Early Reactions to “Christian Wisdom of the Jedi Masters”

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Now that “Christian Wisdom of the Jedi Masters” has been out for a few weeks, I thought you might enjoy reading the variety of feedback posted online. Some reviewers did not read the book (I can tell). Others read it and were upset I didn’t write the book they wanted me to write (especially those looking for a theology of Star Wars book.). Just so you know. What I set out to write is a book that follows the arc of Luke Skywalker’s story from a clueless kid in the desert to Jedi Knight (via Obi-wan and Yoda) AND shows how Luke’s journey is analogous to the disciple who follows Jesus. People who wanted THAT BOOK ARE GIVING THIS BOOK HIGH MARKS INDEED!

SO STRAP ON YOUR SEATBELTS HERE WE GO! (and after you read the book go to amazon and post your review–it does make a difference!)

— I was talking to my pastor yesterday who said he had received a call from a former youth group/Sunday School student last week. This student, who is about 22 now, had always been kind of a “trouble-maker,” someone who was always dragged to church, and over the last few years he stopped coming altogether. So last week he called to tell my pastor he had read this great book that made God and religion understandable and relevant to him – apparently the book really had an impact on him….of course this book being Christian Wisdom of the Jedi Masters. So my pastor read the book this weekend he thought so much of it that he is going to build the theme of his summer youth camps around it, and wants to buy a bunch of the books for the kids. He also wants to use it as required reading for his adult bible study class this summer. My pastor is a voracious reader with a crazy amount of education (PH.D at Princeton, etc) so I was impressed that he really liked the book.

–The sheer crass commercialism of this book is so overwhelming I nearly suffered an aneurysm.
And truth to tell, I’m not sure who should be more offended… Christians or Star Wars fans

— I picked up a copy of your book, since it was
similar to what I was doing on my site. However, I
was not prepared for just how great the book was.
Here are the steps it went through in my mind.
1. An interesting idea to explore.
2. Very insightful…I will keep this one (I sell
back used books sometimes).
3. Very interesting…almost to the level of Waking
the Dead.
4. Surpasses Waking the Dead.
5. I’m going to pattern my life after this book.

I know you are too humble to accept the last point,
but I want you to understand. I understand the Bibleis the book to pattern my life after, but even thoughI have written devotional books on the bible, it wasn’t till your book that everything fit into place. The Jedi world, though fictional, has helped me realize the proper place for my Bible, my ministry, my God, and my future. I needed this system to pull it all together, and your book has so helped and impacted my life that I had to email the author (something I never do) to praise them.

— Not great, but a welcome start: Star Wars has gotten a bad wrap with Christians, but for no good reason. It seems many Christians are too ready to believe the worst without doing the research, or perhaps hear something negative from a well-meaning but uninformed Christian friend. Well, I’ve been a practicing Christian and Star Wars fan all my life, so I hope I can do my small part to set the record straight. Star Wars is great entertainment, and that’s all. More to the point, that’s basically all Mr. Lucas intended it to be. He admitted a desire to have it serve as a “modern myth,” but definitely NOT a religious allegory (this from his own mouth).
As such, Star Wars cannot be said to be either Christian OR New Age/pantheistic. It may at times resemble New Age ideas, but only because the two operate on the same premise: take common principles of philosophy and religion and wrap it in science fiction. The difference is, Lucas does it to make a good story accessible to the widest audience possible. The New Age movement wants people to ADOPT their science fiction as reality. Jedi aren’t Christians, and Mr. Staub’s book doesn’t convincingly show otherwise (although it seems clear he never intended to show that directly). What’s welcome is a respected Christian’s attempt to remove the misplaced villainy some have attributed to Star Wars. The fact is, the Force is not a developed religious system in the five films made so far, even less so if one considers all the “expanded universe” of materials approved by Lucas. But the Star Wars stand on moral absolutes, and what those absolutes are, is much closer to Christianity than monism or the New Age. To avoid a Star Wars dissertation, let me just say that there are good guys you’re supposed to root for and bad guys you’re supposed to root against. That one fact by itself makes Star Wars a polar opposite to New Age/pantheistic philosophy. Can Christians claim Star Wars? Staub thinks so; he makes an interesting, if not an exceptional or convincing, case. I won’t ruin the book for those wishing to read it, but let’s just say if you plan to enjoy it, you should be a real Star Wars fan to even consider picking it up.

–This is an outstanding book. Next generation and baby-boomers alike will resonate with the challenging truths of Christian Wisdom of the Jedi Masters. Staub gracefully uses the Star Wars theme to connect with readers while staying true to the real source of truth. Some readers might think this is an attempt to draw a close link between Star Wars and biblical themes. What Staub does in creative ingenuity is take the familiar and often culturally ingrained themes and dialog of Star Wars and uses them as an entry point to discussing real truth. To think this book is primarily about connecting Christianity to Star Wars or comparing the two side by side misses the point altogether. Those connected with today’s youth know that kids are searching for the truth because they haven’t had a real role model either in their parents or other adults who not only speak the truth, but live it out as well. This book is a challenge to those of us who can be mentors to get down to the heart of the matter when it comes to spiritual growth and be a mentor to those who need it. It’s also a challenge to those who need a mentor to seek the truth themselves and look for someone who can help guide them in their spiritual journey. This book is an encouragement to both audiences. Anyone on a spiritual quest will want to dig into each chapter and discover not only the basics but go deeper in true faith. This book can significantly touch and change the lives of those who read it.

— Jedi Beliefs Based on Eastern Religions!! I recently purchased and began reading a copy of the book. As a Christian I was excited to find some connections to my favorite movie and my faith. I believe there are a few interesting, insightful, and inspiring points throughout the book made my Staub. However, I will say that I do not believe that as a whole this book accurately reflects a connection between a religion derived from an eastern philosophy with that from the west. It would be much more fitting to see Jedi beliefs compared to Buddhism or Zen. There are similarities between every religion, but the link to Christianity and Jedi beliefs are too much of a stretch. Staub even states himself that the main difference between Jedi and Christianity are the balancing of the light and dark forces on page five. Christianity focuses, too much in my opinion, on overcoming darkness and defeating Original Sin, meaning that all people are born sinners and need to learn not to sin. From what I’ve gathered from the movies and books I’ve read, Jedi believe all force-adepts are born good and must learn to harness their goodness to fulfill their duty as servants of the galaxy. Meditation and mindful prayer regarding the fluidity of man and nature, a Jedi philosophy, as opposed to being messengers of God’s word, a Christian philosophy, is so much more similar to Buddhism or Zen that I believe that a match between the two is just too much of a stretch. I would not recommend this book to anyone who is seriously thinking about using Staub’s writings as a guide to understanding Christianity.

–Christian Fans of Jedi Rejoice: Being a Pastor at a Roman Catholic Church here in America, I believe that our youth have yet to truely find a way to connect with Christ in a way that can show them how much he really did for each and every one of us. Being a Star Wars fan myself, I was amazed at how Staub was able to bring the theological aspects of these great movies into a religious perspective. While it is not to be interpreted as the ‘new word,’ the book can be a guide for less fimiliar people and die hard fans alike. Star Wars is considered the greatest myth of our time, and the message throughout the movies is simple: Good will triumph over evil. How very similar the message of the bible is as well. I highly recommend this book, Star Wars fan or not, religious advocate or not. It is an insightful look at faith, and is essential for religious scholars and casual readers alike.

Yours for the pursuit of God in the company of friends, Dick Staub.

PS. And remember, “these are the best of times and the worst of times, but they are the only times we have.” (For Now).

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