Separation? Sanctification?

How does God look unflinchingly on this world and remain holy?

I’m not talking about viewing evil deeds done in secret; in bedrooms, prison basements, isolated places, and slums. If we mortals were to view even a fraction of the brutalization, the depravity, the anguish at any given moment, it would cripple us mentally and emotionally. Talk about PTSD. No… add to that wicked motives, imaginations, scheming, the sheer unmitigated selfishness of the human creature and you’ve got some small notion of what God sees all the time.

(Yes, He also sees love, hope, sacrifice, mercy, courage, however awkward or incomplete, but I’m making a point here.)

Passed off as “Sanctification”, there’s a prevalent notion in Christianity that believers mustn’t mention, view, or discuss the specifics of a sinful world after their conversion. If forced to do so, then it must be neutered and saccharine. I’m not minimizing the crucial issues of character or boundaries, or legitimizing being deliberately crass and offensive, but we must recognize facts – however unpleasant – without reveling in them.

Even a cursory glance at the Bible tells you God doesn’t separate Himself from creation. He does not retreat – He is immanent and involved, or as the Psalmist wrote “a very present help in time of trouble.” Jesus was never concerned with touching the “unclean” – the leper, the hooker, the tax collector, the demoniac, the sick, the dead – because those things didn’t effect Him. They didn’t render Him any less holy, any less God. In fact, His touch made them whole.

God does not preserve His holiness by distance but engages fallen humanity precisely at the point of need. That’s what the Incarnation and the Cross are all about, and redemption is only possible when we’re willing to be brutally honest and face both sin and God.

So back to the idea of addressing reality when communicating in art, sermons, fiction, film, whatever… to ignore cancer altogether is just as fatal as calling it the flu because that’s easier to treat. Playing it safe didn’t get a nation of slaves out of Egypt. Being nice didn’t deliver the Gadarene demoniac. Christians are called to be salt and light, to be in the world but not of it. Jesus promised to preserve us by His Name, His Spirit, and His Word, and at the end of John’s Gospel, He tells the disciples, “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”

Consider this next time you worry about leaving your comfort zone and getting your hands dirty in whatever field God has called you to: Jesus left Heaven – the ultimate “Gated Community” – to come down here and rescue us. Innocent, He endured the brutality and humiliation of a criminal’s crucifixion.

But we know the end of the story, and the Resurrection should give us all the confidence we need to step out and do the same in His Name.

Sequel started – “Shift Tense”

In keeping with my New Year’s resolutions, I commissioned Alejandro Martinez to start the next cover and I’ve got 12 scenes drafted. 8K worth of words that need a lot of polish, but it’s a start. I’ll post the cover when it’s complete. (No, that’s not Alex’s work, but it ‘s cool nonetheless)

This time the lads are dropped in the middle of a civil war on the “bloody nose”of Africa, in what’s left of Somalia. Child soldiers, killer drones, pirates, Russian mercs, and more. I’ve got my work cut out for me to pull it all together.

Review at Figures.com

The year ends with another good review. I’m grateful Jess H. took the time to read it, let alone give such a gracious synopsis. A thousand thanks – here’s hoping the sequel Shift Tense lives up to expectations. Happy New Year.
Review at Figures.com

Let the Stable still Astonish

Let the stable still astonish:
Straw- dirt floor, dull eyes, dusty flanks of donkeys, oxen;
Crumbling, crooked walls; No bed to carry that pain.

And then the child –
Rag-wrapped, laid to cry in a trough.
Who would have chosen this?
Who would have said:
“Yes, Let the God of all
the heavens and earth
be born here, in this place”?

Who but the same God who stands in the darker, fouler rooms of our hearts and says,
“Yes, Let the God of Heaven and Earth be born here – in this place.”

***

There is hope. God is real, and He still moves and changes lives. That’s what makes Christmas meaningful.
Merry Christmas everyone.

Coupon Code at Lulu


“Running Black” is making its way through Distribution to B&N, Amazon, etc, and should appear there before the end of January. In the meantime, if you were interested in a copy, you can purchase direct from Lulu. Use code REMARKABLEYEAR305 to get a 20% discount. Thanks.
Running Black

Theological Implications?


A Pastor friend finished Running Black the other day and while he said he enjoyed it, he was anxious to discuss the “theological implications”. Our phone conversation was cut short, but I’m sure we’ll get back to it. However, it made me curious what other readers thought.

As I’ve said before, a sci-fi action novel isn’t a Bible study. It’s simply not the place to wax exegetical. Listen to my sermons if you’re hankering for that, or better yet, read the Bible yourself. Running Black is entertainment with Christian themes intersecting the story arc. Now I’m sure there are “theological implications”; after all, ideas have consequences, but I’m puzzled as to what they might be. The use of violence and profanity? Financial entities leveraging governments? Clones having souls? Jihadists glassing Tel Aviv with a nuke? Christians handling firearms?

If you’ve read the book, please weigh in on this. I’m genuinely interested. And to sweeten the deal, I’ve got an extra 11″ x 17 poster of the book cover I’ll send to someone who responds. (in a civil and intelligent manner)

“Ink” – a very cool film


DoubleEdgedFilms
I am a fan. No doubt about it. INK is difficult to pin down, genre-wise. Urban Fantasy, perhaps? The plot sounds typical: a little girl caught up in the never-ending struggle between good and evil in the spirit/dream world. What sets it apart is the creativity, the characters, the gritty coolness of it all. Indy films can be so lame, so angsty, you reach for the brain bleach in the first ten minutes, but not this one. This is worthy indeed. My copy is on the way – get your own.

Hobby-related post


Many of my friends know I’ve been an avid miniature wargamer for quite some time. A fellow gamer at the Lead-Adventure Forum came across one of my current projects and featured it on his hobby blog. My forum tag in the miniatures world is “Dentatus” (after a famous Roman General) and the project is based on the Russian computer game “STALKER”. More on all this later. Here’s the link: Anatoli’sGameRoom

Lulu December sales contest

Since Running Black won’t make it to Amazon before the New Year, I entered Lulu’s monthly sales contest. If you or anyone you know would like a trade paperback copy, it’s available Here
Use the code STOCKING305 ’til Dec 15 to get 15% off.
If you’re partial to ebooks, go to Smashwords and use code KK65B for the same discount. Smashwords
Thanks all.