Our Fear of What is to Come

I just finished quite possibly, one of the most terrifying books I’ve ever read. Now, I’m not one to seek out scary books or movies, but this one isn’t scary in the traditional sense. There’s no zombies or blood-sucking monsters in it. In fact, there really aren’t even any scary parts. But this book messed with me psychologically.

When people would ask me what my biggest fear is, my answer was always snakes. But as of the reading of this book, One Second After by William Forstchen, I now will have to change my answer to EMP weapons.

I would be remiss if I didn’t confess that this book caused me to sin by worrying about the future. More than once while reading it, I laid awake in bed wondering out loud how we will prepare for this inevitable strike on our country. “After all,” I’d say to my poor, tired wife, “everything points to this happening. The military’s being cut back, the president’s got his own little agenda of uniting the whole world and not defending us from our enemies…” And then I would go into this barrage of ways we can stockpile on canned goods, save up plenty of paper cash, and even trade our cars in for old junkers.

What is an EMP weapon? It’s an electromagnetic pulse weapon that, when shot above any particular region, it explodes high up in the atmosphere and the fallout destroys – absolutely obliterates – any electrical circuit and devise. That means computers get shut off, most (if not all) cars made after 1970 shut down, planes die midair and crash.

But that’s not the scariest part. We’re the most spoiled, pampered nation in the history of the world, which means that without the electricity we daily rely on, we will literally not know how to function, which means, if this weapon is fired on us, within a matter of mere months, we will be sent back to the dark ages.

But while reading this book, I couldn’t help but recall Matthew 20:16 where Jesus says, “The first shall be last, and the last shall be first.” Suddenly, according to the prophetic vision in this book, the richest people in our nation were poorer than mud, and the poorest people (those who have lived off the land) were suddenly the richest, with their skills and street-smart expertise.

It’s just too bad I never gave thought to Matthew 6:25 (“Therefore I tell you, do not worry…”). I’m going to have to really remember that one when I’m on a plane next week.

One Second After chronicles the story of a widowed father of two daughters who is just trying to keep his family alive. There were some parts that are emotional, and the author does a great job capturing the emotions of the characters. The problem I did have with the book was the dialogue. A lot of times it came across as though the modern-day characters were speaking like people from the Bible or Lord of the Rings.

Why would I suggest this book if it caused me so much worry? Because I believe there’s something to be said for being prepared for the future. Of course, we don’t know what the future holds, but men, it is our number one responsibility to protect and defend our families. We don’t quadruple-lock our doors, but we still lock them. In the same way I’m not saying we need to be become like those extreme couponers and hoard the market’s canned goods.

I guess what I’m saying is, don’t get too comfortable with life as it is. Because whether we are struck with an EMP weapon, an atomic bomb, or suffer any other type of catastrophe, there will be a day when Jesus Christ and His Kingdom will come and rest itself here on earth, and we will live forever in a world unhindered by sin, death, fear, or anything else that keeps us awake at night. For we who belong to Christ, are aliens in this destructive world. But while we’re here, we must be prepared to protect what has been given us, starting with the Gospel message, then our families, and our friends and neighbors.

The book contains some strong language.

[Image Credit]

The 101 Dalmatians – It’s a Book!

You’ve likely seen Walt Disney’s movie version, but I bet you didn’t know it was based off a book.

The One Hundred One Dalmatians by Dodie Smith is epic in its own way. Though the book is about a pair of dogs as the protagonists, the author does not treat them like canines, but actual people, with real feelings and intellectual thoughts and concerns for what gown up humans show much care about – their kids.

It is the same as the movie version (I’ve only seen the cartoon), but it differs vastly in many ways that will keep even the most familiar Dalmatians viewer on the edge of their seat.

Though we’ve both read it before, we just started reading it together for our cozy autumn/winter novel. And it really is the perfect book to read this time of year. It’s not exactly a Christmas tale (although it takes place near Christmas), but it is a red carpet leading you delightfully into the winter season with a smile on your face and a notion that great fiction is still out there… if you just dig deep enough.

I highly recommend this book, whether you know the movie(s) or not, to anyone and everyone. It’s a great mystery, fun adventure, and a moving tale of two parents’ dedication to saving their puppies, thus reuniting – and growing – their family. Bet you never thought of this story being adoption-themed… they rescue orphans! I mean, really, how much cooler can you get!

Read a great review of this novel here.

Thank You

Yesterday was Veteran’s Day. Because of that, some people have been given the day off from their jobs today to observe it. If that’s you, I pray you do take the time to sit and just be thankful for all the men and women who have served our wonderful country.

Even if you still have to work, still find the time – on your commute, your lunch break, etc. – to mentally thank those who were willing to put their lives on the line so that you could work at a safe place in a safe country.

I’d like to ask that if you knew or know someone who served in the U.S. military at any time, or if you served yourself, that you just write their name in the comments bellow, so that those who wander by this post throughout the day can see their names and quietly offer a thanks and honor them.

(Image Credit)

From Barren to Blessed

Here on AdoptingJames we talk a lot about pop culture, faith, and writing. One institution we like to highlight  – as suggested by the name of the blog – is adoption.

Meet Caroline. She is a woman of God who struggled for many years with the despair of infertility. She struggled so much so that she chose to let her pain come between her and God, as so many of us do. Eleven years ago she decided to take her aunt up on her invitation to come to church, and she still attends to this day, being drawn closer and closer to her loving Father.

In 2006 Caroline and her husband decided to become Foster parents and God was gracious to give them their first placement the day they became licensed. They worked closely with the child’s mother who could not keep him, and they officially adopted him to be their son when he was 20 months old. They received their daughter, who had been abandoned, at seven weeks old. They adopted her when she was just sixteen months old.

They are currently no longer fostering, but are working in child welfare, and their passion for the children is immense. I encourage you to read their story. I have provided two links for you to check out. Caroline is currently writing a book about her life.

Fostering His Will

Around the Fire

Writers: Hire Me

Hello fellow writers.

If you haven’t figured out by now that I am addicted to stories and the art of storytelling, then you haven’t read enough of my blog. Or maybe you yourself are a writer or storyteller and you just don’t have time to read other people’s stuff. I understand that, and I’m here to help you.

I want to see good stories get told by real people. I want the absolute best books to come off the publishing press, where people will read them and say to themselves, “There’s just no way that could have been any better.” If you’ve written a book, I want to help make it perfect. And as an author myself, I’m dedicated to good stories becoming the best stories.

I am currently offering editing services and/or feedback for writers of both fiction and non-fiction books, articles or anything else you have cooked up under that keyboard of yours. I am also making myself available to write guest-posts for your blogs. So if you’re interested, just email me at adoptingjames@aol.com. Check out my fees here.

-Andrew

Oh, and vote for my entree to help me win more products to promote my book. Click here and like my picture (it’s the first one, top row, easy to spot). Now, by all means, if you see a better entree, vote for theirs as well!

Family Friendly “Halloween” Movies

We don’t celebrate Halloween in the traditional sense in our home. But I still like the flavor of the season, without celebrating death and all its accompaniments. (I’ll post soon how we celebrate October 31st.) I don’t think it’s wrong to seek out thrills for entertainment. After all, isn’t that what we see most movies for? So I’ve put together “safe” movies for families with older kids to enjoy this time of year. I’m sure you’ve seen many of them, if not all. So take a walk down memory lane and let the haunts of movies past delight you…

E.T.

This is a classic that I think every kid should still see. Some Christians might have a fit with me recommending this sci-fi fantasy because we shouldn’t promote the possibility of an alien life-force floating around out there in our universe somewhere. Well, a lot of kids have seen The Lion King, and I’ve never heard of an incident where a child tried to jump out of a safari ride to talk with a lion. With the exception of the foul playground language, E.T. is perfectly acceptable for kids who don’t scare easily, and it’s great imagination booster. I drew off of this movie all the time as a kid when developing stories and creating imaginary characters. Plus, I hear it’s coming out on Blu-Ray soon… Brief, strong language, scary moments.

Snow White

You might be asking how Snow White made it to the list of Halloween movies. If you watch it, even today as an adult, you’ll see that it’s a pretty freaky movie, even for being the first animated film ever made. It’s seamless in its storytelling, and perfectly pure in its artistic form, and it contains probably some of the greatest Disney music ever. The whole queen transforming into the witch scene… you’ll feel like it’s Halloween, alright. I watch this every year around the end of October. A great benefit to it is that you can talk to your kids about the beauty of redemption and the great resurrection of souls when God destroys all the evil in this world forever. Scary moments.

 

Bewitched (2005) 

Yes, this movie makes light of witchcraft. And so does Harry Potter, and – dare I say it? – Narnia. Making light isn’t just making fun, it’s downplaying. Even our best efforts of demonizing witchcraft fall short of capturing its vile existence. This movie is actually pretty clean, considering it’s Will Ferrell. Good time for laughs, but a good opportunity to talk with your kids afterwards about how Hollywood distorts the truth in exchange for entertainment. This one’s PG-13. Check out Pluggedin.com to determine if this movie is safe for your family. 

 

 

 

Signs

M. Night Shyamalan. You either love him (because of Sixth Sense) or you hate him (post-Sixth Sense). Or you’ve heard of him, but don’t exactly know why. Shyamalan is mostly known for doing “safe” horror movies. In other words, people like me who don’t tolerate useless blood-and-guts and slasher/killer movies, can appreciate this writer/director’s movies because he tampers more with suspense and fantasy. No sex, very minimal blood, and, especially in Signs, he tends to handle topics of faith and hope quite well. The lead character in this one (Mel Gibson), is an ex-priest who has given up on God. Even in fantasy movies, “God” works in mysterious ways to draw His children back to Him. Good form. PG-13 for frightening moments, mild language, and intensity. 

There are some others we watch for Halloween, but now it’s your turn. What are some clean movies you and your family watch this time of year? We’d love to hear your thoughts.