Monthly Archives: September 2008

Proof surrogates and the Fed Bailout Plan…

I had to figure out an excuse to blog about the Fed Bailout Plan, so I’ll throw in a Logic lesson.  I’ve already blogged on some other rhetorical devices, and here’s another: Proof surrogates.

A proof surrogate is worded in such a way as to try to convice others that you’ve offered actual reason, evidence, or proof for something, when indeed you haven’t.  Examples of proof surrogates include; “everyone knows,” “people say,” “studies show” (without giving the actual studies or authors), “clearly,” “it’s obvious,” or just repeating the same thing over and over to try to be convincing, etc….

The spokespeople in the congress are providing a lot of proof surrogates, as well as those in the news media.  The politicians are at a loss as to why their constituents do not want this bill passed.  Well…at this point it is because the American people are being logical, and asking for actual reasons and explanations of this whole mess.  I firmly believe we aren’t against aiding the system, per se, it just feels like we are receiving a whole lot of rhetoric, and not enough info.

If I hear the proof surrogate, “this important piece of legislation” one more time, I’m going to throw up (that’s hyperbole, by-the-way, I’m not really going to throw up).  That’s the point; we don’t know if it is an important piece of legislation or not…no one is giving us real evidence or info.  This is non-partisan; both sides are doing it.

“If we don’t pass this important piece of legislation, it will be bad…really bad.”  Yeah, that’s convincing.

If the Gov’t was really interested in getting the people on board with this they need to hire at least two people; an independent (not connected politically) business genius, and an independent psychologist to come up with an advertisement or spot that can be ran on the media outlets.  They would do a much better job giving us actual facts about the business implications, and do it in a way that we would pay attention to, and care about. (Oh, for a Ross Perot graph!  Never thought I’d say that.)

I understand the fundamentals, but that’s not good enough in this case.  Why?  Because they are taking my money to do it, an if there’s one thing I know about finances is that you don’t blindly give your money to someone else to invest for you, unless you know alot about them and what they are going to do with your cash…and yes, that may be a big problem…we know what the Gov’t likes to do with our money…

“This is going to affect main street, not just Wall Street.”  Proof surrogate.  Precisely how is it going to affect main street.  It’s going to limit the amount of money we can borrow from banks…it limits our credit.  Well!  Wasn’t all this fast and loose credit how we got into this in the first place?  Give me more details!  Why don’t we loan the taxpayers money to those small businesses instead of those big businesses that lost all their money through poor management and bad loans?  Go interview someone that knows something, throw in some interviews with an actual middle class person that this is destroying their lives right now, even as we speak…oh, wait, the stock market was up today…

I have no doubt that the economy is bad.  I have no doubt that the greed of those in positions of power in these private companies did bad things.  I also know people are living too far above their means, taking out loans that they never should be taking out, and our gov’t wants us to be a bunch of consumers.  I’m sure a good plan could be devised that doesn’t turn us into a bunch of socialists, and that preserves the free market I know and love…and maybe this bailout plan is it, but we wouldn’t know because we are being treated like children, and to logical arguments with real evidence is being presented to us.

Get on the ball Washington!

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Filed under Logic, Of Interest

Rosh Hashana is today; The Feast of Trumpets…

Yes, ’tis that time of year again, the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashana is at hand. Leviticus 23:23 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 24 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation. 25 Ye shall do no servile work therein: but ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD.

The shofar (the “trumpet” in the Feast of Trumpets) is sounded, this one showcases the traditional blasts:

Posted by mesitampabay at youtube.

And of course many of us Christians that believe in the Rapture, that Christ will come with the sound of a trumpet think it may sound something like this?  This one is more “free form.”

Posted by crossoverproductions at youtube

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Two great videos on the cell…

Here is a vid from several years ago, you’ll need to click on the link to read the article and watch the video.  Cellular Visions.

The second vid was posted by VipChannel on youtube, my hubby “The ‘Shrink” spied it first, and put it up on his blog; Intelligent Design:

We are truly without excuse! Romans 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

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Filed under Apologetics, Logic, Of Interest, Origins

Jehovah-rapha; The LORD that Healeth

Jehovah-rapha, The LORD that Healeth…as in the other names I have already covered (Jehovah-shammah, Jehovah-rohi, Jehovah-tsidkenu, and Jehovah-nissi) this name is to help us grasp a fundamental nature of God and His character. He is the LORD that healeth, and further more, this is one of His names that He revealed about Himself; He is the one that uttered, “for I am the LORD that healeth thee,” to the Israelites.

This name is revealed in the book of Exodus, after the Israelites were journeying away from Egypt.

Exodus 15:22 So Moses brought Israel from the Red sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness, and found no water. 23 And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah. 24 And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink? 25 And he cried unto the LORD; and the LORD shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them, 26 And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee. 27 And they came to Elim, where were twelve wells of water, and threescore and ten palm trees: and they encamped there by the waters.

Now, it is important to read those verses to get the context of this revelation. The Israelites had seen the plagues of God released upon the Egyptians that kept them as slaves, here God promises to never do this to the Israelites if they hearken to His word.

Notice that this revelation of His name is connected to another event; the miraculous occurrence of making the bitter waters sweet. I’ve blogged about water before, and how it is intimately connected to life itself, and of course we have Christ as our living water. Here we have a people that are desperately thirsty, and who see this body of water, and who are devastated when they realize it is unfit to drink.

God then “heals” the water by directing Moses to place the “tree” in the pool, which makes the water sweet, and fit to drink (wouldn’t you love to taste that water! ). Many see the parallel with Christ, who was raised up on a tree to heal us, and to offer us living water through His life, death, and resurrection.

Yes, God is the LORD that can healeth even our physical bodies, as He has shown abundantly through scripture and even in our own lives, or in the lives of those we know. However, the emphasis on healing both in the Old Testament, and even more so in the New, is NOT on physical healing, but on spiritual healing and renewal.

To many humans the physical side of healing is the end all and be all; but I submit that to those of us in Christ, it is the spiritual healing that is the awesome thing. Christ Himself put forth the teaching that the physical healing was symbolic of a deeper, more important healing…that of the forgiveness of sin.

Matthew 9:6 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house.

When we are sick in our physical selves, should we not cry out to God to see if He will heal our bodies? Of course! However, we must be very very careful, for there are those “teachers” out there teaching a false message; if you aren’t healed then you didn’t have enough faith. How despicable!

Paul himself prayed for healing, but was answered in a different way; 2 Corinthians 12:7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. 8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. 9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. Does it matter precisely what kind of infirmity Paul was praying to be healed?  The idea still stands; God has His reasons in all things, and in all answer to prayer.

The new covenant in Christ is beyond our physical selves, it is so much more. Christ, the Great Physician, offers healing on a much more fundamental level…and yes, for those that have faith in Him, someday everything about us will be healed fully when we are home; our physical selves, our minds, our wills…everything.

For now it is enough that we recognize that by giving ourselves to Him, and making ourselves a living sacrifice, that He is the one in control, and that He can either physically heal us or not, according to His will. This name of His; however, shows us that healing is in His very character, and we should never be ashamed or hesitant to call upon Jehovah-rapha to heal us in any way.

He is the one who makes the waters sweet, Who cleanses us from our sins, and makes us whole in Him. As always, Jesus contains this aspect of God made flesh. He walked amongst us, healing as He went, again, to underscore Who He was and is, and that He has the power to heal spiritually as well as on the “surface.” He also took upon Himself all of our sin, and went through a torturous death…He sacrificed His own health for us.

He heals situations as well…He uses them for good, even if they are bad situations, Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. We are not ever promised perfect lives, or perfect physical health when we become believers, quite the contrary. But, we are promised that He is with us, He is The LORD that heals on many different levels, and that He can use all things for good. We too, to really tap into this promise, should hearken to God and His Word, and put all our faith in Christ. Then we truly can be content in whatever situation we find ourselves, and also possess the knowledge that we can indeed call out to Jehovah-rapha, and He does indeed hear us.

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Marcus Grodi, 10 verses; part 1

As many readers know, I watch EWTN every now and again to see what’s happening in the RC.  One of the shows that I think is very well done is “The Journey Home” with Marcus Grodi.  It’s interesting, the interviews are well done, the set is pleasant, and I’m always curious as to what the guest is going to say influenced them into joining the Roman church (RC).

That’s the premise of the show, BTW; converts to the RC faith share their stories of conversion most episodes.  Their conversions are often from protestant Christianity, though they do come from other backgrounds.  Marcus, himself, is a convert, and he shares his story every now and again.

I recorded the episode where Marcus shares what he considers to be 10 Bible verses that influenced him to rethink the RC when he was a protestant…when I hear things like that, my ears perk up and I like to dig into the verses to see what’s up; as obviously, I’m a protestant (though as a reminder, I do believe I’ve got brothers and sisters in Christ in the RC).  In this series I plan to look into the verses Marcus brings up, and go through them one by one.

I’m doing this for several reasons; first, it is always a good and helpful thing to dig into scripture whatever the reason or subject.  Secondly, I’m interested to see if those verses really lend themselves to a RC perspective.

So, let’s start with his first verse reference: Proverbs 3:5-6.  I will add a bit more for context:

Proverbs 3: 5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

7 Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. 8 It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones. 9 Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: 10 So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine. 11 My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction: 12 For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.13 Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding.

This one is an odd choice to me, because the meaning is pretty clear.  Don’t lean on your own knowledge, but on God; that’s the first lesson.  Also, in every way, in all ways always acknowledge who or what? Him.  If you do these things, He will direct your path.

So, does this verse line up more with a general RC understanding or with a general protestant understanding?  I have to go with protestant.  Why?

First, Marcus tried to make this a case to lean on the church’s understanding, because different protestant denominations teach different things, even on one verse.  But that is not what the verse clearly says.  We are to rely on God.  Has God given us a fundamental means to rely on Him for understanding?  Absolutely; the Holy Spirit (along with scripture, of course).

Is there context for my idea in the whole of scripture? Yes. Here is one example: 1 John 2: 27 But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him. 28 And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.

I include verse 28 to show that he was talking to the whole group, not just one person.  The Holy Spirit is God Himself within us, and He is promised to teach each of us; as individuals even.

Why then the different teachings even within the RC (for one small example; the rivalry between the Dominicans and the Jesuits)?  Because there is a lot of “stuff” that gets in the way for us; bias, stubbornness, lack of attention, lack of comprehension, lack of searching scripture, lack of prayer, etc…  There are indeed some people more gifted at interpreting the Holy Spirit’s leading, but it isn’t a necessary thing to have another human teach us (as Holy Spirit indwelt believers) the basic idea of the gospel and how we should live, when our faith and our brains are in the right place.

The next part of the Proverbs verse is definitely supported more by a protestant understanding, IMO; in all ways acknowledge Him.  The RC teaches, by practice, that we should acknowledge other humans, like Mary, for certain things; for one clear example, Pope John Paul II acknowledged Mary for saving his life/protecting him during an assassination attempt; even going so far as to put the bullet in the crown of a statue of her at Fatima.

Proverbs is clear here; trust in God (not another human or even the True Church, which is all true believers RC or protestant) with all your heart trust in Him, don’t lean on human understanding, but on Him, and in ALL our ways acknowledge Him, then He will direct our paths; each of our paths as individuals.

Marcus sees this verse as opening the door to the RC as the one true church, with one “true” vicar of Christ who is still human but leads everyone in the church.  I don’t see it supporting that idea at all; instead it is underlining the need for each of us to attune to God, not just organizationally, but individually.  I also see it underlining the fact that worship belongs to God and God alone, not just as worship, but as acknowledgment.

Readers can judge (with the help of the Spirit) whether or not this first verse mentioned lends itself to a RC or protestant understanding.  Will continue on with the verses in the next blog posts.

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Filed under Apologetics, Conversion, Theology

Make a joyful noise…

Psalm 98:4 Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise.

Well, as long as the noise doesn’t have to be in tune, I think I’m ok… Hehehe.  Do you notice how much music is a part of being human, and also how making music is one of the ways we are called on to worship the Lord?

Music touches a part of us that is beyond even the emotional; it is indeed on a spiritual level.  Now, I can’t sing…well, I can sing, but not in tune and not very well.  I can, however play the clarinet, or rather I could and probably still can.  But I haven’t in a long time, and every now and then I get a longing to make music, or participate in it at least (and no, the clarinet doesn’t fit the bill for me now…have you ever tried to make joyful music to the Lord on a clarinet when you don’t even like jazz? 😉 ).

For a long while I’ve been wanting to learn another instrument; guitar, piano, or violin.  I’m also thirty years old…hmmm… too old to learn a new trick? I wonder.  So, I bit the bullet and went and bought me a guitar yesterday, and have tracked down a teacher.  So, should I jump in and really take lessons, or let my doubts and vanity get in my way?  You see, I have a non-Christian hang up with looking like a idiot, and I’ve no real idea about how, or what to start playing, I am truly a beginner, hence the lessons, hence the hang-up.

See, Christians are human too.  I thought if I posted about it here in my blog, it would light a fire under me, well, I guess we’ll see.  May the Lord be with my fingertips, and everyone else’s ears!

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Star Wars: The Force Unleashed; Final Review

I gave my first impressions earlier, the day the game was released, and after I’d played two levels in a previous blog post.  I’ve now completed the game one time through on the Xbox 360.  Well…there are pros and cons.  There are some spoilers, but I will label that section when I get there.

First, a couple of pros.  One of the aims of the game was to tell a story that provides another “connection” in the Star Wars universe.  Unleashed falls before Episode IV, and does indeed provide a bit of insight into the “goings on” prior to the movie.  I have to say that while I enjoyed the story, I really did, but it felt rushed.  There was not enough character content to make me really feel for any of the characters, until the very very end of the game, and by then it is a bit wasted.

The tie-ins with other games and movies were fun, and I like the new lightsaber “styles” and colors.  It was also neat using all of the force powers, and meeting new characters in the Star Wars universe.  The game menus were also straightforward, and saving the game wasn’t a hassle.

Now, some cons.  The in-game camera was horrible.  Not only was the viewpoint off during critical fights, the angle made you lock onto targets that you are not intending to.  You go to chuck your lightsaber at an oncoming enemy, and you wind up flinging it at a barrel sitting off to the side, all the while you are getting pummeled by said enemy as you wait for your ‘saber to return.

The game was too short, and as I mentioned above, you don’t really connect with the characters until the end.  KoToR this game is not, and it shows.  If you are a fast player, you could easily rent this game and beat it before having to return it…I can’t really recommend buying it for that reason alone.  Now, if you like to play through a game multiple times and hunt down every item, as well as play Live (which at this point, I don’t believe is possible), it may be different.  I don’t fancy XBox Live, so can’t really speak to that.

SPOILERS.  There are parts of the game that get tedious very quickly.  One of these was billed as a selling point to the game; when you have to pull down an Imperial Star Destroyer.  Ugh.  The “directions” the game gives you will not get the job done…I could “hear” Obi-Wan speaking to me (not the character); “Use the force…the game is lying to you…” which is basically what you have to do to pull the blasted ship out of the sky…  There are several other parts of the game that I found quite frustrating, not because they were hard, just tedious, as I said before.

There is a morality choice in the game, but it is an odd addition, since the “light-side” ending is the only one that flows with the movies.  You can indeed watch the dark-side ending on youtube, for those who don’t like playing the bad guy…yes, that is how I watched it.

The game was disappointing, only because I had such high hopes.  It’s not a bad game, and any Star Wars fan will probably like the storyline, but it does suffer by comparison to KoToR, and its own hype.  If you get the game with neutral or low expectations, you’ll probably like it better.  In short, it is worth playing, but IMO, it’s not worth buying at this price.

For those of you that care about such things; the violence is what makes the rating “Teen.”  There wasn’t any sexual content, or foul language that I can recall.  On the good side, the story is about redemption, self-sacrifice, and fighting your anger and need for revenge.

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Romans 8:35-39 and loldogs…

Romans 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

😉

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The Lord as Light…

After the remnants of the hurricane passed through my area, the sun has been amazingly bright; there is nothing in the air to block it, or filter it.  The sky is crystal clear with not a cloud in sight.  When the sun is this bright, the whole world takes on a crisp edge, and you can see detail and color that you miss on cloudy days, and it makes the world visually a lovely place.

My heart has been praising God for the beauty of it and it calls the Lord to mind.  He is the Light.  For a Christian, He lights the world in such a way that makes us see everything else clearer, including ourselves.  His sacrifice, His life, makes the Light effective; we can see the world as it is and through the Holy Spirit try to change it and ourselves.

John 8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

His being illuminates all else; including me.  If there is one “key” to unlocking who I am as a person; it is my belief in Christ.  He lights the world, and is a light to us and through us.  The number one thing that people could know about me, to really understand me, or know me is to know that I am a Christian.  The Light that is Christ is fundamental to understanding who I am, why I am, and how I function.

Just as the sun helps to define our world, and bring it to life, and keep it alive, so does Christ in our own lives.  There is even a time coming when we will no longer require the sun; we will have Christ Himself, The Light, as a light to us.

Revelation 21:23 And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.

There are those that believe that they prefer walking in darkness to walking in light…sometimes they are afraid of the light, and what it will reveal.  However, once you are in the Light there is no reason to fear…for the Light saves, and guides, and gives life more abundantly than the darkness does.  Step into the Light of the Lord, you won’t regret it.

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Star Wars: The Force Unleashed; First Impressions…

In another post, I explained my relatively unique position of being Christian, female, and a gamer.  As such, I’ll periodically have video game reviews here at The Christian Scribbler.

Today, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, was…well, unleashed.  After work I went out and snagged a copy for the XBox 360, as I’ve been waiting for this one forever (I’m also a Star Wars nerd).  I don’t think anyone has to worry about spoilers, unless you don’t want to know anything about the game at all (then why are you reading this? 😉 )…I’m only on the second level.  This is truly a “first impressions” post.

So far, so good. The story is as advertised; you play Darth Vader’s secret apprentice.  The game starts with a bit of back story; and you get to play as Vader just for a bit.  After that, you, as the apprentice “Starkiller” are sent out to hunt rogue Jedi.

The gameplay takes a bit to catch onto, as I don’t really like to use my LB (left button) and RB (right button) as much as this game will call for; however, the game teaches you as you go, and also has an in-game tutorial you can pull up in the menu for your different force powers.

I can tell you right now that this really makes me miss Knights of the Old Republic (KoToR 1 and 2)…I prefer the gaming system in those RPG’s.  Unleashed is a lot more “linear” in that there are no dialogue trees as of yet; you are playing a linear storyline.  In my other post on games I brought up morality; in a game like Unleashed, you don’t really have a morality choice all the time…you are sent on a mission and are to complete that mission.  Also, you do not get to choose your dialogue, so far they are “forced” cut scenes with no input from the player…this may change later, I don’t know, you may get to choose missions and outcomes later too, don’t know that yet either.

The force powers are neat, but I have to be honest and say I don’t like having to do “combo” moves (button mashing) to do my force combo’s; it’s just not my preferred style of play.  I do like the force powers that are straight forward like force push, and force lightening.  One big gripe; what I call “cheap falls;” you can easily (and accidentally) fall off high spots and die…your guy may be bashing an enemy with a combo that you can’t break out of and walk right off the edge…

One of the side missions for every level is finding holocrons…and, yes, you have to search pretty meticulously to find them all.  They include force points, force powers (really the “spheres” you need to up your force powers), lightsaber crystals (Yes! you can change the color of your lightsaber, it starts as red, of course), etc…  That is actually a favorite addition thus far; certain crystals make your lightsaber blade react differently…for example I found a “compressed yellow” crystal that does change the color to yellow, and causes the blade to “ripple.”

You also get new outfits along the way…right now I suspiciously look very much like Raziel from Soul Reaver…hmmm…. Anywho, thus far I’m met two main traveling companions; a droid programmed to try to kill me like any good Sith’s robot companion (yes, you consider him a friend), and my new pilot.  Side note; you do indeed have to play as a male, no gender switching in this one.  I do understand; this is supposed to be like a “playable” movie, not a customizable RPG (did I mention that I miss KoToR?).

Also, you get to “visit” and hear about planets from other Star Wars games (like Battlefronts, and KoToR) ; some of the graphics look similar, though the “viewpoints” are different.

My opinion so far?  I like it…not a “love it” yet, but a “like it.”  I can tell I personally won’t want to play it in long stretches as the action is pretty non-stop.  Yes, the force powers are a lot stronger in this one, and are a main game point…the programmers definitely wanted you to use them a lot in fighting and in navigating the terrain.  Is it worth the money and the wait?  Can’t say yet…will keep you updated.  If anyone has any questions for me about the game, I’ll attempt an answer.

It is rated for “Teen;” thus far “violence” has been the main thing some may be concerned about…and as Vader’s apprentice you go after Empire soldiers and Rebels alike.

UPDATE: A more complete review by me can be found here: The Force Unleashed; Final Review.

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Filed under Of Interest, Reviews, Sacred Secular