Think Of The Homeless

There are over 30 million Americans who live on the streets of our nation. Can you consider giving something to a shelter near you? Your fellow human beings need socks because they walk everywhere. Food and shelter are great too, if they will take them. So please give.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Reviews by Hubie Goode: Where The Wild Things Are

Where The Wild Things Are

Rated: PG [See Full Rating] for mild thematic elements, some adventure action and brief language.
Genre: Childrens, Dramas, Based On A Novel

Synopsis: Innovative director Spike Jonze collaborates with celebrated author Maurice Sendak to bring one of the most beloved books of all time to the big screen in “Where the Wild Things Are,” a classic... Innovative director Spike Jonze collaborates with celebrated author Maurice Sendak to bring one of the most beloved books of all time to the big screen in “Where the Wild Things Are,” a classic story about childhood and the places we go to figure out the world we live in. The film tells the story of Max, a rambunctious and sensitive boy who feels misunderstood at home and escapes to where the Wild Things are. Max lands on an island where he meets mysterious and strange creatures whose emotions are as wild and unpredictable as their actions. --© Warner Bros [More]

Starring: Paul Dano, Forest Whitaker, Mark Ruffalo, Catherine Keener, Catherine O’Hara, Max Records, Lauren Ambrose, James Gandolfini, Chris Cooper

Director: Spike Jonze
Screenwriter: Dave Eggers, Spike Jonze
Studio: Warner Bros.

What does one do with a book that is all pictures and only nine sentences long? What an easy piece of work it is to pull out a book like this when your little bit says, “Read it again!” Bedtime isn’t too far away. And there aren’t many lessons to be learned from the book either. It is merely a fantastic trip into the inner child of many, that can be experienced and then put away. Any long term gravity from such an experience is hardly expected or felt by any and all involved.

But the writers have quite a job on their hands of creating a movie that has more depth and narrative that just nine sentences. How can they make it happen? Well, naturally, they have to go where they have been programmed to go for about 200 years now. They have to look deep into the psyche of a child and somehow come up with a message for the child that is only hinted at in the book. And this they do well.

Max is a young boy who seems to be a loner who is at a loss as to how to fix his isolated existence. He wishes he could have the attention of his mother and sister to a more satisfying effect than he does at the beginning of the movie and his feelings are expressed in specific ways from a variety of sources. What is his inner psychology we all ask? Why does he act out in frustration when his mom brings home a new boyfriend and he can’t get her undivided attention? Or why does his sister not defend him when he tries to get the attention of her group of friends and the encounter goes horribly wrong?

Max acts out on one occasion and disappears, according to the movie, as he sails a small boat out on an open sea that stretches for miles around him. Does he know where he is going? Does he ever eat? Sleep? Relieve himself? Is this all an inner fantasy? It is in the book, but here the lines of reality and fantasy become blurred. He really does seem to sail and arrive at this fantastic island of wild things where he encounters.... himself.

Hmmm. There are on this deserted island a group of individual creatures that all seem to be in and of themselves, one of kind. They also speak and when they speak they sound a lot like classically written characters from a by gone era. They are of course, representations of Max himself displayed for himself to listen to and muse about in his fantasy isolation. How Freudian!

Max’s self psychotherapy displays a monster that acts out in frustration just as Max does at home and when Max sees this, he joins the creature. This creature’s name is Carol or Carroll, but it does seem to be male. Carol’s frustration is parallel to Max’s in that his lady friend has gone off to be with new friends, leaving Carol alone with the other psychological interpretations of Max’s inner life. Carol likes Max, and decrees that Max should be their king. The reasons for this are easy enough for Max to understand, since after all, it’s his own mind he is communicating with... still with me?

The manifestations of Max’s inner life all do the same things Max does and they all sound a bit immature in their inter communication with each other. Strangely polite, I found, almost “Andy Griffith” quaint in their inter personal dealings, but none the less, they could do no more than sound like kids due to the limited implied reality of the movie itself. This is, of course, with the exception of Carol’s lady friend, K.W..., who is Max’s mother representation.

The movie finds the following events to be less than riveting at times as the writers had to come up with conflicts that were both friendly to the inner Max and not destructive of his inner zeitgeist. If they had all turned on each other, what would we have left of Max himself? Not much. Mad Max perhaps, but I digress.

Max works through his inner conflict and frustration by being surprisingly true to himself and his manifestations. He doesn’t get stingy and cheat himself by making the inner characters roll over and give in when things get a bit uncomfortable. He actually has to face the possible harmful aggressive attacks that could come from disappointing the naively hopeful and cooperative creatures from his own inner psyche. When he discovers that being king means producing king type effects and he fails to understand just how to do this, his inner creatures become threatening. He faces some scary moments where he actually has to hide from himself, or Carol as it were, for his own frustration threatens his very existence.

Too true. A very poignant point, and I wonder if the writers actually meant for this to be displayed. Clever for sure. Max then hides himself inside the body of K.W..., the mother figure, who protects him from his own largess of the aggressive and toothy Carol. Max then exits her body, and is reborn. His lesson being that perhaps his biggest problem is not that his mom and sister cannot provide for him, but that he himself has a limited perspective on their position in reality, and as Shakespeare intoned: “Heavy lies the head that wears the crown.”

There is a lot more here, of course, but one final note I want to make is that the tone of the movie truly reminded me of the tone captured in those old 1960’s Charlie Brown cartoons we all remember from the holidays, which no one has ever been able to duplicate. There is a sort of separated waiting that happens when you are a kid, as the world really doesn’t belong to you and has little to do with you on an immediate plane, and that world is never really appreciated when we are kids.

It is too soon replaced by the destruction of our nice demeanors by the subversive effects of puberty that turn us into someone else from the cute kid we all once knew, to be followed by the trudge up the hill to maturity that leads to the black hole of credit debt and government control.

This is a dark movie to be sure, only illuminated by the quaint politeness of the creatures personalities that are belied by their fierce appearance. If you take your young one to see it, make sure you explain what things the writers are putting out there, and why the mood is odd compared to other movies for kids. There are good life lessons here, scary though they may be.... but then again, they always have been.

3.75/5 stars

Reviews by Hubie Goode: Still Living With Freud 5?

After all our advances in science and medicine, Are We Still Living With Freud? Pt. 5

Having written here in this blog on the effects of Social Darwinism, I can now comment on the connection between the two ideologies and Freud’s take on them. Freud wrote in his tome, Civilization and Its Discontents:

The analogy between the process of cultural evolution and the path of individual development may be carried further in an important respect. It can be maintained that the community, too, develops a superego, under whos influence cultural evolution proceeds. It would be an enticing task for an authority on human systems of culture to work out this analogy in specific cases. I will confine myself to pointing out certain striking details. The super ego of any given epoch of civilization originates in the same way as that of an individual; it is based on the impression left behind by great personalities, men of outstanding force of mind, or men in whom some human tendency has developed in an usual strength and purity, often for that reason very disproportionately.

Once we’ve discussed Social Darwinism, we can also comment on Freud’s attitude toward Christianity:

In many instances, the analogy goes even further, in that during their lives, often enough, even if not always, such persons are ridiculed by others, ill used, or even cruelly done to death, just as happened with the primal father who also rose again to become deity long after his death by violence. The most striking example of this fate is the figure of Jesus Christ, if indeed it does not belong itself to the realm of mythology, which called it into being out of a dim memory of that primordial event.

Both these statements display an ability to project his ideas from the specific person and into the society as a whole. In them he seconds Social Evolution and describes how society as a whole is in itself a personality and is vying for a piece of libido.

Freud was not hesitant to voice his opinion about religion, and by this we can safely assume he meant Christianity. Individuals, he proposed, tend to become psychotic when they are frustrated and despair at the possibility of revolution within a society.

According to Freud, religion assigns measures of choice and adaptation by taking a blanket stance for all involved in the acquisition of happiness and the avoidance of pain. It’s method gives redundancy to the value of life and relays the real world with a sort of twisted illusion, thus intimidating any and all intelligence with the sheer weight of its incomprehensibility. By forcing a type of mental infantilism on the populace it can actually save many from debilitating neurosis. He felt there were many paths by which happiness could be reached, but none which were certain to deliver. He included religion in this also. His position was that when men speak of God’s almightiness that he eliminates himself and assigns his life to terminal suffering and only the solace of unconditional submission as his last resort for happiness. For Freud, this was a rather long road to travel for something, namely happiness, which could have been achieved by abbreviated ends.

Therefore, Freud saw all religion, everywhere, as a sort of mental infantilism, a mass delusion if you will. Reading Freud’s opinions of religion we can hear the arguments of every primary person who ever took up a case against Jesus in the construction of his many fanciful and clever psychological remarks which give ammunition to anyone who want’s to express contempt for God. But he had to do this, for it was psychoanalysis that was the NEW revelation, and psychotherapy that was the NEW salvation. Anyone who has ever read atheist material realizes that Freud may have not only been the father of modern psychoanalysis, but also much, much more.

Freud, as it turns out, was much more simple than one would imagine. In fact he had a rather quaint comparison to the “man behind the curtain” in the Wizard of Oz. It can be argued that he was merely attaching names to conditions that he believed were within the human psyche, this, based upon his own authority, not any empirical evidence, and was able to get away with it because his so called science was NEW to the world. So who could prove him wrong? Can you or I look into the so called Id, ego and superego and point to the error Freud made? Nope. Neither could he, so it was quite easy for him to ascribe names and conditions to a patients problems despite any evidence at all.

It is a natural thing for us as humans to respond when we hear of things that are new with words we have never heard before, with a kind of childlike curiosity. At this point we are not reacting with any defensive outrage or loving ascription because the issue is interesting rather than compelling. We only become suspicious at the point when explanations fail to materialize or perhaps the explanations themselves become ethereal and unresolvable.

Our suspicions only become allied when we are persuaded by office. We ask ourselves, Isn’t he a doctor? Didn’t he go to college? Who am I to question? The general public of Freud’s day treated the things they did not understand with due deference and therefore were not the first to disagree with Freud’s opinions on things. In fact, they still have not done so to this day.

He was looked upon with a kind of fascination and embarrassment. The public found him entertaining and wondered what he would say next. He had opened a doorway, so it would seem, into a fascinating aspect of ourselves, one which no one had ever been able to delineate before and laid it out before us in a kind of Indiana Jones serial fashion. Forget the fact that he changed his own theories quite frequently, or that his data came from unconfirmed sources and unconfirmed testimonies of privately interviewed patients, many written testimonies of which were destroyed by he, himself.

The public has made Freud a household figure. A rock star of sorts, the father of pop psychology. When a person makes a verbal mistake his action is called a “Freudian slip”. Sexual determinism is considered a school of thought and not a depraved machination. The mysteries of the inner soul are automatically believed to be described by Freud, and there isn’t a shred of evidence to back it up.

more in part 6

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Reviews by Hubie Goode: STILL Living With Freud? Pt. 4

After all our advances in science and medicine, Are We Still Living With Freud? Pt. 4

Despite the maelstrom surrounding him, Freud’s client list grew and grew. However, at the same time, a seed of doubt grew in his mind as to the verification of the accounts his clients gave him concerning the memories from their early lives. Though he had become fixated with the idea of patient’s early sexual experiences, he became doubtful about their veracity. He began to research his patient’s histories and discovered that indeed, many of the events he had been informed of, never really happened. His theory for the cause of hysteria began to break down. He later wrote that there were four things that really bothered him about this theory: A) His continued failure to bring his theory to a conclusion, repeatedly. B) The high doubt factor of there actually being so many fathers who were sex perverts. C) The realization that the unconscious doesn’t really define any difference between fantasy and reality. D) The total absence of sexual assault stories in cases where the mind has been invaded by the subconscious. (Basically, in cases of true loss of individual control and filtering.)

At this time, Freud believed he had failed in his work, and he even considered abandoning his search for the inner wellsprings of human action. Well, at least he had the courage to be honest with himself while keeping his feet on the ground. Freud wrote about the situation at this time and said, “At that time I would have given up on the whole enterprise, but I really had nothing else to do. Fortunately, I continued under the auspices of merely catering to the paradigm of psychic reality as well as practical reality.” (Not a direct quote)

It was at this point in time he stumbled upon something called the “Oedipus Complex”. Oedipus was a character in greek mythology who accidentally killed his father and married his own mother. Nasty stuff. Freud saw in this story a tendency for a child to be attached to a parent of the opposite sex and have hostility toward the parent of the same sex. He promoted the idea that the persistence of this complex into adulthood resulted in neurosis of many kinds. When the patient is a female the disorder is known as the Electra complex.

Over time hypnosis was abandoned, having not produced the desired results, and he began to see it as a rather weak form of therapy, as did his contemporaries. He traded that in for the practice of free association, where the patient is admonished to freely respond to words and pictures with whatever comes to mind first. Even today this free association is ascribed to Freudianism.

Freud continued his work, scrambling around in the vast darkness, and eventually formed a diagram he created of the human personality. This is where he came up with the Id, Ego and Superego models as three overlapping facets of a person’s personality. He felt the id was the dark part of the personality, a cauldron of emotions, if you will, which can only be defined in contrast to the ego. He examined it as being based on one side of the somatic realm, having to do with base instinctive needs. It is, as he stated, a collection of things thrown together in a dark room of the mind, things that only show themselves to be there as a result of what they produce in the personality. Much in the same way as Dark Matter in astrophysics can only be detected by its’ gravitational effects on surrounding physical space.

The ego is the entity with which the Id interacts with the outside world. The filter for the Id’s impulses, which keeps a person from the electric chair or life in prison. Above both of these constructs is something called the Superego, or the conscience. The ego can either respond or reject the higher orders of the Superego, this results in guilt or approval.

The Superego was the heir to the Oedipus complex, it defines itself as either belonging to the mother or the father of the individual. It might, in fact imitate the parent of choice and reveal itself as such, thusly also developing a latent hostility. So it was that Freud constructed the inner being of a human being and the “Id, Ego, Superego” became a linchpin for pop culture table talk.

Additionally, Freud also included something called “The life instinct and the death instinct”. The two are at odds with one another and their struggle feeds energy in to the dark Id unknown and accumulates there. Never having actually seen this process, he never the less placed it’s importance high in his studies due to what he assumed was the resultant personality traits. It’s nice when you have an unknown and can ascribe anything to it. But, I digress.

Freud once again turned to sex with these constructs and decided that the “Libido”, a term he coined which is still in use today, was instrumental in the operation of both the life and death instinct. This would result in masochism or sadism manifesting itself. For him, the libido was the great reality, the sexual instinct as it were. It has come to be known as the driving force behind all human action. Sex, sex, sex.

Many would see his assessment of the place libido has in the world as his legacy to mankind. No doubt, Madison Avenue and Hollywood agreed vehemently. This idea is so pervasive and has been capitalized on in so many ways that little does anyone suspect that an extreme statement made by a man who had very little observable evidence, has actually become the thing it was trying to prove. Is the sexual instinct and all it is built upon real? Or have we all been brainwashed by those who would wish it was so for their own mercenary ends?

more in part 5

Monday, October 19, 2009

Monday, October 12, 2009

Reviews by Hubie Goode: The Dark Man

The Dark Man

by Marc Schooley

The Dark Man is a near-future thriller about a master of disguise working to eradicate Christianity in America. Charles Graves is haunted by his dead brother, his lost mother, and a phantom arising cryptically from a child’s puzzle.

Charles goes undercover to infiltrate one of the last Christian cells in Southern North America, only to discover that someone else is attempting to infiltrate HIM. In a world turned over by oppressive government and a godless society, Charles strives to bring down the last Christian leaders.

But sometimes he who persecutes the Church is destined to serve her.

When I first began to read this novel, I found myself wondering just what kind of book it would be in comparison to the library of fiction that I am used to. After all, it’s not often you find a novel that implements many of the same devices that the general public is familiar with, things such as, making the reader feel great about the position of mankind, his supposed independence and power, and yet manages to subvert those things amicably.

It just goes to prove to an audience that it’s not necessary to always use the same triggers, despite their apparent money making draw, in order to create a work of fiction that is both engrossing and efficacious. And, indeed, The Dark Man is one of those books. A famous writer once said, “The easier it is to read something the more work has been placed into its’ creation.” As a reviewer I get to use college words, as I have done already, but one thing Schooley does is make the reading experience seamless without pandering to verbosity and pedantry. You, know, like I just did. So what the reader is in for is a beautifully written and intelligently formulated story that will entice you into its’ chapters without offense both plot wise and prose wise.

I will say, however, that the audience is indeed Christian, and most obviously Bible Christian, not just religious or sect Christian. What this means is that there is quite a bit of originality to the plotting that one doesn’t usually see in most secular books, in that the good guys are the followers of Christ and they are NOT nut cases. In fact what they are, are real people with a real world problem on their hands working for a bigger cause. This cause is not the same one you see in a lot of other novels who glorify mankind, some of them with the audacity to believe that a battle between a man and Satan can actually be won... just in the nick of time, and all by himself.

You won’t find anything here, but real humanity, hoping and believing in the power of God working unseen in every circumstance as they struggle against those who would force a world to live without God. And let’s face it, that’s original!

The characterization propels the book at first as the personalities and situations are set up for the reader. There is a little bit of weird psychological magic also in revealing the Dark Man as a character whom only the protagonist is familiar with. This hero, Charles Graves, carries the Dark Man around with him in his head as an almost Shakespearean type commentator and antagonistic adviser during much of the action.

The story itself is imbedded with elements in a worldly myriad of sources from The A-Team to James Bond, and this works on the level of familiarity needed to transfer the story to the reader. In its' Orwellian way the story brings the reader into a kind of New World Order organization that Charles Graves works for in a creative and entertaining spy type fashion. And this section of the story is entertaining and clever enough to bring about the set up for the rest of the book in a way that is both complex and yet easy to digest.

Not an easy thing to do if you understand writing.

Oh, but once you have gotten to the meat of this story, it turns into a grand rescue mission you will not soon forget. Chapter after chapter of tense, well written plotting by a superior, literate writer turns what might have been a preachy, heavy handed tome into a brisk and involving thriller. Major plot lines and a few minor ones swirl around and into each other in an exciting and surprisingly understandable way, all dovetailing toward an end you may or may not see coming.

But, just one word about this sort of thing. When I was a kid, I used to play a lot of flag football and I would love to create trick plays on the opposing team, in such a way as to orchestrate a series of plays from first down to fourth down that would get the other players to think in the way I wanted them to. So, say for instance, my team would run a double reverse on first down. Then on second down we would do a short cut back pass. The third down was crucial because we would run the double reverse again, but making it obvious, and the opposing team would think in their minds: “Aha! You’re not going to fool me with that again!” and they would, of course, over pursue. Little did they know that the double reverse was just a smokescreen for the real play we had in mind. Used to work like magic!

I was reminded of those days while reading through the book in that there is a pair of events just like this, and they are handled deftly I must say, in such a way as I was quite fooled by the level of delivery. You will be too, as the writer isn’t just out to entertain you but also to hoodwink you with some clever plotting. I was quite impressed, mostly due to the fact that I had underestimated the abilities of Marc Schooley to give me something I could brag about that was still not secularly written. It CAN be done! Hallelujah!

So what is it about? Well, its’ more action story than it is preachy tome but it still delivers on that promise to be true to its’ roots and its’ audience. In much the same way the book of Ester uses the trappings of the situation surrounding the main character without ever having God himself show up, but you know he is all over it. Agents and spies abound with a few space ship and sci fi ideas thrown in also. They start out one way, rounding up the “resistors” but the main character has an epiphany of Paulian scope and suddenly finds himself at odds with his own organization and assisting the persecuted. The spy versus spy game is afoot. In the meantime, we have real relationships of life, family and love we can all relate to, and there isn’t one angry word spoken throughout. I know.. amazing, huh?

I recommend this book for those who want to see more positive Christian portrayals of both man and his relationship to God, even in a fictional and somewhat hyper reality setting. And also to those who would like something original and different from the usual stuff you have seen in books, movies and TV and you don’t mind a presence of the Almighty on board. All in all a good, positive read and no doubt a ton of work for a talented writer.

Marc Schooley is a Texan, Christian Philosopher, theologian, Bible teacher, speaker, musician, and nascent Christian fiction writer. Join him at

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Reviews by Hubie Goode: We're Still Living With Freud?

After all our progress in medicine and science, are we still living with Freud? Pt. 3

When Freud began his practice in neurology, he had a stroke of luck and timing by being available to a large crowd of upper crust society that had money for the treatment of their flourishing neuroses. He had developed a promising and emergent reputation in the field of childhood diseases and was soon put in charge of the Institute of Pediatrics in Austria. At this point he began a very busy round of activities. This is where it all began as he started to use the first phase of what would be his medical practice which would become heavily characterized by the use of hypnosis.

He had become interested in this activity when studying in Paris. There he watched the French Neurologist, Charcot, induce hysteria in his patients. He could make his patients recall some forgotten memories and then cause their hysteria to cease. Hypnotic suggestion became an amazing private practice surrounded with a sort of “taboo” type mystery. Hypnosis itself was being considered for acceptance by the neurology committee and was suffering a kind of mixed following among those in the know. Some felt it was a valuable tool that could become a boon to the practice, while others felt it was the brazen activity of charlatans.

This questioning of hypnosis and it’s questionable methodology and results were of little interest to Freud. As was usually the case, Freud often ignored the facts of what his fellow scientists in his field thought of up and coming studies and breakthroughs, or for that matter, any other information from any other field that may have shed some helpful or contradictory light upon that which he was busy studying. He worked in a vacuum and he liked it there.

Freud was dead set on making hypnosis a bonified medical practice, and he was determined to be its’ champion. He was once quoted as saying, “In the first years of my activity as a physician, my principal instrument of work, apart from haphazard and unsystematic psychotheraputic methods, was hypnotic suggestion.”

This implied, of course, that he abandon the treatment of organic nervous diseases, he found this to be of little importance. Prospects for treatment in those cases was never all that promising, and could not compare to the numbers, literally thousands more, of people running around with unsolved neuroses and large amounts of disposable income for treatment. But also, apart form this, there was something positively seductive about hypnosis to Freud. For the first time there was a feeling of being able to overcome one’s helplessness, of gaining control of the inner mind. And he also liked being referred to a as a sort of miracle worker. He witnessed some experiments on the ultra poor of the community who were convalesced in the local government hospices and came to understand that perhaps there was an entire world going on behind the scenes inside of a person’s mind.

It was during this period, when he was listening to patient after patient relate their past life experiences under hypnosis, that he began to become convinced of a connection to aberrant behavior from a person’s childhood. This gave birth to something called the Cathartic method. During hypnosis he would ask a patient to remember events and relationships from their childhood and the realities about those events and people. For Freud, this was quite the revelation.

During many of those sessions, Freud found that there was a repeated pattern of sexual abuse present, not necessarily provable to have been experienced as the result of relationships with parents or relatives or the neighbor, but sexual focus was, as the means for neurosis, quickly adapted as the primary causality. His contemporaries were aghast at the development and horrified at the man who had made such a thing of primary focus.

It is often stated that Freud at this point in his career was carried forward by intellectual courage alone. He was widely rebuffed with extreme disgust in the medical community and his closest friends and colleagues deserted him, as was to be the case with many in his profession down through the years.

more in part 4

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Reviews by Hubie Goode: Learn To Study The Bible

Learn To Study The Bible
Forty Different Step by Step Methods to Help You Discover, Apply, and Enjoy God’s Word

Author: Andy Deane, Associate Pastor of Calvary Chapel Old Bridge, in Central New Jersey

It wasn’t all that long ago I viewed comedian and atheist Bill Maher’s movie entitled “Religulous”, and it’s one of the things that first came to mind when I saw this book and what it sets out to do as far as bringing Christians closer to God’s Word and receiving from God what he has to offer to all those who believe and love the Lord. In Maher’s movie it’s very plain to see that he appears to be setting out to disprove something about all religion, and in his attempts, he blindly tries to include God himself in the process. But what he really ends up doing is illustrating what is wrong with religion itself and how mankind goes horribly wrong when he is not being truly led by the Spirit of God. I think you can tell the difference between Biblical characters such as Jesus himself, or St. Stephen or Paul after his conversion, and those souls Maher rails against for injustices to mankind all in the name of God.

And what this guide book really does for me is ask the question, “Who are you?” When someone suggests a study guide for Biblical scripture, does that interest you... or does it make you hesitate? If God is really there for us, and is who he says he is... then it makes sense, knowing him as he is, that he would have a people somewhere. Do you find that you love and trust God but are skeptical of his people? If someone is lead to create a book of helpful study methods for you to go deeper into the very gift of God to mankind, namely, his Word, do you trust that? Do you look for better ways to study the bread of life? Or are you more like some of the folks who Bill Maher rails against and really would rather do things your own way, despite the consequences, which coincidentally, bring a secular person like Mahrer to spend huge amounts of money on a film where he can’t quite get anyone to prove it all to him the way he wants it, and then he turns on God himself in a public forum. Those are questions only you, yourself can answer.

In Pastor Deane’s book he writes in several sections, comfortable leading ones, that put several pieces of a larger puzzle together in a very succinct format. He begins by outlining benefits for Bible study by addressing the treasures that can be had by all who will receive them. Such things as, of course, salvation, cleansing from sin, receiving peace and joy, guidance in decisions of everyday life, and also timeless principles of success without added woes.

The world can’t tell you who you really are in the great universe we are a part of, and it won’t. It will only inform you that life is about those things which make you happy, and usually leaves out all the timeless messages that God himself has laid before us. This makes you the greatest victim of all, as since, you had the answers to life the whole time, here in God’s Word, but you listened to someone else and never benefitted as you could have if you had just taken the time to see for yourself what God has given us. I think that’s actually one of the main points of the Genesis story. God tells Adam and Eve one thing and someone, anyone else, tells them something else. Who are they going to listen to? Who are YOU going to listen to? I think this book can help you to listen to the right voices and also makes it fun and interesting to do so.

One thing you must understand first thing, is that these are study methods, 40 or so of them in fact, that are designed to assist you in different ways to gain as much as you can from the exercise. You can’t be lazy, people. This is for the diligent and purposed of heart. Just remember, the Bible was written over a 1,500 year span and it’s all the same connected story. Part A leads to Part B and so on, therefore; long term study is a necessity for discovering the eternal Truths God has laid out.

Pastor Deane begins by laying out the basis for structured study in how we Observe what is written; What does the scripture say?, Interpretation; What does it mean?, and Application; What does it ask of us to do in our lives?

There are some rather imaginative applications for the future chapters of the book outlined here as far as helping you to get the most from your study, and the outlining is quite comprehensive, there is a ton of work that has gone into putting together a rather small book that is packed with information both from individual sources and from sources you can no longer find for yourself. Just keep in mind that, as in playing a practiced sport, like say, billiards, if you practice sloppy, you will teach yourself to play sloppy. The same principle applies here.

When the book kicks off with the actual methods it starts with some simplified and yet creative ways of study, and some of these can also be used with any subject, I suppose, but they are all good ideas. As an example, Chapter 6, Daily Bread asks you to take a line of a passage and accentuate each word and the meaning that it relates to you as each one is emphasized. Simple, yes, but we’re just getting started here, as the book becomes more and more of a guide toward dissertation and college level study than you would at first have guessed. It isn’t long before we find ourselves in the library on a long table with ten books open and several legal pads for cross referencing and detailed comparisons. But don’t let that scare you, there is something here for everyone.

At the end of each chapter, there are painstakingly rendered, real world examples written in real handwriting just to illustrate what the study (briefly) outlined would look like when done correctly. What more can you ask for? I, myself, was quite grateful for this illustrative addition and have already applied a few of the techniques myself, with pleasing results, but the visuals were indeed a nice touch and a big help.

Let me just show you one of the early ones, a simpler one than those later in the book. I figure if you have read this far, you must have some level of interest that would like to see an example. In Chapter 8, Specs On, named after the practice of putting on the glasses for clearer insight, you are asked to map out the words “Specs On” and then answer questions accordingly after you have read a passage..

S - What is the sin I need to forsake?

P - What is God’s promise I need to claim?

E - What is the example I need to follow?

C - What is the command I need to obey?

S - What is the stumbling block I need to avoid?

O - What is the obedience needed on my own part?

N - What new information have I learned.

As you have answered these questions for yourself, you have done today’s study of a chapter or passage of scripture. Not bad, huh?

In another chapter it is suggested you take a more “reporter” type search and ask exhaustive questions concerning a chapter or passage. For instance, look everything up. Get maps, history books, dictionaries and do all the research for that particular section.

For instance, Psalm 126:

When Yahweh brought Zion’s captives home, at first it seemed like a dream; then our mouths filled with laughter and our lips with song. Even the pagans starting talking about the marvels Yahweh had done for us! What marvels indeed he did for us, and how overjoyed we were. Yahweh bring all our captives back again like torrents in the Negeb! Those who went sowing in tears now sing as they reap. They went away, went away weeping, carrying the seed; they come back, comeback singing, carrying their sheaves.

Now ask questions:

Define captivity. Locate Zion. Is this real or a dream? What nations? Why were they singing? What are the great things God did for them? Is “us” Israel or Judah or all believers? Locate the Negeb. What is a sheave?

Now after you have asked and answered all these questions, ask yourself how this applies to you. Since in reality, you are the final chapter of the book that the Bible begins in you. Being willing to expend energy, even for these relatively simple studies, will challenge your perception as to how important and vital the Word is to you.

Then there are major, more college level methods discussed, such as line by line charting. First you choose some verses, then you write them out, then paraphrase them. You then make a side by side chart of verse and paraphrase, and work to understand the ultimate application in your life. That is always the final step.

Book overviews can also be a lot of time consuming work, but then these are the advanced methods. Chapter 18’s description of this method looks particularly daunting considering it uses the book of Romans as a study. (Perhaps the toughest book in the whole Bible) But if you have the commitment to do such things as titling each section and then working on getting the main theme, followed by a charting of the theme as outlined on page 103, well you are indeed blessed brother. Some of these studies are not for those used to being spoon fed.

You may also find studying lives of individual characters and larger Biblical topics to be of great interest, as outlined in later chapters here. I can tell you, this is way beyond just reading a chapter a day for a year or some such thing. But I would hope you would allow pastor Andy’s ministry and work to reach out to you for deeper relationship with God. Because, you know, it will happen with these methods.

The methods I found to be most interesting were the suggestions of studying characters such as the individual Kings in books like Kings and Chronicles, and then stepping back and looking at them as a whole. Personally, I have found entire movies that could be made from the stories here, that have been completely ignored, and that’s a real shame. Even more so since over and over Kings refers to the lost book of the annals of the Jewish Kings, and yet we still have God’s word to refer to it. (But that’s a whole other blog)

Other suggestions here will lead you through studying “prayers”, proverbs, parables and even collecting a chart of all miracles. How about studying just the questions Jesus issued to those he spoke with? Or How about just the collected commands? But don’t get me wrong, the methods are varied and defined in short, succinct chapters. There is even a section toward the back for younger adults with charts that will illicit responses from them of the somewhat lesser intellectual side of the college study method level.

As an example, there is the heart monitor chart, which gauges your emotional response to readings on a 1-5 scale. Did you respond at all? Did you get choked up? Do you understand that the level of your heart response to a scripture is a nice measure of your spiritual life existence? Have you ever heard of someone having a Bible with tear stains on the pages? Seems a bit foreign to you. Maybe histrionic? Maybe not.... maybe you are just not open enough to hearing from God. A bit harsh, I know, but something to really consider between yourself and God.

Just keep in mind that folks like Bill Maher have no concept of what it is to hear from God, or be affected by his Holy Word. And that’s one of the reasons he goes about through life as he does, hearing but never understanding, frustrated to anger that he has somehow been left out. This book, Learn to Study the Bible, 40 Methods is tightly written and imaginatively displayed so that you, the real children of God can join the millions of those down through history, both great and small men and women, who knew nothing of each other, but all found the same Jesus.

I’d like to also thank Pastor Deane for requesting this review. He lives on the other side of America from me, New Jersey, and I live in Los Angeles. We’ve never met. When I started this blog I set out to be sort of a consumer advocate for the Christian community, reviewing subjects like education, politics and current events, or perhaps seeing some movies before your kids do, and reporting on them. I never expected to receive an invitation to review a book on Biblical study methods, and I just know Pastor Andy is not a man to randomly throw out those invitations to those he doesn’t feel will do at least an adequate job of doing so. I’m humbled to think that something I wrote somewhere in my blog caught the attention of the Jesus in him, so that I could respond in kind with the Jesus in me. It has been my extreme pleasure to be involved in his work in this capacity and I deeply thank him for his verification.

Escape The Hezbollah