Book Review — The Real Force: A 40-Day Devotional by Paul Kent

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Drawing parallels between the galaxy far, far away and the Bible? Really? Yes, really. That’s what The Real Force: A 40-Day Devotional by Paul Kent sets out to do — and it succeeds.

Being a Christian, specifically Roman Catholic, I’ve made use of devotionals for most of my life. Taking in nourishment to feed your faith on a daily basis is endlessly rewarding, especially if you’re going through a dark time or you feel the need to re-awaken your fervor. Adding my life-long love of Star Wars, and expanding on the themes I already recognized in the Saga, made reading this book a positive experience.

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Force and Faith: Jedi Lessons from Skellig Michael

Force and Faith Sabers SquareThe last time we saw our Jedi Master, he was in triumphant celebration of the destruction of Death Star II. He was also in mourning for his newly-reclaimed father. His journey as a Jedi and as a man was headed in a unique direction after these events. In the poster for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Luke is conspicuously absent. We do not know why, but speculation abounds. We do know that Mark Hamill was seen filming at a remote location in Ireland. This location will become part of our enduring fandom consciousness, just as the desert of Tunisia, the glaciers of Norway or the redwoods of Northern California have. We are talking about Skellig Michael, an ancient island in Ireland that was once home to Christian monastics.

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Inquisition: The Counter-Reformation of the Sith, Part II

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Be aware: This article is a continuation of Part I, which can be found here

Note: The final paragraph contains some speculation and possible spoilers for season two of Star Wars Rebels.

The inflammatory reputation often associated with the inquisition largely stems from its Spanish iteration, beginning November 1, 1478, under the authority of Pope Sixtus IV, at the behest of Columbus-era’s King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. Having been previously dominated by North African Muslims, at a time in which 200,000 Jews also inhabited the country, the Spanish crown believed their rule, and the unity of their country, required all to be baptized in the name of the Church. There were to be no pretenders nor agnostics, and certainly practitioners of either Judaism or Islam within the purview of the Spanish monarchy. The Pope, Ferdinand, and Isabella agreed that the inquisition could be a valuable tool to uncover those who proclaimed their loyalty to the Church in public, but continued to believe in their hearts, reinforced by observance in secret, Gods and traditions antithetical to Jesus, the Pope, and the divine right of the throne of Spain (Inquisition, 2014).

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Inquisition: The Counter-Reformation of the Sith, Part I

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This essay serves as a requiem for the chief villain of Star Wars: Rebels, season one.

A major scoop that hit during 2013’s New York Comic Con was the introduction of the Inquisitor. As the concept for Rebels was first bantered about, there was always this singular question surrounding who the new heroes would battle. Would they most likely encounter Darth Vader — an enticing, yet wholly problematic proposition, given his sacrosanct position in pop culture? After all, unless this new cast was meant to lose their heads within the pilot episode, running from Vader’s grasp for five or six seasons would cheapen the character in most eyes. Someone else, particularly one capable of tangling with a Jedi or two, was meant to step into the fray. That void, I immediately felt, was filled by a historical reference most appropriate to the state of the galaxy, the nature of Palpatine’s sense of strategy, and also given what was witnessed in The Clone Wars previously — an inquisition targeting the Light Side of the Force. As Palpatine’s alter ego Darth Sidious once established in an earlier time, referring to Force-sensitive children soon to be cultivated by the Jedi Order:

…The natural talent these children possess is too great to be wasted by the Jedi. I foresee an army of Force-talented spies in my service, trained in the Dark Side to peer into every corner of the galaxy from afar…and my enemies will be helpless against such vision.

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