I am a Christian. What does that mean to me?
Christianity is not my religion, it is my way of life. It integrates itself into everything I do. From the time I first discovered Jesus, God, the Bible, and church - when I was seven years old - until now, there has been one thought always in the corner of my mind:
"Is God pleased with the life I am living for Him?"
Here's the main point of what I believe - I have sinned, it's in my nature. Even though I couldn't help it, I still deserve to be punished for my wrong. Why? Because when I die there are only two possible outcomes: being with God forever (in heaven) or not being with God forever (eventually in hell).
Because God is perfect and sinless, He cannot have any imperfection or sin in His presence. (That would make His presence imperfect.) Since all people have sinned, there would be no one in heaven.
But God did create us. And He does love us. He wanted to make a solution to the problem, and so He did. In order to erase all sin, it needed to be placed on a blameless, perfect sacrifice. There was only one way this could be done. God, himself, had to cast away His perfect Son, Jesus as the sacrifice for man's sins.
It worked, and even better, Jesus rose from the dead to prove that He was God. Now man kind has the option of accepting that sacrifice as our own and spending eternity in heaven.
My theology in a nutshell. I believe a lot of other details, but that's the crux of it.
Back to the original question: What does that have to do with my life? Now I can live as a person redeemed. Instead of fearing death, I can give glory to the One who gave me eternal life. And tell people about it, so they can too!
God has put more in my life than just worshipping Him in church, however. While my regular job is in my church, I also have kids and talk to their friends' parents. I play softball. I dawdle on Facebook and Goodreads. I have an extended family. All the while, trying to make sure I am giving the best Christian example I can.
I am also a writer. How do I incorporate the above into my writing?
Well, the Bible has already been written. And we are encouraged in the good book not to add one iota to it for dire consequences. So what's left to write?
Writing about people.
Here's the problem. Remember how I said that all people have sinned? That actually works pretty well to make for interesting books. But wouldn't God frown on reveling that sin?
As a Christian, shouldn't I be writing about how to do it right? What being a Christian looks like?
The truth would be more honest, wouldn't it?
For example, there is a situation in my first novel, Amity of the Angelmen, where a young priest (Father Mackenzie Abel) falls in love - and perhaps takes it a step too far - with a 17-year-old girl. Especially in light of all the bad press the Catholic church has received recently about abuse among priests, I was extremely nervous about putting this in.
Here's the deal. Mackenzie is not perfect, even though he is a priest. He makes mistakes. When you read the book, you will probably like the character. (The most frequent question I receive about the book is, "What happens to Mackenzie?") So, if I have done my job as an author correctly, you will feel his pain in knowing he did what he shouldn't have done. Some of you will think, "Good for him!" Others of you will think, "What are you doing?" But you will all know that he knows he has sinned.
I'm not condoning it. I'm simply saying it happens.
A book I have slated to come out possibly next year gets even darker with the life of the suicidal child of an alcoholic. I really struggled writing it, because I have no experience with a life like that. But I know it's out there. And this is a story of how God can use even someone with no self-worth to become the commander of His army.
My books aren't about perfect people. (Amity is afraid to do as she's told. Asher is prideful and uses his popularity in using girls to fill his loneliness, Malachi is an angry delinquent with plenty of blood on his hands, and Caedmon could be responsible for the death of his parents.) None of that is new to God. There is hope for these four. When the Israelites needed to to get through Jericho, they used the help of a prostitute. That prostitute wound up being in the blood line of Jesus Christ.
So, I am a Christian writer. What does that mean?
I tell it like it is, and God gets the glory for any good that comes of it. So read on, and be comforted that you are not alone.
Do you remember being seventeen? Junior year in high school. Possibly the biggest problems you had were your chemistry grade and who you'd be going with to the prom.
Amity David worried mostly about her grades and pleasing her father, pastor of Dewdrop Fellowship Church. The youngest of six kids, though, she was happiest to sit by quietly as others did the talking and all the important work.
But that wasn't what God had planned for her. As a matter of fact, what God had in store for Amity, He had planned thousands of years prior, before Noah's flood.
That was when Satan changed the game. Knowing that God's plan to save mankind would come from the seed of a woman, he corrupted that seed by sending his demon followers to procreate with human women. The resulting race of half-human/half demons were described in Genesis 6 as the Nephilim. His plan backfired when Jesus Christ was born in spite of his efforts.
Now, in the 21st century, few people had ever even heard of the Nephilim. The attitudes of man have seldom altered the will of God, however, God gave the Nephilim a second look. He chose to bring awake this special race and bring them into His fold. Nephilim, now called Angelmen, were called out one by one by their guiding angels and prepared for battle.
The devil reworked his plan. Demon blood put the angelmen under Satan's command. They could be used by him in the final battle between Jesus and his saints and Satan and his followers.
But after years and years of nothing but human parents, the angelmen began to tug on the heart of God. He determined to bring them out of Satan's bondage through a battle of their own. He chose four very special angelmen, who would work in perfect harmony without even realizing it, to lead the battle against Satan.
Working with human-like beings, whether favored by God or not, had its downfalls, not the least of which would be fallibility. The four leaders - Amity, Asher, Caedmon, and Malachi - each had their own flaws. Getting them to all work together, looking past their own needs, to achieve a goal they could barely understand - saving a race of thousands they had never even know about before - wouldn't be easy.
Amity was called to be the Messenger. She was tasked with delivering a very important message to get the ball rolling. However, confrontation was not her strong point. Although a strong Christian who would love to please her God, she wasn't sure just how far she was willing to go to do that.
Asher, on the other hand, loved the limelight. His athletic success as a track and football star made him feel unstoppable. Professional football, any girl he wanted, and love from the public with his winning smile were on his near horizon. His human life was way too comfortable to leave, starting over in a field where he wasn't the top dog.
Malachi had already made way too many mistakes in his life of twenty-one years. So many, he had been trying to escape his life for years. Starting a new one was not what he had in mind. Being called as the commander of an inexperienced army would never be something in his future ... unless he was bribed with just the right hope.
Then there was 10-year-old Caedmon. (pronounced "KADE man") Still mourning the loss of his parents in an accident that should have also claimed his life, all the boy could do was try to pick up the pieces and avoid his nasty guardians. Given exciting new powers was exciting... when he could control them. But who was going to trust a kid as a leader in battle?
The four were called at the same time, because getting them to a very specific destination at the same time would be essential. Getting them to work together beyond that meant saving the race of the angelmen from Satan's control.
Will they be able to get beyond their own problems to bring their kin into God's favor? Thousands of others are counting on it.
Passion Under Grace,