Friday, April 22, 2011

Facts and Faith in the Culture Wars by Marianne Evans (and giveaway!)

It was a billboard exclamation that stirred me to action.

Upon it was depicted the three wise men, on their way to a manger in Bethlehem, a sparkling star in the sky above them. Beneath that familiar image? The words: ‘You KNOW it’s a myth. This season, celebrate REASON.’ I’m sure, somewhere, there’s a billboard just like it designed to decry Easter.

The idea of such a thing makes my heart ache with sadness. Not anger, not some self-righteous call to vindication and recrimination. Instead, I feel sorrow that some people will go to quite an extreme to tell me I’m wrong to believe in the mystery, the grace, love and divinity of Jesus Christ. The intent of billboards like this is clear: Christians are expected to come to our senses, and respect non-believers while at the same time, they are allowed to ridicule and mock us. The lack of respect is jarring. That’s OK, though. Jesus knows all about that battle, and he already won it. As for me, I care about helping as many people find their way to His love as possible—despite instances of non-belief and antagonism that run counter to everything I hold most dear.

That’s why I wrote A Face in the Clouds. We live in a culture of instant access to “knowledge.” We live in a society governed by quantification that’s quickly moving our entire world away from the mystery of living.

And life is a mystery—a mystery even science and fact-finding can’t fully comprehend or explain. That’s not myth—that’s reason—reason in its purest form.

‘If I’d turned the corner, I never would have met my spouse.’

‘In a dazzling split second of squealing tires, a life is saved. Millimeters of space spare an accident.’

‘An instant and unexpected event has turned my life upside down.’

How can such things be explained? We are given over to whatever life circumstances come our way. These are not quantifiable sets of circumstances, they are part of God’s Plan incarnate, His sprit breathing unique life into each and every corner of existence. Where does life come from? A cell-burst of microscopic evolution, or the breath of God?

It’s both, of course, but what we need to remember is the fact that God is in both!

I illustrate the truth of God’s direct existence and intervention in the pages of A Face in the Clouds.

Reporter Paul Hutchins is all about finding facts and uncovering the truth. Verification, authenticity and quantification are the fuel of his spirit…Until he falls in love with producer Sandy Pierson. Sandy sees Christ alive in every aspect of her life. No need for quantified facts. Faith is the fuel of her spirit . But her love for Paul puts her at odds with God's call toward faith and all of its mysteries.

Paul considers Christianity to be well-meaning myth—hyperbole. To Sandy, it’s everything—and she can accept nothing less from the man she loves. This story answers the questions: Can a miracle happen? Can the touch of God Himself keep their relationship from shattering?

My sister-in-law is a Christian artist, an anointed missionary much like the artist who impacts Paul and Sandy’s love story so strongly, and brings God to the forefront of seeking hearts, many times with miraculous results. I loved giving a voice to her ministry. I also loved debunking the idea that God doesn’t exist—because He most certainly does. God’s presence abounds, if you but open yourself to Him, receive, and accept! I hope you enjoy Paul and Sandy’s journey!

Here's an excerpt from Marianne's A Face in the Clouds:
“I know how deeply you feel things, Paul. You have a wonderful heart. That’s part of why I love you so much. I’m torn in two about my feelings for you.” Sandy’s declaration would have filled him were it not chipped and cracked by the impact of her doubts.

“Your reporter’s instinct toward authenticity and revealing the truth is a big part of what I admire about you. There’s nothing wrong with facing the world honestly, but you need to make room for a few other truths.”

“Like God.”

“Yes, and the fact that life holds as much mystery, and as many intangibles, as it does realistic things you can hold tight with both hands.”

She wanted him to change. Right down to the soul. Paul continued to study her. She was hurt enough that she had almost stepped away from attending tonight’s event—out of a frustrated sense of love. Yet here they were—together—out of a frustrated sense of love.

And if he wasn’t mindful of her beliefs, she’d step away from him.

Paul navigated the rapidly-filling parking lot of Woodland Church. Once they stopped, he killed the car engine and used a restraining hand to keep Sandy in place. He closed the space between them and gave her a kiss that lingered and thoroughly tasted. He felt the gesture ease a bit of the tightness in her shoulders and back. “I’ll keep an open mind, OK?”

She touched his face, and there was yearning in her eyes. “Keep an open heart. That’s much more important.”

Marianne Evans is a multi-published author of Christian contemporary romances and fiction. A lifelong resident of Michigan, Marianne is an active member of Romance Writers of America and the Greater Detroit RWA where she served the chapter in a number of capacities, but most notably for two terms as Chapter Treasurer and two terms as Chapter President. She also belongs to the Faith Hope and Love chapter of RWA, American Christian Fiction Writers and the Michigan Literary Network.

Find out more about Marianne and her releases at:
Her website
Her blog

It's giveaway time!

Marianne is giving away a PDF edition of Hearts Crossing, the story that kicked off her Woodland Series- the prequel for A Face in the Clouds.

To enter, leave a comment between now and May 1st. Include your email address if it's not in your profile.


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