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Review: On My Own Now by Donna Lee Schillinger

April 17, 2009

On My Own Now: Straight Talk from the Proverbs for Young Christian Women who Want to Remain Pure, Debt-free and Regret-free by Donna Lee Schillinger (2009, the Quildriver) is a quirky, short volume for young single women leaving the nest. It can be somewhat silly at times in an effort to be seen as hip and relevant by the target audience,  a demographic that, statistically, very few of are firmly grounded in a biblical world view. This book can’t do much about that, but it will certainly help.

The book has two basic goals: to make the book of proverbs assessible to a largely-biblically illiterate generation of women, and to fulfill the biblical command of “let the older teach the younger” in a brutally honest, consersational, “Ladies, don’t do what I did. Here are the mistakes I made at your age,  here are the consequences I suffered, and here is how to avoid the same pain in your own lives.” And she delivers that message beautifully. 

For the most part, her biblical exegesis of proverbs is both assessible and accurate. She does get into gray waters when she tries to make basic doctrines like the atonement hip and assessible–dangerous business because it’s very easy to slip and say something irreverant or even theologically inaccurate. One example that comes to mind is when she explains the verse in proverbs about the Father disciplining/chasenting  those he loves by putting a quote along the following lines on God the Father’s lips:

Hey, I’m trying to be a good parent here.

What’s wrong with that? The Father isn’t trying to be anything. He just is. Pure holiness is rather “inaccessible” for a fallen mind, a difficulty all of us have to some extent. When we attempt to make scripture more accessible, the unconscious effort is often to make Jesus more like us, and what we are is sinful. Hence assessible will fling mud on the Lord if we’re not careful.  But that is more an issue to be aware of than a deal breaker for Schllinger.

Where she shines is in practical advise for young women. She handles the issue of sexual purity well, especially in covering the need to protect the heart that often goes missed today to the detriment of marriages. Likewise for financial issues, morality, keeping commitments, and so forth.  She touches on guarding the mind and spirit from corrupting influences quite well, including not using Christian love as an excuse to rub elbows with the people that intice us into sin, and being careful what media we consume. 

However, she really should not have brought up any political issues. One, global warming, the Electoral College, and so forth are not relevant to the topic of this book. Two, her opinions on these subjects come across as uninformed, and that needlessly detracts from her message. For instance, there are good reasons for the Electoral College, and if you really care to know about them, search Adam’s Blog using that key phrase, and he’ll be glad to tell you. And global warming, how many blizzards does the Lord have to send upon us in October and April before we’ll figure out that the temperatures are linked to solar activity, not CO2 levels? 

On the point Schillinger wanted to make,  however,I will take it a step further: turn off the mainstream media altogether. They’re poisonous vipers. Keep informed on the issues, but find news sources that aren’t hopelessly biased in favor of an anti-Christ agenda, or that are at least biased in favor of a biblical world view. The Truth and Hope Report is my favorite for obvious reasons (I’m married to the host.)

On the issue of forgiveness, like with every book that touches on it, but isn’t devoted entirely to the issue, if you’re dealing with serious issues, such as abuse of any sort, skip that section and get that issue addressed by someone who’s been there and has the time and space to give you more than the pat-sounding answers that books like this one only have room for.

If you’re looking for fun, light, easy reading that will advise a little bird being gently shoving out of the nest on a cornucopia of life issues, On My Own Now would make a good present for that apartment warming or graduation party. Just don’t come to it expecting the deep theological musings of  
My Utmost For His Highest.

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The Secret by Beverly Lewis

April 15, 2009


Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing The Secret (Bethany House May 1, 2009) by Beverly Lewis

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Beverly Lewis is the author of the best-selling trilogy, THE HERITAGE OF LANCASTER COUNTY, including The Shunning, a suspenseful saga of Katie Lapp, a young Amish woman drawn to the modern world by secrets from her past. The book is loosely based on the author’s maternal grandmother, Ada Ranck Buchwalter, who left her Old Order Mennonite upbringing to marry a Bible College student. One Amish-country newspaper claimed Beverly’s work to be “a primer on Lancaster County folklore” and offers “an insider’s view of Amish life.”

A member of the National League of American Pen Women, as well as a Distinguished Alumnus of Evangel University, Lewis has written over 80 books for children, youth, and adults, many of them award-winning. She and her husband, David, make their home in Colorado, where they enjoy hiking, biking, and playing with their three grandchildren. They are also avid musicians and fiction “book worms.”

ABOUT THE BOOK

In the seemingly ordinary Amish home of Grace Byler, secrets abound. Why does her mother weep in the night? Why does her father refuse to admit something is dreadfully wrong? Then, in one startling moment, everything Grace assumed she knew is shattered.

Her mother’s disappearance leaves Grace reeling and unable to keep her betrothal promise to her long-time beau. Left to pick up the pieces of her life, Grace questions all she has been taught about love, family, and commitment.

Heather Nelson is an English grad student, stunned by a doctor’s diagnosis. Surely fate would not allow her father to lose his only daughter after the death of his wife a few years before. In denial and telling no one she is terminally ill, Heather travels to Lancaster County– the last place she and her mother had visited together.

Will Heather find healing for body and spirit? As the lives of four wounded souls begin to weave together like an Amish patchwork quilt, they each discover missing pieces of their life puzzles–and glimpse the merciful and loving hand of God.

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Secret, go HERE

Andrea’s Comments: Dare I speak a word on a master like Beverly Lewis? She’s old school and uses techniques like thought tagging that annoy the dickens out of me because they’re unnecessary and distancing, but her fans doubtless won’t mind in the least.

For a first novel in a series, she resolves the plot line fairly well, with us actually being told what the secret is by the end of the book, at least. The primary weakness, if I dare call it that,  is the thread with Heather kinda dangles out there–I’m sure it has something to do with her overall plot, and I have my guesses, but it’s not clear in this story why Heather is actually in it. The only “weaving” of her life with the rest of the novel in this book is happening to show up in the neighborhood over half way through.

Otherwise, Beverly Lewis has once again lived up to her well-earned reputation as a master in her genre.

Review: It’s Your Call

March 20, 2009

51pyx2i3til_sl160_It’s You Call (Victory Publishing-November 2008) by Lawrence Powell, pastor of Agape Family Worship Center in New Jersey, promises to give readers the tools they need to bring their lives into purposeful focus by helping them discover their own God-given assignment and how to follow God’s compass to success.

The seven chapters seek to teach readers how to:

  1. Perceive, accept, and pursue the call of God
  2. Overcome the prison of the past
  3. Lose the weight. That is, to separate from the Old Boy’s network-the folks used to the old you who don’t like the You 2.0 that Jesus wants to upgrade to and seek to keep you back in the life you’ve been saved from (this is Andrea, the author’s metaphor is an eagle raised in a chicken coop, and says if you keep hanging around with chickens, you’ll let them mock you into continuing to act like a chicken). Note these folks can be Christians themselves who don’t want to grow and feel threatened by yours.
  4. Take the heat-a warning that God’s training program involves pain, pain, and more pain, and that if you want to follow Christ, you need to learn the old fashioned art of enduring under fire and submitting to God’s discipline, a concept rarely taught today.
  5. Keep on Keeping on-while under opposition. This one we hear about even less often in a Church prone to blaming persecution on the persecuted, “If you were more loving, the world wouldn’t hate you so much” is what I hear in some form or another being said to Christians torn apart by the enemies of the cross, just as Christ promised we would be if we’re faithful to Him. The basic thrust of this chapter is that as you purse God’s call on your life, you become a threat to the devil, and the accuser of the brethren will fight you every step of the way-and stir up your own friends and family, including fellow believers, if he can. His basic advice is to recognize the people the devil is using to stop you and ignore/avoid them, rather than letting yourself be controlled by them in the name of the popular notion that Christian love requires avoiding all conflict and never offending anyone. He also discusses mental attacks, and taking every thought captive.
  6. Stay Connected. Probably intended as a counter balance to all the advice about dumping the people the devil is using to keep you in sin, or at least not a threat to him, this one is all about staying connected to the people of God rather than letting fear and paranoia from past wounds turn you into a hermit. He teaches the reader to let God connect them to the people who will help mold them into their calling rather than hindering them and not to rely on the superficial judgment of man and the paranoid suspicion borne of past experience, but to rather rely on spiritual discernment.
  7. Get out of the boat. A final reminder that while you can’t achieve God’s purpose for you in human strength alone, you do have to actually do something. The way I like to put it is to point out that God’s miracles often do involve some type of effort-fill these jars with oil, go wash, get up and walk.

Over all, there is plenty of solid teaching that, if applied, could very well change your life. My primary concern is that we often get our fleshy desires confused with God’s. One could be pursing their “call” and actually running head long into sin. Such deceived persons, when applying the advice to dump people that criticize them for pursuing God’s call, will harden their hearts and write off the folks God sends to call them back to their true calling as legalistic folks sent by Satan to derail them. Thus they lose out with God, miss their calling, and may even lose their souls.

He’s right that many of us take the criticism of our naysayers too seriously. And too many Christians use Christian love as an excuse to keep rubbing elbows with people that lead them into sin. If anything, this is an oversight, as Powell does cover being teachable in chapter six. But he assumes that the call his reader is perusing is actually from God, and that sadly is not always the case.

For instance, plenty of folks are “called” to amass great wealth to themselves, but the scriptures have nothing positive to say about that. The spiritual gift of giving tends to come with an ability to accrue wealth, but like all gifts, this is not given for personal glory and enrichment, but for bringing glory to god and edifying the church. The old law required ten percent, but the new testament says with food and raiment, be content. Meet your family’s basic daily needs. Whatever’s left was meant for meeting the needs of the Church.

America doesn’t have a financial crisis. We’re still the richest, or one of the richest, nations on earth. What we have is a lifestyle crisis.

Likewise, read Hebrews 11, about all the saints who pursued God’s call without ever receiving the promise at all in this life. By earthly standards, if we only consider his temporal life, Jesus Christ himself was a dismal failure whose ministry ended in his trial and execution. The only lasting success that Christ achieved all came on or after Easter Sunday.

Biblically, Christians don’t labor to obtain earthly riches. Our reward isn’t this Earth, but the Kingdom. Does this mean you’re in danger of hellfire if you’re wealthy? Only if your earthly treasure is more important to you than Christ (because Mammon is an idol and no idolater will enter the kingdom.) However, only He can justly judge that. We all have blind spots.

So what does that have to do with pursuing God’s call? My point is that our notions of success tend to be completely at odds with the Lord’s, and that we tend to assume what we want, what we dream of, is from God. That can be the case, but not always. The easiest way to test which is the case with you is to examine the plan in the light of God’s word. However, when we really want something, we tend to bend scripture to say what we want it to. If we’ve convinced ourselves God has called us to do this, we’ll ignore his prophets when God calls them to rebuke us and point us back to the narrow way.

Thus, I don’t recommend simply ignoring your critics. Powell is absolutely right that a favorite device of the enemy is to tell you to that it’s arrogant to pursue your call. You’ll definitely get that from Christians content to sit in the bleachers. Christians threatened by anyone who dares to get in the game will get in your face and call you every name in the book. To justify their own inaction, they will even side with the enemies of Christ!

Freedom from Shame

March 16, 2009

Patricia writes:
> After praying that a soul tie be severed, when does the freedom from
> that soul tie begin?  When does the shame stop?

Dear Patricia,

Every journey to healing is different, Patricia. It’s much like when we first get saved. Some pray to receive Jesus and literally feel the weight of their sins lifted off them and never feel a serious temptation to go back to the old strongholds. Others struggle for years before getting the victory.

Either way, when we repent, God forgives instantly. Sometimes, though we still have to struggle with the consequences, such as a soul tie–which is simply a fancy word for human bonding, which is seen in the parent-child relationship, between siblings, and close friends as well as in romantic relationships. The soul tie is why breaking up hurts so bad and is a big reason sexual sin can be so difficult to overcome.

Shame is a different issue entirely, though. The devil wants to see the husband-wife tie severed and to keep in tact those ties we don’t have, so he’ll contrive ways to see you back in bondage. You can’t let a fear of backsliding rule you, but you do have to be alert to his schemes. One of which is shame.

It’s possible to no longer be bonded to the person, to no longer feel a pain over not being with them, no longer desire it on any level, to no longer harbor romantic feelings for them, in short, to be totally free of the soul tie, and still be continually reminded by the devil of the sin you committed with them and made to feel dirty and condemned.

The devil is the accuser of the brethren. He finds something to shame all of us about. At some point, we need to say, “Enough is enough. That was then, this is now. I am washed, I am sanctified, I am filled with the Holy Spirit, and made righteous and clean in every way! The past is past. I am a new creation in Christ; the old things are passed away, the new has come. I’m going to forget those things which lay behind and reach for those things that lay head, pressing for the mark for the prize of the high calling in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

It’s scripture. We don’t have to “feel it.” We have to believe it and declare it over ourselves in faith until we do feel it.

When we finally stand up to him, and make it clear we mean it, the devil flees. Even if he comes back again later, every time we stand fast in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, we get stronger and our enemy weaker.

But sometimes, we need someone to come beside us and lift us up in 1 on 1 counseling/mentoring, preferably with your pastor, or a sister in your local church body (or community at least) who is trained in biblical counseling.


In Christ’s Victory,

Andrea Graham
http://askandrea.adamsweb.us ::Ask Andrea:: Christian Advice, Book
Reviews, and more.

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CFBA Review: Daisy Chain by Mary DeMuth

February 25, 2009

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing Daisy Chain from Zondervan (March 1, 2009) by Mary DeMuth

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Mary E. DeMuth teaches Christian parents to navigate our changing culture when their families left no good faith examples to follow. Her parenting books include Authentic Parenting in a Postmodern Culture (Harvest House, 2007), Building the Christian Family You Never Had (WaterBrook, 2006), and Ordinary Mom, Extraordinary God (Harvest House, 2005). Mary also inspires people to face their trials through her novels, Watching The Tree Limbs (nominated for a Christy Award) and Wishing On Dandelions (NavPress, 2006).

Mary has spoken at Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference, the ACFW Conference, the Colorado Christian Writers Conference, and at various churches and church planting ministries. Mary and her husband, Patrick, reside in Texas with their three children.

ABOUT THE BOOK:

In this first book in the Defiance, Texas Trilogy, fourteen-year-old Jed Pepper has a sickening secret: He’s convinced it’s his fault his best friend Daisy Chance went missing. Jed’s pain sends him on a quest for answers to mysteries woven through the fabric of his own life and the lives of the families of Defiance, Texas. When he finally confronts the terrible truths he’s been denying all his life, Jed must choose between rebellion and love, anger and freedom.

Daisy Chain is an achingly beautiful southern coming-of-age story crafted by a bright new literary talent. It offers a haunting yet hopeful backdrop for human depravity and beauty, for terrible secrets and God’s surprising redemption.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Daisy Chain, go HERE

Andrea’s Comments:

The story telling is certainly as beautiful and captivating as the content is dark and depressing. She manages to end on a hopeful note, literature-wise, but there’s little to be found in the actual plot line. In other words, she makes you feel hopeful even though there isn’t much reason to be. Daisy is dead, Jed’s abusive father is suspended from his pastorate for getting caught abusing his wife and two kids–but is going to be back after a month and is unlikely to be changed, when biblically the man is totally unqualified for pastoral leadership. The bible is very clear: if a man cannot manage his own house well, he is unqualified for the pastoral office: and you don’t get much worse at managing your household–and your temper for that matter-than physically and verbally abusing your wife and children.

The book highlights the worst amongst us with little guidance as to what healthy looks like. She does have an insightful comment on this, observing basically that the reactions against those who abuse and misuse their biblical authority, who turn biblical truths into ugly lies, are just as sinful, put as we walk a line with rebelling on one side and rebelling against other’s rebellion on the other. Likewise, her observation that abusive clergy mix truth in with lies hits it’s mark, for such is the cause of great confusion in the Church.

Of course, this is only the first book; it’s possible these concerns are dealt with in future installments. By itself, though, when I wake up from the dream-weaving hope “spell” she crafts, and consider the events logically, I am left feeling not hopeful, but angry. We all should be angry. Not at the author, mind you. At such pastors. At those who allow these wolves to preach. Perhaps even ourselves.

If we allow feelings to rule before the gospel, and men like Jed’s father are allowed to continue preaching, we spread blasphemy among the gentiles. Biblical submission becomes blasphemy in the hands of men who don’t realize Paul took far more words to tell them to love their wives than he did to tell the wives to submit. God is blasphemed when men confuse “submissive wife” for “mindless robot”, “doormat,”  or worse, “punching bag.”

Such interpretations are clearly invalidated by Paul’s’ clear teaching in Ephesians 5  that the relationship between the husband and the wife is intended to reflect/model the relationship between Christ and the Church. If a man thinks what Jesus would do to the Church he bled and died for is beat her black and blue, call her names, etc, it is questionable whether he knows Jesus well enough to be headed to Heaven, let alone well enough to preach! And a month of “rest” and partially laying the blame on the wife (!) won’t cure him. It’s an outrage and a disgrace that such things actually happen. The Apostles, if they lived today, would never have tolerated us to behave so! However, if Demuth is to be criticized at all, it’s not for daring to bring it up, but for not taking a bolder stance in saying, “this is an outrage.”

Of course, if she had, the wisdom of experts in Christian fiction might criticize her for “preaching.” But I would suggest anger might have been a more appropriate feeling to aim for than hope. Contrary to popular belief, there are times in a Christian’s life when righteous anger is the only Christ-like response; in a perceived paradox, God’s wrath is as biblical as God’s grace. Most of us are too busy working on not getting angry when it’s not the Christ-like response to ask when it’s actually appropriate, though.

The Centurion’s Wife by Davis Bunn and Janette Oke

January 23, 2009

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing The Centurion’s Wife Bethany House Publishers (January 1, 2009) by Davis Bunn and Janette Oke

ABOUT THE AUTHORS:
Davis Bunn has sold more than six million books in fifteen languages in genres ranging from high drama and action thrillers to heartwarming relationship stories. He has three Christy Awards for excellence in historical and suspense fiction. His novels include My Soul To Keep, and Full Circle.  Bunn was named Novelist in Residence at Regent’s Park College, Oxford University. He and his wife, Isabella, make their home in Florida for some of each year, and spend the rest near Oxford, England, where they each teach and write.

Her first novel, a prairie love story titled Love Comes Softly, was published by Bethany House in 1979; 75 more novels have followed, including eight more in the Love Comes Softly series. Her other series include The Canadian West, Seasons of the Heart and Women of the West. Recent releases include I Wonder…Did Jesus Have a Pet Lamb, a a picture book, and The Song of Acadia series, co-written with T. Davis Bunn.

Janette Oke has received numerous awards, including the Gold Medallion Award, The Christy Award of Excellence, the 1992 President’s Award for her significant contribution to the category of Christian fiction from the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association, and in 1999 the Life Impact Award from the Christian Booksellers Association International. Beloved worldwide, her books have been translated into fourteen languages.

She and her husband live nearby in Alberta, Canada.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Caught up in the maelstrom following the death of an obscure rabbi in the Roman backwater of first-century Palestine, Leah finds herself  engulfed in her own turmoil– an arranged marriage to the head of the Roman garrison in Galilee, Alban, who seeks her hand to further his own ambitions.

Pilate grants Alban  his request on the condition of ferretting out the truth behind rumors of a political execution gone awry. Leah’s mistress, the governor’s wife, secretly commissions Leah also to discover what really has become of this man whose death–and missing body–is causing such furor.

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Centurion’s Wife, go HERE

ANDREA’S COMMENTS: Remember the Case for Christ? Or Maybe the Resurrection Factor? The characters of the novel are digging up much the same material, only they’re doing it in first century Judea in the weeks between the crucifixion on Passover and the birth of the Church on Pentecost. Oh yes, and it’s of course a fun and enjoyable novel rather than potentially boring non-fiction.  The personal conflict serves well to bring the story to life. The most disappointing part is the two don’t quite catch up with Jesus before the Ascension, probably because it’s difficult to get him right. Some of the facts raised question marks in my mind, but most of it bore out. They appeared to be subtly portraying how different witnesses recall the same events differently. The only potential drawback is it very heavy on people standing around talking or thinking about past events, which borders on quite a bit of telling, so it could read slow to some. A few carefully chosen flashbacks might have made some of those passages come alive more.

CSFF Blog Tour for D. Barkley Briggs’s The Book of Names

January 20, 2009

This month, the Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy blog tour features D. Barkley Briggs‘s fantasy novel, The Book of Names, first in the Legends of Karac Tor series. Naturally, the intended audience is teens 13-18.

To a great extent, I have to agree with Imagination Investigation,  Most adults should be able to handle the material, but it may be a little dark for impressionable teens, but that is, as always around here, best left to the discernment of parents. So read it before deciding whether it’s suitable for your child.

His theological handling of spiritual gifts versus magic is basically correct, but he confuses the matter by throwing around the word magic too much and at times inappropriately. While he sometimes uses the correct terminology for the heroes’ power, gift, he sometimes slips and calls it magic, which a careful reading shows it most definitely is not. Magic is what the sorceress they’re up against is using; demonic power. Power from God, no matter what universe you’re in, is by definition a spiritual gift, not magic. Likewise, any “magic” that has a natural basis within a story world is not magic, as magic, again, is supernatural power of demonic origin.  And our natural abilities also are gifts from God. That said, one must show discernment, because magic often is disguised as natural.

While he takes pains to lecture (at least that is how the intended audience will probably take it) the reader on the counterfeit and deceptive nature of magic/sorcery, he undercuts his message in a way that too many books now a days are. We focus so much on an accurate portrayal of evil, and even dare to get in their heads, that we end up giving the devil a soap box–and the answers to counter his message are rarely delivered as powerfully, due to a fear of being preachy, usually.

It’s one thing to expose what the enemy is up to–it’s another to be tricked into delivering the message for him.  That’s a fine line all Christian writers struggle to walk, and Barkley comes dangerously close to the edge at points, though certaintly not as far over as some titles in the horror genre have gone, especially those dealing with demonic possession.

Barkley had plenty of good things to say. The problem is, for some reason, the despairing message of his villains stand out in this reader’s memory far better. It makes me wonder if he’s fallen into the eschatlogical trap that so many of my brethern have. Many of us have taken a revelation intended to encourage us to keep on fighting no matter how dark the hour and used it as an excuse to give in to despair and just hang on until He gets here.

I don’t know Barkley to say that he is in that growing group of sleepers, but I do know his story reads like Lord of the Rings Meets Narnia Meets Left Behind. Of course, on the last note, this is fantasy, so it’s their world’s version. They’re on their Ninth-and-Final Coming, actually, and, near as I tell, they have the exact opposite of a rapture: instead of people disappearing, four brothers from Missouri appear. Make of that what you will, but it’s hard to be hopeful and encouaging when the most hopeful thing your eschatology will allow you to say is, “It’s just going to get worse and worse, and there’s nothing we can do about it, but praise God, Jesus will be back soon to sweep us away.” (That was the position of a former pastor of mine, actually.) Guess that’s why I’m so skeptical of that position; I’m by nature an optimist.

Interestingly, I can’t say whether this was intentional or not, but the story actually reveals an important truth about prophecy that was as lost on the Whites (who remind me of Fundamentalist Baptists for some reason) as it is on all those scholars with precise blow-by-blow eschatological time lines. The nature of bible prophecy is no one–no one–knows what it really means until after it is fulfilled, and this includes Matthew 24 and the Revelation of Saint John.

I’ll admit, their version of the Church bugged me. Not because it was loosely based on the Catholic Church, but the terms of the three sects: White, Gray, and Black. He has the symbolism of White and Black both correct. While black as a symbol is most popular as standing for evil, it can represent mystery, and white is an appropriate color for the Whites, who are real by the book types and most known for their devotion to Truth.

However, as a symbol, the bible, and no other system of imagery that I know of, has absolutely nothing good to say about gray. It corresponds to fuzzy ethics, being lukewarm, chaos, confusion, etc. I realize it’s in part an excuse for a Lord of the Rings-esque fantasy trope, (i.e. Brother So and So the Gray), but knowing the symbolic meaning of gray kept causing me to trip over it. (Aside: I had this same issue with nine, which in their world has the same meaning as seven is commonly understood–it’s root meaning is complete–but in bible numerology nine means fruit/harvest.)

What White represents and what Black represents, as defined by Barkley, are both in the scriptures, and both by themselves are out of balance. We often tend one way or another, biblically, just as Christ is the GodMan, we’re to strive towards being the BlackWhite, fully white and fully black simultaneously. Scripture is full of such false dichotomies, and most of the major divisions in the church are arguing type A versus  type B when the biblical answer is type AB. Whether you hold to one, the other, or something in between, you’re still out of balance spiritually.

Final kudos: talk about poetry in motion! The style annoys me as a writer, as it frequently slides into an omniscient narrator, thus ignoring the rules of Point of View that I’m quite fond of, but his readers won’t care. And this is seriously poetry in motion. Fantasy needs lots of vivid description, and Barkley more than rises to that challenge.