Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Tim Keller's New Book -- and other news and reviews

Tim Keller's newest book, "The Prodigal God", (2008 Dutton Penguin Group)is a smaller sized package as books go (it's a diminutive 140 pages), but it packs a wallop of thought-provoking message for Christians and non-Christians alike as the renowned pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City examines the parable of the prodigal son.

Plotting the drama as a two-act play, Keller says it's really a tale of two brothers, not just the one who claimed his birthright and takes off to seek pleasure and who is welcomed upon his return. Using insights from plays, movies and his understanding of the bible, Keller rethinks the parable as Act One: "The Lost Younger Brother" and Act 2: "The Lost Elder Brother" and makes a case that most of the people listening to Jesus tell the story fell into one or the other of these categories, just as most of us do today.

The younger brother is motivated, like the tax collectors and sinners who had gathered to hear Jesus, by self discovery and self fulfillment. There was a second group of listeners there, too, though, Luke's account tells us: the Pharisees and teachers of the law, motivated by a sense of control and heavenly payback if they followed the rules, much like the eldest brother. Viewing the story from the perspectives of both of these groups, as well as from the father's, gives great new insight into the parable and understanding of what it means to follow Christ.

Keller writes in a way that appeals to folks who don't believe or who have been turned off by the church or Christians. He's been reaching out to them for years and knows how to communicate without sounding churchy or condescending.
Buy it here:

Act One, the organization which teaches Christians about screenwriting and other aspects of the Hollywood business is accepting applications for 2009. A newly designed brochure is available for churches to distribute.

The movie "Fireproof," from the creators of "Face the Giants" and starring Kirk Cameron, still is playing in more than 800 theaters nationwide. It tells the story of a firefighter who goes the extra mile to try to save his marriage. The DVD will be released in January.


Retta Blaney, M.A., M.F.A. said...

What does Keller have to say about forgiveness, the most important message of the story, and one of the most important lessons we have to learn in life?

LaurenYarger said...

That it should be free, without strings attached and that it often comes with a cost we need to be willing to pay.

Retta Blaney, M.A., M.F.A. said...

Does he explain what it means to be free, but at a cost people need to pay? People could see that as a contradiction.

LaurenYarger said...

He does it pretty well, I think, specifically pointing out that we can't just do what we want, then say, "Oh, it's OK because I'm forgiven for it." The prodigal's behavor and forgiveness cost the father and the eldest brother as well.

I really enjoyed Keller's "The Reason for God" as well.

Daily Inspiration

The Blind Side

Read about the real life mom from "The Blind Side."

Lifeway: http://www.lifeway.com/article/?id=169816

Guideposts: http://www.guideposts.com/story/sandra-bullock-blind-side-football?page=0,1

Read Matt Mungle's review of the movie at http://www.buddyhollywood.com/.

Lauren Yarger, Bio

Lauren Yarger has written, directed and produced numerous shows and special events for both secular and Christian audiences. She co-wrote a Christian musical version of “A Christmas Carol” which played to sold-out audiences of over 3,000 in Vermont and was awarded the 2000 Vermont Bessie (theater and film awards) for “People’s Choice for Theatre.” She also has written two other dinner theaters, sketches for church services and devotions for Christian artists.

Yarger trained for three years in the Broadway League’s Producer Development Program, completed the Commercial Theater Institute's Producing Three-Day Training and produced a one-woman musical about Mary Magdalene that toured nationally and closed with an off-Broadway run.

In 2008 she was a Fellow at the National Critics Institute at the O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT. She writes reviews of Broadway and off-Broadway theater with a Christian perspective for Reflections in the Light (http://reflectionsinthelight.blogspot.com/) and is editor of The Connecticut Arts Connection. She also is a contributing editor for BroadwayWorld.com

She also reviews books for Publisher's Weekly and is a member of the National Book Critics Circle. She formerly was Connecticut theater editor for CurtainUp, a national theater web site bsed in New York and a reviewer for American Theater Web.

She also served as Executive Director of Masterwork Productions, Inc. and worked in arts management for the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts in Hartford and the Hartford Symphony Orchestra.

She is a freelance writer and member of the Drama Desk, The Outer Critics Circle, The American Theater Critics Association, The League of Professional Theatre Women and The CT Critics Circle.

A former newspaper editor and graduate of the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, Yarger lives with her husband in West Granby, CT and has two adult children.

Copyright Notice

All contents copyright © Lauren Yarger 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013. All rights reserved. For reprint permission, contact masterworkproductions@yahoo.com.

Scripture from THE MESSAGE Copyright 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

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