Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Ollie Chandler Collection - Review of Three Books in One

I thought had posted this before, because I finished reading them a few months ago....

The first book, Deadline, starts out a little slow, even though there's one cataclysmic event near the beginning. The story is about a reporter named Jake and his two best friends--one a liberal atheist/agnostic, another a conservative Christian. Jake feels like he's somewhere in the middle. Some of the writing is a bit wordy and lecture-like, but it has much to recommend itself, raising good thoughts about heaven (imagined but not anti-biblical that I know of--hell may be a different story), the sanctity of life, repentance, and making amends with family members. There are some sensitive/mature issues such as adultery and HIV, so it's not a children's book. There are also two or so times that someone apparently uses the Lord's name in vain. Overall quite good, though.

Here's one quote I liked:

"In the darkness, men can shine flashlights on a sundial and make it tell any time they want. But only the sun tells the true time. The flashlights are the changing and fleeting opinions of men. The sun is the eternal Word of God."

Here starts the review of the second book,
Dominion. What would you do if your sister and niece were murdered in a drive-by shooting? This book explores pride, revenge, fatherhood, gangs, abortion, racial prejudice and stereotypes, forgiveness, and God's justice through a broad view of eternity. I think I liked it better than the first in the series, as I've often been interested in cultures and "races" (I believe there's really only one race, as the author does), and it helped me see both sides of the issues blacks and whites (and others) have today, without excusing either side's wrongs. I didn't always like the way Clarence and Ollie ferreted out information, and I'm not sure about all the pastor's conclusions about biblical men's lineage, but I liked the whole story.

Quotes I liked:

"Now, what all this prosperity teaching shows me is that many people today care less about God than they do the benefit package. My daddy always said, 'He that serves God for money will serve the devil for better wages.'"

"I say when we tell God he has to take away this illness or handicap or financial hardship, we may be tellin' him to remove the very things he put into our lives to conform us to the image of Christ!"

"If these were animals or subhuman, they couldn't breed together. You can only have children with your own kind, and though there are many kinds of animals, there's only one kind of human. The fact that blacks bore the children of whites proved they were the same kind. And therefore equal."

"It takes two parents to raise a child. It takes a village to get out of the way and quit trying to take over Dad and Mom's child-raising authority and responsibility."

"She thought further, wondering what would happen if but one Wilberforce rose up in American politics today. What would happen if one representative or one senator would introduce over and over again measures and reminders of the reality that unborn babies were being killed by the millions? What if only one man or woman would pull out pictures of the unborn from under his congressional chair, would endure the ridicule and opposition, would tirelessly stand for justice, would speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, refusing to be silent? What if just one person, relentless, would live out his convictions not for the applause of his colleagues nor the approval of his generation but for the audience of One?"

"Deprived of joy, they reduce life to the pursuit of pleasures. But without Elyon [God] there are no pleasures. The pursuit of pleasures without the giver of pleasure can never end in heaven, only hell. Refusing to anchor their lives in the bright sacred mysteries, they turn instead to the dark evil mysteries. Denying Elyon, they turn to the demon Moloch, for man is made to worship, and if he will not worship the true, he will worship the false. Hence a generation that prides itself on uplifting peace and caring for the earth and rising above barbarity daily offers its children in sacrifice to Moloch."

"Bitterness never relieves suffering, it only causes it. I used to pray for the overseers and masters who beat me. I knew they wasn't beyond God's grace because I wasn't. One of the slaves, ol' Elmo, he used to say the massas didn't deserve forgiveness. I said, ''Course they doesn't deserve forgiveness, Elmo. No man does. If you deserved forgiveness, you wouldn't need it.'"

"Breaks this old man's heart what happened that day. No excuse for it. But it wasn't the spirit of Jesus you saw, it was the spirit of the devil, and he can get admitted to any college."

The last book, Deception, is more mystery than the others, and with many twists and turns, keeping me guessing most of the way through. It was sometimes almost dizzying, but good. There are also some funny quotes, such as this one: 'His hair went everywhere--Einstein with a perm in a wind tunnel.'

But besides the good plot and humor, there are threads of important themes about God, sin, and family (not 100% of which I agreed with, such as the free will). Here's one good quote for an example of explaining suffering in the world: '"Would you ever have been able to see courage without danger? Or heroism without desperate situations? Compassion without suffering? Justice without injustice? Sacrifice without a need?"'

This is an engaging and enjoyable read.

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