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GEORGE MACDONALD (1824-1905), forerunner of the Inklings–Scottish minister, poet, novelist, and imaginative seer– was one of the most beloved Victorian authors throughout Great Britain and the U.S. in the 19th century. He wrote some 50 volumes of novels, poetry, short stories, fantasy, sermons, and essays. His influential body of work placed him alongside his era’s great men of letters and his following was vast. Two decades after his death, his books were pivotal in leading C.S. Lewis to Christianity. He thus became the foundational member of Wheaton’s Wade Center “Seven.”
As human beings we know what is right and what is wrong. We’ve read scripture and can discern what God requires from us. However, despite this knowledge sometimes we walk into temptations. As if we cannot control our selves. This is called the fallen nature. This book is about how to defeat that fallen nature and challenge oneself to be stronger against this nature no matter how deeply embedded. Only then can we know the true power of God. Only then can we, as human beings, discover true spirituality.
David Piper has provided enough scripture to back up the material in this book. This way the idea of the fallen nature is not just speculation. Providing scripture also provides some sort of direction for the person to begin taking stock. For a person to begin making that change in their own selves. Scripture is the guiding light in this endeavor.
The book has a firm tone, but there is also an understanding that at times one may feel like the fallen nature is more powerful than they are. To this, the author offers understanding and scripture to help one get through it. His writing is coloured with passion and dedication to his cause.
This book takes the reader through a step by step process that makes it an easy read. The reader is led towards understanding of the fallen nature first. Then they are led towards understanding of the new nature. Through these two steps, one cannot help but audit themselves. They cannot help but see their lives for what it is now and what it could be. David’s enthusiasm for discovering the new nature is almost infectious. Then he takes a detour to backsliding and God’s power to restore. These are two very important points to pass by before really embarking on the journey towards a new nature.
The book is filled with personal reflections and stories about David’s life. This makes the book come alive. It provides the reader with a companion with whom to take the journey and share troubles.
The book is informative, enlightening and evocative. This book would make a great read for someone who has been feeling frustrated in their ability to stay true in their spirituality. For anyone who finds themselves constantly backsliding. For anyone who simply wants to see if their life is headed in the right direction or if they have given their fallen nature too much power.
pages: 284 | ASIN: B07QDPKYM3
Eurydice Osterman discusses the evolution of worship and shines a light on the process of change and the reason for said change. He has a keen eye for important markers in the history of worship like the element of the Gregorian Chant, for example. The discussion about the growth of music annotation and conflicts over alternative worship is very enlightening. The author mentions the difference between religious music and sacred music, which most people would not guess exists. The book also talks about the rise of a religion without responsibility as one of the whys of change. Eurydice urges on the importance to distinguish between enthusiasm brought forth by the Holy Spirit and man made excitement in the context of worship.
The author has an obvious passion for the subject of worship as well as a deep desire to ensure it is done exactly as God requires. He has conducted extensive research into the subject as the book heavily references the Bible. This gives the book quite a bit of authority and gravity. The author also provides a resource at the back to help worship leaders and other church authorities pick the most appropriate songs.
I really appreciated the direct delivery of the material and found it’s ability to easily communicate ideas to be quite brilliant. The subject is relevant and well supported by scripture.
Pages: 95 | ASIN: B0794SVDRK
Charlas Con Dios En Calzoncillos contains discussions with religious representatives of different faiths. Why was this an important book for you to write?
Most people are seriously and justifiably concerned about their thoughts on God and religion. Fears prevail and limit humans’ ability and disposition to express their feelings on the subject.
Asking questions to representatives of different creeds exposed some crucial differences among them. However, I tried to convey the message that mutual understanding can be achieved EVEN when individuals have opposite points of view.
My motivation in writing this book was based on a life-long struggle to deal with this issue and showing how important it is to express your ideas to GOD, even when you don’t know (as it happens in the book), He’s speaking to you.
This book contains some fictional stories to get a larger point across. What were some themes you wanted to capture in these stories?
Life without humor is a pathetic experience. Those who believe in God and his extraordinary goodness will notice his great sense of humor and of course, his capacity to do miracles.
Another very important point I made in the book is the suggestion that God is not directly responsible for human beings cruelty, and that He is extremely frustrated about humans’ highly dysfunctional behavior. That becomes even more pronounced when He recognizes that He’s unable to correct it. God’s attitude is humble and compassionate and he admits that the creation process of the world and human beings, regrettably, and to his deep regret, suffered from “infrastructure failures”.
I like the title of his book. Where did the inspiration for the title come from?
Perhaps, subconsciously I felt that those who believe in God would like to have chats with Him in a very personal and intimate way. Talking to God in underwear would be one way of doing that.
What do you hope readers take away from your book?
Believing in God is far better than not believing in God. Appreciate God’s incredibly smart and beautiful he created for our world but also understand his limitations, as mentioned in the book by Rabbi Isaac. Also, make an effort to tolerate the doubts of the agnostic, Dr. Terrin, and don’t hate him for his ideas.
Nobody’s is perfect and God appears to be the first one to recognize that. Don’t feel guilty for your doubts. God will be grateful to you for your candor, sincerity, and understanding. And remember that He’ll never be able to avoid tragedies in your life, but will give you the strenght and capacity to fight adversity.
Dios viene a la Tierra como hombre para comunicarse con seres humanos directamente. El libro contiene discusiones con representantes religiosos de distintos credos y tambien contiene capitulos humoristicos. Se cataloga como “ficción”.
No tengo conocimiento de que algo parecido se haya publicado anteriomente.
Posted in Interviews
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A harrowing tale of family challenges one women faces traversing the life of her defiant father after her mother’s passing. Embodied with the faith of God the author narrates her perseverance with every roadblock she encounters, which adds up quickly as her patience is tested dealing with a rebellious father. Snapdragon reads as a series of episodic events, each chapter highlighting a situation that would bring anyone to the boiling point of frustration. Woven through each of these trials, the author recounts her involvement with faith. Her Christian beliefs are spun deep into the fabric of this intimate story revolving around confronting all odds to find peace with her father.
Allison St. James undoubtedly writes with a personal voice, her persistence to become close and receive the love of her father is heartbreaking at times. The seemingly open face view of her struggles with personal relationships, financial setbacks, and physical ailments never once waiver her beliefs. Aside from anyone who is a Christian or feels they have some connection to organized religion might find Allison’s passages depicting her beliefs to be preachy at times. However, her honest expression of the situation will have any reader astonished with her resolution and drive to care for her father.
The author writes with a clear tone that had me flipping through page after page finishing the book in no time. Easy to read and written in the first person the story flowed smoothly through each transition. I was impressed with the heart and emotion that shown through with such simple language. Although a few characters came off written with just a rigid introduction, and I wondered how many times Allison could be “emotionally drained”, the spirit of these relationships fostered a deeper understanding of how convoluted the authors’ life became as the story went on.
Allison’s story is composed of real-life scenarios which don’t always amount to a fairy-tale ending. Instead, despite all the challenges the author faces, Snapdragon portrays a genuine feeling of forgiveness. It reassures the reader that through these constant battles in life doing the right thing might be difficult but the conscious will always remember that decision.
Pages: 238 | ISBN:1449788777
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Ameher is a woman of strength, compassion, and a faith like no other. From a very early age she endured hardships in Nairobi only to pursue the American dream as an immigrant and face immeasurable abuses and prejudices in her new home. When she struggles to find a safe place for herself and her children, she is met head-on with one challenge after another but chooses to hold her head high and never give up as she battles a system designed to protect citizens but fails in all too many cases. Nowhere is faith more explicitly exemplified than in Ameher’s life as immigrant to the United States.
Ameher’s No More Crumbs Chronicle of a 4-D Woman Rising from Hate to Hope is the author’s own story of harrowing experiences as she tries desperately to find someone she can trust. Her story in an important one and one that bears repeating until a broken system is finally repaired.
At 400 pages, the author has enough striking material to make a short series of three separate books based on her life. The many abuses and the detail to which she goes into regarding her life with Todd make for an entire work on their own. The author takes great care to explain the entire process to which she was subjected, and this section of the text would make for a moving book all by itself.
The author recounts the expectations placed upon her as one raised in a religious home. She addresses the stigma attached to having a child out of wedlock quite well. Throughout her ordeal battling the system in the United States, she is able to lean on her faith and holds strong as she relies on friends who seem to exhibit a shared strength of faith. As I see it, Ameher has the makings for a fantastic self-help/devotional book centered entirely on her own faith. A book of this nature would make a fascinating read.
Because Ameher is an amazing example of persistence in the face of adversity, she is a prime candidate to pen a book on the discrimination faced by a woman of color in the United States. The challenges she faces are a sad but true testament to the daily struggles faced by people of color across this nation.
Ameher’s work is explicit enough to be engrossing, but not graphic in nature. The author takes care to explain the horror of her trials without turning readers off with vulgarities.
As effective as Ameher’s work is in capturing readers’ attention, it could use some additional editing. At times, it reads a bit like a rough draft with more care placed in the emotion of the wording than in the accuracy.
Ameher has bared her heart and soul to the world in order to help other women with her book. Any reader who picks up her story will be inspired to keep the faith and rise up in the face of adversity.
Pages: 400 | ASIN: B079438P7M
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The Red Grouse Tales by Leslie W. P. Garland is a book comprised of four short stories. Each story starts off with a quote followed by someone telling that particular tale. Each story revolves around the theme of religion. However, the theme is not heavy or overtaking the tale. Each short story starts off slow complete with building suspense and a twist ending. Each story has its own unique lesson one can learn and think about, making them slightly philosophical. While each telling is different, the main theme is good and evil, which gives the reader a lot to ponder.
I enjoyed this collection of stories and would recommend them. One of my favorite parts of these short stories were the fable-like feeling. They each told a story with a surprising lesson attached to each. I also greatly enjoyed the way the stories were written. Each had a way of telling a story through another person, which made the reading interesting and fun for me. I think it was a nice, added detail that gave it a more authentic feeling of sitting around and hearing a tale as well as making it seem more like a fable.
This book consists of four short stories. The Little Dog is the first one, which I felt, was a great story to start off with. It hooked me in the book itself to see what the rest of them have to offer. I think this short story in particular really set up the rest of the book as it was suspenseful and thought-provoking. It contained one of the more interesting ideas I have come across in a book: What is evil? According to this tale, evil does not have a conscious. I had to pause and think about this for a bit afterward because it was such an interesting concept to propose.
The second was The Crow, which I also greatly enjoyed. The contrast between the teenager and the older man in the story was stark, and I liked to see those differences between the two of them. I think this one was my favorite out of the four as it showed you how unique perspectives can be.
I also found The Golden Tup to be particularly interesting. I think it was my second favorite out of the collection. It was told in a suspenseful and fun way. The White Hart was not of any particular interest to me, personally, when compared to the others, but it fits in with the other tales and tied them together nicely.
All together, I found this collection to be immensely entertaining.
Pages: 347 | ASIN: B018VWOVIU
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James Frost is an aspiring writer with huge plans, but life seems to have things laid out quite differently for him. Rejection letter after rejection letter, James begins to lose confidence, becomes increasingly filled with fury, and sees no way out of his destiny as a school janitor. His father’s offhand attitude about James’s future does nothing to help his morale. Then, James meets Leigh–a woman who could not be more different from him if she tried. A devout Christian always seeing the positive side in trying situations, Leigh brings about changes in James and sends him careening down a drastically different path of emotions and a newfound faith in Jesus Christ.
James and Leigh both shoulder great burdens and are destined to have found one another at this specific moment in both their lives. Hebert paints a grim picture of the life Leigh endures as a woman with overbearing parents who manipulate everything from her love-life to her own self worth. James, with all of his issues, is as much a blessing to Leigh as she is to him.
Hebert addresses warped body images in a realistic and tasteful manner as he highlights the relationship between Leigh and her mother. In addition, he draws James into the dynamic by having him gently override the damage created by Leigh’s mother. Nowhere is this more poignant than when James, in no uncertain terms, explains to Leigh that she is speaking her mother’s words and not her own. Everyone needs a James in his/her life–he an amazing voice of reason.
James is an amazing character on many levels. Hebert has gifted readers with a champion of free thinking while molding a character who is broken and in need of love and faith. As a reader, I was touched on more than one occasion by the descriptions of James’s poor health, his financial struggles, and his staggering lack of self confidence. Hebert certainly gives readers a main character for which they can both cry and cheer.
I was more than impressed with the turn of events in which James becomes a giver of strength and a builder of self-confidence. It is quite a stark difference from the outset of the book wherein James’s feelings are scattered and he’s falling toward depression. Meeting Leigh is just the tip of the iceberg; meeting Meranda completes the change begun by Leigh.
Hebert’s book is an unconventional literary approach to expressing Christianity. Readers do not often find text professing faith in Jesus Christ written in the form of a novel. Each of the stories surrounding James Frost’s life tug at the readers heart and doesn’t stop. James and Leigh are memorable and relatable. Hebert’s in-depth look into James Frost’s transformation is a testament to faith, love, and hope.
Pages: 334 | ASIN: B002QHVW1G
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Thrilling from the beginning, You Owe Me One by Kathryn Hollingworth is a devastatingly intricate tale the covers centuries and delves into the minds of more than one person. Broken into six parts with the chapters jumping from one first-person perspective to a completely new one, the thread that connects our characters is long. The narrative crosses hundreds of years and genders to bring us a delectable tale of what happens when the Devil makes himself explicitly known to man. Wonderfully written, readers will have a hard time putting this book down until they reach the very end.
To smoothly jump from the perspective of a young woman in the early 2000’s to a young man in the latter part of the 1800’s is no easy feat. It’s hard enough to balance multiple characters, but a writer worth their salt would need to be able to put themselves into the shoes of each character and write with their personality in mind. Because these snippets are all shared from the first-person perspective it is easy to see how truly difficult this task can be. Hollingworth knows this craft and she knows how to write an intriguing story without giving away her secrets at the beginning.
Questioning a religion as old and powerful as Christianity is no easy task. But that’s exactly what Hollingworth does. Her characters do, anyhow. Even when they are face to face with the Devil himself; wrapped up in a strange series of events that deliberately push the envelope against religion’s place in the modern world, Hollingworth treads with respect and care. She has done her research, that much is certain. It’s this respect and care that wraps everything together in a nice package and delivers it to the mind of the reader.
In a thrilling journey of memory loss, curses standing the test of time and deals with the Devil You Owe Me One by Kathryn Hollingworth is a book that deserves praise and picking up. The writing is excellent as the tale takes on a life of its own. Readers might find themselves jumping at every noise in their home or shying away from ornate mirrors for a while, but it’s worth the minute discomfort. Hollingworth is a benefit to her craft. This tale is woven so tightly and with little space for error that it’s an enjoyable read. The question then becomes, do you believe in the Devil?
Pages: 457 | ASIN: B07L9FRDX1
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The Labyrinthine Journey follows Evan on his continued quest to locate a sacred object and stop the advent of Christianity? What were some themes you wanted to bring over from book one and what were some new ideas you wanted to explore?
I wanted to explore the concept of what if Christianity never happened, and what events may have prevented the birth of Christ. What if the Greek gods were to learn they would be superseded by a single divinity? How would they react and what would they do? Are their powers omnipotent or are they impeded by restrictions and what are they? This is what I wanted to delve into in the trilogy, and offer an alternative. If Christ wasn’t born, then which deity would prevail?
The main theme is self-enlightenment, growing and learning from experiences whatever the challenges or situation. As each book is written, it is my hope Evan and his companions continue to grow and become more self-aware and enlightened. Destiny is another theme I wanted to explore and develop further in each book. Was Evan destined to be the hero, go back to his past and prevent the rise and birth of Christ? Or does his destiny and the world’s change once he makes a decision or when he acts? Is he controlled by forces that he cannot see or feel? In essence, I wanted to explore the idea of whether destiny shapes who we are, how we think and what we do. Family was another theme I wanted to include, Evan is very close with his parents and deceased sister, and mentions in book one various familial experiences. In book two, his recollections of his family are still there, however his surrogate family, Dexion and Phameas, and half-brother, Homer, who he discovers at the end of book one, become pivotal in the story. He and Homer are Zeus’ offspring, and the family ties are even stronger with the High Priestess, who is his sister. Darkness and light are another theme, which is hinted at in book one, grows in book two, something that I will explore more in book three. The darkness is within Evan, his transformation evident when he gets angry and his eyes turn black, a characteristic he shares with the High Priestess, though she tends to use her particular abilities when they are in trouble.
How did the idea of the gods from Greek mythology fighting monotheism develop into a story for you?
It was a twisted path, much like the journey the characters go through in book two, the original concept for the story looked very different to the books I’ve written. It was meant to be about how the Atlanteans re-emerge from the destruction of their home and re-discover the world in which they once inhabited. It didn’t have enough for me to explore or write, so I re-read Homer’s Iliad and The Odyssey. They are my go-to books for inspiration as is Joseph Campbell’s books. Then I had an epiphany, if the gods created such havoc through one war and for one individual who tried to return home, what would they do if they discovered that their existence, their omnipotence, their control over humans was threatened? I didn’t think they’d like it at all! And that is how my idea for the story evolved.
I think you did a fantastic job of building great characters in this story. What is your writing process like in developing your characters?
Thank you very much for the compliment! I tried very hard to make sure each character had his/her own personality and I wanted each to stand out, even if their role was a minor one.
I have in mind what they look like, how they sound, how they walk, the colour of their skin and hair, how tall they are or short. I then write their details out on a proforma, similar to the old index cards, a character biography. I have three separate documents: one for master characters, major and minor. On each of these ‘cards’ I have their names and age; their pertinent biographies including occupation (if they have one); physical features; distinctive language; goals/motivation; fatal flaws and saving grace. These help me keep the characters consistent and ‘flesh out’ who they really are. I got this strategy from reading: The Writer’s little helper by James V. Smith Jr.
When I am writing, I visualise the characters, how they interact, what mood they are in, their body language, speech inflections and little quirks they have. For example, Phameas, who likes to keep his hair and beard curled, a Phoenician style and sign of a man’s virtue, is upset when Evan has radical haircuts and shaves. However, the characters don’t always allow me to write how I want the story to go, they interfere, a lot. I guess that’s only fair, as it is their story I am writing.
This is book two in the Servant of the Gods series. Where will book three take readers?
In Book three, Evan and his companions find a way to leave the Isle of Hephaistos, and sail to Crete. They are a bit concerned, as prior experience has seen them shipwrecked and the Argo badly damaged. They island hop, that is Jason’s preference to ensure they don’t run into the Cyclops again. It is at one of the islands that Evan encounters the Dark Master, and have a conversation. When they arrive on Crete, they discover ancestors of the island who had escaped the deluge. One of the islanders shows them the way into King Minos’ labyrinth, where Evan will face the Minotaur. What happens in between, who knows?
Follow Evan as he continues his odyssey as Servant of the Gods in The Labyrinthine Journey. The quest to locate the sacred object adds pressure to the uneasy alliance between Evan and the Atlanteans. His inability to accept the world he’s in, and his constant battle with Zeus, both threaten to derail the expedition and his life.
Traversing the mountainous terrain of the Peloponnese and Corinthian Gulf to the centre of the spiritual world, Evan meets with Pythia, Oracle of Delphi. Her cryptic prophecy reveals much more than he expected; something that changes his concept of the ancient world and his former way of life.
Will Evan and his friends succeed in their quest to find the relics and stop the advent of Christianity?
Posted in Interviews
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