Find reviews from Issue 55 for Holy Schism and Seeds series

Holy Schism Podcast

Written by Ruth Marie Paterson

What happens when you put a Catholic and a Protestant in a room together and give them a microphone? Holy Schism is what happens—a delightful podcast with Sam Stuckless (a Protestant) and Andrew Zettel (a Catholic). The Ontario-based hosts discuss current events in Catholicism and Protestantism and compare aspects of the two. 

Holy Schism is thoughtful, funny, informative, and somewhat rambling—all the things you want in a good podcast, in my opinion. 

One of the reasons I appreciated the podcast is it talked about some of the local churches in my area and other parts of Canada. For example, “The Toronto Blessing” was discussed during a segment on revivals.

As a Baptist, I know next to nothing about Catholic church culture. In my evangelical circles, we don’t tend to engage with Catholicism at all, so it’s refreshing to hear from two Christians who are thoughtfully engaging with their beliefs and with each other. 

The podcast’s aim is to see greater unity among Catholics and Protestants. For more on the heart behind the episode, a good place to start is Episode five, “The New/Young Pope.” Other episodes cover pop culture, politics, and church and state, exploring how Protestant and Catholic viewpoints diverge or converge and how a common love of Christ can bring us together.

Seeds series by Rachel Starr Thomson (Books 1-3)

Written by Ruth Marie Paterson

American-Canadian author Rachel Starr Thomson weaves a delightful, allegorical fantasy adventure in her series, Seeds. The series is set in a world that resembles 1500s Europe and the United States. However, the world is called Kepos Ge, and the people have a unique element to them: they have vines growing out of them, and many have special powers. 

It’s in this world where we meet Linette Cole, a young woman starting life in the “New World,” searching for the freedom to practise her faith. There, she encounters Herman Melrose, who is building a community where many faith traditions can live together in harmony. 

Then there’s Jonathan Applegate, a misguided preacher who finds himself battling the evil creature called Machkigen. There are a slew of other interesting characters who go on adventures that span across the continents and seas.

In this world’s spiritual realm, demons are “shades” and “messengers,” and the Holy Spirit is “the fire within”—often speaking to people through dreams, visions, and supernatural experiences. In describing her work, Thomson writes, “I believe in the power of stories to baptize our imaginations and empower us for the lives God has called us to live.” 

While the books include violence and danger in parts, these scenes are suspenseful rather than gory, and the romance elements are pure and sweet.

One criticism I have of the series is that the unique physical elements of the characters are not explored in detail. As a reader, I wanted to know—why do the people of Kepos Ge have vines growing from their bodies, and what difference does this make to their world, to the plot? This should have been explored in greater depth. 

Thomson opts to focus on the spiritual elements of the fantasy world instead of the physical which is not in itself a negative thing, but it might strike an avid fantasy reader as lacking in some elements of lore and world-building.  

Thomson is set to begin working on the fourth Seeds novel soon, which she believes will complete the series.