Thursday, April 30, 2009

travels around the internet

Great post on blasphemy by Phil Nugent over at

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

CFBA: Nothing But Trouble

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Nothing But Trouble

Tyndale House Publishers (May 1, 2009)


Susan May Warren


Susan grew up in Wayzata, a suburb of Minneapolis, and became an avid camper from an early age. Her favorite fir-lined spot is the north shore of Minnesota is where she met her husband, honeymooned and dreamed of living.

The north woods easily became the foundation for her first series, The Deep Haven series, based on a little tourist town along the shores of Lake Superior. Her first full-length book, Happily Ever After, became a Christy Award Finalist published in 2004 with Tyndale/Heartquest.

As an award winning author, Susan returned home in 2004, to her native Minnesota after serving for eight years with her husband and four children as missionaries with SEND International in Far East Russia. She now writes full time from Minnesota's north woods and the beautiful town that she always dreamed of living in.

You can sample a chapter of each and every one of Susan's novels, on her website, HERE.


PJ Sugar knows three things for sure:

1) After traveling the country for ten years hoping to shake free from the trail of disaster that's become her life, she needs a fresh start.

2) The last person she wants to see when she heads home for her sister's wedding is Boone-her former flame and the reason she left town.

3) Her best friend's husband absolutely did not commit the first murder Kellogg, Minnesota, has seen in more than a decade.

What PJ doesn't know is that when she starts digging for evidence, she'll uncover much more than she bargained for-a deadly conspiracy, a knack for investigation, and maybe, just maybe, that fresh start she's been longing for.

It's not fair to say that trouble happens every time PJ Sugar is around, but it feels that way when she returns to her home town, looking for a fresh start. Within a week, her former teacher is murdered and her best friend's husband is arrested as the number-one suspect. Although the police detective investigating the murder—who also happens to be PJ's former flame—is convinced it's an open-and-shut case, PJ's not so sure. She begins digging for clues in an effort to clear her friend’s husband and ends up reigniting old passions, uncovering an international conspiracy, and solving a murder along the way. She also discovers that maybe God can use a woman who never seems to get it right

If you would like to read the first chapter of Nothing But Trouble, go HERE

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Korean Christian Sport Film: Champion

Saw a film called Champion which really touched my heart. I don't much watch sports -- except the baseball playoffs-- and if you were to tell me that a film is a sport film I probably wouldn't go. But i seem to have a lot of sport films as my favorites. They deal with the human spirit and that always touches me. I especially love sport films with religious issues such as Lagaan, Chariots of Fire. But I really really really love foreign sport Christian films such as Endurance (a docu about an ethiopian olympic runner) and now Champion. This one is about a Korean Christian boxer Duk Koo Kim who was killed in the ring by Boom Boom Mancini Jr. Talk about heart-breaking! Is there anything more heartbreaking in film than an elderly mother looking down at her dead son? Heck,. not even an elderly father looking down at his dead daughter could break the heart as those sad-faced mothers do.

Here's a review of the DVD

Monday, April 27, 2009

CFBA: A Vote of Confidence

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

A Vote Of Confidence

Zondervan (April 2009)


Robin Lee Hatcher


Robin Lee Hatcher discovered her vocation as a novelist after many years of reading everything she could put her hands on, including the backs of cereal boxes and ketchup bottles. The winner of the Christy Award for Excellence in Christian Fiction (Whispers from Yesterday), the RITA Award for Best Inspirational Romance (Patterns of Love and The Shepherd's Voice), two RT Career Achievement Awards (Americana Romance and Inspirational Fiction), and the RWA Lifetime Achievement Award, Robin is the author of over 50 novels, including Catching Katie, named one of the Best Books of 2004 by the Library Journal.

Robin enjoys being with her family, spending time in the beautiful Idaho outdoors, reading books that make her cry, and watching romantic movies. She is passionate about the theater, and several nights every summer, she can be found at the outdoor amphitheater of the Idaho Shakespeare Festival, enjoying Shakespeare under the stars. She makes her home outside of Boise, sharing it with Poppet the high-maintenance Papillon


In A Vote of Confidence, the stage is set for some intriguing insight into what it was like during 1915 to be a woman in a “mans’ world.”

Guinevere Arlington is a beautiful young woman determined to remain in charge of her own life, For seven years, Gwen has carved out a full life in the bustling town of Bethlehem Springs, Idaho, where she teaches piano and writes for the local newspaper. Her passion for the town, its people, and the surrounding land prompt Gwen to run for mayor. After all, who says a woman can’t do a man’s job?

But stepping outside the boundaries of convention can get messy. A shady lawyer backs Gwen, believing he can control her once she’s in office. A wealthy newcomer throws his hat into the ring in an effort to overcome opposition to the health resort he’s building north of town. When the opponents fall in love, everything changes, forcing Gwen to face what she may have to lose in order to win.

If you would like to read the first chapter of A Vote Of Confidence, go HERE

Korean YA Fiction Everything Asian

by Sung J. Woo

Published by St. Martin's Press, Thomas Dunne Books; 1 edition (April 14, 2009)
336 pages
ISBN-10: 0312538855
ISBN-13: 978-0312538859

Here's the blurb:

A funny and incisive Korean family coming-of-age novel in stories about a 12-year-old boy who moves with his mother and sister from Korea to work at their father's Asian gift shop in a New Jersey strip mall--and the growing pains that ensue.

In this charming tale of family, community and the struggle for understanding, young Korean immigrant David Kim learns to acculturate to a new American life. After five years on their own in Seoul, 12-year-old David, his big sister and mother reunite with his father in Oakbridge, N.J. Now known as Harry, David's father has a gift shop in a rundown strip mall called Peddlers Town. Though told largely by a grown-up David, some chapters switch to a third-person voice to examine other characters, including members of the Kim family and the other store owners at Peddler's Town (including an American with a cross-dressing son and a down-on-his-luck detective). Woo eschews immigrant cliches to focus on complicated familial relationships and surprising, sympathetic characters; alternating between humor and melancholy, Woo's text strikes a true chord while drawing readers into its strange, strip-mall world.

And here it is on barnes and noble

Author Blurb:
SUNG J. WOO's short stories and essays have appeared in The New York Times, McSweeney’s, and KoreAm Journal. His short film was an audience choice screening of the NYC Downtown Short Film Festival 2008. A graduate of Cornell University with an MFA from New York University, he lives in Washington, New Jersey.

I don't think he's a Christian but heck, he's a you know how it is. Spread the word.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Interview with Karina Fabian, Roman Catholic Fiction author

What is your name?

Karina Fabian
Where were you born?

Glenwood Springs, CO.
Where are you from?

I lived in Colorado until I graduated from College; since then, I've lived in Italy, Japan, Wyoming, Rhode Island, Virginia and North Dakota. We're moving to California soon. So I'm from Colorado, but wherever I am is home.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I don’t think there was any one moment. I've always thought of myself as a writer, even as a child. I first considered myself a professional writer sometime around 1996, when I was working for pay with assignments and steady work.
What books have most influenced your life most?

The Bible, obviously. It's the foundation of my faith. The Wrinkle in Time Trilogy by Madeleine L'Engle will always be closest to my heart. Her concepts of interdependence, of faith working in our lives, of the power of love--all themes I still believe in, both in life and in my fiction. Indirectly, Heinlein has also influenced my thinking, not because I've read so many of his works, but because my husband has, and it's molded his way of looking at the world and by association, mine, too. It's a nice combination of soul, heart, and mind.
In my writing: Hitchkiker's Guide to the Galaxy, the Discworld novels, and the MythInc novels, as well as the Dresden Files, and the Valdemar series.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

Terry Pratchett. If I can be half the writer--half the thinker--he was, I'd be content. It's tragic that his incredible, quirky mind is succumbing to Alzheimer's.

What book are you reading now?

I Loved Thy Creation, a collection of short fiction by Maya Bohnhoff. Maya wrote a story for Rob's and my anthology, Infinite Space, Infinite God, and I've been a fan ever since.
Do you see writing as a career?

Not a well-paying one, but yes. I put in eight- to twelve-hour days between marketing and writing. I love what I'm doing. I hope someday I can make a reasonable amount of spending cash from writing fiction, but if we need money, I can jump into non-fiction. Right now, we do fairly well in the budget, and I can be a "kept woman." I'm very aware of how blessed that makes me.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

Actually, no. I'm floored at the response Magic, Mensa and Mayhem has gotten. I'm just hoping I can live up to the standard it set!

What is the most challenging aspect of your vocation?

Making myself sit down and concentrate on writing, especially when the characters won't talk to me. I'm a seat-of-the-pants writer, so when things stall, it's so easy to go do e-mail, or marketing, or Guild work or....

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

Terry Pratchett and Jim Butcher. I love how they can put such a twist in the ordinary. Terry varies from dry wit to laugh-out-loud funny, while Jim Butcher's Dresden novels fascinate.

Did you learn anything from your career path?

--Learn to take Rejection. It's seldom personal.
--Butt in Chair, Hands on Keyboard. (BICHOK)
--If you want folks to read your books, you must market.
--Use your head. There are plenty of people out there willing to take advantage of a star-struck author hoping to get published. Do your research.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to our readers?

I want to thank you, Carole, for hosting me on your blog. I'm not talking too much about my book because I'm on a 30-day tour, and everyone else has asked me about it. So please check out the tour stops at for more.
If you register on, you get a free story, "Amateurs," which received Honorable Mention in the Year's Best Fantasy and Horror 2008, and a subscription to "A Dragon's Eye View."

How long does it take you to write a book?

A month when I'm motivated. Right now, I have one that isn't wanting to come together, and it's taking a lot longer. I need more BICHOK

What do you like to do when you’re not working?

Play Munchkin with the kids (card games which are hilarious and require some tactical and strategic thinking); watch sci-fi; keep a clean house. (Sadly, I don't do that one often enough. )

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

I've written four, only one of which is published so far--Magic, Mensa and Mayhem. Live and Let Fly comes out later this year. Both are DragonEye, PI, novels. The other two are more standard fantasies and are under consideration by a publisher.
In addition, Rob and I edited two anthologies--Infinite Space, Infinite God and Leaps of Faith We just got the contract of ISIG II.
I love the DragonEye, PI novels. I think Live and Let Fly would just eek out the other as my favorite, because the adventure is more complex, and there are some truly stellar scenes in it. It also has a serious side that Magic, Mensa and Mayhem doesn't (and doesn’t need.)

What is your favorite aspect of your job?

That funny scene or line that keeps me laughing for hours. Today, it was the thought of a Faerie general trying to wrap his mind around a UN peacekeeping operation. Think Medieval warfare meets UN diplomacy. I'm hoping to write the story as a flash fiction for Memorial Day or the 4th of July as a tribute to our troops.

How do you think of yourself in connection to your community? How does community affect your writing?

My community is online--the Catholic Writers Guild , the Lost Genre Guild , several wonderful Yahoo groups and The Writers Chat Room . I've learned from many people in them, taught a few, gotten leads and advice, critique and support, and made some fast friends.

Are you very political?

Yes and no. I have some strong opinions, but I also do not do a lot of political campaigning or discussion, except where some key issues are concerned. I am of the belief that the Founding Fathers build our system to withstand the pressures of tyrants and idiot as well as make the best of the good leaders we get.

How does your spirituality affect your work?

It informs everything I do. Oftentimes, it comes through without my conscious thought.

Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?

I do on occasion. In my sci-fi, which has Christian or Catholic themes, I get appreciation for the way the writers wove the two together so well, and requests for more. In the DragonEye, I usually get folks gushing about Vern or telling me how hard they laughed.

What’s your motto?

Fiction, Faith and Fun!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Time Cavern by Todd A Fonseca

"The Time Cavern" series
by Todd A Fonseca. visit:
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Paperback: 162 pages
Publisher: Borders Personal Publishing (June 23, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1605520101
ISBN-13: 978-1605520100Here's the blurb:
When ten-year-old Aaron moved from the big city to the middle of Amish country, he felt transported to a different and simpler time and place. But after finding a faded and long forgotten diary page of a boy gone missing over one hundred years earlier, Aaron began an adventure more wondrous and exciting than he could have ever imagined. Befriended by a local farm girl named Jake, together they search for answers to this century long mystery and uncover the secrets of an astounding cavern that will take them to the edge of time itself.

Friday, April 24, 2009

BOOK: A Different Life -- Growing up Learning Disabled and other Adventures

A different life
by Quinn Bradlee
240 pages
PublicAffairs (March 30, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1586481894
ISBN-13: 978-1586481896

Here's the blurb:

Born with a hole in his heart that required invasive surgery when he was only three months old, Quinn Bradlee suffered from a battery of illnesses—seizures, migraines, fevers—from an early age. But it wasn’t until he was fourteen that Bradlee was correctly diagnosed with Velo-Cardio-Facial Syndrome (VCFS), a widespread, little-understood disorder that is expressed through a wide range of physical ailments and learning disabilities.
Ten percent of the population is affected by a learning disability, but few of us understand what being learning disabled (LD) is really like. In this funny, moving, and often irreverent book, Bradlee tells his own inspirational story of growing up as an LD kid—and of doing so as the child of larger-than-life, formidably accomplished parents: long-time Washington Post executive editor Ben Bradlee and bestselling author Sally Quinn. From his difficulties reading social cues, to his cringe-worthy loss of sexual innocence, Bradlee describes the challenges and joys of living “a different life” with disarming candor and humor. By the end of A Different Life he will have become, if not your best friend, one of your favorite people.

He's founded this online support group for teenagers with disabilities, kind of like a facebook for disabled teens where they won't feel rejected.

He's got a group on Facebook

A bit of an excerpt here

Thursday, April 23, 2009


Am honestly wondering why I write so many stories where brothers fight each other. I think I must've been affected by Raul Julia's King Lear in some ways. Saw it back in the day. Cause I have no brothers. I'm sure my own issues affect my writing but why ALWAYS the warring brothers, one of whom is of questionable birth?

Saw "Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont" yesterday. Again. Needed to. It's a great little flick. There is such a kindness to the characters that sitting in their presence is kinda healing. Weird, uh? But that's how I feel. A movie or a book creates a kind of world or presence and if one likes that world or the people in that world, it just heals the soul. But realized yet again that I really like movies with very kind people in it. (Heck, I think most of my characters have a very bad case of kindness...almost a weird flaw.) The book was written by Elizabeth Taylor, a British librarian/writer. The young character is very very kind. And that's perhaps my big problem with the film. (I'm gonna treat myself to the book when I get the marvel money because the story was so entrancing.) But the screenwriter makes a decision -- I think it was the screenwriter-- and focuses mostly on Mrs Palfrey, not much on the young kid. So one really only gets glimpses of his life...and one wonders why he (25 year old) would spend so much time with an old woman. I wish they had shown his loneliness more, his need for a mother, etc.

The weird thing is that I researched it on the internet and it seems the movie is sweeter than the book. The book has a grimness and a mental acuity about it and shows that perhaps the boy was doing it out of generosity and charity and loneliness. Either way I think I'll like the book as well. Because I like emotional complexities in books. (Lord knows what movie folks will do to my books when they make them into movies. As long as they don't make Satha in Wind Follower light-skinned, I'll be cool.)

She's written other books like Angel, and In a Summer Season. So I'm glad I've discovered her. Supposedly her writing and ability to talk about the human soul is wonderful. So will definitely treat myself.

U2's Bono's article in the NY Times: Do you know where your soul is? Great article (You gotta sign in to read it)

Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont
by Elizabeth Taylor

'A wonderful novelist' JILLY COOPER 'How skilfully and with what peculiar exhilaration she negotiated the minefield of the human heart' JONATHAN KEATES 'The unsung heroine of British twentieth-century fiction' REBECCA ABRAMS, NEW STATESMAN 'A funny and honest examination of the casual cruelty we can sometimes inflict upon each other' DAILY MAIL 'I envy those readers who are coming to her work for the first time. Theirs will be an unexpected pleasure, and they will - if they read her as she wanted to be read - learn much that will surprise them' PAUL BAILEY

Product Description
On a rainy Sunday in January, the recently widowed Mrs Palfrey arrives at the Claremont Hotel where she will spend her remaining days. Her fellow residents are magnificently eccentric and endlessly curious, living off crumbs of affection and snippets of gossip. Together, upper lips stiffened, they fight off their twin enemies: boredom and the Grim Reaper.
Then one day Mrs Palfrey strikes up an unexpected friendship with Ludo, a handsome young writer, and learns that even the old can fall in love...

About the Author
Elizabeth Taylor (1912-1975) was born and educated in Reading. After leaving school she worked as a governess and later in a library. She lived much of her married life in the village of Penn in Buckinghamshire.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

CFBA: Elisha's Bones

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Elisha's Bones

(Bethany House March 1, 2009)


Don Hoesel


Don Hoesel was born and raised in Buffalo, NY but calls Spring Hill, TN home. He is a Web site designer for a Medicare carrier in Nashville, TN. He has a BA in Mass Communication from Taylor University and has published short fiction in Relief Journal.

He lives in Spring Hill with his wife and two children.

Elisha's Bones is his first novel.


Every year, professor of antiquities Jack Hawthorne looks forward to the winter break as a time to hide away from his responsibilities. Even if just for a week or two. But this year, his plans are derailed when he's offered almost a blank check from a man chasing a rumor.

Billionaire Gordon Reese thinks he knows where the bones of the prophet Elisha are--bones that in the Old Testament brought the dead back to life. The bones of the prophet once raised the dead to life... but they vanished from history in a whisper.

Bankrolled by a dying man of unlimited means, Hawthorne's hunt spans the globe and leads him into a deadly conspiracy older than the church itself. A born skeptic, Jack doesn't think much of the assignment but he could use the money, so he takes the first step on a chase for the legendary bones that will take him to the very ends of the earth.

But he's not alone. Joined with a fiery colleague, Esperanza Habilla, they soon discover clues to a shadowy organization whose long-held secrets have been protected . . . at all costs. And he soon discovers those sworn to keep the secret of the bones will do anything to protect them. As their lives are threatened again and again, the real race is to uncover the truth before those chasing them hunt them down.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Elisha's Bones, go HERE

Chang-Rae Lee, Korean-American fiction author

Chang-Rae Lee, is a Korean author whose fiction delves into the meaning of acculturation, double allegiances, isolation, and cultural alienation.

He's the author of several books including Native Speaker, Aloft, A Gesture: Life

Here's an interview

And here's another

And yet another

He's had his share of controversy ...but that tends to happen with all minority writers who attempt to speak their hearts honestly.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Bitter Chocolate by Carol Off

Publisher: Vintage Canada
Format: Trade Paperback, 336 pages
Pub Date: September 2007
Price: $22.00
ISBN: 978-0-679-31320-5 (0-679-31320-6)


Here's the blurb:
Award-winning author and broadcaster Carol Off reveals the fascinating – and often horrifying – stories behind our desire for all things chocolate.

Whether it’s part of a Hallowe’en haul, the contents of a heart-shaped box or just a candy bar stashed in a desk drawer, chocolate is synonymous with pleasures both simple and indulgent. But behind the sweet image is a long history of exploitation. In the eighteenth century the European aristocracy went wild for the Aztec delicacy. In later years, colonial territories were ravaged and slaves imported in droves as native populations died out under the strain of feeding the world’s appetite for chocolate.

Carol Off traces the origins of the cocoa craze and follows chocolate’s evolution under such overseers as Hershey, Cadbury and Mars. In Côte d’Ivoire, the West African nation that produces nearly half of the world’s cocoa beans, she follows a dark and dangerous seam of greed. Against a backdrop of civil war and corruption, desperately poor farmers engage in appalling practices such as the indentured servitude of young boys – children who don’t even know what chocolate tastes like.

Off shows that, with the complicity of Western governments and corporations, unethical practices continue to thrive. Bitter Chocolate is a social history, a passionate investigative account and an eye-opening exposé of the workings of a multi-billion dollar industry that has institutionalized misery as it served our pleasures.

Here's a video interview on youtube

Monday, April 20, 2009

CFBA: The Reluctant Cowgirl

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Reluctant Cowgirl

Barbour Publishing (April 2009)


Christine Lynxwiler


Chrisitine lives with her husband and two precious daughters in the foothills of the beautiful Ozark Mountains in her home state of Arkansas. Her greatest earthly joy is her family and, aside from doing God’s will, spending time with them is her top priority.

She recently took a break from writing romance to pen a Christmas story with a twist. Her Mom Lit novella, My True Love Gave to Me, is part of a 2 in 1 anthology from Barbour entitled All Jingled Out. It’s also included in Simply Christmas, a 4 in 1 Barbour anthology. One of my holiday highlights was seeing Simply Christmas at Sam’s Club a few weeks before Christmas.

She has written two other novellas, both romance, which are included in Barbour anthologies, City Dreams, and Prairie County Fair and a serial for the Heartsong Presents book club newsletter – The Carousel Horse. The Carousel Horse can be read in its entirety on the Heartsong website, and you can read excerpts from all of her other books on her website, HERE

In 2003, Christine was honored by being voted #2 Favorite New Author by the Heartsong Presents Book Club members!


Actress Crytal McCord gave up the closeness of her big family in order to make a name for herself on the New York City stage. But when life in the Big Apple turns sour, she follows a country road back to her parents Arkansas ranch.

The last thing she expects to find in cowboy country is a new leading man. Still, she can't help but imagine handsome rancher Jeremy Buchanan in the role.

Unfortunately, Jeremy's been burned by Crystal's type before. Or has he? Every time he thinks he knows her, the multi-faceted woman surprises him. Will the reluctant pair allow their hearts to guide them, or will their common stubborn pride keep them miles apart?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Reluctant Cowgirl, go HERE

Friday, April 17, 2009

CFBA: Boneman's Daughter

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Boneman's Daughters

Center Street (April 14, 2009)


Ted Dekker


Ted is the son of missionaries John and Helen Dekker, whose incredible story of life among headhunters in Indonesia has been told in several books. Surrounded by the vivid colors of the jungle and a myriad of cultures, each steeped in their own interpretation of life and faith, Dekker received a first-class education on human nature and behavior. This, he believes, is the foundation of his writing.

After graduating from a multi-cultural high school, he took up permanent residence in the United States to study Religion and Philosophy. After earning his Bachelor's Degree, Dekker entered the corporate world in management for a large healthcare company in California. Dekker was quickly recognized as a talent in the field of marketing and was soon promoted to Director of Marketing. This experience gave him a background which enabled him to eventually form his own company and steadily climb the corporate ladder.

Since 1997, Dekker has written full-time. He states that each time he writes, he finds his understanding of life and love just a little clearer and his expression of that understanding a little more vivid. Dekker's body of work encompassing seven mysteries, three thrillers and ten fantasies includes Heaven's Wager, When Heaven Weeps, Thunder of Heaven, Blessed Child, A Man Called Blessed, Blink, Thr3e, The Circle Trilogy (Black, Red, White), Obsessed, Renegade, and Chaos.


Would you kill an innocent man to save your daughter?

They call him BoneMan, a serial killer who’s abducted six young women. He’s the perfect father looking for the perfect daughter, and when his victims fail to meet his lofty expectations, he kills them by breaking their bones and leaving them to die.

Intelligence officer Ryan Evans, on the other hand, has lost all hope of ever being the perfect father. His daughter and wife have written him out of their lives.

Everything changes when BoneMan takes Ryan’s estranged daughter, Bethany, as his seventh victim. Ryan goes after BoneMan on his own.

But the FBI sees it differently. New evidence points to the suspicion that Ryan is BoneMan. Now the hunter is the hunted, and in the end, only one father will stand.

If your an avid Dekker fan, and would like wallpaper and counters for your blog, go HERE.

You can listen to an audio clip HERE

Watch the VIDEO:

If you would like to read the first chapter of Boneman's Daughters, go HERE

Thursday, April 16, 2009

RIF’s 2009 Read with Kids Challenge

RIF’s 2009 Read with Kids Challenge is aimed at bringing attention about the importance of adults reading with children. This year they raised their goal to 5 million minutes read with kids, over 3 months. Check it out at

Here’s more information/background on the Challenge

Make sure to visit the “Happy Passengers” area to learn what children’s books bring back happy memories. The “Fun for Kids” area has activity pages, online stories, and games.

Their honorary team captains include children’s book authors Mo Willems, Sandra Boynton, and more. Also on board TV personalities Al Roker, Jerry Seinfeld and others.

Latest Smoke Signals newsletter from Wiconi

Wiconi International

Smoke Signals from R. Twiss - Cool Stuff
Richard Twiss
Apr 16, 2009

Hau kola,

I trust you are well as spring finally descends upon us. Kath and I are looking forward to new changes coming our way. Now approaching 55 with 33 years of marriage under our belts we continue to grow together as friends and lovers. We’ll be all the way empty nesters soon – NICE! Wiconi is, after our first twelve years, reinventing itself as we look to the future. Got to find and make room for the next generation of leaders to take over in time. I am slowly moving toward completing my doctoral dissertation this year, which will then become my next book with a few more following. Traveling more selectively, encouraging leadership through relationships and seeking new non-churchy, non-hierarchical and corporate organizational models to serve our vision is part of what lies ahead. Thank you very much for your prayers, friendship and financial support in these lean times. Here’s some cool stuff happening.

George Fox Seminary, in partnership with NAIITS, is sponsoring a very important learning experience for those interested in developing a more holistic approach to creation stewardship, other views of biblical community building and serving among Native people. Randy Woodley, Terry LeBlanc, Robert Francis, George Fox faculty, local tribal leaders and myself will be sharing. Topics of deconstructing western dualism, developing a more holistic view of land, creation, agriculture and the environment and learning how Shalom informs us how to live in harmony with all of creation. For more information visit for details.

This July 30 - August 2 we will host our fifth annual powwow and family camp, which is the most dynamic, fun and helpful gathering we host these days. It will again be held in Turner, OR at the Aldersgate Conference Center. We are seeking generous gifts to provide scholarships so financially needy families can attend. We are negotiating reduced prices with the center to make attending more affordable to all. Registration details and prices will be on our website in a week.

New Wine’s Spring Conference on faith and the arts, “Created to Create” will be held on Saturday, April 25th, 2009, at Mosaic in Portland. The conference will highlight the need to see how the Arts are vital to Gospel witness in the twenty-first century, and will draw attention to current artistic expressions in the region and beyond. I am the closing keynote speaker. Visit for details.

The North American Institute of Indigenous Theological Studies is hosting is fourth symposium this June 4-6 in Langley, British Columbia at Trinity Western University. This is a tremendous opportunity to learn from leading Native pastors, scholars and theologians about rethinking what missions, discipleship and pastoring means when it is informed by a native worldview orientation. This year there will be a special focus given to making space for the next generation of Indigenous leaders. Indigenous Church: Expressions of Community is the theme of this year’s symposium. For more information visit and look on the home page for the NAIITS info.

I have been invited once again to participate in a gathering with African national and international scholars, theologians, pastors and leaders to dialogue about post-colonial Christianity in Africa for the next 50 years. It is the same conversation Indigenous believers are having around the world, including here in North America. I am praying about the necessary funds to make the trip. Please visit - for details about this unique event

Two weekends ago Kath and I hosted our national staff and board members for our second Wiconi family retreat on Whidbey Island near Seattle. We are so grateful to have such amazing people that Creator has allowed us to walk together with. Thirty-one people made the trip from as far away as Flagstaff, AZ, Winnipeg, MB, Albuquerque, NM and Oregon and Washington.

As we look to the next ten years, we are challenged about the kind of organizational structure that will best enable us to fulfill our vision of communicating the Gospel among our First Nations people. We are convinced that a conventional corporate church ministry model does not suit us, yet struggled to find language to describe both who and what we are.

Our vision has brought us to consider again the Lakota concept of tiyospaye (tea-yo-shpa-yea) “extended family.” In many First Nations cultures extended family describes notions of kinship. We are a family beyond the “nuclear family” concept. It is much broader and more inclusive concept that stretches beyond “blood” relatives into the village and beyond. We hope to engage with one another in tiyospaye as an organizational model for Wiconi and see where we are in relationship with one another as a way to collectively fulfill our calling to make Jesus known in ways that transforms people, families and communities.

Why: Removing Barriers - Building Bridges

In what ways will we genuinely bring hope into the brokenness in our Native communities that results in fulfilling our mission of…

Encouraging People, Strengthening Families and Building Healthy Communities in the Spirit of Jesus

In the next three years, we’ll do our mission together, as co-workers in the following three areas in a way that attempts to match our talk with our walk

The What: Three main expressions/ strategies

Local Rootedness – In 2009 we will strategically focus on becoming rooted in our local native communities (every city/region where our staff live) in the Portland/Vancouver and the Pacific Northwest region.

· I will become an active, participating member of Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians tribal leadership organization.

· I will become an active “official” participating member of the Native American Youth and Family Center in Portland.

· Mending Wings and Wiconi International will organize and co-host an annual Northwest Native Youth Conference beginning in June 2011.

National Presence – Through speaking engagements (churches, conferences, seminars) and participation in various ministry and organizational initiatives Wiconi will maintain a strong national presence.

· I will continue co-hosting the NCAI (National Congress of American Indians) Native Prayer Breakfast.

· I will continue serving as Vice-chair and board member NAIITS (Native American Institute of Theological Studies).

· Continue our annual Living Waters Powwow and Family Camp in the Northwest and in partnership with those wanting to host one in their region.

· I will co-lead our Rosebud Reservation Cross-cultural Immersion course in partnership with Sioux Falls Seminary and NAIITS.

International Influence

· My participation as a “Keeper of the Vision” of the WCGIP (World Christian Gathering of Indigenous People) Movement

· Dancing Our Prayers Teams Cultural Outreaches

· Writing books, articles, and teaching materials to support local indigenous “self-theologizing” movements that will be translated into Spanish and French to reach a broader Indigenous audience.

Growing in our faith in Christ is not always clear or predictable. Its more of great adventures into parts unkown at this stage of the emerging indigenous church. Wiconi International is poised to continue playing a significant role in that emergence for the sake of future generations of Native people.

Lila Pilamaya,

Richard Twiss

Wiconi International

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

CFBA: The Secret by Beverly Lewis

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Secret

(Bethany House May 1, 2009)


Beverly Lewis


Not until her own children were well into middle school did Bev seek to publish her work, first in magazines such as Highlights for Children, Dolphin Log, and Guideposts for Kids. Her first book followed in 1993—Mountain Bikes and Garbanzo Beans—presently retitled Big Bad Beans (book #22 in the popular CUL-DE-SAC KIDS series of chapter books—see list of Bev's children's books).

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

Booksellers across the country, and around the world, have spread the word of Bev's tender tales of Plain country life. A clerk in a Virginia bookstore wrote, "Beverly's books have a compelling freshness and spark. You just don't run across writing like that every day. I hope she'll keep writing stories about the Plain people for a long, long time."

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


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

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

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

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

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

Top Ten Christians in Hollywood

Here are a coupla lists of top ten christians in hollywood.

The first

The second

I'm not going to judge who is or who is not a Christian. Some folks might just not be real discerning in their Christianity. And I won't even ponder whether indulging in behavior such as adultery makes a Christian a non-Christian.

Dark Parables: Python

Dreamed I was looking at the clock and saw that it was 9:09 and my son was still home when he should have been in school. I walked to the calendar and saw that it was a Tuesday and that the city calendar listed that Tuesday and many tuesdays of that month as workdays so for some reason the schoolbus couldn't pick up my son. Soon workmen appeared outside my door. They were digging under the house. My son and I stood on the porch and looked at them as they grabbed a large --gigantic!-- python by the tail and pulled it out backwards until they reached its head. I was so surprised. Not really afraid but was definitely a bit tripped out to realize that python had been under my house for so long. I said to the workmen, "Make sure it didn't leave any eggs behind."

Then I kinda felt silly saying that because they seemed to know their business and would know how to find and pick up everything that might be problematical.

I went to bed last night asking why my son was so sick. I've been asking for guidance on this for years. The folks who lived in our house before also had a special ed kid born here. But my mother (my generational house) was into a lot of witchcraft and santeria. And also, I am really committing to keeping my anger issues away. . . especially since the previous dream. The python spirit is the spirit of divination and witchcraft mentioned in ACTS when Paul met that girl who told fortunes. My mother always got into that. I also have been very constricted and I haven't been careful with my thoughts.

Anyway, I feel as if our house -- spiritual, generational, physical-- has been cleansed. In my dreams "workmen" often mean angelic help or the word of God being active at purifying our lives.

So, went googling for python spirit on the internet.

Found these

A great dream on python here

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Coming Back to Myself

Finished watching Little Miss Sunshine and returned to myself in a deeper way. Much of American Christian Culture and American Christian fiction is about being conformed to the world. But is returning to the world's norms the spiritual thing? God hates the ways of the world and wants a peculiar people. But unfortunately, I'm one of the few Bible-believing conservative Christians who doesn't believe that normalcy, propriety, and All-American behavior is the way to be.

Discovered Chang-Rae Lee, a Korean American author who deals with assimilation, acculturation, societal alienation and double allegiances. Loving his themes. As a Jamaican-American Black Bible-believing Christian with an artistic bent, I've often found myself stuck in situation where I'm allied to two or three different groups. When one is in a room full of judgemental Christians who want one to dress and behave "normally" or at least conformed to the world, and the room also contains gay non-christian or Muslim folks who don't judge you and who accept you as you are...what are you to do? As a minority, when I watch the news I find myself on the side of the Muslims because they are minorities, against them because they mock Christians because we believe in Jesus being the son of God. What to do? You ought to see me watching FoxNews of Democracy Now. I like Fox News because they're not going to mock Christians. I dislike them because they are racist as they come. I like Democracy Now because it challenges the smugness of American culture. I dislike them because they mock Christians. What to do?

Be myself...whatever that is. And try to show that there are Bible-Believing Christians out there with an artist soul, who have liberal leadings in some politics, who do not worship the culture and behavior of United States and American Christians. I'm sure there are more of us out there.

Monday, April 13, 2009

CFBA: Deadlock

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing


Thomas Nelson (April 2009)


Robert Liparulo


Robert Liparulo is a former journalist, with over a thousand articles and multiple writing awards to his name. Readers of his action-thrillers were not surprised when his visual storytelling style caught the eye of Hollywood producers. Currently, three of his novels for adults are in various stages of development for the big screen: the film rights to Comes A Horseman were purchased by the producer of Tom Clancy’s movies; and Liparulo is penning the screenplays for GERM and Deadfall for two top producers. He is also working with the director Andrew Davis (The Fugitive, Holes) on a political thriller. Novelist Michael Palmer calls Deadfall “a brilliantly crafted thriller.” March 31st marked the publication of Deadfall’s follow-up, Deadlock, which novelist Gayle Lynds calls, “best of high-octane suspense.”

Liparulo’s bestselling young adult series, Dreamhouse Kings, debuted last year with House of Dark Shadows and Watcher in the Woods. Book three, Gatekeepers released in January, and number four, Timescape, comes out in July. The series has garnered praise from readers, both young and old, as well as attracting famous fans who themselves know the genre inside and out. Of the series Goosebumps creator R.L. Stine says, “I loved wandering around in these books. With a house of so many great, haunting stories, why would you ever want to go outside?”

He is currently working on his next thriller, which for the first time injects a bit of the supernatural into his gun-blazing stories. The story is so compelling, two Hollywood studios are already in talks to acquire it—despite its publication date being more than a year away. After that comes a trilogy of novels, based on the critically acclaimed short story he contributed to James Patterson’s Thriller anthology. New York Times bestselling author Steve Berry calls Liparulo’s writing “Inventive, suspenseful, and highly entertaining . . . Robert Liparulo is a storyteller, pure and simple.” He lives with his family in Colorado.


John Hutchinson thinks it's no coincidence that Brendan Page runs this modern Praetorian Guard, and that the billionaire military industrialist must have had something to do with the atrocities his son Declan committed in Canada. The Canadian and U.S. Justice departments disagree, but Hutch has been digging for dirt ever since.

Brendan Page has some dirty not-so-little secrets. he's built an empire on supplying futuristic weapons and highly trained soldiers to the world's most powerful armies. But he's saved his most destructive weapons for himself.

When Hutch discovers the secret of Page's success, Page decides to teach him a lesson. But the operation goes terribly wrong, and Hutch's son is kidnapped. While a lone man stands little chance against the best black op soldiers ever issued M-16s, Hutch manages to survive longer than Page anticipated. As far as Hutch is concerned, high-tech helmets, machine guns, and hand grenades are nothing compared to a man determined to save his son. It's a lesson he sets out to teach Page-and one that he can only hope works as well in the real world as it does in his heart.

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

Weekend Movie Viewing: Communal mental illness

Seems I spent a lot of time in the boonies over the weekend

Sparks: Terence Howard stars as Byron and he's driving his girlfriend cross country to college in California. Their car breaks down in a redneck town. There's this weird paranoia. Who is racist? Who is not? Is Byron just antzy and paranoid and is he paranoid about the wrong people? A mechanic price-gouges him for his car, and they get stuck in the town. I thought there'd be some racism issue but what happens is something else. It actually works. Tense little indie flick.

Skinwalkers: A real salvation by the blood kinda movie. Two packs of werewolves live in a small town. A little boy is born in one town. It's one of those Moses/Jesus slaughter of the innocents cases of "Give us the boy, we just want the boy." One bunch of werewolves (skinwalkers) like being cursed with the urge to drink human blood. It's an addition. The others look forward to being saved by the special little boy.

Population 436: A census taker is sent by the feds to a town that strangely always has the population of 436. When he gets there, he discovers the town has made a deal with the almighty. If the pop remains 436, all will be idyllic. Kinda like a Logan's Run meets the Lottery meets Stepford Wives kinda flick. Very American gothic small town. Because he has arrived and is now a member of the town (not that he wants to be) the town must lose a member. Someone happily volunteers. Very scary because it's not aliens and it's not mean-spirited people. It's just the idea that when you're surrounded by folks in a culture who believe something totally different than you do, it's eerie. The folks in this small town are sweet folks.

Arachnophobia: Oh, I love spider movies! And mega Julian Sands crush!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Mystery of Godliness

Today there's all this mystery in the earthly realm, the greatest of which is: what church will the Obama's attend?

The most church-going presidents in the recent years were President Carter and President Clinton -- surprisingly liberal types. President Bush rarely went to church yet he was called "God's Man in the White House." Not that church-going makes a person holy but well, it's interesting.

So here I am sitting pondering: Obama grew up with the AFrican-American style of worship so the media pundits are convinced that's the type of church he'll take.

Then there is the mystery of little Sandra Cantu who was murdered (allegedly) by a white female Sunday school teacher. Wasn't the BTK serial killer a church elder/deacon? Not sure why this lady killed 8-year-old Sandra. Anger? Accident? Who knows. But it makes us wonder about holiness and those who profess to be holy.

Weirdly, I have found many Christians to be not particularly godly. They often are more legalistic than loving. When minister preach on Bible characters, they often speak as if they are judging the characters by law and not by grace. This scapegoat character is bad; this sacred cow character is good. Often they preach from omission and make up whole sins for some character the Bible doesn't tell much about. For instance, many preachers are unaware that Moses wife, Zipporah is called one of the great circumcisers of Israel (a descendant of Midian, Abram's son, she returned Circumcision to Israel via Moses) and many Christian preachers seem to think that her phrase to Moses (You are a husband of blood to me) was her picking on Moses. They don't realize she's saying there's a blood covenant between her and Moses. So they go on and on making up some sexual innuendo and impugning Zipporah for some supposedly "mean comment she said about Moses."

It's the way, I suppose for these ministers to reason from ignorance and impute sins to Bible folks they know nothing about. It's human behavior. Unredeemed human behavior. We want to understand godliness -- even if it's as small as knowing why a sunday school teacher would murder, or why and where a president goes to church.

But Paul tells us what godliness is. God's godliness. I have never heard a sermon on this verse, I think.

1 Timothy 3:16:

International Standard Version (©2008)
By common confession, the secret of our godly worship is great: In flesh was he revealed to sight, kept righteous by the Spirit's might, adored by angels singing. To nations was he manifest, believing souls found peace and rest, our Lord in heaven reigning!

New American Standard Bible (©1995)
By common confession, great is the mystery of godliness: He who was revealed in the flesh, Was vindicated in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Proclaimed among the nations, Believed on in the world, Taken up in glory.

GOD'S WORD® Translation (©1995)
The mystery that gives us our reverence for God is acknowledged to be great: He appeared in his human nature, was approved by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was announced throughout the nations, was believed in the world, and was taken to heaven in glory.

King James Bible
And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

American King James Version
And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached to the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

American Standard Version
And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness; He who was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the spirit, Seen of angels, Preached among the nations, Believed on in the world, Received up in glory.

Bible in Basic English
And without argument, great is the secret of religion: He who was seen in the flesh, who was given God's approval in the spirit, was seen by the angels, of whom the good news was given among the nations, in whom the world had faith, who was taken up in glory.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And evidently great is the mystery of godliness, which was manifested in the flesh, was justified in the spirit, appeared unto angels, hath been preached unto the Gentiles, is believed in the world, is taken up in glory.

Darby Bible Translation
And confessedly the mystery of piety is great. God has been manifested in flesh, has been justified in the Spirit, has appeared to angels, has been preached among the nations, has been believed on in the world, has been received up in glory.

English Revised Version
And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness; He who was manifested in the flesh, justified in the spirit, seen of angels, preached among the nations, believed on in the world, received up in glory.

Webster's Bible Translation
And without controversy, great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached to the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

Weymouth New Testament
And, beyond controversy, great is the mystery of our religion-- that Christ appeared in human form, and His claims justified by the Spirit, was seen by angels and proclaimed among Gentile nations, was believed on in the world, and received up again into glory.

World English Bible
Without controversy, the mystery of godliness is great: God was revealed in the flesh, justified in the spirit, seen by angels, preached among the nations, believed on in the world, and received up in glory.

Young's Literal Translation
and, confessedly, great is the secret of piety -- God was manifested in flesh, declared righteous in spirit, seen by messengers, preached among nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory!

It is God's holiness that matters! Not ours! His holiness is what makes us holy. Let's ponder the One who is Holy, holy, holy. Let's look at the one who looks at the heart and not on the appearance

Hallelujah Christ is risen!
Christ is risen, indeed!

Thursday, April 09, 2009

St Thomas the Doubter: lift up your hearts

I just read a sermon by the 19th centrury theologian A B Bruce on St Thomas. Wow! what a sermon!

Basically he says that Thomas' lack of faith had little to do with being a rationalist. (Heck, I always thought so. None of the other disciples believed until they saw Jesus either.)

He basically states that Thomas tended to despair. When jesus said they would go to lazarus, Thomas said, "Let us go that we may die with him." This is a disciple prone to great pessimism and who is readier to believe sad news than happy news because his spirit is so linked to despair and pessimism of great causes.
He starts it by saying "Jesus came to the disciples but Thomas wasn't there."

Now, why wasn't Thgomas there? Because he was indulging that melancholy which goes off by itself and leaves its friends to despair in isolation The disciples tell him they saw jesus and probably gave him a gist of the exposition jesus had given to them about his resurrection. And it was probably a great sermon but Thomas couldn't see through ... because even if they gave him all the theological truths his personality was not so inclined. When Jesus told him "Blessed are those who believe and yet have not seen" it is a challenge to all doubters but it's a challenge to Thomas and those like him to consciously change minds that tend to despair into minds that choose to be joyful. The act of will that trains the mind to expect good and not to sink into kneejerk despair is an act of belief and renewing the mind. It's not really a mind doubt but a heart doubt.

This really spoke to me. It spoke to me. I have faith, but there is such a pessimism
in my soul at times. Remember when Jacob said, "i've had a lot of sad things happen in my life." It must have taken so much belief to believe that his son was alive
He believed in God and yet.... to expect great things to expect joyful things. A god of joy in addition to a god of holiness and miracles. joyful outcome is hard to believe. For I know the thoughts I think of you...thoughts of good and not of evil to give you a future and a promise The word translated promise can mean a "looked for hope" or "an expected end."

We can accept promise but when we see that promise. We can even accept hope. But when we think that it means a looked for expected end that you'd be happy to gets unbelievable. Like the gospel. Too-good-to-be-believed news. It's not the miraculous we can't believe; it's the joy. It's not, "Am I gullible to believe this weirdo miraculous supernatural crap?" It's "Dare I be happy?" and "Dare I believe that God could make me that happy?"

There are a lotta folks in the Bible who have faith but who simply cannot believe that something good has or can happen. Like Jacob being told his son Joseph was still alive. Took a while to believe that. Like the church praying for Peter's release from prison. Poor Rhoda. Trying to tell all the spiritual giants that their prayers had been answered and they didn't believe her. Sometimes we have faith, we simply don't have the capacity to believe our life can be filled with joy. I think that might be a kind of double-mindedness. At least, we must work to renew our hearts and spirits as well as our minds.

I really am pondering the joy of the lord now. The meaning of joy is coming closer and closer to my spirit. I'm almosting it. As the psalmist says in 139, "It is 'high' I cannot attain unto it. I hope to attain to it. Heaven is about the capacity to receive and accept joy. Life trains us to be like Thomas...not of two minds but of two hearts. No wonder his nickname was The Twin. But he was not double-minded, he was double-hearted. A sad hopeful heart joined to a despairing heart. Lift up your hearts!

The I Love Your Blog award

Lisa from Life's Goulash nominated me for the I love Your Blog award. YAY! That made my day.

There are some rules for the award, but these rules are great rules to follow since they spread such good cheer to the bloggers that receive them.
1) Add the logo of the award to your blog
2) Add a link to the person who awarded it to you
3) Nominate at least 7 other blogs
4) Add links to those blogs on your blog
5) Leave a message for your nominees on their blogs!

I nominate the following 7 bloggers to receive the I Love Your blog award.
1: Black Geekdom If you're a black geek who really loves scifi, this is a great blog.
2: Readersrooms a blog dedicated to black writers
3: Final Girl a great blog if you like horror or slasher films
4: Artist of the day blog, a great place to see some art
5: Twisted Net, a great blend of Christianity, youth, literacy, reviews, rants
6: Age of Autism blog which shares media, governmental, and medical info on autism
7: VH1 blog. I can't help it. I'm hopelessly addicted to VH1 celebreality

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Upcoming Native American Christian Events-- Portland Area

This is an announcement regarding several upcoming events for the Portland area and an updated information website link for the NAIITS Symposium. If you are within driving distance, we encourage you to check out these events!

1) This Good Friday, April 10, Jan Michael Looking Wolf, the 2008 NAMMY (Native American Music Award) winner and Indian Summer Music Award winner, will be giving a FREE concert here in Vancouver, WA at Living Hope Church's Orchards Campus. The concert starts at 6:30 pm and the address is 10800 NE 76th St., Vancouver, WA. Jan Michael is a fantastic flute player and is from the Grand Ronde tribe. You can check out his MySpace page and listen to some of his songs:

2) On April 17th, George Fox Seminary is hosting a symposium called "An America Theology of the Land". Richard Twiss, Randy Woodley, Terry LeBlanc, and Robert Francis will be some of the speakers at this event. It is from 9 am to 4:30 pm. There is a cost involved which includes lunch. It is $35 per individual, $30 per person in a group of 2 or more, and $25 for students. You can register online at: It is located at the Portland center campus: 12753 S.W. 68th Ave. Portland, OR 97223. 503-554-6100

3) On April 25th, New Wine, New Wineskins, a program of Multnomah Biblical Seminary will be hosting a "Created to Create" Arts conference at Mosaic Church in Portland. Richard Twiss will be one of the key speakers and Jodi Scott-Trevizo (Wiconi staff) will be a workshop presenter. You can find out about this event by going to: Beyond Portland...

4) The NAIITS Symposium is getting closer! A new website is being organized and should be ready to view by this weekend. The symposium is June 4-6 in Langley, British Columbia at Trinity Western University. We look forward to seeing some of you guys at any one of these events! P.S.--Sometimes people forget to update their subscriptions when they change their email addresses. If you don't want to miss out on these Smoke Signals, please re-subscribe when and if you ever change your email address. Thank you and we hope all of you are enjoying the emergence of spring!

Monday, April 06, 2009

The Oprahfication of Our Culture

The Oprahfication of our Culture
by Cheryl Ingram
120 pages
Yorkshire Publishing Group (October 20, 2008)
ISBN-10: 0881443050
ISBN-13: 978-0881443059


Do you know the Secret? A Book for Christians Who Care About the World Around Them. What is Oprahfication? How has is effected Our Culture? How has it effected The Church? How has it effected You?

A discussion on Oprah's spiritual journey is here. It's not connected to the book but it's a great article.

CFBA: My Son, John

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

My Son, John

(Sheaf House Publishers April 2009)


Kathi Macias


Kathi Macias is an award-winning author of more than twenty fiction and nonfiction books. She has also ghostwritten and collaborated on books for a number of well-known individuals. She is a staff member for The Christian Communicator Manuscript Critique Service and a member of The Christian Proofreaders and Editors Network, Christian Authors Network, American Christian Fiction Writers, Christian Writers Fellowship International, Advanced Writers/Speakers Association, for who she serves as membership chair, and orange County Christian Writers Fellowship. She is the 2008 winner of AWSA’s Golden Scroll Award.

A Former newspaper columnist and string reporter, Macias is a credentialed minister and served as an associate pastor at a large church in Southern California, where she did biblical counseling, trained small group leaders, and oversaw support/recovery ministries. She is a popular speaker at churches, women’s clubs and retreats, and writers’ conferences, and has appeared on several radio and TV programs.



Could there be a more chilling word?

Could it be any more horrible than to have a loved one killed, brutally and heartlessly, without obvious reason or motive?

When Liz Peterson's elderly mother is found viciously beaten to death in her home, Liz and her husband, Charles, along with their grown son, John, and teenage daughter, Sarah, are horrified beyond words. Their previously predictable, respectable lives seem to have vanished without a trace, as they struggle to make sense of a senseless act.

And then a second blow-more devastating, if possible, than the first-rocks them to their core. John is arrested for his grandmother's murder. As what's left of the Peterson family begins to crumble under the weight of loss and accusation, the Petersons' longstanding Christian faith is put to the test in a way they could never have imagined, and unconditional love is stretched to its limits. Will family ties and relationships withstand such a crushing blow, or will evil succeed in dividing and conquering this once close and inseparable family?

Watch the chilling trailer!!

If you would like to read the first chapter of My Son, John, go HERE

Weekend Movie Viewing

Well, yesterday wasn't bad. Amazingly.

First movie I really got into was "They Wait." I immediately liked this because the main characters were an interracial couple: white girl, Asian guy. They have a son, Sam, who ends up in the hospital in a coma that can be reversible if some horrible past crime is discovered. Talk about generational curses, hidden family crime, Asian superstition! The ghost story has a real Asian influence, so don't expect the ghost to behave in a western manner. So the story totally worked. And these ghosts are playing fair.

Then there was "Stay Alive" -- a movie where the supernatural doesn't play fair at all. This is a movie about a beta video horror survival game and they aren't supposed to play it. They die when they start playing it. Kinda like the movie with the evil video tape, this one brings mucho trouble to anyone who starts playing it. The game warns them -- after they --like fools-- speak the chant to let the game begin. Pretty sneaky if you ask me. I mean, they didn't know what they were getting into and bingo they're committed. According to the threatening intro of the game, the players have to find out the reasons for a horrific happening years before...and in order to do that they must "stay alive." The game is a bit like Doom except it's based on the life of the Countess Bathory and folks can play it online together or by themselves. And the movie shows us scenes of their real lives when they aren't playing the games or when they their game persona dies. If you play games like this, you'll like it. All that talk about perceptive reality. One of the best lines: "I haven't tripped out like this since I hate that hot dog matzoh ball at Bible camp, Brother"

I actually liked this flick. The girls in it were actually likable...not screaming bimbettes with bouncing breasts. Ah, the young! Always more prone to believe in the supernatural than the older wizened cops. But why do they even attempt to tell these cops the supernatural truth? Do they really thin they'll be believed?

Then there was The Florentine. I swear! Stories about male bonding are great but when it's about neighborhood lost souls on the edgier Catholic side done in an indie flick it really really really has to work. Talk about burdensome and heartfelt indie emotions. The story is mostly about the guys so the women kinda just revolve around them until it's their time to have a scene which affects the men.

After that I watched a little of 1000 ways to die. It's a show dedicated to showcasing people who do stupid things and end up dead because of it. There's even a sociologist who talks about darwinism and the stupid gene. Wouldn't have watched it but I had gone to sleep and dreamed of someone dying in a ridiculous manner. I laughed in the dream and then felt sad about the death. When I woke up I figured I would honor the dream by watching 1000 ways. I pretty much lack a sense of humor when it comes to making fun of other folks getting hurt. I don't laugh at someone falling on a banana peel, for instance. I hate mockery and cruel humor. And when I think of Sheol and folks doing stupid things and possibly ending up there....sorry no way I can laugh. I just can't. -C

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