Have a Little Faith

priest_subject“I think we’ve all arrived at a very special place. Spiritually… ecumenically… grammatically.”

 As a Christian writer, there is some sort of spirituality in everything I write. Sometimes it’s very blatant (Monster) sometimes it’s vaguely allegorical (Paper Crowns), sometimes it’s just /there/ as a part of life (Natural Disasters) and sometimes it’s personal and respective to the characters (This Mortal Coil). I think that out of all my current works-in-progress, This Mortal Coil is the most spiritual.

Each character is in a different place with their spiritual lives, and where they are has a large influence and bearing on the story. Something I’ve noticed in a lot of stories is that characters are either Christian or non-Christian; like there are only two options, and you have to pick one.

This, however, is far from true – and the spiritual life of your character can have such an effect on the story, and it’s a shame to forego it! I’ll give you examples from This Mortal Coil and the male cast, and hope it inspires or helps you in some way. If not, it will at least tell you more about the story!

Skata1 Skata

He was once a church-going man, although it was mostly because of his wife, Em. When tragedy struck and he lost his wife in a way no man should have to, he lost whatever small faith he had.

His purpose in life is now revenge, but through the influence of the local pastor, a handful of vampires and a soft-spoken half-breed, he can’t deny the hand of God working in the small town.

As the story progresses, he struggles with his faith, questions God’s movements in his life and the faith of those around him, and has a rather Jacobian time of it. 

Angelblog

 Angel

Angel has always been something of a nihilist. He lives life and enjoys whatever he can because he has nothing but  himself to live for.

He gives good-humored ridicule to those around him who believe in something greater than themselves, but in reality he wishes he had faith in something.

He didn’t expect to find something to live for in the form of Easton Everett, a friend/little sister of Skata’s. She’s a good Christian, and he finds himself wanting to live up to someone’s expectations for the first time in a century.

 

CASSISblog

 Cassis

Cassis is a complete puzzle to Skata. A half-breed dhamphir who has been shunned by humans and vampires alike, he holds his faith close and treats everyone with the same brand of gentle kindness.

He lives his faith quietly and genuinely cares for others, especially outcasts and pariahs like himself. While he confuses Skata, Skata also can’t help but see that Cassis lives a more fulfilled and beloved life than he would have expected.

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 Rukiel

Rukiel, shape-shifter and proprieter of The Diamond Straight Bar & Lounge for unnaturals, believes there is  God who sees but does not intervene.

He tries to be a moral person whenever he can, but he finds that ‘good’ is something comparative and loosely defined. His belief, such as it is, does not interfere with his business.

   Gideon1

 Gideon Montgomery

Gideon is a complete gentleman in every sense of the word, and rarely behaves with selfish motives. He does not attend church but prays and meditates regularly, and his belief in God is obvious when he speaks. He is honest, clever, and if he gives you his word, you know without a doubt that he will keep it.

While not a church-goer, his faith is lived out more clearly than anyone else in the community, except for perhaps Dean Castle and Cassis.

  jacksonmontgomery

 Jackson Montgomery

A ‘live life in the fast lane’ kind of guy, impulsive, witty and full of himself, Jackson sees no need for ‘God’ to tell him what to do.

He pokes fun at Gideon’s ‘self-righteousness’ even though he loves his brother, but he claims he doesn’t want anyone directing his life but him.

He gets along well with Dean Castle, and even goes so far as to request shelter for the inhabitants of Grace during an attack. 

 

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Malcolm White

Malcolm is an agnostic, a pie-in-the-sky believer whose belief in God doesn’t affect him in the slightest. He believes that if there is an afterlife, he’s probably going to end up on the wrong side of it, and so what if he does? At least he got his kicks in this lifetime.

(Surprisingly, Jackson and Malcom don’t get along with each other.)

  

deancastle

Dean Castle

While the pastor of a non-denominational church, Skata takes to calling him ‘Father’ in a jokingly derrogatory way. Dean is very religious and takes his job as pastor seriously. He has a very down-to-earth, pranking sense of humor.

He’s a fighter who has to battle his impatience and wait on God to act, because he would rather things were done in the here and now.

 He and Skata form a brother-like bond over the course of the novel, and Skata sees that faith in God is not some fluffy, unhelpful thing – it can involve fists, if necessary.

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He is not a tame Lion

I had an epiphany the other day. I was wondering about my views on God, Christianity, and the general meaning of life; but mostly, I was pondering God himself. Having grown up in a world of mega churches, hip devotional books, and Veggie Tales, I sometimes feel as if I’m worshipping a concept and not God himself. So what should I be worshipping, I wondered? Who is it that I’ve devoted my life to? How come stories of mythology and the wild, pagan gods of civilizations past seem so much more alive than the conception of ‘God’ that comes into my head when His name is mentioned? And I realized something that, for me, was like a bolt of spiritual lightning.

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So often, without thinking, I worship a notion of God. A flat, three-dimensional ‘god’ formed in my mind by the world I grew up in. We hear sermons that warn against the mindset of ‘putting God in a box’ while doing that very same thing. The ‘god’ we automatically believe in barely does justice to God’s shadow. When someone says God, we even get the mental image of a human being in our mind; of countless paintings and movie actors and statues we’ve seen depicting the so-called creator as nothing more than a finite mortal creature. Without meaning to, we have created an idol and called it god.

But this is not God.

The Real God is an all-powerful Being who existed before time and space; an ancient, beautiful, wild One who looks like nothing we could ever imagine, who loves us in ways we could never fathom, who sees into our very hearts and souls. We should worship the God who, with a wave of his hand, created something from nothing. The God who loves and wars and casts down, who raises up, who saves, and who dashes against the rocks.

He is not the God of coffee machines and six-thousand-chair church buildings and televangelism. He is not just a man in a robe. He is not a genie we can conjure whenever we want something. He is all. He is the depths of love  and wisdom, and he is uncontrollable and infinite and so very alive and so much more than most of us recognize. He is the Lion. He is vengeance. He is peace. He was. He is. He will forever be.

I will be guilty of many things in my life, but I pray the one thing I will never again be guilty of is worshipping the world’s god over the God.

“‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good.”

For Sparrow 1969

A few people pointed out, after my last post, that we don’t want to get in people’s faces.

That is absolutely correct!

St. Augustine once said (although the saying has been credited to several people, such as St. Francis of Assissi, most people agree that Augustine said it) “Preach the gospel, and if necessary, use words.”

This is so true! Not everyone is going to walk up to you and want to know the 101 specifics on Christianity. Most people will glean what they know of Christianity from how you live. Therefore, you have a responsibility to live rightly and in a godly fashion. People get turned off by 1.) the ‘intimidation’ witnessing (If you’re not a Christian, you’re goin’ down, dude!) 2.) the ‘in-your-face’ witnessing (Herehaveaboxoftractsherestheaddresstomychurchandmyphonnumbercallmereadyourbibleeverydayandpraypraypray!!!!)

You’re supposed to be Zealous. Paul says in Galations 4: 18, “But it is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing, and not only when I am present with you.” Enthusiasm is a GOOD thing! Just make sure to rein it in – you don’t want to scare people off. You’re a Christian, not a threat!

But before I go, a few words on “Enthusiasm”…