Thursday, November 8, 2007

Shedding Light on His Dark Materials by Kurt Bruner and Jim Ware

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When it comes to modern culture and the media, these two men are resources I rely on consistently. Not only do they have a love for fantasy and science fiction, but they have a deeper love for God and for His truth.

With "The Golden Compass" scheduled for motion picture release this holiday season, I wanted to do my homework on whether or not to watch the movie or to read the books. No matter what it is, Mom experiences it before the kids get the green light in our house--and only because I have more time to read and research than Dad does!!

"Shedding Light on His Dark Materials" is a book with a dual message. First, it examines the themes found in Philip Pullman's widely successful trilogy titled "His Dark Materials, exposing them to the light of God's Word and analyzing them for hidden meanings.

Second, this book weighs the merit of Philip Pullman's writing in terms of skill and ability to convey his story well. In that regard, the authors give him high marks.

But in the first area, there are some deep concerns. And the authors address each one fairly and with enough latitude to let the reader decide for him/herself. One of many reasons this writing duo is one of my favorites!

Each chapter, or 'essay', opens with a quote from the book, and a paraphrase of a key scene in a book from the trilogy--they don't just examine "The Golden Compass"--they examine the entire trilogy. Which is key, because the series gets darker and more disturbing as the books go along.

Immediately after the scene description, Kurt and Jim share their thoughts on what Pullman is trying to convey, the hidden truths or dangers in the writing, and then they close with the light of truth from God's Word.

I have to admit, sometimes the reading gets a little heavy. But the message is ultimately very clear--this trilogy has more darkness in it that any other widely successful children's series to date.

I urge parents to do their homework before they say "yes" or "no" to Philip Pullman's series. I've heard that the movie has been "watered down" to avoid a protest from Christians...but that's an unsubstantiated rumor. And I've learned not to live by rumor or other's opinions...but by what God reveals to me through His word and the wisdom of others.

These are two VERY wise men, and I'm giving "Shedding Light On His Dark Materials" four out of five bookmarks, with a gold compass that points True North (God's Word), only because the reading does get a little academic in spots, which I think gets in the way of the book's message.

Happy Reading!


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