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Ima Googler Asks: What’s a Worldview?

January 7, 2009

Dear Andrea,
I’ve had several “Christians” accuse me of having a “post-modern worldview” and insist that I need to develop a “biblical worldview.” But I don’t even know what post-modernism is! For that matter, what’s a world view? Why do some Christians make such a big deal about it?
Thank you,
Ima Googler*

Dear Googler,

I’ll take “what’s a world view?” first. A world view is simply the lens through which you view the world. It’s the sum of all your unconscious beliefs about the nature of the world, truth, reality, God, and so forth. The nature of a worldview is such that it is impossible to hide your worldview, at least from someone paying attention. Our worldview is betrayed by the words we use and the choices we make. Christ himself observed this when he said out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks, and by their fruit, you shall know them.

Our worldview forms, osmosis-style, from the influence of our parents, our teachers, peers, and, equally importantly, the media we consume.  The worldview of the media we consume will seep into us and be incorporated into our own world view unless we are paying attention and actively engaged in picking apart what is true and what is not, which most of us don’t find entertaining.

For media-makers, and writers especially, this means, if you have a biblical worldview, you have to actively work to not write from that view. It’s actually the mark of a master if they can convincingly write a character with a worldview that sharply contrasts with their own without betraying the author’s view. Of course, that it’s a challenge to do that doesn’t necessarily make it desirable.

Worldview can be a problem even in Christian media. Statistically, very few Christians, around four percent last I checked, actually have a biblical worldview. But whatever worldview a writer has (including screen and TV script writers) will show up in the finished product, unless they are consciously aware of their worldview and intentionally hide it. Good writers do this when portraying characters with different worldviews from their own, but most cast those folks in the role of the bad guy. In most cases, the hero shares the basic worldview of the writer (if nothing else.)

Now, post-modernism. That is just a fancy intellectual word for the most prevalent worldly ideas of the day. More common terms that you might be familiar with include: tolerance, diversity, multi-culturalism, and of course, “don’t judge.”

Yes, the last one is in the Bible, but your worldview, Googler, transforms the meaning of the words into an affront to the very nature of Christ’s being as God. Thus, Christ could not possibly have meant what you think He meant. Otherwise would be to deny Himself! And 1 Timothy 2:13 says, “If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.” Googler, I realize you may still not understand just yet why, for Mathew 7:1-5 to be the affirmation of post-modernism that you believe it is, then Christ would be denying Himself, but first we need to back up and explain more what post-modernism is.

The basic idea behind post-modernism is that there is no absolute truth. Rather, it holds, whatever metanarrative (the gospel and Evolution are both metanarratives) that works for you is your truth and whatever metanarrative that works for me is my truth, though your metanarrative may not be true for me, it is no less valid than mine.

Thus Evolution is truth for the atheist, the Cross for Christian post-modernists, the teachings of Islam for the Muslim, Karma for the Hindu, Gaia for the wiccan, Global Warming for the Environmentalist, and so on; all ideas, all cultures, and all values are equal. Post-modernism is the world’s marketplace of ideas, where you can pick whatever works for you, and mix and match to your heart’s content.

What’s the problem with post-modernism for Christians?  Why does your friend have to be so mean spirited, critical, and judgmental as to dare suggest you can’t be both a Christian and a post-modernist?

Tell me, if you knew a liquid form of cyanide was being marketed as a delicious and extremely popular brand of cola, would it be mean-spirited, critical, and judgmental to forward this information on to everyone in your address book? Of course not, as the email you got telling you this said, if you hate your friends, don’t forward this email!

Now, I was being somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but seriously, post-modernism is deadly poison to the Christian, spiritually. Why? Simple, the bible’s term for all metanarratives besides it’s own is “idol.” Further, the bible promises salvation to all who believe in Jesus. Why is this a problem? Because it is impossible to believe in Jesus and simultaneously disbelief His claims about Himself.

The easy scripture to cite is John 14:6, “I am the way the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me,” but there’s also Hebrews 13:8, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”

And let’s not forget, as Christian post-modernists often like to, John 1:1,14, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God . . . The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

Also, in John 18:37, Jesus said, “For this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”

Then we have Luke 16:13, “No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Mammon.” Note, in this passage, Money is personified as an idol.

Finally, Jesus demands in Luke 14:27,28,33 (cutting out the parable for brevity,) “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. . . . any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.”

Googler, having heard the truth of the Word, can you now look me in the eye and say straight-faced that the same Jesus who declares He is the only way to God, that he is Truth, and that He never changes (via the author of Hebrews), and demands He be more important to you than your family, more important to you than your own life, more important to you than your pocketbook, more important to you than all your possessions, that this Jesus “understands” when you go whoring from Him in the marketplace of ideas, picking and choosing what parts of the Bible you will believe and what ideas you will borrow from His competitors, creating a comfortable religion customized to suit you?

My friend, any Jesus who tells you that is not the Jesus that died on the Cross for our sins, but the spirit of anti-Christ. If you’re worshiping a false Christ made in your own image, warning you the phony Jesus can’t save you is not mean, it’s loving you as the real Christ loves you!

Certainly, God is patient, and in the business of changing old into new, but “be not conformed to this world, but ye transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2)  was not a mere suggestion. Neither was the point Jesus was making in Matthew 9:17, “Nor do they put new wine into old wineskins, or else the wineskins break, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But they put new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.” The wine is Christ’s lifeblood,  the old wineskins our carnal worldview, or post-modernism for most of us, and new wineskins the biblical worldview.

“But Parables can be interpreted in so many ways,” you may be thinking, Googler. Yes, but we can know for certain this interpretation is correct because it lines up with the Word. In Ephesians 4:17-24, the Apostle Paul writes:

So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.

You, however, did not come to know Christ that way. Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

Again, worldview is just a modern term for what the Apostle Paul described as “old self” and “new self.” 2 Timothy 2:15 tells us, “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” Googler, you can never rightly divide the Word (i.e. properly understand it) so long as you’re reading the Word through the lens of your sin nature, which intellectuals have decided to call “post-modernism.”

Now, gentle readers, post-modernists do have one absolute truth, that there is no absolute truth, and can be quite hateful to those who love the Truth and dare to speak it. Thus, in the eyes of your typical Ima Googler, I’ve just painted a target on my back, but that’s nothing new. It’s the nature of sin, and we were promised from the beginning, if we’re faithful to Christ, we will be persecuted. Thus, attacks come, not because we’re hateful as commonly believed by Christians today, but because we’re being faithful disciples and a faithful Bride.

We were commanded, not to apologize for the truth and learn to be nicer when we’re hated on and condemned by even fellow Christians as harsh and judgmental, but to rejoice, for great is our reward in Heaven. In fact, you need to be careful, for Christian post-modernists (whom the prophets would, frankly, call whores and the apostles heretics) disguise “convert to Christian post-modernism” as urges to be nice and even dare to invoke the names of love and kindness, and will tell you being faithful to our Divine Groom is harsh, critical, mean-spirted, judgmental, and hateful. The irony of ironies in this criticism? Jesus made it a requirement that we hate even our closest relatives to be His.

Now you know what He was talking about! Post-modernism isn’t so modern, after all–not if Jesus used it’s definitions some 2000 years ago to make a point!

One of the most fatal, and most subtle, encroachments of post-modernism into the Church is that so many Christians are using a post-modern definition of love. This is how we miss the fact that, though Christians are known by their love, true Christian love can be viewed as hate by the world. Brothers and Sisters, we must learn to love as God loves. A glance through the prophets while keeping John 1 in mind will radically transform any worldly views you have of Christ’s love, if you will listen.

If you don’t know where to start, my suggestion is Ezekiel 16, in the no-holds-barred version rather than the wussy versions that soften the terminology God used so it could be cited in sweet prairie romances without making the target audience blush. (not that they would cite it, anyway.) Also check out the Truth Project. You should be able to take this class for free at a local church.

In Christ’s Truth, and His Love,

Andrea Graham

P.S. Since we discussed the impact of media on worldview earlier, if you’re looking for Christian Fiction that’s gritty, real, with exciting adventures, and grounded in a biblical worldview, check out Laser & Sword Magazine. As the assistant editor, I naturally have total confidence in this publication!

*Ima Googler is a tongue-in-cheek, self-depreciating nod to the readers who find my site by turning to Google for advice–love you guys! If you still have any questions after reading one of these, please feel free to write a letter for the advice column.

Links, More Links, Congrats, and a Thanks

January 5, 2009

Gentle Readers,

Wanted to let those of you following CSFF’s tour of the Lost Genre Guild last week know that our girl (hey, I was raised in the hood) Grace Bridges and The Writer Cafe Press’ lovely Cynthia have full coverage over at the LGG news blog, with plenty of links to Laser and Sword, the serial fiction magazine I edit.

Next, let me give a congrats to hubby, for launching new web serials on Laser & Sword‘s blog-now the stories from the zine are available for free, in weekly spoonfuls you can absorb in five minutes (the impatient sorts can still buy the e-issues or the print edition). You can check out the first issue free, or become a fan on Facebook.

Also, Grace posted my explanation of the distinction between stage magic, magic as the bible defines it, and spiritual gifts.   She also links an aw-you’re-making-me-blush write-up on my husband and I’s work on Laser & Sword by the esteemed Frank Creed. Thanks, guys!

Anyway, check ‘im out.

In Christ’s Link-Love,

Andrea Graham

P.S. Want fewer posts like this one? Send me a public letter for our name-sake free Christian advice column!

CSFF Tours the Lost Genre Guild

December 30, 2008

This month, one of the book tours I regular decided to review an organization instead: the Lost Genre Guild. The LGG is a group of science fiction, fantasy, and horror writers, most of whom are Christian and most of whom write stuff that glorifies the Lord, that banded together to market and promote the genres that rarely show up on the shelves at Christian bookstores, unless of course your name is Ted Dekker or Frank Peretti.  The spiffy term the guild uses, besides the Lost Genre, is Biblical Speculative Fiction. Since it’s not linked to the top level of the domain, the LGG’s site also has a spiffy new bulletin board with a gold mine’s worth of goodies for writers, including marketing tips.

Now, you won’t get an actual review from me because it would violate my personal ethics on grounds of conflict of interests as I am way too intimately acquainted with this group. I’m actually a founding member and was one of the voices that dreamed this baby into being in the first place. Between my husband Adam and myself, we have four short stories in the Guild’s anthology, Light at the Edge of Darkness. For those who don’t understand, a wife who’s been married any length of time knows her husband better than anyone and has no illusions that he’s perfect. Still, if she’s a wise wife, in public, she’ll sing her husband’s praises rather than airing his dirty laundry. I take my reviews too seriously to show similar wisdom on this tour.

Now for a picture of the guy who made dreams reality:

Okay, now that we’ve got the prerequisite picture of Frank Creed in bunny ears out of the way, here’s a round up of what’s buzzing:

FantasyThyme posts an interview with Frank Creed and discusses Thyme’s experiences with the Guild, including brief comments on Light-Darkness, and Creed’s novel, Flashpoint.

Rebecca LuElla Miller has a brief overview of the history of the guild and has a check list of who’s actually posted on the tour (obviously I wasn’t checked ye t when I visited)

The 160 Acre Woods cuts and pastes the Guild’s mission and vision statements and asks their readers what they’ve heard and what lost genre books they enjoy.

Adventures in Fiction delves into the genre descriptions I mentioned earlier and highlights the services of The Guild Review, the group’s book review arm.

Brandon Barr is excited to be featuring a group he’s a member of with an enthusiastic and far more thorough run down of what the group’s about and writes up a healthy rendition of the famous Uncle Sam Wants You poster. He also links to Grace Bridges’ revamp of the Lost Genre Guild Blog, now covering the buzz and the genre news.

At Virtual Book Tour de ‘Net Karina confesses to posting two weeks early and links to their interview of Frank Creed (who I should warn you is as long winded as yours truly, but covers everything  you could possibly want to know about us.) This week she posts interviews with Terri Main and Grace Bridges, before answering her own questions as she’s also a member.

Mike Lynch’s Literary Musings confesses that Lynch is as biased as the rest of us touring our own writer’s group. Let me bunny rabbit and say no criticism is intended to those who felt comfortable taking a stab at this pie. He also has insightful comments on what makes or breaks any group: the people in it, and tries to take a stab at describing the inner workings of our private mailing list. I illustrated some of what he mentions by dragging out the bunny ears picture. We’re a group that, in general, prays hard, fights hard (in good ways and bad), and laughs hard, much like a family. Sometimes a tad dysfunctional, but I tend to suspect normal’s a myth.

Creative Madness explains what the Guild’s about from an outsider’s perspective.

Steve Rice, also a founding Guild member, but with all the professionalism of a reporter, lets the voices inside his head, er characters from his own sci-fi works, give the LGG the Mystery Science Theatre treatment that he’s too good at.  In a Great Minds Think Alike (GMTA) moment, Rice naturally also has a link to the bunny ears picture.

Seriously, though, much as we all love BunnyMan, as I’m sure he’d be the first to acknowledge, groups like this don’t fly by the efforts or dreams of one man alone. Creed was instrumental and we wouldn’t exist without him, but the Guild is actually the result of the collective efforts and dreams of all my crew at Dan Weaver’s critique group (no longer active, unfortunately, or I’d link it.) In our ADD culture, though, listing off the names of everyone who founded it takes too long, so naturally we usually limit the credits to the big dog (Creed.)

Lastly, to crown off the LGG touring itself (LOL), the Lost Genre Guild’s blog chimes in with sound bites from the guys I rounded up and hog tied (hey, I live in the old west!) Assuming Grace did this one, so it’s another GMTA moment.

Rerun of a Classic: when to let go of a prodigal (aka shun)

December 16, 2008

This is an update of one of my most popular columns to date: Stressed over Prodigals? First Root out the #1 Joy Thief.

Dear Andrea,

I have a twenty-eight-year-old daughter, Gomer*, that is living with her boyfriend. She claims to be a Christian, but wants nothing to do with church or other Christians. She has been rebellious for the last fourteen years, ever since she moved in with her father….

…She says she does not feel guilty about having sex outside of marriage, although she does admit she is living in sin. Last May, when she moved in with her boyfriend, I told her I was disfellowshiping her and would not be going to lunch with her, etc…

.…I feel I have been in the fight or flight mode for many years. At this point, it is definitely flight. I am really burned out being a parent and have a lot more peace in my life when I don’t have contact with her.

I did go to lunch with her last week (she wanted to take me out for my birthday) and she was so negative and nasty, I went to bed for the rest of the day because I was depressed. For years, she told me her friends were more important than family, that we have nothing in common, and that we don’t need to talk on the phone very often. Now that I have distanced myself she is after me and wants me to go to lunch with her on a regular basis. She says she wants to have a relationship with me, but I can hardly stand to be around her. She gets angry if I say anything about her lifestyle. She cries and is obviously distraught that I don’t want to spend time with her.

She also has no regard for my feelings and expects me to show up at a wedding reception at her dad’s house. Her dad left me 21 years ago and was cheating on me… He has shown no remorse or guilt for what he did and was eventually excommunicated from a church. His attempts to apologize are a joke… I told her I would go if they chose a neutral place like a park, (but I still want nothing to do with him.) As you can tell this has been a long ordeal.

Gomer rarely listens to me or follows my advice. She is in a lot of debt and insisted on going on trips to Europe twice, Florida several times, etc. on borrowed money. I refuse to help financially anymore. …

In addition to all this, I have health problems that are made worse by stress. I am under doctor’s orders to avoid stress. She is aware of this, but it does not seem to matter. Where does a mother go to resign? I am considering going to counseling, but in the meantime, I just want to be left alone.

Sincerely,

Mara*

Sorry, I’ve been warned you can’t resign from being a mother, but I do understand your frustration. Your daughter behaves in a pattern very familiar to me, as I’ve had a Gomer in my life, too. In my case, we loved each other, and both wanted a relationship with the other, but despite her desire to still claim His name, Christ had come between us. We’re not on speaking terms, either, her choice, and you’ll understand why I felt relieved even as I wept. I imagine some might find it easier to be simply angry than to weep.

I felt much the way you did. Being around her was all trial, and in truth, neither of us felt comfortable with the other. Our conversations, even when we managed to avoid The Issue, were too phony for me to stand indefinitely, yet I didn’t have the heart to do what the bible recommends for someone who claims to be of the brethren, yet walks in darkness. Let’s review:

I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner-not even to eat with such a person. For what have I to do with judging those who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? But those who are outside God judges. Therefore “put away from yourselves the evil person.”

–1 co 5:9-13

Now, the church today goes to two extremes in approaching this scripture, we either toss it out the window as irrelevant to modern times since the person will just denounce us and move onto a different church, as if we have just now invented false teachers and itching ears.

Or, conversely, we add to the scripture our own traditions, and begin practicing this over differing convictions on matters of dress, Sabbath-keeping, worship styles, and so forth. Such abuse is why this scripture has come to be largely ignored. We prefer to talk about the scriptures calling us to love instead. Indeed, we hope Apostle Paul had changed his mind about this when he wrote in the thirteenth chapter of the same letter, “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.”

Indeed he hadn’t changed his mind. But love does not mean enabling, in fact, enabling is the opposite of love. There comes a time, as much as you love someone, they have chosen a lie, and you must place a premium on your spiritual health—and the church’s—and not tolerate a lie.

Don’t be fooled when a Gomer talks of love and says things like, “let’s just not talk about it.” A Gomer’s motive is not love at all, but control. That’s what the silence treatment is about and why a Gomer suddenly gains interest in a relationship when we pull away rather than begging their forgiveness and restoration to their graces as they typically hoped. This desire for control is connected to a desire to drag us down into the lies the Gomer has bought, which is in turn connected to a hunger for our approval. That is the nature of sin. It wants justified (i.e., accepted) and Gomers will use trickery, flattery, manipulation, even black mail or out right force, if possible, to achieve that end.

This desire for control, often rooted in a dysfunctional childhood, genetics or both, is what ultimately shipwrecks their faith in the first place. So it is to their own detriment if we perpetuate the problem by continuing to serve as doormats. Because we love them, we must set boundaries, and we must stick to the stated costs of crossing those boundaries.

The sad truth is, Gomers will not repent until they have suffered sufficient pain, which too often means until they hit rock bottom, if then. The most dangerous state for a Gomer is when they change their outward behavior and can fool themselves and undiscerning brethren into believing they’ve gotten right with God when in truth their hearts remain unchanged. Time and their tongues will expose them. Even the worst of Gomers—namely sociopaths—will usually betray themselves, sooner or later.

When a loved one is a Gomer, as Paul suggests, all we can do for them is pray, and get out of God’s way, which may mean no contact and utter silence. Unless you have reason to believe you’re dealing with a sociopath, it’s wise to keep a phone line available, so you can be there for them when they do hit bottom. Just don’t let them use it for anything but actual emergencies and don’t interfere if you get a call before true rock bottom, lest you find yourself fighting God, or, worse, get taken down with them.

I do have one caution on applying 1 Cor 5:9-13, some will argue this is church discipline and hence inappropriate for family members to apply outside the context of the local church body. But let’s also remember Paul lived in a world where people didn’t move around like they do now, unless you were a merchant or a missionary like he was. Your believing family and friends were generally all members of your church as well. The application of this scripture should never be done lightly, but with much prayer and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

But neither should it be ignored.

Do go to counseling, though, Mara, as I would be negligent if I didn’t mention, if you really want to reduce your stress level, a key step would be working out the anger and bitterness against your ex-husband, a process the church often likes to summarily call forgiveness, and label true biblical forgiveness as ‘reconciliation.’ Your forgiveness or lack thereof won’t change anything for him. If he is unrepentant, your hatred won’t leave him in a deeper pit of Hell anymore than you not hating him would get him out of Hell. If he is truly repentant and has given his life to Christ, no matter how laughable you might find his apologies, I guaranteed you God won’t be laughing, He’ll be shepherding His prodigal into the same Heaven we call Home.

Now, I have no way of knowing what the case is with your husband. Regardless, an angry, bitter, and critical spirit will stress you out, ruin your health, destroy your relationship with God, and allows someone who hurt you to keep on hurting you, over and over and over again. A mother’s bitterness, as hard as this will be for you to hear, also poisons her children. Your daughter, now, she made her own choices in life, and she’s responsible for that, not you. Believe me, though, I know how hard it can be to let go of bitterness—that’s why I encourage you to seek pastoral or Christian counseling—but you until you do let go of this bitter hatred, you will never heal.

You have a choice, Mara. You can keep laying your stress exclusively at the feet of your daughter, or you can recognize the true culprit stealing your peace and joy. To paraphrase our Savior, you need to get the beam out of your own eye, and then you’ll be able to see clear enough to deal with your daughter’s. It may not make her any less deceived or change what you need to do with her, but it will change your life, and only the Lord can say for certain what impact that would have on the world.

Love In Christ,
Andrea Graham

*not her real name

Laser & Sword Magazine Reviving episodic fiction
Featuring: The Order of the Sword and the Rise of the Judge action hero serials
Download the first issue free!

Blatant, Shameless . . . chagrin-inducing promo for Laser & Sword

December 9, 2008

Gentle Readers,

In this season, when we often forget the birthday boy in rushing to buy each other presents to celebrate Christ’s nativity, I wanted to share with you an announcement posted today fairly close by at one of my husband Adam’s pet projects, which suggests the Perfect Gift for Sci Fi Lovers is Laser & Sword Annual 2008:

Looking for a last minute Christmas present for a lover of super heroes or science fiction? Trying to find something wholesome that will get the teenage boy (or grown man) in your life more interested in reading? Look no further!  Laser & Sword Annual 2008 contains Issues 1-4, each of this year’s quarterly serials. This year, stuff your stockings with a year’s worth of serial fiction at it’s finest in a beautiful 160 page paperback volume.

Meet our three maiden storylines:

* The Sword, Sword Comics owner Jesse Miller seeks to defeat terrorism by uniting the world’s greatest superheros. Will he learn bad guys masquerade as good guys before the traitor in their midst sends the heroes to their doom?

* Snyder, a juvenile delinquent living in the 78th Year of the Empire, loathes Earth’s dictator while hailing the regime’s American governor as a hero. Getting caught meting out vigilante justice gets him inducted into the Imperial Army under threat of a noose. Can a double agent get Snyder back on the right track? Will Snyder survive to discover his destiny?

*Lastly, Mild Mannered Janitor Dave Johnson discovers an symbiotic alien and this superfan’s dreams of being a superhero come true with hilarious results. One question haunts: can there be such a thing as a good Symbiot, even if he is a silver cylinder rather than black tar?

What would you pay to buy all four issues individually? $29.75* Order Laser & Sword Annual 2008 now, and you’ll get all four issues for just $19.50*. 

Tight budget? The e-edition of Laser & Sword can be downloaded for just $1.25 an issue–a great deal for the frugal tech geek that loves reading PDFs. Download e-issue 4 here or check out our back issues.

*plus shipping

Confession: I’ve donned the copy writer hat at Laser & Sword as well my usual assistant editor cap. Please forgive me for the cross-post. Now back to our regularly scheduled program (or should I say our feature presentation?)

Love in  Christ,
Andrea Graham

A Testimony of Healing

December 4, 2008

Thank you Andrea, for being here for hurting people. The devil is so busy at destroying God’s People, and afflicting hurt and pain upon them. All the advise you have given these women. I had been in these kinds of relationships for years. Praise God, for bringing me up and out. It took some prayer and calling on the Holy Spirit to heal me and to forgive those that hurt me. I knew I could not forgive on my own, because the flesh just wasn’t allowing me to. So praise God for the Comforter, who I called upon to help me to forgive, those who despitefully used and abused me. I am healed and delivered and blessed to put those heartaches, and pains in there finally resting place. I am no longer (Praise God) subjected to the hurt and pain and crippling fears those relationships left me in. God Bless you Ms Andrea, in all you do.Thanks again for being here for the broken spirits.
Denise*

Hello, Denise.

Thank you for your kind words. We all need that encouragement sometimes! Honestly, the only wisdom here is the Lord’s, without Him, I’d be just one more broken heart. Although, in my broken home, I was the child rather than the wife, like many, I minister out of my own wounds, and He’s healing me, too! I thank Him that, for the most part, my husband and I have been blessed beyond the curse. Like everyone, we have our issues, but without God’s grace, we’d be in far worse shape. It’s an honor to be here.

Pray for me, Sister. When you become a threat to him, the devil seeks to destroy you, and I do come under assault.

Thank you for your testimony, I’m sure someone reading this needs it. As you discovered, leaning on the Lord is the secret to forgiveness; what is impossible for man is possible for God. We lean on Him by asking Him to work that miracle in our hearts,  as well as by praying for those who hurt us. As a wise person told me once, it’s generally hard to stay angry when you’re praying for them.

In His Service,
Sister Andrea

P.S. Merry Christmas!

*This letter was a response to Pray for those who Despitefully Use you

One Perfect Day by Lauraine Snelling

December 3, 2008

 This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing One Perfect Day FaithWords (October 22, 2008) by Lauraine Snelling. Note I’ve also updated my post on One Holy Night.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Today, Lauraine Snelling is a member of the more than Two Million Books In Print club, but when she first began, she was a mother of three teenagers with a simple dream to write “horse books for kids.”

All told, she has over 50 books published. Lauraine’s work has been translated into Norwegian, Danish and German as well as produced as books on tape. Awards have followed her dedication to “telling a good story”: the Silver Angel Award for An Untamed Land and a Romance Writers of America Golden Heart for Song of Laughter.

Helping others reach their writing dream is the reason Lauraine teaches at writer’s conferences across the country. She mentors others through book doctoring and with her humorous and playful Writing Great Fiction tape set. Lauraine also produces material on query letters and other aspects of the writing process.

ABOUT THE BOOKTwo mothers end up more closely connected that they could dream…and yet they are strangers to one another.

The first has two children–twins, a boy and girl, who are seniors in high school. She wants their last Christmas as a family living in the same home to be perfect, but her husband is delayed returning from a business trip abroad. And then there’s an accident–a fatal one.

Meanwhile, the other mother has a daughter who needs a new heart, and so the loss of one woman becomes the miracle the other has desperately prayed for. While one mother grieves, and pulls away from her family, the other finds that even miracles aren’t always easy to receive.

If you would like to read the first chapter of One Perfect Day, go HERE

Andrea’s Comments: Snelling writes a moving tale that will keep readers who like heart-breakers turning the pages. It’ll also get you thinking about the book’s pet cause, organ donation, which is hardly the open and shut case she’d like you to conclude. Now, I totally understand the feelings of believers who figure anything that saves a life is a good thing and never think past that. I think it’s foolish to not ask the hard ethical questions on this issue, but I can respect the argument itself.

What I don’t respect is responding to folks’ concerns by implying the only reason to not sign an organ donor card is selfishness. This is not a logical argument. It merely shuts down debate. Making folks afraid to voice their concerns about the ethics of organ donation does not answer them.

“That’s selfish” does not explain how a doctor does not have a conflict of interest when he’s wanting to kill a patient with a severe brain injury to save the life of those with severe injuries to other organs. It does not answer concerns that harvesting organs from the human body cheapens human life by using human beings for spare parts, desecrates the temple of the Holy Ghost, and other questions on whether this a good thing to do something created in the image of God. It does not answer how redefining death as brain death solves the ethical problems arising from the fact the organs of those dead by the traditional definition (cold and stiff) are useless.

It does not answer the question of whether Christians should blindly follow the humanistic logic behind this practice. For the humanist, it makes total sense to take organs from the person they can keep alive, but who they believe will never regain consciousness, and use them to replace failing organs in the otherwise healthy. But if we’re using traditional Christian ethics, where all life is sacred, there are genuine questions not being answered.

Few of us will dare to publicly voice our questions. We know the only answers we will receive are attacks on our person. It makes me wonder why those on the pro-side respond to questions in the manner of those who have no answer. Want to get more people to sign up to be used for spare parts when a doctor desperate for the parts decides they’re dead, or more accurately, decides their brain has suffered such a severe injury that their life has no worth and they’re better off dead? Let folks ask their questions without shame, and actually bother to give real answers.

But, to get off my soap box, if the fact the story is designed to guilt you into signing an organ donor card doesn’t put you off, and you need catharsis, and/or an entertaining exploration of the grieving process and heart transplants, this will do it.