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by Jeff
Rated: 18+ · Book · Biographical · #1399999
My primary Writing.com blog.
Logocentric (adj). Regarding words and language as a fundamental expression of an external reality (especially applied as a negative term to traditional Western thought by postmodernist critics).

Sometimes I just write whatever I feel like. Other times I respond to prompts, many taken from the following places:

         *Penw* "The Soundtrackers Group
         *Penw* "Blogging Circle of Friends
         *Penw* "Blog City ~ Every Blogger's Paradise
         *Penw* "JAFBG
         *Penw* "Take up Your Cross

Thanks for stopping by! *Smile*
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September 8, 2023 at 11:08pm
September 8, 2023 at 11:08pm
To qualify for my Watch List every month, the following has to be something that I've watched that's new to me. It doesn't necessarily have to be a current show, but it can't be reruns or rewatches of something I've already seen. So if I'm including it in this list, it means this month is the first time I've watched it. I'll put "DNF" (Did Not Finish) next to anything that I stopped watching and have no immediate plans to finish.


         *Bullet* The Amazing Maurice
         *Bullet* LEGO Disney Princess: The Castle Quest
         *Bullet* Mummies
         *Bullet* Spider-Man: Across the Spiderverse


         *Bullet* Billions (Season 1)
         *Bullet* The Idol
         *Bullet* Jack Ryan (Season 4)

For movies last month, I really enjoyed Spider-Man: Across the Spiderverse. I thought it was a great sequel to the fantastic Spider-Man: Into the Spidervese and they managed to fit even more awesome references and jokes into this second installment. It was a ton of fun to watch. I wish I could say the same for the other three movies I watched this month, but all three of them were not great in their own ways. The Amazing Maurice was okay but a little boring (although I did love seeing Terry Pratchett's character of Death on screen!), Mummies was just plain lowest common denominator animation, and LEGO Disney Princess was cute, but not exactly my thing. I also just realized that the only movies I watched this month were kids' animation titles. *RollEyes*

The television I watched last month was (mostly) good. I finally started watching Billions and really got into it. The two main characters (Bobby Axelrod and Chuck Rhoades are great characters, and the show does an amazing job of showing us how flawed they both are. Damian Lewis plays "Axe," a hedge fund billionaire who became rich after shorting a bunch of stocks on 9/11 and other dubiously legal methods. You kind of know he's a bad guy, but he also tries to be a good dad, takes care of his employees, etc. And Chuck, on the other hand, is a "I'm fighting the righteous fight" kind of person as the US Attorney who prosecutes financial crimes, but he resorts to unethical methods to achieve his ends. It's a really interesting show about smart, flawed people who will stop at nothing to succeed.

The fourth season of Jack Ryan was pretty good. The first (and probably only) season of The Idol was not good at all. It's only five episodes long and I literally could not muster the energy to make it to three episodes. It's about a pop music idol who falls under the influence of a dangerous guy who's basically a cult leader (played by musician The Weeknd). I realized after the fact that The Weeknd also created the show and executive produced it, and suddenly that made a lot more sense... because the show was basically about every character in the narrative falling all over themselves to flatter the character The Weeknd plays, even though the character himself is unlikeable and uninteresting. It felt like a vanity project where The Weeknd was like, "Okay, I want to do a show where I'm the coolest, most interesting, most compelling person you've ever met. So everyone just act like that around me." *RollEyes* No thanks.

TOP PICK: Billions (Season 1)
August 16, 2023 at 12:23am
August 16, 2023 at 12:23am
"Take up Your Cross | August 9, 2023

What is your greatest struggle with Christianity?

My greatest struggle with Christianity is the book it's based on.

It's a remarkable text, there's no question about that. And while I do believe that the words are more or less "divinely inspired," there's a lot of uncertainty about just how much of it one should accept at face value. Some believe the Bible is inerrant, while others believe the Bible is infallible. Some think the Bible is meant to be taken literally (as a science text, historical text, etc.) while others think the Bible is to be interpreted in terms of its storytelling (narratives, themes, etc.). Some argue that the Bible is the faithful and true word of God, while others believe that - in the passing of stories down through generations - certain authors took added their own interpretations or perspectives to the text, just as any translator does.

There are over 100 currently in-print versions of the Bible in English, and many of them interpret the original-language texts differently. And while there is a lot of general consensus about what the original-language texts say due to consistencies from one to the next, who's to say that the original text is one hundred percent authentic? The four canonical Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) were written - at the earliest - approximately one generation after Jesus had been crucified, and yet tell stories of exactly what Jesus said during his time on Earth. Given that stories in those days were largely passed down by word of mouth from group to group, are we certain that the writers of those gospels (and the books of the Bible that came after) were word for word transcriptions of what happened with no editorializing or creative license?

Some Bibles include additional books that others don't consider canon. Most Protestant Bibles contain the standard 66 books (39 from the Old Testament + 27 from the New Testament), but the Catholic Bible contains 73 books (adding Tobit, Judith, 1 Maccabees, 2 Maccabees, Wisdom of Solomon, Sirach, and Baruch). There are also additional books in the Apocrypha which are deemed to be non-canonical (1 Esdras, 2 Esdras, Manasseh, and any number of less popular epistles and other religious writings), but then raises the question of who decided which books were relevant to include or exclude and what their motivations were.

None of this is meant to invalidate the Bible as a holy book, which I happen to think it is. It's worth studying and worth following; but I do struggle with it frequently. I wonder if the parts of it I read and don't agree with are just me being stubborn and thinking I know better, or if it some monk transcribing things two thousand years ago was like, "I'm going to infuse a little of my own interpretation of what I think this means" into the text. I think it's always dangerous to presume that God thinks exactly like you think and agrees with you on every single matter (that probably means you're not really trying all that hard to understand Him) ... but it's equally dangerous to presume that every word in the Bible is to be accepted without question, discernment, or interpretation of some kind (that probably means you're cherry-picking the parts of the Bible that match what you want it to say and ignoring the contradictions or other pieces of it).

The Bible is something I'm pretty sure is meant to be struggled with. It's meant to be challenging and something that you spend a lifetime trying to better process and understand and derive insight from. So I guess it's no surprise that the Bible is the thing I struggle with the most.
August 4, 2023 at 1:30am
August 4, 2023 at 1:30am
To qualify for my Watch List every month, the following has to be something that I've watched that's new to me. It doesn't necessarily have to be a current show, but it can't be reruns or rewatches of something I've already seen. So if I'm including it in this list, it means this month is the first time I've watched it. I'll put "DNF" (Did Not Finish) next to anything that I stopped watching and have no immediate plans to finish.


         *Bullet* Barbie
         *Bullet* Bumblebee
         *Bullet* Extraction 2
         *Bullet* John Wick: Chapter 4
         *Bullet* Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part 1
         *Bullet* Puss in Boots: The Last Wish


         *Bullet* The Bear (Season 2)
         *Bullet* Hoarders (Season 13)
         *Bullet* Yellowstone (Season 3)

This month I finally caught some movies I've been meaning to see (Extraction 2 and John Wick: Chapter 4, specifically), and both were decent but not great. Barbie was a really interesting and different kind of movie; I wasn't quite sure what to expect going into it, and I thought it worked for the most part. I really like Greta Gerwig as a writer/director and always think she has a unique perspective on ideas. This was certainly no exception. Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part 1 was really enjoyable; this remains probably my favorite current action movie franchise (Marvel Cinematic Universe notwithstanding, of course *Wink* ).

As I mentioned in "Inspired by Hoarders, I watched a recent season of Hoarders to get me in a "spring (okay, summer) cleaning" mood and it certainly did the trick. Yellowstone has been a show that I've loved up until this point, but this season just wasn't doing it for me and I'm not really in any rush to watch the next season anytime soon. The second season of The Bear, on the other hand, was fantastic. It's not a perfect show, and some of the episodes were just hard to watch ("Fishes" actually gave me anxiety watching it), but "Forks" was maybe one of the best episodes of television I've seen all year. It's a really impressive show that's worth watching.

TOP PICK: The Bear (Season 2)

July 8, 2023 at 2:43am
July 8, 2023 at 2:43am
"Blog City ~ Every Blogger's Paradise | Day 2786

What is the most independent thing you have ever done?

In the larger "life decision" category, moving to Southern California to go to film school and work in the entertainment industry is definitely the most independent thing I've ever done. I moved 500 miles away from virtually all of my family, to a metropolitan area with 12+ million people, and had to learn to how to support myself and live on my own over the span of two years (my parents gave me a very firm deadline about when they were going to cut me off and stop financially supporting me). In retrospect, them pushing me to figure my life out was good for me in the long run, but it really put me in a tough position where I had to learn to be independent very, very quickly.

As far as smaller, more isolated incidents go, it would probably be my first trip to Paris. Up until that point, the only international trip my wife and I had taken was to Spain where we were traveling with a cousin of mine, whose wife's parents were currently living in the area and acted as guides. That sparked our travel bug, and our next trip was to London. During which I thought it would be romantic to have a weekend getaway to Paris. It was a great, whirlwind two-day trip, but my wife and I went to a foreign country we had never visited and didn't speak the language entirely on our own. There was a lot of stumbling around and struggling to figure things out, but it was an incredibly memorable trip and definitely one of the most singularly independent things I've ever done in my life.


"Blog City ~ Every Blogger's Paradise | Day 2784

Sometimes we miss opportunities or trains or other things. Have you ever missed something like an opportunity or what someone meant when they said something to you?

There have been a handful of "sliding doors" moments in my life where I've wondered what would have happened if I had made a different choice.

When I first graduated from film school, I got a job at an escrow company to help pay the bills while I was looking for an entry-level position in the entertainment industry (see above about my parents' firm deadline about cutting me off). When I got an offer for that initial low-paid assistant job at a production company, the owners of the escrow company asked me to stay and promised me a six-figure salary within a matter of months if I'd stay and get trained to be an escrow officer. I chose to start my career in the entertainment industry, but I've always wondered what would have happened if I had decided to just forego the "dream" job (and subsequent decade of struggling to make ends meet), and instead just maintained a "for the paycheck" day job where I was banking serious disposable income by age 24. How would my life have been different?

Years later, I was at a job working as an assistant for the executive who became my mentor, and he left the small independent production company we worked for to go to a big studio. I had the option of either going with him as his assistant at the new job, or staying at the independent production company and becoming an executive myself. I stayed and it's what started my career climbing the ladder, but I often wonder what it would have been like to go with him and continue working for the guy who first took me under his wing. That guy, incidentally, runs the entire business affairs division for that studio now so... what if?

The last one I wonder about (which is also a professional opportunity) is what would have happened if I had decided to focus on my screenwriting or filmmaking rather than prioritizing a steady paycheck. I learned from a young age to be responsible, prioritize stability, etc. So I've always assumed that having a day job was a prerequisite, and that steps that involved big risks were to be avoided. I often wonder what my life would have been like if I had just decided to give myself a year, or two, or five, to just fully pursue being a writer. If I had foregone my corporate salary and agreed to be a writer's assistant in a TV show's writers' room and struggled financially for a few years, but in exchange for developing my writing ability and climbing the creative ladder as opposed to the corporate one.

Ultimately, all of these "missed opportunities" aren't necessarily regrets; I'm quite content with how my life turned out and recognize that I wouldn't be where I'm at right now if any of these things had changed. But I'm also an analytical type person, so I can't help but sometimes wonder what the "other me" would be doing right now if I had made a couple of these choices differently.
July 1, 2023 at 3:45pm
July 1, 2023 at 3:45pm
To qualify for my Watch List every month, the following has to be something that I've watched that's new to me. It doesn't necessarily have to be a current show, but it can't be reruns or rewatches of something I've already seen. So if I'm including it in this list, it means this month is the first time I've watched it. I'll put "DNF" (Did Not Finish) next to anything that I stopped watching and have no immediate plans to finish.


         *Bullet* Avatar: The Way of Water
         *Bullet* Elemental
         *Bullet* Fast X
         *Bullet* The Flash
         *Bullet* The Little Mermaid (2023)
         *Bullet* Shazam: Fury of the Gods
         *Bullet* Transformers: Rise of the Beasts


         *Bullet* Never Have I Ever (Season 4)
         *Bullet* Secret Invasion
         *Bullet* Succession (Season 3)
         *Bullet* Succession (Season 4)

I finally watched Avatar: The Way of Water and found it exactly like the first movie... visually beautiful, but boring as hell from a character and story perspective. At over three hours, it was just way too long with not enough going on to keep my interest. I had to watch it in installments just to get through it all. Elemental, on the other hand, was an incredibly charming romance story from Pixar. I honestly don't know why it's getting so much hate and being called a bomb; it's delightful. Fast X and The Flash and Transformers: Rise of the Beasts were all fine but probably not something I'm going to watch again. The Little Mermaid was probably the best live action update Disney has done to date, but I'm not sure I'll watch that again either. And Shazam: Fury of the Gods was truly terrible.

I'm excited that Secret Invasion is finally out in the world; I think it's a pretty solid show and I love it when Marvel does something in the political thriller space. I also finally finished up Succession which I thought ended well, but wasn't quite as amazing as so many other people seem to think. Ultimately, it was a great character drama about flawed people who can't get out of their own way, but there wasn't much more to it, IMO. Never Have I Ever, however, was an absolute delight and did what Succession didn't... it grew and developed its characters and created a satisfying resolution to all of their character arcs. Never Have I Ever is probably one of my favorite streaming series in recent years; it's incredibly funny and heartfelt, especially in the later seasons.

TOP PICK: Never Have I Ever (Season 4)

June 23, 2023 at 11:55pm
June 23, 2023 at 11:55pm
"Take up Your Cross | June 19, 2023

What evidence is there in your life that you are a Christian? If you were put on trial, would there be enough evidence to find you guilty of being a Christian? What do you think? What can be improved? Where are you on point? What goals do you have Spiritually for the rest of the year?

I guess we should probably take this one question at a time...

In terms of "evidence" in my life that I'm a Christian, I suppose outwardly it would be the fact that I read the Bible semi-regularly (not just on Sundays in church), I'm working on improving my prayer life, and I'm doing my best to live a life according to the teachings and lessons found in scripture. I should point out that someone can do all of those things and still not be an actual Christian, but the question is a bit of a "prove something intangible" vibe to it, so this is the best I have.

I can't really answer the question about whether a hypothetical trial to determine whether I'm a Christian would find me wanting or not. That's kind of God's domain, yes? I do the best that I can, and I think I'm a pretty good Christian, but part of being a Christian is acknowledging my own failings, my own shortcomings, and my own sin. Part of it is acknowledging that I'm flawed and not equipped to judge anyone, let alone myself. I sincerely hope that one day I'll stand in judgment and not be found lacking, and the only way I know how to do that is to not spend my time on this Earth walking around feeling like I've already crossed the finish line.

There's always work to be done, always improvements to be made. I read the Bible and pray a fair amount, but I could be doing more. I'm generous, but I could be more generous. I'm kind, but I could be kinder. I definitely need to work on the whole "love your enemies" thing. I think I do a pretty good job of understanding Jesus' core message of love and sacrifice for others, but I also know that I have a very, very long way to go before I can consider myself anything more than a pale, extremely flawed imitation of Jesus.

For the rest of the year, my spiritual goals involve finishing the third translation in my "five translations in five years" Bible reading goal, and to more confidently step out in faith. Which actually brings me to the second entry...

"Take up Your Cross | June 15, 2023

Write about your biggest spiritual burden. Has God laid a special burden on your heart?

I'm not really sure I'd call it a "spiritual burden" per se, but the thing I struggle with the most is discerning God's will. I know a lot of people who seem so attuned to God and the work of the Holy Spirit; they always have a relevant word, or a feeling, or a picture that resonates with the person they're praying for. I read the Bible, I pray, I worship... and nada. I've never really felt particularly spiritually attuned, so it requires me to lean into the faith aspect of religion even more. Most of the time, I'm "acting as if" because I don't have any concrete experiences to point to with conviction.

I've wondered if it's in part because my life has been pretty blessed. While I have definitely gone through hardships over the years, it's nothing compared to the suffering some people go through. Maybe I haven't heard God clearly up to now because I haven't needed to be reliant on him very often up until this point. I can look back in hindsight and see where He's worked in my life, but in the moment I've found that very difficult... but maybe it's because, in those moments, I've often been in a situation where I'll be okay either way, whether he shows up or not.

These are the kinds of thoughts I struggle with in the absence of evidence and absolute conviction, so maybe that is my spiritual burden after all ... for someone like me who is generally skeptical and reality-based to have to continue to choose to walk a path by faith rather than certainty that it's the right one. *Think*
June 1, 2023 at 11:59pm
June 1, 2023 at 11:59pm
To qualify for my Watch List every month, the following has to be something that I've watched that's new to me. It doesn't necessarily have to be a current show, but it can't be reruns or rewatches of something I've already seen. So if I'm including it in this list, it means this month is the first time I've watched it. I'll put "DNF" (Did Not Finish) next to anything that I stopped watching and have no immediate plans to finish.


         *Movie* Air
         *Movie* Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves
         *Movie* Ghosted
         *Movie* Interstellar
         *Movie* Planes
         *Movie* Planes 2: Fire & Rescue
         *Movie* The Princess
         *Movie* The Super Mario Bros Movie


         *TV* Succession (Season 2)
         *TV* Ted Lasso (Season 3)
         *TV* Top Chef (Season 20)

There were a lot of good movies that I watched this month. I totally geeked out over Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves; as a longtime tabletop gamer, it did a great job of capturing the humor and creativity of a great campaign adventure. I also finally saw Interstellar for the first time, which I can't believe I hadn't gotten around to seeing until now since I really enjoy Christopher Nolan movies. Like most of his other films, I didn't think it was a perfect movie, but I did think it was thought-provoking and really interesting. Ghosted was a fun action/romance movie, and Planes and Planes 2 were titles I watched with my kids and were just okay. The Super Mario Bros Movie was good, but I don't necessarily think it's as good as its billion-dollar box office would imply. And The Princess I watched because a couple of friends of mine wrote it and Hulu is about to remove it from the service in order to write down some corporate debt, which is a real tragedy, especially since it was made for Hulu and therefore doesn't have any physical media (DVD, Blu-ray, etc.) to buy or other place online where you can download it.

I really enjoyed all of the television I watched this month. I finally got back into Succession in order to catch up so that I can watch the final (fourth) season soon, and I'm truly sad about Ted Lasso ending. It wasn't a perfect season, but it's still one of the best shows on television, IMHO. And the twentieth season of Top Chef was an international all-stars season set in London, which was a lot of fun to watch given how many different cuisines and specialties the contestants brought to compete with.

TOP PICK: Ted Lasso
May 28, 2023 at 12:53am
May 28, 2023 at 12:53am
"Take up Your Cross | May 25, 2023

How important do you think it is for a Christian to attend physical church? Why?

I think church attendance is critical for Christians, although I'm not sure I'd say "physical church" is a hard requirement. The whole point of the New Testament is to communicate the life and death (and resurrection of Jesus) which did away with all of the prior laws in the Old Testament about precisely when and where and how you're supposed to relate to God. So attending a physical church is no longer a theological requirement for Christian belief.

Additionally, if you look at the way people were forced to do church during the pandemic of the past few years, churches have adapted or developed technologies to reach those for whom in-person church attendance isn't possible. You can now watch church services live online, or watch/listen to them after the fact via podcasts, YouTube, etc. There are apps available for your smartphone that will add additional content to your Bible reading experience, or that can provide daily devotionals or prayer guides. There are more Christian communities than ever which you can join through your job, neighborhood, friend group, or any of a hundred different online social networks.

All that said, the Christian faith is a relational one. It's built on the concept of community and service to others. So if someone is pursuing their Christian faith by themselves, focusing only on their personal journey and not in the larger context of some kind of community... well, then they're just plain doing it wrong (either that, or I'm seriously misinterpreting some key passages in the Bible!).

It's critical for Christians to be a part of a Christian community, but gone are the days where Christian community is only built around a physical house of worship. That is, unquestionably, still the most common and popular way for Christians to gather in community these days, but it's definitely not the only way to participate in a community.

"Take up Your Cross | May 27, 2023

How would you feel about a society where The Bible and Christianity were banned and you were put in jail for the rest of your life, tortured, or killed for having a Bible or practicing Christianity? (Did you know there are places right now in the world where this is a fact of life?)

The Christian faith started out as a faith where you'd be run out of town, put in jail, tortured, or killed for practicing it. That fact that so many Christians find it surprising that there are still places in the world where Christianity is not just a relatively minor religion, but even seen as something of a dangerous countercultural movement in some circles speaks, sadly, to how few Christians understand the history of their own faith.

On the one hand, I would certainly be more anxious and uncertain about living in a place where I wasn't free to practice my faith, and where I had to worry about something bad happening to me if anyone found out. I think anyone who claims they'd feel otherwise would probably be lying. On the other hand, I've known some people who have lived these situations and they have incredible stories of faith and how God has shown up.

When I was first sorting out my, I had regular meetings with a pastor friend of mine. I had been attending church regularly for a while... long enough to know people who had incredible stories about the way that God has shown up in their lives... and I told the pastor that I didn't have any personal experience with that. I've never seen God show up in a miraculous or surprising way; I've never heard him speak clearly to me. His response?

"That's because you haven't needed him to. Meaningful interactions with God don't happen inside your comfort zone."

That sentiment has stuck with me all these years later. I have to constantly remind myself that as a straight, cisgender, middle class white dude living in an affluent California city, I'm probably not going to get a lot of one-on-one time with the big guy unless I'm stepping out in faith and meeting God where he is. That's the lifelong challenge for all Christians, I suppose... to know when to step out in faith and put ourselves in a situation where we need God to show up for us.

The thing I worry about most with Christians (myself included) is how often we choose the safety and security of the comfort zone over a better relationship with Him. For those Christians who don't have the luxury of having a comfort zone nearby, I have a feeling God shows up for them in tangible ways a little more often. *Wink*
May 21, 2023 at 11:42pm
May 21, 2023 at 11:42pm
"Blogging Circle of Friends | Day 3741

Whether it was the one who taught you a valuable skill, encouraged you to strive for better, or simply put a band-aid on your grazed knee, there must be at least one teacher you’ll always remember. Tell us about it.

I've been lucky enough to have a number of memorable teachers over the years. My fifth grade teacher really encouraged me to explore my interest in writing. My sixth grade teacher was the first one that really made learning fun, sparking my interest in fantasy and science fiction, as well as music of all genres. My seventh grade history teacher taught a mechanical drawing class that introduced me to my passion for architecture. I had a number of college professors who really inspired me in their various areas of specialty.

But the teacher that immediately comes to mind when I think about who taught me a valuable skill, and made me strive for better, it was my eleventh grade AP English Language & Composition class. Up until that point, I had always been a decent student, but not particularly motivated to excel. I reliably pulled mostly A's and a few B's with a minimum of studying or effort.

The AP English Language & Composition class graded in-class timed essays on a scale of one to five (five being the best and indicative of college-level writing). The first essay I wrote, I was one of only a handful of kids in the class who got a four. I continued to get fours consistently, which was the highest grade in a class that also included our eventual class valedictorian and salutatorian. Then, one day about a month into the semester, the teacher gave me a one on an essay that I was pretty sure I had nailed. When I went to ask him why he gave my essay the lowest score possible, he replied matter-of-factly:

"Because it's bullshit."

I was shocked. Not just because my teacher used swear words, but because he saw through my half-assed efforts and was willing to call me out on them, even when they were good enough to be at the top of the class. He went on to say that he figured out I was phoning it in, and that he was going to keep grading my essays on effort instead of using the AP grading rubric until I stopped "fucking around" and actually started living up to my potential. I had never had a teacher hold me accountable like that before.

It took me a few weeks of really trying, getting ones and twos and threes on my essays... but every time I got an essay back, my teacher would include some insightful feedback, pushing me to think more critically about the prompt, and to be more specific, succinct, and eloquent with how I expressed myself. Right before the holidays, as the first semester was coming to a close, I got a five on one of my essays; the first one in the class to earn one, and the first student in any AP English class to earn a five in the first semester.

I spent the rest of the year continuing to refine my writing and critical thinking skills, and I really have him to thank for not just being the writer I am today, but also seeing some potential in me. I probably would have just ended up coasting through life with a "slightly above average is good enough" attitude if he hadn't come along and knocked some sense into me. *Smile*
May 17, 2023 at 4:21am
May 17, 2023 at 4:21am
"Take up Your Cross | Prompt

It's hardly an original choice, but my favorite Christian author is C.S. Lewis. The way he thinks about religion and faith is fascinating and still relevant today. And while I like a whole lot of his books, my favorite is probably The Screwtape Letters (followed closely by Mere Christianity). The Screwtape Letters is just such a disturbing, thought-provoking book... I still revisit it frequently and think about it frequently. If you're not familiar, it's an epistolary between a junior demon (Wormwood) and a senior demon (Screwtape) where the latter gives the younger demon advice on how to best corrupt humans and turn them away from God. And, um, it's pretty spot on. *Devilish* *Scared*

Fun fact... C.S. Lewis' original dedication in The Screwtape Letters is to J.R.R. Tolkien! They were contemporaries who often met up to discuss writing and religion.

But C.S. Lewis is a pretty predictable choice, so I'm going to try to pick some other contemporary Christian authors as well just to round this blog entry out.

John Mark Comer is probably one of my favorites because he tackles popular modern-day issues like depression, the pace of the world, finding peace, etc. I absolutely loved The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry and really enjoyed Garden City. I actually have Live No Lies on my bookshelf as one of my next reads.

Francis Chan is another great author who is on the forefront of the movement to get away from the idea of big, corporate church and go back to the roots of the faith. Crazy Love and Forgotten God were both great, and I also have his new Letters to the Church on my bookshelf.

I haven't really read many of his books, but I love listening to N.T. Wright's podcast where he answers questions about the faith. He's one of the world's most preeminent living biblical scholars and his thoughts are always fascinating. The couple of books of his I've read have been pretty dry, but I'm actually thinking about getting some of his Bible commentaries to supplement my regular Bible reading.

I've read several other Christian authors over the years, but these are the ones that I come back to over and over again.

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