Thursday, October 30, 2008

Wherefore Art Thou?

You may be wondering where I have been as of late. To answer the question, in addition to preparing for NaNoWriMo, I have recently been converting some of my short stories into scripts. I have been really enjoying some great quality Christian Audio dramas online and thought, "Hey! All of my children love to act and most are involved with theater in one way or another."

Thus, I ventured to a couple local electronic stores and invested in some beginner-level audio equipment (a condenser microphone, a mixer, and audio editing software). I turned the little closet under our stairs into a "recording studio" and began recording my children's attempts at the lines I wrote for them. If all goes well, hopefully there will soon be at least one of our family audio dramas online!

In a similar twist, I also am rewriting a story into a script for a group of Christians who met online for the purpose of seeing what it would take to put together our own quality audio drama. That show too will hopefully be available for your listening enjoyment.

November promises to be a very busy time so please bear with me through this blogging dry spell.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

On a Whim with No Prayer

Our Heavenly Father saw it coming, did you? On September 29, 2008, the United States stock market dropped 777 points. Is this just a coincidence? Although I am no apocalyptic soothsayer, I am no believer mere chance or coincidence.

I typed in “pray for our economy” and the result was 4030 hits. I have not had the opportunity to peruse through each solitary instance, but what has been striking to me has been the lack of any of these hits, minus one, to be linked to a single government official.

The very first link in my search leads to John Piper’s “Desiring God” website, and the date for his article was September 19, 2008. John Piper saw it coming, and he encouraged us to pray.

The second link was from the Presidential Prayer team. Unfortunately, the underlying message in that article is a discussion about legal attacks on the National Day of prayer. Really? When we are in the midst of a global economic catastrophe and should be on our knees, people are suing President Bush regarding a single day of prayer. This single article explains very well why we are in this mess in the first place.

One shining moment among the list of Google links is an article dated October 4, 2008. In that article is a single, obscure quote by Democratic Representative Marcy Kaptur, "Pray for our republic, she's being placed in very uncaring and greedy hands." My concern for this is that it doesn’t seem as much a prayer to God for our Republic, but rather a political plea against the Bush Administration. Never-the-less, it is a public call for prayer.

A vast number of the remaining links are to apocalyptic naysayer websites doing little more than sounding an alarm and pointing out that the end is near. Yes, it is, and it has been for quite some time.

I must confess that I am not a news channel junkie, nor do I subscribe to any newspapers, but I have yet to hear any of our government leaders, minus the one quoted already, to call for prayer for our nation.

Our government jumped in overnight to throw $700 billion dollars at a problem whose price tag they really have no clue about. Hmmm… 7 hundred billion dollars. Another interesting number.

Christian, our country does need prayer. I have been neglectful in my responsibilities in this regard. Have you? Where will our help come from? I dare say it is not the government, but that is where we seem to be placing our highest hopes.

Please join me in praying for our economy, our country, our leaders, our world and the peace and security of Israel. Let us not fret over hard times. After all, it has traditionally been the hardest of times that the gospel flourishes.

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." 2 Chronicles 7:14

Friday, October 10, 2008

An Historic Debate

As the saying goes, "timing is everything." Such it is with the timliness of my reading and research for Uncommon Brethren. Whilst we are in the throngs of the hype and hysteria of a loud and tedious Presidential campaign, the two leading contenders have engaged is somewhat of a civilized debate.

In the summer and fall of 1858, there too was somewhat of a civilized debate in progress. Not between Presidential candidates, but the outcome of that series of debates did propel the next President of the United States onto the national public stage.

The debates between Stephen Douglas and Abraham Lincoln were essentially a debate between slavery and abolitionism. As a result of these debates, path was laid and a coures was set.

I have known for several years that part of my story would involve these important historical events, yet I still have not decided to what degree. I have spent the past several weeks pouring over material related to the debate, and through the incredible resource of the internet, stumbled across an astonishing resource.

The fine people at Google Books have been spending untold time and energy making digital copies of historical manuscripts available to the public. One such resource is "The Lincoln-Douglas Debates of 1858." While I have no intention of pouring over every one of the 630 plus pages, my focus on a specific two of the debates has been fascinating.

Reader, if you love history and you have the time, I highly recommend reading this tremendous historical text. If you do not have time, wait for the publishing on Uncommon Brethren for a brief and small taste of the spirited exchange!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

The Unveiling of a Title

I have been keeping the title for my first novel under wraps since the very beginning. However, I let the cat out of the bag on another forum and thought it would now be appropriate to "unveil" my title and a short synopsis.

"Uncommon Brethren"

Johnathan McClain has big ideas for the future of his son. While his father expects him to take up the family business and evangelize the countryside with the religion of the dollar, young Robert McClain has his heart set on a different path. His heart for the gospel drives him to a desire to spread the word of God, but three things stand in his way: a lack of faith, a general disdain for people, and a war on the horizon.

Almost as soon as the graduation bells toll around the campus of Shurtleff College, another ringing of the bells signals a call to arms. With an intensely ideological view of peace, Robert is thrust into the chaos and pandemonium that ensues. His greatest desire is to build a loyal congregation in a time when loyalty itself is called into question. His mission to establish a true and lasting legacy takes him into the heart of danger and to places he dares not go.

With the future uncertain, Robert McClain clashes with the ideology of bigotry, racism and hatred, but perhaps from the least likely places. The deafening boom of cannon rattle his every thought. The grotesque mass of dead and dying surrounding him challenge his heart. As the smoke lifts from the battlefields of the American Civil War, a path is laid before him and his own loyalties are tested.

This novel has been a labor of love (and consternation) for several years. I have wrestled to no end various plots, character and scenarios, but through it all, God has had a plan for this story. It has been an adventure, to say the least, to watch the story unfold first-hand.

From time to time I have toyed with the notion of expanding this work into a trilogy, yet as I compile the narrative, it is becoming clearer to me that there is but one story here. I am not closing the door on the idea that others may follow, but one thing is clear. There is a valuable message in Uncommon Brethren and for now, the reality of a trilogy is unclear.

In fact, in preparing for NaNoWriMo, a sequel has become very apparent yet there is much room between the two stories to be able to go back and fill in. I hope that once Uncommon Brethren is complete, you will agree that the message comes not soley from my own pen.

Favorite Books

  • Portals to Hell
  • To Die In Chicago
  • While God is Marching On

Favorite Movies

  • Dances With Wolves
  • Gettysburg
  • Glory
  • Master and Commander
  • Red Badge of Courage