Fantasy Friday–I Need Your Help Again


Last fall, I asked for input on a title for the first book of my fantasy quatrain, The Lore of Efrathah. The winning title in the poll was Against Blood and Fire. I’ve had favorable responses to it, though I knew it didn’t apply to this book as much as to the series. Still, I had nothing better.

Today I finished a soft revision of the final book and started thinking about a new title for it. The old one had been Battle for the Throne. Well “battle” is much like “sword” when it comes to fantasy. There’s nothing in that title to set it apart from all the rest.

As I started listing key words and phrases that fit the book, it dawned on me that THIS is Against Blood and Fire. That title fits perfectly!

So yea! 😀 I have my fourth book titled, and it’s a good one, I think. Except … that means book one, the all important first of the quatrain, is again title-less.

YIKES!

Maybe potential back-cover copy will spark some ideas or guide your choices (because I’m going to put up another poll and beg you to give me your feedback again):

Professional basketball did not prepare Jim Thompson for the parallel world he’s fallen into—a land ruptured by rebellion, with enemies targeting him for death and friends trusting him for deliverance, all because he uncovered a sword of uncontrollable power. His one goal is to find the way home, and yet he owes his life to the people who befriended him. Can he take the first step toward home and still help his companions free their land from an evil usurper? Or will Jim’s own weaknesses undermine his efforts and theirs?

You can also read the redone first chapter, if you’d like.

Some of these titles are the same as first time, some are new. Anyway, here are the choices so far. Please vote and feel free to leave your comments and suggestions. I really appreciate your input!

Published in: on February 12, 2010 at 2:39 pm  Comments (10)  
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Loving God with Our Minds


Last night I heard the tail end of a televised sermon by some preacher I didn’t recognize. What caught my attention was one line. In essence, he said we need to put our minds on hold and believe God with child-like faith.

Well, sure, I know the last part of that statement is true, but put our minds on hold?

If that’s what Jesus meant when he said “Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it {at} {all}” (Mark 10:15, NASB), then why did he say we need to love God with all our mind?

And [Jesus] answered, “YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND; AND YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.

– Luke 10:27 (NASB – boldface emphasis is mine)

True, Jesus was quoting from the Old Testament (thus the “all caps” in this translation), but plenty of times in the book of Matthew, He said, You have heard it said …, but I say to you ….

The fact that Jesus left this “love God with all your mind” statement (also quoted in Matthew 22:37) alone implies He agreed with the passage He was quoting.

But last night on the TV screen standing before an audience drinking in his words as he supposedly expounded on Scripture, this preacher was telling those listening to disengage their minds.

Actually that rang a bell.

Several weeks ago, I read about “centering prayer,” a practice that apparently is becoming more and more common. And why wouldn’t it? There are people who teach the technique in workshops and training programs, and there are writers who write about the “discipline.”

Here’s what Mike Morrell said about centering prayer in “Is God ‘A Recovering Practitioner of Violence’?”:

Part of the ‘inner reflex’ is [sic] Centering Prayer is letting go. For 20 minutes twice a day, it’s a continuous letting go of thoughts and emotions that well up inside – kind of like a fisherman catching fish but not to eat – just for fun. He’s sitting in a boat (the mind) and his pole rests in the water (the field of consciousness). Little fish (thoughts, ideas, emotions) come up and nibble on the line (ordinary awareness) – the fisherman doesn’t shoot the fish with a revolver or cut the line. Instead, he pulls the little fish up, but doesn’t keep them in the boat – it’s catch & release.

Catch and release, catch and release, gently, graciously – because you recognize that even the lake is situated in a much larger ecosystem (God). You can let go because the earth is abundant; you will be fed. Centering Prayer is a journey of trust in God, even on the unconscious level, where all kind of mis-trustful thoughts bubble up to the surface.

While the practice as described above comes closer to Buddhist meditation, it’s cousin, Christian existentialism, isn’t much different:

[Adele Ahlberg] Calhoun [in Spiritual Disciplines Handbook, InterVarsity Press] tells us to select a simple word or phrase from Scripture that expresses your desire for God. She gives examples of love, peace, grace, Jesus, great Shepherd. Let this word guard your attention. …

During this time, become quiet. You will probably have many thoughts rushing through your head at first simply because you are thinking about a time limit and getting back to your day. However, you must remain quiet and let these thoughts go. Keep repeating the phrase from above until they do. Calhoun says, “Be with Jesus. Listen. Be Still.”

“Prayer disciplines part 2-Centering Prayers” by Frank Jenkins

So I wonder, if Jesus thought this was a good way to pray, why, when His disciples asked Him to teach them to pray, didn’t He give them this model?

And why are we so quick to run to some other source to learn how to enhance our relationship with God than the one He gave us?

Like all false teaching, there is an element of truth in some of the descriptions of centering prayer, thus giving it the sheen of spirituality, but when I look in Scripture to see what God says about prayer, I find that He wants our minds engaged when we meet with Him.

Published in: on February 11, 2010 at 2:33 pm  Comments (7)  
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God and the Big Bang


The Big Bang, evolutionists say, initiated all life. While it is a non-repeatable event, one of a kind, scientists say we can still learn all about it, though it occurred billions of years ago and light years upon light years away. How? Because scientists can study its aftereffects.

How odd that God, who is one of a kind and beyond our time and space, yet made Himself known through what He made, through the voice of prophets, and ultimately through the coming of His Son, the gift of His Word, and the presence of His Spirit, is looked upon by many of these same scientists as a myth, a fabrication, a superstition.

Ponder the similarities between God and the Big Bang.

The latter is credited by science with initiating life. God, however, declares Himself to be the Creator of the universe and the giver of life.

The Big Bang is one of a kind, impossible to replicate or to study via the scientific method. God is also one of a kind; no other god is like Him in goodness and mercy, power and glory. We also cannot study Him by the ways of science.

This next one isn’t as clear cut. The theory of a Big Bang came about as a result of studying its aftereffects—the release of light and energy traveling through space and time and reaching us millions of years after the fact, yet with the appearance of currency. Faith in God comes about as a result of the Holy Spirit opening the eyes of our heart that we might see Jesus who left His throne in glory to penetrate human history that we, by seeing His light, might see the Father.

Here’s my conclusion. The Big Bang is postulated as an event before our existence. On the other hand, God Himself declares His existence before all creation. The Big Bang, by necessity, would preceed time, as does God. The Big Bang is unknowable apart from the study of its effects. So too, God is unknowable apart from the effects of his being—His revelation, both general (creation) and special (prophecy, the Incarnation, Scripture, the Holy Spirit).

So why, I wonder, do some scientists find belief in God to be a leap of faith but belief in the Big Bang theory, sure science? Schools, they say, cannot suggest that God rather than a Big Bang initiated life because such a concept belongs to the purview of religion, not science.

Yet knowledge of God comes from written documentation, physical evidence, historical corroboration, and personal testimony. Not scientific enough, atheists say, preferring to teach as truth the ideas of men.

Published in: on February 10, 2010 at 6:11 pm  Comments (14)  
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Friends with the World


I’ve done a little blog surfing this morning, starting with Church Salt’s “Emerging from Emergents.” The trail led me to a conclusion I hadn’t expected: those identifying with the emerging church are on the decline.

Whether that conclusion is right or wrong, however, isn’t the issue. The thinking the emerging church re-instituted—contrary to the facade they portray to those “outside,” their thinking is little more than warmed over liberalism; they borrow generously from Orthodox Christianity, Gnostic thought, Eastern mysticism, even from a heretical ascetic such as Pelagius—this thinking has seeped into the Church.

One blog post claimed youth groups have espoused emerging church views for years. I wouldn’t doubt it.

But here’s the critical point. We American Christians must re-examine our hearts to see if we have left our First Love.

James, in his letter to Jewish believers scattered from Jerusalem because of persecution, gives a sobering warning:

You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

– James 4:4

“Friendship with the world,” I would suggest, has a lot more to do with how we think than with what we do. In the previous verse, James addresses wrong motives, two verses down he speaks about pride.

Verse 5 he says something translators apparently have wrestled with without coming to a consensus. The New King James says it this way:

Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously”?

In the context of “adultresses” in the last verse, this translation seems to me to make James’s intent clearest. As a husband would be jealous for his wife, so God is jealous for His Bride. And of course He wants our lives to be pure, but He also wants our hearts to be pure—free of wrong motives, without prideful self-will.

I have to believe that “friendship with the world,” then, includes the way we think.

Pastor Ray Stedman, in his commentary “James: The Activity of Faith” says this:

And if you stop believing what the Scriptures say, you will find yourself being drawn to the lies and the alluring illusion of the world around.

Drawn to the lies and illusion of the world seems to define the beliefs the emerging church has introduced. God is not a God of judgment. He is one with his creation. Hell isn’t real and Man does not sin by nature. Salvation is universal. Jesus came not as an atoning sacrifice but to show us a better way—the road of love and peace and unity.

How can I say these false teachings are in our churches? For one thing, I know these same views appear throughout The Shack, and its author, Paul Young, has spoken in the pulpit of any number of churches. I also know that Christians (as well as non-Christians) have raved about the book and its influence on their spiritual lives.

So … can a book, or a way of thinking, that helps people see God in a new way be bad? I mean, shouldn’t we want to know God in a fresh, exciting way?

Our thoughts about God can be new every morning, but I don’t believe we need to borrow from the world’s way of looking at Him to experience Him afresh. Just the opposite. Listening to the lies of the world will kill off true faith.

In the parable of the sower, that’s what happened to the seed that fell on stony ground. The soil was too shallow for roots to take hold.

Puzzle Masquerading As Aslan


If you’re a fan of C. S. Lewis’s children’s fantasy, you’re probably familiar with a line often quoted about Aslan, the Christ-like character in the world of Narnia. In The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe the four children protagonists learn from Mr. and Mrs. Beaver that Aslan, the king of Narnia, is a lion. Then this exchange:

“Then he isn’t safe?” said Lucy.

“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver. “Don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the king, I tell you.”

As it turns out, this description of Aslan becomes important in the last book of the series, too. In The Last Battle, a greedy ape cons a weak-minded donkey named Puzzle to wear a lion skin and pretend to be Aslan.

When the imitation Aslan, through his spokesman the ape, begins to make demands on the Narnians that are contrary to all they expected based on the old stories, they remind themselves that Aslan is not a tame lion.

But the ape and his allies, the Calormenes, soon use that same line to explain the changes they attribute to Aslan’s orders—things like conscripting dwarfs to send to Calormene to work in their mines.

When Tirian, the Narnian king, rescues a contingent of dwarfs being marched away, he finds them less than excited about helping him expose Puzzle as the false Aslan:

“Well,” said the Black Dwarf (whose name was Griffle), “I don’t know how all you chaps feel, but I feel I’ve heard as much about Aslan as I want to for the rest of my life.”

“That’s right, that’s right,” growled the other Dwarfs. “It’s all a trick, all a blooming trick. … We’ve no more use for stories about Aslan, see! Look at him! An old moke with long ears!” …

“Which of us said that was Aslan? That is the Ape’s imitation of the real Aslan. Can’t you understand?” [said Tirian.]

“And you’ve got a better imitation, I suppose!” said Griffle. “No thanks. We’ve been fooled once and we’re not going to be fooled again.”

“”I have not,” said Tirian angrily, “I serve the real Aslan.”

“Where’s he? Who’s he? Show him to us!” said several Dwarfs.

“Do you think I keep him in my wallet, fools?” said Tirian. “Who am I that I could make Aslan appear at my bidding? He’s not a tame lion.”

The moment those words were out of his mouth he realised that he had made a false move. The Dwarfs at once began repeating “not a tame lion, not a tame lion,” in jeering singsong. “That’s what the other lot kept on telling us,” said one.

What a clear picture of false teaching. Some of the Narnians believed in the re-imaged Aslan—Puzzle in disguise—and others decided to believe in neither the pretend nor the real Aslan.

The only difference I see from Lewis’s imagined description of false teaching and today’s real life version is that, instead of exploiting the not safe or tame aspect of Aslan’s character, today’s false teachers capitalize on the “but he’s good” part of God’s nature.

But God is good, so of course he wouldn’t send judgment.

But God is good so of course he wants you to be rich and healthy.

Two different lines of false teaching but from the same perversion of one aspect of God’s nature.

Though the thread running through both is different from the one Lewis imagined, the effect is still the same—Puzzle is masquerading as Aslan.

Published in: on February 8, 2010 at 4:27 pm  Comments (2)  
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Life in the Counter Culture


This article, apart from minor revisions, first appeared in my church’s weekly a year or so ago.

In a country founded on biblical principles, it’s easy to forget that Christianity is counter-cultural. A close look at American society, though, shows that our current culture, the church included, reflects Mankind’s sinful nature more than it does our biblical underpinnings. Here’s a case in point.

Some time ago a friend of mine was put into a situation all parents dread. One of her children was caught doing something offensive to another child. Really wrong. Sinful.

The guilty child was remorseful and did not balk at the resulting discipline. In addition the offender wrote a letter of apology to the offended young person. That same day, upon receiving the letter, the offended called to say, I forgive you.

At this point, we might all smile and say, This is the way discipline is supposed to work. Except there is more story. A follow-up phone call came to my friend from one of the offended’s parents saying their child did not have permission to forgive.

And sure enough, contact between the two families dwindled to little more than polite and somewhat frosty greetings in church Sunday mornings.

Eventually the church leadership laid out a process designed to bring about reconciliation, but in subsequent meetings the offended’s parents and their now unforgiving child made it clear they had no intention of extending mercy to the repentant and disciplined offender. Soon after, the offended’s family left the church.

This sad story brings to my mind the parable Jesus told about the unforgiving servant who himself had experienced his master’s forgiveness. “Then summoning him, his lord said to him, ‘You wicked slave, I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. Should you not also have mercy on your fellow slave in the same way that I had mercy on you?’” (Matthew 18:32-33)

The point is clear—my forgiveness of those who sin against me needs to look like God’s forgiveness of me. But how counter-cultural is that?

Our Rambo-esque society says, Don’t get even, get revenge.

Jesus spelled out how He wants His followers to handle mistreatment: “If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also” (Matthew 5:40).

But … but … but … that’s no way to run a business, we say. Or, You can’t have people just walking all over you.

In coming to such conclusions, we’re thinking like our culture. We’ve forgotten who God is, that He is the judge, that we are not. We’ve forgotten He is the One who claims vengeance and tells us to forgo the same. We’ve forgotten He forgives us and tells us to go and do likewise.

Such thinking is so different from the way the rest of society operates. How counter-cultural!

Published in: on February 5, 2010 at 11:39 am  Comments (5)  
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Attacks against God from Within, Part 2


If you stopped by A Christian Worldview of Fiction a week or so ago, you know there was an active discussion generated by my post “Attacks on God from Within.” I answered some of the points raised by those with an opposing view in ensuing posts and some in comments, but there’s one more significant issue I want to discuss.

Some of the commenters claimed that God as He is presented in the Old Testament is so opposite from Jesus that He is unbelievable. Here are some salient quotes (note: the pages are posted in reverse order):

Otherwise GOD put us here, set us up to fall, and punished us for doing that which he set us up to do, which makes him a tyrant, not a just GOD.
– Debra Masters (p. 3, #14)

If GOD is capricious, and can do anything he wants outside of his own goodness/love/holiness, then I don’t want anything to do with Him anyway. If I have to believe that GOD is the way he is portrayed in the Old Testament, capricious, jealous, temperamental, schizophrenic to bi-polar, then he ISN’T GOD
– Debra Masters (p. 3, #28)

You read the bible and see GOD as GOD. I read it and see GOD as a tyrant. …

God is the creator. I don’t need him to be nice. But I do need him to be rational. Not capricious or violent or raging. Schizophrenic if you look at the GOD/Christ issue. …

I cannot make you understand why I cannot worship a violent, capricious, raging, maniacal, schizophrenic GOD
– Debra Masters (p. 3, #44)

I have stopped trying to rationalize such passages of Scripture – it makes God way too schizophrenic. If any world leader were to command the things that ‘god’ commands here, and any general were to carry them out as Moses apparently does here, they’d be condemned today as the worst kinds of war criminals.
– Mike Morrell (p. 1, #75)

As I thought about the idea of God being a tyrant or “schizophrenic,” I realized Abraham above anyone else, had a right to accuse God of such twisted thinking.

After all, He promised to make Abraham’s descendants into a great nation, beginning with Isaac. But while the boy was still “a lad,” God told Abraham to offer him as a sacrifice.

Wouldn’t you expect an argument from Abraham? Which is it, God, the boy will become a father of a nation or a sacrifice? Both can’t happen. What are you thinking? Are you … divided in your spirit? can’t make up your mind? good yesterday and evil today? Can I trust you for ANYTHING?

But no, Abraham’s reaction was entirely different. He believed God when He told him Isaac would be his heir: “Then he believed in the LORD; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness” (Gen. 15:6; also quoted by Paul in Romans and Galatians and by James).

He continued to believe God when He told him to sacrifice his son. The writer of Hebrews encapsulates his thinking:

By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was offering up his only begotten {son;} {it was he} to whom it was said, “IN ISAAC YOUR DESCENDANTS SHALL BE CALLED. He considered that God is able to raise {people} even from the dead, from which he also received him back as a type.

– Heb. 11:17-19 (NASB)

Interestingly, after Abraham proved his faith by his willingness to sacrifice his son, God gave him another promise, the Messianic promise: “In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice” (Gen. 22:18).

Abraham did not see God as a tyrant, as a monster, a war criminal, a child abuser, or as schizophrenic. He believed God—believed He would keep His promise even though it didn’t look possible in light of His very own commandment. Unshaken by the apparent contradiction, Abraham believed God.

Those today who want to throw out the Old Testament God in favor of a re-imaged Jesus do not have Abraham’s faith. Somehow, with a knife in his hand and his son spread on the altar before him, Abraham did not change his mind about who God is.

As a result, we have this wonderful picture of a father willing to offer his son, of a God providing a sacrificial lamb to take the place of the one destined to die. And a Messianic promise.

Published in: on February 4, 2010 at 12:10 pm  Comments (4)  
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CSFF January Top Tour Blogger


On Saturday I should have posted the poll and links to those CSFF tour participants who are eligible for the January Top Tour Blogger award. What was I thinking? 🙄

Anyway, here are the bloggers who are eligible for the award, followed by the poll.

Oh, you also might want to check out Donita Paul‘s posts (Monday and Tuesday)—we got our wires crossed on the dates of the tour, so she posted this week.

Published in: on February 3, 2010 at 9:33 am  Comments Off on CSFF January Top Tour Blogger  
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Beguiled – A Review


The first part of this week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance (CFBA) is featuring Beguiled by J. Mark Bertrand and Deeanne Gist.

If you read yesterday’s guest post by Mark, you know a little about his ideas regarding Christian fiction. You may then wonder, how did his concepts translate into an actual novel? I’ll be happy to give you my opinion. (Have I ever been shy about stating my opinion? 😆 )

The Genre. Beguiled is an adult Christian romantic suspense novel.

The Story. Only child Rylee Monroe has no one when her parents die—no one except the clients for whom she walks dogs and a caring neighbor in her rundown apartment building. Shortly after a frightening late-night encounter with reporter Logan Woods, Rylee becomes embroiled in a sequence of crimes committed by the Robin Hood burglar. Within days she is the prime suspect.

Logan is convinced of Rylee’s innocence. His reputation as a writer and his pending book contract depend on him finding out who is actually behind the thefts. He and Rylee team up, but suspicion leads to police accusation. Even as Rylee and Logan grow closer, she becomes the target of the Robin Hood burglar.

And I’ll stop there. I’ve probably already said too much.

Strengths. For the most part, the writing was strong. I had a good sense of who these characters were. They had depth—a past filled with difficulty and problems that affected their present.

The suspense was just the right amount as far as I was concerned. I worried for Rylee, but I wasn’t so afraid I wanted to close the book and read something else. In fact, the story questions piqued my curiosity as did the developing circumstances, so I kept turning pages in the wee hours of the night simply because I wanted to know.

Regarding the “faith elements,” which I don’t necessarily discuss in a review, I thought they arose naturally as part of character development. There was no overt preaching, but one character’s Christianity clearly influenced that person’s decisions and actions.

The authors did an excellent job establishing place. I had a real feel for the tight Charleston community south of Broad as well as the rougher, poorer area where Rylee lived. And place turns out to be more important than it first appears.

If I had to name a theme, I think I’d say it involved trust—both giving it and earning it. However, since Mark and I used to have long argu discussions about intentionally incorporating themes in fiction, I suspect I may be seeing something cohesive that the writers never purposed.

Weaknesses. I realize this was romantic suspense, not mystery. However, the fact remains, the story centered on a mystery that the two main characters were trying to solve. The problem was, there weren’t sufficient numbers of characters in the story to supply an adequate amount of red herrings.

Consequently, the perpetrator was apparent quite early (though that person’s motives still remained unclear). Since I’m a mystery lover more than a suspense fan, I was disappointed in this lack of additional suspects.

Apart from a couple minor, and probably imperceptible, inconsistencies, the story was well told.

Recommendation. Anyone who enjoys clean romantic suspense should move Beguiled to the top of their list. It’s got tender moments followed by breath-taking ones. Lots of reason to keep turning the page. Must read for fans of the genre. Recommended as a light, entertaining story for everyone else.

– – –
Disclaimer as per current FTC rules: In conjunction with the CFBA, I received a free copy of Begiled for review from Bethany House Publishers.

Published in: on February 2, 2010 at 10:58 am  Comments Off on Beguiled – A Review  
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Beguiled by J. Mark Bertrand


😆 I realize the title to this post is misleading on two levels. First Mark hasn’t beguiled anyone that I know of, and second he isn’t the sole author of the novel Beguiled.

The latter, however, is on point. As part of the CFBA blog tour for Beguiled, co-authored by Mark and Deeanne Gist, I offer the following guest post by J. Mark Bertrand. Tomorrow I plan a review of Beguiled, an ARC of which I received for free from Bethany House Publishers.

– – –

Films About the Wheat Harvest?

    by J. Mark Bertrand

I didn’t realize until it was pointed out to me that I sound like a broken record, always intoning the same quotation. In my defense, I’m often asked the same question, namely, “How can you justify what you’re writing as Christian fiction?” Short answer: I don’t even try. In the same way I don’t try to justify it as crime fiction, or even good fiction. All I can say is it’s my fiction, a reflection of the world as I see it.

The long answer involves the aforementioned quote. Claude Chabrol, the French film director, was asked by Robert Ebert back in the 1970s how as a communist he could justify the kind of movies he made. “I am a Communist, certainly,” Chabrol replied, “but that doesn’t mean I have to make films about the wheat harvest.”

A FALSE ASSUMPTION
The reason I cite this response so often is that it underscores a false assumption behind the question — i.e., that an artist’s ideology ought to dictate the kind of work he does and whatever meaning it might convey. How could a Communist sleep at night knowing a particular film, perhaps the only one of his movies a certain viewer might ever see, didn’t include a persuasive pitch for collective farming and the redistribution of wealth? His only chance to convert a movie-going capitalist and he blew it!

A novelist’s perspective doesn’t have to function as a pair of blinders or a pigeonhole. Think of it instead as an influence. People are influenced by their politics, by past experience, by religious and philosophical convictions, and these influences combine to form an interesting (or at any rate, unique) way of seeing things. When a Communist puts pen to paper, he’s not representing a monolithic movement; he’s revealing himself. The same is true for any ideologue, including the Christian.

Naturally, there are people who believe by definition that Communist art should be about dialectical materialism and Christian art should be about the gospel. “Redemption,” broadly speaking, is the term often used. Paradoxically, these totalizing narratives are straightjacketed into narrowly-focused niche products that can’t speak to the whole of existence, or at least shouldn’t.

NO IMPLICIT GUARANTEE
I can respect the position, but I don’t happen to share it. As a writer, I prefer to take on the world at large, the big messy scope of reality, pursuing it subjectively and (I hope) convincingly wherever it leads. I’m confident enough in my ideas not to think they need special coddling, and have a high enough view of my readers to realize that while my work might entertain and engage them, even influence them, it’s hardly capable of scrubbing away their own conception of life and inserting my own.

So when I write, I’m speaking for myself, for better or worse. I’m a Christian, and in my less humble moments (which are all too common) I prefer to think of myself as more influenced by that theological tradition than many people who’d own the label of “Christian novelist” with less ambiguity. My books come with no implicit guarantee that they’ll match up to anyone else’s notion of what they should be. For better or worse, the worldview they embody is my own.

    * * *

J. Mark Bertrand’s novel Beguiled, co-authored with Deeanne Gist, is in stores now. His crime novel Back on Murder, the first in a series featuring Houston homicide detective Roland March, releases this summer. More information at BackOnMurder.com and on Mark’s new blog CrimeGenre.com

Published in: on February 1, 2010 at 9:50 am  Comments (2)  
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