Did we evolve from some breed of advanced hominid? Or were we plucked from the dirt by a divine being and made into the people we are today? 

The origin of mankind is one of the most hotly debated issues of our time (or any, for that matter). So in this episode I attempt to solve all of those quandaries in a mere 30 minutes or less. Kidding, of course. Or am I....

Some chief questions to consider in this episode are: who is winning the culture on Evolution vs. Creationism? Who has the better narrative? Which is more appealing to you? And why? A lot of it comes down to story. How effective is the story being told from either side and how effective are the ones listening to these arguments. As always, a worldview can be at the center of the conversation. 

Hope you enjoy. 

 

For the sake of keeping algorithms in my favor, here's a brief update on what's going on with The Writer's Lens. I promised it would be brief and it most certainly is. 

Catch all of you sooner than later! 

It's one of the most iconic; most recognizable; most pilfered-for-all-its-worth franchises of all time. If you were born on or after 1977, then you have probably heard of the film, "Star Wars". And for this episode, we're talking about the OG Star Wars. That's right, Episode IV - the one that started it all - A New Hope. 

But this discussion isn't going to be about wookies, lightsabers, or warp travel. No, we're talking about why human beings have such a fascination with deep space. What's out there? Are we alone in the universe? And perhaps most pressing of all, what if there is nothing out there at all? 

This is my deep dive into the world that is Lucas' original moneymaker, "Star Wars: A New Hope". May the odds be ever in your... wait, no. That's not right. Wrong episode.

"May the Force be with you". Yeah, that's the one. 

Enjoy!

Rudolph is as synonymous with Christmas as the jolly elf himself, Santa. But is this timeless tale of overcoming the odds really just a pale cover for a story that encourages bullying and non-inclusiveness? 

Well, I have a few things to say about that. Stick with me as I do a rather thorough analysis on one of my favorites from my childhood - and now my adulthood. Just in time for the holidays, no less. 

Credit to Burl Ives for his rendition of "Rudolph: The Red-Nosed Reindeer" and 1964's television special of the same name. 

The Narrative Wars returneth.... 

You may have never heard of Amelie Wen Zhao (or maybe you have?) but just in case you did or didn't, this episode was catalyzed by a recent ordeal involving the up-and-coming YA fiction writer. Ms. Zhao was the subject of some harsh criticism for her new book, Blood Heir, which hadn't even hit the shelves yet. Her book, as described by her earliest of critics, was said to be "racially insensitive" and was encouraged to the point of not releasing her book. Here's the catch though: many of her detractors had not even read the book. Apparently hearsay and a few buzzwords had caused many to take to the social media to block the Blood Heir release. Much talk and discussion over Zhao's ordeal followed. 

Yet after the social media mob settled, she decided to move forward with her book anyway and not give in to earlier pressures to not publish it. Her book was published mid-November 2019. 

This episode is an attempt to talk through artistic expression and how creatives can face a lot of external pressure - even before their idea is off the ground. 

Hope you enjoy. 

The Writer's Lens returns! 

In my first episode in over a month, I take a look at one of my all-time favorites: Tolkien's first of three stories in the Lord of the Rings trilogy: The Fellowship of the Ring.

Lovers of the fantasy epic recognize LOTR for its dramatic visuals, beautiful descriptions, and downright awesome story. For this episode, I take a deeper look at Tolkien's theme of fellowship. As a man who lived through some of the most horrific wars in human history, Tolkien understood the need to band together for the sake of a larger cause. As such, his first entry into the series explores the dynamics of group membership and how it can unravel when leadership is lost or when selfish desires take hold. And even more so, how do we even get into the group in the first place?

These ideas and questions I attempt to tackle in about 30 minutes - which is a significantly less amount of time than the extended edition on DVD or Blu-Ray. Enjoy! 

My latest interview is with a couple of gents I got connected with recently. Erik Marti and Stephen Lauterbach are the voices of "Despite Popular Belief", a podcast that tackles several interesting topics, like the Leviathan, Salem Witch Trials, and predestination; doing so through a Biblical worldview. 

I was on Despite Popular Belief talking about the power of storytelling. Now, I get to ask Erik and Stephen about their own stories. How they came together, how they developed the idea for Despite Popular Belief, and how they see the podcast in the future. 

You can check them out on Spotify, Google Play, and iTunes. Or follow them on Facebook and Instagram @DespitePopularBelief. 

I'm not a big fan of scary stories. They aren't the type of story I indulge regularly. 

However, that's not to say that I'm antagonistic towards scary moments. If a story is good; if a story is intriguing; if it seems to be headed somewhere other than just another scare, then I'm better at accepting the scares when they come.

That being said, I wanted to comment on the recent reimagining of Stephen King's "It". Not the story necessarily, but whether or not the onset of terror is more intense when a) it's a child or b) it's an adult. The answer might be obvious, but what does this mean outside of fiction? What is the truth behind a child's helplessness and the responsibilities we have as adults to watch out for them? This episode is an attempt to scratch the surface on perhaps several more conversations. 

My latest interview was with Sam Eldredge, co-author of the bestselling book, "Killing Lions"; a book that was co-written with Sam's father, founder of Ransomed Heart and bestselling author himself, John Eldredge.

Taken literally, "Killing Lions" might appear to be a tactical guide on how to hunt the king of the jungle, but the meat and bones of "Killing Lions" deals with a very different issue: how do boys become men? And even more importantly, how do they transition into manhood well? "Killing Lions" explores a series of conversations between Sam and his father, John, and what the rites of passages look like for young men. Having gone through the book a few years back, I was elated to speak with Sam about the origins of this book and what it was like for him to co-publish something with his own father - who just so happens to be a published writer in his own right. 

Sam is one of the minds behind And Sons magazine and is currently working on a few other writing projects (a couple of which I tried to get out of him, but you'll just have to listen to see if I succeeded). 

Either way, I hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I did. For more on Sam, you can go to andsonsmagazine.com 

 

One of my favorite films of all time. Arguably one of Disney's greatest works of the past 30 years, The Lion King is the coming-of-age tale of Simba, a lion cub destined to be King of Pride Rock, who is framed for murdering his own father, Mufasa. Whose evil uncle, Scar, takes over in Simba's absence, runs the Pride Lands into famine and death, but is confronted by an aged and courageous Simba, who has spent years running away from his problems. 

It's a great story, further accentuated by its iconic music and iconic voices (James Earl Jones, Jeremy Irons, and Nathan Lane, to name a few). And though its popularity is undeniable, does The Lion King truly offer up a redemptive narrative? Simba regains what was rightfully his - the throne of Pride Rock - but is that all there is to a good redemption story? This is my analysis episode for Disney's The Lion King

The animated one. Not the live-action-which-wasn't-live-action version of 2019. Enjoy. 

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