Hamilton

I saw Hamilton last night and it lived up to all the hype.

To give you a bit of history on my journey to this amazing moment, I’ll go back about a year. A good friend of mine told me that he had been listening to the Hamilton soundtrack and was really digging it. I had heard that the musical was amazing and remarkably well done, but I had never really bothered to look into it much more than that. I’ve been to musicals before and enjoyed them. I’d even worked at a theatre for a time and ran lights for a show. How could this musical truly be any different?

Then I listened to it. 

I have never been a fan of rap, hip-hop, or R&B, but I have always been a fan of good music. It’s not that those genres aren’t good, it’s just never the first thing I seek out. Hamilton is full of it, and I loved every bit of it. The story is so well told using this medium and these chosen genres of music. It’s both an uplifting and tragic tale told in two acts with striking differences in their portrayal. The rise and fall of one of America’s most forgotten founding fathers. I listened to the whole thing at work … twice. I was humming songs on the way home and had managed to get myself obsessed with it. 

The only real bummer about listening to it rather than *seeing* it, is that you miss all the visual queues, dancing, even characters with the music. There were times on the soundtrack where I wasn’t really sure who was actually singing because I’m not that great at recognizing individual voices and remembering who they belong to. Though the story is just as powerful when you listen blind, there is a layer added to it when you get to see it performed live.

The road crew on this thing was amazing. Anytime I hear about a touring show, I always have a small worry that the people performing are somehow sub-par compared to those on Broadway. I couldn’t be more wrong. These people were top notch performers. Their voices were powerful and familiar to me even after having listened to the soundtrack so many times. The goal wasn’t to find a sound-alike person, but rather a strong performer who could carry the role as it was intended. They knocked it out of the park. The major standout to me was the woman who played Eliza Hamilton. She had one of the most beautiful voices that I’ve ever heard.

I feel so incredibly lucky to have been able to see this show. There are people who wait years to get into it. We were able to get a couple of abandoned tickets from some friends of ours so we could go. I’ll forever be thankful for them offering those up, because this truly was a once-in-a-lifetime chance for us. The likelihood of us ever making our way to New York or Chicago just to see a play is so low. Our best bet was to see it when it came here. 

If you ever get a chance to see this show you should do it. It was beautiful in so many different ways. I laughed and I cried through the whole thing. I’m not the biggest Hamilton (the man) fan as he was a bit of a big government pseudo-monarchist, but that doesn’t make his story any less incredible. It’s worth checking out. It’s a story of an orphaned immigrant with all of the odds stacked against him who fought his way up the ladder despite constant opposition. There’s something to admire there no matter how you feel about his politics. 

Go see Hamilton. You won’t regret it. 

The Reading List: The Stand

The Reading List is a segment of the blog where I let you know the thing I just read and some thoughts about it along with the next book in my list. Should you want to read along with me, let me know in the comments! 

Boy, The Stand was one long and rough journey. Both for me and the characters in the book. This is one of those books that people will tell you that you should definitely read, and I’m here to tell you that they are all right. You should read it. You should be prepared to work through it, but if you can get through all 1200 pages, you’re in for a very satisfying story.

Stephen King’s novel was released in 1979, but apparently people were upset that he didn’t include 500 pages worth of “extra” material, so it was republished in the early 90’s. I never read the original cut, so I really don’t know what was missing in the original. I do have an inkling of what might have been left out. There are some long rat holes into the lives of what I might consider to be secondary characters, but really at the end it ended up being pretty important. The only review I can give you is on the epic 1200 pages that I plowed through.

The short story is, I loved it! It was such an incredibly well written and well paced story. It took forever to finally get to the summary you read on the back. You don’t get to meet Mother Abigail for maybe 600 pages. Knowing that there was a “stand” coming, but never seeing an inkling of it for almost half the book was a little tough. Though I did find it pretty fun to read each character’s journey and how they found each other. By the time all the main characters got together, I knew who they were. I knew their past and what made them who they were. They were all fully formed humans once the story got rolling.

One chapter in particular blew my mind, and that was Chapter 8. It’s the section of the book that simply spends some time talking about how the plague, Captain Trips, spread from person to person. It was amazing to read how one person took it to three people who took it to another four who then took it to seven people. It’s not like reading geneaologies in the Bible though. It’s not boring. This book is never truly boring. Stephen King has a way of wrapping you into stuff that should be really straight forward and then turning it just a little askew. He shifts the normal just enough that it’s weird and slightly off putting.

There were a few characters that I loved reading about. Nick Andros, Stu Redman, and Tom Cullen. I mean, there are plenty of other fascinating folks in this book, but these guys were the heroes. There was also Frannie Goldsmith and, of course, Randall Flagg (aka The Dark Man.) Nick was a deaf and mute dude who managed to do more than anyone would have expected considering the world he ended up in. Stu was just a great guy who managed to get rolled in with all the other right people. He was kind of the patient zero in the story. One of the folks that was closest to the original victims but never seemed to catch the flu. Tom was mentally challenged but very much ends up being a key to saving the day. 

Randall Flagg though, man. That guy was dispicable and deranged. King doesn’t hold back in letting you know that he’s some other kind of force in this book. He quickly tells you all about Flagg’s history and his status as Satan’s Imp. He’s a bad dude, and he’s always been around. He just waits for the next catastrophe and tries to capitalize on it to rip people apart. The only good news we have is that he doesn’t win… or does he? You might walk way wondering if the world is going to be awesome after all the dust settles, or if we’re just doomed to repeat our mistakes over and over. Was the haven in Boulder really any better than all the convicts in Vegas? I still don’t know, and it’s something I’m likely to be thinking about for a while.

This is definitely a must read. Give it a try.

Next up: The Heroes – Joe Abercrombie

Empathy

I have always been a magnet for feelings. If I see someone crying, there’s a good chance I’m going to cry. If I see someone laughing, I’ll laugh even if I don’t get the joke. I feed on the emotions of other people, and in doing so they become mine. Even when I was a little kid, a person could cause me to feel any number of things just by feeling that way themselves.

I remember a time when I was in preschool and I was very rude to a little girl who wanted to come into our “hideout” and play with us. She looked so sad and I immediately regretted everything. I sat in my little hideout feeling terrible and just waiting to get in trouble for being so mean. That moment has obviously stuck with me, and I still consider it any time I say something that I feel may have been too strong, especially to someone who didn’t deserve it.

Recently, I had a day when I was just feeling down. I had been doing okay, but I talked to someone that wasn’t. This person just seemed down in the dumps for some reason. I don’t even know the story, but they were projecting their feelings even if they didn’t mean to. I have an uncanny ability, likely because of this empathy thing, to tell when someone is carrying some extra emotional weight. This person definitely was, and I picked up on it. Everything about my demeanor changed. I sat down on the couch and just stewed in this anxiety. 

I’ve been trying to pay attention when things like this happen and not just be sad or anxious, but to figure out why I feel like that. I had a few quiet moments so I sat there and explored. I considered what may have happened. I searched my brain to try and figure out where the feeling was coming from. Stephanie even asked me, “You were fine a little while ago, what’s going on?” I sat quietly, because there are plenty of things that could be wrong, but I wasn’t sure if any of those were what was actually causing the problem. Then she asked the real question that I needed, “Is this feeling yours, or did you take it from someone?”

BOOM

I zeroed in on the problem and it wasn’t my feeling. It was totally someone elses, and I was just sitting around stewing in it. I had lost at least a half hour of my life being worried about something that I had no business worrying about. I was up, bouncing, and feeling great as soon as I learned that it wasn’t mine. It was freedom. I had picked up an emotion I didn’t understand and realized that I didn’t have to. I was as shocked as she was about how light I felt after that weight had been lifted. I’d never had that experience before. 

I’ve come to the realization after thirty-three years that I need to sit down when I feel sad and look for who might have transferred it to me. If I can do that, then I can get over it. It’s not always a solution, but it’s another tool in my toolbox to help me work through things. I very rarely have anything to be too sad about, so generally it is someone else. I guess I’m what they call and “empath” but I don’t have the issue with physical pain that some of those folks do. Some people don’t just absorb emotions, but they also absorb people’s physical pain. 

I see a lot of this in Sam when he is with his peers and one of them is really upset. He feels so bad for them. You can see it in his eyes. It makes him anxious and worried. The good news is that I see it in him now, and if I can figure out how to work through my own issues with it, then I can help him out too. 

Maybe some of this has helped you as well. If you have experiences with empathy being a bit too strong, how do you deal with it? It can be pretty intense. I’m the worst at cheering people up simply because I can’t stay happy when they are sad. I just get down in the dirt and wallow in it with them. Don’t call me to perk up your friends or visit sad kids at a hospital. I’m definitely the wrong person for that job.

The Reading List: Artemis

The Reading List is a segment of the blog where I let you know the thing I just read and some thoughts about it along with the next book in my list. Should you want to read along with me, let me know in the comments! 

I was a huge fan of The Martian by Andy Weir. I listened to the audiobook twice. There was something about it that spoke to me. Mainly the engineering aspect of it. It used science to fight back against a planet that was trying to kill the protagonist, Mark Wattney. With every step forward, something would put him two steps back because he had some other thing to figure out. It also followed the skill and expertise of a team on earth that helped get him home. There was a lot of hope involved in that book. Good people trying to save a man stranded on a planet thousands of miles from home.

Artemis is not that story. Artemis is about a smuggler named Jasmine Bashara, Jazz for short. She’s not a good person. You might even consider her a bad person. At the very least, she is a morally ambiguous person who has certain people she cares about but everyone else can die in a fire. 

I love Jazz.

It’s not that she’s horrible, but rather that she’s so fun to read. This whole book is written in the first person, and I’m so glad it is. With that perspective you get every bit of what Jazz is thinking and I love the way her mind works. It’s messed up, but always in a humorous and witty way. Andy Weir is a sarcastic son of a gun, and it shines through so well in this story.

The science is on full display here as it always is with his work. There’s not nearly as much problem solving here, but it’s not that kind of story. Instead you get little tidbits of info about what life is like on a lunar colony. He does a great job of reminding you that this is some kind of outpost in a desolate landscape every so often. The rules for living on a lunar colony are on full display and it’s all about keeping people alive. 

Jazz gets wrapped up in an incredibly believable mob conspiracy, and I have no doubt that something like this might occur if the moon was actually colonized. I’m not going to spoil anything, but there is a money grab involved. There are some fantastic twists and turns as we figure out more about what is going on. 

I hung on to every word of this story. It was sarcastic, funny, smart, witty, and all the things I ever want out of a fully developed character. She makes mistakes, blames others, swindles people, drinks too much, and loves her dad more than she’s willing to admit to herself. She’s amazing and I want to read more stories with her in it.

I might be keeping this one on my shelf for a long time.

Up Next: The Stand …. maybe

The Reading List: Console Wars

The Reading List is a segment of the blog where I let you know the thing I just read and some thoughts about it along with the next book in my list. Should you want to read along with me, let me know in the comments! 

Oh. My. Word.

I had no idea that the early 90’s was chock full of video game console intrigue. I got my first console in 1989 when I was four years old. It was a Nintendo Entertainment System and it opened my eyes to a world that I would pretty much belong to forever. That wonderful world of video games and the joy that they can bring on a rainy day or when you want to group up with your friends and attack virtual monsters together. I wasn’t just a Nintendo fan though. I was into all the consoles and was one of the lucky kids that had a Super Nintendo and a Sega Genesis at the same time.

I had no idea that those two consoles were probably hurling insults at each other when I wasn’t looking.

Console Wars excellently details the story of the scrappy little company that could, Sega, and it’s fight against the juggernaut that was Nintendo. There were so many shenanigans between those two companies back then. From undercutting prices to social engineering for secret info. Nothing was off the table when it came to Sega’s attempts at crushing Nintendo at its own game. The thing that shocked me the most about the whole story is that Nintendo was a bunch of buttholes when it came to controlling their product. They had licensing restrictions, quality restrictions, and they even made you purchase the cartridges from them at $10 a pop. Now some of this wasn’t such a bad idea considering that the video games industry almost completely fell over. Without Nintendo, it’s likely we wouldn’t have the same landscape we had today. They put in a lot of effort to make sure that no one was sold garbage so they could keep making awesome stuff.

Sega is the main character in this book, at least the way I read it. The book is written as a narrative pieced together over countless interviews. Obviously, Blake Harris wasn’t there when all these conversations were being had, but he put together a realistic and compelling background to each of them so it feels like he could have been. He is a fantastic storyteller and made this a book I couldn’t put down whenever I started reading it. I feel like I know the brave folks at Sega who really pushed the brand forward when it was struggling to find its place. The Sega of America team really knew what it was doing and if Sega of Japan had just gotten out of the way, who knows where they would be now. The Genesis was an amazing system, and I believe the Saturn could have been as well SoJ would have just let SoA make the deals they needed to make.

I highly recommend giving this book a read. It’s easy to read this stuff and think about all the good decisions that were made in order to get Sega over 50% market share, but those decisions were also incredibly risky if you consider them. The folks at Sega were gutsy, and that’s what really made the brand stand out. I actually want to go up in the attic and pull out my Genesis and walk down memory lane. I would also love to know about the “almost” renaissance that was the Dreamcast but the book stops short of that. Either way, it was still fantastic and I’m sure I can do my own research to dig deeper.

Read it!
Console Wars – Blake J. Harris

Next Up: Artemis – Andy Weir

The Reading List (Audio): Make Your Bed

The Reading List is a segment of the blog where I let you know the thing I just read and some thoughts about it along with the next book in my list. Should you want to read along with me, let me know in the comments! 

I am not worthy.

That’s the way I felt when I finished this one. I think at the end of his days, William McRaven will be able to say that he sucked the marrow out of life. This is a life well lived. Partly because of the things he accomplished, but mainly because he challenged himself to persevere and get through some of the most grueling events that life can throw at you. These were events that he *chose* to participate in. Of course, he’s dealt with bad hands here and there, but he put himself through many of the stories that made it into this book.

McRaven is an inspiration to people everywhere. The lessons that he lays out in this book are things that everyone can use to arm themselves for the challenges they are going to face throughout their lives. These aren’t just lessons that a Navy seal needs. These are lessons that we could all stand to hear, they just hear them louder and more intentional than we will. I have no idea where he got his strength and toughness, but it’s on full display here.

I thought it would be a bit off-putting to begin with because I’m not a military man, and I’m generally averse to some of the voice he uses in this book. He comes across as an incredibly rigid and disciplined man, and I don’t know why that kind of attitude bothers me. It’s so impressive and something to honor for sure, but I have some little piece of me that fights it. I’ve always been that way and I’m not sure why. That being said, it’s something I need to overcome. It’s not a problem with him, but a problem with me.

A few weeks ago, I started making my bed in the morning as suggested as the first lesson in this book. Having not read the book, I didn’t know the reasons behind it, but I knew it was somehow important to an incredibly successful person. It’s honestly changed me. Not just the way my day starts, but also the way my day goes from the morning on. It’s a simple, accomplishable task that you can do at the beginning of the day to get the ball rolling. If you can make your bed, you can make breakfast. If you can make your bed, you’ve already gotten to work so getting to work is less of a slog.

I highly recommend this to pretty much everyone. I think there are sections of this book that resonate more than others for me, but it could be largely different for you. Give it a read and see if it can change you even a little bit. If anything, it shows the limits that a human being can be pushed to and continue moving forward. We all have it in us, we just need to do things that help prove to us that it’s there.

The Reading List: The Big Sleep

The Reading List is a segment of the blog where I let you know the thing I just read and some thoughts about it along with the next book in my list. Should you want to read along with me, let me know in the comments!

The big yellow button on the Amazon web page was enticing. It pulled me in like a moth to a flame. The name of the book: The Big Sleep. A hard-boiled detective novel by Raymond Chandler. I’d never read his work. It didn’t matter. The premise hooked me. I sat in the dark with my Kindle. The faint glow of the backlight illuminating a world I never got to see. A world of conspiracy, greed, murder, and indoor smoking. I devoured the pages like a lion devours a gazelle. They say words are food for the brain, and I was hungry.

I really hope you read that in a 1930’s mid-atlantic radio voice because that’s how I wrote it. The Big Sleep is considered by many to be the best encapsulation of hard-boiled detective fiction ever written. Raymon Chandler’s Phillip Marlowe is not just a private detective, he’s THE detective. He’s arrogant, smart, confident, and blunt. When you think of a private detective from the 40’s, you’re probably thinking of Phillip Marlowe. He’s the template for every detective novel that comes after.

I’m admittedly terrible at following mysteries. They require a certain amount of thought and investment in “whodunit” and I read like  I watch a movie. I read to be entertained and enjoy, and I don’t spend a lot of time trying to figure anything out. I just want to be on the ride. Picking a book like this was unusual for me, but I also love the style of Raymond Chandler’s writing. The way he builds the atmosphere is incredible. He makes sure you have all the details you need to paint the picture he wants you to see, but not so much that you get bored.

One thing that also stood out to me is that he has a limited set of characters that he wants you to know about. There are about ten or fewer characters that have any dialogue in the story, and it really lends to the vibe he’s trying to create. Marlowe only cares about the people that he’s investigating, he’s being paid by, or can help him. There are only so many people that he wants to talk to, so you only have so many people to care about. He rarely describes people on the streets unless they somehow stand in the way of a goal or are critical to the investigation or his observations.

If you’re into detective stories and really want that black & white style, 1940’s vibe, then this is a book for you. I will say that the content of this thing is incredibly dated. The way the women are written is two-dimensional, the language used is offensive at times, and it can be a wild ride into the past. I’ll tell you we’ve made a lot of social progress since 1939. A lot of people want to look back on life back then with rose-colored glasses, but we definitely are better off today than we were then in terms of people and their acceptance of others.

Check it out!

Next up: Console Wars – Blake J. Harris

Potty Mouth

The rise of the Twitch superstar has been an interesting one. There are a ton of normal gamers out there who have managed to amass some pretty huge followings thanks to either their personalities or skills in a particular game. I’ve been following along with it for a few years since we started streaming stuff over there. If there is one thing I’ve noticed, it’s that there are a bunch of folks with filthy language out there.

I want to be careful not to be condescending towards them because a lot of people are really down with it, but it’s just not for me. I watch streamers who are positive, care about their communities, and generally try to maintain at least a PG-13 style stream. The only thing about the other style of streamer that concerns me is that a bunch of them seem to be getting in trouble for saying horrible things on the internet in front of their adoring fans. It’s really putting a damper on eSports in general because every few weeks you see another player who has been suspended from their team or another Twitch streamer who gets a temp ban for some bad behavior. I really want something like eSports to succeed, despite my not watching it, because it’s a cool outlet for people who were never into traditional sports. These folks are talented and they deserve an awesome venue to display those talents.

What I think these people really need is some sort of media relations coach. Being “on” all the time is incredibly stressful, but they also have to realize that everything they say is recorded and matters. It’s not unlike celebrities who have to do those obnoxious press junkets every time they have a new movie come out. They have to be prepared and they have to play their part without saying horrible things or spoiling something for everyone. I think Twitch streamers are often brought into the “famous” arena without properly being molded to it and figuring out how to handle that fame. They end up just being an obnoxious gamer but instead of ranting by themselves in their room, they’re ranting to a room full of 10,000+ people. Someone needs to teach them how to deal with that kind of stress.

I don’t mean to blanket all streamers that way. There are a ton of folks that have a fairly squeaky clean image and still have a bunch of followers. I just think we can do better as a community of gamers to improve our image. I would rather there be headlines about how much awesome charity stuff we do. CohhCarnage raised over $62k for St. Jude in a recent charity stream. That didn’t show up on any blogs that I read, but I see plenty of stories about homophobic and racial slurs all over the place. What can we do to fix that, man? Further reducing incidents of hate would help. A lot of this is just human stuff and works itself out in time for people I’m sure. I know I said stupid stuff when I was younger that was broadcasted to the world. I’ve been podcasting since 2005 so I know it happened. Hopefully, some of these folks just need time and some hard lessons to learn what not to say and how to grow into a better person. We all have to strive for it and we’ll get there someday.

 

The Reading List: Robin

The Reading List is a segment of the blog where I let you know the thing I just read and some thoughts about it along with the next book in my list. Should you want to read along with me, let me know in the comments!

I rarely finish a book in a week. It’s a thing that just doesn’t happen for me mainly because I don’t have the time, and usually because the book doesn’t pull me back in that much. Very few books have ever commanded my attention as much as “Robin” by Dave Itzkoff. To be fair, I love biographies and autobiographies. Some of my favorite books are those about people’s lives. I’m not sure what hooks me. It might be the idea that these are true stories and experiences that we can all learn from or relate to. Robin is no exception to that.

I grew up with Robin Williams. By the time I was watching movies he was all over them. He was the genie in Aladdin, which I’m pretty sure I played enough the tape should have broken. Oh the good ol’ days of Disney’s clamshell VHS cases, right? He became one of my favorite actors when Mrs. Doubtfire hit theatres. It was an amazing movie that had plenty to give to all ages. There were jokes that went well over my head that I now think are hilarious as an adult. He had a gift for entertainment, but it was also a bit of a curse for him.

Dave Itzkoff built an incredible narrative around a very complicated man. He went from an unknown stand up comic in San Francisco to a superstar, but that road was never easy and his success was never obvious, especially not to him. What I learned most here is that he was profoundly insecure about his own fame, success, and even his own ability to make people laugh. He loved to make people laugh, but he would often leave shows wondering if he did a good enough job. He suffered from enough anxiety about it that he would often call people after the fact to be sure he didn’t offend them. He desperately wanted to be loved. Even after reading the book and understanding a bit of his childhood, the book never truly reveals why he may have felt this way. I don’t know that it could if it tried. People are enigmas, and Robin may have been the greatest one of all. He was a comedy genius and a tortured soul all rolled into one.

There were interesting tidbits about his life in this book that never came through with his public image. He was terrified of not being cared about or famous anymore. Not because he needed the fame, but he wanted the love. He wanted to know that he could always entertain people, and I think in the end that’s what ended it all for him. When he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s he saw the end of the line for what he identified with. His identity was found in his ability to make people laugh. There’s a huge lesson for us all in here. If you identify yourself as something that may be fleeting such as fame, your mental faculties, your strength, and others, you’re going to get to the end of your life disappointed. Cling to something permanent, something immovable so that you can be yourself all the way to the end of the road. Robin didn’t have that and I think that hurt him in the end.

The sad thing about it all is that he did have people that loved him all around, but once his disease took hold, it was almost impossible for him to see it. It was found in his autopsy that he was actually suffering from a pretty gnarly form of dementia. It caused motor function issues, hallucinations, paranoia, and personality changes. These were all things he struggled with and I think it’s safe to say for us that it wasn’t really him who put an end to his life. It was his body, but his mind was well gone by the time he got to that dark place. The Robin Williams we all knew and loved wasn’t going to come back.

I was floored by this book. I couldn’t put it down. It usually takes me a few weeks to get through a biography, despite my love for them, but I managed to read this one in seven days. That’s a record time for me. Especially with a 400-page book. I think the only thing that compares is the Harry Potter series. If you loved Robin Williams, I highly recommend checking this one out. It was a fantastic read.

Next Up: The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler

The Reading List: Muscular Christianity

The Reading List is a segment of the blog where I let you know the thing I just read and some thoughts about it along with the next book in my list. Should you want to read along with me, let me know in the comments!

Muscular Christianity was introduced to me by my good friend, Twitter, and The Art of Manliness blog. It’s easily one of my favorite websites for long-form reading on culture and how it attempts to define what a “man” is in today’s world. In this latest ebook, the husband and wife team of Brett and Kate McKay explore the issue of church attendance amongst men. It’s an academic book in a lot of ways but the narrative is strong and it never gets boring. There are statistics galore and a ton of surprises, at least for me.

One of the striking things that I learned from this book is that men’s participation in the church has been an issue since as far back as the Puritan era in America. You’d think that every man in a village would have been in church during that time, but you’d be wrong. The women in a congregation outnumbered the men nearly 4 to 1. That’s incredible to me considering how patriarchal Christianity seems to be at first glance. Since the beginning of American church, it’s just been hard to drag men into the place. It’s not for lack of trying either. As we delve deeper in we find out all about the many attempts to make church attractive for men, and how some succeeded and some failed.

There was also a point in history when the sermons simply began targeting women because they were the ones in attendance, and largely the responsible one at home when it came to the family’s spiritual health. Some of this was because of the industrial revolution and men leaving home to work and pursue earthly goals. The woman was left at home to see that the children were brought up with God in their lives. I found this to be very interesting because in a lot of ways we still do this today. Both parents are typically working these days, but the men seem to still rely on their wives to make sure spiritual needs are met at home, or they simply don’t care if they are or not.

All in all, there were some great things to learn here. As a husband, father, and Christian, I found a lot of lessons to be had and actually discovered some things that had been eating at me that I had not considered. Like the regard of an intimate relationship with Jesus rather than one of admiration for his power, principles, and whip-cracking spirit that is as visible in the Bible as his squishy side. Modern church tends to focus so much on the squishy Jesus that the one that knocked over tables and spoke hard truths gets forgotten or lost in the messages.

I definitely recommend this read. Even if you aren’t a Christian, it’s an academic exploration that at least might be of some interest to you. You can grab the ebook from Amazon: amzn.to/2lM5Gip

Next Up: Robin by Dave Itzkoff (https://amzn.to/2KsYLcQ)