Thursday, October 27, 2011

Music: Because I Love You

How's that for another excellent image by my sister and Genesis Effects?

Love it.

Yes, this piece-of-the-week is a love theme. I really enjoy this kind of music. The scene I'm envisioning in my head is obviously romantic. I believe that romance is a good and Godly thing to portray in films if done properly. (For example: having married couples play the romantic parts, having the romance that's written into the film follow God's Law, and not defiling the viewer with scenes that are unnecessary and inappropriate.)

I'd love to see more God-honoring romances in modern films!

So I'm thinking maybe a wedding, or the reception of a letter, or even just an reunion of husband and wife after a long absence- they're finally together again. I think I like this last one best. They're finally able to see each other after months or years apart. And the embrace/kiss/reunion, that would happen at right about 2:42. What does this piece make you picture?

Because I Love You by gabrielhudelson

Monday, October 24, 2011

Book Review - Red Rain

Watch the book trailer here.

Red Rain is a recently-released sci-fi novella by Aubrey Hansen- her first published work, actually. I read it last week (actually, I read the finished version for the first time, though I had read a rough draft previously before agreeing to score the trailer).

The Worldview

The Good

The worldview in this book is obviously a big selling point, as it is a Christian book. But that could be said of just about any "Christian" book, couldn't it?

I doubt it. Red Rain isn't just a story with a "sinner's prayer" slapped in there somewhere. It's constructed on the worldview of Christianity. And while there's never a "gospel presentation", the whole book is a presentation of the Gospel lived out.

The heroine is feminine- strong, but very clearly female.

The relationship between the heroine and her family is a very good one, beautiful to behold. She is submissive to her father, and honors and obeys him. The stereotypical free-willed girl and oppressive father are totally absent here- what a relief.

Just because there's no "pray-a-prayer" scene does not mean that this book is weak on Christianity. To the contrary, it is quite distinctively Christian, but doesn't have to rely on a cheap and forced "gospel" presentation to make it so.

The book shows homeschooling as a good thing. Oh yes.

Altogether, from a worldview perspective, very good...

The Bad

...though not perfect, of course. The thing that bothers me most about it is the possibility of spiritual pacifism and isolationism coming through. I don't know what Aubrey believes on this subject (and it wouldn't surprise me if I find out shortly after writing this review! :-), but the book could be interpreted to say "if they'll let us keep our religion and our Bible when we're in our house, that's all I ask." This must be reconciled with The Great Commission and The Dominion Mandate.

Any other worldview concerns aren't really even worth mentioning, as I recall.

The Art

The Good

Well, I was given an e-book for my involvement in the project, but we bought a paperback because I like those better. Plus, it was signed, so it might be worth millions someday. :-D

And it looks very nice. A bit simplistic on the front and side covers, but professional and clean. As for the inside- quite nicely done.

Now for the real art of the book- the story. The characters were very engaging and easy to visualize. The dialogue scenes were, in my opinion, some of the best parts of the book. The dialogue is well-written and engaging, and there are a few points where it's so heartfelt it's heartbreaking. The protagonist is very endearing and the villain is satisfactorily villainous. The book is also complemented well with a small (it is a novella) host of supporting characters that are memorable and believable. Aubrey's writing style is very enjoyable, moving from funny to poignant with ease.

The story was excellent. My family and I have talked about this. It seems to me that so many homeschoolers write stuff, but that they rarely take the time to learn their craft and craft their art so that they move from good stuff to good stories. This is a pet peeve of mine.

Aubrey, however, has apparently done her homework. The story was twisty, bittersweet, not quite resolved yet satisfying. Very nicely done. My heart wouldn't break if there were a sequel. (Just thought I'd join the crowd, Aubrey. ;-)

The Bad

There were a few lines that kept popping up that I thought were painfully cliché and/or over-epic. Not that I read or watch a lot of sci-fi, so that could be just me, but a few phrases seemed too forced- like they were supposed to be epic but just ended up cheesy.

There were a few weak scenes, and a few religious inclusions that seemed forced- not because they didn't belong there, but perhaps because they could have been better integrated into the story.

My last critique (for now, mwahaha) is that it seemed rushed. It wasn't terribly so- just a bit fast. I wished that there had been a little more time taken explaining and developing. Yes, it's a novella, but just a few pages more might have gone a long way.


If you're going to read fiction, this one is worth it. Its combination of good worldview and good story is very much worth the price and time. It lacks the last bit of professional polish, which might be expected from a first book. It also delivers very well on tension and gripping, bittersweet fun. Will I read it again? I doubt it. But, counting the rough draft, I read it twice, and enjoyed it both times. Will I have my kids (LORD willing, one day) read it? Probably. Would I recommend it?

Most definitely.

Learn more about and/or purchase Red Rain here (you might still be able to get a signed copy!)


Friday, October 14, 2011

Music: The Remnant

Was this piece inspired by the Bourne films? Not exactly, though the piece has some similarities. Inspired by a trailer scoring group notorious for their epic music, I wanted to write a piece that was consistently intense yet satisfying- and didn't go much beyond 2 minutes in length. Did I succeed? Well, you tell me!

So why the picture? Well, I think it fits the genre, and the title. I'm envisioning a few, beaten and battered faithful, tenaciously defending their last stronghold as it falls around them. Do they win? Well, you can tell me that too. :-D

Enjoy. :-)

(Check out the nice job my sister did, helping me with the text, on the YouTube version of this piece.)

The Remnant by gabrielhudelson

Monday, October 10, 2011

More Thoughts on Biblical Masculinity

A continued exploration of some of my thoughts from my recent post on this subject.

A friend of mine was discussing this through e-mail with me and we talked about the distinction between personality traits and character flaws- a very important distinction.

So what is the difference between a quietness that is OK- or even admirable- and a quietness that is weak and unManly? What is the difference between (another discussion with another friend) a man having a perfectly manly desire to stay inside and do computer work and a man being a mouse who can't handle a good, rugged hike?

God has given us different personalities.

God has also called us all- all of His sons, that is- to be men. Manly men. To obey Him, serve Him, advance His Kingdom.

So to the degree which our personality traits hinder our obedience to Him- to that degree our personality traits are character flaws.

You may be a quiet warrior or an outgoing one, a musical warrior or an outdoorsy one, a blogging warrior or a fishing one.

But as a son and ambassador of The Most High God- you must be a warrior.

No matter your method, you must slay the dragons.

So, to make it practical. If your quiet personality means you talk less and listen more, that's probably a good thing that we could all learn from. If your quiet personality means that you don't evangelize, don't meet new people, don't truly love others, then your quiet personality is now more than that- it has gone into the realm of sin, because it is preventing you from doing what God has called you to do.

On shyness. I don't think shyness is ever a good thing. Quietness can be Biblical, but shyness is a manifestation of love of self. So instead of being shy, we should turn our attention from ourselves to others, and start loving God and loving the people He has placed in our lives. (1st and 2nd greatest commandments)

On to my next point. Hear ye, thou wimps.

"The glory of young men is their strength, and the honor of old men is their gray hair." (Pr. 20:29)

Note to Mr. Hiccup: If a girl is showing you up (or beating you up) in physical contest, either she had better be quite the man or you had better be quite ashamed. Fortunately for you, young sir, Astrid is quite the man.

We are to be the protectors of the "weaker vessels"- that adjective is Scripturally applied to all of womankind, though the passage in question speaks specifically to the marriage relationship.

As young men, we should be strong. The stronger vessels.

So, my brothers, what are you doing to be strong? To be a good steward of the body that God has given you, of course- that goes for my sisters in Christ as well!- but specifically to be strong. Ruddy. Healthy. Able to protect and serve.

Do push-ups. Run a few miles. Something.

If your natural smallness means you aren't the fastest kid in the Church or the record-holding pusher-upper, fine. That's how God made you. Learn to use your mind. Hiccup is a good example of this- he can't throw the iron ball thingies, so he invents a machine to throw them for him.

But if you take that to be an excuse to be pale and wan, with bent shoulders and limp wrists, then you had better invest in some P90X or something.

Point three in my post addresses the girlyman syndrome.

This is something I've done myself in the past, and I regret having done so. I want to warn my brothers lest they too fall prey to this condition.

The girlyman syndrome is likely to happen when a young man hangs out around girls a lot. Note that it doesn't have to be this way. Not at all. It just takes a man of superior vision to be able to retain Godly masculinity even when he spends most of his time with those of the fairer sex.

A godly young man can be thoroughly manly when spending time with sisters in Christ- pure, masculine, respectful, chivalrous, edifying, and downright a pleasure to be around!

But the girlyman tries to be like the girls he admires or hangs out with (or is infatuated with). He'll read the books they like, and at least act like he enjoys them, just to please them. He'll listen to the music they like, he'll eat the same foods, he'll- well, the list goes on. You get the idea.

He's the kind of guy who says that he's not insecure about his manhood, therefore he can proudly carry around Pride & Prejudice or wear pink or collect stuffed animals.

Neither said book nor said color nor said pets are my issue. My issue is a man who is, ultimately, fearing (wo)man instead of fearing God, and who is acting out of regard for others instead of vision for The Kingdom (Mat. 6:33).

This is no true man at all.

Sadly, it can be very endearing to the young ladies since this young man is sculpting himself in their image.

And they might be Godly girls. A young man made in their image might be externally a pretty straight-laced and Godly fellow. (Maybe I should put a comma after "pretty". :-)

But the reason for his Godliness isn't true repentance and worship of God, nor the working of The Spirit in his heart, but rather a fleshly desire to please others.

Such sculpting in the end only results in a girlyman, not a true man seeking conformation to The Image of Christ.

These might be hard words for some. Know that they are spoken in love and with a smile! I hope this post edifies both brothers and sisters in Christ. Brothers- if you find yourself falling into these categories, and can see why that is Biblically reprehensible, repent and reform! Sisters, perhaps this will better arm you to look for the right things in men instead of being attracted by a man who molds himself to your will just to please you. Perhaps it will also prepare you to encourage Godly Vision in your brothers.

Men. We need to be devoted to a cause higher than ourselves. That cause must be The Kingdom of God. And for that cause we must be prepared to forsake all else.

For The Glory of God.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Music: Score from the iDSLR Spoof

The piece of the week is from Jeremiah Warren's recent iPhone spoof video.

This release is remarkably timed in light of the recent death of Mr. Steve Jobs, a man who, though I know very little about him, nevertheless unquestionably changed many things about the world we live in, and who I respect as an entrepreneur.

Especially since my music is made on a Mac.

Truly man in all his glory is but a breath.

(Here is an excellent article by Mr. Doug Phillips on the death of Steve Jobs.)

iPhone 5 iDSLR spoof music by gabrielhudelson