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text 2020-03-14 04:00
Connilyn Cossette Author Interview March 2020

 

Like Flames in the Night, book 4 in the Cities of Refuge series, released on March 3!

 

You can order your copy HERE.

 

Author Connilyn Cossette has graciously provided answers to some reader questions to explain her writing process and talk about the end of the Cities of Refuge series.

 

 

How long does it take you to edit a book and how do you begin?

 

The editing process is fairly complicated because there’s a lot that goes into my editing process from the beginning. I am a bit of a perfectionist, so it’s pretty difficult for me to write a messy copy and then leave it be. So I usually will write a scene and then edit it the next day before I move on to the next chapter. I will also often send my chapters to my writing partners which will usually require another round of editing and then once I’m finished with a manuscript I will do one more full edit before I sent it to my editors. Then there are three rounds of edits before it goes to print, one in which I read the entire book out loud to myself (or in the case of LFITN, my daughter). So all that to say, I can’t really pinpoint how long it takes a book to edit fully but once I turn in my manuscript to Bethany House it is about a year before it lands in your hands.

 

Who was your favorite character (or the one you most resonate with) and why?

 

In regards to the entire series, I would have to say Moriyah because I got to know her as a young girl and was able to follow her journey all the way through becoming a great-grandmother. She has been the foundation of all of the stories within the cities of refuge and she will just always be one of my very favorites. Don’t tell the others. For Like Flames in the Night, I’d have to say Liyam because he was just a blast to write, such fun to put through the wringer, and I just loved how his character arc developed!

 

Did anything surprise you in this story as you were writing?

 

I have to say that the length of the story was what most surprised me. There were no plans for it to be longer than the others but just due to the nature of the plot and also because I wanted to make sure that all the loose ends from the entire series were tied up in a satisfying way it ended up having a few chapters more. However, I hope that readers will be so absorbed in Tirzah and Liyam that they won’t even notice!

 

What are you hoping readers will glean from this story?

 

Tirzah’s story is one of standing up courageously for her people, her family, and her God. My hope is that readers will be inspired to shine their lights boldly for Jesus and to not be afraid of anything—be it human or spirit—because Yahweh is our champion and when we are out of strength and frightened and feeling alone the Word says that He will fight for us! Nothing can stand against our great big God. Also, I want readers to be reminded through Liyam's Journey how truly powerful grace is.

 

Any fun bits of trivia you want to share with readers?

 

I guess I would have to say that the first thing is that I never planned on writing this book at all. The original Cities of Refuge was a three-book series but when I got to the end of Until the Mountains Fall I felt like there was more story to be told within the time period and with this family. So I proposed the idea to Bethany House and thankfully they went for it! Also, the book discusses an altar that’s at the top of Mount Ebal in Israel and that altar has actually been found on top of that mountain. It’s most likely a later rebuild of the original altar and from what I read it looks like beneath the altar there are possible remnants of the altar that Joshua built when he and the entire congregation of Israel re-confirmed the covenant before he died. So that’s pretty cool! Someday I would really love to walk up that mountain and see that altar for myself.

 

What do you have coming up next? Tell us a little bit about it and when we can expect it.

 

I will be coming out with a new series this winter which is called the Covenant House series. We are skipping forward a few hundred years to First Samuel in a time when Israel was in a fierce struggle against the Philistines, a foreign people that had arrived on the shores of Israel from the island of Crete hundreds of years before. This is a duology, based on the lives of a Philistine sister and brother who are adopted into an Israelite family and begins with the theft of the Ark of the Covenant. The first book is called To Dwell Among Cedars and will be releasing December 1 of this year.

 

This is your last book in the Cities of Refuge series, was there a specific plot or character you wanted to include before bringing the series to a close?

 

I think I really was just having a hard time leaving Moriyah and her whole entire family behind when I decided to write this book! But of course, I really wanted to explore Moriyah’s youngest daughter Tirzah’s perspective. I wondered what it would’ve been like to have grown up in the city of refuge, a place of complete safety in most cases, and then be kicked out and have to live somewhere else under the oppression of foreign invaders for eight years. Also, I was just really intrigued by the entire blank space there is in the Bible where Othniel is concerned and what his struggle against the Arameans might have looked like from the inside. And as advance readers already found out, there is a tie to the original Out from Egypt series in this book and I really wanted to explore connections there as well.

 

 

What is your favorite children’s book?

 

I was a prolific reader from the moment I learned how to put letters together and there are so many wonderful books from my childhood that it is really hard to narrow it down to just one. So I will have to say the entire Narnia series are probably my most cherished childhood books. I even have the original set that was given to my parents as a wedding gift in 1971 and those were the books that I read to my kids. But I have very distinct memories of reading them for myself when I was a child and being so enthralled by the way C.S. Lewis lured me into Narnia and built an entire fantastical world inside a wardrobe. And really, is there anything better than Aslan?

 

Favorite vacations, or a dream trip you’d like to take

 

My favorite vacation was absolutely Israel in December 2017. I only got to be there for a week but it was life-changing and enormously inspiring and I am really hoping that I can go back very soon. I also have a really deep-seated desire to go to Ireland and Scotland and am hoping that my family can take a trip there in the next couple of years. We do have tentative plans for Norway next year as well, where my husband has family to visit.

 

Any hobbies you enjoy?

 

Hobbies? What are those? I write. I read. I sleep, sometimes.

 

How did you and your husband meet?

 

We actually met through a mutual friend who was organizing a ski trip with a bunch of her friends from various parts of her life. We met up well in advance of the trip at Red Robin so that we could all get to know each other and my husband, who is very very shy somehow got the courage to ask me out while we were there. And the crazy thing is that in a whirlwind of dating we actually ended up being engaged before we even went on that ski trip! What can I say? We were young and dumb but somehow it worked out, we’ve been married going on 23 years in September! We still go to Red Robin every year on February 15th, the anniversary of the day we met, which also happens to be the day our daughter was born!

 

What is your favorite genre to read and what are some of your favorite books in that genre?

  

I love historical fiction and tend to gravitate towards it, even though I’ll read from any time period because I just love words and devour them all with great joy. Instead of telling you favorite books because I am terrible at narrowing that down, I’ll give you favorite historical authors. I love anything by Jocelyn Green, Joanne Bischof, Roseanna White, Laurie Benton, Laura Franz, Liz Curtis Higgs, Mimi Matthews, and about 5000 others.

 

Has your relationship with God changed at all through writing these stories? If so, could you share an example?

 

I would say that my faith is so much more real now. All the study of history and culture and archaeology that I have done has given me such confirmation that His hand has worked through history in such an intimate way, tying all the billions of threads together from Genesis to Revelation. The fact that he has led me on such a personal path of discovery just reminds me how much he wants me to love him with my heart, my soul, AND my mind. And the Cities of Refuge series, in particular, has illuminated his grace so clearly in my own life, especially looking backward and seeing how he led me lovingly to himself, even when I was so rebellious and self-centered that I could not look past my own nose, and called me to write stories that glorify his Name.

 

What was writing the Cities of Refuge series like? Emotionally and intellectually?

 

Wow, that is a tough question because it really has been a few years since I started and I have been through a lot of life in the meantime. I have been through two cross country moves since then and my kids are now teenagers! I will say that there were times when it was a struggle and I really had to force myself to write because I was fighting against my doubts, fighting against my overwhelming schedule, and fighting my own perfectionism, but it is so cool to look back at these four books and realize that through all those struggles God did something extraordinary with my very human, imperfect efforts. He has led me on an amazing journey that taught me how to be a better writer, how to be a better storyteller, and how to dig deeper into my own wounds in order to make a book connect with readers on a deeper level. And being able to write about how God displayed his perfect balance of grace and justice through the Cities of Refuge has been a privilege.

 

Why Cities of Refuge? Why not another story?

  

The easy answer is that because I was just fascinated. Once I started to do some reading about the cities of refuge, which I really didn’t know much about, I saw the beautiful way that they foreshadowed Jesus our Messiah who is the perfect balance of grace and justice for his people and I just wanted to delve into those characteristics of God so I thought that the cities of refuge was a perfect vehicle to do so! Besides, I’d just fallen in love with Moryiah in Wings of the Wind and felt she needed a story too. Who knew what would come of it all when I was struggling over whether to brand that poor girl’s face!

  

Apart from writing, what is your life like? Family? Fun things you do?

 

Well writing is a pretty big part of my life, it takes up a good chunk of my day. But I also am a homeschool mom to two teenagers, so in between writing chapters and doing all the other things that I have to do in my author life, I am organizing lessons for my kids and coaching them as they drink from the well of knowledge and learn to be intellectually curious like me. And then, of course, I’m doing lots of driving back-and-forth to play practices because my daughter is heavily involved in theater and chauffeuring kids to youth activities on top of all the other basic things that I do as a wife and mother. Since we’ve just moved back to the DFW area we are still settling into a new church home, but at our church in North Carolina I was also on the worship team because I love to sing. But yeah, that’s pretty much it. Other hobbies have pretty much disappeared because of writing, so I’m kind of boring, but it’s worth it!

 

 

What inspired the idea for this story?

 

When I was in Israel a couple of years ago we went to a place called the Ayalon Institute. It was actually a kibbutz (like a co-op farm) that contained an entire underground bullet factory hidden from the British and the Arabs before the 1948 war. They secretly crawled down ladders beneath a commercial laundry room because it was noisy and could cover up the sound of the bullet making machines and many of the people who lived and worked on the kibbutz had no idea what was going on under their feet! Over a number of years, this group of young people managed to make thousands and thousands of bullets and ship them out through covert means, like in milk trucks. Without their sacrifice and ingenuity, the nation of Israel might have been lost when the Arabs attacked en mass. I was enthralled by the stories of miracles that happened during this time and how these young people, men AND women stood up for their people so courageously. I was inspired by this short visit to the underground bunker to write about brave men and women who put their lives on the line for the nation of Israel, both in ancient times and in modern ones. So as you will see as you read, there are a number of places where I talk about covert operations and secret weapons-making and those were directly inspired by that tour of the Ayalon Institute. Malakhi and Eitan would have loved everything about it. Look it up, it’s fascinating! 

 

What are your favorite triggers to get in "creative mode," something that gets your imagination going?

 

I have learned over the years that I have to have a perfect solitude when I write. I cannot listen to music because it distracts my musical mind too much and I want to follow chord changes and lyrics, so I’ve learned that the best thing to keep myself isolated is to listen to brown noise. That way I can just block out everything around me and lose myself in the story. I’ve also found that writing or brainstorming by hand can be a huge jumpstart to my imagination because it uses a different part of my brain. If I get stuck other creative things help too: coloring, singing, drawing, doodling, or just chatting with my writing pals about what might come next! Oh, and coffee always helps.

 

Do you seek out a spiritual theme for each book before you draft, crafting the plot around it? Or does it come to you later as you edit and weave in a theme?

 

That really is different with every book. There are times when I know going in exactly what the spiritual theme is going to be; like with Until the Mountains Fall which was about a prodigal daughter. But there are times when it takes me almost the entire writing of the book to really figure out what it is the characters are trying to say and what it is the Lord is weaving into my story. And there are times when I may know the spiritual journey of one of the main characters but not the other and it untangles itself as I learn who the characters are together, what their wounds are, what their goals are, etc. There have actually been times when I thought it was one spiritual theme and then it completely surprised me by turning into another by the time I was done.

 

 How long did it take to write your first successful book, "Counted With The Stars" ?

 

It took me five years roughly because I was not only doing a lot of research but I was studying how to write a book and how to get published. So it took me a lot longer than it does to write a book now that I kinda-sorta-hopefully know what I’m doing.

 

What do you want your readers to know about you?

 

That I am just a simple girl who loves Jesus and loves to write stories and is absolutely delighted that anyone would want to get to know her imaginary friends. I am beyond blessed to get to hang out in my pajamas and make up stories all day long and somehow people out there want to read them. I am still pinching myself that this is my life!

 

 What are some of your favorite movies? Or do you prefer reading books when you’re not writing?

 

I don’t get to watch movies and TV as much as I used to, my writing world is too full and I will always choose a book first. But I have been known to binge Stranger Things and Fauda (an amazing Israeli TV show that gets my imagination revving). My favorite movies, if I have to choose, are probably About Time and the Princess Bride.

 

How does it feel saying goodbye to characters you’ve been with for so long?

 

It is really so bittersweet because I feel like these people are part of my family and I know them inside and out. So it kind of feels like I’m abandoning them in some way. But they’re always there waiting for me and maybe someday I’ll have a chance to come back and revisit them. And then again I’m also really excited to find new characters and discover their journeys and now that I’m writing this new series I’m having a great time creating a whole new set of people, discovering what makes them tick, and finding all sorts of disastrous and dangerous situations to put them into peril and complicated situations to mess with their heads. I’m kinda evil like that ;)

 

Did you think you would one day be a writer, let alone a published author?

 

I certainly hoped so. I wanted to be a writer since I was a pretty young girl and dreamed of a day when a book of mine would be on a shelf in the library— because to me that was like the ultimate goal. But life took me in some other directions and for many years I thought writing was a pipe dream. So God really surprised me by giving me the long-buried desire of my heart even though I had kind of stopped even hoping, dreaming, or even asking Him for it.

 

If you could only recommend one fiction book, which would it be and why?

 

I would have to say for classics, Jane Eyre because it is my favorite book of all time and no matter how many times I read it I find more ways that Charlotte Brontë was genius and a master of her craft. As for a modern fictional book I would have to say Joanne Bischof’s the Lady and the Lionheart because it made me just weep when I realized what the theme of the book was and as soon as I finished reading it I picked it up and read it all over again the next day and I had never done that before in my entire life. Read it, it’s fantastic.

 

What inspires you to write about the specific biblical characters that you choose to focus your books on?

 

It’s usually because I want to know more about that character or about that time period for my own personal understanding of the Word and to know God’s character better through those journeys. I just love learning about the Bible and about the people who witnessed those events and revel in darting down historical rabbit trails. And I love to let my imagination run wild and see what kind of fictional people I can tangle up with those who actually did walk this earth and experienced the stories we think we know so well.

 

If you could travel back in time to personally experience a Bible story, which one would it be and why?

 

That’s a pretty simple answer for me; other than the resurrection, I would be there for the crossing of the Red Sea because what bigger miracle—other than Jesus rising from the dead in a blaze of pure light—could there be? I sure hope the Lord has that one on video when I get to heaven. Who knows if the way I imagined it was anywhere close to the real thing (because I’m pretty sure Hollywood didn’t get it right) but however it happened it had to have been a mind-blowing thing to witness.

 

To learn more about Connilyn, get free devotionals based on her books, and join her email list, please visit ConnilynCossette.com and follow her on social media:

 

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Check out the entire Cities of Refuge series HERE.

 

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review 2020-03-13 05:00
In the Garden Review and GIVEAWAY!
 

About the Book

 


Book:  In The Garden

Author: Whitaker House Editorial

Genre:  Christian non-fiction, Biblical history, cultural, Biblical reference

Release Date: January 10, 2020

Consider not only the lilies of the field, but all the plants, trees, herbs, shrubs, and flowers that play a role in the biblical narrative through this illustrated guide. From the barley Ruth harvested to the hyssop David craved, from the frankincense the wise men brought to Jesus to the sycamore tree Zacchaeus climbed, the Bible is peppered with allusions to the plants that were a part of daily life in the ancient Near East and in New Testament Israel. With original illustrations, this beautiful gift book clarifies the biblical references to fifty plants and provides delightful new insights into the Word of God. Includes indexes to each plant and its corresponding Scripture references, a calendar of Jewish festivals and the growing seasons in Israel, and tips for growing your own biblically inspired garden.



Click HERE to get your copy!

More from Whitaker House

 

Rather than being a dictionary of the plants mentioned in the Bible, In the Garden, with its original illustrations and plant descriptions, is meant to spark the reader’s spiritual imagination. It is our hope that these pages about the plants of the Bible will prompt your imagination and inform your study of the precious Word of the living God.

My Review

 

Having previously read and reviewed a book about essential oils used in the Bible and their modern applications (“Essential Oils: God’s Extravagant Provision for Your Health” by Teri Secrest), I was eager to further explore the topic of natural health from a Biblical perspective. For reviewing purposes, I was provided with an e-copy of “In the Garden”, and I can only imagine that the hardcover edition is even more delightful.

The organization of “In the Garden” serves to provide maximum ease of use. There are four sections regarding the plants themselves: Trees and Shrubs, Edible Plants, Medicinal and Aromatic Plants, and Flowers. A Bible verse begins each entry, which also includes the Latin, Hebrew, and Greek names of the plant being discussed; to many, perhaps, this may be superfluous information, but as someone who loves languages and etymologies, I have to say that I appreciated it. Gorgeous illustrations give readers a clear visual, which really enhances the reading experience. Each plant’s native location and where it was used is also provided, along with how it relates to Biblical use (usually directly connecting it with the preceding Scripture) and modern use. The book also includes two more interactive segments: Growing Your Own Biblically-Inspired Garden and a Calendar of Jewish Festivals and Growing Seasons. This takes the book beyond an ordinary reference manual and invites readers to grow some of the plants mentioned, while backing the connection with the Bible by illuminating the connection between the Jewish festivals and the typical growing seasons.

Not being particularly well-versed in botany, I learned a lot of interesting facts from this book. I did not realize that the palms referenced in Scripture were date palms, nor did I realize that Solomon seems to be largely credited with the bountiful supply of cedar in Jerusalem. I learned how papyrus is made, and that flax has blue blossoms. I also found the possible explanation of why Jesus rejected the vinegar mixed with gall interesting: because of its painkilling properties. My only criticism is that I would have liked more description about the plants as opposed to the brief information that is given. My favorite aspect of the book is how it often relates a plant to one of God’s promises found in the Bible: “In the same way that foreign imports like cinnamon could be used in the most sacred worship of the Lord, so one day foreign nations would join in worshipping the true God, bowing the knee and confessing that Jesus is Lord (Philippians 2:10-11).”

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.


Blog Stops

 

 

Giveaway

 


To celebrate their tour, Whitaker House is giving away the grand prize package of a $20 Starbucks gift card and finished copy of the book!!
 
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
 

 

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review 2015-02-07 07:37
How a thriller SHOULD be written
Finding Sheba - Heather B. Moore

The world we see that seems so insane is the result of a belief system that is not working. To perceive the world differently, we must be willing to change our belief system, let the past slip away, expand our sense of now, and dissolve the fear in our minds. – William James

The history of the Jews has been written overwhelmingly by scholars of texts – understandably given the formative nature of the Bible and the Talmud. Seeing Jewish history through artifacts, architecture and images is still a young but spectacularly flourishing discipline that’s changing the whole story. – Simon Schama

Undercover special agent for the Israeli Preservation of Cultural Heritage and Ancient Artifacts Omar Zagouri may not agree with all of the decisions of his government regarding their treatment of his Arab neighbors. But protecting his people, and their culture, from jihadists and weapons smugglers means setting aside his misgivings – even when his neighbor dies from internal bleeding when she delivered a baby and couldn’t be taken to a hospital because breaking curfew meant death for her family. No, life in Israel and Palestine can be hell – but this particular undercover operation will be something more than even Omar expected.

It is hard to believe, today, that these lands of bombs and guns, oppression and violence, was once a jewel of the world. A land of beauty and learning, knowledge, wealth and beauty, even amidst the sands and dunes of barren lands. Now buried civilization, forgotten until discoveries, some chance, some planned, reveal the lost beauty and culture of an amazing world.

Recent archaeological discoveries in the Mahram Bilqis (Mahram Bilkees, “Temple of the Moon Deity”) in Mareb, Yeman support the view that the Queen Sheba ruled over southern Arabia, with evidence suggesting the area to be the capital of the Kingdom of Sheba.

But who was she, really? Records are thin, stories sometimes wildly exaggerated. Or are they? For Omar, while working undercover in a tunnel between Israel and Jerusalem, has broken through a wall and into a tomb – a tomb which may very well change the history of the world, and of the underpinnings of Christian, Jewish and Muslim beliefs. The discovery, if authenticated, could throw into question the governmental claim to the Holy Land—and prove the Bible false.

Different countries claim to be the motherland of Sheba – all with their own names for the queen – Bilqis in Yemen, Makeda in Ethiopia, or possibly an Egyptian queen. But these aren’t the real questions, though all these countries are willing to commit the most horrendous crimes in order to prove their claim. But what is even more at risk, and is a political bomb that could explode not only across the Middle East – but across the world. For not only is Sheba brought into question – but also the very existence of King Solomon. And should King Solomon be proven to have not existed, the whole underpinning of Biblical history will be brought into question. For while there are no actual, physical records of the existence of Solomon, a crypt accidentally located by Omar and a group of workers clearing a tunnel may prove that, rather than Solomon, his supposed reign was actually during the time of King Melech Tambariah – son and grandson of Kings Melech Turug and Melech Amariel. And a statue found in Aksum, Ethiopia entwines the names of Tambariah and Azhara – the Queen of Sheba and her King? If so, a chain of political events will destroy everything from the ownership of Israel to the veracity of Christianity itself – Solomon, the Ark of the Covenant – everything.

History’s written from what can be found; what isn’t saved is lost, sunken and rotted, eaten by earth. – Jill Lepore

The Bible holds David and Solomon to be the founding kings of ancient Israel and to be ancestors of Jesus Christ. The Quran portrays all three men as prophets. Yet, though current archaeological efforts are underway, there is no archaeological evidence that King David or his son, King Solomon, ever lived or ruled over Israel. If it could ever be proved that these kings never existed, then Israel’s claim to the Holy Land is mistaken.

Quotes, statements and Biblical history pertaining to Solomon is, not surprisingly, a collection of ideas designed to forward the original beliefs of Christianity. Wisdom, kindness, justice. Whether Solomon does or does not exist, belief is everything – and proving that beliefs are wrong . . .

Finding Sheba is that best possible of all world in the thriller realm. A thoughtful ‘what-if’ story based on meticulous research by an expert in her field. It is very well written, literate, and offers that most rare and beautiful of writing skills – both knowledge and creativity. From ancient history to modern desert tribes still living as they did centuries ago; to the lost city of Ubar, the Atlantis of the Desert, the fabled lost city, celebrated in both the Koran and “A Thousand and One Arabian Nights” as the center of the lucrative frankincense trade for 3,000 years before the birth of Christ, (and recently found by satellite imagery – how cool is that?) reality and supposition blends and turns, highlighting the darkest of history, the cruelties of the modern day, and religions and beliefs based in self mutilation and torture, mahogany and brutality, cannibals and kings.

The so-called lessons of history are for the most part the rationalizations of the victors. History is written by the survivors. – Max Lerner

And when whole religions, belief systems, political systems – hell, as Douglas Adams would have it, Life, The Universe, and Everything – relies upon unsubstantiated and tales written by the victor, well the rationalizations and politics may very well end up standing on their heads.

“Just believe everything I tell you, and it will all be very, very simple.’
“Ah, well, I’m not sure I believe that.” ― Douglas Adams, Life, the Universe and Everything

I received Finding Sheba from the publisher in return for a realistic review. If you are at all interested in Middle Eastern history and the questions of whether or not Biblical history truly is “history” I can’t recommend this book highly enough for an unusual, beautifully creative thriller.

Source: soireadthisbooktoday.com
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review 2014-11-01 18:35
Everything: The Untold Story of The Rich Young Ruler by Richard A. Hackett Jr.

 

Have you often wondered how the stories in the Bible relate to today’s world? I, for one, have done that many times. Many times I’ve tried to draw parallel lines between today and yesterday. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. But within the pages of this book Addi ben Zuriel, the central character, brings new understanding to an old story.

 

In the Bible Jesus tells this young man, Addi, that in order to find eternal life he (Addi) should sell all of his possessions and follow the Lord. Of course Addi is skeptical since it is he, along with an elite band of Pharisees, who are seemingly preparing for a great leader in the guise of their Messiah to arise and with a vast army break the people free from the chains of Rome’s rule.

 

What follows is the story of how Addi comes to accept Jesus as the Messiah; it also takes Addi quite some time to reailze that the ‘new world order’ is not to be of this world but a kingdom of the heart. Through the perils and intrigues of a Biblical Jerusalem at Passover, we follow Addi as he in turn follows Jesus through the Passover and ultimately through the crucifixion. We become friends with the disciples and with Jesus’s mother Mary.

 

I wish the Bible could be retold in a manner similar to this book. It is easy to read and understand. For me, it was also easy to see the amount of research that has gone into this tome. And while it can easily be read in a day or two I took several weeks to finish it, allowing myself the time to absorb the personal meanings. It is a book rich in detail yet easily understood.

 

I look forward to reading another book by Richard Hackett. Note: This Kindle edition did have several typos, however, not enough to interfere with the enjoyment of the story.

Please note that all proceeds from the sale of Mr. Hackett’s books go to fund the work of SeaMercy, a non-profit organization that brings healthcare to the remote islands of the South Pacific. www.seamercy.org

Source: marionmarchetto.com/wp/blog
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review 2013-12-04 12:10
Bordering on the Prosperity Doctrine
Joshua and the Flow of Biblical History - Francis August Schaeffer

There was a time that I thought that Francis Schaeffer was wonderful in that he brought a new perspective to the Bible that many of the other tired old commentators generally didn't (and these commentators were generally restricted to the Australian Anglican Church). However my position changed when I read a testimony by his son where he attacked his father's theological position in that it was drifting close to the position of the fundamentalist right wing American church. The thing with Schaeffer (and I have mentioned this previously) is that his position was during the lead up to the modern fundamenalist position, however we must remember that he was actually quite welcoming to people and was also very much in favour of environmentalism.

 

That does not mean that I agree with all of his theology. While we see eye to eye with the theology of environmentalism, we do not see eye to eye with a lot of his other theology, and this book is a case in point. When I first read it I quite liked it, however I did not see the underlying problems within the book at the time. This book is basically a commentary on the book of Joshua and the interesting thing is that there are a lot of comparisons between this book and the book of Acts. However I do not think that we can force New Testament theology onto this book because we are talking about different times and different stages of salvation history.

 

The major concern that I have with this book is that it seems to lead towards a form of prosperity doctrine: if you keep God's laws then you will prosper, and if you reject God's laws then you will not. In a materialistic sense this simply does not work because there are many good and faithful Christians out there that suffer from the evils of this world. Further, if we take it on a corporate, national level, as is also possible, there are also problems that arise because there are a lot of wicked and despotic governments that are also prospering. Further, I am also hesitant to accept the idea that in the past fifty years we have gone from a God fearing people to a wicked and rebellious people.

 

The first thing that I will speak of is the idea of God's law. Once again, Schaeffer seems to get caught up with two things here: sexual promiscuity and abortion (which the section of murder is a subtle attack against). However, the essence of God's law seems to have been missed, and to understand the essence of God's law I believe that Micah 6:8 'he has told you, O man, what is good and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God'. The context of this passage is that despite all of the sacrifices and the outward appearances of goodness, the heart itself was rotten because the people were self absorbed and wicked. We see a similar thing in Jesus' time where when it came to the law the Pharasees were impeccable, yet Christ still rebuked them harshly for their outward appearances and their wicked and self-centred thoughts. Schaeffer, and many others, speak of this post-Christian world and claim that previously that our society was based upon a biblical foundation, however that biblical foundation was little more that a thin veneer that supported colonialism, oppression, economic inequality, and wholesale genocide of non-European cultures simply because they did not conform to our understanding of a civilised society (not to mention slavery and the over use of the death penalty). If every human life is sacred why then are the authorities given the right to execute people because they have committed a crime? In fact our society is so caught up with the idea of punishing the evil doers that we have actually forgotten the idea of mercy (and in fact have no idea of what mercy actually means).

 

I see it all the time at work when people are offended at the suggestion that they are at fault and the idea of innocence gets thrown around so often that we actually forget what it means. It appears that there is a class of society that simply does not understand or accept responsibility for their actions, and this is nothing new. When Australia was colonised the Aboriginals were considered to be little more than animals and as such were hunted and killed for sport. One early pastor at a large city church has been claimed to have been this great evangelical because he established a church that has maintained its evangelical stance for over 150 years, yet the current leadership ignore the fact that back in the early days of colonisation there must have been some complicity with the colonists who killed the aboriginals. In fact in one book that I read about aboriginal Christianity, this church actually garnered a mention in which the aboriginal author commented on how he did not feel welcome or comfortable in this church.

 

I may be sounding like I am being too harsh here but we must remember that we cannot forget where we have come from and Christians cannot hide behind a thin veneer of respectability yet hide themselves away from society and set themselves above the world as a whole. We spend enormous amounts of time attacking atheists and decrying the situation that our society has slipped into however we have completely forgotten from where we originally came.

Source: www.goodreads.com/review/show/777108563
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