Holiness Means What Again?

Author and friend Mike Duran commented to my last post, “Holiness Is Not A Dirty Word” in part with this line: holiness for many well-meaning Christians, boils down to a series of thou-shalt-nots that involve things like make-up, jewelry, tattoos, alcohol, R-rated movies, cigarettes, etc. etc.

I submit, those external things have nothing to do with holiness.

To understand holiness we need to start with God because He alone is holy. Jesus, who is the exact representation of God (“And He [Jesus] is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature” – Heb. 1:3a), gave us the insight we need in His “Sermon on the Mount.”

In part He said the following:

You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court …

You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY’; but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

“Again, you have heard that the ancients were told, ‘YOU SHALL NOT MAKE FALSE VOWS, BUT SHALL FULFILL YOUR VOWS TO THE LORD.’ But I say to you, make no oath at all, … But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’; anything beyond these is of evil.

You have heard that it was said, ‘AN EYE FOR AN EYE, AND A TOOTH FOR A TOOTH.’ But I say to you, do not resist an evil person

You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, …

Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. [selected verses from Matt. 5, emphasis added]

The point I’m making is that Jesus set the bar where it belonged — at perfection, starting not with our external actions but with our thoughts and intentions and desires.

In so doing, He exposed us all because none of us is perfect. We all know this, even the most convinced atheist who doesn’t even believe in a moral standard. But because our hearts are desperately wicked, because we are so easily deceived, Jesus laid it out for us.

Now we can’t think evil thoughts about another person, but on the outside smile and help him fix his flat tire, then come away with a sense of goodness. Those evil thoughts pin us to the wall. Sure, we might fool others, and even ourselves if we refuse to look closely, but we aren’t fooling God.

The very pride we might feel at living an externally moral life, or at pointing out someone else’s activities we categorize as moral failings, shows the real problem. We are, at heart, people who want to be God. That’s the sin the Fall infected us with.

We Christians are missing the point if we look at drug addicts or homosexuals or rapists or corrupt politicians or corporate criminals and think their problem is their external behavior. No doubt their external behavior complicates their lives, but their problem is their rejection of the grace of God He has lovingly and generously supplied through Christ, that which would provide the forgiveness they need.

No amount of “clean living” will change what they need — substitutionary payment for the insurmountable debt they owe. Their lives are forfeit. Putting away cigarettes, unplugging from pornography, taking the four-letter words out of their vocabulary, or any other external and all of them combined, isn’t going to change their standing before God.

Or mine.

We can enter His presence, enjoy a relationship with Him as His child, by grace alone.

But what about holiness? That’s where this started. Holiness is my response to my holy God.

Since this post is already long enough, I’ll take another day to complete my thoughts on this topic. As always, I look forward to reading what you have to say on the matter.
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For related posts, see “Holiness Is Not A Dirty Word” and “Inside Out – The Way Of Holiness”

Published in: on May 31, 2011 at 6:23 pm  Comments (12)  
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Holiness Is Not A Dirty Word

Years ago on a discussion board with a group of Christian authors, I posited the idea that maybe Christians could push the envelop (and therefore become “edgy” 🙄 ) by writing about things like holiness. You would have thought I’d said a dirty word based on the reactions I got.

Just recently another author used the term “holiness” to depict the segment, or “camp,” of Christians whose driving principle is the law. Clearly, as the comments to the post bore out, “holiness” was equated with legalism.

These separate incidents make me wonder what we who name the name of Christ mean when we use the word “holy.” We say that God is holy. Do we think He’s a fuddy-duddy legalist? If His holiness means something else, then why would we think the aspiration to be holy which a Christian should have is somehow a tell-tale sign that contradicts honesty (the opposing “camp” this writer delineated) and the desire to engage the fallen world?

Did not our Holy God take the initiative and engage His lost creation? And if we are to be like Him in holiness as Scripture instructs, won’t we also engage the world? True holiness, then, is not finding a sterile environment to wait out life.

Scripture gives some interesting, and perhaps less clear than we’d like, instruction on the subject. Take James 1:27 for example:

Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained by the world. [emphasis added]

Engage the needy, this verse would seem to say, and keep your own life free from sin.

Here are several other verses and the questions I asked those years ago when I was first grappling with the issues of what a Christian writer can or should include in her stories:

Ephesians 5:11, 12: “And do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret.” [How does a writer expose the deeds without speaking of the things done in secret?]

Romans 16:19b “But I want you to be wise in what is good, and innocent in what is evil.” [How does a writer show evil (in order) to be faithful to what is true and remain innocent in what is evil?]

I Corinthians 14:20 “Brethren, do not be children in your thinking; yet in evil be babes, but in your thinking be mature.” [How can my writing reflect maturity and still have a babe-like reflection of evil?]

Would that we Christians, writers or readers, not scoff at holiness or cheapen it by identifying legalists as those engaged in holiness. Would that we not disdain God’s command to be holy because of the negative press the word has received.

Holiness is God’s attribute that identifies Him as sinless and morally excellent. He is the gold standard, and we, made in His image, then fallen, are being remade like His Son. In other words, we have the mold of holiness before us shaped like Jesus, and we are being fashioned to be like Him. It is a high calling, a desirable and worth purpose because our holiness reflects on God, not us, and gives Him glory.

Words have meaning, and it’s high time we Christians start using the ones God set out in His word the way He used them. Otherwise, we end up doing just what the prophets said would take place — people start calling good (or holiness), evil and evil, good.

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For a continuation of this discussion, see “Holiness Means What Again?

Published in: on May 30, 2011 at 7:30 pm  Comments (28)  
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Throwing The Baby Out Instead Of The Foreskin

As the US hurtles toward social, political, and economic changes, I wonder at the break down of simple logic in our society. There seems to be, for example, a great disconnect between the values a segment of our country claims are desirable and the illegal activities to which those lead.

Take, for example, attitudes toward sex. Our youth today are taught in public school that sex is natural and that they are free to experiment and discover who they are and what their sexual preference is. But woe to the teenage boy who discovers that his sexual preference is six year old little girls. Woe to the adult male who acts on his preference for teenage boys.

Here’s another disconnect. Back in the latter half of the twentieth century, schools stopped teaching morals and ethics, as pundits began the process of eradicating religion, and Christianity in particular, from anything associated with government, in the mistaken idea that the presence of religion equated with the establishment of religion.

The new ethic became, It’s not wrong unless you get caught. Now in the early part of the twenty-first century we are rocked by scandal after scandal in local and national government, in financial institutions, in business, in labor, in houses of worship.

A different kind of disconnect recently came to the forefront — this one a subset of the larger body of activities designed to protect children, such as outlawing lead paint, requiring infants to be in car seats secured to a back seat, and any number of other safety regulations.

Please don’t misunderstand. I’m all for protecting children, though I think we’d do better if we instructed parents how to raise kids rather than pass laws bad parents aren’t going to obey anyway.

But back to this latest version of Disconnect. It seems enough people in San Francisco signed a petition to get a proposal on the ballot to outlaw circumcision for anyone under eighteen. Presumably after eighteen, a man can decide for himself if he wants to be circumcised, but until then, the government will step in and protect these innocent baby boys from their evil parents who might inflict unspeakable harm on their little bodies. 🙄

How ironic, then, that those same evil parents are considered innocent if they choose to kill their baby boys before they take a single breath. Unborn babies, the entire little person, can be thrown away, but these anti-circumcision people want to spare foreskins.

This one is right up there with pregnant drug addicts being accused of abusing their unborn child if they continue to take drugs while they’re completely free to abort the baby if they choose.

These disconnects seem to get more bizarre every year and therefore more glaring. I wonder if sometime the majority of people will start realizing these issues are related. If babies need to be protected, then we should start by protecting them in the womb. Why is that one a hard concept to grasp?

Published in: on May 27, 2011 at 7:26 pm  Comments (9)  
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Blog Cogs Or Blog Logs

Recently I read an insightful article about blogging entitled “Are You A Blogger Buddy Or A Blogger Bum?” In a succinct way, the author, John Sherry, pointed out ways bloggers can either make themselves appealing or odious.

It’s a sobering subject, or ought to be, for those of us who write regularly and/or who consider blogging a plank in our writer’s platform.

Just a short while ago, agent Rachelle Gardner wrote a series of posts on the difficult discussions agents sometimes have to have with clients. One of those had to do with a writer’s public image.

Has it occurred to you that as an author, you’ll be a “public figure” and people will form opinions about you based on every little thing? You want your public image to be inviting, so people will want to buy and read your books.

Now, if you’re unagented and uncontracted, and not trying to sell any self-pubbed books, then you don’t have to stress out about this quite yet. But keep in mind that when you’re out there trying to build a readership, everything matters [emphasis mine].

So I started thinking about blogging and what I appreciate or don’t. Mind you, I think Mr. Sherry’s lists are excellent. These are just my add-ons.

Blog Cogs
(or The Things Bloggers And Visitors Do That Make Blogs Better)

  • Give kind and encouraging feedback
  • Engage in discussions (and take part in polls 😉 )
  • Share articles on Facebook or Twitter
  • In their posts, link back to you and your articles
  • On their site, answer your comments so you know you’re not merely talking to yourself

Blog Logs
(or The Things Bloggers And Visitors Do That End Up Creating Rot)

  • Skim read posts but comment regardless
  • Nitpick posts
  • Critique posts line by line
  • Hijack post comments to discuss a favorite topic that has little or nothing to do with the subject at hand.
  • Refuse to admit an error or apologize for a mistake

Quite honestly, I find this an intimidating subject because I’m quite sure I’ve done all the Log things at one time or another and I’ve neglected the Cog things far too often. But writing about it makes me want to do better, and that’s a good thing.

What about you? What are some of the things you’ve observed as you bounce from blog to blog? Any blogger you want to give a special shout-out to for the excellence of their content or for the way they interact with visitors?

I think we’ll all be better Cogs if we limit the shout-outs to the blogs that are doing it right, don’t you think? 😀

Published in: on May 26, 2011 at 6:42 pm  Comments (8)  
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Who’s Your Hero? – A Poll

I suspect we all have people we look up to and admire, ones we want to emulate. I’m curious especially about spiritual heroes, specifically ones in the Bible. So let’s do a little investigating via a poll.

You may vote for as many as three, and if you don’t see your hero listed, you may write that person into the mix.

Thanks for taking part. Feel free to add a note in the comments to explain why you voted as you did. Also let your Facebook friends or Twitter followers know about the poll so they can take part, too — any time between now and the end of June. I’m looking forward to the results. 😀

Published in: on May 25, 2011 at 6:31 pm  Comments (12)  
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Light In A Dark Place

Particularly memorable for me is a scene in C. S. Lewis’s The Last Battle. A group of dwarfs have followed the band of Aslan-followers into a rundown shed.

Inside Lucy, Peter, and the rest find sunlight and growing things. It’s like Narnia of old.

They try to coax the dwarfs out of the huddle they’re in with some fresh fruit, but they grouse and complain about the dark, about the smelly hay Lucy is trying to force on them. In the end, the dwarfs remain blind to the beauty around them while the Aslan-followers move further up and further in.

Whatever C. S. Lewis intended with that scene, I think it accurately portrays the difference between those of us whose spiritual eyes have been opened and those still blinded — by sin, the world, riches, worries, the idol of self-effort, what have you.

The thing is, none of us can do a single thing to restore sight. We can plead with God to restore sight, but we can’t do it. Not for ourselves and not for anyone else.

So, do we pray and walk away?

Not if we take seriously what Jesus said.

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven (Matt. 5:14-16).

It seems to me our job is to shine our light — not in a closet, but out in the open where people are looking.

I think that makes some of us uncomfortable. Maybe we mix up what Jesus said about praying in secret and giving in secret with doing good works. Our prayers and our alms-giving are not supposed to be done in a way that has people noticing what we’re doing.

But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.

But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you (Matt. 6:3-6).

Good works, then, must be different if they are to be done to attract attention.

But there’s another key. When our good works get attention, they ought not earn us applause. Our good works should spur others to give God glory.

That’s the other part that makes us uncomfortable, I think. How do we get people to credit God, not us, for something we do for His kingdom?

The “ah, shucks, it wasn’t much” approach comes across as false humility and in the end belittles the good work and consequently the one receiving it and God who should receive the glory.

The Apostle Paul didn’t seem to have this problem. When he healed a lame man in Lystra, the people started calling him and Barnabas gods. They’re response?

When the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their robes and rushed out into the crowd, crying out and saying, “Men, why are you doing these things? We are also men of the same nature as you, and preach the gospel to you that you should turn from these vain things to a living God (Acts 14:14-15a, emphasis added).

Perhaps we get confused about who’s light we’re shining, and that’s why it feels uncomfortable to us to deflect praise to God.

If someone handed me the keys to someone else’s car, I wouldn’t stand around hemming and hawing as if somehow to refuse to take the keys that didn’t belong to me was an embarrassment.

Light in this dark world — may I always remember the light source is God Himself which is why the praise should be His.

Published in: on May 24, 2011 at 2:19 pm  Comments (1)  
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False Prophecy Is Not A Laughing Matter

Harold Camping’s false prophecy that the rapture would occur yesterday (after having failed some seventeen years earlier) gave those opposed to God more ammunition in their arsenal. It also gave humorists and regular joes alike comedic content, and that fact is one of the saddest results of this debacle.

Camping and his believers have been the butt of jokes for days, making material for late-night talk show hosts, funny bumper stickers and even jest on local news stations around the country (“misjudgment day: Survivors pick up the pieces” ).

True, there is also the very sad reality that some of Camping’s followers shucked off the trappings of this world in preparation for the rapture — things like jobs and houses, savings accounts and school opportunities. As hard as it might be for them in the short term, they can recover.

Some of their kids may have a harder time. Their faith might be shaken.

The May 21st kids will be facing their “day of reckoning,” waking up to realize that their parents, pastors, and theologies were wrong. Many of those kids will lose something that day. The questions that many of them will ask will get answered with lies and excuses and bad biblical reasoning. Some of them will be angry with God for not bringing about Judgment Day. Some of them will lose their faith and yet be unable to escape it. (“May 21, 2011: The harm that ‘Judgment Day’ will do“).

Since these folk were believing something that wasn’t true, I don’t see it as a bad thing that they re-examine their faith. One Camping follower said that obviously something was off about the way they were interpreting the Bible. Good! Some of them, at least, will wake up to the fact that they have believed a false prophet.

But there’s a whole camp of people who never once considered that the world would end May 21, 2011 — not because they believe Jesus when He said no one knows the hour of judgment, but because they don’t believe Jesus at all. They don’t believe He died for their sins, that He’s coming again, that He will rule in justice and hold them accountable for rejecting Him.

Those who mock God and who harden their hearts as a result of the “evidence” Camping’s false prophecy provided that the Bible is untrustworthy, may well be permanent losers. Here’s one person’s reaction:

I am not sure why so many people are eager to leave this earth. Many are waiting to be sucked up into a heavenly abyss while looking down on us heathens who simply lived our life day to day. I personally had a great day this rapture weekend and attended several parties and even the day after breakfast and must say with each and every prediction, the parties get better, and the technology through the use of Facebook and Youtube is absolutely hilarious (“Rapture Reflections“).

The heartbreaking reality is that Camping’s false prophecy is no different from the false prophecies of Jeremiah’s day. God does not look on false prophecy lightly.

Behold, I am against the prophets,” declares the LORD, “who use their tongues and declare, ‘The Lord declares.’

“Behold, I am against those who have prophesied false dreams,” declares the LORD, “and related them and led My people astray by their falsehoods and reckless boasting; yet I did not send them or command them, nor do they furnish this people the slightest benefit,” declares the LORD.

“Now when this people or the prophet or a priest asks you [Jeremiah] saying, ‘What is the oracle of the LORD?’ then you shall say to them, ‘What oracle?’ The LORD declares, ‘I will abandon you.’

“Then as for the prophet or the priest or the people who say, ‘The oracle of the LORD,’ I will bring punishment upon that man and his household.

“Thus will each of you say to his neighbor and to his brother, ‘What has the LORD answered?’ or, ‘What has the LORD spoken?’

“For you will no longer remember the oracle of the LORD, because every man’s own word will become the oracle, and you have perverted the words of the living God, the LORD of hosts, our God (Jeremiah 23:31-36, all emphases added).

There’s something we Christians can gain from all this, I think. For one, false prophecy — of the Camping variety or the Rob Bell variety or Word of Faith, Mormons, or any teaching that strays from what the Bible says — should not go unchallenged. We can’t wink at this stuff or shrug and say, Oh well, they can believe whatever they want to believe.

At the opposite extreme, however, I don’t believe Christians should turn into heresy hunters. Convicting and convincing others of sin is the job of the Holy Spirit.

Our role should be to know what we believe. We should have an increasing knowledge about what the Bible teaches, but we should also know how we are to understand it. Are we to look for numerical codes to dates and times of Christ’s return, or are we to believe Jesus when He said

But of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. Take heed, keep on the alert; for you do not know when the appointed time will come (Mark 13:32-33).

If we know what we believe, then we’ll be ready — alert — to stand up and speak the truth in love when a false teacher comes along.

Published in: on May 23, 2011 at 7:10 pm  Comments (2)  
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Darkest Before The Dawn

A couple years ago, I wrote a post with this same title, but today, I’m thinking about the topic a little differently.

Having read The Ale Boy’s Feast this week, a novel set in a dark, dark world, and anticipating next month’s supernatural suspense, Darkness Follows by Mike Dellosso, I couldn’t help but think a little about the subject.

What I’m wondering is whether or not most people consider their circumstances dark. I’m guessing, many do not. I suspect there are a great many who think that their ship might still come in. They might win the lottery, meet Mr. Right, get that long-hoped-for promotion, buy the right stock at just the right time, retire in perfect health with enough cash to attack that bucket list. And until then, there’s always the weekend.

Monday? Not so great. But the week gets moving and the weekend crawls closer, and things start looking up because it will be Par-tay time!

A dark world? Just ignore the irritating stuff. Complain about it if you have to, maybe write an angry letter to your congressman, call a talk show, or flip off the guy who cut in front of you on the freeway. But no worries, Man, Tomorrow the traffic won’t be so bad, the Next Thing will make me forget what I was complaining about on the radio, and in a few months we’ll vote the bums out of office, or try to.

And when things seem to crowd in, like a bad marriage or rebellious kids or the company going out of business or rising gas prices, just turn up the TV a little louder and pour another drink or pop another pill or smoke (and inhale) something numbing.

Darkness? What’s dark about living to get laid, or jolted by the rush of adrenaline at the race track or ball park? What’s dark about playing Wii with the kids or doing the soccer mom thing? What’s dark about barbecues in the backyard or planning vacations to Yellowstone?

Why would anyone think this world is dark?

The secret stuff, maybe—the heartbreaks or dangerous desires, the out-of-control fears or unrelenting desperation—but those are buried out of sight, and hey, everyone knows, out of sight, out of mind. So no, life is most definitely not dark.

Maybe there are dark spots, patches, like black ice, we need to navigate around or over, but the sun is shining around the next bend and the road will be dry up ahead. I just won’t think about where this road is taking me. I’m having too good a time driving in comfort and ease, with the radio cranked up so I don’t hear the horns honking or the sirens screaming or the tires squealing.

Dark? Not the world most people know, I’m guessing.

So who, then, is looking for the dawn?

Published in: on May 20, 2011 at 5:36 pm  Comments (16)  
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CSFF Blog Tour Wrap – The Ale Boy’s Feast by Jeffrey Overstreet

Thirty-one bloggers posted forty-nine articles (thirty-two and fifty, if you count Matt Mikalatos who opted out but still posted links to the book and tour participants, or thirty-three/fifty-one if you add in Jeff Chapman who opted out because he couldn’t post in time to officially be part of the tour), all discussing The Ale Boy’s Feast by Jeffrey Overstreet.

Of note Sarah Sawyer is holding a book give-away. If you would like a chance to win a copy of this much-anticipated final volume of the Auralia Thread series, leave a comment, and you’ll be eligible for the drawing.

In addition, Robert Treskillard sent Jeffrey an excellent question which he answered in a YouTube video. (See below.) How cool is that!

And now it’s time to take a look at the bloggers eligible for this month’s CSFF Top Tour Blogger Award.

Of course, the power has shifted to the jury ( 😉 ) because your vote is for the winner. You have ten days to peruse the posts and decide who you think kept your interest, made you laugh or think or gave you the most information. In other words, which blogger deserves special recognition for the three articles they wrote for this month’s tour?

CSFF Blog Tour – The Ale Boy’s Feast by Jeffrey Overstreet, Part 3 A Review

I love epic fantasy, which is why I write it. The Auralia Thread series by Jeffrey Overstreet is epic fantasy — a grand, involved, heroic story, in this case, one that took four books to tell. The Ale Boy’s Feast is the conclusion of this sprawling tale.

The Story. The Ale Boy’s Feast begins where Raven’s Ladder left off. King Cal-raven, having tried to free the slaves the beastmen were holding, is wounded and left for dead, thinking that he has failed. He receives surprising help, however, and is off to meet up with a band of his people seeking the site he has dubbed New Abascar.

The Ale Boy, also an apparent causality of the events in the Core, is resuscitated and in turn, uses the healing waters to revive the captives that had been ambushed. His intent is to lead them out of the putrid underground wasteland and to find King Cal-raven.

These are two central figures, though there is a host of others, each playing a critical part in the weaving of the complex story. Ultimately, each battles to defeat or to spread the Curse that overshadows The Expanse. Some side with evil in a subtle, duplicitous way. Others side with good after they have come to their senses. Their redemption contributes to the overall theme, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Strengths. An epic fantasy, in my opinion, depends on the world building. Readers must be sold on this place where the story unfolds. It must feel real, must have its own set of consistent rules, must seem tangible. In that aspect, Jeffrey couldn’t have done better.

His world is imaginative, dense, textured, rich. While it is totally unlike in kind, I would compare his world building to that of J. K. Rowling in its density. The reader is saturated in this world, and none of the aspects of the magic, religion, topography, social or political structure, history, etc. breaks that fictive dream.

Regarding the theme of the book, Jeffrey uses several extended metaphors (or perhaps metaphysical conceits), particularly the thread image used in the series title, to address ideas of beauty and how it points to “mystery” — the meaning and purpose behind all of life. Of course, as a Christian, I understand “mystery” to be God. For those who do not know Him through His Son as revealed in His Word, I suspect He does appear as a mystery. Clearly, Jeffrey wasn’t trying to make a statement about God in this work, but about art and its affect on the cursed, broken world in which we live. I believe he accomplished what he set out to do. (For an excellent look at the spiritual aspects of the series, I suggest Sarah Sawyer’s Day 3 article).

A third strength that bears repeating is the beauty of the prose. Reviewers who compare Jeffrey’s writing to painting have it right, in my opinion. His words give the reader a visual rendering of the scenic background. At the same time, his words have a poetic quality.

Another worthy aspect of this book is the rendering of the characters as real people, with flaws and strengths, willing to try, often failing, sometimes willing to repent and change, sometimes choosing heroic actions, and sometimes dying because of their choices. No one, if he is honest, can come away from an Overstreet novel thinking he has read about flat, undeveloped characters.

Weaknesses. In each of the other volumes in the series, I’ve commented on the multiple points of view and how following such a large number of characters causes me to be disengaged from all of them. Unfortunately, that issue was front and center in The Ale Boy’s Feast. Because I didn’t have an emotional tie with any of the characters, I consequently didn’t feel the danger, suspense, tension that many of the confrontations and intrigue should have engendered.

I wasn’t helped, I don’t believe, by how fragmented the narrative was, as one after another of the story lines was interrupted and left to be picked up later, only to be dropped all too quickly.

Yes, in an adequate way, Jeffrey resolved all these diverse threads. However, this was not a story I ever felt lost in because I was too busy constantly trying to reorient myself to the place, time, circumstances, and character.

Recommendation. The Ale Boy’s Feast is an artistic triumph. However, this one isn’t for readers wanting a story that sweeps them along at a fast pace. This story may not satisfy a reader whose burning question driving their reading experience is “What happens next.” On the other hand, for someone who prefers a literary flare and who loves epic fantasy, this is the perfect book.

In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

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