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In Mel Starr’s fourth tale of Hugh de Singleton, medieval surgeon, Unhallowed Ground, we find our protagonist investigating the murder of one Thomas atte Bridge after this unlikable fellow is found hanging from a tree. While Master Hugh would like to believe the popular opinion that the victim took his own life, his finding of evidence to the contrary requires him to investigate his friends and neighbors to determine who took the life of their common enemy.

I enjoyed this book immensely. The story, which is written in the first person, pulled me in and helped me to understand the culture through the eyes of one of its inhabitants. A thorough glossary is included in the front of the book for assistance in understanding some of the more archaic terms that are used throughout the book. That is to say, the book is not only enjoyable but also educational. The story is also aided by a map in the front of the book that shows where locations in the book are in relation to each other.

One of the things that I enjoyed about the book was seeing the author’s own modern-day thoughts expressed through the Master Hugh. Numerous times in the book the narrator explains a religious or other practice or belief and then offers his disagreement with the practice or belief. It is fascinating to see some aspects of the culture of 1366 and these comments helped to remind me that it is unrealistic to believe that the entire population agreed with all of what we would now consider primitive ideas.

Among other things, the book shows that Christ can change our hearts and that we must not assume that this fact applies only to ourselves. Master Hugh learns this lesson when he takes a long journey to find the man he is certain committed the murder only to find someone else entirely.

I was afraid that a book about a medieval surgeon would include descriptions of medical practices that I would rather not know about (or be reminded of), but this was not the case. While it did describe some medical procedures, I found the descriptions non-nightmare-inducing.

This is an excellent book and I encourage you to read it if you like mysteries and/or historical fiction.

I find it interesting to see which of my blog posts are the most popular during any given period of time and decided to share the information for July with you, my readers. A few of my more recent posts have been quite popular, but there’s one older post that has remained on the list month after month. Here it is, in declining order of popularity:

  1. Psalm 16:7-11
  2. Texas Bar Sues Church
  3. Jesus Manifesto by Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola
  4. Sabbatical
  5. MuseScore and ScoreRender
  6. Stop Dating the Church! by Joshua Harris

Please read and comment!

Faith

By Nate LaClaire —  May 7, 2008 — Leave a comment

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1

Portland’s "Holiday Tree"

By Nate LaClaire —  December 15, 2006

Officials in Maine’s largest city have decided to call the traditional Christmas tree at Monument Square a “holiday tree,” citing a desire to be sensitive to other people and religions as the reason for their decision to avoid directly referencing the Christian holiday. But Michael Heath, executive director of the Christian Civic League of Maine (CCLM), notes that the Portland officials apparently have no problem with insulting 850,000 Christians who live in Maine.

On this issue, I have to respectfully disagree with Mike Heath. The city’s political correctness is ridiculous, for the reason Kiera McCaffrey mentions (below), but why does it really matter what they call the silly tree? We Christians focus all of our energy on whining and complaining about every little thing that secular culture does and we miss the important part. The Christmas tree was originally based on a pagan ritual. Even the date of Christmas was taken from pagan culture. I love many of our secular Christmas practices and symbols - including the Christmas tree – but we need to get real: they are a part of secular culture. Jesus never said that we must celebrate His birth on December 25. He never said we should erect evergreens in our living rooms for the month of December. He never suggested hanging mistletoe above our doorways. And for all we know, he was born in July.

Like I said, Portland’s move is a stupid one:

But Kiera McCaffrey, a spokeswoman for the Catholic League for Civil and Religious Rights — a group that has been tracking the issue for some 12 years — says Portland’s renaming decision will not fool anyone. In talking with the Herald, McCaffrey asked what other religions take evergreen trees indoors and decorate them. “They are Christmas trees,” she said. “Everybody knows that.”

However, they don’t know any better. They are blinded by their hatred. What’s our excuse?

Source: Bows of Folly: Portland Blasted for PC Pandering With ‘Holiday Tree’

links for 2006-11-30

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