Mark Oshman

Mark’s #25 – Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell (2004)

August 1, 2012 // 0 Comments

Cloud Atlas is as confusing as it is engaging.  Normally a difficult to follow plot (or plots in this case) is frustrating for the reader and quickly drains the enjoyment of the reading.  However, David Mitchell, is able to tell six seemingly disconnected stories that vary in time, location, and plot direction into a book that may be one of the most fun books I’ve read in a long time. The book begins via The Pacific Journal of Adam Ewing circa 1850 on a voyage East from a tiny south Pacific island to the west coast of the United States.  The author’s writing style and tone reminded me of Nathaniel Hawthorne.  I was astounded by the depth and breadth of his vocabulary, and expected the rest of the book to follow along these lines… After a few chapters following Adam, the journal abruptly ends mid sentence and the story takes a radical shift to be the Letters from Zedelghem.  Here the story follows the letters from of an english man named Robert Frobisher to a Mr. Rufus Sixsmith. Frobisher is a penniless young musician who is able to convince a great, but aging, composure to employ him as an amanuensis. The story progresses […]

Mark’s #13 – The Reason for God by Timothy Keller

March 31, 2012 // 0 Comments

New York City pastor and founder of Redeemer Presbyterian Church, Tim Keller, has regularly engaged skeptics of faith in general and Christianity in particular.  In The Reason for God, Keller compiles decades worth of intellectual engagement with these skeptics to put forth a great introduction and defense for the Christian faith.  What C.S. Lewis did for the people of the 1940’s through Mere Christianity, Keller does for the modern mind and modern objections to Christianity. Recently at The Harbor, we read and discussed this book in our monthly Apologia meeting.  Though this was the second time we’ve read this group, I once again benefitted from the read.  In part one, Keller addresses the most common and difficult objections people have, such as; There can’t be just one true religion. How could a good God allow suffering? Christianity is a straitjacket The church is responsible for so much injustice How can a loving God send people to Hell? Science has disproved Christianity You can’t take the Bible literally After dealing with these objections, in part two Keller goes from the defensive to the offensive, in presenting the evidence he sees as compelling ‘clues of God’.  These include points such as design, […]

Mark’s #7 – The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkein

February 13, 2012 // 0 Comments

Before Frodo, their was Bilbo Baggins; A home loving hobbit from Bag end. For the past couple of weeks I read this book to my daughters before bedtime. They loved it, and I did too.  Each chapter of this epic fantasy novel is an episodic story within the grand adventure. This is the second time I’ve read The Hobbit, and once again I realized why I like the story so much more than the Lord of The Rings trilogy.  The story is fun, engaging, fast-paced,  with many twists and turns in the plot. The characters too are fun and engaging.  In Bilbo, you have an unassuming little hobbit who always manages to do something unexpected and just right to save the day for himself, his fellowship of dwarves, or even for all the men of Dale and elves of Mirkwood.  By the end of the adventure, Bilbo has been deeply changed.  Other hobbits do not think too highly of him and his adventures, but it doesn’t matter to Bilbo, he’s a legend among elves and dwarves. The themes of courage, self-sacrifice, and heroism are clear, and provided a context to discuss such things with my daughters.  Also, the themes of […]

Mark’s #6 – The Prophets Speak of Him: Encountering Jesus in the Minor Prophets by Anthony Selvaggio

February 13, 2012 // 0 Comments

I picked up this book as a study aid for a recent sermon series through the twelve books of the Old Testament known as the minor prophets.  The book and my sermon series shared the same goal: to display the prophetic glimpses of Christ contained in each book.             To be sure, on the surface, the Minor Prophets are often difficult and confounding to understand.  Of the Prophets, Martin Luther once remarked, “The prophets have a queer way of talking… like people who instead of proceeding in an orderly way ramble off from one thing to the next so that you cannot make head or tail of them.”  This book served to clarify some of this confusion.  It is an easily accessible read for most people, and a helpful tool for digging deeper in a section of God’s Word that often get’s neglected in our spiritual lives.   Share on Facebook

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