Author Archives: Christopher Gillespie

MiniEP002 Reality Distortion Field

At the recent Apple media event to introduce the Apple Watch, CEO Tim Cook implied that the Watch would bring about a new and better you. In this brief podcast, I’ll be the wet blanket that spoils technology’s unending self-improvement project.

Watch this 11 minute condensed version of the event:

On the Reality Distortion Field:

Reality distortion field (RDF) is a term coined by Bud Tribble at Apple Computer in 1981, to describe company co-founder Steve Jobs‘ charisma and its effects on the developers working on the Macintosh project.[1] Tribble said that the term came from Star Trek.[1] Later the term has also been used to refer to perceptions of his keynote speeches (or “Stevenotes“) by observers and devoted users of Apple computers and products.[2]

The RDF was said by Andy Hertzfeld to be Steve Jobs’ ability to convince himself and others to believe almost anything with a mix of charm, charisma, bravadohyperbolemarketing, appeasement and persistence. RDF was said to distort an audience’s sense of proportion and scales of difficulties and made them believe that the task at hand was possible.[3]

MiniEP002 From Dystopia to a New Creation

In a different sort of dystopia, Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven has struggles in a world that is perhaps not all that different than our own. And maybe what her post-apocalyptic world lacks is already remedied by Jesus?

From Knopf’s jacket copy:

“An audacious, darkly glittering novel about art, fame, and ambition set in the eerie days of civilization’s collapse, from the author of three highly-acclaimed previous novels.

One snowy night a famous Hollywood actor slumps over and dies onstage during a production of King Lear. Hours later, the world as we know it begins to dissolve. Moving back and forth in time—from the actor’s early days as a film star to fifteen years in the future, when a theater troupe known as The Travelling Symphony roams the wasteland of what remains—this suspenseful, elegiac, spellbinding novel charts the strange twists of fate that connect five people: the actor, the man who tried to save him, the actor’s first wife, his oldest friend, and a young actress with the Traveling Symphony, caught in the crosshairs of a dangerous self-proclaimed prophet. Sometimes terrifying, sometimes tender, Station Eleven tells a story about the relationships that sustain us, the ephemeral nature of fame, and the beauty of the world as we know it.”


On Translation, Performance, and the Epic

It’s Epic

From their show description:

We explore the beauty of language, classic and contemporary with Dr. Stanley Lombardo, a translator of classics like the Illiad and Aeneid. Listen even if classic Latin and Greek epics aren’t familiar to you. If nothing else, listen for the first twenty minutes to hear Dr. Lombardo recite poetry in classical Greek. The sound itself will demonstrate the importance of our topic. Topics include the art of translation, Homeric legends, Virgil, Zen Buddhism, and poetry in general. B-Sides are in depth discussions with professors and professionals about the beauty and importance of their callings.

There are many helpful insights on translation and applicable to those of us whose vocation is preaching and teaching the Scriptures.

EP008 Stephen R. Lawhead “The Skin Map”

Physicists have sought far and wide for an explanation of the universe which excludes the postulate of a divine being, an intelligent designer who created and will complete all things. One solution is the multiverse, that the universe is really only one of many options out there, that there are other universes have spun off of this, or, perhaps, our universe is a spin-off of the primary universe, or what if this isn’t the primary universe . . . well, you get the idea. But what if you could travel between these universes? What if there was a means to explore alternative universes which bear a small resemblance to our own? What if you could travel not only through universes, but in different universes at different times, so that you could experience some part of the past? And what if you got lost? Well, you’d need the Skin Map to find your way back.


Edition Reviewed

Stephen R. Lawhead, The Skin Map


Links of Interest

Stephen R. Lawhead, The Bone House, Volume 2 of Bright Empires

Stephen R. Lawhead’s books

Wikipedia on Ley Lines

Wikipedia on String Theory

Ted Talks are usually fairly intelligent. Try this one.


Next Episode Links

Ruyard Kipling, The Jungle Book

Or if you want the Everyman Edition of The Jungle Book

Neil Gaiman, Graveyard Book

Steadfast Media Pick of the Week

Thanks to the Brothers for picking us as their media pick of the week!

Steadfast Lutherans » Steadfast Media Pick of the Week — A Fledgling Podcast.

A Fledgling Podcast

This week’s pick is a little bit of a change-up. It’s the latest episode from a young (7 episodes) podcast called Lies Speaking Truth which analyzes the quality and worldview of classic and modern works of fiction. Pastors Roy Askins and Christopher Gillespie use Dr. Gene Veith’s “Reading Between the Lines” and James Sire’s “The Universe Next Door” as the frameworks. In this specific episode, “Robinson Crusoe” is critiqued.

The analysis starts with a discussion of the main character’s worldview which appears to be a Christian Theism transitioning to Deism. What I found most interesting was the connection that the Deistic worldview leads to a moral relativism we typically think of as post-modernism. Also interesting was the discussion of the character’s transition from a monasticism and enthusiasm where he saw God under every rock to a Theology of Glory where he saw God’s hand in his suffering.

It’s a unique and interesting podcast and I hope you’ll support and encourage the pastors. Check out some other episodes as well which include discussions of “Game of Thrones,” “The Hunger Games,” and “1984.”

EP006 George R.R. Martin “Game of Thrones”

Ever been interested in politics? How would politics change if you had a dragon on side and hordes of ice-breathing monsters on the other? What if everyone in the middle was most concerned about himself or herself? Welcome to the Game of Thrones. While in many ways it’s like a game of chess, it’s very different in one respect—in this game either you win or you die.

If you’re planning to purchase the book, please use the links below to support Lies Speaking Truth.

Edition Reviewed:

George R. R. Martin: A Game of Thrones

Links of Interest:

James W. Sire, The Universe Next Door

Gene E. Veith, Reading Between the Lines

George R. R. Martin’s Site

Official HBO Website

Game of Thrones Wiki

A cool map of the Seven Kingdoms

Our Next Review:

Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe

EP004 Rick Riordan “The Lost Hero”

The ancient gods of Greece and Rome were powerful . . . and annoying. They influenced the lives of humanity, often in petty ways. They were licentious, having intercourse with mortals and thereby giving rise to offspring that were half-human and half-god. Demigods. One of the most famous is of course Hercules. But there were many others. Zeus kept many human consorts, as did most of the other gods.

Now what if, just what if, these gods still existed today? What if they lived in America and toyed with the affairs of Americans? What if the titanic struggles between the gods still happened? What would Zeus look like as American? What if the gods still had to defend Olympus from invaders? What if demigods still lived among us?

If you’re planning to purchase the book, please use the links below to support Lies Speaking Truth.

Edition Reviewed:

The Lost Hero (Heroes of Olympus, Book 1)

Links of Interest:

The Son of Neptune [The Heroes of Olympus Book 2]

Other books by Rick Riordan mentioned in the podcast

Wikipedia on Steampunk

The Greek Myths: Complete Edition (Robert Graves)
This Author points out the differences between the Percy Jackson and Lost Hero. Evidently the Percy Jackson/Olympian series is 1st person rather than third.
Interesting resource with some decent tools for analyzing the book.

Our Next Review: Jonathan Swift, Gulliver’s Travels


George Orwell and Christopher Hitchens

In a recent episode of Issues Etc. (The Legacy of Atheist Christopher Hitchens), Douglas Wilson mentioned that George Orwell was the hero of Christopher Hitchens. Christopher Hitchens, the renowned atheist who died last week, is described in the episode as a “born contrarian.” This might explain some of the questions from our recent podcast (EP003 George Orwell “1984”). Hitchens held uncommon positions for atheists, including being pro-life and supporting the conflict in Iraq. He did not care for what Orwell called “smelly little orthodoxies,” that is, positions and beliefs held for non-intellectual reasons. Instead, he followed Orwell as a freethinker and “born contrarian.”

Hitchens wrote a book in honor of his hero: Why Orwell Matters. In 1992, Hitchens was interview on the BBC regarding this book. One of the helpful comments from Hitchens regards the use of this book by a socialist (Orwell) in an anti-socialist context:

Christopher Hitchens on George Orwell – George Orwell Links:

Andrew Marr Can writers have anything like the same impact now because, I mean, you were saying earlier on, of course Orwell was in his lifetime limited to certain relatively small publications, couldn’t get his books out, all that kind of stuff. Never the less, partly because of the cold war, he was given an enormous boost, he was driven into every classroom in the western world and he was, you know, Penguin were producing vast, vast quantities. When it comes to political argument, of the kind you do now, most of it is really at the edges now, it’s small magazines, it’s groups of devotees in different countries who read small publication, books and so on. Do you think that, in the age of television, in the age of all this stuff, that the individual, the independent writer can still have a decisive influence anywhere?

Christopher Hitchens Well, I think it’s more than a pious hope, yes, I think that it’s surprising how in moments of crisis, which will recur, have occurred recently, people suddenly feel they wouldn’t mind reading someone who took things seriously. His sales always go up at such times as do the sales of people Alexander Solzhenitsyn and others who’ve sort of witnessed for historic truth and so on. There aren’t very many of them at the moment no. By the way, I didn’t want you, you made a very good point, about the way that he was sort of forced into the schoolroom. Partly what I’ve tried to do in this book is to rescue him from the sort of goody-goody plaster saint image that’s been imposed on him. He was always a figure of controversy and he didn’t want, he would never have dreamt he’d be given as a good example to schoolchildren, it would have been a revolting idea. And that all depends on using a certain cannon of his, a very limited one, 1984 and Animal Farm as cold war parodies or parables. That’s, he would have seen that was propagandistic in itself, and indeed, gave very strong instructions on his death bed that, that’s not how the books were to be read.


EP001 William Golding’s “Lord of the Flies”

What happens when man is left to himself? Are we essentially good, loving and caring for others, or will we revert to our “primal” man? Or is it something entirely different?

The Lord of the Flies gives the picture of man when all authority is removed. One of the ways which God uses to govern the world is through authority, beginning with parents, including teachers and rulers, and even employers. When this authority is removed what is left? William Golding explores this theme as he tells the story of a few boys who lose all authority. The story, haunting though it might be, is the story of how The Lord of the Flies can inspire even the most seemingly pure of among us to do evil deeds.

Edition reviewed:
Lord of the Flies (50th Anniversary Edition)

Links discussed:
Wikipedia entry:
Gospel Patterns in Literature: Familiar Truths in Unexpected Places
Reading Between the Lines: A Christian Guide to Literature (Turning Point Christian Worldview Series)
The Universe Next Door: A Basic Worldview Catalog, 5th Edition

Our next review: Suzanne Collins “The Hunger Games”
The Hunger Games