Monday, December 1, 2014

Doctor Who: Silhouette, A Review


I saw Madame Vastra, Jenny, and Strax on the cover and I knew I had to get this book! These characters are my favorites. In this book, they were depicted flawlessly. I love it when you can hear the characters speak in a book just like they do in the show. Overall, the writing was superb and the book was enjoyable, if you didn't think about it too much.

The book is almost ruined by the plot. Reading the blurb, you'd think the plot would be awesome. Not so much. You do need a pretty complete suspension of disbelief to accept some of the plot twists and the very point of this "most dangerous weapon" (to quote the blurb). Yeah, I know this is fiction, science fiction at that, but I expect my fiction to at least make logical sense if not in this world, than in the world of the book.

I'd still recommend this book to any Madame Vastra, Jenny, and Strax fans who are looking for a fix. Those characters are still awesome and are depicted in all of their glory. Just be prepared for a mental workout trying to make sense of the plot or making yourself not think about it.

I received this book in exchange for a review from Blogging for Books.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Doctor Who: The Crawling Terror, a Book Review

First of all, this book had the most hilarious ending I've ever read. I could easily see a writer thinking up that ending and writing the rest of the novel around it.


Before saying anything else, if you have an issue with bugs. If the idea of large insects really, really freaks you out, you should, unfortunately, look for another Doctor Who book.

This was my first novel featuring the new doctor and it did not disappoint. Mike Tucker wrote in such a way that I could hear Twelve's and Clara's voices saying the lines. You know a Doctor Who novel is good when you can hear the actor's voices and the book almost reads like an episode.

My only complaint is as I was reading, sometimes some plot twists didn't make sense, but they were all explained by the end. Some of the pieces didn't make sense when looked at individually, but they all made a cohesive whole.

In all, I would recommend this to any and all Doctor Who fans. But to repeat my concern about the bugs. If you have entomophobia (fear of bugs), either get over it or find another book. I don't have an issue with bugs and this book almost gave me one.

Thank you Blogging for Books for this great opportunity. You guessed it, I got a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. I don't know why it's taken me so long to find these kinds of programs!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Yes, Virginia, All Pro-Life Issues are Interconnected

I won't lie, I've been looking for an excuse to use this one. Source

So, they are running out of the drug for euthanasia in Oregon because drug companies are refusing to make the drugs used for lethal injections. What?!?! Two things:

  1. They use the same drugs for euthanasia that they use for lethal injections? Don't they know that lethal injections aren't pretty nor are they foolproof. Just look at the recent botched executions. Granted, neither of them used the Nembutal. I hope that they don't resort to the new cocktail because of the Nembutal shortage. By the way, Nembutal isn't flawless either
  2. I am a firm believer that the Holy Spirit works in everything, even those things that we think are immoral or don't like. God doesn't need perfection to do His work. This story has the potential to show people truth. On one hand, since people don't like the idea of murderers being murdered by the state, we're running out of drugs to kill off our sick and dying. Hopefully, that will help more people to understand that murder is wrong whether it's an individual killing another individual, the state killing someone, or a doctor killing someone in the name of "medicine." Where is the consistency in defending the lives of criminals, but not the ill and dying?
I call heaven and earth today to witness against you: I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Choose life, then, that you and your descendants may live -Deuteronomy 30:19


Monday, February 10, 2014

Update

I'm sorry it has been three months since I have updated the blog. I have been busy writing for other sites and doing my Feminists for Life duties. Here are a few of the things I've written while I was gone:

Ignitum Today:

Currently the site is down. I will get those articles once the site is back up.

YOUCATholic.com:

Social Justice Catholic vs. Pro-life Catholic: A False Dichotomy (In part a republishing of a blog from here)

A Meditation on a Baby's Kiss

St. Maria Goretti Revisited

The True Dignity of Women:

Birth Control in the Doctor's Office

Believe Reflections: What is Love?

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Would Jesus get a tattoo?

Billboards have been popping up all over Lubbock, TX featuring a tattooed, crucified Jesus.


It directs people to a site called jesustattoo.org. No specific church is taking responsibility for the billboards. In the "About Us" section on the site, those responsible for them say that they are just what they seem, a small group of people who want to lead others to Jesus. Looking at the site, it seems to be pretty theologically neutral. It's definitely Protestant as it features a Sinner's prayer, but I found nothing there that was particularly problematic from a Catholic perspective. It even says that a follower of Jesus needs to belong to a community of believers which is an idea found more readily in Catholic circles.

So, what about the tats?

The Catholic Church teaches that tattoos as such are morally neutral. That said, there are three main factors that could push it over the fence either way.

  1. The image used or... 
  2. the location of the tattoo could be immoral or inappropriate
  3. Your motivation in getting the tattoo could be impure. "Am I seeking to glorify God or draw attention to myself? Will my tattoo be a source of contention for my loved ones? Will getting a tattoo cause me to disobey my parents? Will my tattoo cause someone who is weak in the faith to stumble?" are all good questions to ask (Source).
A big part of the controversy seems to be the idea of Jesus having one. The website features videos where people tell their stories of how Jesus changed their lives. In these videos, an actor playing Jesus changes the tattoos on the new Christians. They were tattooed with words like "addiction" but Jesus changes those tattoos to say thing like "hope." Jesus, in turn, takes the new Christian's old tattoo onto himself. Here, it's easier to show than tell:

 

While the details might be offensive to some, the general idea here is very true and Biblical:
He himself bore our sins in his body upon the cross, so that, free from sin, we might live for righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.- 1 Peter 2:24
For our sake he made him to be sin who did not know sin, so that we might become the righteousness of God in him.- 2 Corinthians 5:21
Jesus is the Lamb of God, not just because he's perfect or because he's cute, but because lambs were used for sacrifice.


Jesus was pure, that goes without saying, but he did bear our sins on the cross and I think that this tattoo idea is a pretty creative way of making that reality tangible for people. It makes a theological idea visual in a society in which we are getting more and more used to getting our information visually rather than verbally.

A tattooed Jesus doesn't bother me, but it can be used as a source for meditation. What tats did He get from me? What sins do I need to confess? What sins do I need to remove from my life?


Saturday, November 2, 2013

Reclaiming Halloween

Thursday was my favorite holiday. I love setting out spooky decorations. I love gorging myself on candy. I like watching spooky movies and television shows and telling ghost stories. I think one of my favorite parts of the season, however, is dressing up.

And my son goes, "yeah, candy!"
As I get older, however, dressing up is getting more and more difficult. This year, I had to go as a male lion. My son was a lion and I wanted to follow the theme, but the only female cats out there were the "sexy cats." It's very degrading for a woman to have to choose between being "sexy" or being nothing at all. What does that say to women who don't fit into our society's unrealistic idea of beauty? What does that say to women who do not want to be objectified on Halloween? What about the women who just want to go out and have fun?

And don't get me started on the girl costumes. I don't consider myself a prude but I was shocked by how "sexy" some of the costumes designed for children were.
That is where Take Back Halloween comes in. I wish that I had found this site before Halloween. I know where I'm going next year for costume ideas.

Some of my more religiously conservative readers may take offense at the goddess costumes or some of the choices of heroines, but I think we can all agree that the idea of the site is awesome. The site features instructions on how to buy already made things to put together some awesome costumes for women. You don't have to be crafty to have a cool costume although some of their suggestions are not cheap.

It's kind of like this project. A photographer did not want her daughter to buy into the Disney princess mythology. She did a series of pictures dressing and posing her daughter as famous women.

My favorite of the series.
She wants her daughter to look up to real women who did great things, not imaginary girls who wait for their prince charming.
This one is also awfully cute and much cooler than a Disney princess.
Not that there is anything wrong with marriage, but the whole princess thing is really unrealistic and demeaning to the female genius. All of those "sexy" costumes are insulting. We are more than our bodies. We are more than our sexuality. We are strong. We are smart. We are passionate. We respect ourselves and we want the men in our lives to respect us too.  

I'm planning on using Take Back Halloween next year. Maybe James and I can find a cool man and woman pair to dress as. 

Maybe Take Back Halloween should branch out to girl costumes. Or somebody else should start one directed at girls. I certainly can't find one. Do you know of any sites like Take Back for girl costumes?

Thursday, October 10, 2013

India's "Abused Goddesses" Campaign Opens Eyes

Buzzfeed had a post not too long ago about a deeply moving and fascinating PSA campaign about domestic violence in India. The organization "Save our Sisters" is working to bring awareness to domestic violence and help the victims. More than 68% of women in India are victims of domestic violence. To put that in perspective, in the United States, the rate is 25%.

The ads say, 
“Pray that we never see this day. Today, more than 68% of women in India are victims of domestic violence. Tomorrow, it seems like no woman shall be spared. Not even the ones we pray to.”
The advertisements themselves are incredibly striking and beautiful in a painful and sad way. The advertising company took traditional images of the goddesses and made a real-life recreation. They cover the goddess in bruises and cuts. The props in the pictures are either real or painted on.

The posters feature a phone number to report abuse.

As the Buzzfeed writer points out, this advertisement campaign directly addresses a contradiction in Indian society. They revere many goddesses, but the country remains unsafe for mortal women.

This contradiction can be found in other religious traditions as well. Speaking as a Catholic, I can point out the Catholic devotion to Mary and the Church's long history of social justice. Yet, domestic violence still occurs in some Catholic households.

Here are some of the ads:

Saraswati is the goddess of knowledge, music, the arts, and science. 

Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth.

Knowing the subject of this ad, this is perhaps the most striking of all. Durga is a warrior goddess. She is representative of the victory of good over evil. I have a statue of her in my room (because I like to keep pieces of every part of my religious history). May she give the people of India strength to defeat the evils of domestic violence. 
For a better view of these ads, including close-ups of some of the details, visit the original Buzzfeed article.