Saturday, July 03, 2004

I finished Dean Koontz' "The Taken" this evening. I'm a big fan of Koontz. I find that his skill as an author has grown, keeping pace with my own aging tastes. His recent books, "Odd Thomas," "By the Light of the Moon," "From the Corner of His Eye" and "One Door Away from Heaven" are all among my favorite modern books. I read a lot, including poetry, fiction and non-fiction, and I find there is a great prejudice among literary critics and college English professors against popular writers who explore the fringes of human experience. Sometimes, however, Koontz creates over-the-top, violent images that distract from his message. This was the case in "The Taken." The majority of this book, which is about Hope, leaves no room for that Hope. The end, for those who can handle the rest of the book, redeems the author somewhat. To whet your taste, here is something you've probably heard before:

"An extraterrestrial species, hundreds or thousands of years more advanced than we are, would possess technology that would appear to us to be not the result of applied science but entirely supernatural, pure magic."

And here, from Koontz, is something you probably haven't heard before:

"A supernatural event of world-shaking proportions, occurring in a faithless time when only science is believed to have the power to work miracles, might appear to be the work of an extraterrestrial species hundreds or even thousands of years more advanced than we are."

That, right there, that sense of mystery and the supernatural nature of God, is what is missing from other churches I've attended but yet exists, yet remains, in the Catholic Church. The lack of otherness beneath the life of a Methodist today, perhaps beneath the life of all protestant faiths, is what I am finding in my new home, in my new church... and it's something Koontz writes about a lot.

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