Welcome to Varied Expressions of Worship

Welcome to Varied Expressions of Worship

This blog will be written from an orthodox Christian point of view. There may be some topic that is out of bounds, but at present I don't know what it will be. Politics is a part of life. Theology and philosophy are disciplines that we all participate in even if we don't think so. The Bible has a lot to say about economics. How about self defense? Is war ethical? Think of all the things that someone tells you we should not touch and let's give it a try. Everything that is a part of life should be an expression of worship.

Keep it courteous and be kind to those less blessed than you, but by all means don't worry about agreeing. We learn more when we get backed into a corner.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Opus 2013-273: Book Review: Agendas to the Right of Me, Agendas to the Left of Me...

I enjoy science fiction.  I usually dislike fantasy.  Sometimes I find an author that develops plots and characters enough to make me put up with the lapses into deus ex machina that are so common in fantasy.  One of those has been Raymond E. Feist.  Most of his books I have been able to finish.  I don’t know if I will finish his latest offering because he has either come out of the closet or he is ignorant of what he is presenting.

Many authors have agendas involving philosophies that they keep under wraps until they are successful enough to bring them out in the open.  Even then, some are able to tell a good enough story to keep people reading.  Common agendas are environmentalism, evolution, eastern religions, and atheism.  I have even seen incest as a hidden agenda. 

Feist, in his latest book Magician’s End, reveals that he is an advocate of eastern religion.  This is common in fantasy but he gets really blatant here.  Or let me say, he either is an advocate or ignorant of the world around him and thinks he is being original.  It could be that he is planning this to be the last in the series so he needs to lay it on thick.

I am reading Magician’s End.  At the beginning of this story the main character’s, who are well known from previous novels, meet up with someone who takes the name of “Guide.”  In the conversation Guide shares this.
“We exist in a realm of energy, we who serve the One.  We are forever in the Bliss, part of the One until we are needed, and we are then given form and substance, given an identity commensurate with our purpose; to ensure efficiency, all memories of previous service in that role are returned.  So, currently, I think of myself as ‘I,’ a single entity, but that will dissipate when I rejoin the One in the Bliss.” page 10
This is a clear presentation of the Hindu/Buddhist concept of Nirvana.

The story goes on.  The basic plot I enjoy but there are repeated interludes that have these characters, who are all magicians, involved in some ethereal realm where the author seeks to demonstrate the reaches of his imagination. 

The general plot holds together.  The interludes are like evangelism tracts for Hinduism.  Toward the end he sums it all up.
“‘Nothing dies,’ said Macros.  ‘What they are, who they were, return to Mind and will manifest itself somewhere else at some other time.’” page 394
I asked myself, “If I skipped these chapters on Hinduism would it effect my enjoyment of the story?”  I was paying attention because I had seen this pattern in other authors.  The answer was, “No.”  They were totally unnecessary except to get across the real message of the author.

I enjoyed the basic story.  I will read his next book and hope he does not get drawn even deeper into his religious screed.  There will come a point where it isn’t worth the time.

Beware what you read.  Know the purpose of the author.  Enjoy if you can.  Get your money back if you can’t.

Feist, Raymond E.  Magician’s End.  New York:  Harper Voyager, 2013.

homo unius libri

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Comments are welcome. Feel free to agree or disagree but keep it clean, courteous and short. I heard some shorthand on a podcast: TLDR, Too long, didn't read.