4 Random Things – Sermons, Games & More

Every now and then I do posts that cover a variety of topics, and this is another one of those. The following four topics are all things that I want to share some thoughts on, but I don’t have enough material to flesh out a whole post.

First off I’m going to talk about a recent sermon I listened to by Tim Keller, then I’ll move on to my first impressions of a book that SPCK and Marylebone House sent me to review, then I’ll talk about the mixed reviews of Suicide Squad (which I haven’t yet seen), and finally I’ll bring you my thoughts on a brand new digital strategy card game, Eternal. If you’re interested in all 4, great! But if not, just skip to whichever ones interest you.

Timothy Keller – ‘War Between Your Selves’

For those that haven’t heard of him, Timothy Keller is a widely respected Christian pastor and author from the US, who’s books are popular around the world. Even if you have heard of him, you may not know that all of his sermons are available to listen to for free in the iTunes podcast ‘Gospel in Life’. I happened to listen to one of his recent talks this week, and found it very powerful.

The talk is called ‘War Between Your Selves’ and focuses on Romans 7, one of the trickier chapters to navigate in Paul’s letters. This is the first of a two part talk in which Keller looks at the war between our evil nature and our desire to look good, and this first sermon focuses on what that struggle looks like for people without Christ.

Keller uses the literary example of The Curious Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde to illustrate his main point – that without Christ, our good intentions are fighting a losing battle. This talk seems excellent for people who are exploring faith, as Keller explains the logic behind the concept of original sin, something that is hard to stomach for a lot of people.

Even for Christians, this talk is very good, as Keller reads Romans 7 then unpicks it as carefully as he can in a short period of time, and emphasises the difference that Jesus makes in all of this (though there’ll be more of that in part 2).

Whether you like to listen to sermons or not, I recommend giving this one a try.

Death Comes for the Deconstructionist – First Impressions

Firstly, I want to thank SPCK and Marylebone House for sending me a review copy of Daniel Taylor’s murder mystery novel. I’m now about a third of the way through, and although a full review will come when I finish, I felt that it was worth sharing some thoughts now.

I don’t read many murder mysteries, but I tend to enjoy them when I do, and Death Comes for the Deconstructionist is full of the kind of quirkiness and writerly skill that immediately sucks me into a book.

The book is written in first person, from the point of view of Jon Mote, who is, according to the blurb, a ‘grad school dropout’ who is ‘hired to investigate the death of his erstwhile mentor’. From the start, you know that something is different about this character and this book. You’re not given a lot of information, and left to navigate a world filtered through Mote’s sometimes erratic thoughts.

What’s intriguing about the novel is all of the unanswered questions. Not only is the death a mystery, but there are mysteries surrounding Mote and his sister, Judy. Despite the mystery, the novel is full of charm, and I would already enthusiastically recommend it.

Suicide Squad – Another Miss for DC and Warner Bros?

I haven’t seen Suicide Squad yet, but I’ve heard a lot of the early reviews. The critics resoundingly panned it, and although I heard a couple of positive reviews from fans, it doesn’t seem to have been the unconditional hit that it feels like DC needed.

I won’t go too much into the reviews here – a quick Google will give you all of that information – I want to focus on the consequences for the DC cinematic universe if the public sides with the critics. Now I, for one, loved Batman v Superman, though it was far too complex, I thought the atmosphere was awesome, and I loved all of the nuances and hidden information (it helped that I saw it three times, so I had time to work it all out).

But the general public and fans alike tended not to like the earlier film, and many looked to Suicide Squad with hope. The trailers looked flashy and fun, and I think people were optimistic about it. This was supposed to be the movie that would put DC back on track, and send people into films like Wonder Woman with a positive outlook on the cinematic univers.

If it doesn’t live up to expectations, will the public trust DC again? Or will they assume that all of the films from now on will look good at first, but fail to live up to the hype? It’s a shame, because I personally prefer DC comics to Marvel comics, and I feel like there is so much untapped potential there. Time will tell if the audience will have the patience to keep making these movies financially viable for DC and Warner Bros.

Eternal Card Game – Well Worth Checking Out

Something that not many people know is that I really like strategy card games, having played a wide variety including trading card games and deck building games. When I heard that Direwolf Digital were releasing a new strategy card game, Eternal, that would be totally free to play, I was pretty excited. I signed up for a Beta key, and a week or so later I started playing.

The game is very slick, and plays like a cross between Hearthstone and Magic: the Gathering, though it is more similar to the former in appearance and the latter in mechanics. Fans of either game will be able to pick Eternal up very quickly and enjoy playing it.

I love the flavour aspect of games, and while Eternal doesn’t have an easily accessible story there are hints of it throughout the game, in the names and flavour texts of many of the cards. It’s a fantasy game with a modern twist, featuring cowboy-like characters alongside your more traditional knights and dragons.

I haven’t spent a penny on the game, but I haven’t had my gameplay limited in the slightest, and my collection is growing rapidly. Fans of other card and strategy games should 100% give this one a shot – you can sign up at www.eternalcardgame.com.

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