Writing

Book Reviews

I am an avid reader of books about faith, and I love to help other writers get their work seen by more readers. One of the best ways to do that is by having your work read and reviewed. If you have published a book and would like for me to do a review here on my blog, as well as post a review over at Amazon and on social media, simply send me an email at chrisc9951@yahoo.com and I will give you instructions on what to do next. Below are some reviews I’ve already done.

Edgewise-By Jana Greene

The God Of The Mundane-By Matthew B. Redmond

Winter Light-By Bruce Ray Smith

Awaiting A Savior-By Aaron Armstrong

Cruciform-By Jimmy Davis

But God-By Casey Lute

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Life Art

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I used to hate it when I’d discover that my kids had drawn in my journals…Now I kind of love it. What better way to remind myself where my life was as I was writing these words down. What a great way to keep my priorities in check. Even when I find the drawings over my greatest thoughts (this is sarcasm) I am reminded how small I am. How short life is. These days won’t last. One day I’ll long for little inconveniences, and the times when my kids wanted to be just like me.

The art of self deception

From the journal:

Thinking a lot lately about how easy it is to deceive ourselves.

I normally fancy myself that I am a pretty good guy.
I think I’m a good husband, and pretty good looking too.
I’m a better Christian than most people, and I’m not bald.

I continue to think these things despite the fact that there is so much evidence to the contrary.

I’ve lost some weight, so now I’m skinny.
I’m a GREAT father.

I really do think these things most days…but then when I get honest with myself, if honesty with oneself is even possible…it seems more and more likely that I am a liar.

But, why is it so easy to lie to ourselves? Shouldn’t we be able to see through our own lies? Shouldn’t we know ourselves pretty well?

I suppose Jeremiah hit the nail on the head when he said, “The heart is deceitful above all things.”

I am a deceiver. Every day I deceive myself, I deceive others….I think I even try to deceive God. I know in the end though, this won’t work out very well.

Book Review:The God Of The Mundane

Matthew B. Redmond is a talented writer. I’ve been a long time follower of his blog, so of course I was thrilled to get my hands on his debut book ‘The God Of The Mundane’. I had read the series of blog posts that would eventually lead to the book, and felt even as I was reading those initial posts, that what Matt was saying, the world needed to hear. I’m thankful that Kalos Press felt the same way.

As I said, Matt is a superb writer. Because Matt is such a superb writer, this book is a joy to read. ‘The God Of The Mundane’ is the type of book that you can read, and get lost in. Once you finish, you’ll want to read it again. Because of the content of the book, this is a book you need to read again.

Let me be up front. I don’t agree with everything Matt says in this book. I don’t agree with how Matt says everything in this book. And that is okay. Matt has indeed accurately diagnosed a huge problem within the Christian church, and the questions he asks are important. His voice is one that needs to be heard in the world of evangelicalism. The conversation that Matt has started is one that needs to continue, and all Christians, and perhaps Pastors in particular need to take note.

In the world of bigger and better and more radical Christianity…it’s refreshing to read someone who wants to see and talk about the God of the everyday. It’s refreshing to see someone who sees the eternal value of every inch of life. It’s refreshing to see someone who understands the line between spiritual work and secular work doesn’t really exist.

Again, I don’t agree with all of the conclusions that Matt comes to…But, I certainly agree with Matt that there is a problem with how we are talking about faith, and how we view faith. True biblical faith isn’t one size fits all, and it certainly doesn’t look the same for each of us. I’m thankful that Matt has started the conversation, and I pray the conversation continues.

‘The God Of The Mundane’ will be out early next month, and is currently available for pre-order through Kalos Press. Click here for more info or to order.

Are Catholics Better Writers than Baptists?

My friend Matt Redmond(no, not the singer) recently wrote a blog addressing this question. You can find it here.

I attempted to comment on his blog, but for some reason his blog ate the comment, so I figured I’d just write a short post here…I think it is an interesting discussion to say the least, and would love to hear what some of my friends have to say about it.

I really do think there is something to what Matt has said. I think there are many reasons, but I will give a few of my opinions.

First, I do believe that Catholics seem to have more imagination as it relates to their faith. Folks in the Protestant/Baptist/Reformed circles seem to be a bit more wooden in our faith. Of course this isn’t true across the board, but I think if we’re honest with ourselves, we can acknowledge there is some truth to that statement. We seem to think we have God all figured out, in theory…We have placed God in our Systematic Theological boxes, and in many cases have lost our Awe of God. I think our Catholic friends and Brethren tend to be much better in regards to this. We have tried our best to take the mystery out of our faith, the sense of mysticism….But the truth is, that is still there. Sure God has revealed Himself, and we can have much understanding of God as the Spirit illuminates who Christ is…But there is still mystery there…there is still discovery.

Second, Catholics seem to place far more emphasis on the experience of God. I think this goes back to my last point as well. Folks in my tradition of Christendom, though I think it is unintentional, focus so much on the ‘What God has DONE through Christ’ that we lose site that God is still DOING things through Christ. The Spirit is active here and now. The Spirit is still at work. We can experience God…It’s okay, it really is.

Third, I think Catholics view much of the world, their lives, and their work Sacramentally. Again, this isn’t something that is true across the board, but I know certainly reading Catholic authors, they seem to view their writing through this lense. So much value is placed on their words, as each one is an effort to point someone to this experience of God. Folks in my camp, certainly do this to some degree, but we call it being missional, or intentional…but even in that it seems more about just getting the Truth out there, with little regards to how beautiful you are telling the story. (Note, this is dangerous territory…Don’t tell a story in an effort to be beautiful at the expense of the truth…I know a certain Christian author whose name rhymes with ‘Hell’ that has made this tragic mistake.) I have to say too though, that the Puritans were much better at this than our modern writers…They were able to communicate the truths of God’s Word and the truths of who He is in such a beautiful way…We need more guys who can write like Puritans.

So are Catholics better writers that Baptists? Or Presbyterians?(excluding Eugene Peterson of course, but he does have a certain Catholicity to him doesn’t he?) You can really insert any Protestant/Reformed branch of Christendom you’d like….I don’t know if they are…but it should certainly cause us to ask the question, and seek the answers…Our words have power, and they ought to be conveying the beauty of God in a way that helps others experience that beauty. Just my 2 cents…Maybe 3…Still it’s worth a ponder.

Hmmm…Now I’m wondering how many angry comments I have solicited. We shall see…

A Couple of great websites for Authors

For all of you undiscovered authors out there, and folks who love to read and would be interested to find new and exciting authors, here are a few websites for you to check out. First, http://bookdoggie.com. It is a very cool way to find books that you won’t normally find in a bookstore. It may take a few clicks, but I think you will find something there that interests you. Second, http://www.spaigroup.com/ . I love the idea behind this website, it links authors of the same genre together, in order to help them get their names and books out there to the public. Anyone who has published anything, knows the toughest part of the whole process, is promoting your work, and letting people know you are out there. I think the SPAI group will help many in this regard.

Thanks guys, and please support your local authors. 🙂