Tag Archives: homosexuality

Guest Post: Christa Allan on Writing

13 Sep

If I’d been more serious about writing a book years ago, I’d have a much cleaner house. No, not because I would have sold millions and been able to afford a full-time housekeeper. The good news/bad news is that I could have accomplished the turbo-clean without publication.

It seems that all I have to do is sit at my computer, lift my hands to the keyboard a la concert pianist, and dust bunnies start multiplying before my eyes. I notice the coffee cup rings on my desk, the cat hair floating lyrically to the brick floors, the sun glistening on the polished wood floors which are almost now evenly covered with their protective layer of microscopic crud, the open-mouthed toilets–not even in view–are taunting me. Yesterday, after 30.6 seconds in front of the monitor, I pounced up to (gasp) vacuum. And (double gasp) I walked/ran on the treadmill.

Writing is lonely. Not counting the three mildly neurotic cats (save me the animals reflect their owners psychobabble….you’re doing it anyway, aren’t you?), it’s just me, my lukewarm cup of coffee, and stacks of papers. Not that I’d want an audience. Might make for a quirky SNL skit though. Massive desk, state of the art computer, spotlight on the keyboard, writer dressed in tuxedo (yes, women can wear tuxedos) slowly walks on stage, gently slides back ergonomically designed chair, flips on the monitor and starts his/her fingers dancing on the keyboard. The audience follows his/her progress on the large screen projected to the right and back of the writer. Chapter ends. Applause.

But, seriously, what I did not understand until I came to the keyboard in pursuit of writing with the intent to actually produce something publishable, is that while I may be surrounded by external silence, my head is crammed with uninvited guests.

In one corner, the petulant children whining about where they’d rather be, asking why we’re spending so much time sitting in this boring room when it’s really such a pretty day outside and we could being doing something like pulling weeds. In another corner, the brats who are causing all sorts of trouble with house cleaning distractions, playing with the telephone reminding me of calls I should be making, telling me I need to compulsively check my email because the editor whose name I added an extra “s” to might be knocked off his chair by my query, completely overlook my written lisp, and be attaching a contract AT THIS VERY NANOSECOND (brats scream…yeesh). And somewhere, roaming around aimlessly, is the worrywart aunt, wearing mismatched ankle socks with her orthopedic shoes, wondering about the physical and mental healths of my immediate family, genoicide, taxes, and world peace. The worst of the pack is the sneering and arrogant bullies, rocking back on their chairs asking me who I think I am that I could be on a bookshelf with the likes of ___________(insert almost any author’s name here), don’t I know that I’m justateacher.

Just when I quiet everyone else, one of the bullies yawns and stretches to his/her nine feet tall self, looks at me, and laughs. It’s then I realize that the only way to shut them up is to drown them in words and sentences and paragraphs and pages and chapters. And when I’m finally there, I’m going to throw my book at them.

So, is the choice being thin with an immaculate house and no book? Or lumpy with dust layers protecting the furniture and publication? Is that why book jackets rarely show full body photos of the writers? And how many writer’s cribs are featured on those house shows anyway?

I just may be able to pull this one off. . .

About Christa Allan…

A true Southern woman who knows that any cook worth her gumbo always starts with a roux and who never wears white after Labor Day, The Edge of Grace is Christa’s second novel. Her debut women’s fiction, Walking on Broken Glass, released in February from Abingdon Press. She is under contract for three more novels that will release in 2012 and 2013. She has been teaching high school English for over twenty years, earning her National Board Certification in 2007. The mother of five adult children and the totally smitten Grammy of two granddaughters, Christa and her veterinarian husband, Ken, live in Abita Springs, Louisiana.

Visit her website at www.christaallan.com.

You can connect with Christa at Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ChristaAllan.Author.

Check out Christa’s latest book!

Blog Tour + Review: The Edge of Grace by Christa Allan

12 Sep

The Edge of GraceJoin Christa Allan, author of the contemporary fiction novel, The Edge of Grace (Abingdon Press), as she virtually tours the blogosphere September 5 – 30 2011 on her second virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book!

About the book…

The Edge of GraceWhen Caryn Becker answers the telephone on most Saturday morning, it’s generally not a prelude to disaster. Except this time, her brother David’s call shifts her universe. Her emotional reserves are already depleted being a single parent to six-year-old Ben after the unexpected death of her husband Harrison. But when David is the target of a brutal hate crime, Caryn has to decide what she’s willing to risk, including revealing her own secrets, to help her brother.  A family ultimately explores the struggle of acceptance, the grace of forgiveness, and moving from prejudice to love others as they are, not as we’d like them to be.

About the author…

A true Southern woman who knows that any cook worth her gumbo always starts with a roux and who never wears white after Labor Day, The Edge of Grace is Christa’s second novel. Her debut women’s fiction, Walking on Broken Glass, released in February from Abingdon Press. She is under contract for three more novels that will release in 2012 and 2013. She has been teaching high school English for over twenty years, earning her National Board Certification in 2007. The mother of five adult children and the totally smitten Grammy of two granddaughters, Christa and her veterinarian husband, Ken, live in Abita Springs, Louisiana.

Visit her website at www.christaallan.com.

You can connect with Christa at Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ChristaAllan.Author.

Amy’s Review…

The Edge of Grace sounded like a book I would really enjoy—an edgy fiction tackling the hot button issue of homosexuality.  Unfortunately, I found this book  difficult to read, not because of the plot line, but because of the first-person narrative, in which the protagonist often interrupts her own storyline with meandering thoughts.   While this works well in the world of blogging or even in memoirs, it was frustrating in the context of this story.  Told from the first-person perspective of Caryn, a skeptical widow, who is devastated when her only brother announces his homosexuality.  I found Caryn irritationg and failed to sympathize with her feelings about her brother and the death of her husband.

The only person worse than Caryn is her best friend and neighbor, Julie.  When Caryn shares with Julie that her brother is gay, Julie reacts by telling Caryn that it’s not a big deal.  I mean, the law of female friendship states that if your friend is terribly upset—no matter what it is and if even she is wrong—then you have a reaction of equal or greater turmoil. 

Besides disliking the shallow characters, I was also put-off by the over-familiarized writing.  I felt like a serious piece of fiction was shoved into a fluffy chick lit.  It was difficult for me to read because there seemed to be unnecessary words, which I felt interfered with not only the flow of thought, but also with the overall flow of the story.

Conceptually, The Edge of Grace sounds great and has a beautiful cover.  In fact, the cover was my favorite part of the book.

Even though it wasn’t for me, maybe this book is just what you’re looking for! Visit Pump Up Your Book! to read an excerpt from The Edge of Grace.

*With thanks to Pump Up Your Book!, Christa Allan, and Abingdon Press  for the review copy of this book.*

Book Review:: Fall to Grace by Jay Bakker

21 Jan

I don’t care that he is divorced, tattooed, pierced, or the son of Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker. In fact, all these things make Jay Bakker more interesting to me.  It was with this fascination that I began reading Bakker’s new book, Fall to Grace.

In the book, Bakker writes in a conversational tone, even using explictives to get his point across.  If an occasional swear word was the only thing wrong with this book…  Following the writings of the Apostle Paul, Bakker makes a good argument for grace—one I’ve read before in many other [better] books (like Philip Yancey’s What’s So Amazing About Grace?).  But, hey, the crowd likely to read Bakker’s book probably wouldn’t read those other books, right?

The problem is that Jay Bakker goes too far.  Instead of just being a book about God’s grace for everyone, Bakker seems to be toting a pro-gay agenda.  Calling himself a “gay-affirming pastor,” Bakker criticizes John Piper for speaking out against the ordination of homosexuals and Rick Warren for opposing gay marriage in California.  To show off his pro-gay colors, Bakker brags about attending a drag queen show put on by RuPaul, performing a gay marriage, and tries [unsuccessfully] to use Scripture to prove that homosexuality is not a sin.

I just wanted to scream, “Enough already!”  All sorts of people need grace, not just gays, but Bakker hardly bats an eyelash at the mentally ill or the homeless or addicts or sexually corrupt.  Sure, they get a mention here and there, but largely Bakker is intent on making sure his readers understand that he loves, accepts, and marries gay couples.

Not only did I disagree with Bakker’s approach, I found his writing to be a rambling rant with Scripture thrown in here and there.  The words didn’t flow elegantly.  In fact, it was an effort to get through the book because I felt like Bakker was slamming me with the same message over and over.

While I really wanted to like Fall to Grace and I wanted to tell you that this is a great book, I can’t.  Redundancy and a hidden agenda don’t make for good reading.

Amy’s Score: 1

*Thanks to FaithWords & NetGalley for my review copy of this book!*

Why do gay people need to be married?

20 Nov

I’m serious; that is the question.  See, I can understand two homosexuals wanting to be united to show their love and commitment to one another through a ceremony of sorts.  I acknowledge that same-sex couples want a legal union that allows one’s partner to visit his or her beloved in the hospital, allows a partner access to his or her partner’s health care, and all the other stuff that comes to a married couple.  But why on earth gay people need to be married?  Why do they insist that their unions be defined as marriage?

Prop 8, a ban on same-sex marriage in California, was recently voted on by the people of California, which is arguably one of the most liberal states in the nation.  Yet even here the voters reversed a decision to allow gay marriage.  Except for Massachusetts and Connecticut, the other 48 states still define marriage as a legal (and sometimes spiritual) union between a man and a woman.  And only a handful of other states recognize the civil unions of same-sex couples.  However, we’re not talking about that.  We’re talking about marriage.

Marriage.  Judging by our high divorce rate in this country, to many it’s just a word, but to many who uphold traditional values, it means a lot.  Throughout human history, marriage has been defined and understood as a legal and in later centuries, emotional, union between a man and a woman.  The Bible’s first recorded human relationship–that between Adam and Eve–was a marriage!  Granted, not everyone cares what the Bible says or believes it is the Word of God.  But I do.

My argument isn’t a religious one (though my religious beliefs do oppose gay marriage and the practice of homosexuality).  Rather, I am looking at this from a logical perspective.  It seems from articles I’ve read, news programs I’ve watched, and conversations I’ve had, that all same-sex couples really want are the same rights given to married couples.  I know many people who have no problem with this, but still believe that the institution of marriage needs to be kept as it is.

Why, then, do gay couples, who are seeking to be accepted by the population-at-large, need to use the word “marriage”?  Can’t the heterosexuals keep that one?  It seems that gay rights advocates would do more for their cause if they abandoned the use of the word “marriage” and came up with another term or simply used the term “civil union”.  Plus, anyone who opposes same-sex marriage or the practice of homosexuality is automatically labelled “intolerant.”  Now how tolerant is it to force people who don’t agree with your position to give up a tradition that they hold dear?

Then there’s the problem of pastors and other religious leaders who are against gay marriage (and/or homosexuality) being accused of “hate speech” should they speak their opinions from the pulpit.  Similarly, churches would be forced to perform gay marriages or risk being charged with “hate crimes”.  Sound a bit radical?  I doubt most homosexuals would care what pastors say about them and wouldn’t want to get married in a church that doesn’t really want to marry them anyway.  But there are always radicals who like to push the issue (you know, like the ones who have protested in California assaulting an elderly woman as well as stomping on her cross [story] and bopping a missionary on the head with a Bible [video]).  It’s these folks who will defiantly seek to “make the most” of the laws of the land and in turn, become intolerant of those who they label “intolerant”.

My argument isn’t just logical; it’s personal.  I’m no fool.  I know that the United States is not a Christian nation and we’re sliding towards a secular progressive worldview.  As societies change and evolve, Christians are constantly trying to determine what it means to live for God and follow Christ in this world.  So we hold to what we believe is not a cultural or social or secular institution, but a very decree for creation–we hold fast to marriage, which we believe is a spiritual, sexual, emotional, physical, and even legal, union between one man and one woman.  There’s a beautiful mystery as “two flesh become one” and there’s a tie-in in how the God is the bridegroom and the Church is His bride.

For me and for many others, marriage is not a word or even an ideal; it is the very definition of not only a husband and wife, but a God and His people.  We will stand up and we will protect traditional marriage, even if our pastors are accused of hate speech and our churches are closed due to hate crimes.  Some things rock the core of faith, even though they seem silly.

This all seems terribly dramatic, doesn’t it?   I mean, why not just make another concession and allow gays to be “married”?  Or wait, why can’t same-sex couples just drop it and find a new way to define their relationships in a secular progressive society?

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