Posts tagged ‘God & Religion’

Sending Spirituality into a Secular World

Sunset at Santa Rosa CreekThe divide between a believer and a non-believer has never been greater in our lifetime. Faith communities are places for us to feel safe and secure among people who share our beliefs. They shelter us away from a world that takes pleasure in challenging our beliefs. What we end up with is isolated communities that separate us from the world we are commissioned to reach out to.

So how does a non-believer full of skepticism and distrust find a way into a relationship with God when our walls of safety prevent them from finding a way in? Can there be a bridge between what is secular and what is Christian safe? In writing Life in Harmony, I hoped it would help non-believers find a way to a relationship with God. One Christian publisher told me Life in Harmony wasn’t Christian enough to be considered Christian Fiction. The book was also seen as too spiritual by traditional publishers. It was caught somewhere in the middle and that is exactly where I am glad the book is.

Christian Fiction’s audience is solely Christian and doesn’t bridge the gap between believer and non-believer. There are certain elements in Christian Fiction that are necessary to satisfy its audience. For a secular world, those elements can be perceived as being sanitized versions of reality.

Life in Harmony, while being filled with spirituality, avoids exclusionary tactics. The couple at the heart of the story demonstrates very little in the way of Christian aspects in much of the book. They are non-believers and non-Christians. They use mild profanity and God’s name is taken in vain in at least once in the book. In addition, sex plays a very important part in the book yet still within the confines of marriage.

These details were included because they are typical aspects of what occurs in our world. I wanted the book to be interesting to the most people possible. When editing the book, we looked for the balance to be as non-offensive to the widest number of people as possible. In making those decisions, wording for religious discussions in the book were specifically selected to be as non-threatening to denominational differences and non-believers as possible.

What I wanted the reader to focus on is the imperfection of the main characters. Kate and Michael are filled with lacking self-worth, skepticism, they frequently argue and show some very unflattering characteristics. I wanted the two of them to feel real and to do that they needed to sound real, talk about real things and do things that real people do. Things that Christian Publishers didn’t think matched what their audience was looking for.

I believe Life in Harmony encourages non-believers to a spiritual life. The book, I hope, demonstrates a God-filled story without hitting the reader over the head with religion. My goal with it is to send spirituality into a secular world and hopefully show a path to God in a non-judgment, non-threatening way.

If you have an avid reader in your life who hasn’t found a relationship with God in their life yet, I encourage you to share Life in Harmony with them.


LIH Cover 2015

Living in the smallest of towns with an array of hippies, farmers and artists, who are as different as they are close, can be taxing enough without the realization that some of Harmony’s residents may not be what they appear. When Michael and Kate uproot their lives in LA after a miscarriage and move to Harmony, CA (Population 18), they had no idea they’d be sharing their home with a spiritual apparition of a four-year-old girl named Ruby. “Life in Harmony” entertains the thought that the trials we face happen for a reason, and sometimes it takes supernatural intervention for us to understand ourselves, our relationships and the world around us.

Life in Harmony is available now from Pangloss Sea. Click one of the links below to purchase the book today!

Amazon Print Edition

Amazon Digital Edition

 


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Buy the Book!

Today is the day! My novel, Life in Harmony, is finally available! You can order a copy by clicking one of these links:

For those of you not familiar with the book’s story, the book is one woman’s spiritual journey as she copes with loss in her life. She is at a point in her life where she has to cope with the death of her mother and a miscarriage at the same time. On top of that she is debating whether staying with her husband is the best choice for her. In short, she is lost.LIH Cover 2015

Too many people are often unsure about the direction of their life and can’t seem to find what matters. In our modern age, religion has less of a focus for too many. Too often parents decide that God and religion aren’t important. Some even go so far to say they will let their children decide on religion when they are old enough to do so. For most, religion has become a politicized and complicated subject. Often our churches don’t make it any easier on those non-practicing.

An individual relation with God is isn’t really  as complicated as religion makes it. In fact, it is what’s missing from too many lives. When you don’t believe in a Creator/God who has a masterful plan, you are left without hope. Without hope there is a void in your life that too often gets filled with vices that thinly veil that void but for only short time.

Life in Harmony tells Kate’s special story. Sometimes God uses supernatural intervention to bring his lost sheep back to the flock.  This book takes a very soft approach toward bringing people closer to God without hitting them over the head with it. It is my hope that the book’s non-threatening approach to God through spirituality will open some hearts toward having God in their life and how that connection brings a new awareness to what life is really all about.

When life seems to be handing you nothing but loss, take the most unexpected turn to “Life in Harmony.” 

I hope you will do me the honor of buying Life in Harmony today. I think you will find it a good story with a great message. Perhaps you could buy a copy for a friend who is missing out on having God in their life.

I plan on spending the next 10 weeks doing a Blog Blitz here covering themes and ideas presented in the book. Subscribe at the top right to stay informed as I share my insight from the book.

No Matter What You Believe… You Gotta have Faith!

Faith is an interesting thing. It’s one of those things that’s hard to describe to a kid or even an adult. How do you define what faith is for you? It’s not always easily put into words. Yet it’s something we use everyday. We have faith that our car will stop when we press on the brake. We have faith in our spouse that they won’t cheat. We have faith that the breeze we feel is really just the wind and not that of a spirit or vice versa.

In Life in Harmony, faith is a major theme. In the story, we get as varied of opinions on faith as we do in real life. People (based on their degrees of faith) handle situations, particularly losses, differently.  Here is how I detail the faith theme in the story:Life in Harmony

It (faith) is our choice as to whether we believe in divine intervention or simple coincidence. Not everyone believes in the miracles they witness. Those who choose faith see the circumstances all the clearer and experience a divine harmony in their relationship with God and the people in their lives.  

I think that pretty much sums up what the religious faithful gain from putting their faith in God. It’s something those against religion don’t have going for them.

What are your views on faith? Have you ever thought about the similarities between your faith in science and a faith in religion? Share your comments below.

The novel, Life in Harmony, will be published in 2013. If you are interested in reading more about the forthcoming book subscribe to this blog and you’ll receive e-mail updates every time there is something to share.

Do You Believe in Ghosts?

In my novel, Life in Harmony, the central couple buy a small farmhouse that appears to be inhabited by the ghost of a small four-year-old girl. The question is raised through much of the book about what exactly this apparition is. In the small town of Harmony, California (population 18), the small group of residents have varied opinions on what exactly this girl and other appearances in town could be.Life in Harmony

A 2007 Fox News survey reported that nearly fifty percent of all people believe in ghosts and nearly a quarter of those believed they had actually seen one. What makes someone believe? Is seeing believing? Obviously not, if nearly half of all people believe and less than half of those have seen. Just what is it that makes people believe in things they have not seen?

In Life in Harmony, the statistics from the Fox News survey are fairly similar to those in the town in the story. There are just over a quarter of the people who have seen a spirit and about half who believe even without seeing. What’s most interesting about Life in Harmony is how the belief in a ghost or spirit works as a metaphor for our spiritual faith.

It was important for me as a writer to give those 18 residents of Harmony enough spiritual variety to demonstrate the spectrum of our world views toward spirituality, faith and belief in the unknown. Harmony has religious leaders and religious lay people represented, as well as non-believers and those who dance on the fringe of choosing to believe or not. All with various self-actualizing outcomes.

In my story, the ghost is presented positively and not at all in the horror genre. What if the ghost you saw were an angelic, spiritual one? How would that change things for you? Those of us who believe in spiritual things understand there are both holy and evil spirits that dwell in the world. In Life in Harmony, the focus is on the holy ghosts. There are those moments in our lives, even in nature, where reality defies logic. 

Anyone who has ever seen ocean phosphorescence understands something phenomenal isn’t always easily

explained. While this type of phenomenon has scientific explanations, those who have witnesses it, understand how unreasonably powerful the sight of it can be. It doesn’t seem logical for us to see glowing greens and blue in the night surf and yet we’re seeing it. The world is surrounded by scientific logic and yet there are things that defy common logic all the time. We live in harmony with both our natural world and the people around us as well as in harmony with the spiritual realm.

What do you believe? Do you believe in ghosts? What about spiritual or holy ghosts? What proof do you have to support your beliefs? Share your comments below. Thanks for reading!

If you are interested in reading more about the forthcoming novel, Life in Harmony, subscribe to this blog and you’ll receive e-mail updates every time there is something to share.

Hope for All in Loving Your Enemies!

I just had to share this verse and commentary today. I receive daily scripture emails and this one really struck me this morning. I like what Whitehead says in his commentary about how loving your enemies creates hope that God loves everyone. No matter what wrong we do, what we believe or don’t believe, God is still there for us.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. – Matthew 5:43-45

Jesus was stretching the imagination of the Jewish listeners. To love your enemies is to acknowledge that God loves them too. This is another way of saying that there is hope for anyone. No matter how evil or unrighteous someone may seem, the sun still shines upon them. We are challenged to live in the love of our heavenly Father, who wishes for none to perish and all to come to repentance. 

by: Dave Whitehead, Senior Pastor, GraceNYC.org

Mother Teresa’s Lessons for Our Modern World on Religious Sensitivity

Originally Posted 8/27/10

This week there has been a lot of chatter about the insensitivity of religions toward each other (i.e..the mosque at Ground Zero & scheduled Quran burnings in Florida). Often times we let fear incite emotions in us that aren’t right. I was reminded yesterday of Mother Teresa’s work and wrote this article. Hope you enjoy it.

http://www.examiner.com/religion-politics-in-riverside/mother-teresa-s-lessons-for-our-modern-world-religious-sensitivity

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