The Father’s Love: An Independent Film

The Father’s Love didn’t make headlines like, The War Room, but its powerful message and fearless filming should have graced the box office anyway. It’s a movie relevant to our times–a fatherless young woman with a successful career in New York goes on a journey of heart break and forgiveness.

The movie teases you by beginning in the middle of the story on Christmas Eve when Reece, Sarah’s boyfriend, lets her down again. The filmmaker brings you back to the beginning, and we learn that Sarah grew up in Malaysia. Her mother divorced her father. An angry Sarah took all his letters and stowed them away; never reading them and never forgiving him for leaving them. The movie isn’t clear on why Sarah’s mom and dad divorced. The film shows us how Sarah tears up the picture she drew of her family, and later as she ages, tapes it back together again. Fast forward to Sarah in New York, now an adult and a well-known photographer.

Sarah isn’t a believer. She runs with a party crowd and dates many men, sometimes two in the same day. She lives like many live in our time–reckless, fearless, and without any idea of the damage sin causes. As I watched this movie, I resonated with nearly every clip. It’s very real, because some of that illustrated the choices I made and the feelings I felt as a young adult.

According to Sharon Kon, the co-producer, it’s inspired from a true story, presumably her own since she was raised in Malaysia. In an interview from Graceful Chic, she said:

“It’s partly inspired by my own story. There was a season in my life where I faced a time of trials, insecurity and heartbreak. I think this film will speak to many who may be going through or have gone through similar struggles. I feel like there is a need for people to know what they are truly worth; that we are fearfully and wonderfully made, that there is a heavenly Father that loves them. To truly know that and to know who they are and to be free to be who they were created to be. Self-esteem is a huge issue among women. I think this is some of the issues that we address and it’s so important.”

The most powerful scene and line in the story was the bedroom scene. Sarah, wrapped in the sheets, looked haggard. The camera pans to show Reece getting dressed. Later, it showed how Sarah struggled with her choice to sleep with him. In this scene, she seeks to be “clean again.” Before this scene, she had accepted Christ as her Savior, but was not strong enough in her faith to withstand the temptation of the man she loved. The shot is tastefully done so that the scenes illustrating Sarah’s bad choices are safe enough for ages 15 and above.

The Father’s Love is a journey of forgiveness and heartbreak. Clearly, Sarah was impacted by her parent’s divorce and the absence of her earthly father. It affected every choice she made in life. It wasn’t until Sarah discovered our Heavenly Father that she understood what love really meant, what love does for others, and that our Heavenly Father doesn’t love like our earthly fathers. His love is perfect. I gave it five armchairs, adding to this that it’s a perfect movie for a group of young adults who struggle with these emotions and issues.

The Father’s Love has been temporarily donated to the Media Center until February 15. Please enjoy the preview and come to the library to check it out.  Feel free to also check out the dozens of other movies and video Bible studies the Media Center offers! 

 

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Is Christian Fiction Effective? (Revisited)

Christian Fiction is found in segregated aisles of secular book stores. Even though it is widely available through Amazon’s websites and Christian book retail outlets, the formula conversion stories in some of the books begged the question from various bloggers and authors, “Is Christian fiction effective?”

Author, Eric Wilson (Fireproof), wrote a post in 2010 called, “Is it Time For Christian Fiction to Die?” It was republished in SheReads, a large book blog. Eric caused a huge debate even as far back as 2013 whether Christian fiction was effective at all. In the 2010 article, he said:

“Why, as Christian novelists, have we removed ourselves from a place of influence in the “marketplace” of the everyday reader? Do atheistic authors put their books in the “Atheist Fiction” section? Does Stephanie Meyer label her books “Mormon Fiction”? Aren’t we actually “selling out” if we write what will sell to a certain church demographic instead of writing what God puts in our hearts?”

Tired of the debate, but in agreement with him, I sought out guest posts from well-known Christian authors to answer the question, “Why do you write Christian fiction?” Asking a different question, I sought out atheists and unbelievers to write a critique of any Christian fiction.

The response was wonderful. Four well-known Christian authors wrote their pieces. An atheist graciously, but unsuccessfully, helped me find other atheists to review Christian books, and agreed to do a critique of Christian fiction. A humanist also agreed to do a book review of a Christian fiction. Their responses are below from 2013. Even though the debate was hot in 2013, the question remains even today among writers, “Is Christian fiction effective?”  

Writers ask each other, “Should I write to the secular crowd?”

They struggle with the question of whether to be labeled a Christian writer, or just write secular stories, using their social media and blogs to reach the unbeliever instead. The question also applies to those who wish to review books for The Cozy Corner.

 

Why are we reviewing books? 

How can these stories speak into the heart of the unbeliever? 

Answers and Critiques From, “Is Christian Fiction Effective?”

Tricia Goyer, Author
I have to admit when I first started writing, the reader was the last person on my mind. I didn’t set out to reach unbelievers with the message of Christ. And the truth is, that’s still not my goal. Let me explain. READ MORE

Carol Cox, Author
Why do I write Christian fiction? First, let me say that I don’t see myself as a writer of Christian fiction as much as a follower of Christ who happens to write fiction. That may sound like a fine distinction, but it makes a difference in the way I look at my writing. READ MORE

Dianne Christner, Author
I’m at that glorious age where I use a magnifying mirror to put on my make up even though I’ve memorized every freckle on my face. At sixty, I finally know myself. Aging is liberating, and I highly recommend it. According to Emerson, the writer is crucial to the writing voice. Flip flop it, voice is an expression of self. READ MORE

Atheist, David Rosman
I am an atheist. There, I said it, proud of it and will not deny it, much like many of my Christian friends and authors who honor their trade(s) and faith(s). I am also an author and book reviewer. I am not one of those radical atheists out to destroy religion or an evangelical atheist out to convert everyone to the life of reason, logic and science. I have written essays in support of Christians and Muslims when harmed based solely on their faith. READ MORE

C.S. Lakin, Author
The first question that needs to be asked about writing Christian fiction is, Who is the writer’s audience? Most Christian writers write for the Christian market, and the publishers in CBA (the acronym for publishers in that market) buy and solicit novels they hope will sell, based on the sales records and buyers’ demographics—which consist mostly of white, American females in their thirties with a high school education only, small children at home, and not extremely traveled or “worldy” in the more general sense of the word. These readers who are targeted by the CBA booksellers and publishers have very narrow tastes, and for an author to want to sell in that market, they have to tailor their novels to fit. Which, to reiterate, provides a very limited canvas on which to create. READ MORE

Humanist, Jennifer Hancock
Let me first say, I did enjoy reading this book. It took a while for the real action to start, but once it did, it was pretty exciting and despite the fact I didn’t really care for the characters all that much given they were almost all obnoxious Christian proselytizers, I found myself rooting for them anyways. READ MORE

Christian Fiction Book Recommendations:

To Know Her By Name by Tamera Alexander

The Prayer Box by Lisa Wingate

War Room by Chris Fabry

Love Without End by Robin Lee Hatcher

 

Evangelism by CD and Audio

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(one of our writers, Caryl Aarud)

Share the message of the Gospel with the unchurched, someone in your neighborhood who isn’t a believer, or with a stranger on the street. The easiest way to do this is to email them a link to the audio and video file of the latest sermon on the church’s website, or come by our library and pick up an audio CD for them.

Make it even more special by inviting them for coffee before you give them a CD.

Click Here to Listen to the Latest Sermon (Sermon posts by Tuesday)

Christmas Eve Services #Christmas

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For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. – Isaiah 9:6

The Cozy Corner invites you to attend our Christmas Eve Services. After Christmas Eve, perhaps we could suggest some readings to accompany your quiet, reflective evening in your favorite armchair, under a warm blanket, while the tree lights give a soft glow from the corner of your room?

The library will be open again on Sunday. The volunteers at The Cozy Corner wish you a very Merry Christmas!

Echoing Charles Dickens in Style and Voice

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Read the Back Cover Here

Warning: This is Not a Christian Book, But it is Clean and Okay For Most Ages.

The Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens left us exuberant as we celebrated with Ebenezer, his new choices and new way of life. Tiny Tim was going to live, Cratchit had a better wage, and it was a happy ending altogether as uncle and nephew started anew. The Further Adventures of Ebenezer Scrooge by Charlie Lovett takes us beyond The Christmas Carol.

Jacob Marley periodically visits his old partner, Ebenezer Scrooge, often appearing in Scrooge’s door knocker. Afterwards, Jacob would sit in the chair across from Ebenezer where these two friends would visit. A lot of the characters from the original Christmas Carol have become annoyed by Scrooge’s open heart and generosity. This is where The Further Adventures of Ebenezer Scrooge deviates from the characters.

Ebenezer, in the first book by Charles Dickens, was financially astute. In the second book by Charlie Lovett, Ebenezer has become financially irresponsible. He celebrates Christmas all year round, often singing Christmas carols, even in the sweltering heat of summer where this story takes place. He opens his purse to everyone so much so that he owes money now to many creditors. Having said that, Ebenezer is a very contented and happy man who wants to help his ghost friend, Jacob Marley, earn his way to heaven.

Objectionable content was on page 19:

“At the end of a chapter in which the youthful hero had walked from London to Dover with little to assuage his hunger or protect him from the elements, Scrooge laid his book upon the table so that he might wipe a tear from his eye, so moved was he by the plight of the fictional boy. He gazed for a moment at the tiles around his fireplace, barely visible in the candlelight. They were designed to illustrate the Scriptures, but Scrooge had come to think of them as unnecessarily focused on violent incidents from the Old Testament.”

The Christmas Carol had many references to Scripture. When Tiny Tim talked about being in church, he told his father, Cratchit, how he hoped people would notice him as a disabled person so they would think about who made lame men walk and blind men see. It wasn’t about being generous for the sake of being generous, but there was always a spiritual element in the story. While The Further Adventures of Ebenezer Scrooge was well-written in the same style and voice of Charles Dickens (admirably so), its lessons in the story are more secular. The story did improve as I neared the end.

I was relieved at how they resolved some of the issues of generosity towards the end through the various ghost visits with Scrooge’s friends, but Scrooge appears to have lost his bright financial sense that made him a successful businessman. People do change, especially after they accept Christ, but their basic logic and sense only improve.

Otherwise, The Further Adventures of Ebenezer Scrooge by Charlie Lovett is a well-written book, echoing the style and voice of the legendary Charles Dickens. I gave it three armchairs.

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*Book given to Nikole Hahn to review by the publisher. Book was donated to Solid Rock Christian Fellowship’s Library so that others can discern for themselves how this book compares to Charles Dickens.*