Tag Archives: christianity

American Omens: The Coming Fight For Faith

American Omens is the story of three people who are caught up in a web of intrigue centered on a conspiracy to eradicate Christianity. Will Stewart, Jon Dowland, and Cheyenne Burne all play different roles in the story. Jon Dowland is the assassin tasked with taking out influential Christians, thus silencing them and diminishing the faith’s influence on society. Will Stewart, a failed bookseller, is knee deep in financial and family despair when he is approached, and challenged, by a mysterious stranger. Cheyenne Burne is a top tech guru who receives a message from her missing father and subsequently is thrust into a series of events that put her very life in danger.

I was excited to read American Omens: The Coming Fight for Faith by Travis Thrasher. I love a good thriller! The beginning was really captivating, and the pace of the book kept up…until the middle where it just seemed to go into slow-mo for a while.

I enjoyed the ‘thriller’ aspects of this book, and there are some really pertinent points made about the way our lives are being monitored by algorithms. In the future portrayed in American Omens, everyone is monitored by a personal device called a SYNAPSYS.

There are many, many things a SYNAPSYS is capable of doing, things that people have no idea about….It used to be that people were scared about Facebook keeping their data on the recipes and cat pictures they liked. They have no idea. In wanting life to be easier and faster and better all around, people have allowed themselves to be monitored. And even worse, manipulated.

American Omens (Advance Reading Copy), p. 271

Where Thrasher went too far, in my estimation, is putting the monitoring into the hands of one, fictional mega-corporation, Acatour, run by one man, Jack Heyford, and inferring that he’s just the latest in a giant conspiracy.

Heyfor’s a part of something that’s been around for decades. The world government. The New World Order. The Freemasons. The Illuminati. The deep state. The cabal. Names for secret societies that have become cartoons and comic books. Words that are punch lines. The figures change, and so do their names and networks. Yet the evil remains the same.

American Omens (ARC), p. 191

One other thing that was just ‘off’ to me was a passage late in the book where two of the characters are sneaking into the headquarters of Acatour in disguise. ” …Malek wore glasses, and Cheyenne had her hair in a new style with it tied to one side, making them look different enough for the cameras monitoring everything not to instantly pick up on them if people were, in fact, looking for them” (American OmensARC p.274). So, I’m supposed to believe that technology is so advanced that we have self-driving cars (Autovehs) everywhere, and programs with such advanced algorithms that they nearly read our minds, but we don’t have facial recognition??

I believe that we ARE being surveilled by algorithms and that Christianity IS under attack, but I think it’s a much less focused effort on the part of any one human, earthy entity. Businesses are surveilling us because it makes them money. If it makes them more money, they’ll do it…throwing privacy concerns to the wind. I don’t have an Alexa for that very reason. “She’s” always listening.

Freedom of religion is under attack. Holding beliefs that are not “politically correct” on homosexuality or abortion are mocked at best and considered hate speech at worst.

There IS a conspiracy to control us. There IS a conspiracy to stop the message of Christianity from spreading. There IS one man at the root of this conspiracy. His name is Satan. He’s not using just one man, one company, or one organization to accomplish his evil work. He’s using millions of them. When we look for boogie men in the world, we forget that there is a very real force behind them. The way to combat that is to read our scriptures, study, and pray. Not watch conspiracy videos on YouTube.

Overall, the book is interesting but I just felt it was pandering to the conspiracy theory, flat earth types.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review

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How to Be a Perfect Christian

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First thing: THIS IS SATIRE. Frankly, if you read it and can’t figure that out, there’s no hope for you. Second thing: Even if you know it’s satire, this may still strike a nerve or two. If so, then maybe you need to do some self-examination. ‘Nuf said.

I literally laughed out loud at How to Be a Perfect Christian. Some parts of it were downright hilarious. As a former mega-church-attending evangelical, there were some things here that were dead on.

“Many Christians just trudge through life without ever attaining to the higher levels of Christian faith. The root of your problem is that you’re not trying hard enough to become perfect by your own efforts. You’re trying to do the Christian life by the grace of God, allowing Him to gradually change you by the power of His Word. This works for some people, but it’s not befitting a true believer.

No, the true believer desires one thing above all else: conformity to the status quo of the modern church” (p. 6)

This book leaves no stone unturned as it examines every facet of modern-day Christian culture. Here’s a sampling from the chapters:

  • Joining the Right Church (“A church that will help you achieve perfection will have a superslick website…” p. 18)
  • Worshipping Like a Pro (“Show everyone else how spiritual you are with wild displays of emotion and hand raising…” p. 43)
  • Doing Life Together (“Try really hard to sound spiritual in your interactions with other Christians…” p. 67)
  • Serving in Church Without Ever Lifting a Finger (“The church is here to meet your needs, not the other way around…” p. 79)
  • Looking Really Spiritual Online (“Get involved in bitter arguments with people from all faith traditions and backgrounds each day…” p. 96)
  • Striving For Personal Perfection (“Secular movies are always sinful…” p. 112)
  • Conforming to Mainstream Christian Beliefs (“The measuring stick the Lord left the church by which we might discern truth from error is the current beliefs of Christian culture…” p. 124)
  • Quarantining Your Home From the Worldly Wastelands (“We recommend not allowing your kids to have any contact with any remotely non-Christian influences for at least the first twenty-five years of their lives…” p. 148)
  • Crusading Against the Heathens (“You can even change the eternal fate of waiters and waitresses by leaving a Bible verse on your credit card receipt instead of a tip…” p. 161)
  • Fighting On the Front Lines of the Culture War (“God gave us the gospel so we could effect social change and win the culture war…” p. 183)
  • You’ve Arrived (“You must continue to earn the Lord’s favor each and every day by conforming to cultural Christianity even in the smallest details of your life…” p. 190)

This book isn’t for someone who can’t take a joke, or who can’t laugh at themselves. It will possibly make you point some fingers — maybe even some at yourself! I know that some people take exception to Christian satire. They may say that this is making fun of sacred things. I don’t think so. This is making fun of the MAN MADE conventions we place on faith. As such, they’re fair game. This in no ways makes fun of God or Jesus Christ. If anything, this book may make you look at some of your stances or practices in such a way that you might feel led to abandon some of the superficial trappings of religion and draw closer to God himself.

I was given a complimentary copy of this book by the publisher. The opinions expressed are solely my own.

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Filed under Christian, Fiction, Satire, Uncategorized

Fire Road: The Napalm Girl’s Journey through the Horrors of War to Faith, Forgiveness & Peace

FireRoad

A story full of pain. A story full of hope. A story full of anger. A story full of forgiveness. Does this sound like your life? It certainly sounds like mine! It also sounds (in the extreme!) like the story of Kim Phuc Phan Thi. You may have seen her picture. She’s the famous “napalm girl” whose picture was snapped by a young photographer as she ran naked, screaming, and severely burned down a Dang Trang Vietnam road. The photographer who took the iconic photograph scooped Kim up and rushed her to a nearby hospital where, initially, they refused to treat the girl. After some arm-twisting and showing of credentials, he convinced the hospital to take her in and they arranged her transfer to Saigon. When she arrived, unconscious, at First Children’s Hospital she was deemed hopeless and taken to languish in the morgue.

It is from these horrors that a story of survival, hope, and peace rose like a Phoenix. Her survival from burns was only the beginning of Kim’s remarkable story. Living under the oppressive system of Communism, Kim continued to suffer loss after loss. She had been introduced to the Christian religion but had stopped attending services regularly. She was so despondent that she planned her own death, but somehow she found the will to cry out to God…a simple prayer. With that prayer, and action she took in faith that God had heard her petition, things began to turn around for Kim Phuc.

Her book, Fire Road, tells the remarkable and inspiring story of redemption and grace in Kim’s life. I found myself writing down quotes and thinking of applications to my own life as I read her words. Kim is an inspiring role model. Her story teaches lessons that are hard to forget because they were lived, not just preached. I can’t recommend this book enough!

*I was provided with a complementary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

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Filed under Autobiography, Christian, Non-Fiction, women