A Trio of Reviews

Just before Christmas, I received a package from The Ooze for review. Of course, like most wives and mothers, I had plenty of reading time because it was the holidays.

It looked like a good package:
Shameless Jane – a CD – I wanted a new CD to listen to in my van.
Eve – a novel – Great, I like fiction.
Parabola – I love reading other people’s thoughts about the kingdom.

I set aside the McLaren trilogy that I was enjoying in order to review them.

Shameless Jane, A CD by Teel Montague Cook

An honest and lyrical folk album, by artist Teel Montague, a single mother of teenagers and an artist.

The first thing I did was grab the CD for the player in my van. I am not qualified to review the musicianship. Folksy, quirky acoustic music really isn’t a style that I enjoy. “Girl-with-guitar” solos always remind me of Phoebe from Friends. I played it for my teens during our family Christmas trip. It wasn’t their thing either. But musical taste is subjective. You can hear a few of the tracks for yourself on Teel’s myspace page. It might be just your cup of tea. For a more positive review, read this by Pat Loughery.

Eve, A Novel by Elissa Elliott

Elissa Elliot’s lyrical re-telling of the first story is a complex, multi-perspective glimpse into the lives of Adam and Eve spanning from Creation to the murder of Abel. A picture of Eve as wife and mother, nomad, sometime idol-worshipper, abandoned one, and more often than not, mourner.

I typically read a novel in a day or two. Once the story draws me in, I quickly read to the end. That just didn’t happen for me with this book. The writing itself is good. Elissa employs beautiful phrasing, but the story never became compelling to me.

I was most disappointed in the portrayal of Elohim. The absence and distance of Elohim in the lives of Adam and Eve created a story with little hope or redemption. It is a hard look at life after the fall. As a mirror of human nature, I found it unflattering and harsh. Maybe it is an honest portrait of humanity, but it is dark and heavy.

It is likely that most criticism of this book will be about theological issues. Did Adam and Eve have sex in the garden? Were there other people on earth during Adam and Eve’s generation? Was the garden perfect? What was Adam and Eve’s relationship like? Their daily lives? Their children? What led to the murder of Abel?

The author brings up almost every imaginable question surrounding the story of Adam, Eve, their children, and their life both in and out of the Garden. In that regard, the book is provocative in stirring thoughts and questions about the lives of Adam and Eve and pushing their story outside the realm of a simplistic Sunday School story.

You can visit Elissa Elliott’s blog here.

Parabola, A Book by Kelly Deppen

If you are looking for a way to enter the eleventh dimension, then this is the book for you. In the eleventh chapter, the author mentions the concept of the eleventh dimension in quantum physics. She then attempts to draw connections to the spiritual realm. Coincidentally, eleven is the number of the prophetic, Jesus spoke eleven parables, and He appeared eleven times between His resurrection and ascension.

The Eleventh Dimension is a prophetic time…At this critical juncture, we must be prophetic people…There is an invitation open to each of us to ‘come up here’ into the heavenly realm and into the eleventh dimension to receive revelation of heaven…

You can visit the website of Kelly’s prophetic revelatory ministry here.

___

I received an email touting this package as representative of female creativity in the emerging conversation – a CD, a novel, and a charismatic book that would not by any stretch be considered emerging. That really bothers me.

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6 thoughts on “A Trio of Reviews

  1. well, Brian McLaren’s writings have revived my belief in the Church [faith in God/Jesus never left, as He has the words of eternal life]

    regarding accoustic songs…and combining 2 things fromt his post…I recently found an album, for downloading that Brian Mc did in ’78…

    as with many 70’s things
    thoughtful

  2. “That really bothers me.”

    Emerging marketing. :-D

    It’s not really about emerging thought. It’s more about using emerging networks. It’s none too cheap, but not too expensive for viral like attention.

    I got the marketing info about it myself just to check, but alas my publisher is a wee bit too small and poor to have invested.

  3. smudge,
    I haven’t read a lot of McLaren, but I am enjoying this series.

    patrick,
    Yes, I can see the marketing angle. The implication that this selection is representative of women’s contribution to the conversation is what disappointed me.

  4. Am thankful for your reviews.

    I bought “Eve” purely on spec, my daughter read it first, then I started to read it, but I couldn’t make it even through the first chapter. I think it’s just me, but the writing made me restless, it felt very….dramatic. Too much for me.

    After reading your review, am gladd I didn’t push through. Being as impressionable as I am, a dark and heavy book would have taken me down for a while.

  5. joanne,
    I like the idea and the research that went into developing the story, but I didn’t like the end result of the picture painted.

  6. Coming back to this after a bit, and after my wanting to change a bit of my tone.

    Marketing is a curious thing. In a way it’s irritating, but it works and it works because we all buy into it. And we buy into what people are willing to offer, taking what is offered not always as the ideal representation but as what, for whatever reason, has been able to find a voice for its advertising.

    McClaren himself seems to illustrate this for me. One reason I never really was interested in reading his works was because having been in the emerging conversation since it’s preconception stages in the early 90s, and quite active in the early 2000s, I had heard much the same from other sources, better said and better thought out.

    But he’s the guy who got the spotlight. And as noted here he did so in a way that genuinely made an impact. His was a voice among very many who gave a voice to many voiceless.

    Something like emerging/missional now is a bit of a bandwagon. Those who don’t have really the heart for it, the instinctive drive for the essence of what is happening, still want to find their way in influence. Not least of all the major publishers who see a major market in this labeling. And so things get pushed out that aren’t necessarily the ideal, or the best, and those who work to market use what they have been given to do what they have been called to do–because when things aren’t pushed they get buried.

    I know this doesn’t relate to your main point, but it’s something that’s on my mind, and then sort of leads to responding to your point.

    I wonder if being truly emerging/missional isn’t about receiving emerging content that says all that needs to be said, a sermon in book form meant for passive reception. I wonder if being emerging/missional is about hearing voices from different spaces and responding to them in a way that illustrates emerging/missional ideals. We, the responders, are the emerging aspect, not necessarily the content itself. We invite the Holy Spirit into our readings so as to see, hear, learn even if the direct intent isn’t where we go with it and what we see as it’s origin.

    We already do this, of course. Movies starring Keanu Reeves (not nearly the best actor) and bands fronted by Irish rock stars get all kinds of emerging attention and used in emerging illustrations without being emerging voices.

    Maybe an aspect of being emerging is going beyond the mass marketing of major studios and labels to see how lesser names might contribute to an emerging conversation in a similar way, women who might not be immediately emerging, but who are now voiced and given even a little spotlight by those who have the means and momentum to do so.

    I’m wondering about this coming from the perspective of someone whose own printed voice was mostly buried and hidden because of a particular choice of publisher and a lack of means, and whose occasional frustration about this sometimes shines light on my lingering inner sin–an irritating light I’m sure is part of God’s work in my life.

    I want to cheer on those who do get their spotlight, and see this cheer as itself being an emerging trait, hoping more and more voices arise who make the emerging/missional song a great chorus of many parts and places.

    And sorry to use this comment section as my own confession and resetting. I really do appreciate your participation and interesting perspectives on what is being released into the emerging stream.

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