episode two: God and science, 
Episode three: The problem of evil, 
Episode four: Which religion is true?
Episode five: Can we trust the Bible?
Episode six: Who was Jesus?

Dr. Andy Bannister hosts each episode and he speaks to representatives of major faith communities including Christians, Muslims, Hindus, atheists and others.  He purposely and thoughtfully asks their opinions regarding each of these issues.  I’ve seen many of these courses of study over the years, and these apologetics DVDs have one thing that stood out to me and that is that there was no mockery and that all questions are asked in a way that is respectful and people are genuinely interested in what the other perspective is.  I think that helps forward dialogue and understanding of both sides. Now people may not agree and that’s obvious because an atheist cannot agree with the Christian with respect to the existence of God but the perspectives are at least examined and looked at. 

Episode one is about the issue of whether there is a God.  The interviewer speaks with people from several perspectives, but obviously in the format of hour-long DVD, you can never get into the depths of the reasoning that goes along with each perspective. It is very interesting to scratch the surface.

Episode two talks about the idea of God and science and about how for far too long the idea of God and science have been promoted as in opposition to each other where in reality science in many cases started out from people that were followers of God and exploring his universe.  God and science are very compatible. It is philosophy and worldview that are really the difference.

Episode three talks about the problem of evil.  This is something that from an apologetics perspective, the issue must be really defined. What is evil? How do we know something is evil? What sources do we use to measure evil against? How do other faiths weigh in on this issue? 

Episode four addresses one of the more sensitive issues of which religion is true. Not all things can be true when it comes to faith.  

Episode five speaks to the reliability of the bible. If people actually looked at the bible objectively they would see a book that is very reliable especially when weighed against the other ancient documents. It is not the bible itself that people object to but the moral claims of scripture when applied to their life. 

And Episode six speaks to who Jesus is in history and in scripture. The Christian faith weighs heavily on this.

Any course like this could only start (or continue) study of these weighty topics, but the way it is structured leads the student from the broad topic of God leading them a step at a time into the person of Christ as the evidence suggests, and then leading them to a relationship with Him.

This is a great resource for opening discussion and assisting in addressing the objections of the skeptic. Check out http://burningquestions.ca for more details.