Standing for Truth in a Truthless Age

“What is truth?”

It’s one of those questions I wish Jesus had answered Pilate verbally, rather than simply standing there in front of him, giving him the opportunity to see the One Who Is Truth before Him.

I believe fully in the principle that Jesus Is Truth. He is the definition of truth, the One Who defines truth and falsehood, right and wrong, life and death, by the fact of His very being.
But we live in a generation that has forgotten about truth. And in many situations, has gleefully forgotten about Facts as well.

It’s frustrating as someone who’s been trained in the modern school of apologetics, which focused on demonstrating the truthfulness and factualness of Scripture and the claims of Christ against those who declared them to be untrue and non-factual. There are a host of arguments ready-made for this sort of discussion (with big fancy names like The Ontological Argument, the Cosmological Argument, the Teleological Argument, the Historical Argument, etc) gathering dust in a drawer somewhere, because the battle has shifted away from the familiar turf of “What is real or true?” to the far less familiar turf of “what is entertaining or at least interesting?”

Indeed, the most pressing question on the minds of Post-modern Americans today has less to do with what is true or factual than it does with whether or not something is an interesting belief or story. The frontline in the cultural war has to do with Making A Good Impression. I am convinced Americans have fallen prey to all kinds of disinformation, distortions, propaganda, and outright falsehood only because the fiction is told with a little more flash and flare than the facts.

And yet, if this is where the battle is now to be fought, then it is also where Christians have the best chances of winning. If only because we have the best stories to tell.

Part of the problem, though, is that we’ve allowed our stories to become obscured by the passage of time. We’ve lost the sense of passion, the color and wonder such stories once engendered, and like the images of the Sistine Chapel above, the beauty of the stories has been marred.

I believe this is where the Christian fiction writer has an opportunity to present these stories again. We can change the names of the characters, the settings, the events, and so forth–but stay true to the themes in the best possible way–and if we do so, we can tell a better story of Truth than can possibly be imagined by anyone else.

My prayer is that God will so expand our imagination that the best stories come forward, and we can win the battle of the impression as well.

A Dose of Hard Reality

Time for some numbers. Why? Because like a lot of writers, I want to be able to make a living from my novel writing. So what’s it gonna take?

Here are the numbers. A single sale on Bookhabit nets me about $1. If I sold my books through Parus Press, at $15 per hard copy, I would retain about 7% from each sale – or $1.05.

In other words, I get about a buck from every book. That’s a real easy number to remember.

But if I want to make a living doing this… yeah, that’s a lot of books to sell. Per year.

I can try to write one bestseller, or I can try to write many books that might do okay. If I can sell better than 10K per book per year, then I have a shot at making a living this way. Otherwise, it just won’t happen.

Of course I’m going for it! What kind of question is that? I just want to be upfront about what it will take. I have so many stinkin’ novels in me I have to write them, and the more I’m able to write and put out there, the greater chance I have of selling more of all of it. But that’s what it will take.

Yeah, there are a lot of easier ways to make a buck. That’s not why I’m doing this. I’m doing it because I love writing – and who wouldn’t want to get paid for doing what they love?

Word Girl

I’m sitting here in the basement, and my children have decided this is the perfect time to watch television right behind me. Sarah (oldest) just excitedly dashed upstairs to get her siblings because “Word Girl” is on PBS.

I asked them what it was all about. She said, “It’s our favorite cartoon. It’s the only one on PBS with violence.”

Yep. These are Pastor’s kids. Sigh.

So What Else Is New?

Okay, so yesterday’s post was whiney. Get over it. You, me, whomever. We’re moving on.

There are a lot of new ideas I’m working on. In fact, I have several novels in the works. There are three sequels to The Coppersmith planned.

  • Topheth – an arsonist in Rochester New York is targeting churches. Janelle teams up with Curtis Bold again to stop him before he turns the Christian witness in this city to ashes. It’s currently about 100 pages.
  • Jezebel – just after Topheth is stopped, Janelle is immediately called away to Albany, New York, where men in a particular group of churches are being murdered. Someone has a peculiar penchant for injecting snake venom into their throats (yeah, gross, but it makes sense once the story takes off). This is around 24 pages
  • Puzzle – some years later, I expect. This happens in North Carolina (I think). A serial killer is playing games with the BAU. He is reenacting famous situational puzzles (think: a man lies dead in the room. The door is locked, the window is shut. Nothing is broken in the room except a pencil which lies in two on the floor.). Janelle teams up with Ron again to put together the pieces to the Puzzle before he destroys them all. Not even outlined yet.

In addition, I’m working up a screen play called “Age of Reason.” It’s a story about what happens when an archaeologist claims to have found the bones of Jesus of Nazareth – and DNA tests on the Shroud of Turin confirm it! (Gee, should I give away the ending?)

Another novel is called Autograph. It is the story of what happens when an archaeologist stumbles upon an ancient manuscript that may be in the original handwriting of the Apostle Paul. It’s more of an action/adventure story – not as dark, but definitely suspenseful. Autograph is around 70 pages right now.

The Novem is a science-fiction story centered around a group of students at an Institute. They have been implanted with microchips which enable them to directly access the Internet from their minds. Someone is hacking into them, and causing them to kill themselves. The Novem has about 104 pages.

One of my favorites is a story called St. Jude. It’s gone through several revisions before I felt comfortable enough to really outline it. St. Jude is the tale of a recently released pedophile who attempts to start living right and starts going to church. The reactions of the town and church people will explore the application of grace.

Another one dealing directly with grace is Heart of Stone. In this story a sociopath (ie: feels no emotion) comes forward after twenty years and confesses to a kidnapping and murder – for which he had been paid a substantial ransom. His reason: he believes in heaven and hell, and wants to be saved–but feels no remorse. At issue is the question of whether or not an emotional response is needed for salvation – or if it can be accomplished on purely legal grounds. Something like that. I have a handful of pages written for this.

There are a number of other thoughts, but these bear mentioning as the most likely stories which I will complete and submit – or make available through the Internet like The Coppersmith.

I will share samples from these in days to come.