Salt & Light: The Complete Jesus is an illuminating scholarly work on the authentic Jesus and his teachings. Dean lays out three important questions in the beginning of his book about Jesus, his existence, his teachings and what he offered to humanity; all delivered through a critical lens. Dean sets out on a daunting journey of finding the ‘authentic’ Jesus without any bias and only sticking to available evidence.
The beginning of this informative book contains information on different sources the author used and then the book dives into the Gospels, Jesus’ disciples and other topics, to make his case.
Each chapter has an intriguing question at the beginning, which is then followed by compelling arguments. Readers are not made to take sides on those arguments, but are allowed to critically think and decide for themselves.
The simple use of language throughout this book ensures that the information being conveyed is easily understood by anyone, and I think the text is much more powerful because of it. Photographs and other pieces of historical evidence are provided in this book which breaks up the long pieces of text. They are great visual additions that make this book much more engaging.
While I am spiritual, I certainly don’t have the level of knowledge of Christianity that the author does, and I had a bit of trepidation going into this book because of that. But the author provides readers with all the necessary information they need in order to understand the book. I feel like I walked away from this book with a lot more information on the subject, which will allow me to confidently partake in a discourse on this topic with other people.
I was mesmerized by the cover of this book because I felt like you are playing a word puzzle and finding Jesus in the scramble; which I think is a metaphor for this book, or maybe life too. While I think the book contained easy to understand language and the chapters fully covered a topic before moving on, I feel like this book is not something you finish in one sitting. There is a lot of thought-provoking information in this book that takes time to absorb. Going through the book, there were several ‘aha’ moments for me about Jesus and his teachings.
Salt & Light: The Complete Jesus by Jonathan Geoffrey Dean takes on a controversial topic in a way that is comprehensive and impartial. This is an enlightening book that provides the reader with the critical information they need to unravel the mystery of Jesus.
Pages: 211 | ISBN: 978-1-03-913143-9
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A Poetic Spanking by Anthony Toomer is a compilation of free verse poems that explore a variety of topics from faith, love, and contemporary societal issues that are occurring within the black community.
Toomer’s writing is potent and really opens the readers eyes to the power of prayer. The author also sheds light on many social issues such as the Black Lives Matter movement and the various injustices that African Americans face today.
Toomer’s poems are diverse and range from preaching the word of God, to poems of love, to poems that sounded like music lyrics. There is a fervor to Toomer’s words that is easily felt and makes each poem feel profound as well as spiritual.
While this collection explores spirituality, I appreciate that the author does not force his faith upon the reader and does not try to convince the reader to become followers of God. Instead the author shares his knowledge and his strength in his faith with readers through his poetry.
Author Anthony Toomer is an artist and this shows in his poems. While the poetry was stirring all on its own, I would have liked to have seen some imagery along with the poems; just something to break up the blocks of poetry. But this is a minor point for a collection that I heartily enjoyed reading.
The author’s acknowledgements before the start of the book allows readers to see the real Toomer as he shares a bit about himself. I was not sure how the title fit the poems, but after finishing the book I can officially say Toomer has delivered a poetic spanking.
A Poetic Spanking is an eloquent and thoughtful collection of poetry that I highly recommend to poetry lovers who are looking for an impassioned and inspiring read.
Pages: 160 | ASIN: B093B1PYGG
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After something traumatic happens, victims end up having their story told for them over and over again. It can seem perverse, like a performance on command for an audience without anything at stake. For the victim, there can be emotional power in determining how their story is told. The victim can center themselves in the story, flip the narrative from one about what happened to them, to one that explains their thoughts and feelings. I believe this is what Dr. Sherri Young was aiming to do in writing her emotionally resonant memoir, Blessed.
In 2018, the house in which Dr. Young, her husband, and their young daughter lived was suddenly destroyed in a propane explosion. Due to a serendipitous midnight wakening and correct emergency response, the three people living in the house managed to escape the blast. But the explosion was just the beginning; Blessed details their struggles with insurance companies, the loss of pets and cherished possessions, and returning to daily life after the trauma. It is a bumpy road, and the reader is given direct access to Dr. Young’s thoughts and feelings about the trauma and its aftermath.
This is a heartfelt story that stands as a great source of inspiration, but I would have enjoyed hearing more of the authors personal introspection and thoughts on this time in her life. This is a work that details the author’s intense (and understandable) feelings of anger, of loss, and of embarrassment, and I wanted to delve deeper into those feelings because what little is given is compelling. At multiple points in the book, she nearly melts with shame over her circumstances, and she never examines why she feels so much shame over something that is clearly not her fault. I think this comes out of the connection I felt with the author due to the fantastic writing. I just wanted to know so much more, and understand her so much better.
Even though Blessed is light on emotional introspection, this impassioned memoir still offers a lot of insight into how someone who suffers a catastrophic loss might feel. I can only hope that being able to tell her incredible story on her own terms is healing for Dr. Young. Overall, Blessed is a good, quick read, especially if you like to read stirring memoirs.
Pages: 124 | ASIN: B084BZKK1Z
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Acts of the Women follows the women of the New Testament telling their story in the days after Jesus’s resurrection. What was the inspiration for telling this story?
When I published my first book, Second Born, reimagining the life of Jesus as he grew up with his brothers and sisters in a wealthy family in the capital city of Galilee, I realized I had given voice to his forgotten brothers but neglected his sisters and the countless other dynamic women who played crucial roles in the birth of Christianity. So, Acts of the Women starts right where Second Born left off. But this time it is narrated by the women, and it is not the story they taught us in Sunday School.
What drew you to the genera of historical or biblical fiction?
It’s odd, I usually write humor and satire. But I have a strong faith based in Christianity and have studied it for years, including biblical studies courses at Stanford University and other sources scattered around the country. I have always been bothered by some of the central notions held either consciously or unconsciously by so many Christians. For instance, that this exceptional man was not human but a god, THE God, for that matter. Or that he already knew everything that was going to happen, so he didn’t need to have the faith that we are expected to have, because he already knew the end result. Or that we humans are powerless to correct the wrongs we see in the world, that we must ask Jesus to wave his magic wand like Harry Potter to repair the evil around us. I am convinced that Jesus was a man, and that he had the same fears, joys, worries and victories that fill all our lives. I think he found a way to become one with God, and he was showing the rest of us that we can too.
So, this contradiction that faced me every Sunday when I went to church bothered me. What do I do when I get hot and bothered? I’m a writer. So, I started writing about it. Second Born and Acts of the Women are the results so far.
Was there anything that surprised you in your research for this novel?
As much as the male-dominated church has tried to suppress the history of women’s enrichment of the faith, a lot of evidence can still be found right out in the open. For instance, in the gospels you will find Jesus’ brothers identified by name, but his sisters are barely mentioned in passing. But in other places women are mentioned briefly for traveling with Jesus’ group and providing financial support. Well, it would be a scandal in that culture for a woman to travel with a group of men unless she was close kin or married to one of them. Read through the gospels from beginning to end and start identifying some of these women. And examine Acts of the Apostles and all of Paul’s letters. Watch for references to the women. You will find some real gems that you may have missed before.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
In this genre, I will complete the trilogy with a mystery surrounding the First Council of Nicaea, which occurred in 325. The council was called by Emperor Constantine to determine a universal (i.e., catholic in its non-capitalized definition) view of the nature of Christ. People with alternate views to those adopted at the Council were branded as heretics and, in many cases, excommunicated. I will treat the subject with my usual reverence for orthodoxy. That is, there will be little or none in evidence.
But I have an itch to get back to humor, so I am simultaneously working on a modern-day tale of love and romance on the Internet. When will these two books be available? (Glances at wristwatch while stroking his beard.) Hmm, it’s already 10am and I have an appointment at 1:30, so I won’t be able to finish them today. Maybe by November? And then there’s the lengthy publication process. (Comes out of his musings with an upward snap of his head and suddenly widening eyes.) I hope to have them out in 2023. And before you ask, no, I am not accepting pre-orders currently. But thank you for thinking of offering, as I am sure you were about to do.
Posted in Interviews
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Bible, God And Free Will takes an in-depth look at the Genesis, Scriptures, and the concept of Free Will. Why was this an important book for you to write?
I have wanted to write this book for many years. I read a lot of books about the Bible and the different interpretations that were given to the Scriptures. I have noticed some inaccuracies about Genesis in the Bible and have tried to give my own interpretation even though it may not be the most acceptable. I was very impressed to read the books of the hermits in Christian Egypt (written more than 1,000 years ago); what I liked most was their tenacity in seeking God. I have been making notes for years and a year ago I decided to structure all my notes and compose them in a book. I believe that everyone finds God where they feel. For our inner peace we need God; how we visualize or “materialize” it is not important. I considered it important to discuss the Bible, God, and Free Will in order to emphasize my view that God does not forbid us or oppose anything.
What challenges did you encounter when writing this book and how did you overcome them?
The biggest challenge I had in writing this book was how to write it so that no one would be offended by my interpretations. I tried to overcome my fears by treating the various topics with sincerity.
What do you hope is one thing readers take away from your book?
I think that those who read my book should have a very sincere introspection. They need to look deep inside and discover. They need to know who they really are and what their priorities are in life.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I am a visual artist – abstract painting and for a long time I want to write a book about the “beauty” of abstract painting. I think in 2 years the book can be ready.
Posted in Interviews
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The Literary Titan Book Awards are awarded to books that have astounded and amazed us with unique writing styles, vivid worlds, complex characters, and original ideas. These books deserve extraordinary praise and we are proud to acknowledge the hard work, dedication, and writing talent of these brilliant authors.
Gold Award Winners
Poems for the End of the Age by Hanz Peter Zell
Silver Award Winners
Bible, God and Free Will by Vasile Ghiuta
On a Fallen Wave by Benjamin Anderson
Visit the Literary Titan Book Awards page to see award information.
Posted in Literary Titan Book Award
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Featuring three pastoral interviews, “Brutal, Beautiful Neglected Christian Theology” does not shy away from the more brutal truths of the Bible. It is the author’s goal to showcase for her readers both the beauty and brutality of difficult, uncomfortable topics forsaken by most modern churches today. The author steps back in time and passionately brings back to life neglected areas of Christian theology that are dear to her heart, including regeneration, the depravity of man, the fear of God, the person of the Holy Spirit, and God’s divine discipline, just to name a few, while also exploring issues in our modern culture and providing her readers with biblical evidence for the pre-tribulation rapture of the church. We may be living in an ever-changing global world, but isn’t it refreshing to know that these precious, neglected biblical truths are still taught HERE?
The author wishes to inform her readers that a portion of all book proceeds will be going to benefit the Hope For the World Foundation, a missionary organization which has been helping orphan children and the elderly of Albania for over 30 years, and has taken what was once a communist country and transformed it unto the glory of Jesus Christ. The author also wishes to express that no one individual associated with Hope For the World has asked her to use this book for fundraising purposes in any way, shape, or form, and that this is simply the author’s personal desire to see her theological work benefit a ministry she believes in unto the glory of Jesus Christ. The author does not seek endorsement from Hope For the World in any manner, and the views contained in this book are those of the author.
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Author H. Peter Zell’s Poems for the End of the Age is his interpretation of The Book of Revelations. In these thought-provoking poems, the author tells of a catastrophic war between the U.S. and Russia. The poems titled ‘Reflections of a Believer’ and ‘Empire of the Apocalypse’ are the author’s interpretations of the apocalypse. The poems ‘Discourse on the Mosel or The Century Poem’ are from other poets who provide their views of recent historical events and predictions for the future.
I found the preface in the book to be an insightful addition that corroborates the author’s poems which touch upon Christianity and politics and how it all comes back to the apocalypse. In addition, the author’s writing style is conversational and informative. This style allows the reader to form their own opinion of The Book of Revelations, and this combination of providing insight while allowing me to find my own path made this book engaging. I also appreciate that the author acknowledges that some readers may not agree with his interpretation, but the author still discusses his findings and his truth.
After reading the author’s poems, I found it alarming that The Book of Revelations does touch upon many events that have happened and are currently happening in the world today. The most disturbing one of all is the War between Russia and the U.S. by 2030. Zell’s poems serve as a wake-up call for awareness and early intervention of U.S. nationals. The author provides a fresh perspective of The Book of Revelations and challenges readers to question how our nation’s current actions affect the future.
Poems for the End of the Age is a thought-provoking book for those interested in politics and religion. This interesting read will help readers understand how the two topics correlate with one another. In addition, this is a perceptive and intriguing collection of poetry that will stay with you long after putting the book down.
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