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May the Lord bless richly with His anointing grace! I am happy to hear of your Chrismation, and our prayers will be will with you. Please email me with your first name so I can commemorate you at our Divine Services.

You are certainly right about the demons favored fare. People Magazine, US Magazine, the checkout aisle, cable, internet X, R and soap-rated glossies are all much worse than the unfriendly offerings of scoffers ("scofferings," to contrive an awkward term?).

I think we must take the risk, though, of sending more dollars because people like to transgress the opinions of moral authorities. It is worth taking the risk because this sort of antichristian rhetoric and our reactionary critique is about the only discussion of religion left to popular readership. No one in the agora cares anymore for apologetics. No one watches Dr. Phil or Montel or Oprah for metaphysics.

I guess I'd rather wrangle with Pullman and Potter fans, because I find them way more imaginative and a thoughtful bunch than are the denizens of the fantasy world of Tim LaHaye and Left Behind.

Anyways, Grumpy, I'm on the Julian Calendar. We just celebrated St. Nicholas, and we're preparing for the glorious celebration of the Nativity. Part of that light is due to the news that you are being sealed into the Trinitarian Faith of the Peace, and Body, of Jesus Christ.

S'bohom, go with God, and may His glory shine upon you!

Looking at the text of the first volume as I remember it, I'm not convinced it clearly manifests Mr. Pullman's aversion to religion as stated in interviews.

I agree that the book's not really for children, any more than are Alice or Gulliver, both of which considerably outshine it.

Perhaps the Church errs in making so much of unfriendly books or movies with artistic pretensions. I am old enough to remember how Cardinal Spellman made financial successes of slightly racy films be denouncing them while, as it turned out, both New York City and the Roman Church had begun to collapse around him.

The demons, perhaps, are fonder of People Magazine and whatever's on cable any given night than of an Oxonian fantasy trilogy.

But then again, perhaps I'll be wiser after I'm chrismated on Tuesday.

I'll leave it to you to take the Golden Compass' inventions and rivets.

Remember that the "Grand Inquisitor" was Ivan's invention, oddly and significantly very similar to Pullman's Magisterium. Much as I might disagree with the medieval Roman juggernaut, I doubt whether there was the self-conscious statist manipulation so devoutly wished for by Ivan and Pullman. For that sort of totalitarian consciousness, one need look no further than the Soviet bureaucracy and the steel and glass Mordorian towers of Wall Street.

I share your critique of Oz, although I think that Baum waged his musty allegorization against the political and economic structures of his day.

I think you are too sanguine about the meaning of the Magisterium. The author does not permit a wider, more polite interpretation that allows for it to represent any bureaucratic system that controls people. Pullman means, specifically, a critique against the Church that actually believes Creed and Bible.

At least he meant that until the prospect of box office receipts helped him sign off on the nicer, less stridently anti-Christian, tone of the script.

Where is this Magisterium bureaucracy, if it is not meant to refer to the non-gay-bishop-conscrecrating, non-mainline-egalitarian, non-creed-saccharinizing, non-feminist-liberationist, non-revisionist-deconstructing Church: i.e., the Orthodox and Roman communities?

If Pullman has repented and converted to the Nicene Creed, and if he wants to say that the real Magisterium is the institution that fosters human engineering, gender disruption, family dissolution, sacred order destruction, trinitarian doctrinal obfuscation, oligarchical profiteering (at the highest levels in history) -- then yes, Grumpy, I'll go along with you and say that Pullman wrote an interesting fantasy and didn't just scoff in so many words.

Pullman did not write a child's book like the Narnia chronicles. He missed the necessary elements of a children's story.

It is, rather, another in a long chain of adult fantasies which possess a few moments of entertainment. Pullman's story is represented as a child's fantasy only because his main character is a kid -- despite the fact that she is a lying, probably unlikeable, kid. His books don't have the F word or gratuitous sex scenes. And that is the only reason why Pullman is stacked up against Lewis. Not because the books stand on the same ground of children's literature.

I respectfully dissent.

A lot of people praise Narnia because of Lewis's work as a Christian apologist. It's ok, but hardly the great work it's cracked up to be in some circles.

The Golden Compass is far more inventive and riveting. As for the Magisterium, whatever Pullman intended, it could be any bureaucratic system that controls people "for their own good," à la Dostoyevsky's "Grand Inquisitor." Indeed, in the movie, the HQ of the Magisterium looks more like Stalin's "Palace of Culture" than the Vatican or St. Paul's Cathedral.

Is the ordinariness of "the man behind the curtain" in the Wizard of Oz an attack on the Godhead or upon the puffed-up humans of this world?

I'd like to see as much Christian energy go into the critique of the mass culture that assaults our children daily, as opposed to an interesting fantasy book written by a man who happens to be a scoffer.

Dune? Literature? Oh, please. Sort of like calling the Book of Mormon "inspired".

BTW, you're welcome for the"nod". One of the nice things about the Internet, despite all of the problem which you have so eloquently spoken of, is the ability to make these kinds of links.

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