Posts Tagged ‘Harry Potter’

The Shack by William Young: book review

April 29, 2010

What Is It?

Giving the feel of spiritual fantasy in real life; Mac, with the help of a buddy, sets out to document the time his youngest daughter fell pray to a serial killer and he was then invited back to the crime scene to spend a long weekend hanging out with the physical manifestation of the Holy Trinity…. “High Concept” is alive and well!

How Was It?
This inspirational Journey seems to even off the book shelf owned byMITCH ALBOM’s The Five People You Meet In Heaven. First time author William P. Young, isn’t going to wow you with his writing style but it’s not going to detract from the story either. (Take note Mrs. Stephanie Meyer)
The story is well detailed and the “just some guy trying to Jot down the details of an amazing experience” motif makes any lack of skill just a plot devise .

The beginning feels like you are being manipulated into liking or relating with this guy so that you will care about his interactions later. The fun thing is, it works.

When he does meet God, it smacks of “the magic minority” (where in a white centered story, the character in the ethnic minority emerges as the inspirational Yoda to cause the protagonist to have their self revelation.) God the son is literally Jesus, a nondescript Jewish man. the Holy Spirit is a mystical Japanese woman and because Mac has a problem relating to father figures, God the Father appears as a black woman named Papa. (Think “the Oracle” from the Matrix, though later in the book they seem to switch over and borrow from “Firefly“). This all “works” in the story but it’s because you are into the story and can gloss over he fact that God has been handed to you in the form of trite racial cliché. Dispute all this, most my criticism is in retrospect because this fun, interesting story informed by many devotional books and Christian rock and folk music, helps you put all that aside so you can just enjoy “hanging out” with the story.

Is It Good For Kids?
It’s reading level and straight forward attitude would make this a very assessable book for kids. (No problem if they are reading Twilight and Harry Potter.) I see two concerns for parents with the content.
First, the story has some harsh situations. Most notably is the abduction and murder of a little girl. Followed closely by the story of Mac’s childhood abuse at the hands of his Alcoholic and Christian father, whom Mac poisoned before he ran away from home as a child. It is all handled well without anything graphic and does not hold a candle to the violent and horrible acts presented in the Bible. Still it will be to much for some kids.
Then there is the fantasy vision of God but it is not couched in a fantasy world through the wardrobe. A fictional presentation of the real God could be confusing for some young people. (Of course it could also be confusing for some adults as well.)

What about spiritual issues?
The ultimate message of this book is that God is three in one, presented to the world in Jesus. God loves you, has forgiven your sins. Now that He has open the way, He wants to have a relationship with you.
I believe (from the Bible and my experience) that God is real and will have a real relationship with anyone who seeks or knocks. Therefore anything that points people to get to know God is a good thing because He will welcome them and He will reveal Himself to them in his love and his truth.

Beyond that, if taken as a fictional presentation of a real God, it is accurate to the Bible. I believe that there are some issues that are not dealt with in the book, or skirted around in a way that may make Christians uncomfortable, but it still does not constitute untruth.
Here are the four things that stood out to me:

  1. Jesus talks about how he is concerned with individuals not institutions. While all the assertions about putting your faith in Jesus not the government are true, it glazes over the fact that God chose rulers and directs affairs of state. It also seems to be down on Church in the same vain. It is down on the dead institution but wants vital fellowship between those in fellowship with God – thus asking for the church the way it was meant to be.
  2. There is a discussion of Hell and sending people there. The final word on this is that Hell is real and Jesus takes our place so we don’t have to go. The book also points out that not everyone chooses the relationship Jesus offer and thus fell the full effect of their sin. Beyond that it never tells us what becomes of those who die out side of a relationship with Jesus.Though it’s never even hinted at, I believe the description of Hell that would go best with this book is that God is not so cruel as to take some one, who has spent a lifetime avoiding a relationship with Him, now force them to spend eternity in relationship with the one they avoided in their life.
  3. Finally, (and this is very picky) there is a forth supernatural character who I think theological could have just been the holy spirit (and the story didn’t need another weirdo character to ponder over)

So, in conclusion, Spiritually, it’s packaging may give people concern, but the content is very conservative biblical information.

What Is your Recommendation?

If you like Christian booksSUCH AS The Purpose Driven Life, or spiritual books like “ The Five People You Meet In Heaven” or “Velvet Elvis” I’m sure you will enjoy this book. Beyond that it’s worth the  read to join into the conversation. As a best seller with a movie on the way, it’s a great book to have in your vocabulary when you talk to others about what it is like to have a relationship with Jesus.

The Shack

William P. Young


Though the book defiantly suggests Larry Norman and Bruce Cockburn, by the end, it made me want to listen to Rich Mullins and Sufjan Stevens… I think I will.

Only Visiting This Planet

Larry Norman

In The Falling Dark

Bruce Cockburn

A Liturgy, A Legacy & A Ragamuffin Band

Rich Mullins

Greetings from Michigan

Sufjan Stevens

His Dark Materials Trilogy: The Golden Compass / The Subtle Knife / The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman

December 15, 2009


What Is It?

This is the very popular, yet still somewhat underground book trilogy about a little girl named Lyra Belacqua. In a world that seems to be antique modern with magical properties, s he finds out that her estranged father is on some bizarre quest, thinking he knows the meaning of Dust and the locations of parallel worlds. Lyra decides she needs to intercede and take on her own quest.

She has the aid of Pantalaimon : her dæmon. The dæmon is the creature that each person has as a personal companion. They are usually animals of the opposite gender and have a spiritual link to the owners. (Only witches can go any significant distance from there dæmon.)

She also has the Alethiometer or the golden compass. This is a device that can tell you information about truth and what to do next. For some reason Lyra is able to use and read the device with an amazing intuition.

Furthermore the adventure makes constant reference to the Bible and the Church which looks very similar to the same entities in our world.

How Was It?

This is a first class fantasy adventure. The characters are deep, well written and fascinating. The worlds are very intricate and exciting. With books like this floating around, it makes me wonder why we have time for boy wizards who look more than second rate compared to this modern fairy tale.

This reminds me of Tolkien where it’s not that they find a monster because we needed a monster here. Instead the world is so “real” and such a true work of “sub creation” that it seems like that monster just existed and they had to deal with it the same way someone would have to deal with a fierce reptile should they fall into the water while running through the Florida E verglades.

Is it Good for Children?

They are long books , but they would keep their attention. There are some scary / abusive situations, but they are handled well. There will be a lot for you to talk about, especially when you ask…

What About Spiritual Issues?

This is a major plot point.

One of the things that gives these stories such depth is that, to solve the mystery, to know what’s going on , is to know the way the spiritual world works. So, knowing that this is the key to the story, let’s move to the SPOILERS –

Through their adventures they meet everyone, from the harpies that guard the afterlife , to the angels and Enoch (now head of the angels). They even meet God himself.

What you find out is that every world has a story where there was something that a snake told them to partake in. This was the thing that would help people become everything they are. The church would then go in and teach the people that the snake was lying and the object of their fulfillment is actually a sin. So we must go with our passions. This becomes more complete when she travels to the afterlife. There everyone is stuck until Lyra convinces them to stop torturing people and lead them out to where they can become one with the universes. The creatures agree as long as people have good stories of their life to tell them in exchange for their guiding.

When people from our world come to theirs , they find that their soul is an animal and the opposite gender. They also learn that what they had always been told was evil ( namely, dæmons) are is actually your true self guiding you.

All of this sounds like the gospel according to Neitchze but then, how does God fit in? Turns out he’s just the oldest angel, so everyone thought he created everything. Now he’s a feeble old man being kept ceremoniously alive – what to do? Euthanasia!

What Is Your Recommendation?

This is wonderfully written and phenomenally entertaining. This is also a well crafted explanation of a philosophy. In a way that is understandable and lasting, we learn that we just need to do everything we feel, and anyone telling you that you shouldn’t is lying to you so they can have power over you. It also explains that the most blatant offender calls themselves the church. Those who say the serpent lied, are liers themselves.

Thus this book series is a well crafted gun aimed at the ideals of your children. Like the idols in the book of Jeremiah, the fact that it is well crafted by skilled men should not blind us to the fact that it is evil.

This book series may have gained the popularity the writing deserves when the first movie came out, but the movie just fizeled. It is put out by New Line Cinema and the first adds for it use “the one ring” from Lord of the Rings to try to connect the two series. These films will appeal to kids who liked the others (LotR, Narnia, Harry Potter), but they are not the same.

The Golden Compass will provide another reiteration of a sad philosophy that can only hurt. Oddly enough, despite the humanistic philosophy (and the mercy killing of God) , I have had many Christians recommend this book as Christian Fiction. We need to take this for what it is, good literature with bad theology. If people you know are into this book, it is well worth lots of discussion. If you kids are not yet into this book, it is well worth preparing now to shield them from the forth coming advertising onslaught.

The Golden Compass

December 15, 2009

What Is It?

Philip Pullman‘s well written Neo-Nietzschean fantasy trilogy is swept up into production, as New Line Cinema hopes to find the next Lord of the Rings style film, and income.

The series begins with Lyra, (Dakota Blue Richards) a 12 year old orphan girl living at a prestigious boarding school in a parallel universe to ours, where architecture and fashion are a mix of sci-fi and the 40’s. In this world, a person’s sole does not live in them, but stays near them in an animal form called a daemon. Lyra’s daemon can change it’s form because she is still a child and her soul has not settled, but an adult daemon is constant.

How Was It?

It was a well crafted story, but the presentation suffered in comparison to almost everything it begs to be compared too. This is not as good as the book. Much of the mystery is gone when an added opening monologue reveals that we are in a parallel universe, and many other things that are not explained right away in the book. The universe concept is not fully revealed until the second book. The opening Monologue is also done by a woman with a deep voice and English accent. This reveals that the links to Lord of the Rings run deeper than the ad campaign. There were a few parts where they used film short hand that was taught to us in Lord of the Rings. Instead of developing the witches they are just a race like Middle Earth’s elves. The talking animals hearken to Narnia, but not the special effects. Outside of the Bears, most animals are off screen or looking the other way when they talk. I’m sure this was because the few times we are allowed to see it, their mouths do not totally line up. The little girl at the center will also bring thoughts of Lucy of Narnia and Harmonie of Harry Potter. This comparison puts them in good with Narnia, and for all it’s faults, unlike the Potter films, this is not long and dull.

This story was compelling and made you want to know what was next. When I read the book, the idea of a little girl riding an armored polar bear (ice bear) was thrilling to me. To see it, despite occasionally looking like a Coke commercial, was just as thrilling. The bear, voiced by Gandalf/Magneto actor Ian McKellen, is the best part of this film.

Is it good for Kids?

It was made for kids. The PG-13 rating is well deserved, but mature children could handle the action. There are a lot of children in peril, but the only truly disturbing shot (spoiler) is when one Armored Ice Bear slaps the others jaw off and into the camera. Still even this is done so fast, and covered so quickly, that it’s more about the disturbing idea than the visual. If they could handle Spider man 3 or Narnia, this will not be a problem. Happily, despite the posters, We do not get revealing shots of the two prominent women in the film.

You can check for a break down of everything on the screen.

The actual issue here, as with many of these films, is…

What About Spiritual Issues?

This movie is based on a trilogy entitled “His Dark Materials.” The name comes from a line about Satan in the book “Paradise Lost” by Milton. There are many references in the book to Milton and even quotes from him at the beginning of most chapters. This is to point out author Philip Pullman‘s opposite Thesis. Milton wrote to explain to men why they should follow the rule of God. Pullman wrote to teach children why they should not.

All these references and more were removed when New Line Cinema required that all references to God and Religion be kept out of the movie. They thought it would alienate a great part of their audience. Unfortunately, with that cunning move, and all the hype about how anti-Christian this film is, many people will watch it and leave thinking “That was a good movie, what was the big deal.”

The problem is that all the arguments against following God and the Church are still in the film. They have discussions about not following rules. We are taught that agency’s that say they want to teach you how to act are actually misguided megalomaniacs who want to literally cut the souls out of children. This would be like having a movie where only the evil people ate food, only the evil people were fat, and we learn that you can never be too skinny and should take any action possible to achieve that goal and then saying, “It’s OK, we took out all references to Anorexia.”

(Spoiler) We also have a weird look at sexuality. Most of the characters and world views are paralleled, as in this example; We learn that Mrs. Coulter (Nicole Kidman) is Lyra’s mother. She was not married to the father, so it was against the rules to keep her own baby. Here we have the evil system destroying lives in the name of family values. In contrast to this, we have a witch, Serafina Pekkala (Eva Green) pointing out to Lyra that the head of the Gyptian’s had been her lover. She then explains that witches age much slower, so they were an item back when he was “young and beautiful.” (Of course, if a man had said this about a woman it would be shocking and horrible, but this way it comes off romantic.)

What Is Your Recommendation?

As a film, this movie is watchable and as morality, this movie is damnable. Still without the direct connections to the church made for us, the message is identical to the “rules are not for me” messages of the Harry Potter films.

There are worse films out there, but if you, or your kids miss this one, you are not missing much. Save your $7.50 and stay home with Narnia. It has all the same fantasy elements but on a higher scale of excellence, with a message you will want to endorse.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

December 3, 2009

What Is It?

The 4th installment of the super popular series about an average boy, growing into teen and adult hood while attending a boarding school for “witches.” The series seems to hook you with the fantasy aspects and keep you with the true to life coming of age stories. Here, we are back at Hogwarts School and the Tri-Wizard tournament will pit one wizard from England against one from Russia and one from France. Some how the Goblet has selected an extra name, and it is….

How was it?

If you have been enjoying the series so far, you will not be disappointed. This one is older and darker, and is still progressing. The effects are better (Particularly the transformations as compared to the Werewolf from the last film.) I loved the scene where the dragon crawls across roofs like a bat scraping across a brick wall.

They still have their “Live action cartoon” feel, and include long dialog to explain all the new rules for the world so that some of this makes sense.

Still, I’m about sick of, after 3 years in this world, Harry still being surprised by things being “odd”. Though more than that, it’s sad that such interesting and potentially complex characters as Snape and professor McGonagall populate this world, but instead of digging deeper, they just introduce new characters to skitter across the screen and disappear into cameo obscurity.

(Can we please just keep one “Defense Against the Dark Arts” teacher for more then one film?)

Hey, anyone for a quick game of “Name that Tolkien Influence”?

SPOILER – I have thought it cheesy that in the last three, everything was constantly life threatening and no one died…. Good job

Is It Good for Kids?

There are potential nightmares lurking through the graveyard of this film. The Death Eaters are mild, compared to the (Spoiler) re-birth of the noseless Voldermort.

Though more than this, is the sudden burst of sexuality in this film. We get a point of view shot of Ron checking out the back ends of several French witches. Later he comments on the fact that he usually only looks at them and only from behind. We get Hermony in a low cut dress, and Harry taking a bath, while a teen age girl ghost watches him, and comments on bubbles disipating for a better view. She later cuddles up with Harry in the tub, though he doesn’t seem interested.

Yes, as kids get into their teen years, they are going to start to notice girls and be curious. It would just be nice if we could see this delt with without giving acceptance to checking people out like they are meat, or putting the characters into sketchy situations (like the tub).

You can find out more about what’s on the screen from

What About Spirtual Themes?

The big hub-bub about Harry, in the “Holy Huddles”, has been the use of witchcraft. Yes, the Bible condems it. Yes, it is flaunted in these books and movies and the only people who think poorly about witchcraft are given a horrid sounding name, and are charactures of unthinking hatred, fitting of a Roald Dahl book. The magic here is from an undetermined source. (This differs from “Lord of the Rings” where all power is attributed to either the Author of Evil, or the Creator and Ruler of Good.) Yes, the last movie included a “spell” that kids could “perform” to better their lives (Ridiculos). Yes, this uses the term witch, and yes, this could cause a child to look into or stumble upon the fastest growing religion in American High Schools. But that is not the point of these stories.

That said, the craft here is all very much educated by years of cartoons and comics. The magic is often arbitrary. (Kids can make a student cough up slugs, but can’t make Ron’s “Dress Robes” stylish.) Magic is not the point of these stories.

There is a kid here, who is in fact, growing up infront of us. He is going through the same struggles of bullies and girls and friendship and akward ages that we have all or will all face. It his how he deals with teachers, rules and homework that provides the true messages and meanings of Harry Potter. Though there may be plenty to be worried about in the past three movies (See my combined review of the first three) this one is free of the concerning morals that plague it’s predicessors. Infact, the only major moral concern I see here, is the objectifying of boys and girls.

Here Harry is shown as self sacrificing, friendship is preserved (maybe to the extent that it is putting forth an existential philosophy, but not overtly.) And growing up is about change.

Your Recommendation?

If your children are into the Harry Potter Series, like anything else, talk to them about it. Talk to them about what they liked and didn’t, as well as, the choices made by characters and our choices in our world.

If they are not, though this may be the “safest” of the series, it is a series and I don’t think we can deal with it as a seperate componant. Yes, the poor moral choices that plague the other films (and the two books of the series that I have read) were not present here. But there was not a turning away of those choices either, and I think we can expect more of it in the future.

Furthermore, unless you are very “into” the characters, the movies will probably lag for you.

If you or your children are just itching for fantasy children’s entertainment that can thrill adults as well, pick up the book “The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe” and get ready for a worth while, “Is it as good as the book?” debate.

Up Coming Films

May 5, 2009

I just put together a list of films we are considering for up coming Q&E review shows.

We would love your input

5/1 – Wolverine

5/8 Star Trek

5/15 Angels and Demons

5/22 Night at the Museum 2 and Terminator Salvation (I don’t really care about these)

5/29 Pixar’s UP (I just want to see this)

6/5 Land of the Lost (Should we care?)

6/19 Food Inc and Year One

 (Year one looks dumb but will have a ton of Bible References so it may be worth talking about.)

6/26 My Sisters Keeper and Transformers 2

7/3 Public Enemies

7/17 Harry Potter

8/7 GI Joe

8/21 Inglorious Bastards

9/25 FAME

10/16 Where the Wild Things Are

11/6 The Wolf Man

Let me know what you think

There is Nothing New Under the Sun (Even in Sunny Hollywood) [almost Wordless Wednesday]

February 4, 2009

The other day my wife and I went to the movies and saw these four posters all hanging in a row.


Harry Potter Year 1-3

January 17, 2009


What Is It?

This is the super popular series about an average boy growing into teen and adulthood while attending a boarding school for “witches.” The series seems to hook you with the fantasy aspects and then keep you with the true to life coming of age stories.

It starts in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone with the discovery of his (Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter) powers and his integration into a new world. He discovers that his parents died to protect him from the most powerful evil wizard ever. He is thus the only one to ever survive an encounter with the evil wizard Voldemort. This makes him a celebrity for a little while, but he quickly falls in with the underdogs.

In the second film, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, he goes back to school and has to deal with strange voices and people being frozen. It seems that a secret chamber has been opened, and it causes a new wave of prejudice against Mudbloods (a half mortal, half wizard – a “mud blood”).

Then, in the third year, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, he runs away from his “mortal home” only to find a former friend of his dad’s is now an escaped wizard coming to kill Harry. Now that this wizard, Sirius Black (Gary Oldman), is on the loose, the school is being guarded by dementors – dark robed figures, a cross between “The Grim Reaper” and a “Ring Wraith“. With the help of the new “Defense against the Dark Arts” teacher (the third in so many years.) Harry will try to overcome all that is coming for him.

In all three movies, Harry continues to be picked on by Malfoy (Tom Felton) and other peers at the school. He is intimidated by a teacher named Snape. (Alan Rickman) He is mentored by a professor named Dumbledore. (Michael Gambon) At the center of it all, he is has a growing relationship with the too smart for her own good Hermione  (Emma Watson) and the upper-average Ron.(Rupert Grint)

How Was It?

(NOTE: at this point I have only read the first and third book.)

There is a huge effort to stay true to the source material. The author, J.K. Rowling,  is consulted on all the films. If you have read the books, you will get to see everything. In the first movie, there was a plot line about a pet dragon that was cut out, but they made sure that it was mentioned and that we got to see the dragon on the screen. It almost seems as though the books and movies are made to be used together.

They have a “live action cartoon” feel, and include long dialog explaining all the new rules for the world so that some of this makes sense. This makes more sense in the first movie, but becomes tiresome as things go on.

The acting is stellar – if these kids can break the typecast their careers are unstoppable. (And if they have a good accountant, after this series their bank accounts will be unstoppable.)

The first was the best. They continue to get darker, which isn’t a bad thing. Still, it can feel like they are adding “darkness” to make up for any absence of continuing depth.

The effects get better as their budgets grow. Though the subject mater will draw constant comparisons, this series will never get to the technical level of Lord of the Rings, but that doesn’t matter if you see it as a kid’s movie with an edge.

Is it good for Children?

I have a few thoughts on this:

First, some of this may be scary to kids. Unfortunately for the worried parent, each movie is a step deeper into the wood, so if one film seems okay for your child, the next probably will not be.

You can check for a complete break down of what is on the screen.

My second thought is just my “artsy snob” side coming out. These are well done films based on well done books. This being said, these themes and styles of characters are done much better in other places (The Chronicles of Narnia, Dracula and The Lord of the Rings). It’s sad to me to see so many kids with this as the standard to which all fantasy is judged.

And finally…

What About Spiritual Issues?

The first problem most of the Christian community sees in this series is the use of magic. Yes, the Bible condemns it. Yes, it is flaunted in these books and movies and the only people who think poorly about witchcraft are given a horrid sounding name and are characters of unthinking hatred, fitting of a Roald Dahl book.

The magic here is from an undetermined source. (This differs from “Lord of the Rings” where all power is attributed to either the Author of Evil, or the Creator and Ruler of Good.) Yes, this uses the term witch, and yes, this could cause a child to look into or stumble upon the fastest growing religion in American high schools. (I personally know a witch who first though to leave the church for a coven after being introduced to Harry.) This becomes more confused in the third film. There is a creature that has no power but to come to you in the form of whatever scares you the most. The spell to defeat the boggart is to think of the object of your fear in a silly way (such as imagining the scary man in a funny dress or the giant spider flopping around on roller skates). Once you have the silliness in mind you say the magic word “Riddikulus.” Though your child will never be attacked by a “boggart” this does include some advice with a lot of common sense. But that is not the point of these stories.

The thing that will continue to draw people to Harry is the familiar in the midst of that fantastic. Harry lives his life in a school. He’s not the most popular, he’s not the teachers pet, and he’s not the smartest. He’s just a regular kid trying to deal with life as a student. The way he interacts with his teachers and fellow students is what kids are going to take out of this. Here we see that as long as you have a “good” reason for it, breaking the rules is not only okay, it’s necessary. This begins at Harry’s first broom class where they are told to stay off their brooms until the teacher returns. When a bully steals a boy’s glasses, Harry mounts his broom and retrieves the glasses. He is caught on the broom. The consequence – he’s made the seeker on the Quiddich team (the equivalent to a freshman being named quarterback.) Hermione tells him that this may make him think that breaking rules is good, but he will find out otherwise. I though the story would play out to teach Harry that lesson. Hermione and I were wrong. In a scene where the truth is very reasonable, Hermione makes up a lie for the teachers to keep her friends out of trouble. From there on in we know that deception and rule breaking for the sake of friends, family and justice is the only rule to follow at Hogwarts School. In fact, in the book it specifically states (around page 96) that Hermione was a much better friend now that she knew the rules were not that important.

Even if this line is not in the film, the idea is reinforced again and again. At the end of the first movie, Headmaster Dumbledore explains that he hid things in places that were off limits knowing Harry would need them and find them there. The second movie ends with Dumbledore explaining to Harry that he has broken almost every rule in the Hogwart’s book. After this mock scolding Harry is told that he will be receiving the highest award a student can receive. In the third film Harry is restricted to the school for his own protection. He is given a map that shows him where everyone is, thus allowing him to be able to sneak out at will. (In the book you find out that this map was authored by Harry’s father.) The sneaking around then helps the real bad guy get caught. The map is called “The Marauder’s Map” It is opened by solemnly swearing that the user is “up to no good” and closed by saying “mischief managed.” These magic words also open and close the cast and credits rolling at the end.

What Is Your Recommendation?

I do not think that we need any more encouragement to think that we are a law unto ourselves. Children and young people are at stages where they are still deciding if they will fight their impulses to disobey their teachers and authorities. I can not see this series helping them to make the right decision. (It blows my mind to think that there are teachers all over this country embracing and encouraging a series about a kid that accomplishes good by means of disobeying his teachers.)

Still, there is an interesting twist to all this. Though most of the “magic” has unknown origins, there is a power that Harry has that can fend off the most powerful of evil. This power comes directly from the sacrificial love of his parents. In a story that rebels against all the basic tenants of Christianity, it’s fascinating to see that at the center there is a longing for love that is embodied in the person of Jesus.