March 17, 2010

Guest Review by Dueserpenti: Lord of the Force

In JarJar We Trust
The following review was written by guest writer dueserpenti, freelance smartass.

Praise the Lord (of the Force)!
Christian Wisdom of the Jedi Masters

This book was written by: Dick Staub, award-winning radio personality and Jedi Christian.

What is in this book: Dick Staub knows what kids today are in to: evangelical Christianity. Just like everyone else, young people “...long for...a faith that is intellectually credible, spiritually vibrant...good, true, and beautiful.”(pg. 12). Unfortunately, “Ours is a superficial age, a culture defined by diversionary entertainment, mindless amusements, and characterless celebrity.” (pg. 65). The solution to this shallow, entertainment-obsessed way of life? A book that explains how Christianity is just like Star Wars.

One of these photos is Michael Stipe...
What is not in this book: Explanations of how Christianity is just like Star Wars. Straight out of the gate, Staub runs into a problem: the two texts he plans to analogize have almost nothing in common. For instance, “[in] Jedi mythology the highest good is...balancing light and dark, whereas Christians believe the highest good is when darkness is defeated. In this Christian lore, the dark side unequal opponent of God, the Lord of the Force.” (pg. 5). Most writers would get discouraged at having disproved the central thesis of their book so early, but not Dick Staub. When he has a point to make that can't be supported by a Star Wars reference, which is most of the time, he looks to other credible sources. These sources run the gamut from Christian thinkers like Thomas Merton (pg. 33) and Kierkegaard (pg 39) to Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu (pg. 19), REM front man Michael Stipe (pg. 56), conquistador Hernán Cortés (pg. 25), and “the Clannad song featured in the film The Last of the Mohicans...” (pg 46). When Staub is able to make references to Star Wars, they are, to put it mildly, rather terse, as when we are asked to recall the time Luke Skywalker said “The Force?” (pg. 8). This is probably for the best, for as the tiny print on the front of Christian Wisdom of the Jedi Masters tells us, “This book has not been approved, licensed, or sponsored by any entity or persons involved in the creation or productions of the Star Wars films and products.

Would you recommend this book to a secret agent? Yes. The Jedi Christian has powers far beyond those of any regular cloak-and-dagger operative: “In the film The Bourne Identity, we learn that Jason Bourne has been trained to be aware of every detail as he enters a new situation. The [Jedi Christian] possesses these same powers of observation but is also sensitized to the underlying spiritual dynamics and nuance.” (pg 155).

Would you recommend this book to a wealthy hypochondriac? No. They would learn that they likely suffer from the dread disease known as “affluenza...a painful, contagious, socially transmitted condition...resulting from the dogged pursuit of more.” (218), and be inconsolable until you tell them where they can buy the cure.

And the other is Lao Tzu, but I forgot which is which.
What is interesting about this book: Evangelical Christians aren't famous for their tolerance, but Dick Staub is an exception, eager to borrow words of wisdom from any source, be it James Baldwin or Bruce Springsteen. Still, it takes big, brassy midichlorians to claim Christ is the one true way and then attempt to justify it with a quote from the Bhagavad-Gita. It's just like that one scene in Return of the Jedi where...wait, I guess it's not like that at all.

Christian Wisdom of the Jedi Masters by Dick Staub (John Wiley and Sons, 2005, ISBN: 978-0787978945)

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Lindsay P said...

Best review ever.

PMJG said...


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