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Summer film series

On Saturday, June 17, Christ Center Library hosted Jeffrey Overstreet for a full-day film seminar. It was a great discussion on faith, art, loving our neighbors, and finding the gospel in unexpected places. To keep that conversation going, we’re now offering a four-film discussion series this summer, starting on June 22. You’re welcome to attend even if you were unable to make the seminar. We will provide materials to help you catch up (just scroll down).

Join us in the theater room (aka “the Pit,” room 1 downstairs) for each film screening and discussion. Popcorn and soda will be provided. Feel free to bring a snack to share! 🙂 Donations are welcome to help defray costs but are not required. All films will be available for checkout after their screening.

Film series dates:
June 22 — All ages (some scary sequences).
July 6 — One of Jeffrey’s favorites from last year. Full of joy. Slower pace; not geared for kids.
July 20 — One of Laure’s favorites from last year. All ages.
August 3 — TBD

Questions? Just ask!


Thinking Christianly about Movies

Jeffrey and Pastor David spoke in church on Sunday following the seminar and had a great conversation. Here’s a short video. Scroll down for the full audio.

Listen to the full 25-minute dialog here:

Download the seminar packet here.

See this post for your librarian’s thoughts on the redemptive value of challenging fiction.

We hope to see you at our film series!

Tolkien seminar poster landscape

Hello patrons! It’s been awhile! Your librarian has somehow managed to get herself embroiled in multiple epic adventures, and the library blog has suffered for it. Never fear. The library continues along magnificently, thanks to our wonderful helpers.

We have added a ton of new items since our last blog update. Here are just a smattering of them. You’ll want to stop by the New Items shelf* to see the rest. There’re new music and DVDs, too!

*Some of these items may currently be on the display cart under the skylight.

Non-Fiction

Simply Good News: Why the Gospel is news and what makes it good, by N.T. Wright. 230 Wri

Christ & Culture, by H. Richard Niebuhr. 50th Anniversary Expanded Edition. 261 Nie

Through a Screen Darkly: Looking closer at beauty, truth and evil in the movies, by Jeffrey Overstreet. 791.43 Ove

The Shaping of Things to Come: Innovation and mission for the 21st-century church, by Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch. 266 Fro

Walking with God: Talk to Him. Hear from Him. Really, by John Eldredge. 248.4 Eld

Surprised by Hope: Rethinking heaven, the resurrection, and the mission of the church, by N.T. Wright. 236.8 Wri

Sifted: Pursuing growth through trials, challenges, and disappointments, by Wayne Cordeiro, Francis Chan and Larry Osborne. 248.89 Cor

Fiction

Coming Home: A story of undying hope, by Karen Kingsbury. A standalone Baxter family book. Fic Kin

A.D. 30, by Ted Dekker. Brand-new Biblical fiction. Fic Dek

Gilead, by Marilynne Robinson. A Pulitzer Prize winner. Fic Rob

Motherless, by Erin Healy. Fic Hea

When Mockingbirds Sing, by Billy Coffey. Fic Cof

From time to time, you might find a book (or a movie) in our collection that includes some questionable content, particularly in the fiction section. Everyone has different sensitivities and scruples, and it’s worth asking why such material would be considered appropriate in a church library. Many feel that Christian fiction is supposed to be a safe place, where readers never have to fear being confronted with bad language, sex, depictions of alcohol and drugs, or other challenging content.

Here at Christ Center Library, we believe that Christian fiction is not defined by what it does not include, but by how it can be used by the Holy Spirit to shape our hearts and character. To be sure, mainstream fiction can also be used to shape us—it is a remarkable truth of general revelation, common grace, and the image of God that even those far from faith can provide meaningful input into our lives. We have not included mainstream media in our library, and traditionally, Christian media has provided that safe bubble, so this question has not come up before. More recently, however, some authors and publishers are pushing the boundaries of what is considered “appropriate” for Christian audiences, and we welcome that conversation.

The Christian life is to be one of freedom, grace, sanctification, love, and holiness. When a person is first saved, the experience is generally one of freedom and gratitude. Over time, however, we all tend toward legalism of one sort or another. It is very easy to erect fence laws that we believe will keep us safe, and say that what is on one side of our fence is “good” or “Christian” or “appropriate” and what is on the other side is “sinful” or “secular” or “inappropriate.” Sometimes, observing distinctions such as these is helpful and a matter of faithful, prayerful discernment. Sometimes, however, these distinctions are based not on faith, but on fear. And comfort must not be the goal of the believer. If we are to grow in our faith, we will need to be challenged at times.

Jesus said that it is not what enters a person, but what comes out of them, that makes them unclean. Paul said that nothing is off-limits for us, although we would do well to consider whether certain things are beneficial, helping us to bear Christlike fruit. We are also encouraged not to look down on those whose faith is weaker than ours, but to engage them with compassion and seek to grow together.

i want to challenge you today to think about where your boundaries lie and how you came to them. One of the most valuable aspects of fiction is the way it allows us to see through another person’s eyes. We are all in different places on our journey, and we can all learn from one another. But that takes faith and grace and courage. Thankfully, the Holy Sprit provides all three in abundance. The next time you come across something challenging that would normally raise your hackles, go to Him and ask whether you are reacting out of faith or fear. He’ll help you work through that. You may find that you are then able to read that book (or watch that movie) and benefit from it in ways you did not expect. You may find confirmation that no, you should not engage that content (and grace to express your reservations kindly, if necessary). But either way, you’ll be growing.

From time to time, you will find books at Christ Center Library which use language or express thoughts that challenge you. They’re there because they have something to say to us. They may offer a new wellspring of grace, or a reminder of the beauty of redemption, or a challenge to love the way Christ does, or an opportunity to be strengthened to fight spiritual battles. Let them minister to you. And don’t be afraid to talk to one of us, or a pastor, when that gets hard.

___

For more on darkness and offense in fiction: On Offensive Stories
For more on cursing and foul language in fiction and movies: He Said a Wordy Dird

What a great book sale we had this year. We had enough donations to fill up our sale tables twice, which we did—each week we added more books to the sagging tables. And you guys came through for us, and found a lot of treasures, too! All told, we made $372 this year!

Like last year, we had a wish list of items we hoped to buy from the proceeds. They included adult and kids’ books, movies, music, and games. And one out of every three dollars raised is going toward having Charlie Starr out again, this time for an all-day seminar on J.R.R. Tolkien. His C.S. Lewis seminar two summers ago was a smashing success, and we’re excited to host him again!

Next week, the new items will start pouring in (one has already arrived!). Keep an eye on this blog, our Facebook page, and the New Items shelf as we start adding them to the collection. Meanwhile, here’s what you’ve got to look forward to:

Seven new adult books (6 fiction, 1 nonfiction)

Three new young adult books (2 fiction, 1 nonfiction)

Three new children’s books (all fiction)

Five new CDs (2 for kids, 3 for teens and adults)

Four new DVDs (3 movies, 1 documentary)

One new game (fun for everyone!)

$124 raised for the Charlie Fund!

See how many red circles and checkmarks? 🙂

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A few prices dropped between making our wish list and placing our orders, and we were able to get a discount on shipping for some bundled items, so we’ve even got a little spare cash on hand. Stay tuned to find out where it ends up going!

Calling all teen readers! We’ve got three amazing books to give away—and when you see how amazing they are, we think you’ll agree that books like these call for an epic contest. So all through the month of September, you’ll be competing to win the book of your choice—and in the process, you’ll get to support and encourage authors you enjoy!

CreaturepediaDreamTreadersMonster in the Hollows

First, the books:

  • The Inexhaustive Creaturepedia: Skreean Edition, by Ollister B. Pembrick. “Within these pages lie the field notes of Pembrick himself, each drawn with one of his own two hands and annotated in careful detail noting the classification, weakness, taste, and demeanor of dozens of strange creatures found all across the continent of Skree.” You will be amazed, terrified, and hopefully not gobbled. AND!!! This copy has been signed by Aedan Peterson, who did most of the drawings in the book. He even added an extra pencil sketch, just for you!
  • DreamTreaders, by Wayne Thomas Batson. What if dreams were real? What if you could, in waking life, go into your dreamworlds and explore them? Fourteen-year-old Archer discovers that he is one of three people in his generation who can do just that—but the Nightmare Lord is also in the dreamworld. If you enjoyed The Door Within, The Isle pirate series, The Berinfell Prophecies, or The Dark Sea Annals, you will not want to miss this book! This is Mr. Batson’s newest book, and it’s in a brand-new trilogy. The next one comes out in early December.
  • The Monster in the Hollows, by Andrew Peterson. Thanks to Andrew’s phenomenal Kickstarter campaign to publish The Warden and the Wolf King, we ended up with a spare hardcover copy of the third book in the Wingfeather Saga! ***Note: The church bulletin from 8/31 reads North! Or Be Eaten, but that was a misprint. Oops! It’s actually The Monster in the Hollows that we’re giving away.

See? These are no ordinary books. These books are epic, and deserve an epic giveaway contest. Are you up for it? Here’s your mission:

All month long, think of Christ Center Library books you’ve read and enjoyed. Think of what in particular you liked about them. Then, in at least three sentences, write a review, and post it on Amazon, Goodreads, or LibraryThing (or all three!). Share your review on Christ Center Library’s Facebook page, so we can keep track of your reviews—each book review is a contest entry!

At the end of the month, we’ll draw winners and announce them on Sonday, October 5. The first-place winner will get to pick one of the three books we’re giving away. The second-place winner can pick next, and the third-place winner will receive the last book.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions):

Q: How old do i have to be to participate?

A: Readers between the ages of 10 and 18 can win books, although anybody can write and post reviews.

Q: Writing a book review sounds hard. Is it? Should i be scared?

A: No! Writing a book review is just like telling someone what you liked about the book. It’s maybe even less scary in a way, because you can get all your thoughts out without being interrupted. And the more reviews you write, the less scary it is.

Q: How do i write a book review?

A: If you’re writing a review about a book you just read, ask yourself what you most enjoyed about it, or what parts made you think, or whether there was anything you wish the author had done differently. If you’re writing a review about a book you read awhile back, think about what parts you remember the most, the parts that stand out even after some time has passed. Then, just write what you think. Your book review must be at least three sentences long to count for this contest, but it can be longer if you like; you can go into as much detail as you want.

Q: What about spoilers?

A: Spoilers—where you give away key plot points in your review—are okay if they are important to explaining what you liked or didn’t like about the book. But if you do use spoilers, please make sure to say “Warning: Spoilers” at the top of your review, so that people who haven’t read the book yet and don’t want to find things out before reading the book can be careful about what reviews they read. Some people love spoilers; others don’t.

Q: Do i have to say only good things? What if i read a book and really hated it, or mostly liked a book but there was one thing i didn’t like?

A: Honest reviews are the best kind of reviews, whether you loved every word or not. If there were things you didn’t like about the book, go ahead and talk about that. But be sure to be specific—reviews that just say “this book was horrible” don’t help other readers to find books they’ll like or help them understand what they might not like about this one. Plus, a book might appeal to some people and not to others. We don’t want to make judgments on what books people enjoy. So even if you really, truly hated the book and wish it would die in fire, please be kind in the way you express your opinions. You can be honest about what you disliked and still respect the author and other readers who enjoyed the book more than you did.

Q: Does spelling count? What if my thoughts aren’t very deep? Can i still participate and even win?

A: We’re not going to be judging reviews based on how professional you sound or whether you came up with some unique thought or whether you spelled everything correctly. And everyone’s taste in books is different—there’s no right or wrong about what you thought of the book. So go ahead and just talk about your reading experience. We’re going to toss all the reviews into a hat and then draw winners—so you don’t have to sound like you write for the New York Times Book Review (although that’s okay, too).

Q: What if i really love a book that you guys don’t have? Do i have to only write reviews about books i found at Christ Center Library?

A: No—write reviews about ALL THE BOOKS! But for the purpose of this contest, only reviews about books at Christ Center Library will count as entries to the giveaway. (You can still feel free to post other reviews on the Christ Center Library Facebook page, though. Who knows? Maybe we’ll read your review and then buy the book!) If you’re not sure whether Christ Center has the book you’d like to review, you can double-check our online catalog.

Q: Didn’t you say something about supporting authors? How does that work?

A: It helps authors a lot when readers write reviews, especially encouraging ones. Authors need to sell a lot of books in order to make enough money to keep writing (otherwise they’ll have to get another job and then they won’t be able to spend so much time on their books). And the more people talk about the books, the more people will read and buy them. Word of mouth is huge for authors. So every time you tell someone about a book you like, you’re helping out that author. And when you post a review on a website like Amazon, Goodreads, or LibraryThing, even more people will hear why the book is so great. And then when the author reads reviews of their book, it can be really, really encouraging to them to hear that people like their stories. Knowing that their books are being enjoyed or even making a difference in their readers’ lives helps them a lot. Everybody needs kind, encouraging words. Even authors.

Q: But you said i could write negative reviews. How does that help the author?

A: Any review, including thoughtfully-written negative ones, helps connect readers to books, and that is helpful to authors. The more people are talking about their books, the more people will read and buy them. But it’s true that negative reviews can be discouraging. That’s why it’s so important to be careful how you say what you dislike about the book. And if you can say something you did like alongside what you didn’t like, that can help, too. Gentle criticism helps us all grow, authors included. Believe it or not, i’ve actually heard authors say they appreciate negative comments, because it helps them improve their writing. And the extra thought that goes into expressing what you did and didn’t like makes the positive parts stand out more. It tells them that you’re taking their story seriously. In short, you don’t have to lie in order to support an author. You just have to be kind.

Q: How do i post my reviews?

A: You can post reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, or LibraryThing. If you already have an account at one of those places, just log in, search for the book you want to review, and then find and click the link to write a review. You can even copy and paste the same review to other sites, if you want (including Poudre River Public Library). If you don’t already have an account at one of those places, visit each one and see whether you think you might enjoy using that site, and then sign up for an account. Double-check to see if you’ll need parental consent. Then, go leave your review! When you’re finished, post it on the library’s Facebook page by copying and pasting the link to the review (or there might be a share button). Don’t know what these sites are? Amazon is a huge online bookseller. Amazon reviews probably help the author most, just because so many people buy books from them. Goodreads and LibraryThing don’t sell books, but a lot of people use them to keep track of books they’ve read and connect with other readers—they’re social networking sites for book-lovers. Goodreads is more about keeping lists of books you’ve read and books you want to read, and LibraryThing is more about keeping track of what books you own. You can even find some authors on those sites, and find out what books they’ve been reading!

Any other questions? Just stop by the library or send me an email. i’ll be glad to help you out. 🙂

One dozen!

On top of yesterday’s post full of new books, we added a full dozen new fiction titles to the collection this week. Take one last grasp at summer and pick up one of these books before school starts.

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Butterfly Palace, by Colleen Coble. Lily Donaldson, reeling from loss, arrives in Austin looking for a fresh start as a kitchen maid. But even as one loss is made fresh and grievous by the presence of an unexpected dinner guest, the Servant Girl Killer’s path swerves dangerously close to the Butterfly Palace, where Lily works. How can she know who to trust in a house where lies come dressed in fine suits and deceit in silk gowns the colors of butterfly wings? (Fic Cob)

Every Waking Moment, by Chris Fabry. Treha Langsam is a mysterious young woman who has fallen through the cracks, much like many of the elderly people she works with at Desert Gardens Retirement Home. But Miriam Howard, director of the facility, sees her extraordinary gift and untapped potential. Treha is a whisperer of sorts, calling those who have slipped into dementia back to a life of vibrant, if only temporary, clarity. When Treha’s and Miriam’s stories intertwine with a documentary team looking for stories of the elderly, Treha’s gift is uncovered, and the search begins for answers to the mysteries of her past. As their paths converge, each person is forced to face the same difficult question: What if this is as good as my life gets? (Fic Fab)

Dark Justice, by Brandilyn Collins. While driving a rural road, Hannah Shire and her aging mother, who suffers 
from dementia, stop to help a man at the scene of a car accident. The man whispers mysterious words in Hannah’s ear. Before the two women know it, they’re caught up in intrigue, running for their lives from a threat they do not understand, which endangers not only Hannah and her mother, but Hannah’s daughter Emily, and perhaps the entire country as well. (Fic Col)

A Treasure Deep, by Alton Gansky. It had started as an effort to save one man’s life. It became a project more important than anything Perry Sachs had ever done. More significant than anything he could ever do in the future . . . In a few hours, he would return to the spot that very well might change the course of history. It would be dark by then, but that didn’t matter. This was an around-the-clock operation. A secret for now. Soon it would be world news. No, this was no mere project—it was a mission from God. What is buried in the hills of California? This is the first book in the Perry Sachs series. (Fic Gan)

It Happened at the Fair, by Deeanne Gist. Gambling everything—including the family farm—Cullen McNamara travels to the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair with his most recent invention. But the noise in the fair’s Machinery Hall makes it impossible to communicate with potential buyers. In an act of desperation, he hires Della Wentworth, a teacher of the deaf, to tutor him in the art of lip-reading. The young teacher is reluctant to participate, and Cullen has trouble keeping his mind on his lessons while intently watching her lips. Like the newly invented Ferris wheel, he is caught in a whirl between his girl back home, his dreams as an inventor, and his unexpected attraction to his new tutor. Can he keep his feet on the ground, or will he be carried away? (Fic Gis)

Wings of Glass, by Gina Holmes.On the cusp of womanhood, Penny is swept off her feet by a handsome farmhand with a confident swagger. Before the ink even dries on their marriage certificate, he hits her for the first time. It isn’t the last, yet the bruises that can’t be seen are the most painful of all. When Trent is injured in a welding accident and his paycheck stops, he has no choice but to finally allow Penny to take a job cleaning houses. Here she meets two women from very different worlds who will teach her to live and laugh again, and lend her their backbones just long enough for her to grow her own. (Fic Hol)

The Shadow Lamp, by Stephen R. Lawhead. Kit, Mina, Gianni, Cass, Haven, and Giles have gathered in Mina’s 16th-century coffee house and are united in their determination to find a path back to the Spirit Well. Yet, with their shadow lamps destroyed and key pieces of the map still missing, the journey will be far more difficult than they imagine. And when one of their own disappears with Sir Henry’s cryptic Green Book, they no longer know who to trust. The fate of the universe depends on unraveling the riddle of the Skin Map. This is the last book in Lawhead’s most recent series, Bright Empires. Begin reading with The Skin Map, on the fiction shelf. (Fic Law)

Iscariot, by Tosca Lee. In Jesus, Judas believes he has found the One – the promised Messiah and future king of the Jews, destined to overthrow Roman rule. Galvanized, he joins the Nazarene’s followers; ready to enact the change he has waited for all his life. But soon Judas’ vision of a nation free from Rome is crushed by the inexplicable actions of the Nazarene himself, who will not bow to social or religious convention – who seems, in the end, to even turn against his own people. At last, Judas must confront the fact that the master he loves is not the liberator he hoped for, but a man bent on a drastically different agenda. (Fic Lee)

Cyndere’s Midnight  and Raven’s Ladder, by Jeffrey Overstreet. Auralia’s Colors, the first in the Auralia Thread series, was possibly the most hauntingly beautiful and ambitious fantasy novels written in the last few decades, and the story of the redemption of the five great houses of The Expanse continues in these two books. In Cyndere’s Midnight, the power of Auralia’s colors brings together a bloodthirsty beastman and a grieving widow in a most unlikely relationship… one that not only will change their lives, but could also impact the four kingdoms of The Expanse forever. Raven’s Ladder continues the story through the eyes of King Cal-Raven of Abascar. Five stars from your librarian, who loves these books. Begin reading with Auralia’s Colors, on the fiction shelf. (Fic Ove)

Hatteras Girl, by Alice J. Wisler. There are two things twenty-nine-year-old Jackie Donovan asks God for: an honest, wonderful man to marry, and to own a bed-and-breakfast in the Outer Banks region. There’s one specific property Jackie dreams of purchasing: the Bailey Place, a fabulous old home where Jackie spent many happy childhood afternoons, a place that has now fallen into disrepair. When Jackie meets handsome Davis Erickson, who holds the key to the Bailey Place, Jackie is sure God has answered both her prayers. But as Jackie learns some disturbing details about Davis’s past, she begins to question her own motivation. Will she risk her long-held dreams to find out the truth? (Fic Wis)

Dreamtreaders, by Wayne Thomas Batson. The much-anticipated latest novel by one of our favorite YA authors is finally here! Fourteen-year-old Archer Keaton discovers he has the ability to enter and explore his dreams. He is a dreamtreader, one of three selected from each generation. Their mission: to protect the waking world from the Nightmare Lord, who wreaks chaos in the Dream World. But as Archer’s dreams become more dangerous and threatening, so too does his waking life. This is the first in a trilogy. (YA Fic Bat)

Also on the New Items shelf:

Lilith and Phantastes by George MacDonald; Evangellyfish by Douglas Wilson; Harvest of Rubies and Harvest of Gold by Tessa Afshar.