The author of “The Odds of Gods: Why Christians Should Never Tell Lies”, Rush O.C. Campbell, starts out his narrative in a no-nonsense manner that is as efficient as it is descriptive. We get to know the characters that are important to the story, one by one, and in much detail, through a semi-predictable pattern. In fact, by the 20th character description, it begins to feel a little more like a character reference guide meant to be referred to later as you are reading through the story. Once the character descriptions are finished, however, the reader is in for a nice surprise.
The style of writing employed in this book is perfect for anyone who loves theater and film. Instead of building up atmosphere and nuances for the reader through sensory connections and context clues, the setting, room descriptions, facial expressions, tone of voice, direction of speech, and pretty much every other useful bit of information is conveniently laid out for the reader to see. The writing actually feels a bit more like a screenplay than a novel, and there are a lot of readers who will certainly appreciate the tact and skill employed by the author.
An interesting aspect of the book is that Campbell is writing about real people, in the real world. There is very much a sense of realism and humanity in the conversations that take place, and the based-on-true-events story invites readers into the world of the author.
The reader follows Rashman, a Jamaican-English man, and several other characters through a series of conversations relating to the common perception of Christianity and how things might not be quite as simple as many make them out to be. In fact, the book is intended to pave the way to a renewed process of thought towards the Bible and is full of notions meant to bring believers the salvation they so fully crave. The story is interesting, takes many twists and turns, and the character relationships and interactions are rich and engaging. Rashman is a man sure about his beliefs and following him through this story is certainly unique and thought-provoking at the same time.
To rate “The Odds of Gods: Why Christians Should Never Tell Lies,” by Rush O.C. Campbell, one would have to consider the content. The book is definitely entertaining and immersive. The subject matter is certainly for a very specific audience, however, and the subject matter is nothing short of heavy. If you are a follower of the Christian faith and feel yourself prepared to challenge your current perceptions of how well you are following the teachings of the Bible, this book is definitely for you.
Pages: 288 | ASIN: B07NB13JLT
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You Owe Me One spans hundreds of years and follows several characters that are trying to save their souls. What was the inspiration for the setup to this intriguing novel?
Initially I wrote You Owe Me One as a short story, which focuses upon Joe Durrant. Then I began to ask myself how Joe had first encountered the Devil. I thought of the idea of having an antique mirror as a portal and then the character of Charles came into my head. Charles became very real to me and I enjoyed writing about him and his struggles. He was a very modern man, living in an outdated and prejudiced society. I have been to Paris on many occasions, so my inspiration for his travels was inspired by my visits there.
There were several well developed characters in this story. Who was your favorite to write for?
My favorite character is Joe. Although he is impulsive, reckless and quick-tempered, he is strong, brave and immensely kind. He gains maturity in the novel and is always concerned about the welfare of others. These qualities enable him to stand up to Satan.
This is a thought provoking novel that questions Christian ideals. What were some themes that were important for you to explore?
The intention of the novel was to explore the choice between good and evil, rather than to question Christian ideals. Some of the characters are Christians and the tragic events they experience lead them to question their faith. Others, like Desire and Chantelle, have high moral values, but are logical and have no spiritual beliefs. I wanted to represent people with different opinions on religion in my novel.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I am working on a fantasy series. I hope that the first book will be available by the end of 2019. It is called Starlight and Sorcery.
Two young men, living separate lives more than a century apart, are hounded by the same dark entity. Against the backdrops of nineteenth century Louisiana and Paris, through to modern day Florida, they each struggle to save their souls and to find love and happiness. This is a story about the battle between good and evil.
“How does it feel to meet your old buddy, head-on near the fires of home?”
I can barely speak. I manage to say something, between bursts of coughing. “So, that’s where I’m going? You’re sending me to Hell?”
“Well, Joe, you do owe me one,” says my old buddy and smiles warmly. Blackness.
“Some people say that the closer you are to God the more the Devil comes after you. Well, that sure is true in my case. Maybe that’s why I’m crouched down at the back of a Baptist church, where there’s a service in full swing, clutching a powerful crossbow I bought at a store with fake ID, because I’m only sixteen. I fully intend to use it; the crossbow I mean.
The Devil must be chuckling with glee if he’s watching me now, for as a child I was as close to God as anyone could be. Two church services on Sunday and Bible Study twice a week was part of my regular routine. Now I can taste bile rising in my mouth, as I hear the cries of hallelujah. In a nearby window I can see a lone vulture swooping down from the sky. As I slowly rise up onto my feet, the outline of the wedding guests comes into view. The floral dresses, fancy hats and corsages, all blend into a garish kaleidoscope of horror. My vision is blurred and I pause for a moment as my lungs seem to constrict, so that it’s getting hard to breathe. My hands shake as I load a bolt into the crossbow and walk up the aisle, and all the while I’m wondering if I am truly Satan’s collaborator.”
I began to ascend the flight of steps which led to Montmartre, eager to disassociate myself from the body lying in the road below. I watched the scene from the top of the steps, afraid that I may have been spotted, although I could see no one nearby. At first the street was quiet and still, as in a time of prayer or of mourning. Then the people came running from all directions. They seemed to descend on him like vultures, their black cloaks flapping like wings, their raucous cries of alarm raking the still air. Many of them had dark eyes, I was sure of that, even at a distance, as they came running towards him through the Parisian streets. They had dark eyes that were shrewd and sharp and keen. Their crow-colored heads glistened in the sunlight. Were they here to help him or to pick his pockets for silver, like the magpies I had seen in the woods around the chateau? But it was too late to help this man. He was already on his way to Hell. They seemed surreal, like visitors from the underworld who had come to claim his soul.
Posted in Interviews
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Through a fun, interesting, educational and thought-provoking story this work describes the role of religion in the world and many of the ancient approaches that exist about the role of God in the lives of people. This is Roger’s coming into the world and his affair with Juan, who never thinks about all the things that were going to happen with his unexpected visit. The book also has some fictional episodes, seeking to reflect on what is important in life and the most important lessons God has for each of us.
This book is primarily a teaching tool aimed at readers interested to know more about the established foundations of major religions in the world, its origins, more powerful beliefs and conceptual differences between them. Similarly, this book talks about specific situations in life that people go through and how God can act to make positive changes in each. On the other hand, it has many stories that invite you to think of the most complex questions that can be had in religion.
This book gives the reader a tour of an adventure between John, Roger, Laura, Luis and Horacio, who live their own conflicts and how God can positively impact each of them. Dr. Chapunoff has captured a mix of emotions, truths and feelings between God and the most important representatives of the religions of the world, who talk about the strengths and weaknesses. Each gives the reader a deeper understanding. Each of these sketch the conceptual differences and tolerance zones that have allowed them to coexist since ancient times to the present.
This book delves into the nature of miracles, which can exist at the same time, and may be the result of religious practices. The beautiful, controversial and incredible power of God above all things is a pointed underlying theme throughout this book. It highlights the magic that exists between the unbelieving human and goodness of the almighty God, who is always present and accompanying all people, without distinction. This is an otherworldly book with earthly ramifications.
Pages: 209 | ASIN: B07DTKM57S
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The Golden Cage: From Entrapment to Empowerment is a motivational self-help book penned by Margot Zaher. Zaher uses her “golden cage” metaphor to explain how people get themselves trapped in relationships, careers, etc. that they find hard to escape from. She explains that leaving those “safe” cages may lead to better outcomes for those stuck inside. Zaher helps take some fear out of taking that first doozy-of-a-step. She will give courage to the frightened and hope to the hopeless. She will hold readers by the hand and lead them right out of their comfort zones. She gives a guide on how to break free from traps and become empowered, as the title suggests.
Zaher exposes her own wounds for the benefit of others. That’s a brave and scary thing to do. Readers will appreciate her vulnerability. People will identify with Zaher’s turmoil and her struggle to step out on a limb and leave the familiar. The scenarios found in the book are relatable. Everyone has a regret. It may be staying in a relationship too long for the sake of “security,” staying in a miserable job because of fear, or staying stagnant because of the fear of change.
I think the book would probably work best as a daily devotional sort of read. I think it can be most effective in that capacity. Otherwise, it may feel redundant and repetitive. Taking a bit at a time to ruminate on would be better than reading it through like a novel. It is a book to work through, not a book to fly through. There are some open ended thoughts that require reflection and contemplation. This makes the read more of an interactive experience for the reader.
Speaking of devotional, I appreciate Zaher’s openness toward a higher power. Most devotional books I have read were pretty narrow as far as their references toward God. I like that Zaher leaves room for anyone to be able to read this book. She refers to God as God, higher power, source of life, etc. She helps to give advice and direction to readers without trying to dictate their personal beliefs. This is refreshing in this kind of book.
Margot Zaher bravely gives us her innermost thoughts, feelings, and struggles to pore over and relate to. The book is great for “thought for the day” passages if taken in its short sections. Zaher bursts through the myth of false security to show readers the brighter future they can discover if they are brave enough to shake off their chains.
Pages: 142 | ASIN: B07HVJ7V4J
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No Reflection: Are You Who You Thought You Were? By Christopher Johnson is an introspective religious and spiritual book. It contains many quotes from the Bible as well as quotes from famous people and some other religious figures with thoughts connecting it. Each chapter in the book covers a topic, such as love and forgiveness and then they all follow the same formula of having different quotes and speculation on these quotes. Johnson mentions in the book that his work is the result of conversations with different people in his life and his thoughts on these quotes.
Johnson’s work is interesting. He has quotes followed up with statements that are thoughts on these subject matters. The thoughts connecting these quotes are not always religious, some of them are statements referring to life, but the bulk of them are religious. In addition to quotes, there are topics for each chapter, and some contain metaphors. The metaphors, connecting quotes and thoughts are well done and seamlessly flow into one another. I quite enjoyed the vampire metaphor a lot. It fits into what the author was doing with that chapter perfectly, and I never thought of why vampires cannot go into the sunlight before, but his explanation of it made sense and fit so well with the text. Another analogy I greatly enjoyed was the tortoise and the hare. Johnson relates this to life and states that some are fast to separate but slow to come together, and I found that I agreed with that to a point.
I think for some, this book could be controversial, more specifically the parts addressing homosexuality. I personally do not agree with the sentiments made. I think when making claims similar to these, it would have been nice to have other sources other than Bible quotes and quotes from people that back up thoughts to make it more balanced. Without the balance, it comes off more as a strictly religious text. I do not think Johnson is intending to be biased, but I would have enjoyed other sources with similar statements.
Some of it seems contradictory at times too. For instance saying that God does not have a part in everything because He gave us free will and does not pull all the strings in everything, but then stated God supplies our money. But from the text, it would seem if we choose to work to make money, then we are supplying money through choice. Definitely a mind bender! The book is definitely thought-provoking at times, such as the chapter on forgiveness. That was an interesting read.
Overall, I liked the book. I would recommend this book to those who are open to religious talks, as the book felt like a church sermon in each chapter, or those who are of Christian faith. I am open to seeing others’ perceptions and thoughts who are different from my own, so it was an engaging read and food for thought.
Pages: 144 | ASIN: B07964NR4B
Posted in Book Reviews
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Have you been in a situation where all hope seems lost? Have you felt like God is abandoning you? Have you ever felt like you faith is wavering? Like you are losing grasp of your relationship with God?
Heavenly Whispers taps into all of these feelings and serves as a guide to devotion to help keep that bond with God. This is a guide to keeping a hold on faith and remaining strong under God despite the storm that’s raging. This book will help you devote yourself to God unencumbered by your own mind and self-imposed hurdles by providing you with a strong and insightful scripture every day for 222 days. It comes in a tiny package. You can have it in your pocket for whenever and wherever the need to commune with God arises.
There are so many great qualities here. First is the carefully picked words from the Bible. The prayer after each scripture. Then there is how the message just seems to tap into that deep yearning for God. Another great thing, it is not bogged down by stories. There are no endless paragraphs of one person telling you how they do things and how this will succeed. The author delivers the scripture and prayer and then leaves it up to you to execute. Another thing that I really liked is that the devotion sessions are short. You could have a moment with God as you wait for the train or between meetings. It really is the best travel companion.
I feel like the book could have benefited from a sort of appendix at the back. A guide on which pages to go to when faced with specific situations.
Dr. Ronel Benade has provided people with a way to gain divine knowledge in a daily piecemeal way that makes all the wisdom of God attainable.
The prayers are simple and impactful and the author urges the reader to go on and impact the world positively. I find that the mere act of sharing this book with others is impactful. There is greater joy in receiving these little bits of Heavenly whispers.
Pages: 232 | ASIN: B07KMXN44F
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The Transition, Initiated by Copernicus and Galileo, from Religion to Science: The Beckoning Bridge Many Find Difficult or Impossible to Cross’ By Lawrence H Wood is a nonfiction book that seeks to shed light on the dichotomy between religion and science, and how the two can continue to co-exist side by side. The author details the transition from a religious based understanding to a scientific based understanding that began to occur in the mid sixteenth century, and discusses the two different explanations of ourselves and our surroundings–how they developed and why they co-exist when such coexistence is a constant source of confusion and conflict. In this book, Dr. Wood, a science historian, focuses on examining the historical aspects of science to further the reader’s understanding of the subject.
This books is divided into sections that look at various aspects of the historical development of science. It’s a fascinating topic that is given very little attention in an academic setting, since most science classes focus exclusively on the actual science with no mention made of the history of science. I found it interesting to read about the historical development of scientific understanding, as people came to understand various scientific principles, starting in the 1500’s when Copernicus observed that the Earth revolved around the Sun, not the Sun around the Earth, as was the previous accepted belief. This marked the beginning of modern scientific investigation, along with the invention of the telescope and the microscope. I liked that the book described many scientific principles and theories and how they came to be discovered, and covered many different science disciplines, including geology, physics, biology, archaeology, and chemistry. I enjoyed reading about the discoveries and contributions of a wide range of scientists, from the sixteenth century to the present.
The book focuses on a variety of subjects from discovering that the Earth is billions of years old to modern advances in DNA and gene-splicing, but the author describes it in terms that make the information accessible to average people who may not view themselves as particularly scientific-minded. The author’s use of graphs and charts to illustrate points was a welcome inclusion that helped to further my understanding of the explanations presented in this book. Another helpful tool was the author’s summation of information at the end of each chapter.
Pages: 444 | ISBN: 1532024576
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God, who loves so deeply and delights to give, has made a multitude of promises throughout the Bible to His children. Yet, there are many of them who never posses their promises. They become weary with the wait and burdened down by questions like, “What do I need to do in order to inherit the promise God made me?” God has come through this author to provide His children with the answer that is sure to cause them to posses all their promises: You gotta let God finish! The Holy Spirit delves deep into God’s word by looking at the lives of various men and women throughout the Bible to shed light on the loving heart of God, His unfailing ways, and sure faithfulness toward His children, proving that all you have to do is allow God to finish what He began in order to receive all that He has. Readers’ lives will be completely transformed as they receive these revelations that have come forth from God, and as a result they will inherit all that God has for them and enter into their Promised Land!
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