Setting the record straight

Over on my book review blog there is an exchange with Andi. (By the way, she has an excellent blog on divorce and healing). It is a very worthy point and I wanted to bring it out in the open.

Andi said...


Gina,
I find it interesting when you review a book that you have such negative things to say about the writing yet I don't see your book(s) being published and being toured. Maybe you need to tender your reviews with a little more grace. Just a thought.

~Andi

I take this criticism to heart. Andi is correct to chide me on the negative things I have to say about some Christian writings. However I am just one voice.


Gina Burgess said...

Just to set the record straight, Andi, I haven't really tried to get anything published. I have not had that 100th rejection, only 2.

However, I owned just less than 1,500 books and read twice as many more. I don't know any author as prolific a writer and I am a reader. I do know what works and what doesn't work. I do know what is good writing and what is poor editing.

I realize I am very opinionated when it comes to Christian fiction and that is because a Christian author should strive harder, longer and deeper than any secular writer to get the message out in such a way that unbelievers would want to read because of the literary value of the work, if not because they are searching for something they do not have.

These days publishers crank out 10,000 titles a year and each book is counted a success if it sells 15,000 copies! That barely pays for the printing costs with hardly anything for the author. My standards are not too high, they are too low and that means the editors and publishers are pouring out crappy product.

I want something not only CLEAN to read but something that is really GOOD to read. I know there is a great deal of talent out there that hasn't had the chance to be published and it is truly irksome that someone who is published several times over gets lazy in their work because they "have so much on their plate" they need to have someone help them write the book as in the case of Ms Walker. It is especially irksome when Ms Walker has written some excellent stories. I feel cheated, frankly.

Actually, to set the record even staighter, I have had more than 145 articles published on the internet (LiveAsIf.org), more than 100 feaures published in newspapers, and two articles picked up by Associated Press for national distribution. One article picked up by the National Social Workers Association and published on their website, and my blog was cited in a doctorate paper on Women's Issues. So, while I have not had a book published, my writings have had considerable local, national, and global recognition.

An Elegy for Journalism

I am not the only one who seems to be disgusted with the current state of affairs in the journalism world. I have heard some people use the title Journalist with a literal sneer in their tone. Click the link of this title and you'll see an extremely well written book review on just this subject.

It would seem the only real journalists these days are those in the print medium, however, those are fading fast. What happened to the true investigative journalism where facts were checked and rechecked? What happened to being able to trust most anything that was printed in the newspaper (reputable newspapers) was mostly the truth, not just holding a whiff of that elusive commodity?

While I will fight to the death for any American to preach their opinion about anything, I do believe there should be a proper respect for other's reputations. For an excellent example of today's "journalists" at their so-called best I suggest you read Sarah Palin's "Going Rogue". (My review is here.)

And Christians don't seem to be much better at this Truth business, but I've ranted about that enough.

If Americans don't start insisting on excellence, then we get what we deserve. For, truly, it is all our fault for accepting trash in place of treasure, and lies instead of truth, all for the mere thrill of the latest scandal or gossip.

Great Aunt Gigi

I am a great aunt again. Here are the two who have caused that problem :D
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More cancer in the Body

Disclaimer===========
I moved forward the post below this one because I am intensely aware there are forces at work within the Body of Christ which we must be on guard against at every turn and bump in the road. I also moved it forward because I thought it was merely a draft and not posted. I guess one should check all the fine print, eh? Instead of deleting it, I'll let it ride.
==================

I received a very insightful comment on my post Cancer in the Body. It was written by a person wishing to remain anonymous, which is fine. However, it would have been nice to have struck up a discussion about this.


One striking comment was this:



...but it is possible that Satan has manipulated you into doing exactly what he wanted you to do.

Yes. It is possible that Satan tried to manipulate us, but there was so much more to this than being manipulated by Satan. The process one should undergo in order to assure that manipulation by Satan does not happen is very simple. Be on your knees before the LORD and ask what His will is. Then listen for that still small voice.

What happened during those days and weeks that followed the horsewhipping meeting in the “fellowship” hall was so intense and so draining that we felt like wet rags draped over a clothesline. That is the time when you feel so weak and defenseless that it is possible to make a bad decision unless you are finely tuned to that still small Voice of the LORD.

My daughter asked the other day if prayer wears you out. My reply was, “It depends upon what you are praying for and how intently.” I have been in prayer sessions that have drained me completely, and other times have prayed such a brief thing it was like a breath or a sigh. God hears them all, make no mistake and He is keeping them all in a huge gold bowl on His altar in Heaven. (Revelation 5:8 and 8:4) Resting in Him as you pray so that no other concern passes through your mind. Remain silent after you have finished. Look for God’s answer in every way, then test the answer asking if it really is from Him. All these things together is how you can know God’s answer and His will.

The religious leaders of that church bear a remarkable resemblance to the religious leaders of Jesus’ day. So full of self-importance thinly veiled as “righteous” concern, that is was impossible to not see it. Also, knowing the truth about the things our pastor was accused of helped, too, and if that wasn’t enough, depending upon the Holy Spirit to point out the lies and shine a light on the truth was the clincher.

John the Baptist saw through the religious leaders of his day, Matt 3:7 But seeing many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said to them, O generation of vipers, who has warned you to flee from the wrath to come?

Jesus saw it, too, Matt 23:27 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which indeed appear beautiful outside, but inside they are full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness.


Yes, that is possible, but having witnessed it and lived through it, Satan has a stronghold in that church, not a toehold or a foothold. The people are blindly following those who lead without understanding who the true leaders are and where they are leading. One of the first things I noticed about this church is its lack of prayer. Oh, there was corporate prayer and quite eloquent prayer it is. Those of the deacons who pray whole heartedly are amazing pray-ers. But, no cottage prayer meetings, and out of the more than 1200 members, only about 25 showed up for Wednesday night prayer meeting. Now, those guys are prayer warriors. Of the church “leaders”, zero showed up for prayer meeting or choir except the pastor and his wife. That is a very sad testament.

 For more discussion on this you can look for my column on LiveAsIf.org this Sunday.

…. By leaving, while it isn't always wrong and can be a good transition in life, you may have given Satan a bigger foothold in the church…

The only way to maintain innocence in the eyes of those you need to affect is by standing firm and being consistent and stand above reproach.
Amen.

Believe it or not... persecution is here

I never really thought that Christians would persecute fellow brothers or sisters. I never thought it would come to that, yet Jesus said it would. How could I doubt it? We live in such a safe world here in America. We have such things a laws and decency.

Beware my friends. Who needs enemies with Christians acting so worldly they can't discern fact from fiction and have no problem making up stories to defame the character of a sister in Christ. Makes me question if they really are Christian.

Oh... yes... there is something in the Bible about that, too. They must be that kind of Christian that can be deceived, and whose love has grown cold, yet heats their passion artificially.

When I am attacked and betrayed by so-called friends, when the good work I am doing is stymied by persons greedy for power and who lie outright and who twist words with innuendos as well as implications, then I know that Satan is angry with what I am doing. Then I know that God has allowed Satan plenty of room to destroy one thing precisely so another, even better thing will sprout, grow and blossom into something that will bring Him glory. As soon as Satan has tainted a thing that was meant for good, God will allow its destruction for He has no pleasure in false glory.

Christians beware. The wolves are howling and circling. They are dressed as sheep. They spout platitudes and sing of wonderful things that sound so pure, yet are draped in wickedness. Beware of who you trust. Beware of the pack, because these kinds of wolves travel in packs bolstering each other's courage to entertain dastardly thoughts and then to put the thoughts into action.

Beware for Satan knows his time is short. His anger burns brighter each day. If you think it can't happen to me... look over your shoulder for if you are close to the will of God, the Devil is plotting your failure. Nevertheless... He who is in us is greater than he who is in the world.

I never thought I could lose my job for my religious convictions, but I have. Not once, but twice. I quit two other jobs because of my religious convictions, but lately it seems that if a Christian is vocal about his/her beliefs then we can lose our jobs and nothing can be done about it.

A Refreshing...

Reprinted from my column at LiveAsIf.org

The man gave the bolt a final twist and stepped back from under the hood of the car. He wiped his grimy hands on a rag and then stuffed it in his back pocket. He gave a satisfied sigh as he headed to the office and the coffee pot. The coffee was strong and fresh, just like he liked it. Tossing a grin to Gertrude, his part time office help, he said, “Gertie, call Kent Boudreaux and let him know his car is ready and he can pick it up any time today.”


With only a little regret, he set his cup down and headed to back the car from the bay and bring in another to work on. Thank goodness God was good to provide so much work when the economy was so bad. Just as the back wheels cleared the bay doors, one of them ran over something. He didn’t have a clue what it could have been, since it had only been a couple of hours since he’d driven the car in the bay. Then his heart constricted and he groaned in sudden agony.

Alfie’s job was to meet and greet all customers that came into the shop. His throne was the cushioned chair that was next to the desk. Sure it was grimy, but it was comfortable for a small, snowy white, very fluffy dog. Normally, Alfie rarely ventured into the bay area. He preferred the cool office and comfy cushion to the cool, but mucky shop floor. Alfie was the beloved owner of the man and his family. His other job was to give love and happiness to those he loved best.

The man climbed from the car, dreading what he must find. Sure enough, Alfie was laying still and flat under the car. Tears welled up, and his heart wrenched again. Suddenly, the bright day darkened to night. The dog must have scooted out the door when he got coffee. Even though he wasn’t allowed in the shop, the dog had obviously disobeyed the standing command.

He cradled the little dog in his arms, unsure of what to do. The lifeless form just lay there, head lolled back and tiny pink tongue slack instead of happily panting. The shop owner sat down in a grease-smudged chair with the dog across his lap. What should he do? How would he tell his sweet wife and those precious girls what had happened to Alfie? Finally, he decided to put the dog in the dog food bag, and place him in the dumpster. In this concrete garden, there wasn’t anywhere to bury a pet.

The rest of the day, he worried and fretted how to tell the family they had lost one of their own that day. There was no good way, so he blurted it out as soon as he made it home. Rain began to patter against the home’s windows and it seemed God was sharing the family’s grief.

Next morning, what was normally a joy to hop out of bed and head to work became a heavy chore. Sighing heavily, all the way to work, he opened the shop for daily work, sans his beloved, tiny, fluffy employee.

The coffee had just finished brewing when the owner of the neighboring body shop burst into the office. “Are you going to tell me why your dog is in the dumpster?”

“Well, Jeb, I know he’s in the dumpster. I didn’t have any place else to put him. I ran over him yesterday.

“No, you don’t understand. Your dog is barking and jumping and trying to get out of that dumpster!”

“What? Are you kidding me?” With joyful heart, the man ran to the dumpster and grabbed up that fluffy bundle of excitement. That little pink tongue was exploring every inch of his face. That little dog had only been knocked out, and the most refreshing rain, that gift from God, had refreshed and revived him. Alfie wasn’t dead, after all, he just needed reviving.



How many Christians today look dead? How many are asleep at the wheel or get knocked silly by being someplace they are not supposed to be? Disobedience breaks fellowship with the LORD, and we can’t afford that when we need to be ready for that great and glorious day the Father looks at the Son and says, “Go get Your Bride, Son.” Glory!

Paul tells the Ephesians in chapter two verse one and following: 2:1 In the past you were spiritually dead because of your disobedience and sins. 2 At that time you followed the world's evil way; you obeyed the ruler of the spiritual powers in space, the spirit who now controls the people who disobey God. 3 Actually all of us were like them and lived according to our natural desires, doing whatever suited the wishes of our own bodies and minds. In our natural condition we, like everyone else, were destined to suffer God's anger.

Paul was talking about how they acted as unbelievers, but I am thinking it sounds a lot like Believers of today. The Bride of Christ is sick these days, sick with the evil ways of the world. We can be like the Rich Young Ruler and say: These commands I have kept, I have not sinned. But, how many of us have watched a movie lately in which God’s name was blasphemed? How many of us worry and fret, harbor anger… bitterness… jealousy, seek vengeance, are critical of others, controlling, gossip, pray by rote, fudge the truth, go places we shouldn’t go, do things in secret that we’d die if it were printed on the front page of the newspaper? How many pirate music? How many think if it doesn’t hurt anyone, it’s okay? How many haven’t returned something that was borrowed? How many of us allow work, family, hobbies, play time come first instead of the LORD?

How many of us have given up on a brother or sister in Christ because he looks dead? How often have we thrown a sibling in the dumpster without thought to the prayers of a righteous man and the resuscitation process laid out by Jesus in Matthew 18: 15-17?

Nothing happens in secret that will not be found out, and nothing done in the dark will not be brought to light. But, why would a front page news story matter more than what God thinks of us? How could it matter more than our precious relationship and that refreshing rain from above?

Revive us LORD Jesus, send your refreshing rain of blessings and awaken us from our dead sleep. Help us watch and be ready… The Bride awaits her Groom. Come LORD Jesus and find Your Bride doing the mighty works prepared before the foundation of the world. AMEN.



This column was inspired by one of my favorite preachers, Dr. Preston Nix. He is an Associate Professor at New Orleans Baptist Seminary, and he is leading us in revival this week.