I’m excited about this Bible coming out, a rendering of the New Testament based on Aramaic, which is what Jesus and His contemporary Israelis spoke, which also Paul must have spoken, though He and many of them would have also been raised to speak and read the scriptures in Hebrew, as Jews are today. And doubtless, many spoke and understood other current languages of the day, for the empire was a vast conglomerate of disparate people groups.
As someone who speaks a few languages and have been trained in ancient Latin and even a little Hebrew, (I even dabbled in Hawaiian when I was living there – very very interesting language), I am so very aware that different nuances of meaning attend different languages. Studying languages has long been part of my love affair with words.
It will be really interesting to see what layers of meaning an Aramaic translation unfolds. An interlinear edition would probably be the next step, with a key, such as the Strong’s lexicon, which brings depth to one’s study and to which many online translations and interlinear versions are tied.*
*Though it has been useful, this is not a blank check endorsement of Strong’s lexicon.
Like most believers who write, whether fiction, non-fiction, blogs, books, articles, I write because I have a spiritual mandate, an inner urge so forceful, I dare not deny it. I write because the Holy Spirit inspires me to think big. But thinking big is secondary to the mandate.
My books are developing a following today, in this world, even without much marketing on my part. However, I also enjoy my career, my “day job” in the medical field, and unless I am led to stop and write full time, I’ll do both.
It’s true that I am a creative and that writing gives me an outlet for that continually bubbling newness rising up from where soul and spirit entwines with God’s. It’s a magnificent challenge to write well, one I’ll spend a lifetime working toward and never achieving to my full satisfaction, I’m almost sure. But it’s a challenge worth the investment of joyous, painstaking hours adding up to a good chunk of my life.
Yet, there’s more! Writing is more than a way to express and develop creatively.
The truth is, that as much as I do believe my books are meant for today’s generation, my overwhelming sense with my first two novels is that they will serve future generations, as well. Spontaneously, it comes to me at times that my books will be read by people through the rise and fall of nations, by souls who are groping for a true understanding of the gospel in the end times. I see them stumbling upon my books, finding the living God and hope amidst a deep descending darkness, and then circulating them to their friends.
Already my books have sparked new faith in a number of people. And those are just the ones I know about. It’s hard to find the real gospel in these times, in any time, truly. I know that I have, but because I have, I know how difficult the challenge can be. I write in a way that will allow people to find it.
Another aspect of writing for me is to respond to the need for enjoyable, quality entertainment, especially among God-fearing people. How often have you come to the end of a long week, wanting only to sit and watch a good movie, listen to a podcast or read a good book, only to find the pickings are bare? All too often you’ve opened a book or a movie that promises action and/or romance of real intellectual and inspirational substance, only to find it leads your mind and heart into places you’d rather not go, places not even worth going. Suddenly you’re living in someone else’s anxious nightmare and all you wanted was a a little recreation! If you aren’t careful, many stories will take you from feeling fine to being depressed and hopeless. Quite the opposite of what quality entertainment should accomplish.
Good entertainment should inspire us to dream, not crush us. It might contain sad truths about this world, but in the end, quality entertainment enlightens and in so doing, it uplifts.
We need as many great movies and novels as we can get. Schindler’s List and The Passion, God’s Not Dead, Fireproof and The War Room, Gone With The Wind, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Killing Fields, Snow Falling on Cedars, all are blockbuster hits because they enlighten as well as uplift. Stephen Baldwin has been making some very interesting, offbeat films which carry extremely powerful messages for people of faith. There’s always room for a well-done, quality movie, book or podcast that lets us relax without turning away from God, but rather turns us toward Him. If not turning us directly to God, a good story might also turn us to a greater appreciation of our purpose and our worth. Stories like It’s A Wonderful Life show us the dark and light side of life but in the end help us realize that each of us has value when we light the place we live in. We could also argue that NCIS and Rocky do that for us, too.
My writing is for the hungry ones, the thirsty ones, to let them know that there is a banquet they can enjoy in real life, and where to find it.
A simpler way of putting is to compare writing with rescuing kittens. I have two tiny kittens in my home right now. I am fostering them for the humane society, getting them ready for their forever homes. They are coming along nicely and they are going to make great pets. (photo below) From me they have learned how to enjoy being in someone’s lap, how to be careful with their claws, how to use a litter box, how a human can play with them, how to come when called (to the degree that cats ever do that!). Both of them were quite wild when I got them and they have made phenomenal progress. They are being imprinted with my love and prayers, with the peace, joy and TLC I give them. All this they will take with them for the rest of their lives, as a gift I am giving to those who will own them, long after these little furballs have forgotten my scent or my voice.
In the same way, our spirits can be imprinted with the personality and character of Charles Dickens or an Agatha Christie by reading their books, though we will never know them this side of heaven, and even if they were alive today, we would probably not have the opportunity to become more than superficially acquainted with them. My books, and every book worth reading, really, are like rescued kittens, sharing what I hope is the better part of me in common with the Creator of us all, for the delight and well-being and solace of the family here on planet Earth.
It’s been heartening to see the great coming together of believers of most persuasions at this time. From Jew to evangelical Christian, Catholic and Anglican, to Muslim, from young and old, every shade of beige and brown, every nation, there has been a united call upon God for truth and justice. Faith in the God of Abraham most certainly defines a way of life, one the Constitution of the US led the way in creating. Like the golden hinges of the doors to the ancient temple, faith hinges on the belief that the Creator of us all wants a life of justice and freedom for all. We would define it as the pursuit of happiness, meaningful work which supports time to enjoy family and community. When God’s people call upon Him, with their back against the wall, as recourse upon recourse of human courts fail to do their duty in protecting and securing these privileges which we call rights, at such a time God cannot help but answer, and He will not delay.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all people are created equal, that they are endowed by the Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.” That is from the US Constitution. (bolding is mine)
As we pray, let us also pray for the many many parts of the world where basic human rights are still a luxury, enjoyed only by the tyrants who rule them with a cruel hand. Let us pray for the tyrants themselves, and those who have been deluded by them even within the USA. For miracles are more frequent than we know. Remember the Red Sea… Remember King Darius… Remember Messiah’s first coming… Remember the Berlin wall….
Writing is part of my love language. So sometimes, my devotional includes writing a unique form of dialogue, a dialogue with God. He usually kicks it off with something profound, after which I respond, like an ant responding to an elephant. But He loves me, so He answers. God always answers.
There tends to be a romance in my stories. Sometimes it’s central, sometimes it’s part of other aspects which are driving the story. I portray love in such a way as to bring back the joy of it. As one who has practiced therapy for couples and families, I create realistic love relationships. The romances in my books are anything but fluffy. They are possible. The characters are not idealized, they are flawed. I emphasize their chemistry over their physicality (there is a difference).
To find the person who really cares for us is a blessing, going back to the first man and woman in Eden.
“…to give them the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.” Is 61:3
In the days before the Light defeated darkness and took back the keys to the lower kingdoms, a dark lord held earth captive, blocking all recourse to truth by deception. A stalwart remnant still remembered that God is good.
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Nazareth, 0 A.D.
Anna dropped the basket, heavy with wet clothes. The corners of her lips curved upward at the image in her mind – even as her chest heaved – of her three-year old daughter reaching for the handles of that same basket. “Hep you, Imah,” she would say. Anna bent, and rested her hands on her knees. Her eyes roved the horizon, across the fields and pastures colored with Spring wildflowers. She wondered where her Miryam might be, whether she was even alive.
As a former seminary and Bible school student, one who is also single, I derive a great many things from a church. One of these is community. I cannot help but ponder ways a sense of community can be delivered more effectively. It’s been part of my life purpose to promote community, but not just any community. Rather, community based on and supporting hearing from the Father by His Spirit and His Word.