Archive for July, 2007

Dune: House Corrino by Brian Herbert w/ Kevin J. Anderson

Monday, July 30th, 2007

Dune: House Corrino by Brian Herbert w/ Kevin J. Anderson
published by Bantam Books – Toronto

This is a continuation of the Dune saga. Brian Herbert is the son of Frank Herbert the creator of the Dune story. After the death of his father Brian teamed up with Kevin J. Anderson to continue writing the fictional story of Dune. Frank’s original works start with Dune and end with Chapterhouse: Dune. Brian and Kevin wrote a trilogy which takes place prior to the first book of Frank’s (Dune). For this reason a person should read his father’s works first. There are too many give aways that would take away the mystery that made Frank’s works so compelling.

That being said I now have to say that I read the trilogy out of sequence. House Corrino is the third book in the series. Naturally since the works build on each other I already know the outcome of some of the plots of the two earlier books. Then again, my reading of the whole Dune story has been fractured.

House Corrino is the imperial family. They have ruled the known universe since overthrowing the machine worlds (another book). This empire has been in existence for 10,000 years. Though there is an emperor there is a form of power sharing. These powers are: the emperor, the Landsraad (noble houses forming a senate), The Guild (the navigators that make safe space travel possible), CHOAM (A conglomeration of business enterprises that keep commerce flowing). There is a fifth group that form a sisterhood that have mental and physical prowess.

All of the Dune books has at its central core “spice”. It is a substance that can only be found on Dune and is the sole reason why safe space travel is possible. This spice is ingested in huge quantities by navigators of The Guild. Without spice the empire would collapse.

Dune: House Corrino is about the plot the emperor puts into play to break the power of the other “powers” and wrestle total control into his own hands. He attempts this through the manufacture of a synthetic spice. If you have read other books of Dune then you may understand this covers the period referred to as “the spice wars”.

As with all the books it also unfolds the story of the prophesied religious leader who arises in the original Dune story. This story opens up and explains the 90+ generational manipulation that ends with the birth of Paul Atreides. As I already wrote… too many give aways, so read Frank’s works first.

Leading Worship

Monday, July 23rd, 2007

Last night I had my first opportunity to lead worship at our evening service. Well, I was actually the only person on stage. Thankfully I had someone on the sound board and another on the power point presentation to display the songs we would sing. My thanks to them both.

So I was sitting on the stage with my guitar, prayed up and ready to go. I started strumming the first song and began to sing… oops. For the life of me I couldn’t sing that song. The beat and the words refused to co-operate with each other.  I stopped and chuckled to the congregation. Apologizing I explained that when I lead worship at our substance abuse meetings on tuesday nights something usually goes wrong. I said that at least we got “the” mistake out of the way and now we could proceed. It is nice to have a group of people who have grace and show mercy.

Gathering up my courage I started once again with the same song. This time we could all sing the song.  Four other songs were played in succession. My voice held up pretty well but the guitar playing began to suffer. I have arthritis and other problems that sometimes make it difficult to play. My chording hand began to go numb and I failed to play the chords cleanly. Foretunately the people singing along did not seem to notice the difficulty I was having.  At the end of the service many came to me and said that I did a good job of leading worship.

I sometimes find it hard to accept compliments. I have a defensive mechanism that kicks in and I usually try to minimize anything someone says to me. This was actually improper of me to do. Why? Because I didn’t have the grace to accept a kind word spoken to me. The Holy Spirit is such a gentleman. He used a feather of thought to convict me. I apologized to one person in particular for my attitude.

You see, I know that when playing the guitar I am limited. What I forget is the grace of God. Before I play I always ask God to help me out. That my mistakes don’t pull attention to me but that everyone will keep their eyes on Him while we worship and praise. He is faithful and has always helped. My problem is that I see the errors and not the grace. I am, however, learning. I’m just not finished growing in character and understanding of who He is and His grace toward me.

 It is always a privilege, never a right, to minister to other people. He is wonderful and I always thank him for every opportunity to minister.

1857 Revival

Thursday, July 19th, 2007

In our church there has been much mention of the 1857 church revival that occured in Hamilton, Ontario. It is believed by many that another revival will be sparked in Hamilton. This revival will be one of healing as its central manifestation. I have been sent an article by a friend about the 1857 revival. I am including a link to the page here:


The Church… Division or Acceptance

Thursday, July 12th, 2007

excerpt from my comment at: Isn’t that the craziest thing: a tough job and sad news

Based on the news article Pope: Catholicism only true church by Nicole Winfield

Over the centuries there have been wars fought over what Christians are supposed to believe. In 1 Corinthians Paul talks about the importance of being one. We are warned to beware of those wolves in sheep’s clothing. They sow discord among the flock. Theological fractures have weakened the “church” both then and now. Leaving the heretic within the walls of the church poses great problems. Jude talks about contending for the faith. Then we have the all embracing love of God. It is a balance that the body of Christ has struggled with for 2,000 years. The pope is simply re-affirming that there are limits when it comes to fellowship with those not in agreement with their take on theology. Do we embrace every idea without discernment to the truth for the sake of oneness? No, but we must be careful about what we allow to divide us.

I find it peculiar how at the same time there is this separation of the body of Christ, many churches, including the Roman Catholic church, try to portray God through the local customs and religion of people they are trying to proselytize. This unholy mixture clouds the truth and should never have occurred. Paul’s discourse on Mars Hill is the example they use for justification of this type of evangelism. I believe Paul would be horrified to know how that example has been used to mix the sanctifying truth with the profane.

Personally the bible is the standard and each person, individually, will have to answer to God on how they walked out their life according to its truth. There are true Christians in almost every church… but not all people in the church are saved. That is sad but true.

Dune Messiah by Frank Herbert

Tuesday, July 10th, 2007

Dune Messiah by Frank Herbert
published by: Ace Books, New York

This book is the sequel to “Dune”. It is a science fiction story based 10,000+ years into the future of mankind. The planet Arrakis is the major location of this story and plays a prominant role in all of the books in the series. The first book tells the story of Paul Atreides, a young man of a noble family, who became the foretold leader of the known universe. In this sequel we learn that this government/religious leader isn’t as all powerful as was pictured in the first book.

Dune Messiah sets the stage for the second generation. It is filled with intrigue and sub plots. The story will keep you guessing what comes next… right to the end. Most of the characters from the first book make an appearence in this sequel. If you have not read “Dune” I recommend doing so before reading “Dune Messiah”. If you like sci-fi then this book, as well as the whole series of “Dune” books, will be a good read.

One Moment of the 700 Club

Friday, July 6th, 2007

Yesterday I was watching the 700 Club on television. Terry Meussen was speaking after one of the stories. The story was about a family that was blessed through Operation Blessing. Timely surgery that was made possible by donations from viewer support. At $20 a month a donation gets spread pretty thin among all that they do. Yet she turned a phrase that highlights what can be done by a group. She said something like this, “Alone we may not be able to do much but by linking arms together we can hug the world.” I like the word picture that conjurs up in my mind. It is also a simple fact, that many can do much with the little they give.

American Soldier by Gen. Tommy Franks

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2007

American Soldier by General Tommy Franks w/Malcolm McConnell
published by 10 Regan Books

This is the personal story of General Tommy Franks, leader of the coalition forces that lead the battles in Afghanistan and Iraq. The book is broken into four sections:

  1. birth and going through to his tour in Vietnam.
  2. Decission to stay in the military to his promotion to four star general
  3. 9/11 and the Afghanistan campaign
  4. The Iraq Campaign

It was interesting to read about his early life. The formation of his character. Not only factual but also entertaining. His tour of duty in Vietnam explains the formation of an innovative mind. That mind lead to the tactical decisions that were played out on the battle fields of Afghanistan and Iraq. Reading the history of the strategic developement of forces showed a clear and decisive change of tactics that would result in a totally different campaign from the first gulf war.

The strength of the book is historical information. The timeline of events and decisions that lead to the formation and execution of the battles. The book also reveals how the press, for good and for bad, reported the news and how in some cases hurt the cause. There are also many explanations to why certain things were done; such as keeping the 4th Div on the ships just off the coast of Turkey until well after the conflict began; the “mission accomplished” press fiasco after phase three operations were completed. There are many examples of behind the scenes events that need to be known to understand the battle plans.

Tommy Franks explains his personal philosophy and plays a bit of the prophet. He warns of the consequences that would face the U.S. and the rest of the world if we fail to gain a full victory in the gulf. A sustainable Iraq government must be in place before the coalition forces leave.

Though this book is primarily a military history it also is a non-partisan political history and a biography. I recommend this book for those who are interested in history and war.