Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Recent Reading and Thinking

I recently finished reading a book, Where Angels Fall. It's the second book in a series of books called The Great and Terrible. And I think that it IS pretty terrible. The author, Chris Stewart (http://deseretbook.com/auth/1877/Chris_Stewart), just isn't much of a writer. A lot of what he writes about is action - mostly intrigue and war involving the Middle East, but sometimes branching out into fist fights and nearly fatal falls. The characterization is pretty thin on the men, and even thinner on the women. This is probably to be expected, coming from a "world-record-setting Air Force pilot" who has a lot more experience with action than with writing. And I'm sure that his experience, and the reality to his action that is created by it, is very appealing to some people. The series was recommended to me by a friend (a guy) who LOVED the series, and thought that I would love it too. *I* even thought I would love it. Unfortunately, I need something besides action to keep me interested in a book.

Needless to say, I will not be going on to read the other books in the series, The Second Sun, Fury & Light, From the End of Heaven, and Clear as the Moon. I probably should have read the second book after reading the first one, Prologue: The Brothers. But I love having book recommendations, and I like reading, so I thought I would try the next book and see if the series got better. It didn't.

Despite the fact that I'm not going to continue with the series, there's something interesting about them. They've made me think quite a bit. Yes, that's right, these books are not well written, and they're not enthralling, but they are thought provoking. They are a description (through the story of a few different people/families) of the war between good and evil. The first book (Prologue: The Brothers) is set in the pre-mortal world, where spirits interacted personally with Jesus Christ and Satan, and decided which one they wanted to follow. Then the rest of the books are about how the spirits that followed Satan were cast out and not given bodies, but they are here on the earth and trying to lead everyone else astray by influencing them through whispers of temptation.

It is these whispers of temptation (and the kind of events that they influence) that got me thinking about these books. Some of the times when Satan or his helpers are whispering in the ear of some unsuspecting mortal, it really is a horrible thing that they are trying to bring about. Some of it included influencing people to murder or hurt people. But one instance where Satan was trying to influence people seemed kind of silly. There were two boys rock climbing, and the whispers of temptation were to make the boys a little careless about what they were doing while rock climbing. One of the boys set up the equipment, and Satan tried to make him feel pride that he was capable and that he didn't have to have his work double checked. And the other boy was climbing and Satan tried to make him feel pride that he could do this really difficult climb. He almost died because of the incident.

I guess that I have mostly been thinking about how much Satan influences our lives. Does he really take interest in our everyday doings? Enough that he not only wants us to be sinful and hurt ourselves and others spiritually, but also wants us to put ourselves physically in danger? And are all of the problems that we cause through our mistakes under the influence of Satan? I don't think so. I think that we just have weaknesses, spiritually and physically, that sometimes motivate us to make mistakes. But does Satan play off of those weaknesses? How often are we miserable because we are giving in to the influences of a being that delights in making us miserable?

Reading these two books has made me realize again that I want to be the kind of person that has the spirit of the Lord with me. And through that spirit, I want to be able to discern what my weaknesses are leading me to do and what the temptations of the devil are leading me to do, and to avoid those pitfalls. I want to be sensitive to the spirit and what God is trying to lead me to do through it, so that I can also be making the kind of choices that we lead me closer to God. And while I thought these books were kind of out there, I'm glad that I had the opportunity to think about these kind of things.

5 comments:

allirasmussen@gmail.com said...

hey...i have read the whole series a couple times and loved it!!! the second one was definitely hard to get through...but i have to admit, i'm not much of a deep thinker when i'm reading, it's just more for enjoyment ;)everyone i have suggested read it has loved them, but also struggled through the 2nd book ;)

Kristi said...

Ok - I was looking through your blog to see your wedding pics and I saw this post! I HATED his writing. It is awful isn't it! I have made it through the books because I listen to them on CD while I clean the kitchen (My Mom has them), otherwise I would never have made it through!
I am glad someone else feels this way - my family all loves them.
I do have to admit he did a lot of research and on that end the books ARE interesting. ;)

Merry said...

I agree! I think that the ideas are really appealing, and I SHOULD like these books because of the ideas. But I did not like the writing.

Jody said...

Have you read The Screwtape Letters? It's by CS Lewis. It provides some new thoughts about Satan and his minions (I love that word, but you really seldom get to use it legitimately).

Merry said...

I actually haven't read the Screwtape Letters. But it's on my list of things to read someday.