Feb. 10th, 2017

marlowe1: (high school reunion)
14. Near Christianity by Anthony Le Donne - When I first started reading this book I was sad that I couldn't review it for Amazon Vine. In many ways, it felt like a journey through my own (forgive the phrase) spiritual journey. The author had many of the objections that I had to Christian/Jewish dialogue. Had I read this kind of book when I was thinking about converting to Judaism, I might have saved myself some time since I had a lot of emotional baggage to deal with in leaving Christianity. As the author talks about how Jews do not necessarily have to be religious to be Jewish and how the Holocaust looms large in Jewish thinking, I felt an emotional tug at the way that I had shifted in my perspective from Christianity when I could talk about Christian forgiveness and how Christians should forgive Hitler and how that seemed horrifying from a Jewish perspective. Also, as a friend pointed out, praying for the death of your enemy is actually pretty cool when you're Jewish. After all Christians and Muslims can always just kill their enemies. They got the numbers.

However, the book fizzles out in the last chapters. Or maybe not fizzles out so much as reminds me that I might be close to the target audience but I am NOT the target audience. The target audience is full of Christians who want to understand Judaism better. It's not for ex-Christians who converted to Judaism. Even had the author talked about Orthodox Judaism and Talmudic discussions, it would have still been disappointing. The takeaway that comes from the last chapters is that Christians shouldn't get so hung up on whether they BELIEVE or just believe. I agree with this in theory but I do find it suspicious that he got it exclusively from the fact that his non-observant Jewish friends are ok with not being observant but also being Jewish. Also there are plenty of Jews that get into histrionics and singing and BELIEF and while I find them annoying, they are part of Judaism (even if most of them were inspired by Xianity).

15. Swamp Thing: Trial by Fire by Mark Millar et al - I have always approached matters of faith through fiction. Even the most atheist fiction is still full of thought for God and religion and the like. This is a key reason why I don't want to read the books that I used to love in college. They all seems so superficial and stupid. Originally I thought they were deep and profound. I am not sure where I put this one on the scale of formerly deep books. It is still entertaining but I remember thinking that this was the greatest when I first read it. Now I see that Mark Millar is trying to hard to make things seem otherworldly when most of the plotting is abotu a power struggle between God and the Earth Spirits. Yes, Alan Moore started this bullshit and it's kind of nice that Millar is pulling away from it but there's still a lot of material about Swamp Thing becoming less human and more expansive when it comes to the world.

But I must say that I am happy that Millar hates Chester the Hippie. I did not know that I hated Chester the Hippie until I re-read the Alan Moore books and realized that he ruined the book. Millar gives us a douchebag story where Chester becomes a Republican law-and-order cop who is all racist and aggressive. It's a giant fuckyou to the character but it falls flat. When the real Chester shows up he is just boring and there is really no reason for him to be in the book at all.

Anyhow this is the end of the Millar run and it leaves the Swamp Thing in a similar place as the Moore run - really powerful and grown and not much to go on.

16.Here Comes Daredevil by Mark Waid - I wanted to write a separate post about this one becuase it's not religious. It's just stupid. There is nothing to say about faith except for the fact that superheroes are revenge fantasies and most of the book is about Murdock running into his childhood bully who needs protecting. But yeah, that's about it.

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Tim Lieder

September 2017

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