The Last Crusade: Your Work Matters

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A friend sent me a link to a NY Times article this morning about Christianity reshaping the middle east. They actually made a positive article about the work Christians are doing over in Syria and other parts of the world that are ridden with terrorism, and how those efforts are shaking the enemies of God and the West, as they see the difference between the Christian way of life and theirs. It’s about the most inspiring thing I’ve seen in awhile.

There’s missionaries, your brothers and sisters, who pick up everything, go overseas and spread the word of Jesus Christ. These people are FAR braver than someone like me, and they deserve tremendous respect and moreover, the support of those of us back home. Their showing Christ and charity to radical Islamic fighters and those oppressed by them in the region helps make people realize that their way is not the right way, and that there is a better way — THE way, the truth and the life.  It’s invaluable.

What’s great is their stories are inspiring, and they can give us some practical advice for living at home according to Him. It takes time and hard work, but it’s impossible not to see the fruits of Christ’s message if you get into it:

Exactly why he sought solace in Christianity, rather than a more mainstream version of Islam, no one can quite explain. Reading the Bible, Mr. Mohammad claimed, made him calmer than reading the Quran. The churches he attended, Mr. Mohammad said, made him feel more welcome than the neighborhood mosques. In his personal view, Christian prayers were more generous than Muslim ones. But these are subjective claims, and many would reject the characterization of Islam as a less benign religion, much as they would reject Nusra’s extremist interpretation of it.

This is exactly why the Word is so important. It changes you. It’s important to read and steady yourself with God’s message every day. Even those who used to fight and slaughter Christians see it, and they can’t help be moved by it. That’s the power of the Holy Spirit.

Ms. Rashid said she dreamed of a biblical figure who used heavenly powers to divide the waters of the sea, which Mr. Mohammad interpreted as a sign of encouragement from Jesus. Then, Mr. Mohammad himself dreamed Jesus had given him some chickpeas. The pair felt loved. 

God is real, and He manifests himself everywhere, but you have to be looking for Him. He is the supernatural, beyond and running through the natural. We forget this a lot in our American ways of life where all we see is the material every day in our busy lives. That’s why studying the Word is so crucial again. There is far more to existence than what our eyes see.

This all made me think of something else I saw this morning, about how another friend made a post about how he’s kept quiet about a number of things in his life, and how now he’s made the choice to speak up, to not straddle the fences where it’s comfortable, where he hopes that no one will make him a target, but he’s going to go out and live his life and profess what he believes.

Every time someone does this, it changes the world. It’s brave to do that where you may get shunned by some friends here, and that shouldn’t be minimized, even though we would be wise to remember that people like Mr. Mohammed face far worse for his bravery. Let his story inspire you to bravery. Every time you put yourself out there for Christ, even if it only changes one person in your life, that will change another person, and another. Look at the results in Syria of all places above. This man has achieved eternal salvation because of a couple of people.

Vox Day posted something incredibly inspiring yesterday on this very topic: Only two numbers matter, 2 and 12. Because one plus one is three and all we need are twelve to change the world.

That’s all it takes. You are making a difference in living by Christ even if it doesn’t feel like it. Keep hope and live strong, for it is commanded:

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9

Your work matters. Mr. Mohammed’s new found calling matters. Your boldness will be rewarded by the fact that others will come to see Christ and His glory. We’ll all rejoice for their coming together with the Lord in his Kingdom. Pray for our bold warriors out there bringing the love of Christ to these souls. Pray for peace.

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The Last Crusade: Go Forth And Trust In God

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One of the hardest things to do is trust in God. There’s always a doubt about what you’re going to do, but that doubt is seeded, and it’s something intentional to keep you from enacting God’s will. A lot of the time you’ll have this nagging sense in the back of your head: I need to do something. If that something is uncomfortable for you, something that scares you, and something that you can’t see how it would benefit you—odds are that small voice in the back of your mind is God.

This past week in church I was particularly inspired because we have a pastor who has been called to go found and create a new church. He’s packing up his life, leaving, with nowhere to live, nowhere to work, just going based on what he heard from God. I can’t see myself ever doing that. With a family, this sort of call is extremely difficult, but it’s also something that we’ve seen throughout the Bible. This is exactly how God calls us. From Moses, who stuttered and couldn’t speak being called to be a leader. To Jonah, who was told to go to the Ninevites. To the disciples who were fishermen and tax collectors, normal people who had no business being leaders. This is how God calls.

I had a nice theological discussion with someone on Gab last evening, where the person echoed this sentiment with: “screw up for God.” Though it’s a bit crass of a way of putting it, the sentiment is actually correct. God calls us to action. If we’re afraid of doing it wrong, or getting bogged down in the details of “can I do this the way he wants” we’re never going to accomplish anything. And so it’s better to put ourselves out there when we hear his voice.

I had this nagging voice for years in an uncomfortable situation – to witness to the Science Fiction readership community. It’s extremely uncomfortable because this crowd is hostile in the extreme toward the message of Christ. Many spit at Christianity, deeply engrained in their worldly religion of scientism that rejects any of the supernatural or any faith.

But that’s also where God’s needed the most. We need to create strongholds within the Enemy’s domain. In the places that seem like they’re solid rocks and too hard to penetrate. We need to be the voice inside the echo chamber. It’s really hard, it’s not fun at all. It’s cost me a lot of friends, and my name is mocked and spit upon regularly as a consequence.

But that’s not meant to deter you. A great friend approached me a few weeks ago when I was really taking some heat, and in the middle of my failing and responding negatively to it, he reminded me of the words from 1 Peter:

“Finally, all of you have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for this is you were called that you may obtain a blessing.”

It’s counterintuitive, and I fail in this often, but we are called upon to receive reviling. When we get this, we have to keep in mind that it’s a good thing. We are being blessed and we should bless those similarly. It’s really hard to do, and it takes constant reminding and remembering. Part of writing this is to help remind myself to do this. Peter later mentions the reason why and a call to action:

“Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’s sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect; having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.”  

We have to suffer for doing what is good. He reiterates that it’s a blessing. We have to also be out there, speaking loudly the good news of Jesus Christ, even if it appears not welcome in the world. And it will appear unwelcome. It’s uncomfortable, and that’s where it comes back to trusting God.

I strive to be more like this pastor who is willing to give up his life and walk for Jesus. Just like the apostles did. Though it’s more comfortable just to be quiet and let the world go as it would – even though at a time like this with a book release, it’d be easier to stay on the fiction topic, just talk about happy entertainment and not post a message like this, even though I risk turning off new readers. God has called me. I have to speak. I have a lot of work to do in myself based on the passages above. But I’ll try to rejoice in the future and maintain blessings on those who hate me.

I’ll leave you with these questions to reflect on: what’s God calling on you to do? How can you bring about a greater glory for his kingdom? Are you blessing those who revile you and showing the world what is right?

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The Last Crusade: Arming Future Teachers For Battle

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From Pastor and brilliant theologian Rob Dalrymple. If any of you feel compelled to assist, contact me, or him if you know him or comment. I can’t think of any more important a mission than ensuring future gifted and brilliant minds are educated and armed to go out there into the world and preach the gospel. This is how you directly save souls, and is something we all should be doing everything we can to support:

Many of you know that I have been privileged to travel and teach around the world including two trips to India. Over years I have been blessed to keep in contact with many of those students; including Karunakar, Prathap, and others. I have also received numerous invitations to return to India and teach.

I was finally able to return last March (2016) at the invitation of Karunakar. I arrived at 3:00am on a Tuesday. Over the 3 days (Tues, Wed, and Thurs) we conducted a pastor’s conference with over 400 pastors; each afternoon we taped TV shows for his TV program; and each Each evening we conducted in an outdoor crusade that Karunakar oversaw. The first night we had 200+; the second night 300+; and the final night 800+.

It was very evident to me that Karunakar was a gifted leader. The 400 pastors in the region clearly looked to him as their leader. Karunakar also pastors three churches. His ministry is vibrant and growing.

So, why am I telling you this? Well, I have approached Karunakar about receiving a graduate education. His Bible college degree from the school in Delhi is adequate. But, the simple fact is that someone with his gifts, calling, and leadership abilities needs a better education. It is my conviction that training leaders like Karunakar will impact the kingdom 1,000-fold or more. He is in his late 20’s: Lord willing he has many more years of ministry.

We have spent many months considering educational opportunities for him. And it appears that the Pacific Islands Bible College in Guam is the best option. He will get a good education at a good price.

Karunakar is willing to make the commitment to study and learn. He has made arrangements for his ministry needs to be covered in his absence. Now, we need to secure the financial commitment. The total cost for the program is around $20,000 USD. I asked Karunakar to do all he can to come up with as much of the funding on his own. He has been able to raise $4,500 USD (which I think is terrific considering his circumstances. I have been to his home and met his family and I know he is living on a very low income). I have secured $2,500 already.

My request: perhaps you could take the next few weeks to pray and discern whether you can help; and, if so, how much you are willing to pledge. I am not asking for any money at this time: only pledges. Part of his acceptance into the school will be dependent on his obtaining a US visa—and the US government wants him to show that he has the funds before they grant it.

If you are able to, please send me a private note and let me know if you can help!

Our church has set up a fund for him, so the monies can be donated to NPC and are tax-deductible

In Christ

Rob Dalrymple

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The Last Crusade: There Is No Compromise

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God’s Word is clear: you are either giving yourself over to Him, or you’re giving yourself over to evil. There’s no in between. You can’t half-commit to Christ. By consequence you can’t “think he’s a great teacher with some good wisdom” and yet ignore his message. Either his words were true, or they were not when he said:

“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know[b] my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” – John 14:6-7

You’ll note that after that, the disciples were confused. They didn’t know what he was saying, didn’t understand. They didn’t take him literally, told Christ basically “okay cool, well show us the way to the father, we’re good!” — watering down what he said in their lack of understanding. This wasn’t intentional, but the disciples were hoping for a great teacher to bring about change in some worldly way they thought might be good. They weren’t prepared for what happened next. And that’s the whole point of the gospel: to prepare God’s people for what happens next.

We can’t do this is we water down the Word. We can’t do this if we downplay the supernatural aspects of Christ, who he is, and who the enemy is. It’s not about some modern-culture making sure everything is hip and cool and with it to feel good. God programmed us with chemicals in our systems that it does feel great to worship him, don’t get me wrong, and we should certainly give him our praise — but there is more to the Gospel than that. We are at war with the forces of evil and eternal souls are at stake. That’s not going to feel good all of the time.

I warn you, brothers and sisters, do not give into the temptation to allow half, out of context messages from your lips. Do not be afraid to clarify when you see that the world misinterprets (oft intentionally) the word of Christ to fit their worldly purpose. When the apostles came back with words that showed they did not understand the words above, Christ elaborated and made it very clear. He’s not just some “good teacher who advocates peace and love” he wasn’t just some hippie walking around in sandals taking abuse. He is the supernatural, the true essence of power, God the Father himself: How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority.Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. 12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

When people hear or see someone say things like “Whether you believe that Jonah actually was swallowed or this was just a metaphor”, which I heard someone state in a church, it sends a clear message: “I know this sounds weird and you don’t have to really believe it.” That is preaching to the world. You don’t gain anything from that, they don’t gain anything from that. They will abandon the lessons if they receive meaningless words like these. Nowhere in the Word does it say that these lessons are meant to be taken as mythological metaphor. Non-believers have tried to convince us that for hundreds of years, in an effort to bring down the church. I never want to hear words like that uttered again from believers, as the end result of that line of thinking is: if God is incapable of that, then was Jesus just a metaphor as well? We need to rebuke this reasoning. It is heresy.

An organization downplaying that message, the supernatural aspects of existence, or any of the difficult moral positions that Christ ordered us to follow is not teaching the Gospel, but a mutated form of it. They are not focused on Christ, but focused on the world. Churches have been doing this regularly in recent years, and it’s because it’s the easy path, one that they believe will generate increased attendance numbers, and increased revenue. Every time, they find that’s fleeting, as they’re not focused on their core mission, and therefore they have nothing to offer anyone that the world doesn’t already offer better. When an organization abandons its purpose, it has no purpose, and that comes across.

Vox Day mentioned this in conjunction with NASCAR and its troubles with its core mission this morning on his blog: “whether it is a sport or a church, the desire for growth combined with a disdain for traditional supporters always results in the same consequence, a rapid and unexpected decline.” That is indeed the consequence every time. It applies here.

I was very happy to hear my pastor state “I will never water down the gospel.” He was firm and clear, and God’s presence was revealed through those words. You could see it in the congregation when it happened, and it was powerful. He cited what Paul told the Church in Rome at the time, when the Apostle was dealing with his own groups that were downplaying or twisting the Word in this eternal struggle. I’ll leave you with that scripture, as it cannot be said better. Learn it, live it:

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes” – Romans 1:16

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The Last Crusade: On Loyalty

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You’ll find quite often with the worldly that there’s a distinct lack of loyalty. As soon as you start letting it be known you’re a Christian, speaking out on Christianity, spending time and energy with your Christian brothers and sisters – you’ll notice that your former friends will begin to ostracize you. They’ll find a reason to call you names, say you’ve changed, that you’re hateful or whatnot now (ironic, as the only true love comes from God, but remember that evil presents itself as a wolf in sheep’s clothing). They will be there not to be your friend any longer, but to try to gaslight you into believing that you’re doing something wrong and evil by walking in the path God has set for you.

In the public sphere, whenever a champion of traditional values shows up in art, news, culture of any kind,the media presents how the person has had a failing, is bad, has done something unforgivable, and therefore you MUST disavow them. You must be disloyal in order to prove to the world that you’re a decent human being. They present this under the guise of caring about morality, while espousing the direct opposite. It’s under the guise of compassion for the little people, when in fact they want to hold people down under their power. And we as Christians often bite at this very quickly, and very easily. We’re quick to disavow our brothers and sisters. Why? Because we like to prove that we’re more moral, that we don’t approve of such things. That’s the direct opposite of what Christ taught us.

It happens every time. Disloyalty is actually the cause of most problems in the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation. The whole theme of the Bible is how man is disloyal to God in exchange for quick material comforts. From Adam and Eve’s betrayal in the garden, to Jonah’s refusal to go where God desired, to the fact that Israel brutally murdered many of their prophets and finally Jesus Christ, we are warned at every step that disloyalty is of this world.

From the Gospels, look at the actions of the Apostles. Their biggest failures are when the Apostles saw the going getting tough, and opted to be disloyal to Christ rather than stand with him. Judas is the easiest example of this, as when political stirrings and the world started to turn on Christ, he freaked out when he was asked if he was a follower. And then, for cheap material comforts, he delivered the ultimate act of disloyalty. Peter, when Christ was executed, did the same thing when confronted in public about his association with Christ. You can imagine him as a modern person: “I’m not associated! I disavow!”

This is the prince of this world’s act to divide us and destroy us. It is spiritual warfare at its deepest level. The whole purpose of each and every one of these acts of disloyalty is to make sure we do not stand together as the Body of Christ. You’ll see that the secularists are quite the opposite. If there’s a problem on their front, they’re quick to cover it up, minimize it, rally around their cause to drown out any noise and ensure that the collective whole is stronger. For some odd reason, we don’t do this as Christians, and it weakens us.

Here’s the hard truth: we all have evil within us. We all have done something worthy of being disavowed forever. We all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. And not by our own selves or anything we can do to make up for it, Christ has redeemed us. He was loyal to us even when we have not been loyal to him.

Loyalty is in fact a Godly virtue. Be loyal first and foremost to God. Be loyal second to your brothers and sisters in Christ. Be loyal third to country. Stand by your brothers and sisters in hard times. Don’t let them get destroyed, or have their lives ruined when the times get tough. That’s when they need your support. That’s the whole point of the Church and fellowship. Only through our compassion in those difficult times, and sticking by each other will we be able to keep faith firm. The result will be a stronger Church, a stronger community, and stronger voices and advocates for Christ. This is desperately what the world needs in these trying times.

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Words From The Wise

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“Anyone accusing another of being ‘unchristian’ for disagreement on political, philosophical, or abstract matters uses the Name of the Lord in vain. Accusations will be deleted and accusers banned without further notification.”  – John C Wright (on the sidebar for the rules of his blog).

I firmly believe and agree with this. And will be instituting this here and on social media walls immediately. Heresy will no longer be tolerated.

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Man Falsely Accused And Crucified – You’ll Never Believe What Happens Next!

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But you should.

2000 years ago, Jesus of Nazareth was executed unjustly, but he did not resist the fate. In fact, he came here to conquer death so that we all might have eternal life. After he was nailed up to the cross and tortured on the Friday before, a kind man offered his familial tomb for Jesus, an almost unheard of generosity in that culture. Jesus’s dead body was placed inside and they sealed it with a giant boulder and guards out front so that no one could steal the body.

Here’s what happened next, witnessed and spread by many people (Matthew 28: 1-10):

28 Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he[a] lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you.” So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him.10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”

After three days, when he had to have been fully and completely dead, he raised from the grave and appeared before hundreds of people. Pretty incredible.

Here’s why (John 3:16-18):

16For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

I’m always happy to talk about this incredible real news and what it means, so are many of my friends. If you’re interested and want to learn more, please feel free to message and we’ll be sure to help. This is a glorious day to remember for the ages!

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The Last Crusade: A Lesson In Humility

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I know this sounds very hypocritical on a personal blog that’s used entirely for the promotion of book sales, but please bear with me, friends. A friend texted this morning, someone far more spiritually wise than I, and it’s a very short, simple message worth repeating and remembering:

Remember: the wind and the waves have only obeyed one single man.

That man was Jesus Christ, God in the flesh.

It serves as a reminder that when worldly accomplishments come, you should not praise yourself. Those are gifts from God. They can be given, they can be taken away. We must remember that everything we have, everything we are, down to every breath we take is such a gift, and to cherish it as such and praise the One who gave it to us.

He provided an incredible example, as we’ll be reminded of in our celebration of Good Friday tomorrow. Even as God, He came down, spoke the truth, and for that he was beaten, spat upon, humiliated, falsely accused of crime and forced into a horrible death by crucifixion. How powerful and incredible is that? It is the ultimate act of humility, one that can never be remotely approached. All we can do is praise and thank Him.

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The Trad Pub Mindset On Christianity

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I don’t follow many publishers or literary agents. For the most part, I’ve avoided them as I’ve found that they’re in a lockstep mentality both in the ways that business is conducted and in their views of culture. The cultural establishment’s entire mantra these days has become “don’t rock the boat”, while at the same time expecting authors and artists to virtue signal or remain silent on social justice issues when they deem appropriate.

One agent and publisher I do follow is Steve Laube, who bravely took the reins of Marcher Lord Press from Christian Editor Jeff Gerke, a man who carved out a small section of Science Fiction and Fantasy dedicated to Christian authors. Mr. Laube rebranded it as Enclave Publishing, and launched some very cool new talent such as Nadine Brandes and S.D. Grimm, both of whom I’ve mentioned on this blog before. Yesterday, Mr. Laube retweeted an article from one of his agents, Dan Balow, who I don’t know and I hope this isn’t construed as a personal attack against him, as it’s not intended that way. By all I have seen he appears a very accomplished and competent member of the field. Mr. Balow wrote a post titled, “The Non-Partisan Author”, calling on authors to be silent in anything controversial in order to not turn off your potential audience. The premise sounds reasonable, and I’d been told that very thing for years, but in the wake of injustice against Christian and conservative authors alike, we have a greater duty to our fellow artists than to remain silent. 

Mr. Balow writes:

The question is simply this; do you want to sell books to anyone and everyone, or just to those who agree with you on everything? The number of the latter is a small fraction of the former.

It’s interesting seeing this from a Christian literary agent/author. Already, with the branding of Christian, he has turned off a large segment of the population who doesn’t want any reminder of Christ or God in their lives. That’s already a controversial stand, and unfortunately when it comes to artistry, that brand has come with a scarlet letter of “L” for lame when it comes to the entertainment market. It may not be warranted, but it is what people see from the outside, and if the concern is about turning off a large swath of the market, that would be the first step to avoid. If you’re labeled a Christian Author, and published by a Christian Publisher, you have that brand riding with you, you have that divisiveness built into your career. You’ll be expected to be in a corner with the other lame Christians, not to be out in the world or in public discourse, because you should only be talking in Church about such things. That’s what the world tells us. 

It’s also wrong. I mentioned this in my article about turning the other cheek. This mindset comes from the relentless push by secular society that good Christians should “turn the other cheek” by never speaking out. It’s what led to a complete decay morally and culturally of our society over the last few generations, as every few with any sense of artistry have been willing to stand up for Christ, produce good work, and say “hey, we’re on a wrong path.”  Part of it is because of the non-believer or Churchian induced guilt trip that we should be turning the other cheek, the other part part of it is a fear of turning off people who don’t agree as Mr. Balow mentioned. 

The fear is what forces people to stay silent. The fear of rejection, the fear of not selling, the fear of losing one’s shorts. But this fear of staying away from “controversial” stances of Christianity is a very modern and temporary problem. It can go one of two ways: 1. It can keep on this path, and then pretty soon you won’t be able to profess your faith at all or 2. we can reverse the course.

I chose the latter, and it’s changed my life. Not only has my faith grown stronger, but I’ve found a network of believers around me who are both amazing people and great artists. They are far more supportive than their secular counterparts and they’re hungry for good product and something to rally behind. I had the fear of losing professional contacts, losing friends — and that certainly happened, but what I found was that those groups weren’t supporting me anyway. My people, brothers and sisters in Christ, are quite the opposite by contrast. Taking a stand for Christ and for real American values based on His teachings has gained me a much larger audience than I ever could have expected, glory be to God for that.  Moreover I’ve gained fantastic friends.

It wasn’t all that long ago that Christianity in Science Fiction and Fantasy was the norm. It’s been written out of literary history by secularists that want to reshape the genre, and is touched on quite a bit in Jeffro Johnson’s Appendix N, which goes over the literary history of what inspired Dungeons & Dragons. The truth is, we’re not that far removed from C.S. Lewis or Tolkien, men who professed Christianity openly and weren’t afraid. 

Our beliefs necessitate that we will butt up against the worldly, and we should embrace that, not shy from it. If you take a long view, this is a necessary step for artists and authors in the future not to have to fear that even the things Mr. Balow says are matters we all can agree upon don’t become taboo for them to speak about. A very unpopular Christian concept is purity and chastity, in this culture dominated by displaying the most gratuitous sexual and violent degeneracy possible. It’s made it hard to produce any quality works as many writers have focused on the shock value, making standard problems seem trite and boring to readers. Not speaking out against that, I posit, ruins culture and literature, and it is our duty to say something about it, even if it’s hard. C.S. Lewis would agree, as he wrote in Mere Christianity:

…many people are deterred from seriously attempting Christian chastity because they think (before trying) that it is impossible. But when a thing has to be attempted, one must never think about possibility or impossibility. Faced with an optional question in

an examination paper, one considers whether one can do it or not: faced with a compulsory question, one must do the best one can. You may get some marks for a very imperfect answer: you will certainly get none for leaving the question alone. Not only in examinations but in war, in mountain climbing, in learning to skate, or swim, or ride a bicycle, even in fastening a stiff collar with cold fingers, people quite often do what seemed impossible before they did it. It is wonderful what you can do when you have to.

We may, indeed, be sure that perfect chastity—like perfect charity—will not be attained by any merely human efforts. You must ask for God’s help. Even when you have done so, it may seem to you for a long time that no help, or less help than you need, is being given. Never mind. After each failure, ask forgiveness, pick yourself up, and try again. Very often what God first helps us towards is not the virtue itself but just this power of always trying again. For however important chastity (or courage, or truthfulness, or any other virtue) may be, this process trains us in habits of the soul which are more important still. It cures our illusions about ourselves and teaches us to depend on God. We learn, on the one hand, that we cannot trust ourselves even in our best moments, and, on the other, that we need not despair even in our worst, for our failures are forgiven. The

only fatal thing is to sit down content with anything less than perfection.

Talk about a controversial statement. This can be applied to what we’re doing as writers as well. We may not get perfect marks, it may be very hard in the get go. There will be a few that shun us for our beliefs, but the truth is, the ones who will are going to do that regardless. It’s just a matter of time. Those types are seeking for a reason to say “you know what, I knew I shouldn’t support that person.” And if they’re coming from that position, they’re not actually going to buy your book in the first place, no matter how quiet or good you are in the mainstream “professional” sense.  You, as a Christian, will get overlooked 100% of the time for a non-Christian alternative in the name of social justice if you pursue that course.

Mr. Balow solidifies his point:

This is about the business of publishing, branding and selling books, not some sort of First Amendment/integrity/freedom topic in the US or a global human rights stand.

You want to sell books to as many people as possible? Be very careful if you want to express yourself politically. (Unless politics and societal issues are your brand.)

I’ll say the opposite again. If you want to cut through the noise in a field that is incredibly cluttered, you have to have something to say. You have to be authentic and connect with people. No matter what you say, it’s going to upset some people, so you may as well be true to yourself and true to your faith. Here’s an interesting example of a new YA Author who is apolitical as she can be. She’s from Vermont, and I’ve never seen her post anything about politics, but due to her location and her secular book, I’m going to presume she’s mostly leftist and probably leans toward the social justice scale. She likely would not be thrilled to be on my blog for fear of association with me. 

Her name is Laurie Ann Forest and she has a book that hasn’t even come out yet called The Black Witch. The story, from what reviewers say, tackles racism in a manner by having quite a racist main character in it. It’s somewhat allegorical about forgiveness and redemption as it takes the major event and character arc for this character to change their ways. Now this isn’t set in reality, I believe the racism involved is against elves or something like that (again, haven’t read it), but a single reviewer the social justice crowd got ahold of an advance copy and started a storm. That person went through and torched Ms. Forest personally and her work, leading to hundreds of people mindlessly posting hate reviews on Goodreads, repeating the blog about how it’s “dangerous” to no fault of Ms. Forest. It’s insane. These people are out to destroy, and there’s nothing you can do about them. Ms. Forest followed Mr. Balow’s advice, and they attacked her anyway, because she didn’t virtue signal hard enough. 

This will remain the norm, especially if you don’t speak out.

I encourage authors, especially Christian authors to build your own platform. It works. People will find and read you if you produce honest and sincere content, and most will enjoy your work. You can’t worry about what gatekeepers think. You can’t worry about what a few haters will think. They’ll make their decisions regardless of what you say, and if you’re openly a Christian, you’re on the wrong side of the fence to begin with. The social justice crowd that makes a stink hates you and everything you believe. They want to destroy you and stamp out Christianity as a cultural influence in this country. Being silent in the face of that is dangerous for you and all other authors who may follow in your footsteps. Would Jesus have shied away in the face of controversy? Read the Bible again and ask yourself that.

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Star Realms: Rescue Run Nominated for Alliance Award!

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Wow! Big thank you for all of the Star Realms readers who voted for the book to be nominated. This means a lot to me as a Christian and as a science fiction writer to be considered some of the top SF of the last year. I’ll also be in attendance at the Realm Makers conference this year (barring emergency) so it’s great to make a splash.

Details on the Alliance Award nominations are here.

The next round of the voting is a star system where people rate and write a brief blurb (think Amazon review) about their favorite books. Voting opens up April 13th. How the system works is you must be familiar with 2 of the books on the list to be able to vote for this. Look for reminders here and on social media.

In order to help facilitate the two book requirement, my dear friend Kia Heavey has offered up her book for FREE to any Star Realms reader who wishes to vote for the award. I, in turn am offering Star Realms to her readership. Her book Domino is a lot of fun and well worth the read, so do take us up on this. In order to get this, either leave me a comment here to state your interest and I’ll send your info to Kia (for hers, she has to gift books through Kindle) or message me on facebook at Jon Del Arroz, Twitter @jondelarroz or Gab @otomo and I’ll make sure you get what you need.

If you’re a reader of one of the other nominated works and you’re interested in Star Realms: Rescue Run, I would definitely like to extend that offer to you as well.

Finally, a shout out to S.D. Grimm, Nadine Brandes and Gillian Bronte Adams, as I am fans of all three of these authors and it’s cool to be nominated in the same category as them. Congratulations to everyone else on the list too! I look forward to checking out your work.


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