Monday Night Jihad by Jason Elam←

Monday Night Jihad

by Jason Elam and Steve Yohn

Product Description

After a tour of duty in Afghanistan, Riley Covington is living his dream as a professional linebacker when he comes face-to-face with a radical terrorist group on his own home turf. Drawn into the nightmare around him, Riley returns to his former life as a member of a special ops team that crosses oceans in an attempt to stop the escalating attacks. But time is running out, and it soon becomes apparent that the terrorists are on the verge of achieving their goal: to strike at the very heart of America.

My Review

To be honest, I told myself that I wasn’t going to read this book. I first saw it this summer and kind of laughed at the title. I just thought it would be too cheesy. Also, if you look at my reading from the last year (reading list) I’ve read quite a few books in this genre. So I just wasn’t going to read it, but then I started it and about 3 days later I was finished.

Part of what was so compelling for me was that I think I am like THE demographic this book was written for. First, I have been a huge fan of Jason Elam since he started his career as kicker for the Denver Broncos when I was 6 and gave me lots of happy moments growing up. All of the areas he describes around Denver are my own stomping grounds. So it is always enjoyable to read about that. I could have been one of the characters in the book: carrying concessions up and down the stands at games, stopping at Chick-Fil-A for Dr. Pepper even more than the great chicken. It was a book that I just identify with! So that made it fun to read. I was also pleasantly surprised with how they handled some of the issues in the book.

This book is explicitly Christian fiction. The authors are both committed followers of Christ, I don’t know for sure but expect they would identify themselves as Evangelical Christians, and that informs their writing. Unfortunately, there have been some Evangelical Christians who have been extremely misguided in their understanding of and approach to Islam. I was afraid this book would fall into that category but I don’t think that it does. The author’s intentionally show the vast difference between the majority of Muslims and those who engage in terrorism under the banner of Islam. They also show some of the reasons why terrorism happens beyond “the Sword verses and Islam is about violence” explanation, there are often political reasons and personal loss that drive many to do what they do.

I was grateful for the way the authors handled this subject. While there are certainly major differences between Christianity and Islam and the authors do not shy away from them and attempt to articulate why it is they believe Christianity is true and Islam is false, they do not resort to the hate-mongering, Islamophopia that some have done.

As far as the plot and character development itself, the book is somewhat predictable. The characters are likable and I just genuinely enjoyed the book. The descriptions of PFL (not to be confused with the NFL *wink wink) life are great and knowing they are coming from a 17 year veteran gives it credibility (even still I wondered if there is really THAT much puking??). The descriptions of military and law enforcement are plausible at least.

If you are looking for Christian fiction for a teenage+ guy this would be a solid choice. It’s got a lot of the things guys love (football, guns, violence) and is plenty of fun. I got this for free a few months ago but there are now 4 books in the series so we’ll see if I am able to keep away from reading the rest of them!

If you need an example of why Jason Elam holds a special place in my heart, besides just always being a genuinely good guy, this is just one of the 436 FG’s he made in his career:

 

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Reading Today’s Stories…9/20

Interior view of the Turkish Parliament (TBMM)...
Turkish Parliament

Parliament to launch website for public contribution to new constitution http://bit.ly/pDCa8B

One of the promises made leading up to the elections this past summer was that the AK party would lead an effort to re-write the Turkish constitution. This will be a significant issue in the upcoming months. The current constitution has been in place since 1982 and was written largely by the military though with a consensus. This offers an opportunity to formalize some of the policy changes of the past few years with regards to religious expression, minority rights, freedom of the press, etc. This is a crucial moment that gives Turkey the chance to allow minority groups to retain their identity while adding to the cultural make-up of the Turkish state. The Parliament is using digital media to allow the people to directly contribute to the conversation. Read the whole story here.

Osama Bin Laden Video: No Terror Threats, But Warns Against Capitalization – ABC News http://abcn.ws/qhm5CE

Osama Bin Laden's Final MessageAbout a week ago Al Qaeda released what is believed to be the final video message from Osama Bin Laden. It is rather interesting to hear the topics he speaks about. In fact he is offering some sound advice to American political leaders. Strange that ten years on Osama Bin Laden has words to say that American’s can agree with. Namely, he warns about the dangers of prolonged wars that strain the economy while making some rich. Read the whole story here.

AppleInsider | University study finds students with Apple’s iPad perform better than peers http://bit.ly/mWZg0o

Interesting article on some of the most recent applications of technology – specifically the iPad – in the classroom and to further education. This idea has been gaining significant traction globally the past few years as both the technology and the practitioners continue to develop. Read the whole story here.

Reading Today’s Stories…9/16

So it has been a few days since I’ve posted links to news stories around the political-theological-cultural-historical world (at least the part that I’m reading in) so here are a few interesting links I’ve found.

Nancy Fuchs Kreimer: The Good News About American Islamophobia http://huff.to/p6lolR

So I have mentioned a few of the studies referenced in this article before. But this is a summary of a few reports put out that chart the attitudes of American’s toward those of a different religion: specifically Islam. As a country that purports to advance freedom this is a major question we have to face. Read the whole story here.

Why the Kabul Embassy Attack Is Really A Disaster — Registan.net http://bit.ly/qIFrrp

American Embassy in Kabul
American Embassy in Kabul

One of the major news stories from a few days ago was the attack on the American embassy in Kabul. This attack was the first that was able to last until a second day. However, that is not the only reason why this is a significant attack. Though the weapons and tactics were not really significant enough to produce serious damage  on a hardened target like the embassy they do carry a significant message.

As 2011 has ground on, the attacks in Kabul have become more intense, lasted longer, demonstrated better intelligence and tactics on the part of the insurgency, and struck ever more supposedly-secure targets. It is part of a years-old trend in the Taliban insurgency: by engaging in high-profile attacks on targets we assume to be safe, they are engaging in propaganda of the deed, of using their assaults to send a very deliberate message to the Afghan people: you are not safe, you are not secure, and the West cannot protect you. This has gone on for years now. It is not a secret.

Read the whole story here.

Video: Bloodlines Trailer | Crossway http://bit.ly/rbcTbU

I am very excited for this new book to be released later this month. It is written by a prominent pastor and gives his story of growing up within the religious but deeply racist south. It is an extremely important book and I think will be a great help to the church in combating some of the issues in our country today. It has application to how you treat your neighbors who only speak Spanish or how you treat the new family in your kid’s school who pray in a mosque on Friday. What does your faith as a Christian and the Gospel have to say about that situation?  Watch the short trailer below:

Reading Today’s Stories…9/10→

Today is a cool date: 9/10/11 (for those who use the American order of dating…I supposed for many in other parts of the world today is 10/9/11 and thus not quite as cool…well, next month you will have your 9/10/11)

Okay…on to some links for today:

Iran’s nuclear policy threatens itself first – The National http://bit.ly/nyNRCt

Have not posted much about Iran recently. This latest post is a good reminder that the ones who are really suffering from Iran’s abrasive foreign policy and nuclear program – that has isolated itself from many countries in its own region as well as around the world – are the Iranian people themselves. They are under a restrictive government that has forced the country to be subjected to sanctions that have farther restricted the economic development of the people. There are signs of life (the protests following the 2009 elections) but substantive change has not appeared on the horizon. Read the whole story here.

Making sense of 9/11 by Prince El Hassan bin Talal – Common Ground News Service http://bit.ly/nREc7g 

I found this piece very well written. It comes from a Saudi prince and offers some insightful commentary on the mindset of many in the Middle East. Yes, young people in the Middle East look at situations and have much to critique about the United States. Especially when it comes to Palestine they feel their brothers and cousins are being wronged. Yet at the same time they look longingly at some elements of Western culture. Ideas like freedom and individuality. The ability to make your own decisions. The idea of a meritocracy. These concepts resonate with the massive youth population. His concluding thoughts are very interesting. It does not mean there must be a minimizing or denial of differences.

It is the acceptance of difference, which implies a freedom from fear, that any terrorist must surely fear most. Instead of fighting against “terror”, we should be fighting for optimism and hope.

Read the whole story here.

Republican Debate…summarized

Okay, so perhaps a bit of an oversimplification but a humorous look at a recent debate by GOP candidates.