Category Archives: Hot Topics

Hate Didn’t Elect Donald Trump; Desperate People Did

A look at rural poverty and its impact on the election. After reading this, I can only hope Trump can bring jobs back to these suffering communities.

Tori's Thought Bubble

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Over the summer, my little sister had a soccer tournament at Bloomsburg University, located in central Pennsylvania. The drive there was about three hours and many of the towns we drove through shocked me. The conditions of these towns were terrible. Houses were falling apart. Bars and restaurants were boarded up. Scrap metal was thrown across front lawns. White, plastic lawn chairs were out on the drooping front porches. There were no malls. No outlets. Most of these small towns did not have a Walmart, only a dollar store and a few run down thrift stores. In almost every town, there was an abandoned factory.

My father, who was driving the car, turned to me and pointed out a Trump sign stuck in a front yard, surrounded by weeds and dead grass. “This is Trump country, Tori,” He said. “These people are desperate, trapped for life in these small towns…

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Why I wrote Paint the Storm

PainttheStorm-Final2

In case you haven’t seen my latest news, my new novel Paint the Storm was released on October 10. What’s so special about that? you may wonder. Well, PTS deals with a very controversial, and possibly uncomfortable, topic: same-sex marriage. In light of last year’s landmark Supreme Court case, how are we Christians to deal with this new reality?

That is the question I attempted to answer when I wrote this story.

When I began writing Paint the Storm three years ago, same-sex marriage was not yet legal in the US. At the time, I approached the story as if it were a likely future scenario. Two years later, it was no longer a “what if.” It became reality when, in June 2015, the US Supreme Court affirmed the right of same-sex couples to marry.

Unfortunately, it’s an issue which has polarized our nation, and even our churches.

You may be wondering why I would tackle such a controversial topic. In essence, I saw an unfilled niche in the Christian market for edgier fiction that dealt with issues unique to our time, and came up with the concept of Hot Topic Fiction (HTF). My stories aren’t afraid to explore the question, how does God want us Christians to live out our faith in this not-so-brave new world? Without insulting the reader by offering pat or easy answers—because there aren’t any—my books tell of ordinary Christians following hard after Christ in a world of terror and violence, upside-down morality, and hostility to Judeo-Christian values. The characters in my stories face situations that would have been unthinkable even 20 years ago. We live in a vastly different world than our parents did, and that’s the world I write about.

Yet very few Christian fiction books contain gay characters, even though fiction is a great medium for imparting life lessons. I don’t claim to have all the answers. My goal was not to push an agenda. I simply wanted to tell the story of one Christian mom, and how she chose to live out Christ’s law of love without abandoning her convictions.

Download here.

I hope that more Christian authors will be courageous enough to tackle this and related issues in the future. After all, this is the world in which we live. And we Christians need to be prepared to deal with it.

same-sex coupleHere’s the blurb: 

GOLDEN STATE TRILOGY, BOOK I: Set amidst the spectacular scenery of California’s Marin Peninsula, Paint the Storm tells a timely story that resonates in today’s culture. It’s a saga of God’s power to heal relationships and answer prayers in the unlikeliest of ways. It’s a tale of loss, danger, and ultimately love.

When her daughter Linzee announces her engagement to her partner Nena, artist and single mother Meg struggles to understand how God wants her to respond. Should she follow the culture around her by embracing and celebrating Linzee’s same-sex relationship? And what does Christ think of a local church notorious for its hateful anti-gay messages? While she wrestles with these questions, she turns to a Christian support group where she learns what it means to love like Christ did. An intriguing new man makes life interesting, but while she is getting to know him, another man from her past suddenly shows up, further complicating matters.

Meanwhile, a cyber bully is targeting Linzee. His hateful messages turn threatening. Meg and Linzee rekindle their bond as together they determine to uncover the stalker’s identity. When the clues point toward Meg’s own family, she is paralyzed with fear. The violence escalates–until the day Linzee turns up missing.  In her search for Linzee, Meg joins up with the unlikeliest of allies – and begins to see God’s hand at work. It’s only when she turns to her support-group friends for comfort and prayer that she finally understands God’s faithfulness through the deepest of trials.

Join Meg on her adventure toward love, healing, and a heart-warming conclusion.

Source: Why I wrote Paint the Storm

Black Lives Matter- That’s Why I’m A Marriage Advocate

Black Lives Do Matter. So do black families.

askthe"Bigot"

On their website, Black Lives Matter lists this Guiding Principle: “We are committed to disrupting the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure…”  On that front, there is very little work left to do, as currently only seventeen percent of black children will reach their 18th birthday living in a nuclear family headed by their married father and mother

Deion is one of those black children. He grew up in a family that was comprised of four half-siblings and his white grandmother. His mother brought four children into the world, all with different fathers, all absent. After a few years, his mother was absent too. Deion’s father was black; all of his siblings were white.

Deion was pissed off.

His siblings were pissed off.

Because when your father is not around, kids often feel unwanted and as a result… angry.  Deion’s anger was a constant and he was only fourteen when he had…

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Why I wrote Paint the Storm

Update: Paint the Storm is now available in Amazon’s Kindle store. Download here.PainttheStorm-Final2

In case you haven’t seen my latest news, my new novel Paint the Storm will be available for pre-order on September 15. What’s so special about that? you may wonder. Well, PTS deals with a very controversial, and possibly uncomfortable, topic: same-sex marriage. In light of last year’s landmark Supreme Court case, how are we Christians to deal with this new reality? 

That is the question I attempted to answer when I wrote this story.

When I began writing Paint the Storm three years ago, same-sex marriage was not yet legal in the US. At the time, I approached the story as if it were a likely future scenario. Two years later, it was no longer a “what if.” It became reality when, in June 2015, the US Supreme Court affirmed the right of same-sex couples to marry.

Unfortunately, it’s an issue which has polarized our nation, and even our churches.

You may be wondering why I would tackle such a controversial topic. In essence, I saw an unfilled niche in the Christian market for edgier fiction that dealt with issues unique to our time, and came up with the concept of Hot Topic Fiction (HTF). My stories aren’t afraid to explore the question, how does God want us Christians to live out our faith in this not-so-brave new world? Without insulting the reader by offering pat or easy answers—because there aren’t any—my books tell of ordinary Christians following hard after Christ in a world of terror and violence, upside-down morality, and hostility to Judeo-Christian values. The characters in my stories face situations that would have been unthinkable even 20 years ago. We live in a vastly different world than our parents did, and that’s the world I write about.

Yet very few Christian fiction books contain gay characters, even though fiction is a great medium for imparting life lessons. I don’t claim to have all the answers. My goal was not to push an agenda. I simply wanted to tell the story of one Christian mom, and how she chose to live out Christ’s law of love without abandoning her convictions.

I hope that more Christian authors will be courageous enough to tackle this and related issues in the future. After all, this is the world in which we live. And we Christians need to be prepared to deal with it.

same-sex coupleHere’s the blurb: 

GOLDEN STATE TRILOGY, BOOK I: Set amidst the spectacular scenery of California’s Marin Peninsula, Paint the Storm tells a timely story that resonates in today’s culture. It’s a saga of God’s power to heal relationships and answer prayers in the unlikeliest of ways. It’s a tale of loss, danger, and ultimately love.

When her daughter Linzee announces her engagement to her partner Nena, artist and single mother Meg struggles to understand how God wants her to respond. Should she follow the culture around her by embracing and celebrating Linzee’s same-sex relationship? And what does Christ think of a local church notorious for its hateful anti-gay messages? While she wrestles with these questions, she turns to a Christian support group where she learns what it means to love like Christ did. An intriguing new man makes life interesting, but while she is getting to know him, another man from her past suddenly shows up, further complicating matters.

Meanwhile, a cyber bully is targeting Linzee. His hateful messages turn threatening. Meg and Linzee rekindle their bond as together they determine to uncover the stalker’s identity. When the clues point toward Meg’s own family, she is paralyzed with fear. The violence escalates–until the day Linzee turns up missing.  In her search for Linzee, Meg joins up with the unlikeliest of allies – and begins to see God’s hand at work. It’s only when she turns to her support-group friends for comfort and prayer that she finally understands God’s faithfulness through the deepest of trials.

Join Meg on her adventure toward love, healing, and a heart-warming conclusion.

Only Love will win in the end

“When we gloat in the low moments of others, regardless of our self-justifying reasons, we break the rule of love…”
The attached post tells a story of a photo of a Muslim woman remaining seated when everyone else around her was standing. The photo made the rounds on Facebook, and the conclusions  and comments that followed tell a sad story of human nature. The judgmental people bashing the Muslim woman probably felt a lot better about themselves after they put the whip away. See full post:

mumford & psalms

I wrote the post below a few days ago and am editing it here in light of this billboard that went up today just 10 miles from where I live.

white again

The You can listen to Rick Tyler in a new interview argue why America would be better off if we didn’t have “people of color” around.    The sentiment behind this billboard is found everywhere in America.   The picture you see below, for example, which made it’s way around social media, served to stir up even more animosity towards “non white people.”    As I try to make clear in the words that follow, if you cheer on pictures like these and get angry because she’s sitting during the National Anthem, you might be more like Rick Tyler than you’d care to admit.   The nationalistic zeal and xenophobia exhibited below is the natural breeding ground for the…

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Those without sin – Part II

After I published my blog about Brock Turner (read original post here) I was floored, not to mention completely unprepared, for the backlash. It started a heated discussion on Facebook, and you would have thought I was defending ISIS terrorists.

There were so many comments, I’m sure I missed many of them. But here are the main objections I remember:

  • I was misinterpreting/misapplying scripture. In my original post, I used the example of the Pharisee vs. the sinner praying in the temple, and the contrast in their attitudes. Jesus called the remorseful sinner justified. The second example I used was the woman caught in adultery, when Jesus told the crowd, whoever is without sin, throw the first stone, then told her to go sin no more. However, I don’t recall anyone offering a more realistic scenario of how Jesus would respond to Brock. If anyone did, I didn’t see that tree among the forest of comments. To the best of my knowledge, Jesus reprimanded only two groups of people: the Scribes & Pharisees, and the disciples when they demonstrated lack of faith. He didn’t rebuke the Brock Turners. Therefore, I stand by my original assertion.
  • Because his sentence was so light, and his dad’s attitude was so cavalier, Brock deserved his status of public whipping boy. But if people are mad at the dad and the judge, then whipping Brock is misplaced. Unless they are elevating themselves to judge, and imposing a sentence they don’t have the authority to impose. And that’s exactly what I believe was happening. When we get outraged at someone else’s bad behavior, if we’re honest, we have to admit we feel just a little smug, and a little better about ourselves. And that was the point of my first example.
  • One of the commenters asked if I’d defend Hitler, or the Orlando shooter. No, I said. Because the premeditated nature of those crimes put them on a whole ‘nother level for me. A six-month-planned shooting spree is far beyond a drunken rape. I’m betting Brock didn’t wake up that morning and think to himself, “I think I’ll rape someone tonight at that party.” However, Timothy McVeigh DID wake up that morning planning to kill and destroy. So no, I wouldn’t defend them, but neither do I have the right to judge or slander or make a public spectacle of any of those shooters.
  • I stated several times that there’s too much judgment and not enough grace in the world. Surprisingly, a few of my dissenters agreed with that statement. At the risk of sounding judgmental and self-righteous myself, I can’t help wondering if they were in fact blind to their own self-righteousness. (I’m sure that’s been true of me more than once.) The blog post was meant to address that.
  • The debate ended when one particular woman who’d been actively commenting said that Brock could have stopped his behavior any time during those 20 minutes, and the fact that he didn’t proved he had an evil heart. My reply was, Of course he has an evil heart. I’ve never denied that. My point is, we ALL have hearts full of sin that need redemption! That’s why I wrote the blog. She did agree, but reiterated that she disagreed with my Scriptural application. I could have prolonged the debate and asked her, “What do YOU think Jesus would have said to Brock?”  I know what Jesus wouldn’t have done. He wouldn’t have plastered Brock’s face all over social media so that everyone could hate on him.

I would love to get your take on my question. What do YOU think Jesus would say to Brock?

 

 

 

 

For those of you without sin

After seeing Brock Turner’s face on social media one too many times, I’ve had enough. Today, I even read that some Wiccan coven is bringing hexes and curses down on him, because, legal experts that they are, they don’t believe Brock’s sentence is harsh enough. So they, the media, and Americans as a whole have set out to crucify him. And boy, don’t they feel good about themselves. They would NEVER commit such a terrible deed.

If Brock Turner ends up committing suicide, I can already hear the cheering and the celebratory whoops.

Tragic.

I’m pretty sure I know why this particular rapist, among the thousands already out there, is being made an example of. And I bet I know why this particular CRIME, out of all the murders and assaults that take place daily, is being singled out. But that’s not what I want to write about. I want to explore the question, WHAT WOULD JESUS DO if he had a chance to sit down and chat with Brock Turner?

Here’s an actual example from Luke’s gospel. I’ve just changed a few words to reflect current events.

To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the church to pray, one an evangelical Christian and the other a rapist. The Christian stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this horrible rapist. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’

“But the rapist stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

I wonder what the Wiccans would say to that.

And here’s another example that we’re all familiar with. Again, the changed words are in red.

At dawn he appeared again in the courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The media brought in a young college student caught in the act of raping an unconscious woman. They made him stand before a jury, and when the judge sentenced him to only six months,  they said to Jesus, “Teacher, this man, Brock Turner, was caught in the act of rape.  Because he victimized a woman, he deserves to be castrated. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to pick up the knife.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the man still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked him, “Young man, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

“No one, sir,” he said.

“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

 

Homosexuality: A Look at Slavery

I’ve heard people claim the Bible endorses slavery. I hope this article will put that claim to rest, finally.

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Often when Christians are discussing a sensitive Scriptural topic, which has become a national or even global issue, we must work our way through arguments made from popular opinion and not real critical thought. The David and Jonathan argument was this type of discussion and there are a few more general assumptions that I wish to consider in this article.

In this article, we will look at the argument that if the Bible is wrong about one thing it can be wrong about homosexuality.

The argument states that the Bible supports slavery and the people of God practiced slavery. Today society as a whole has rejected the practice of slavery. The result is that since the Bible was wrong on slavery, it could also be wrong about homosexuality. This argument seems to be fairly straightforward but it is based on a lack of understanding.

A proper understanding of Biblical slavery…

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Hot Topics in Fiction with Guest Candee Fick

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Dear Readers,

Do you like college football? I certainly do. And so does new author Candee Fick. In fact, her new novel is set in the always-exciting college football world.This intrigued me, so I invited her to share with us a little about her new release and the hot topics it addresses. 

First off, can you tell us about the premise of your debut?

Catch of a Lifetime is an inspirational romance about a first year college football coach who wants to win and the football-hating graduate student athletic trainer who has to work with the team. Of course, romantic relationships between staff and students are discouraged and they must keep their growing attraction hidden behind a wall of professionalism in order to avoid a scandal.

Sounds intriguing. Did you have a message you wanted readers to come away with?

I wanted to show a real example of how people look at and judge each other based on the outside, but God sees the heart. While my heroine’s opinions about football change as she gets to know the individuals on the team, headlines over the past year indicate that our nation still wrestles with broader stereotypes and prejudice based on race, political party, moral convictions, and even career choices like law enforcement.  Unfortunately, those damaging and divisive stereotypes are often rooted in the poor behavior of specific individuals.

Can you think of an example?

Take, for instance, a narcissistic football player. His athletic skill may have propelled him to the limelight and then he starts to believe the world revolves around him. That every ball should be thrown to him so that he gets the statistics and credit. That every girl on campus should be begging for his attention. That the rules don’t apply to him. After meeting such an egomaniac, one could assume that all of the other players on the team feel the same sense of entitlement.

However, just because a team has such a player (or two), doesn’t mean everyone on the team is that self-absorbed. Some, in fact, are hard-workers with personal integrity and a strong sense of right and wrong. While my heroine learns to not judge the whole group by the actions of one, it was also satisfying through the course of the story to have the narcissist suffer the natural consequences of his behavior and get taken down by the good guys.

Nice. So, your book touches on negative stereotypes and narcissism. Any other hot topics?

How about sex? Or rather maintaining sexual purity despite temptations and external pressure? My hero and heroine had to work to keep their attraction to each other within the safe boundaries of their personal faith convictions and I tried to give an honest picture of their struggle in the context of a college football environment. However, as one reviewer already pointed out, I ended up also showing readers practical solutions like accountability and staying in public places. I believe that’s the purpose of touching on a hot topic … to meet readers where they are and leave them with hope.

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CATCH OF A LIFETIME: He breathes football. She shudders at the very mention of the sport. After a tragedy involving a football player destroyed her family, athletic trainer and graduate student Cassie moves across the country looking for a fresh start, but a change in financial aid lands her in the middle of her worst nightmare. Meanwhile, rookie coach Reed worries his dream career will slip away as injuries plague his players and his star receiver teeters on the brink of ineligibility. As the two work together to salvage the season, sparks fly, and Reed must eventually choose between the game he cherishes and the woman he loves.

Candee Fick_HeadshotCandee Fick is the wife of a high school football coach and the mother of three children, including a daughter with a rare genetic syndrome. When not busy with her day job or writing, she can be found cheering on the home team at football, basketball, baseball, and Special Olympics games. In what little free time remains, she enjoys exploring the great Colorado outdoors, indulging in dark chocolate, and savoring happily-ever-after endings through a good book.

Click  here to purchase or get a sneak preview.

Thank you, Candee, for visiting my blog today!

~DVC~

WHY, Chris Harper-Mercer…WHY??

WHY did you walk into Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, and shoot all those innocent people? Did you simply want infamy, your five minutes of fame? National attention? Well, you got it. How does it feel over there on the other side?

WHAT demonic obsession made you decide that a shoot-out was the only way to get people to notice you?

People are strangeDidn’t you realize there are many other non-destructive ways to get attention? You could’ve helped out at the local homeless shelter. That would’ve gotten you some kudos. Or you could’ve been a mentor, a big brother, to a needy kid.

Guess what? You’re not a hero. The other Chris — Chris Mintz, the guy who tackled you, will live on in the American psyche as the true hero. He’s going to survive, and he’s going to thrive. But the poor students you killed…c’mon, a nineteen-year-old? Again I ask, WHAT were you thinking?

I want you to know I’m currently writing my second novel in my Hot Topic Fiction series, and it’s about YOU.  More specifically, a family who is victimized by a YOU. I’m blown away by your timing. HOW did you know I was already telling the world about you in my fiction?

But most of all…what’s going through your mind RIGHT NOW?

~~DVC~~