The Theology of Dan Brown

Reading Dan Brown’s Inferno? Check out the blog “Facing the Inferno: 60 Days in Dan Brown’s Hell” to learn more about Dante and his original poem, some really interesting info!

Faces from Dante's InfernoHere is a taste (used with permission, of course!):

Dan Brown’s novel, Inferno, arrived in Tuesday’s mail. There was an embargo on this book – no one in the media was permitted to review it until the actual publication date (May 14, 2013). So now, hundreds of book reviewers and bloggers are speedily reading it in order to post their thoughts to the world. Some of them even stayed up all night long to speed read and then post.

We will take it slower. This blog is not where you will go to find a synopsis of Dan Brown’s Inferno. You can find that almost anywhere. Instead, this is where you will come if you want to explore what Brown has to say about Dante, the poet, and Dante’s famous poem.

It won’t surprise you that Dan Brown gets a lot of things wrong. Or that he twists and imagines ideas and events that did not actually happen in order to enhance his fictional narrative. We will point out some of these things, here. But most of all, we will explore the real Dante.

Poetry and publishing

April is National Poetry Month. Here is a mid-month reminder of how poetry can touch us in a way that we cannot explain.

Ranier Maria Rilke is most famous for his Letters to a Young Poet, exchanged between 1902 and 1908 with Franz Kappus, a 19-year old military cadet seeking guidance for his poetry.

The poem below is excerpted from a new book, Prayers of a Young Poet, a collection of earlier works Rilke wrote in 1899 after returning to Germany from his first trip to Russia.

We grasp You only in what we do,
illuminate You only with our hands;
our every sense is but a guest here,
yearning to reach beyond the world.

Every sense is conceived;
one feels its elegant hem,
and knows someone spun it—
but heaven surrenders itself
because it cannot choose.

I don’t want to know where You are;
speak to me from every place.
Your willing evangelist distorts
everything, and in his forgetting
neglects to look for the resonance.

But I’m always approaching You
with all my coming;
yet who am I and who are You
when neither of us understands the other?

Prayers of a Young Poet


A guide to finding your way in the dark

We talk a lot about vision at Paraclete. Where are we heading? What are we trying to accomplish? What is God asking us to do next? It’s an exciting way to work, scary sometimes, but never boring.

Last night I was walking home. It was dark out, and I had a flashlight (or at least a flashlight app — hooray for those!) I was using it to highlight a small area right in front of my feet, when this thought popped into my head. Grabbing ahold of the vision is a lot light using a flashlight. We can highlight the tiny circle around our feet, making certain we won’t stumble, but we’ll never really know exactly where we are heading. Or we can shine the light at the road ahead of us, possibly tripping on the little ruts along the way, but certain we are moving in the direction we want to go.

Hot off the press

Two new books

We just received these two books today.  I’m so excited about both of them. The Intentional Christian Community Handbook  “is a book we’ve needed for a long, long time” – plus it is our first book ever printed on 100% post consumer recycled paper. Anyone interested in life in community – looking for it, found it, whatever your story is – will find this book full of help and wisdom.

Soul Unfinished is my personal favorite book this season. The subtitle is “Finding Happiness, Taking Risks & Trusting God as We Grow Older” but I’m not 30 yet, and this book taught me a lot.  Older people read it and remember how much you have to offer, young people read it and remember how much you have to learn!