There’s a lot of talk on the internet about Organic Church. I know the internet gives any cause a voice, but when we moved into our Outreach Saga and started meeting outside of the traditional church, it was heartening to find other like-minded people.
I introduced the book on Monday and Tuesday did a quasi-review while doing a compare/contrast with the Twilight books to which Shannon’s book has been compared. I planned to do my review today, but I jumped the gun yesterday.
So I’m going to do something I’m usually loathe to do.
Angel Eyes is about the teen Brielle learning about a wider world and her special gift that is both a blessing and something that makes her a target. However, there is a sub-plot in the book that touches on an issue near to my heart. I don’t like to give spoilers, but here is a minor one: Brielle and Jake stumble upon a human trafficking ring.
The tragedy of human trafficking is coming up more often than ever in fiction. I am very glad for this, since it is such a horror and needs to be defeated. In my own work in progress it is an integral part of the story. I wish I would have finished it sooner, but I’ll get there someday. Whereas my story is set in Southeast Asia, Shannon keeps hers in the Pacific Northwest.
Guess what? Human trafficking exists all over. It is in the States, not just an overseas problem.
If a story can bring awareness to a terrible crime like human trafficking and still be entertaining, it is a powerful tool. Shannon’s done that here, and I’m very appreciative of her book. Not just because of the enjoyment factor, which I definitely enjoyed it, but because the more light that is shown on the darkness of modern-day slavery, the more it will retreat.
There are many fine organizations who are doing specific things to battle human trafficking, some that I’ve linked to in the sidebar to the right. Shannon offers up Chabdai at the end of Angel Wings, so I’ll point you there as well for more information. Please take a few minutes to become informed about this if you haven’t already.
Shannon has won a major fan here. I’ll be excited to read her next book, Broken Wings, which comes out next month. My preferred genre isn’t YA romance (even with the supernatural twist) and I’m focusing on reading suspense nowadays for my own writing, but I’ll make an exception here.
That’s all I have for this fine book and interesting tour. As always, Becky Miller keeps tabs of all of the participants on her blog. Check them out.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy in exchange for an honest opinion. So there.
Is Angel Eyes the Christian version of Twilight?
What do you think you could see if you could see into the angelic realm?
Good for us that’s the job of speculative fiction authors, and that Shannon Dittemore took up the challenge.
The latest feature for the Christian Sci-fi and Fantasy Tour is the debut book by Ms. Dittemore, Angel Eyes. It is a YA novel and the first of a trilogy of books, with the next book Broken Wings coming out in February and the final book Dark Halo releasing in August.
Brielle is a young woman with a devastated heart and an inability to get warm. She returns to small Stratus, Oregon after a tragedy that causes her to give up on her elite performing school in Portland. Her heart is as frozen as the weather in the rural town, but when she catches the attention of the new, hot guy in town, she doesn’t know what to think.
Especially when she starts seeing the supernatural.
Brielle enters a strange new world that the new guy, Jake, seems to know a lot about. Her new sight opens up new horizons, and a new perspective on evil-an evil that wants to use her in their latest schemes.
Now Jake and Brielle may be all that stands between a loss of innocence and a horror beyond imagining, if they can survive the encounter themselves.
This book has gotten a lot of buzz, so it is exciting to be featuring it for our January tour. Check out my tourmates below for more information, and I’ll have a review and more discussion in the next two days.
Meagan @ Blooming with Books
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Rachel Starr Thomson
Welcome to Writing Wednesday.
Leave here and go read that article. It talks about what I wanted to in a much better way, and it tied it into the marvelous Downton Abbey. Seriously. Whether you’re a copy writer, a novelist, or some other content creator, that article is boss.
That reminds me, I still haven’t seen the Season 3 opening yet. No spoilers please!
Thanks to Rachelle Gardner for tweeting that article out.
In my last post, I shared my favorite fiction books from 2012. Fiction books can be very influential as well, but there was one non-fiction book that helped with a paradigm shift in how I thought about church and its mission.
The Forgotten Ways: Reactivating The Missional Church by Alan Hirsch was recommended to me over a year ago by my friend and former pastor Brian Harrison. I didn’t read it until this year when my friends and I started into our Outreach Saga. A group of us had left our former church and were looking into what God had for us.
As we started to meet together and tried to hear from the Lord each week, I was also reading this book. It truly opened my eyes to ideas that I hadn’t considered in a fleshed out manner before. Sure, through intuition and talking with other people I had touched on ideas from The Forgotten Ways but I wasn’t getting the full picture.
Hirsch discusses how the model of Christendom we operate in nowadays in modern evangelical culture (for the most part) is not necessarily how the early church (up to 300 AD) did things. From 300 AD to now the church developed hierarchy and structure that was adopted from Roman systems. They worked in a Christian culture context of Europe in the Dark and Middle Ages, even through the Renaissance and Reformation. However, now that our culture is post-Christian and pluralistic, it cannot meet the changing forces in the world in an adequate way.
The majority of the book describes his theory on how church should operate. Through the complex diagram to the right, he shows how the church needs to function. Stemming from the Lordship of Jesus are the five hubs that continue to expand out and encompass the life of a Christian and the community of believers.
Hirsch has worked in missional fields for a long time and has spent a lot of effort into this study. From the Biblical basis to historical activity and modern theory involving organic systems, he brings a thorough and convincing argument for the need to discover forgotten ways and to fully reactivate the life believers need to have today to fully reach the people out there.
In writing this post I am not doing the book justice in a short summation. Perhaps my testimony will help spell it out. As I read the book, I realized that as we tried to reach out to a needy sub-group in our community, we needed to be willing to risk and try new things in order to touch the people. Instead of being a controlled environment where one person (the pastor) speaks and runs the meeting, we’re developing a time of sharing with each other from the Word and our own testimonies. In this way everyone in the meeting has the potential to share something that another person may desperately need. I know I don’t have all the answers in life – that I don’t have the exclusive on God. In relying on the body of Christ to be the body, I’ve seen the strength it brings by allowing others the opportunity to step up when they have what is needed at the time.
I had a reawakening through reading this book and studying Scripture alongside it. I haven’t had a book challenge me like this in many years. It is an easy choice for me to recommend it to anyone who’s wondering if there are better ways of doing “church.” There are better ways, but we’ve just built human structures onto things that should be organic and not just formed into boxes. For an introduction into this, I can’t do better except to highly suggest reading The Forgotten Ways and seeing if it speaks of His truth and the reality of the world today. I think it does both.
So here’s to 2013. May there be many excellent books in your future, and may you dare to take a risk for Jesus in your life in the coming year.
I must confess, so far you look a lot like 2012 – except you’re a lot colder. Minus 11 degrees Fahrenheit when I got to work today? Ouch.
I wonder what books will come from you. It’s always cool to look back and see just what I’ve read and what tickled my fancy.
But it’s still 2012’s turn. For such a crazy year I’m impressed I can remember one book I’ve read. Thankfully, book blogging and using Goodreads is helping. So here are my favorite books* from last year.
5. The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson. The first book I blogged about in 2012 stuck with me throughout the year. From the eye-catching cover to the intriguing premise and suspenseful examination of medical ethics, it was a striking book to me. It’s listed as a teen book, but I enjoyed it nonetheless, even if the first few chapters took a little getting used to, as the author used an interesting layout and chapter structure in the early going.
4. The Spirit Well by Stephen Lawhead. The CSFF Blog Tour is always a highlight to me, and one of the benefits has been to read many of Stephen Lawhead’s recent books. His writing skill is remarkable, and he seems to be avoiding the consistency issue I felt he had in earlier series. The Bright Empires series is an ambitious project delving into the multiverse and the price of coffee in 1600’s Vienna (seriously). The Spirit Well is the third in the series and holds the storyline solid as the midway tentpole.
3. Dreamlander by K.M. Weiland. A friend put me in touch with Ms. Weiland, who was looking for some advanced readers of her latest fantasy. I’ve enjoyed her writing advice site through the year, so I thought it would be a good opportunity to see if the rubber met the road. I was very pleased with the idea of a person living in a dream world while they slept. It’s been done before, but she did it with style and substance.
2. Proof by Jordyn Redwood. I really enjoyed the debut novel by Jordyn. A pediatric ER nurse by day, she has been offering her medical advice blog Redwood’s Medical Edge as a service to writers for a few years. She also proved her writing chops with a thrill ride of a medical mystery. I had the pleasure of meeting her at the ACFW Conference in Dallas, but I had already read her book and enjoyed the page-turner. Looking forward to number 2 in her Bloodlines trilogy coming out soon.
1. Rare Earth by Davis Bunn. I had read a book by Mr. Dunn a long time ago but lost track of him. He kept churning out books, and I picked up Rare Earth for another blog tour this summer. Finally it gave me a template in the CBA publishing realm for my project – an international suspense with heart. He wrote a thrilling book that opened up eyes to problems in the real world of displaced people, but did it with dignity and a very enjoyable read.
*My only caveat is that these are my favorite fiction books of 2012. Out of the non-fiction books that I read, there is one that made the biggest impact on me last year. But you’ll have to wait for Mission Monday for that one.
How about you? What were your favorite books from 2012?