IVP - Andy Unedited

October 9, 2018

The Popularity of Teen Dystopias

How many times can bestselling dystopias have plots about a dictatorial, caste-like society in which a group of teens are forced into a contained area where they must fight and kill each other as a prelude to overthrowing the harsh regime? Apparently a lot. Most similar to The Hunger Games, Pierce Brown's Red Rising also shares major plot arcs with The Maze Runner, Divergent, and the grandmother of the them all, The Giver.

Red Rising
, Red Rising.jpgfor its part, is set on Mars hundreds of years in the future in a society divided into color-coded castes with Reds at the bottom and Golds at the top. One Red, the main character Darrow, is physically transformed into a Gold to infiltrate and subvert the status quo. He then enters a military prep school for Golds who are divided into armies. The victorious army will enjoy power, position, and prestige after the "school" year ends.

Why, I wonder, are such novels so popular? Do most teens feel they are locked into a future over which they have little control? In our society is violence so much the go-to solution that negotiation and persuasion or even charm are irrelevant or nonexistent? Do we all long for judgment to fall on those who perpetrate evil? Or do such novels simply name (and so help us have a sense of control over) our fears?

What the heroes in all these novels show is that our choices matter, that we can overcome our circumstances and make a difference. Life is harsh, but we can persevere and surmount the challenges we face. The outcome is hope, though the route is sometimes vicious and cruel.

One Reaper.jpgbenefit of listening to the recording of Red Rising was hearing the haunting "Song of Persephone" which plays a central role in the plot. This gentle but powerful lament hammers home the cries of a whole people in the midst of their oppression and suffering. Perhaps the next installments in Brown's series will tell a different tale, yet for now, in this song, "down in the vale, [we] hear the reaper swing" its scythe of judgment on his enemies. In another valley of death, however, a shepherd with different weapons, a rod and staff, protect his flock from foes.

Image credit: Pixabay

Posted by Andy Le Peau at 9:46 AM | Comments

October 1, 2018

Mark Through Roman Eyes

Commonly in biblical studies, as in other academic disciplines, a scholar arrives at a genuine insight and proceeds to interpret everything through that lens, seeing it as the key to the whole. The problem is that such ancient texts defy easy modern categorization or simple unifying themes. Adam Winn admirably avoids this trap.

Continue reading "Mark Through Roman Eyes"
Posted by Andy Le Peau at 9:30 AM | Comments

September 26, 2018

An American Story

Freedom of religion seems like it has always been foundational to America. As Brandon O'Brien tells in Demanding Liberty, however, this was long in doubt and has regularly needed defense even since it was enshrined in the Bill of Rights.

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Posted by Andy Le Peau at 9:55 AM | Comments

September 19, 2018

Giving Voice

The sad reality is that often certain groups of people in society have been silenced or muffled. What they have to say has been sidelined because they came from a certain place, looked a certain way, grew up in a certain culture, did a certain kind of work, or just didn't have enough money.

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Posted by Andy Le Peau at 10:07 AM | Comments

September 11, 2018

An American Ideal, An American Myth

Ken Wytsma was talking with a young man running his own landscaping firm who was proud of how he'd started from zero and succeeded by virtue of hard work, with no benefit from privilege. So Ken asked where he got most of his business (the suburbs) and where they worked on jobs (in backyards) and when (during the day) and how he got business (putting flyers on doors and knocking at houses).

Then Ken asked, "If you were a young black man proposing to work in the backyards of those suburbanites during the day when they're not home, is it possible some of your client might show a degree of suspicion or bias? If you were Hispanic, talked with an accent, or looked like you were from a culture unfamiliar to the suburban communities where people can afford backyard ponds and fountains, do you think it might--even if ever so slightly--affect how successful you are when you knock on doors?" The white friend understood.

Continue reading "An American Ideal, An American Myth"
Posted by Andy Le Peau at 12:38 PM | Comments

September 5, 2018

Being Human in Difficult Circumstances

What would you do if you were unjustly sentenced to house arrest in a hotel for the rest of your life? Would you be angry, bitter, depressed? Would you plot revenge on your enemies?

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Posted by Andy Le Peau at 10:04 AM | Comments (1)

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Get to Know IVP

book cover"Some publishers tell you what to believe. Other publishers tell you what you already believe. But InterVarsity Press helps you believe," says J. I. Packer. Andy Le Peau and Linda Doll describe how this came to be a hallmark of InterVarsity Press in Heart. Soul. Mind. Strength, an anecdotal history spanning the sixty years from the founding of IVP in 1947 to the present day.