Monday, May 28, 2012

Father of Money: Buying Peace in Baghdad by Jason Whiteley

This is the second in a series of book reviews I'm writing about War.  For the first review go here.

   Father of Money is the account of one Army Captain’s experience in Bagdad during the Iraqi war.   Captain Jason Whiteley was appointed “governance officer” over Al-Dora, one of Bagdad’s most violent districts.  His job was to work as a type of liaison between the army and the citizens of Bagdad in order to develop trust and cooperation. 

       Without the aid of a ghost writer, Captain Whiteley exhibits excellent writing skills and a sharp wit.  Using rich and vivid detail he draws the reader into the streets of Bagdad where we participate as an invisible third party to his interactions with local Imams, community leaders and Iraqi citizenry.  He imparts to us the insight he gained, showing us how a culture very different to our own operates and how the values and beliefs of a society directs the functioning of that society. 

      Unlike the previous military books I’ve read where the soldiers jump in ready to rope and brand everything in sight, Whiteley takes a more thoughtful approach.  He tries to get to know and develop relationships with the Iraqis, he studies them.  With uncommon perspicuity, he learns how they think, what makes them tick.

       He sought out the community leaders, knowing that if he had their respect and trust everyone else would follow. 

        The following incident shows Whiteley’s diplomatic prowess at it’s most brilliant.

      While he and his staff (whom he called "the misfits") are driving through town, three teenage Iraqis approach his Humvee to inform him of an IED that had been hidden in a pile of bricks in the pathway of their vehicle. 

Capt. Whiteley and his "misfits"
   While we waited for the demolition team to come to disarm the bomb, the guys hung around, obviously wanting some form of compensation for their efforts.  Unfortunately, the army forbade us from carrying any type of reward money …What the army didn’t realize was that the Iraqis considered it proper to give money to someone you trusted.  These kids had just betrayed some organization…In return we could only offer them a soccer ball or T-shirt.  Alternatively, they could get a voucher and got to the FOB, wait hours (or days), and receive money, all the while revealing themselves to everyone as informants and placing themselves in even greater danger.

Whiteley comes up with an alternative solution:


        ‘Get those guys into the Humvees,… and be rough.’

     The Iraqis were in plastic handcuffs in the Humvees and we were speeding off….

 ….. We drove quickly from the neighborhood and headed to Said Mallek.  The kid in my Humvee cried and pleaded with me but I didn’t bother to console him…

 ……’Weyen Said Mallek?’ (Where is Said Mallek?)  I asked.

    ‘Salaam.’  The smooth voice came from the doorway just ahead of us.  Always calm, Said Mallek appeared almost out of nowhere.

‘I need money,’ I demanded.

I then explained to him as simply as I could that he owed me money and I wanted 10,000 dinars paid to these kids.

    “Five.”  He said.

      He reached into his pocket while I asked for the kids to be brought around.  For a moment I felt bad for them.  They had really helped us out, and now I could see the tear stains on their dirt-streaked faces.  Said Mallek greeted them and gave each of them 5,000 dinars.  Their relief almost brought them to the ground… He invited them inside for tea.  The whole clan was assembling inside the house, along with its three new members.” (pg. 96,97)

This is a guy who knows the psychology behind a culture and how to make it work for him.  The kids were rewarded for helping the U.S. Army but one of the leaders of the community, Said Mallek, got to look like the benevolent caretaker by dolling out the money and he in return acquired three loyal followers.  One can see how Whiteley earned for himself the name, “Abu Floos”, which means “the Father of Money.”

    Whiteley describes the living conditions for the average Iraqi, lack of clean water and  sewage running freely through the towns, the internal corruption where people are brazenly and mercilessly fleeced by their fellow Iraqis and the disconnect between the U.S. and the people they are trying to help get back on their feet.

      Whiteley becomes disillusioned when for all his efforts he cannot seem to bring reconciliation between the Shias and Sunnis or stop terrorist attacks against the U.S.  What he seems to fail to understand as does the American military is that one cannot impose a system that is rooted in Christian values and concepts of right, wrong and basic human rights on a society that holds to an entirely different set of beliefs that don’t include these precepts.  Precepts that most Americans take for granted.

      His last couple of chapters describes a wholly unexpected attack on him and his personnel from insurgents.  An action packed thriller movie could not hold more suspense than these chapters.  In fact this book would make a great movie.

      Whiteley has the unique ability not only to grasp cultural semantics but also appreciate aspects of another culture even though it is foreign to his own. He writes of the culture shock when he returns to his own country and his frustration with Americans' insolation and insulation with the rest of the world, especially parts of the world where living with open sewage lines and IED’s planted in the street are a reality.

       In conclusion, Father of Money is a well-written, fascinating account of the American military’s attempt at creating independence in a country that lives on the edge of anarchy and despotism.  Despite its content it is written with warmth and humor and is one of the most enjoyable and readable contemporary books I’ve read in a long time.  I highly recommend it to every American citizen because we all need to be more attuned to world events-especially events that are impacting our lives.

I received a copy of this book free from the author.

Jason Whiteley was born and raised in Lumberton, Texas, a small community near the Gulf Coast. He attended the United States Military Academy at West Point, where he graduated in 1999 near the top of his class. He served as an officer in the 1st Battalion, 8th U.S. Cavalry in the First Cavalry Division from 1999 to 2005, including a six-month tour as a staff officer in Honduras as part of Joint Task Force Bravo.

From 2004 to 2005, he served in Baghdad as a governance officer in the Al-Dora District of Southern Baghdad. In 2005, Captain Whiteley was featured in the PBS Frontline documentary A Company of Soldiers. He left the Army in 2005 to pursue a law degree and a master of science in foreign service at Georgetown University, both of which he received in 2009. Whitely has been quoted in numerous newspapers on the subject of building governance capacity in Iraq. He lives in London, where he practices law.  (From the flyleaf)

$15.12 at the Kindle Store

For More Information:
Jason Whiteley

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Anthony Clark Arend Blog



Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Harbinger by Johnathon Cahn

This is the second in a series of book reviews I'm posting on End Time prophecy.  For the first post you can go here.

I bought this book because Jonathan Cahn is the pastor of a Messianic church that I used to visit when I lived in New Jersey. At first I went out of curiosity because I had never been to a church that was comprised of Jewish people who acknowledge Jesus as Messiah. I continued to visit, however, because I was impressed with how in depth and insightful Mr. Cahn’s sermons were. Many people from my own church would join with members of Beth Israel and do missionary work in Russia, Ukraine, Cuba and Mexico. Although I never was able to go on these trips it was encouraging to hear the tremendous work God did in the lives of the people in these countries through our two church’s mission work.

Mr. Cahn’s book is a work of fiction that nevertheless holds a very real scenario and warning for our times. A man, Nouriel, meets a mysterious stranger who gives him artifacts that he calls harbingers. Each harbinger has a seal with either writing or a type of picture on them. Every time Nouriel is given a harbinger he must discover the mystery behind it and report back to the stranger.

Using this story formula Mr. Cahn reveals disturbing truths about America’s history and possible future and their connection to Old Testament prophecies and harbingers that pertained to Israel. Much of the prophecies he refers to are in the book of Isaiah where the prophet warns Israel of their impending doom if they continue to worship idols and reject God. In the book, the prophet explains to Nouriel God’s purpose for Israel:

No other nation had been called into being for the will of God… No other people had been given a covenant… If (Israel) followed the ways of God, they would become the most blessed of nations. But if they fell away and turned against His ways, then their blessings would be removed and replaced by calamity, as they did and as it was. (pg. 16)

Nouriel goes on to explain the original purpose of America:

To be…an instrument of God’s purposes, a light to the world. It would give refuge to the world’s poor and needy, and hope to its oppressed.  It would stand against tyranny….As much as it fulfilled its calling or aspired to, it would become the most blessed, the most prosperous, the most powerful and the most revered nation on the earth-just as its founders had prophesied…but, like Israel, if the people fell away from God and turned against his ways, its blessings would be removed and replaced with curses.(pg19)

Nouriel then compares Israel’s devotion to idol worship of the Baals and Asherah poles to America’s idol worship:

"As God was expunged from American life, idols came in to fill the void-idols of sensuality, idols of greed, of money, success, comfort, materialism, pleasure, sexual immorality, self-worship, self-obsession. The sacred increasingly disappeared, and the profane took its place….the nation forgot its foundations"

“Some would call it ‘tolerance.’”

“Yes. The same tolerance that overtook ancient Israel.. a tolerance for everything opposed to God….a tolerance that mocked, marginalized, and condemned those who remained faithful to the values now being discarded…. A tolerance that put the profane on public display and removed nativity scenes from public sight..contraband, as if somehow they had become a threat- a strangely intolerant tolerance.” (pg. 21)

He compares the attack on the World Trade Center with the Assyrian invasion of Israel. Both, he asserts were warnings to the people that they need to return to the God of their fathers. Throughout the book Cahn compares Israel’s relationship with God to America’s. He quotes several sources showing that America started out as a country devoted to God-not privately but officially. He cites George Washington’s inaugural address which clearly states that without Judeo-Christian foundation, it is impossible to uphold the constitution. Washington gave this speech next to a wall where Wall Street now stands. After the speech, he and the crowd walked to his church which stands to this day at ground zero and was the only surviving building of the attack.

He also exposes some interesting facts about Israel’s response to the Assyrian attack and America’s leaders’ response to the 9/11 attack. In Isaiah, Israel’s response was to declare that they would replace the sycamores that had been torn down with cedars. The metaphor meaning that in spite of Assyria’s destruction, by their own will and might, Israel would rebuild itself. In the book, Nouriel’s prophet directly quotes Presidents Bush and Obama as quoting this very same scripture. He has references and sources in the back for those who wish to verify his assertions.

If you’re familiar with the Jewish year of Shemitah, which is a time of resting the land every seven years, forgiving debts and setting slaves free, then you’ll appreciate the fact that God promised Israel that they would face economic collapse if they didn’t observe Shemitah-which by the time of Isaiah they weren’t. In the book the second harbinger was the fall of Freddie Mac, Fannie May, Lehman Brother and Wall Street which happened on the anniversary of 9/11 seven years later. Both these real life tragedies happened on years of Shemitah.

Cahn makes many startling comparisons such as these. You may or may not believe all he has to say and I personally found it all very interesting and informative concerning the different Jewish promises and warnings as recorded in the Old Testament. However, I really didn’t need this book to show me that America was once a country that followed God and was consequently blessed and now that we are a country that has largely rejected Him that He is going to remove his hand of protection over us and 9/11 was the first harbinger.

In conclusion, I think this is a good book to wake anyone up who is open to its message.

Or Kindle for $9.68

For more information:

Beth Israel

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Knights in Shining Armor? Two books by Navy SEALs

I was saddened and sickened to find out today that Chris Kyle the author of American Sniper was murdered. My most heartfelt prayers are with his wife and children.

This is the first review in a series I will be doing of war documentary novels. For the second review go here.

Since the Navy SEALs sent Osama bin Laden to meet Allah, interest in this elite group of soldiers skyrocketed. Not a few editors eyes went “ka-ching” and found some SEALs who were willing to tell their stories via ghost writers.

I am enthusiastic reader of war stories. Not because I glorify war but it is one venue in which man can rise to his greatest heights in endurance, self-sacrifice, and bravery. It’s when people realize it’s not just about me but also my suffering fellow humans; that my liberty and rights as a human are not to be taken for granted. This applies not only to soldiers but everyone afflicted by the ravages of war.

Consequently, I eagerly bought two books and read them in a couple of bites. What I learned from them about war, Navy SEALs and the countries where they fought was both fascinating and disturbing.

Amercian Snyper is about Navy SEAL Chris Kyle (a home boy-from Texas). Kyle has the distinction of the most recorded sniper kills in U.S. Military History. In his book he takes us on a brief tour through his Texas upbringing, how he joined the Navy and eventually became a Navy SEAL. He then embarks on where he was when the trade center was attacked and his subsequent career in Iraq.

What I liked: anybody’s life is interesting, Kyle’s is no exception. I’m glad he included a little about his growing up in Texas and personal parts about his wife. For all his brashness and bravura his love and dedication to his wife and family comes shining clearly through. They went through some hard weather together but they stuck it out and stayed married. Something many people would not have done in the same circumstances.

The training of a Navy SEAL is exciting to read about. That there are men capable of putting themselves through such extreme duress is amazing. I guess that’s why they can go out and accomplish what they do. His travels to Iraq and the various battles he was involved in are forceful.

Some interesting information he shared: most of the Iraqi soldiers they encountered were obviously drugged up on heavy dope or barbiturates. Apparently in order to “jihad” they had to dull their senses to be able to go through with it. The Iraqi’s insurgents were also cowardly, often hiding behind women or children to avoid getting killed.

Another interesting fact: Kyle observed that it was ridiculous to try to let the Iraqis take over before they even knew they wanted to be a united country. He states that most Iraqis identified themselves with certain tribes, not a whole country. Until they could see themselves as a unified nation they weren’t equipped to govern themselves.

He also states that our military presence had a tremendous impact on influencing the average Iraqi. Before the war they saw the insurgents as all powerful terrorists. After our military came and showed its teeth to the insurgents the Iraqis no longer viewed them as an insurmountable presence and became motivated to fight for themselves.

What I didn’t like: for one, the filthy language. If this book were a movie it would be rated “R”. I found the coarse vulgarity so intrusive, it was a chore filtering it out to get at the substance of his story. Also, Mr. Kyle has a pretty big ego and all the maturity of a six year old if his stories about bar brawls and subsequent arrests are to be believed. Not only him, but apparently all the Navy SEALs enjoy brawling and hazing each other. Maybe it’s true but it’s not very inspiring and I think some facts could have been left out.

One last thing: I know it’s necessary to kill those who want to destroy and oppress others but I don’t think it’s necessary to enjoy it. Kyle describes his kills as though he were picking off deer from a blind in the woods. Because of these last two attributes, instead of leaving the book enthused and regarding Kyle as a hero I found myself thinking, “this knight's armor is a little tarnished.”

I am a SEALTeam Six Warrior are the memoirs of Howard E. Wasdin. Not only was Wasdin a Navy SEAL but he was a member of the elite of the elite: Team Six. This means that in addition to going through the “hell week” training all Navy SEALs go through, they endure even harsher training besides.

Wasdin was a Navy SEAL in the mid-nineties and aside from the training to become a SEAL Team Six Warrior, he describes his experiences in Somalia as they attempted to oust the Warlord Aidad.

Of the two books, this is the better written story. At least the young reader’s version is. Although, again, I’m surprised at the language-especially since this particular book is suppossed to be written with a younger audience in mind. Even my seventeen year old son was laughing at the term the SEALs called the bad guys. (His exact words were; “‘Booger eaters’? That’s something a six year old calls people!”)

As for the story, the step by step account of setting up on the roof tops, engagements, intense battle and rescue scenes (he was a part of the Black Hawk rescue attempt that the movie Black Hawk Down was about), it was as exciting and riveting as any action adventure movie you’d ever hope to see. More so, because you know it’s real. I could hardly turn the pages fast enough.

Wasdin exposes the blatant bias of our media who talk of our soldiers gunning down “innocent civilians.” He includes a photo of women walking down the street pretending to hold babies when, in fact, they are transporting explosives. He describes one scene where a line of women are walking down the street with their robes spread out. Then they suddenly stop and bring their robes down to reveal men with AK 47s hiding behind them. What is our military to do? Of course they had to shoot all of them or be shot themselves. Aiding and abetting terrorists is not innocent, even if you are a woman. Again it shows the cowardliness of a society that holds woman and children so little in value that they have no conscience about using them as expendable pawns.

Wasdin's heroic colors truly shone out one night.

He and his team were stationed on a roof top hiding. About the same time every evening, something that smelled like dead, rotting flesh would waft up to them. Wasdin looked down to the porch of the house they were on and saw a young boy, his feet ripped off from a mine he walked over at school. Aidad would plant these horrible things in the school yards of opposing tribes to prevent the young boys from fighting against him.

Against orders Wasding grabbed a medic, went into the house, cuffed the entire family and treated the boy. They did this each night until the boy’s wounds were on their way to recovery. The last night the father held out tea for them, at last convinced they weren’t going to hurt them.

Both of these books show how misinformed America is about what our soldiers and countrymen are risking their lives for and also, how insulated we are over here. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Paulette Harper delivers tenacious, life-

changing material. Completely Whole gives a very

practical, every day approach to becoming all Christ has

purposed you to be. The book touches on each area of life,

and gives the reader a sense of urgency to tap into one’s

purpose now! By comparing various Biblical characters

and scenarios, Completely Whole walks you through

your past and present, and thrusts you into your Christ-

purposed future. At the same time, Harper lets you know

that the fight isn’t over, but it’s all about how you receive,

process, and handle specific situations. (From the introduction.)

Ms. Harper has written an inspiring and encouraging book for those who think they have blown it, are suffering, who are strangers to God and need to come to the One who can make them whole.  Completely whole.

    In her book, Completely Whole, Ms. Harper covers a number of topics that are relevant to today’s seeker.  She begins her book by looking at life as a whole.  Why do things happen to us?  Are our expectations for a good life realistic?  What do we do when the fairy tale is replaced with painful reality?  Ms. Harper gives many biblical examples of people in the Bible from prophets to kings, their real life afflictions, and how God used them to make them the whole person he purposed them to be. 

     She shows how many of our trials are due to our abandoning God and falling into self-dug pits.  What do we do then?  How can we dare approach a God from whom we turned away?  She uses scripture to prove that no matter how far we’ve run, God is waiting for us to turn around and run back to Him.  She then gives strategies in how not to look back to where we were and how to fight Satan’s attempts to defeat us by reminding of our past.

    Her book includes steps to redemption and salvation and how God’s forgiveness makes us whole.

     Chapter six is a beautiful chapter on God’s love for us and how it compares to the worldly love we are always looking for and turning to instead of our Heavenly Father’s incomparable eternal love.

    She discusses the power of God’s word, its power and the power of our own words. Other chapters explore our faith and its integral part in our relationship with God.

     She concludes with finding God’s purpose for creating us and letting God provide direction to our life’s path that will allow us to be the complete person he has planned for us to be.

      I thoroughly enjoyed this book.   It is beautifully written and  I recommend it as a devotional for anyone who wants to grow, heal and be made completely whole in God.

I received a free copy of this book by the author.

Ms. Harper is a life coach and public speaker.  For more information:

Paulette Harper
That Was Then This is Now Video Trailer

More books by Paulette Harper:

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Crash Course in Jewish History by Ken Spiro

    Rabbi Spiro is an Orthodox Jew who wrote this book based on courses he taught at the Aish HeTorah College of Jewish Studies in Israel.  It is his intention to give Jews a simplified historical line to trace their beginnings as a people to their place in today’s world.

     Because it is a “crash course”, Spiro’s book is easy to read.  In a nutshell, Spiro’s intention is to delineate Judaism from other people groups in the world.

     Now that’s not hard to do or prove.  Jews are the offspring of Abraham with whom God made a covenant.  God does not change or go back on His word.  His plan for the Jewish people will continue until its fruition.  It's important to note that Rabbi Spiro's conclusions differ to what the Bible states in Romans 1:16.  He claims the whole point of the Jewish existence is to usher in world peace. 

      The first part of the book gives a basic run down of historical events that are in the Old Testament.  He skims through the beginnings of the world, the Patriarchs, the Exodus, Moses and the law, the chronicles of the judges, prophets and Kings and finally the Babylonian exile.  This much I already knew from reading my Bible.  Nothing new there. 

     What was interesting was the information he gave concerning the four hundred year gap between the Exile and the Messianic Era.  Here we learn about the Men of the great Assembly, the rise of the Greek empire, the Revolt of the Maccabees, the Romans, Herod and the events that led up to the war of the Jews, the fall of Jerusalem and the Destruction of the Temple.  While these latter things were prophesied in the New Testament (Jesus’ Olivet discourse in Matthew 24) they are not recorded there, presumably because the New Testament writers had all been killed during the Roman Emperor Nero’s persecution.  Much of this I had  read about in Josephus’ books on the War of the Jews but Spiro gives a quick recount which makes it easier for people who just want the skinny on the subject.

       After this, Spiro gives concise accounts of the beginnings of the Talmud, the rise of Islam, the different Jewish groups that scattered throughout Europe during the Middle Ages up to establishing the nation of Israel and the heroic individuals that helped make this historic occasion happen. Spiro describes Kabbalism and the beginning of the Hassidic movement

     Spiro’s main thrust for the rest of the book is how the last two thousand years of has been one long onslaught of persecution and sorrow for the Jewish people.  It is tragic and heart rending to read about.  He doesn’t exaggerate, it is all sadly true.

     Because of the relentless persecution and numerous attempted annihilations of the Jewish people, Spiro concludes that Christianity is a false religion. He also asserts that Christians claim that God changed His mind about the Jews and rejected them in favor of Christians.  On the one hand, I can see how he would think this based on how some Christians or even certain Christian denominations have acted throughout history.   On the other, for all his research, he apparently didn’t take the trouble to actually read the teachings of Christ in the NewTestament to see whether these professing Christians were actually obeying Scripture when they persecuted the Jews.  He might have concluded that instead of Christianity being a false religion that, in fact, some people falsely profess to be Christians.  Jesus said you can judge a tree by its fruit

      Interestingly, in Chapter 39 (Origins of Christianity) Spiro claims that Christians have mistranslated the Bible because they used only Greek and Latin translations.  That is a false assertion-every modern translation of the Bible is from the original Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek.  This is true even of the 1610 King James Bible. But then he goes on to say that the reason the United States have been a place of refuge for the Jews is because the Puritans who founded our country based their beliefs on Old Testament Scripture and, in fact, many of the founding fathers were Hebrew scholars! (Chapter 54:  Jews and the Founding of America) 

     Finally, he says it’s impossible to read the Bible without Oral Tradition and since time is taking us farther and farther away from Moses and Oral Tradition, the meaning of Scripture is becoming increasingly obscure.  So according to Rabbi Spiro, Christians are wrong because they don’t have an accurate translation of the Bible but then again, he asserts no one can really know what the Bible is saying anyway! 

        Also what I found fascinating was how Spiro acknowledges that the Messianic era began at the time Christ came to earth but doesn’t believe Jesus is the Christ.  He believes the Messiah is still coming and when he does, he will usher in world peace through the Jewish people.

     Yet Spiro doesn’t take into account the problem of sin.  Moses did.  What was the purpose of all those animal sacrifices?  What is the purpose of Yom Kippor and Rosh Hashanah?  Why did the animal sacrifices that were made to atone for the sins of the people stop at the ushering in of the Messianic era?  Isn’t it because the Messiah had in fact come and made the one and only atoning sacrifice when He sacrificed Himself for everyone’s sins- making animal sacrifices no longer necessary?  Does not Isaiah 53 prophesy this very event?   

    Rabbi Spiro ignores all of this and insists that the Messiah is only coming to bring world peace and he’s going to do it through the Jewish people.  He believes the time is very soon now that Israel is a nation again.  He never mentions mankind being reconciled to God. He also fails to share any belief Jews have of the after life. 

     A couple of other things I found interesting.  Spiro is against both the Hassids and the secular Jews.  Both have got it wrong, according to him.  Hassids have created an artificial legalism that isn’t necessary and the secular Jews have capitulated in an effort to assimilate with the Gentiles.  He insists this is also true of any Jew that becomes a Christian: it is merely an insincere effort to avoid persecution.  He doesn’t explain why Jews became Christians even when it caused persecution.  As it does for many today. Some Jewish friends of mine who have become Messianic believers (recognize Jesus Christ as Y'shua Mashiach) have told me that their families held a "shiva" for them.   This is a symbolic burial (literally “seven days of mourning”) for becoming an “apostate”.

     Do I recommend this book?  I don’t know.  I don’t think it is the most informative book out there-even for Jewish history because it is so superficial.  It certainly isn’t a reliable resource for Christians.  I think it’s value for me, as a Christian, lies in that it allows me to get inside the head of a Jewish person and understand why he and-I’m sure other Jews- think the way they do about themselves and how they perceive Christians.

I bought this book.

For more information or book reviews on Jewish literature and culture:
The Chosen
Called to Controversy: The Unlikely Story of Moishe Rosen

Free book giveaway: As One Devil to Another by Richard Platt


  In his book As One Devil to Another, Richard Platt takes up where C.S. Lewis, in his book TheScrewtape Letters, left off. Here is another correspondence between two demons, an older “uncle” giving advice to his “nephew” as to the most effective and expedient means to “win a soul” to perdition.

“Uncle” Slashreap gives lots of good advice to his “nephew” Scardagger. Scardagger’s “client” is a young woman at a prestigious University where she is working her way through the academic circles and hoops in hopes of becoming an established member of the faculty and, in her mind, a confirmed “intellectual”. I’m sorry to be using so many quotations but I believe they are all appropriate. Scardagger’s objective is to smooth the way to academic success for this young woman so by the time she achieves her aims she will be hopelessly entrenched in an arrogant, elitist mindset that will act as an effective barrier to her ever being reached by the “Adversary”.

Unfortunately for Scardagger, the Adversary is just as intent on winning the young lady over to His side and even more so since she is His child and He made her for Himself. His tactics, however, are different than the demons. He uses patience and long-suffering-never imposing His will on her but waiting for her to “draw near to Him” so He may then draw near to her. He is not, however, above putting a few people in her path. One person is a much-loved elderly aunt whose opinions she respects. This aunt doesn’t pull any punches when she lets her niece know how pretentious she’s being.

Another person is an elderly gardener who gives a powerful yet loving testimony of his own walk with the Adversary. A final person is a young scientist who, much to Slashreaps horror and Scardagger’s chagrin, falls in love with Scardagger’s lady client.

Don’t think Scardagger isn’t trying. He throws another woman called “the Minx” in the path of his client. This Minx typifies intellectual snobbery and man abusing feminism all in one package. If Scardagger’s Minx does her job right, his client will fall under her influence and revert to the affected intellectual snobbery that scorns the supernatural, upholds secularism as the pinnacle of human enlightenment and sees men as something to use, abuse and then lose.

Things go awry here, too, for poor Scardagger. Just when the Minx almost has his client in her clutches she makes the mistake of mooning over some incomprehensible garbage that is being passed off as art at a museum they’re visiting. The absurdity does not escape his client who snorts with contemptuous laughter. Thus endeth the friendship and influence of the Minx.

Richard Platt’s correspondence between the two demons as they strategize over condemning a soul to hell offers a lot of perspicacious insight for the reader. His observations about the modern female and her obsession with looks and male desirability that ultimately leads to desperation and plastic surgery as she ages was right on.

He also makes bold comments on our culture’s present mores concerning homosexuality, university education, art, and ethics that govern people’s professional and personal lives. His language is stark and clear but done with an affable wit that makes his book fun to read.

My only objection is a couple of questionable theological points he makes where he seems to imply that demons could be redeemed if they only returned to God. I don’t see that anywhere in the Bible.
Aside from that, I recommend this book that, if not as charming as Lewis’ Screwtape Letters, still goes a long way in offering insight into a sin sick society.

Tyndale Publishers are offering a free copy of this book.

Tyndale has offered a free gift certificate to redeem this book by August 1st.  If you'd like a chance at winning a free copy please fill out the linky widget.  I'd also appreciate it if you'd follow me, subscribe and share this article on your facebook page.  Oh, a comment or two wouldn't hurt either. Thanks!!

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