Sunday, July 21, 2013

When my work intersects with popular horror

A couple of weeks ago, I talked about my work in ministry intersecting with my work of fiction. I enjoy talking with people who want to separate facts from fiction. It's interesting to talk with people about subjects that don't normally come up in every day ministry. One  thing I did not anticipate is the phenomenon that occurs every time a new horror movie is released. Every time a new horror movie is released, I receive calls from people with questions about ghosts, hauntings, demonic possession, and in the most extreme cases, all of them at the same time.

I write about supernatural subjects, which often fall into the subject of horror. This, plus my work in ministry, leads people to me for various concerns. I have no problems talking about what I believe versus do not believe. I don't mind talking with people about subjects that other people in ministry would shy away from. I think it's important to answer the questions people have. If we don't, then they are forced to seek answers elsewhere, and answers elsewhere could be even more problematic, like believing horror movies are real.

Let me just say I do not have issues with people watching horror movies. I do enjoy the genre. I don't watch as many horror films as I used to, but I do keep up with what's popular. I am not one of those pastors who will condemn a person for his/her preference of movies. However, if watching a horror movie causes you to believe you are haunted and/or possessed, then you probably should NOT watch any horror movies. If a movie can scare you to a point where you need to seek help to deal with what you saw, then maybe you need to question your choice in movies.

Seriously, I have even had a person I barely knew come up to me and ask point blank, "Do you think I'm possessed because I think I might be?" Talk about an awkward way to start a conversation. Look, I get it. One of the issues I do have with certain horror movies is the amount of realism they provide, but I'll leave that for another blog post. The fact is of the numerous people who have asked me if I thought they were being haunted and/or possessed, only one or two has ever had a serious problem that had to be dealt with. The rest were just really scared individuals looking for a supernatural solution to explain their heightened fear from watching a scary movie.

Keep in mind that movies are created to entertain, not necessarily educate. Scary movies are meant to be, well, in one word: scary. If watching something scary will inevitably scare you to a point where you cannot live life normally as a result, then my recommendation is to avoid watching the movie, show, special, documentary, or whatever it is altogether. Your overall well-being is a much higher priority than any form of entertainment. Make good choices, but always know, even if you don't, and you still need someone to talk to, feel free to join my ever growing crowd of scared individuals seeking answers.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Timing: The excuse to cover all excuses

Before I begin, let me say up front that I believe timing is absolutely vital, especially for astronauts, racers, and even bakers. My concern is when timing is used as an excuse. If I had a nickel for every time I have heard someone say, "The timing wasn't right," I would be a rich man. I like to tell friends who use timing as an excuse that the key to timing is being in the right place at the right time. Unfortunately, many people stand on the sidelines watching the time pass by.

It's like going to a job interview, staring at the front door until it's too late, then deciding not to go in at all because you missed the appointment standing outside. Sure, you could've gone in, but now timing is your excuse. I once had a friend in high school who never went out on dates, like, at all. The thing about him was he would always say he was waiting for the right time to ask a particular girl out, and then he wouldn't ask her out at all. He would come back and say the time wasn't right. Well, four years passed by, and the timing was never right, or at least his version of right.

Sometimes you have to go out there and go for whatever it is you are trying to achieve. I completely understand if the timing really isn't right, but please do not use timing as an excuse to never try. Life really is too short for that kind of thinking. Every day I talk to people who have hopes, dreams, and life goals that they are waiting for the right time to chase. For many of them, the time will never be right. All of those hopes, dreams, and goals will go unaccomplished, and at some later time you can be sure they will say, "The timing wasn't right."

I know, thus far it sounds like I am ranting, but it breaks my heart to know many people will never live life to the fullest because they are waiting for the right time to live. I meet people who want to travel, do art, save the world, feed the homeless, write books, build houses, and spend more time with their children, but they are hoping they will be able to later. "Work is too important right now" and "I'll have more time later," they say. The truth is time is not on our side. Time goes on whether we want it to or not.

The saddest fact in my life is the amount of people I know who have passed away. Nearly everyone I grew up with is no longer with us. The one thing they all had in common was the desire to accomplish something in their lives that will forever go unfinished. The books they were going to write, songs they were going to sing, family they were going to love, friends they were going to share memories with, and places they were going to see will never happen. Their time on this planet of ours is done. It saddens me to think about how wonderful it would have been for them had they been able to accomplish even one or two of the things on their list.

Timing is important, and if your life and/or career is reliant on excellent timing, then please do not abandon timing. However, it is my hope that we can all stop using timing as an excuse for the things in our life that we fail to accomplish. Sometimes the timing really isn't right, but don't let that prevent you from trying again or trying at all. The timing may never be EXACTLY right. Live the best life you can. No one wants to reach the end of their life and carry more regrets than memories. Always do your best to really live.

Monday, July 8, 2013

When my work and works of fiction intersect

A few months back I tweeted about my work in ministry intersecting with my work of fiction. It seems to be happening more as time goes on. I think it's good that people have questions after they read my book. That is part of the reason I decided to publish at all. It's fun to talk with people who want to separate fact from fiction.

I work in ministry, but I write works of fiction about angels, demons, and various other supernatural subjects. There's bound to be some questions. I have some of the most interesting conversations with people who read the book, and then come out with questions guns blazing. The reality is part of the reason I write fiction is to talk about things I am unable to explain. I mean, that is the beauty of writing, right? I get the chance to bring a story to life, explain the unexplained, and create a world different from our own.

I am often asked, "Do you believe in angels and demons?" The simple answer is yes I do. Do I believe that they fight each other? Of course, I do. However, do I believe they act, talk, and function in the way I describe in my books? Do they do battle with golden weapons, traveling at speeds faster than the human eye can see, leaving nothing but fire, dust, and ash behind? Well, this is the part where fiction comes in. This is why I love writing. I get the chance to take something I believe in and create a story around it.

I have seen a lot of crazy things over the years. I've seen the miraculous occur more than once. I have also witnessed things that I thought could only exist in works of horror. Some of them I wish I could simply explain away and never think about again. Writing provides an outlet for me to work through all these crazy things. I suppose I could write non-fiction, but where is the fun in that?

At the end of the day, my books are meant to entertain. The idea that they are creating dialogue with people I wouldn't normally interact with is an added bonus. I'm enjoying these conversations, so please keep the questions coming. I'm so glad people are enjoying the first book so much that they want to know more. For all of you wondering, the sequel to Beyond Heights and Depths will be released later this year.