Violence in Kenya

I have a pastor friend teaching at leadership conferences and training seminars in Uganda. He sent an update regarding the violence breaking out in Kenya. I’ve always considered Kenya a stable country, but obviously the last few months have shown a lot of tribal hatred and strife boiling to the surface.

Christians have a unique opportunity to pray into these situations in a concerted manner. I encourage everyone out there to keep this tragedy in mind.

As you may know I am presently in Uganda, East Africa teaching at Next Generation Ministry’s Leadership Training Institute. Attending this training are two pastors from Kenya; Kennedy from the Kitale area and Wycliffe from the Eldoret area. We received a call from Wycliffe’s wife saying that the violence is increasing and that the killers are now attacking churches and in particular Pastors and their families. Both of these men have 14 to 20 families who are in their personal homes seeking safety. My guess is that the American press is paying very little attention to this violence which is increasing across Kenya. I am urgently asking you to get on your knees and intercede for, not just the Christians in Kenya, for the nation as a whole. Kenya is the pivotal nation for the peace and security for all of East Africa. As I write this, innocent men,women, and children are being killed, raped, and mutilated.

Both of these men are men of great faith, but this situation is beyond their faith alone. All Christians in every nation must join our faith for them ad with them and ask our God to intervene in a powerful way and end this violence.

Violence in Kenya

I have a pastor friend teaching at leadership conferences and training seminars in Uganda. He sent an update regarding the violence breaking out in Kenya. I’ve always considered Kenya a stable country, but obviously the last few months have shown a lot of tribal hatred and strife boiling to the surface.

Christians have a unique opportunity to pray into these situations in a concerted manner. I encourage everyone out there to keep this tragedy in mind.

As you may know I am presently in Uganda, East Africa teaching at Next Generation Ministry’s Leadership Training Institute. Attending this training are two pastors from Kenya; Kennedy from the Kitale area and Wycliffe from the Eldoret area. We received a call from Wycliffe’s wife saying that the violence is increasing and that the killers are now attacking churches and in particular Pastors and their families. Both of these men have 14 to 20 families who are in their personal homes seeking safety. My guess is that the American press is paying very little attention to this violence which is increasing across Kenya. I am urgently asking you to get on your knees and intercede for, not just the Christians in Kenya, for the nation as a whole. Kenya is the pivotal nation for the peace and security for all of East Africa. As I write this, innocent men,women, and children are being killed, raped, and mutilated.

Both of these men are men of great faith, but this situation is beyond their faith alone. All Christians in every nation must join our faith for them ad with them and ask our God to intervene in a powerful way and end this violence.

Snow Day Special

Wow! How often do we get snow days anymore? Growing up, it was always the best day when we had a snow out, keeping us from class. I grew up in a rural community, so there were always kids who would get snowed into a farm or ranch even if we had school. I, on the other hand, had no excuse.

I lived a block from school.

I thought about trying to call in saying I was stuck, but they’d probably say something like, “I’m looking out the window and I can see your driveway. Nice try.”

Today had a bit of a black cloud in the otherwise bonus day off: I have to travel an hour into the high mountain desert on a bus, catching it at 5:30 am. So first, they didn’t cancel right away, so I had to get up early and trudge (more like skate) to the bus stop. Then, they sent us home at 10 am, but we sat at the bus depot for an hour before heading out so they could be sure they got everyone. Ah well. I still got six hours at home I wouldn’t have had otherwise. Well spent paying bills and playing G.I. Joes with my 3 boys. Yo Joe!

This gave me plenty of time to dive into the latest book I chose for the CFBA blog tour: My Name is Russell Fink by Michael Snyder. So far it is an interesting read, and I’ll have more in a couple of weeks. However, I just had to share this quote from it today. The main character is a hypochondriac, and is getting a mole biopsied by his doctor. Of course, he is sure it is cancer, so he is a bit nervous doing the procedure:

I begin to speak but have to stop and clear my throat. “Please tell me you’ve done this before, Doc. That you’re not reading the instructions as you go.”

“Actually, I’m using this paint-by-numbers kit that came with my mail-order medical license.”

The wit of Mike Snyder, ladies and gentlemen.

Snow Day Special

Wow! How often do we get snow days anymore? Growing up, it was always the best day when we had a snow out, keeping us from class. I grew up in a rural community, so there were always kids who would get snowed into a farm or ranch even if we had school. I, on the other hand, had no excuse.

I lived a block from school.

I thought about trying to call in saying I was stuck, but they’d probably say something like, “I’m looking out the window and I can see your driveway. Nice try.”

Today had a bit of a black cloud in the otherwise bonus day off: I have to travel an hour into the high mountain desert on a bus, catching it at 5:30 am. So first, they didn’t cancel right away, so I had to get up early and trudge (more like skate) to the bus stop. Then, they sent us home at 10 am, but we sat at the bus depot for an hour before heading out so they could be sure they got everyone. Ah well. I still got six hours at home I wouldn’t have had otherwise. Well spent paying bills and playing G.I. Joes with my 3 boys. Yo Joe!

This gave me plenty of time to dive into the latest book I chose for the CFBA blog tour: My Name is Russell Fink by Michael Snyder. So far it is an interesting read, and I’ll have more in a couple of weeks. However, I just had to share this quote from it today. The main character is a hypochondriac, and is getting a mole biopsied by his doctor. Of course, he is sure it is cancer, so he is a bit nervous doing the procedure:

I begin to speak but have to stop and clear my throat. “Please tell me you’ve done this before, Doc. That you’re not reading the instructions as you go.”

“Actually, I’m using this paint-by-numbers kit that came with my mail-order medical license.”

The wit of Mike Snyder, ladies and gentlemen.

Consensus

Getting Christians to a consensus on a lot of things can be interesting. However, T.M. Moore from Breakpoint and Chuck Colson’s Centurions project thinks he may have some suggestions on how to do this regarding Christians engaging the culture. This is along the lines of my Seven Spheres series from a week or two ago.

Breakpoint talked about it this week and had this great quote:

How do we do this? Our task is two-fold. First, we must participate in culture at the same time that we are engaged in a biblically based critique of culture. For too long, Christians have ignored the arts and have, thus, failed to realize that culture and the arts can be conduits of God’s truth, grace, and beauty.

Second, as the body of Christ, we need to support those among us who exercise their God-given artistic gifts. When we join together “for creative engagement in culture matters,” T. M. argues, we can “create a greater sense of unity in the body of Christ,” as well as increase our impact on culture.

Read the whole article here. I haven’t read the book yet, but I’ll be interested to check out Culture Matters down the road.

Consensus

Getting Christians to a consensus on a lot of things can be interesting. However, T.M. Moore from Breakpoint and Chuck Colson’s Centurions project thinks he may have some suggestions on how to do this regarding Christians engaging the culture. This is along the lines of my Seven Spheres series from a week or two ago.

Breakpoint talked about it this week and had this great quote:

How do we do this? Our task is two-fold. First, we must participate in culture at the same time that we are engaged in a biblically based critique of culture. For too long, Christians have ignored the arts and have, thus, failed to realize that culture and the arts can be conduits of God’s truth, grace, and beauty.

Second, as the body of Christ, we need to support those among us who exercise their God-given artistic gifts. When we join together “for creative engagement in culture matters,” T. M. argues, we can “create a greater sense of unity in the body of Christ,” as well as increase our impact on culture.

Read the whole article here. I haven’t read the book yet, but I’ll be interested to check out Culture Matters down the road.

Final Thoughts on Auralia’s Colors

I just had a couple of final thoughts on Auralia’s Colors.

1. Robert Treskillard described the book as being “poetic”. Dang! That was the word I was searching for all night writing my post, and I couldn’t come up with it. It is definitely a poetic book.

2. Marcus Goodyear commented “Funny that you describe the book as “truly an amazing accomplishment” but then say it isn’t one of your favorites. Did you find yourself appreciating the artistry without being engaged in the story?”

Appreciating the artistry is pretty close. Let me say it this way: I really enjoyed the book overall. When I compare it to books I considered my favorites of 2007, it didn’t quite make the list. However, in my opinion it is a very key book for Christian fiction. Overstreet gives us a book that challenges the boundaries of what Christian sci-fi and fantasy can be. It tells a story artfully and boldly, without having to explain to the reader every detail of what is meant from the story.

I was engaged with the story to a great degree, but there was a little that held back. There was a little distance to it. As I said yesterday, it seemed to be part of a grander vision, but lacked a little of what it needed to stand on its own.

Overall, the use of language and the challenge Overstreet set for himself in telling his story is what made me describe it as an amazing accomplishment. I think I can appreciate that without it being one of my top favorites (not to say that I didn’t really enjoy it). Is it analogous to saying I know that Beethoven is a master, but I prefer Bach? Perhaps.

So, if you haven’t read Auralia’s Color, then I do encourage you to take a look at it and give it a chance. I think you’ll be rewarded if you do.

Final Thoughts on Auralia’s Colors

I just had a couple of final thoughts on Auralia’s Colors.

1. Robert Treskillard described the book as being “poetic”. Dang! That was the word I was searching for all night writing my post, and I couldn’t come up with it. It is definitely a poetic book.

2. Marcus Goodyear commented “Funny that you describe the book as “truly an amazing accomplishment” but then say it isn’t one of your favorites. Did you find yourself appreciating the artistry without being engaged in the story?”

Appreciating the artistry is pretty close. Let me say it this way: I really enjoyed the book overall. When I compare it to books I considered my favorites of 2007, it didn’t quite make the list. However, in my opinion it is a very key book for Christian fiction. Overstreet gives us a book that challenges the boundaries of what Christian sci-fi and fantasy can be. It tells a story artfully and boldly, without having to explain to the reader every detail of what is meant from the story.

I was engaged with the story to a great degree, but there was a little that held back. There was a little distance to it. As I said yesterday, it seemed to be part of a grander vision, but lacked a little of what it needed to stand on its own.

Overall, the use of language and the challenge Overstreet set for himself in telling his story is what made me describe it as an amazing accomplishment. I think I can appreciate that without it being one of my top favorites (not to say that I didn’t really enjoy it). Is it analogous to saying I know that Beethoven is a master, but I prefer Bach? Perhaps.

So, if you haven’t read Auralia’s Color, then I do encourage you to take a look at it and give it a chance. I think you’ll be rewarded if you do.

Review of Auralia’s Colors

An Impressive Palette

At first glance, Auralia’s Colors may have a beautiful cover with an intriguing back copy. I was interested when hearing about the book a few months ago on Becky Miller’s blog. What you get when you open the pages is the literary equivalent of a master tapestry.

Trying to write a book that prominently features colors is an inspiration that I don’t envy. However, Jeffrey Overstreet’s first novel is truly an amazing accomplishment.

It doesn’t really have a comparison in Christian fiction. That is definitely a good thing (as it shows that this “genre” is growing), but it can be a little harder to characterize it then.

I haven’t been to a lot of blogs on this tour yet, but one word that keeps coming up is literary. I think what is meant by that is that the book treats language as a beautiful thing in and of itself, rather than being secondary to the plot or action. The book seems to be carefully crafted, and the choice of words is very picturesque. Even though a major theme is color and beauty, the descriptions of birds taking flight, people’s reactions, and other things that could be mundane paint just as compelling of imagery in the reader’s mind.

The book takes chances aplenty, and it wins on a lot of them. One of the main characters is only called “ale boy” throughout the book. The plot zigs instead of zagging. There are surprises toward the end that I really didn’t see coming. The themes are deeply spiritual, but not clearly allegorical: you can not pin “this is Jesus” on one character and “this is Satan” on another. The mysterious Keeper stays mysterious throughout, and it is not fully revealed. It allows the reader to mine their own conclusions from the book.

Even though this book was very enjoyable, it didn’t quite make my list of top books for 2007. I’m sure part of this is just my taste in books – I am usually drawn to a little more fast and furious. Still, some of the plot took a long time to describe without discernible payoff later on in the book, and overall the book seems a little too much like a set-up for the whole series. I am sure it is a very hard thing to make one book self-sufficient and inclusive when imagining a whole series, but as I think about it, this is the reason that the book didn’t fully resonate with me.

Overall, this book is a very welcome entry into Christian fiction, and is a well-crafted, entertaining work that should be read by any fan of fantasy. This colorful literature is one of the most important books in Christian speculative fiction in a long time, due to its creativity and daring.

Review of Auralia’s Colors

An Impressive Palette

At first glance, Auralia’s Colors may have a beautiful cover with an intriguing back copy. I was interested when hearing about the book a few months ago on Becky Miller’s blog. What you get when you open the pages is the literary equivalent of a master tapestry.

Trying to write a book that prominently features colors is an inspiration that I don’t envy. However, Jeffrey Overstreet’s first novel is truly an amazing accomplishment.

It doesn’t really have a comparison in Christian fiction. That is definitely a good thing (as it shows that this “genre” is growing), but it can be a little harder to characterize it then.

I haven’t been to a lot of blogs on this tour yet, but one word that keeps coming up is literary. I think what is meant by that is that the book treats language as a beautiful thing in and of itself, rather than being secondary to the plot or action. The book seems to be carefully crafted, and the choice of words is very picturesque. Even though a major theme is color and beauty, the descriptions of birds taking flight, people’s reactions, and other things that could be mundane paint just as compelling of imagery in the reader’s mind.

The book takes chances aplenty, and it wins on a lot of them. One of the main characters is only called “ale boy” throughout the book. The plot zigs instead of zagging. There are surprises toward the end that I really didn’t see coming. The themes are deeply spiritual, but not clearly allegorical: you can not pin “this is Jesus” on one character and “this is Satan” on another. The mysterious Keeper stays mysterious throughout, and it is not fully revealed. It allows the reader to mine their own conclusions from the book.

Even though this book was very enjoyable, it didn’t quite make my list of top books for 2007. I’m sure part of this is just my taste in books – I am usually drawn to a little more fast and furious. Still, some of the plot took a long time to describe without discernible payoff later on in the book, and overall the book seems a little too much like a set-up for the whole series. I am sure it is a very hard thing to make one book self-sufficient and inclusive when imagining a whole series, but as I think about it, this is the reason that the book didn’t fully resonate with me.

Overall, this book is a very welcome entry into Christian fiction, and is a well-crafted, entertaining work that should be read by any fan of fantasy. This colorful literature is one of the most important books in Christian speculative fiction in a long time, due to its creativity and daring.