Thursday, February 23, 2012

Buried Beneath Christian Fiction

I’ve always considered myself a Christian. However, changes and events that have occurred in my life in the last few years have caused me to reevaluate, reexamine, and rediscover what being a Christian really means. In the process, I’ve grown stronger in my faith. 

A desire to incorporate Christian beliefs into my fiction grew from this rediscovery, and set me on the path to writing my third novel, Footprints of a Dancer. I’m in the process of editing the manuscript, which I hope to finish soon. My publisher keeps reminding me that the book is overdue. A plethora of reasons exist as to why it has taken me so long to write Footprints, one of which is – I want to get it right. I want the book to be Christian, and it is certainly written from a Christian point of view, but at the same time I want the theme, the message if you will, to be subtle,  an integral part of the story, neither heavy-handed nor just a bit of icing. 

In research of the matter, I’ve been reading more Christian fiction, both on my own and as a book reviewer for Tyndale House, ( a well-known publisher of Christian literature. In addition, I’ve sought out Christian writing blogs. Mike Duran, a writer of Christian horror fiction, has a good example of this type of blog. All of Mike’s posts are well written and thought provoking. However, I’ve included a link to a particular post, which illustrates the emphasis of this post: What qualifies a work of fiction as Christian? 

As with most subjects, opinions are plentiful. However, with respect to what is and what is not Christian fiction, it all pretty much boils down to two schools of thought; those who believe the message should be explicit, and those who believe a work of fiction can have an implicit Christian theme and still be considered Christian fiction. Good examples of the latter would be the works of writers like Frank Peretti, and Ted Dekker, both New York Times best-selling authors whose fiction, which some describe as Christian, crossed over into the mainstream market.

It is this type of blueprint, exemplified by books like those of Peretti and Dekker – not to compare myself with such great writers, but to illustrate a point – that I hope to follow with Footprints of a Dancer.

I believe that both types of Christian fiction – Explicit and Implicit – fulfill a need within the Christian literary arena. 

I discovered something else during my research to determine if I was indeed writing a Christian novel with Footprints of a Dancer. Based on a novel being implicitly Christian, I’ve already written one. The

 second book in the Detective Elliot series, Beneath a Buried House, was written from a Christian world view, and it definitely has an implicit Christian theme. I’d like to know your opinion. If you’ve read Beneath a Buried House, let me know if you agree. It’s only $2.99 on Kindle. Here’s the link:

Monday, February 13, 2012

God and Science -- Part IV

God and Science – Part IV

As you probably know, from following my God and Science Posts, a television program inspired this line of posts. The impetus behind the program was the question: Can science and mathematics prove the existence of God?

 The premise fell apart during the 3rd portion of the program, which dealt with the Ark of the Covenant. Actually the segments were interwoven throughout and not presented linearly like I’ve done with the blog. However, when it came to the Ark, information on what the Ark was and where, if still in existence, the artifact might be, was presented alone, without science being involved, which left the conflict lacking. Those of you, who write, especially fiction authors, know that within the conflict the tension lives and, therefore, the seed of interest. Having admitted to the lack of that important element, I’ll continue. 

The word Ark appears throughout the Bible, carrying different meanings. It seems the Ark of the Covenant, also known as the Ark of the Testimony, was designated with the Hebrew word arown, which means chest, or coffer.  God commanded Moses to construct the Ark, giving detailed instructions, during the time that the Israelites were wandering the desert, while they were camped at Sinai. Following the instructions, Bezalel, who built the entire tabernacle – the portable Temple used while wandering the desert – constructed the Ark, a box approximately 4’ long and 2.5’ wide, from acaia wood, which was then covered, inside and out, with pure gold. Four gold rings were attached, through which two poles, also made of acacia wood and coated in gold, were inserted and used to carry the Ark. The kapporet, or propitiatory, which covered the Ark was also made of pure gold and adorned with two cherubim that faced each other with their wings spread so that they touched between them, forming the oracle, the holy part of the Ark where God spoke to Moses.

The Ark probably contained the original stone tablets of the Ten Commandments, which were broken by Moses, the second tablets, which remained intact, and possibly the staff of Aaron. However, the Ark had additional purposes. Not only did God use the Ark to communicate with Moses, bot also as an indicator of when he wanted the nation to travel, and when to stop, throughout the nation’s time in the desert. The Ark also accompanied the Israelites into battle, one of the most famous being Jericho, where the priests carried the Ark around the city for seven days. After that, when the trumpets were blown, the walls of the city crumbled, allowing the Israelites to occupy the Promised Land.

After the conquest, a tabernacle was erected in Shiloh where the Ark remained until the battles with the Philistines under the priesthood of Eli. During these battles, the Ark was taken by the Philistines and placed in the temple of their god, Dagon in the city of Ashdod. The next day, the Philistines found the idol of Dagon fallen on its face. They replaced the statue upright. However, the next day the idol was again found fallen and this time also decapitated. Not long after these events, the city of Ashdod was struck by a plague. The Philistines then moved the Ark to the city of Gath, and from there to Ekron where similar tragedy befell the inhabitants. Seven months later, the Philistines took the Ark back to the Israelites, leaving it in the city of Beit Shemesh. From Beit Shemesh, the Ark was transported to Kiryat Yearim, where it remained until King David took it to Jerusalem. David’s son, Solomon, built the First Temple where the Ark remained until the Temple was destroyed by the Babylonian empire under the reign of King Nebuchadnezzar around 586 BC. 

What happened to the Ark after the destruction of the First Temple is a mystery. It would seem likely that it was taken by the Babylonians. However, the Babylonians made detailed lists of things taken during the raid and the Ark was not listed. As to why they would not take it, serves another mystery. Perhaps they knew of what had happened to the Philistines. According to some sources, King Josiah, who ruled during the period, learned of the impending invasion and hid the Ark either in a hole dug on the Temple Mount, or a cave near the Dead Sea. In another interesting possibility, Ethiopian Christians claim the location of the Ark is no mystery because they know where it is: Hidden in the Church of Saint Mary of Zion in Axum, Ethiopia, and guarded by a monk known as “The Keeper of the Ark.” According to the Ethiopian’s, they acquired the Ark during the reign of King Solomon, when Solomon’s son, Menelik, whose mother was the Queen of Sheba, took it after a visit to Jerusalem.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Special Offer - Part II

Special Offer
If you would like the chance to read Beneath a Buried House, the second book in the Detective Elliot series, for free on Kindle, wait until this weekend, February 3, 4, please follow the link below:

If you do not have a Kindle, a free Kindle app can be downloaded from Amazon for your pc, iPhone, smart phone, iPad, and possibly even your lawnmower. Just kidding about the lawnmower…  I think. Anyway, my publisher, AWOC Books, has included Twisted Perception in a special promotional campaign to spread the word about their wonderful books.

Beneath a Buried House, which is the second book in the Detective Elliot series, has picked up some great reviews, including reviews in USA Today, and The Daily Oklahoman, one of Oklahoma’s largest newspapers. 

Please take this opportunity to read a fast-paced mystery that no one to date has been able to solve before the final page. But you must hurry. The offer is good only for Friday and Saturday, February 3, and 4.
       Bob Avey, author of the Detective Elliot series