Book Review: Souldancer (Soul Cycle Book II) by Brian Niemeier

Souldancer - Cover

Recently, I read and really enjoyed Part I of Brian Niemeier‘s three-part Soul Cycle series, Nethereal. Having read Part II, Souldancer, I can say that Brian improves upon nearly every aspect of the already impressive Nethereal, creating one of the most memorable sci-fi worlds I have had the pleasure to be invited into.

Mild spoilers for Nethereal are ahead, so if you plan on reading the series yourself–which I strongly recommend that you do–you might want to skim or otherwise skip most of this review.

(Wow . . . what kind of writer tells his readers not to read his blog? There can be only one: this guy!) Continue reading “Book Review: Souldancer (Soul Cycle Book II) by Brian Niemeier”

Sunshine Blogger Award

Well, file this in the “Unexpected, Undeserved, but Welcome” file: Writer, blogger, and all around cool guy (and decent fellow) Dylan Cornelius nominated me for something called the Sunshine Blogger Award. 

The SBA (no, not the Small Business Adminostration) is, from what I can tell, a way to promote yourself and promote others. It’s a “pass it along,” chain type of thing, but not a scam. In fact, you’ll probably discover some cool blogs!

I’ll get into the rules, but first about Dylan: I discovered his writing back in 2013 or so when I somehow stumbled upon his site Questicle, an entry into the chronogaming thing, where people play and blog about video games (or anything pop culture related, really) in chronological order, tracking their development and so on. 

Questicle happened to be about my favorite old system, the NES (yes, I have a soft spot for retrogaming). Dylan wrote short, funny reviews on each game (and he is the KING of funny captions). Through commenting on his site, which I used to read on my phone while holding my then-infant son as he settled in to sleep, I realized Dylan was a cool guy as well as a good writer, and that we had a lot in common. 

He is now doing the same thing he did for the NES with Sega systems on his most recent project Sega Does, and also writes about religious and spiritual matters on Dylan In Transition–you should check out both! 

And now, the SBA rules, cribbed from Dylan:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you 
  2. Answer the questions given to you 
  3. Nominate at least 3 bloggers
  4. Write questions for your nominees to answer

I’ll tackle them in order. 

1. Thank the person who nominated you. Thanks, Dylan!

2. Answer the questions given to you. These are great questions, and I expected nothing less from Dylan. Here we go! Continue reading “Sunshine Blogger Award”

Being a Church Man

Being a man. Much of it involves standing up for yourself, for your friends and family, and the weak. And a lot of times, “standing up” means fighting back, physically or with words. 

And then there’s being a Christian. Love your enemies and pray for them, even as they revile you. Be meek, because the meek shall inherit the Earth. Turn the other cheek. 

These are in conflict, right?Yet there’s something strange brewing in the realm of Christendom. And it’s not necessarily a bad thing.

You see, something I’ve noticed, thanks to the Internet, is that there are a lot of young, passionate Christians–far more than I remember growing up. And these Christians fight back.

When the culture punches them, they punch back. Hard.

There is even some armed resistance in regions of the world where Christianity is being stamped out by evil religious fanatics who claim to worship the same God. There’s not enough, but at least it’s there.

I applaud this and am energized by it.

Here in America, things haven’t yet come to blows (though the so-called Antifa thugs are starting to change this).

In a culture hellbent on denigrating your beliefs, sitting idly by gets you nowhere.

And this is important, because culture is far more important than politics in and of themselves.

So three cheers for Christians who actually defend themselves. Using the weapons of Scripture and snark in equal measure, logic and reason coupled with fearlessness and effective rhetoric, we refuse to go quietly into that dark night of decline. In fact, the goal seems to be to increase the numbers of the faithful, and bolster the strength of our various churches.

You see, the prevailing culture has successfully turned Christians into John Lithgow’s character from Footloose (1984). 

I’ve never seen the movie (there’s only so much Kevin Bacon I can take), but I know the stereotype all too well. In Footloose, Lithgow plays the villain, Reverend Shaw Moore, a fiery Christian preacher who hates dancing and bans dancing and music in his community.

Now, it doesn’t matter that Reverend Moore has powerful personal reasons for hating dancing and music, and later has a change of heart when he realizes that dancing and music are not the problems he thinks they are. Christianity in movies gets associated with hating fun. You see this in so many films, TV shows, and books. 

The Jesus freak is always puritanical, bigoted, and violent. And nine times out of ten, a complete and utter hypocrite, who is usually stupid for good measure. 

Why? Because Christ, of course.

I see a lot of this edifice eroding in the face of Christians who prove that you can be a churchgoer and bite back. Have a sense of humor. A sense of mischief, even. 

This is all well and good . . . but is it really Christ-like?

In other words, is fighting back contrary to Christian teachings?

Is being a masculine man incompatible with being a church man? Continue reading “Being a Church Man”