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Playing God: a book review

Playing God: Redeeming the Gift of Power by Andy Crouch (Credit: InterVarsity Press)We all have some measure of it. There is a penchant for more of it when we experience victory. There is an inclination to abdicate it, and the responsibility inherent within it, when we suffer loss. What is it? Power. It can enable us to victory, bury us in defeat, and unknowingly take a variety of forms in our lives.

In his book Playing God, Andy Crouch elaborates upon the concept of power. Believing it is a gift from God, Crouch encourages the reader to consider the cultural assumptions that they place upon power. For some, that means reconsidering why they are afraid of exercising it, for others that entails examining their ravenous longing for it.

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The Jesus Agenda: Becoming an Agent of Redemption

The Jesus Agenda: Becoming An Agent Of Redemption by Dr Albert Reyes (Credit: Believers Press)Albert Reyes is one of the most gifted, insightful, courageous leaders I have ever known.  His life story reads like a chapter from the Book of Acts.  And his global impact is changing millions of lives today.

I first met Dr. Reyes when he was president of Baptist University of the Americas in San Antonio, Texas, the only school of its kind in our state.  Under his leadership, the school's operating budget increased from $700,000 to more than $3.2 million.  He pastored three churches and served as president of the Texas Baptist Convention, with 2.2 million members.  Albert is now President and CEO of Buckner International, a global ministry to children, senior adults, and families in need.  But these facts do not tell the whole story.

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Aziz Ansari's Modern Romance Review

Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari (Credit: Penguin Press)Shakespeare wrote that "Jesters do oft prove as prophets." Humor has a way of harmlessly broaching a subject, yet piercingly asserting a point in an indirect fashion. Peter Berger would agree, observing that sometimes we must laugh in order to perceive. In comedian Aziz Ansari's newest work, Modern Romance, he discusses the contours of the current dating scene, provides thought-provoking original research, and makes a few jokes about Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.

Ansari believes that the most intimate relationship we have today is with our cell phones. This cell phone is the vehicle that will get us to our desired location: love. Differentiating us from history, he writes that: "We each sit alone, staring at this black screen with a whole range of emotions. But in a strange way, we are all doing it together, and we should take solace in the fact that no one has a clue what's going on."

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Ant-man: a movie review

Paul Rudd as protagonist Scott Lang, a small-time thief, wearing his Ant-Man suit, bestowed upon him by Hank Pym, played by Michale Douglas, in a scene from the new Marvel Studios and Walt Disney Studios movie Ant-Man (Credit: Marvel Studios/Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)Ant-Man is the latest installment in Marvel's cinematic world of superheroes defined best by the Avengers. While Ant-Man is not as well-known as figures like Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor, if history is an indicator this probably isn't the last time he'll make an appearance on the big screen. One reason is that Marvel films continue to generate a lot of revenue with Ant-Man becoming the twelfth consecutive offering by the company to open at first place in the box office.

However, Ant-Man is an entertaining story in its own right that has moved beyond a decent bit of initial skepticism to earn its way into the Marvel pantheon of heroes. Alex Abad-Santos speaks for many critics when he said in his review for Vox that "I owe Marvel an apology…I was convinced that Ant-Man was the result of Marvel freebasing hubris…And then the company proved me wrong, delivering a movie with the same brilliant magic as many of its best films that reminded me of what makes Marvel so great."

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A review of 'Being Nixon': the internal battles

Being Nixon: A Man Divided by Evan Thomas (Credit: Random House Publishing)The guarded man who was forced to resign due to his tenacious pursuit of secret information finds himself the subject of another biography. Though it does not produce any new information, it does provide a captivating story. Generous in his portrayal and humanizing in his narrative, Evan Thomas does not edify the cartoonish Nixon persona that has been popularized; rather he seeks to illuminate the conflicting natures of the man, myth, and 37th President of the United States. In his Being Nixon, Thomas echoes some of the popular notions of the infamous Nixon and attempts to project the Dr. Jekyll/ Mr. Hyde persona upon him.

Like most other humans, Nixon was a complex person, however unlike most other people, he was under the presidential spotlight. This complexity was seamlessly narrated by Thomas's accounting of a variety of Nixon anecdotes, both good and bad. Nixon was "locked in a titanic battle between hope and fear," between his "light side" and "dark side" and "struggled, bravely if not always wisely, against the dark." And this battle took place in the very public square. Nixon was always "in a heroic if ill-fated struggle to be a robust, decent, good-hearted person."

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