Archive for the On Writing Category

Bryan Davis

Posted in Community, On Writing on March 22, 2007 by christopherhopper

If you are an artist of any kind, you need to check out Bryan Davis’ address before the Florida Christian Writer’s Conference at lambstv.com, channel 21.

CH

CSFF: I hate comparing, but…

Posted in Community, On Writing on March 20, 2007 by christopherhopper

Randy Ingermanson

Being a musician long before I was a novelist, I’m very used to people saying things like, “You know, you are like a cross between Dave Matthews, Sting, and U2, only like a Christian version, man.”

Gee. Thanks.

Is that supposed to be a compliment?

Well, over the years, I’ve learned that it is, because humans in general typically judge the “new” by their experience with “the old.” And if they can find enough of “the old” to justify a comparison, then a true compliment is born. Though I know most artists have a hard time with that.

Why?

Because we want to be original, to be the first me, rather than the next best them. And that day may come for me. I may get some grandiose vision and present it in such a way that the world staggers in awe.  Kind of like how my horses feel when I give them grain after a -40 degree northern NY night…

Wow! Grrrrain!

I’m completely digressing here. So sorry, Randy.

My whole point is that as I spent some more time browsing through Randy Ingermanson’s sight, I actually started to get excited! I know that sounds bad, like I don’t while looking at other author’s sites, but this was a genuine feeling of, “Wow, I think I need to buy a few of these books!”

And why so excited? Because after reading his amazing bio where he talks about things like reducing the Schwinger-Dyson equations for the effective action to a self-consistent expansion, and measuring the Wess-Zumino effective action (no clue; but it sounds cool!), he starts talking about his Christian faith.

But it gets better.

You start reading the synopsis’s of his book titles (of which I count 7!) and realize, “Hey, this guy is a like Michael Crichton meets Isaac Asimov, only Christian!”

And while I feel terrible in saying so, almost like I’m doing a disservice to the creative genius in this guy, I genuinely mean it; I really respect both of those authors for their love of science and yet their creative abilities at weaving a good yarn.

Only this guy loves Jesus, and accordingly, probably has a Judeo-Christian ethic behind it, something  that would set his work far above Asimov’s and Crichton’s, at least in my mind.

If you like what I term “relevant sci-fi,” I think Ingermanson is the author for you.

Or, better put…

“Grrrrain!”

Thanks for spending some time with me today,

CH

CSFF: What do atoms and books have in common?

Posted in Community, On Writing on March 19, 2007 by christopherhopper

I just finished watching the movie, The Prestige, a fantastic plot-twisting mind bender with just a touch of sci-fi to make it interesting. Though this great film is about as new to me as Randy Ingermanson, a man I just learned of today, his work already interests me on the same intrinsic and mysterious level.

Anytime someone uses the words “Physicist” and “Novelist” in the same sentence, I’m intrigued. Maybe growing up 5 miles from Cornell’s subterranean atom smasher put wild thoughts in my head; or maybe living 6 miles from the late Carl Sagan did it. Not sure. But I do know I love a good story, and a good twist.

I can not write too much more today as I feel it would be a true faux pas; my ignorance, albeit creative, would belittle the true merit of the man I perceive lies behind this month’s Christian Science Fiction & Fantasy Blog Tour.

If you’d like to beat me to it, feel free to check out his site. I’ll be writing more tomorrow, and hopefully much more informed.

Please make sure to check out any of the following authors. And, for the very brave, read the March 13th post for the Open Casting Call for Vrie below, being shot this coming Saturday, March 24th at 10:00am in Chaumont, NY.

So what do atom and books have in common? You can pick both apart as much a you want, but at their very foundation are elements that no one can explain. They simply must be accepted for what they are, the fundamentals of life itself. To “figure them out,” as it were, would be to ruin the mystery. And that is what we humans thrive upon: the unknown. For if we fully understood God, what need would we have of Him?

Break apart your atoms. Pick apart your books. But you’ll never find the True magic.

Unless it finds you.

CH

– – –

CSFF Blog Tour:

<a href=”http://moreoveralt.blogspot.com“> Nissa Annakindt</a>
<a href=”
http://enterthedoorwithin.blogspot.com/“> Wayne Thomas Batson</a>
<a href=”
http://jimfictionreview.blogspot.com/“> Jim Black</a>
<a href=”
http://gracebridges.blogspot.com“> Grace Bridges</a>
<a href=”
http://www.journeyintograce.blogspot.com“> Jackie Castle</a>
<a href=”
http://invalslittleworld.blogspot.com/“> Valerie Comer</a>
<a href=”
http://www.kcreviews.blogspot.com“> Karri Compton</a>
<a href=”
http://csffblogtour.com/“> CSFF Blog Tour</a>
<a href=”
http://genecurtis.blogspot.com/“> Gene Curtis</a>
<a href=”
http://www.scificatholic.com“> D. G. D. Davidson</a>
<a href=”
http://janey-demeo.blogspot.com/“> Janey DeMeo</a>
<a href=”
http://www.brightlyshining.blogspot.com“> Tessa Edwards</a>
<a href=”
http://projectinga.blogspot.com/“> April Erwin</a>
<a href=”
http://www.kameronmf.com/”> Kameron M. Franklin</a>
<a href=”
http://lindaruthspot.blogspot.com“> Linda Gilmore</a>
<a href=”
http://bethgoddard.blogspot.com/“> Beth Goddard</a>
<a href=”
http://www.goodwordediting.com/“> Marcus Goodyear</a>
<a href=”
http://askandrea.adamsweb.us/“> Andrea Graham</a>
<a href=”
http://foundationsofhope.blogspot.com“> Leathel Grody </a>
<a href=”
http://writingchristiannovels.blogspot.com/“> Katie Hart</a>
<a href=”
http://sphibbs-bookreviews.blogspot.com/“> Sherrie Hibbs</a>
<a href=”
http://www.sharonswriting.blogspot.com/“> Sharon Hinck</a>
<a href=”
http://www.spoiledfortheordinary.blogspot.com/“> Jason Joyner</a>
<a href=”
http://www.struggleandemerge.com/blog/“> Kait</a>
<a href=”
http://www.karenee.blogspot.com“> Karen</a>
<a href=”
http://tinakulesa.com/weblog/“> Tina Kulesa</a>
<a href=”
http://www.kevinlucia.net/bookreviews/“> Kevin Lucia</a> and <a href=”http://thebookshelfreviews.blogspot.com/“> The Bookshelf Reviews 2.0 – The Compendium</a>
<a href=”
http://www.shadowofthewood.com/happenings/“> Rachel Marks</a>
<a href=”
http://shenandoahdawn.blogspot.com/“> Shannon McNear</a>
<a href=”
http://rebeccaluellamiller.wordpress.com/“> Rebecca LuElla Miller</a>
<a href=”
http://dragonlady4.wordpress.com“> Nicole</a>
<a href=”
http://questwriter.blogspot.com/“> Eve Nielsen</a>
<a href=”
http://www.leastread.blogspot.com/“> John W. Otte</a>
<a href=”
http://otter.covblogs.com/“> John Ottinger</a>
<a href=”
http://www.infuzemag.com/staff/robin/“> Robin Parrish</a>
<a href=”
http://zyphe.blogspot.com/“> Rachelle</a>
<a href=”
http://www.unseenworlds.blogspot.com/“> Cheryl Russel</a>
<a href=”
http://hannaslifeiscool.blogspot.com/“> Hanna Sandvig</a>
<a href=”
http://mirathon.blogspot.com/“> Mirtika Schultz</a>
<a href=”
http://www.jamessomers.blogspot.com/“> James Somers</a>
<a href=”
http://christiansf.blogspot.com/“> Steve Trower</a>
<a href=”
http://specfaith.ritersbloc.com/“> Speculative Faith</a>
<a href=”
http://www.danieliweaver.com/blog“> Daniel I. Weaver</a>

Why we do what we do

Posted in General, Ministry, Music, On Writing on March 9, 2007 by christopherhopper

In Teresa Slack’s latest post she posed a wonderful question, though she rightly states that it wasn’t hers to ask, but one put forth by some of her readers: “How have you changed with the writing of this book?”

When I read that I was a bit taken aback and thought about it for a moment as if it was being asked of me. How have I been changed? And if I would be allowed to expand the scope of the context to include my CDs and paintings, well then I really have a lot to ponder.

I think one of the main issues derived from the process of distilling all the art that I’ve been a part of creating, whether in part or in whole, would be a single word: motive. And my own analysis of the word rather shocks me.

A Christian’s first response, whether realized in full or in part, is always, “To glorify God.” And I don’t state that for any other reason than that’s what scripture requires of us (1 Corinthians 10:31). I have struggled with my motives all of my Christian walk. And I probably always will because I walk around in a continually deteriorating sack of skin that is constantly at enmity with God (Romans 8:7). This topic (and its history throughout my life) is a post within itself.

But it’s my second thought that I want to briefly discuss today.

Found deep within the womb of my spirit, divided between the essence of my created soul and the God-breathed elements of my eternal self, lies a divine quality imbued innately from my Creator: to myself create.

In every artist there comes a pregnant pause, a profound yet fleeting moment that captures our imagination and deposits seeds. Many are lost or forgotten, but there is always at least one that takes root, and given the proper encouragement, will manifest and bare the intended fruit.

There is not a moment in my life where I was not constantly investing, creating, imagining, and wondering. Now an adult, my parents confess to me their own wonder at how prolific I was in “doing things.” Whether a new Lego creation, a cardboard-box-and-duct-tape space craft, a non-code tree fort, or a stapled together comic book series to end all others, I was always making something.

Some may say I was over active. Some may have tried to slap a medical label on me (an error we make too often as a society). Others may have even called me a “dreamer.” They never knew how right they were.

When you become intimately connected to the divine nature of creativity, you can’t help but create something; its very DNA is designed to prolifically propagating life, a characteristic shared only by God and mankind.

The fact is that I am changed each and every time I write a book, write a song, or paint a picture. Something in me grows a little closer to Christ, and becomes a little more like my Father. I feel His glory when I breathe life into something–I feel I’m being just like my Daddy.

In the creation of art, we have a divine opportunity to become more like our Maker. I believe fashioning something from nothing is one of the most innate and intrinsic privileges we have as human beings. I create as He creates.

Such a privilege is it, in fact, and once again pointing to God’s limitless mercy, that He even allows the unbeliever to participate in it.

Thanks for spending some time with me today.

CH

http://www.christopherhopper.com

Christopher Hopper boat_1

It’s Your Right. (It should be your joy, too).

Posted in Community, General, Ministry, On Writing on March 1, 2007 by christopherhopper

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So I guess people are actually reading my posts, at least the most recent comments would suggest at least two people are. Wonder of wonders! That’s encouraging! Though I must say, one of the comments was written far better than anything I could write; I was even becoming mad with the person they were talking about! Then I realized…

…oh, it’s me!

It seems everywhere I turn these days I hear a Christian talking about the arts. I was just on the phone yesterday with a dear friend who is thinking about starting a school for the arts, but unlike anything ever done before. And considering this guy has the means and experience to do so, I don’t doubt he will. Not wishing to disclose his ideas at present, that subject will have to wait.

But not an hour later, I’m with my dear friend Dudley Danielson, an amazing writer/photographer in his own right, who hands me a “jewel”: an out of print issue of Melody Green’s “The Last Days Magazine,” and in it an amazing article by Andrew Sievright entitled, “What’s The Church Doing With The Powerful Gift of Art?” If you can find it, read it. It will change your life.

But one of Sievright’s points identifies the next “Christian Renaissance.” Next to Jesus coming back, I dare say nothing could inspire me more.

If there was ever a need for the Church to stand up tall and strong, it is now. The world needs to notice Her beauty, and not because she’s blending in with them, but because she is so unqiuly stunning that she makes all else pale in comparison. Minstrel Michael Tyrrell makes this point so clear in his song “Beautiful Mountain,” when he says, “Stand tall, beautiful mountain, your foundation is sure. Stand tall, beautiful mountain, till your waters run pure.”

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I had the privilege of doing a photo shoot with Dudley yesterday. With my wife toting the wardrobe duties, as well as make-up, and even holding up sun screens against the glaring direct sunlight, the three of us wandered about the gorgeous Boldt Castle BoatHouse located on Wellesley Island in the beautiful 1,000 Islands. Privileged to have this spectacular scenery not 20 minutes from our home, it was a delight to be with my wife and my brother in the Lord, making art for the King. Between Dudley’s prolific skill, a vast photographic repertoire spanning over half a century, and the fact that these photos were taken for my second novel, I couldn’t help but feel giddy, immersed in the world of creating marvelous art for the Kingdom.

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Everywhere we turned, Dudley found a new angle, a new potential masterpiece. It wasn’t until we made our way into one of the old turrets of the BoatHouse, currently closed to the public (we call that “favor”), and found a 100 year old stair case, that the juices really started flowing.

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I guess what I’m realizing is that it’s not only our right as the Bride of Christ to make art that surpasses the world’s, but it should be our joy as well. We should be excited to be setting the standard.

Which raises another point: if you’re not excited, are you making the right art? In the right way? For the right cause? With the right people?

I think we all could drum up any number of excuses to justify, and even defend, our “turmoil,” but are they true? And is that really the heart of the Father for us in our art-making? Or does He intend for us, as I believe He has all along, to be so full of joy, and find so much fulfillment, that the world would not only marvel at our fruit, but also at our labor? I couldn’t help but think that even the winter staff at the BoatHouse noticed our fun, and smiled at they watched.

Though that BoatHouse was all of 10 degrees Fahrenheit inside, I found great joy, even while changing shirts, laughing at the privilege afforded me. Who in the world gets to do this? Then I realized again…

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…oh, me, again. I do. A son of the Most High, rightful heir to the Kingdom of Heaven.

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And my hope is that you would see yourself the same way.

Thanks for spending time with me today,

CH
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Being Christian Without Being “Christian” (CFSS Blog Tour)

Posted in Community, General, Ministry, On Writing, Recommendations on February 21, 2007 by christopherhopper

Yesterday, my friend Jason made a fantastic comment about how we [the greater representative of the Westernized-American Body of Christ] slap the “Christian” tag on everything we do, from businesses to art. It reminds me of a revelation I had recently on the subject of witnessing.

So often we think that if we don’t mention “Christ dying at Calvary,” and Him being “raised from the dead three days later,” and so on and so forth, that we haven’t accurately witnessed to a lost person. But after re-reading that scripture which says “God is love,” (1 John 4:16) the Holy Spirit taught me a valuable lesson:

If we haven’t loved someone then we haven’t accurately witnessed.

To quote Fred Hammond, it’s not so much what we say, it’s mostly what we do. I love Rebecca Miller’s comment on my site yesterday, how Christians are “ghetto-izing” themselves. Granted, I’m posting on behalf of the CHRISTIAN Science Fiction and Fantasy Blog Tour right now. And I rejoice for the title! But here’s my point:

Wouldn’t it be amazing if our art was categorized because of its excellence and not because of its prefix?

That day is coming because of people just like you, if you’re reading this and have a heart for the Bride of Christ to rise up, strong and powerful!

If you are reading any of Jeff Gerke’s material right now, you know what I mean. If you haven’t, please visit his web sites. It’s really encouraging stuff. The guy has a handle on the need for Christians to write modern day parables, and the power they have.

On yet another subject, Rebecca Miller again just posted this yesterday and I think it opens up a great discussion:

rebeccaluellamiller Says:
February 20th, 2007 at 8:49 pm

“Long way around saying, I do think we ought to lead, but I’m not necessarily sure that             means having the slickest this or that or the latest-and-greatest. Maybe web design needs         to be affordable so churches can have a web presence, for instance. Maybe the movie needs     to be made with volunteer actors (that In the Face of Giants, I think it was called). I don’t         know.

“I DO think content needs to lead the way. Presentation? I’d like to hear more thoughts on     that.”

– – –

What do you think? (FYI: Wayne Thomas Batson already posted a similar theme here. Good reading and some great comments posted by his readers).

The world has such a strong handle on “presentation” for two reasons: 1.) They know that our culture is conditioned only to buy what looks the best. Call it shallow, but the numbers prove it. And 2.) how people present something directly (or indirectly) speaks of the object’s intrinsic value. Presentation builds credibility.
Unfortunately, I think there has been a lot of damage done in the world’s view regarding the Church in this; not only must we fight to set a precedent, but in a way, we’re having to make up for the apathy of those before us. Granted, I don’t even think we have to work that hard to do it. But work, we must.

I agree that our content must lead the way. But I fear that if it’s not presented with the best possible light we can give it, much of it will be passed over. In fact, as important as it is for authors and musicians to make great content, I think creative marketers need to be divinely inspired on how to present it. There are marketers out there (who’s gift it is to present things), who will get new ideas from heaven just on how to market something! A new add campaign, a new media tool, a new ingenious slogan or tour idea.

In response to Rebecca’s comment, I think “content” and “presentation” will walk hand in hand, a strategy which will set the Church apart, unlike secularism in which “presentation” is everything and “content” is next to nothing.

The most amazing example of all this, however, is right in front of us and I’d be remiss if I didn’t discuss it briefly. On one hand, Jesus was far from what Israel was expecting. His “presentation” was far from desirable. They were looking for a valiant King and a war host following; he came to a manger and rode in on an ass. Yet, conversely, His return “presentation” will leave no doubt that He is who He says He is. All the sceptics will be shut up in that great and glorious day. To this, Rebecca has a fantastic point: in both cases His “content” was bar none.I’d love to hear your comments on this! Thanks for such a great theme, Rebecca!

And to my dear friend Wayne Thomas Batson, Knight in Arms, Swordbrother of Athera, what a fantastic post yesterday! Y’all need to check it out. I particularly like the picture of Aragorn.

Tomorrow I’m going to highlight one of the absolute best music albums I’ve heard in years. In my opinion, it’s more Christian than any CCM album has been in a long time, yet the artist has relatively nothing to do with the CCM community, and is signed to one of the largest secular labels in the world.

Stay tuned! And thanks for spending another few minutes with me today.

CH

(PS – Yes Wayne, I guess that would make God Stridex. But only if we can be Jamaican Jerk Sauce).

If The Map Ends… (CSFF Blog Tour)

Posted in Community, General, On Writing, Recommendations on February 20, 2007 by christopherhopper

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If the map ends, how do we pick up the trail? More importantly, who is going to help us? How do we get back on track, or even find the track for that matter?

Fortunately, this cool guy Jeff Gerke is here to help. Because my post yesterday was more about me than him, and I’m not sure how many readers actually made it to the bottom of my lengthy post to find his link, I thought I’d try and make all the links to both his personal author site as well as his resource site available to you towards the top of today’s post in such a way that you couldn’t miss them no matter how hard you tried by either clicking here or here and being taken to one of his two great sites in the hopes that it may help you or encourage you depending upon which link you click on, for if you click on this one, you may just get both.

Although he is not a part of the CSFF Blog Tour, I did want to highlight one of the comments left on my site today by Jason Clement. The writer is a dear friend of mine as well as one of the most creative people I know, bar none. And while his comment relates to the web-design end of things, it is very much in line with this month’s theme of Christians leading the way and not following. The comment (below) points out that it’s not just in music or writing that we’re lagging, but even in technology. Again, my point here is not to point a finger and keep it pointed, but to take account of our current state and then look to improve, so much so that we’re no longer trailing behind, but leading.

The Church as a whole is poised like never before to lead, to take over, and to set precedent. If I didn’t believe in Her, I’d stop writing. And I’m sure you wouldn’t be reading this. She is beautiful and glorious. And She is of God’s design, not mine. Plus, He’s madly in love with Her; that’s why He’s i back. So if I criticize Her, I criticize Him. I have no problem going through a self-examination process (which is what I consider this month to be) in the hopes of making Her (us) more lovely and effective; but I am quite tired of people throwing stones at the Church.

Stop it! May God convict us all.

If the Church is so ugly to you, maybe you’re the pimple keeping Her from getting noticed. Get healed or get concealed, because we have a world to save. If not, get popped because you’re too valuable to be toting around so much puss.

CH

(Don’t be a pimple!)

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– – –

  1. Jason Clement Says:
    February 20th, 2007 at 3:27 pm eGreat post! I’ve always been annoyed by the CCM artists sounding very much like secular artists, especially when they are marketed that way…“If you like the Dave Matthews Band, then you’ll love…”

    This brings up my argument on whether or not there should be a “Christian” label for the arts… when there isn’t for anything else. You don’t see a “Christian plumber” or “Christian news anchor” unless you count the “W.W.J.D.” bumper sticker on the plumbers’ van, or the “Jesus-fish” pin on the news anchors coat. Dunno, I could be wrong.

    I guess I don’t see the lack of quality in “Christian” writing, but I also don’t read as much anymore as I should. I do see evidence of the quality issues in my field. The best way I can sum this up is with the mission statement from the gang at Godbit Project.

    The purpose of this site is to help the Church catch up with the rest of the world in adherance to standards given by the World Wide Web Consortium, the governing body of best-practices on the Internet. The majority of Christian web design agencies are using outmoded methods of coding to create websites that the rest of the world would scoff at. Basically, they are stuck in the 1990’s.

    This is so common in fact, that the term “Christian” when associated with the Internet has become synonymous with “sub-par.”

    The good news is that we are starting to make some progress. There are some church web sites starting to show up in design showcases and being recognized for their quality. I have to keep pushing myself to do my part… to press on… to set an everlasting precedent for the world to follow, one that points to the greatness and majesty of the Heavenly Father.

    Check out http://godlycreatives.com/ for some people using “God’s Gifts for His Glory”