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Mr. G. N. Charmley "bluebase23" (Norfolk, England)
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Psychic Squad Collection 1 [DVD] [2012] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Psychic Squad Collection 1 [DVD] [2012] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Offered by Moref Designs
Price: £29.47

5.0 out of 5 stars With Great Power Comes Great Irresponsibility, 20 Aug. 2013
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How would I describe this series to someone who knew nothing about it? Well, perhaps I would say that it is what X-Men would be if it was created in Japan and starred three ten-year-old girls working for a government agency. But even that fails to do justice to the show because it omits the essential humour of the show. As in X-Men we have people with amazing powers living among normal people, and while most of the Espers are good people (using the term loosely), others use their powers for evil.

And that is where BABEL comes in. This group of misfits are charged with protecting Japan from rogue Espers, and are equipped with an impressive array of technology to do it, but when it really comes down to it, only other Espers can do it. And the most powerful Special Espers in BABEL's employ are "The Children", so called because they are three cute little terrors with great powers - and often great irresponsibility. They can usually be relied upon to cause utter chaos in the course of a mission, but in the end all ends well. More or less, anyhow.

And caught up in this is Minamoto, a genius with no special powers who works for BABEL and is tasked with looking after three adorable, dangerous and spoiled little girls, all of whom develop huge crushes on him. Poor man. But nothing can express the hilarity of this series - just get it and watch it.


The Historical Jesus in the Twentieth Century
The Historical Jesus in the Twentieth Century
by Walter P. Weaver
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Oddly Compelling Book, 10 May 2013
Perhaps the first question anyone would ask about this review is, "Why on earth would anyone give a heavy academic work on the study of the Historical Jesus in the first half of the 20th century five stars?" The answer of course is that it is a very good book on the study of the Historical Jesus in the first half of the 20th century.

Taking Albert Schweitzer and his classic 'Quest of the Historical Jesus' as his starting point, Weaver takes the reader through a parade of writers; scholars and journalists, Christians of all stripes, Jews, atheists and agnostics. Writers from Germany, America, Great Britain and France are surveyed, and their methods and results described. There is a useful biographical appendix that contains sketches of the lives of each writer. As one might expect from the field and the period, most authors surveyed are men, though there are a few women dealt with. The focus is on description rather than evaluation, but where evaluations are given, they are pithy and to the point.

Schweitzer remains a presence throughout the book, a challenge to each of the authors. While the arrangement of the material is largely chronological, Chapter 8 deals with themes in Historical Jesus scholarship, and Chapter 9 devoted to the popularisers of all stripes, from Bruce Barton's Jesus-as-American-businessman to Conrad Noel's Socialist Jesus.

Perhaps what makes this book of so much interest is the way that Weaver shows, without labouring the point, how writers have interpreted the figure of Jesus in so many different ways over the decades, and how their results have so often been due to their surrounding milieu and their own interests. While few were as blatant as Bruce Barton, still many found in Jesus a convenient figure for the projection of their own concerns and philosophies.

Weaver is an excellent author, making a subject that could have been extremely dull full of interest. Thankfully, given his comments about the long-comings of some of his subject, he is commendably succinct as well. While the interest in such books is unavoidably small, those wishing to find a survey of the field of Historical Jesus studies in the first half of the 20th century will find this an invaluable work. Those who are not looking to find such a work might still do well to obtain and to read this volume; I would especially recommend it to pastors and preachers (such as myself).


The Life and Work of John Bird Sumner
The Life and Work of John Bird Sumner
by Nigel Scotland
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Life of an Evangelical Archbishop, 3 Feb. 2013
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John Bird Sumner (1780-1862) was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1848 until his death, and before that Bishop of Chester from 1828. A relative of William Wilberforce, he was the first Archbishop of Canterbury to come from the Evangelical party, and served as Bishop and Archbishop during a period of unparalleled social change in England. It therefore surprised me a great deal to find that no biography of his was produced until Nigel Scotland's 1995 work. Thankfully Nigel Scotland fulfils his task admirably, and earns the gratitude of all who want to learn more about this fascinating man.

Scotland is to be commended for producing a biography that is sympathetic, informative and eminently readable. It is largely a chronological account of Sumner's life and work from his childhood in an evangelical; home in Kenilworth through his early years at Eton to his work as Bishop and Archbishop. The impression is of a life that was devoted to the Church and to the spreading of the Gospel. This book paints a picture of Sumner as involved in mission at home and abroad, trying his best to navigate through the stormy seas of Victorian Anglicanism, a feat he succeeded in admirably. He is seen building schools, churches and colleges, not least England's first teacher training college at Chester, and grappling with social issues - not always coming to the right conclusions!

All in all this is a book worthy of the subject, and as we prepare for the enthronement of Justin Welby as the latest Evangelical Archbishop, it is time to look to the first man to bear both of those titles.


And I Will Walk at Liberty: An Eye-witness Account of the Church Struggle in Germany, 1933-37
And I Will Walk at Liberty: An Eye-witness Account of the Church Struggle in Germany, 1933-37
by Ernest Gordon
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Moving and Powerful, 29 Jan. 2013
This is a remarkable book by any standard. The author, Ernest Gordon (Born Ernst), was born in Berlin five years before World War 1. Though his parents were Christians, they came from Jewish families and were converts to Christianity. His father, a medical doctor, served with distinction in World War 1, but this counted for nothing when Hitler came to power. Gordon himself was just entering the Christian ministry in 1933, but when Hitler came to power the young man from a Jewish background found himself at the centre of a struggle for the Church.

This memoir reads like a thriller at times, as Gordon describes the struggle with the Nazis for the control of the Prussian Church. He identified with the "Confessing Church" movement, with such men as Bonhoeffer and Niemoller who stood against Hitler as they confessed that "Jesus Christ alone is the Lord of the whole of our life." If it took courage for a man of Christian German parentage to say that in the face of the Nazis, it took yet more for a Jewish man.

The Nazis did all they could to take total control of the Prussian Church, seizing control of the offices of the Church and putting their own men into every key position they could, while their theological wing, the so-called "German Christians", surely followers of one of the most vicious heresies of all time, tried to subvert the Church from within.

And Ernest Gordon, Jewish Christian Vicar (equivalent of an Anglican curate), was one of those utterly determined to stop him. This thrilling, exciting memoir will inspire, move and grip from the first page to the last. Gordon's stand against tyranny is an example to us all.


A METHODIST LIFE.
A METHODIST LIFE.
by Oliver A. Beckerlegge
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars A First-Rate Memoir, 27 May 2012
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This review is from: A METHODIST LIFE. (Paperback)
Autobiography is a very personal thing; when a man writes his own life one should be very careful about telling him he should have done it differently. Happily in the case of Dr. Beckerlegge's volume of memoirs there is no real cause to do so. He tells us in the introduction that his intention on beginning the book was to produce a work about his family, and that it only turned into a memoir while he was writing it; another reason to treat the work relatively gently.

The title is 'A Methodist Life'. The book begins with a Methodist pedigree, tracing the author's family back through history. Born in 1913, Dr. Beckerlegge has lived his whole life within Methodism; until 1932 in the United Methodist Church, and then in the Methodist Church created by the 1932 union. He is a decided Methodist and a critic of top-down ecumenism, and the book reflects this. The whole book describes Methodism in a period of decline from an inside perspective.

Many will find his experience in Nazi Germany just before World War 2 one of the most interesting parts of the book. Beckerlegge certainly has some idea of this and supplies transcripts of some of his letters home describing the antisemitic violence he witnessed.

This book will be enjoyed by students of Methodism in particular - for whom it is written. It is an old-fashioned 20th century minister's memoir, and all the better for that; there are far too few of them today. There are flashes of wit enlivening its pages throughout. My only complaint is the cheap card binding. It was published in 2000, was no-one willing to give it a more attractive cover?


Spurgeon: Prince of Preachers
Spurgeon: Prince of Preachers
by Lewis A Drummond
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £29.65

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Poor Piece of Work, 27 May 2012
Biographies of Spurgeon are legion; the modern reader may choose between Arnold Dallimore's single-volume biography and Iain H. Marray's edited version of the 'Autobiography'. That being the case, Drummond's book must deliver the goods if it is to jutsify its existence. Sadly it does not. The blurb on the back promises, "In this definitive biography , Dr. Lewis Drummond delves behind the myth to discover the man." Sadly the promise is not made good. Despite drawing on previously unpublished material, Drummond fails to say very much at all that is worthwhile and has not been said already by far better authors. Over 800 pages in length, this is also a book that could have done with a decent editor.

The book suffers considerably from Drummond's being a 20th century American in that he is unable to bring himself to understand the Victorian British world of which he is writing, and therefore in some places seems to be expecting Spurgeon to behave like a 20th century American, something that is of course quite impossible.

I also wonder for whom this book is intended. At over 800 pages with copious end-notes it looks like it might be meant to be a scholarly work, but the level of writing never rises about the popular, and the level of assessment never above the shallow. It seems to want to be a late Victorian book, but of course it is not that either. It is therefore neither flesh nor fowl nor good red herring.

I bought this book some years ago and was mildly entertained by the numerous typographical and other errors in the course of reading it. It is not a book I have ever referred to since, quite simply because it is quite superfluous. A book like this is not needed; it has no purpose at all, in that it merely tells a story told better elsewhere at unnecessary length. Authors like Dr. Drummond should be informed that a large page-count does not necessarily make a work definitive.


Chaos War: Avengers
Chaos War: Avengers
by Michael Oeming Fred Van Lente
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What is a Hero?, 18 May 2011
This review is from: Chaos War: Avengers (Paperback)
Captain Mar-Vell, the Vision, Swordsman, Doctor Druid, Deathcry, the female Yellowjacket. They are all Avengers, members of the team of the World's Mightiest Heroes - or rather, they were, because they all have one other thing in common - they're all dead. Brought back to life by the Chaos War, they find themselves the only conscious Avengers, surrounded by the inconscious forms of the living Avengers.

The concept is interesting - a mis-matched team brought back from the dead in a world they don't understand. Fred Van Lente has taken it and made it into a story about the nature of heroism. The various resurrected Avengers come from every era of the team, and all have issues. Mar-Vell, the Kree warrior who gave up his own world for the sake of the world he was sent to spy on, draws on his experience as a Kree to lead the team. The Vision is faced with the question of why he, a robot, came back from the afterlife - after all, as an artificial life form, should he even HAVE an afterlife? Doctor Druid starts off as the spokesman for fatalism and inaction, "Desires--duty--we should be beyond all this," he tells the others as they see demonic creatures attacking civillians. Deathcry is tortured by questions of honour, a Shi'ar arrior who died a pointless death after losing her temper with an ally. She starts to manifest a death-wish that threatens the others. And Yellowjacket and Swordsman, former criminals inspired to heroism by the ideal of the Avengers, struggle with the question of whether they are worthy of the name of Avengers.

Each character in the story has his or her own question to answer, his or her own test of what it means to be a hero. Some have failures to rectify, others need to learn that some things are worth fighting for. Long-time fans of the team will enjoy seeing the dead Avengers in action again, but this is not just a nostalgic romp, it's a story that asks - and answers - the question: what is a hero?

In addition to the main story, 'Chaos War: Dead Avengers" we have chaos-war tie-ins featuring Ares and Thor which deal with the fact that these characters are gods. I found them less interesting than the main story, which is more able to stand alone. But I gave a 5-star review because of the 'Dead Avengers' story, which is possibly the best super-hero story I have ever read.


Winding lanes ;: A book of impressions and recollections
Winding lanes ;: A book of impressions and recollections
by J. H Howard
Edition: Unknown Binding

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful life story, 24 Jan. 2011
Autobiographies, more than biographies, should exude a sense of humour. The man who is completely serious when dealing with himself is probably a bit of a bore! J.H. Howard was no bore, and this book proves it amply. A Calvinistic Methodist minister and a convinced pacifist and social reformer, he paints an amazing picture of his world.

Howard's early life reads like a Victorian novel, the son of a naval officer from a wealthy background who was disinherited for marrying a Roman Catholic, Howard was orphaned at a young age and spent seven years in a Welsh orphanage before being adopted by a poor Welsh family. This is why, although he was English by birth, he became a Welsh minister.

The chapter on his preparation for the ministry in charmingly entitled "How Not to Prepare for the Ministry", but is really quite gentle with the faults of the institutions referred to. He paints from life a picture of ministerial training at Trevecca at the end of the 19th century.

His ministry, involving such different places as Cwmavon and Liverpool, is full of interest to those interested in life in the early 20th century, and his own good humour sparkles through it all until the reader is constrained to say that Howard, like those Victorian heroes who were cast upon the world as he was, triumphed over his adversity. An excellent read!


The Exotic Plant: A History of the Moravian Church in Britain 1742-2000
The Exotic Plant: A History of the Moravian Church in Britain 1742-2000
by Geoffrey Stead
Edition: Paperback

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Fascinating Account of a Church, 24 Jan. 2011
Ignore the product description, it's wrong. First of all, Wesley never belonged to the Moravians! In fact this is a history of the British Province of the Moravian Church from its beginnings as a German body to its present-day status as a Nonconformist denomination. As the title suggests, the Moravian Church is an 'exotic plant', but British Moravianism has been affected by British factors as well.

This hefty volume tells the story of the Moravian quest to find a niche in British religious life, andwhile it does deal with the relationship of the Moravians to British denominations, what is most fascinating is the account of British Moravianism's relationship with German Moravianism. Born in Germany as a pietistic movement that aimed to foster devotion within the established Churches, it soon found that this model did not work in an increasingly pluralistic English religious scene - and this book details what happened (and did not happen!) next. A final section on 'Moravianism' describes the piety and practices of Moravianism from the 18th century to the present.

This is the only really comprehensive study of Moravianism in England that is available. It is a fascinating account of an exotic ecclesiastical plant. The only thing that would have improved this would have been carefully chosen illustrations.


An Impossible Parson. An autobiography
An Impossible Parson. An autobiography
by David Basil Martin
Edition: Unknown Binding

5.0 out of 5 stars Impossibly Fascinating!, 19 Jan. 2011
'An Impossible Parson' is one of those books that one finds out about by chance, then wonders how one ever got along without reading it. In my case I was pointed to it by the biography of R.F. Horton. Basil Martin was one of Horton's assistant pastors in London, and when I read the title of his autobiography, I thought "sounds fun!" and went and ordered it! It does not disappoint. Basil Martin is forthright with his opinions, but polite towards those with whom he disagrees. To a young (in some people's opinions anyhow) minister who had trouble getting a settlement, reading Martin's words on P. 82 about his own experience "I was eager for work, but I could not win the approval of any congregation..." was like discovering a man who knows just exactly what you've been through, even if he is... well, impossible.

A non-mystic surrounded by mystics, a pacifist surrounded by jingoism, Basil Martin's pilgrimage took him a strange way, the son of an Evangelical family who ended up a Unitarian, it's a wonderful journey. And the book takes us along it in excellent style. I believe I practically read it in one sitting. Impossible to put down!


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