BOOK REVIEW: ROCKET MEN: The Daring Odyssey of Apollo 8 and the Astronauts Who Made Man’s First Journey to the Moon by Robert Kurson (Random House; 2018)

ROCKET MEN: The Daring Odyssey of Apollo 8 and the Astronauts Who Made Man’s First Journey to the Moon by Robert Kurson (Random House; 2018) tells the story of the historic flight of Apollo 8, which was the first manned flight to the Moon that took place during Christmastime of 1968. As we near the 50th anniversary of this stupendous scientific and engineering feat, this flight has become relegated to a secondary position behind the mission of Apollo 11 which landed the first men on the Moon, but even also behind that of Apollo 13, the ill-fated yet heroic mission immortalized in Ron Howard’s film Apollo 13, featuring Tom Hanks. However, author and historian Kurson does a very admirable job into describing in great detail all aspects of this mission and its crew — demonstrating the extreme risks and bravado it took to launch this mission with most of its aspects never truly tested in real life — but to succeed in a most spectacular fashion.

The book details the lives of backgrounds of the three astronauts — Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and Bill Anders — as well as the Cold War race for the Moon and the history of NASA, to lay out a landscape of all of the many facets that went into the planning and execution of what in retrospect may have been the single-most daring scientific experiment ever conducted. Taking place over the Christmas holidays at the end of what history has marked as one of the most fractious and divisive years in American history — 1968 — the Apollo 8 mission not only provided a huge leap in human scientific and technical achievement, but also helped to demonstrate that the United States was still the world-leader in technology and sheer enthusiasm in the can-do world of the 60’s. Any reader interested in history and technology will find this book both engrossing and enlightening. Highly recommended!


BLESSED ARE THE MISFITS by Brant Hansen (W Publishing/Thomas Nelson; 2017)

Blessed are The Misfits by Brant Hansen (W Publishing/Thomas Nelson) is a new book by the popular Christian DJ and author of Unoffendable. Armed with the same quirky humor teamed with bluntly honest expression of feelings and opinions that his numerous radio and social media fans have come to love, Blessed are The Misfits is a book for Hansen and all other Christians who feel that they don’t fit in with the typical Christian sitting in the pew next to them. As a high-functioning “Aspie” (those who are on the autism/Asperger spectrum of brain function), Hansen has never felt particularly emotional in his relationship with Christ, or comfortable with relating with a lot of other Christians. But because he speaks on these issues so frequently on his radio show and speeches around the country, the feedback he receives from Christians is that there are many other believers who can more readily identify with someone like Hansen than the superstar pastors and authors who are so revered in many Christian circles, and thus he was encouraged to write this book for others who approach life in much the same way as he does.

With chapter titles like “Blessed are My Fellow People on the Autism Spectrum (and Those Who Can Relate to Us),” “Blessed are the Unfeeling Faithful,” and Blessed are the Introverts Who Keep Trying,” one can see immediately the humor/honesty that permeate the book — often going from silly rumination to deep and touching reflections on a single page. For someone who is a true introvert and with a love/hate relationship with church attendance on Sundays, this book was like a breath of very fresh and invigorating air! Over and over again, I found myself chuckling over Hansen’s quirky thoughts and ways of expressing himself, but then also saying “Me, too” hundreds of times as he described his thought processes and difficulties with relating with God in socially-acceptable manners. I was also intrigued that the publishers included at the end of the book an 8-page listing of “misfits” provided by Hansen from invitations he extended to Christians through his radio programs to provide their names and description of their experiences as Christian “misfits.” Even if one is an extrovert and feels they are not a misfit, I would most highly recommend this book for all Christians. It is a totally honest, yet encouraging read!

Hebrews 7:1-3 – Who Was Melchizedek?

A nice summary on this mysterious biblical figure………

Reading Acts

In chapter 5:1-10 the writer of Hebrews was discussing the high priesthood of Christ.  Jesus is the superior High Priest because he was a human, like us, yet he was also God.  Because of this unique combination, Jesus is able to be the perfect high priest forever, a priest that is not like the line of earthly priests descended from Aaron and the tribe of Levi, but a priest in the order of Melchizedek, the mysterious priest from Genesis 14.  But because this was a difficult concept, the writer digresses into a warning to his readers not to be lazy in their spiritual development.  They ought to be interested in the difficult “meat” of the Word of God.

11Q Melchizedek

In chapter 7, the writer of Hebrews shows that Jesus is the Perfect High Priest, in the order of Melchizedek, who serves as a “type” of Jesus Christ.  Because Jesus…

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