Review of “Unexpected Grace” by Farifteh Robb

Unexpected Grace: A Life in Two WorldsUnexpected Grace: A Life in Two Worlds by Farifteh V Robb
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Some years ago while completing my research for a PhD I interviewed Farifteh Robb. That led to the publication of a brief article titled “The Secret World of God: Aesthetics, Relationships, and the conversion of ‘Frances’ from Shi’a Islam to Christianity” in Global Missiology. At that time Robb was not discussing her history publicly, but I’m glad that she decided to do so.

This books brings a welcome contribution to the growing literature by converts from Islam to Christianity. Robb’s strong background in literature allows her to reference great authors and work in a way that other converts cannot. The fact that she ended up in Anglican Christianity as opposed to evangelical or charismatic Christianity is also rare for such conversion narratives. My favorite thing about the book was reading her personal recollections of what life was like in Tehran before, during and after the 1979 revolution.

Finally, the author has a light and witty style. Her sense of humor is much appreciated.

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Review of Ralph 124c 41+

Ralph 124C 41+Ralph 124C 41+ by Hugo (foreword by Fletcher Pratt) Gernsback
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

What was the first science fiction novel? Many would say Frankenstein: The 1818 Text. But a lot of readers today think of sci-fi as being related to envisioning a future with new, exotic technologies. And if that is indeed essential to sci-fi then this book is in fact the first ever sci-fi novel. Beginning in 1911 the book started being published as a series of short stories but the author eventually brought them all together in this one book. It does have fantastic technologies–personal space travel, agricultural wonders, floating cities, and even the conquering of death.

What really caught my attention was how some technologies suggested were so distant, while other things sounded passe. The flying cars are still a long way off. But a flying taxi still had a driver, something that is not outdated yet, but will probably be in a decade.

Ultimately the book is a romance. The clear templates for masculinity and femininity are not chauvinistic or sexist (I think–but I’m a guy) and this older vision of human relationality will appeal to more conservative readers while leaving younger readers mystified. The book still reflects the naive modern confidence in human reason born of the so-called ‘Enlightenment’. Two world wars have disabused us of the falsity that science solves all our problems or that education somehow makes people good–though these myths are at the heart of that other sci-fi fairytale world, Star Trek.

Anyone interested in the history of sci-fi should read this book. It is a great book for when you cannot focus on detailed plot twists or read for lengthy periods of time. (This is my nice way of saying take with you when you take your kid to the dentist or are waiting in line at the post office.)

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Barth on Jesus Christ

A Barth quote from “The Crucifixion: Understanding the Death of Jesus Christ” by Fleming Rutledge –

“To this day, as we look around us at the self-destructive tendencies in the world that destroy good and hopeful things — from broken levees to derelict housing projects to botched aid operations to failed nation-building — we see the Lord standing in the place where the fiascoes are happening, not only in the place of those victims who are made to suffer but also and most radically in the place of the delinquents, collaborators, transgressors, and perpetrators.”

Start reading this book for free:
http://a.co/6xxECz2

Entrevista con Duane Miller

Tuve el privilegio de ser entrevistado por Moisés Cornejo sobre mi experiencia y trabajo en el Medio Oriente para el blog de la catedral. Escúchalo (todo en español).

I had the privilege of being interviewed by Moises Cornejo about my background and work in the Middle East for the cathedral blog. Check it out (all in Spanish).

The Trinity in the Qur’an

Great quote here from “What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an” by James R. White –

“We simply must insist that if its author believed Christians hold to three gods, Allah, Mary, and evidently their offspring, Jesus, then the Qur’an is the result of human effort, is marked by ignorance and error, and so is not what Muslims claim it to be.”

Start reading this book for free: http://a.co/3SSrmSv

David Roseberry interviews me for LeaderWorks

I sat down with the Rev. Canon David Roseberry some time ago for this interview, which he titled “Are Muslims really coming to faith in Christ?”

For those of you who have followed my research on this topic, you know the answer is yes. We also talk about the role of Anglican Christianity in relation to converts from Islam to Christianity.

Do also check out David’s fine website, LeaderWorks. You will find it well worth your time.