Saturday, May 15, 2010

A History Of Christianity; Episode One - Diarmaid MacCulloch

This is a brilliant overview of Christianity in the earliest days. It is fresh, interesting and insightful and presents many new sides of the story that, even in all of my church history classes over the years, I have not heard about. MacCulloch is entertaining and so well educated on the topic that this history class never gets boring! It seems strange for me to want voluntarily decide to watch a DVD on the topic of church history but I had seen MacCulloch on TV once before and was impressed, so I thought I would try this one out and I was not disappointed. It was interesting to learn new things and have just enough information given so I was not loosing interest in the information, but not too much to make me bored of the topic and wanting to be done with it. In fact I would even look forward to seeing more of these, and that is saying volumes!

Discovering the Surprising History of the First Christians
New DVD series examines Christianity’s global roots.

513 DVD cover-AmbroseDallas/Ft. Worth, TX—There are two billion Christians in the world today, a third of humanity—Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox, Pentecostal, and many more. Though Christians, by definition, are well-versed in the story of Christ and the apostles, many have given little thought to the details of their Christian heritage—the miraculous transferring of their faith from the first Christians huddled at Golgotha, across two centuries worth of cultures and languages, wars, and the rising and falling of empires. How did this small, obscure Jewish sect that preached humility and personal sacrifice become the biggest religion in the world? The answer will surprise you.

A History of Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years is a six-part series co-produced by the BBC, the Open University, and Jerusalem Productions and presented by Diarmaid MacCulloch, one of the world’s leading historians and Professor of History of the Church and Fellow at St. Cross College, Oxford. As MacCulloch reveals the true history of Christianity, he explores the question, “What does it really mean to be a Christian?”

While most Christian histories start with St. Paul’s mission to Rome, MacCulloch asserts that the Christianity stayed much closer to its Middle-Eastern roots and that, in fact, the first Christians actually took the eastern road from Jerusalem, spreading their faith across Asia, even to parts of China.

“Today, Christianity is seen as a Western faith. Indeed, many in the Muslim world would see Western lifestyles as Christian lifestyles. But Christianity is not by origin a Western religion,” MacCulloch says. “Its beginnings are in the Middle East, where there still exist churches which have been Eastern since the earliest Christian era. The story of the first Christianity tells us the Christian faith is, in fact, hugely diverse with many identities.”

MacCulloch is one of the most widely traveled Christian historians, and A History of Christianity is the first retelling of the Christian story that is truly global in scope. Filmed in high definition, A History of Christianity takes viewers on a 2,000-year odyssey that reaches the farthest corners of the world, from Palestine in the first century to India in the third, from Damascus to China in the seventh century, and from San Francisco to Korea in the twentieth.

A scholar whose fascination with Christian history was cultivated at an early age, Diarmaid MacCulloch is the last in three generations of Anglican clergy. That personal connection enriches the storytelling, as he describes not only the main ideas and personalities of Christian history, its organization, and spirituality, but how it has changed our views on politics, sex, and human society.

“Religious belief can transform us for good or ill. It has brought human beings to acts of criminal folly as well as the highest achievements of goodness and creativity. I tell the story of both extremes,” MacCulloch says.

The twentieth century brought what many perceive to be the greatest threat to Christianity—skepticism and spiritual apathy. Still, MacCulloch contends that the future of Christianity is filled with possibilities.

The DVD set will arrive in stores, including Sam’s Club, in time for the Easter Season. The series will also be available on

A History of Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years 6 DVD Set presented by Diarmaid MacCulloch
March 2010

The Right Call - Kathy Herman

The Right Call is apparently the third book in the Sophie Trace Trilogy. I personally have not read the previous two books yet, nor have I read any of Kathy Herman's other books, an oversight I will have to correct.
The Right Call was a great novel. The characters were well developed and I found myself easily drawn into the plot of the story. The characters are dynamic and have their odd little quirks which makes them all the more endearing.
There were quite a few references to the happenings from the previous books, but it never came across in a manner that left me, the unknowing reader, confused or lost. However it left me just curious enough to decide I need to buy the previous two books and learn more about the adventures of the Jessup family.
Overall, a wonderful story, lovable characters and an all around successful piece of writing!

Heart-pounding suspense that delivers heart-changing truth
Kathy Herman’s latest book proves to be a thrilling conclusion to the Sophie Trace Trilogy

489 Right Call cover-KHermanIt’s summer in Sophie Trace, the setting of Kathy Herman’s latest page turner, The Right Call. Based on 2 Peter 2:19b: “For a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him,” The Right Call demonstrates how we’re all slaves to something—either to God and righteousness or to the flesh and its pitfalls.

Ethan Langley is home from college for the summer, eager to renew his friendship with Vanessa Jessup (Police Chief Brill Jessup’s daughter) and her infant son, Carter. Before Ethan is even settled his world is rocked by a random shooting that leaves four people dead, including someone close to him. Ethan tries to deal with his grief by staying busy and concentrating on his growing love for Vanessa. When a coworker from the previous summer, Stedman Reeves, seems somewhat obsessed with the shooting—but also sympathetic to Ethan’s deep loss—the two seem to connect.

While Chief Jessup is scrambling to find a suspect in the shootings, Ethan gets a late-night call from Stedman, who sounds panicked and needs to see him right away. Stedman confesses shocking details: due to a series of bad choices, he is going to be framed for the murders. All the evidence points to Stedman’s guilt, and he knows that there is no way he can prove his innocence. Stedman implores Ethan to go to Vanessa’s mother with this information.

When the wrong people find out that Ethan knows too much, those around him are placed in danger. What should he do? Going to Chief Jessup with the truth could save Stedman from doing life in prison—but it could be a death sentence for and Vanessa and Carter. He’s been dealt an impossible hand, but it’s his move. Will he make the right call?

Best-selling suspense novelist Kathy Herman brings this vivid story to life in her new book, The Right Call, the third book in the acclaimed Sophie Trace Trilogy. Filled with heart-pounding suspense that delivers heart-changing truth, The Right Call uses the perilous story of a young college student to reinforce the importance of walking closely with God, to be armed with wisdom and strength in order to face the toughest of circumstances.

The Right Call by Kathy Herman
David C Cook/March 1, 2010/ISBN: 978-1-4347-6784-4/352 pages/softcover/$14.99