Archive for the On Writing Category

Setting The Standard (CSFF Blog Tour)

Posted in Community, On Writing, Recommendations on February 19, 2007 by christopherhopper

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I have been intimately involved with what I will term “the arts” for the past 20 years of my life. Born and raised in a professional recording studio, part of one of the first charismatic churches in the 70’s, and son to highly talented and artistic parents, my life has been anything but dull. Up until I was 13 I thought all churches had dancers, flags, painters, photographers, and rock bands in each service. I was constantly around the preaching and teaching of God’s Word, and used to fall asleep under my dad’s giant mixing console in the studio during late-night sessions.

In my mind, my childhood was the apex, the very pinnacle of creativity and expression. My church set the standards for art, from theater to music, and my family was, and still is, magically gifted. Indeed it was a time in which the Lord taught me something beautiful: that He wanted to be the inspiration behind every work and The One to set precedent for the world to follow. And that He would use His Bride to show off His wonders.

Around the age of 16, I grew increasingly disturbed about “a trend” I noticed, first in myself, and then in the world around me. I remember that shortly after I recorded my first CD at age 18, I pitched it to Nashville. I sent it to a few family “connections” (something you must have), and felt confidant I would be the next Steven Curtis Chapman within the year.

Until I didn’t hear back from them.

Ever.

I was definitely crushed. It was my dream after all. But it was not God’s dream. And I don’t mean that in terms of His dream for me; while that’s true, it’s much bigger than that.

We’re talking about God’s dream for His Bride.

Before I go on, I rejoice that Christ is preached. Period. I don’t care who does it, how they do it, or what motives they are doing it with. There can be no true accounting for the lives that have been touched and changed through the music generated over the last 30 years from Nashville and beyond.

When no response came from Nashville, my father took me aside and said something that deeply impacted my life. “Son, you’ll never hear back from Nashville. You just don’t fit their mold. You’re not what they’re looking for.”

At first I was destroyed inside. But when the smoke cleared, I realized the jewel I had received: in order for me to “make it,” I’d have to play to the world’s standard.

God’s dream for His Bride is not that we’re always to be playing “catch up” with the world. We’re supposed to be the pace-setters, the policy makers, the precedent holders.

How many Christian albums have you heard that sounded like they were three years behind what some secular artist was doing? How many books have you read that felt as though you had read it before, minus the “God stuff”? Granted, my art must be included among it as I’ve been fighting for over a decade to be heavenly original.

But I finally feel like I’ve got a hold of something.

I believe their are secular artists who touch realms in the supernatural that they don’t even know they’re touching. I’ve heard pieces of music that have deeply moved me, even to heavenly places, yet I’m quite certain the artist is not a believer. But how can this be? Would I be a heretic if I dared even say their music was “anointed”?

As it always happens, I’ve had to return back to scripture for the answers. James 1:17 says that all (ALL) good and perfect gifts are given by the Father. Would anyone dare contest that the gift hidden within the heart of a guitar virtuoso like Joe Satriani is anything but good? Nay, even perfect? And if the giver of that gift is not Himself anointed, that gift is therefore anointed (meaning “to serve”), and accordingly brings great honor to the Gift Giver, whether the artist knows it or not.

It was for this reason that I began to feel ashamed. Not because I was comparing myself to a Joe Satriani, but I was comparing my level of stewardship with his. Having both been given good gifts from the Father of Lights, whether it be guitar playing or not, it was clear to me that one of us had been a better steward of the gift than the other. Granted, my gift may be in painting or accounting or acting or construction. The point is that we’re both receiving from the same Source, but one of us is setting a higher standard than the other, maybe not in an orthodox “ministry” sense, but certainly in skill, beauty, and overall accomplishment.

So is it merely in a dedicated and steadfast commitment to excellence that the world is setting the standard over the Church? Or is it in their creativity, too? Here is where I think the Christian has the obvious upper hand. But is it so obvious?

After a solid reading, and re-reading, of 1 Corinthians 2:1-16, we find some amazing facts about our current state in God’s eyes. How often have you heard someone quote, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him”? Probably a lot if you’ve been around Christendom for even a year. But the problem is we hardly ever take into account the next line (how often do we make that error?): “but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit.”

Wait a second…

The things that no one has yet seen or heard about, stuff that no one can imagine, God wants to give those to me?

No.

He already has given them to you. When our spirit was awakened to the person of Jesus, summoned by the Holy Spirit to the life which we now live, something marvelous happened: we were given the very mind of Christ (verse 16). And in doing that, our spirit was instantly seated in heavenly places with Christ (Eph. 1:17-20) so that we might have His Spirit of revelation and wisdom.

If we are three parts, body, soul, and spirit, mirroring the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, then practically that means one third of us, our spirit, is seeing above everything else (right now!) and can inform the other two thirds of us on earth the hidden and secret things of God!

Christian, this means you have access to things this world can’t even dream of! You can touch the hidden things of God which are yet to be revealed to the eyes and ear and minds of man! So why would you ever want to try and keep pace with what the world produces when you have been positioned to keep pace with what God Himself produces? If you have indeed been made a Son and Daughter of the Most High, the King of kings and the Lord of lords, why would you want anything other than this, your inheritance?

It is for this reason we press on, as Paul wrote, toward the mark of the high calling of Christ: that we would set an everlasting precedent for the world to follow, one that points to the greatness and majesty of the Heavenly Father. And it’s our birthright. You are the head and not the tail (Deut. 28:13), so don’t trade your inheritance for a bowl of soup. Don’t stoop down to follow when you should be leading. While the world’s dedication for excellence, no expense spared, should at least convict you, causing you to examine your own habits and attitudes, you need not flavor your art with the spice of lesser inspiration.

Touch the mind of Christ with your spirit. Ask Him. Wait on Him. He died for you to know, and He’s dying to show you.

As part of the Christian Science Fiction & Fantasy Blog Tour, we highlight a different author or blog each week. And it’s very encouraging to know, at least for me, that I’m not alone in my thinking. There are others out there that want the glorious Bride of Christ to stand up and take her place in the world, especially when it comes to creating art. The man I’m highlighting in this months post is Jeff Gerke and his web site WhereTheMapEnds.com

From his own world-view (which you’ll get in just the first three paragraphs), to his amazing resources (from writing tools to his massive booklist), there are many practical steps and encouraging words that can be gleaned from this brother in the faith.

Please check it out, and tell him I sent you.

For other great authors and sites to visit, please review the following. Thank you for reading and spending a few minutes with me today.

Yours until they have all heard,

CH
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Suggested visiting:

Nissa Annakindt
Jim Black
Grace Bridges
Jackie Castle
Valerie Comer
Karri Compton
CSFF Blog Tour
Gene Curtis
Chris Deanne
Janey DeMeo
Tessa Edwards
April Erwin
Kameron M. Franklin
Linda Gilmore
Beth Goddard
Marcus Goodyear
Andrea Graham
Todd Michael Greene
Leathel Grody
Katie Hart
Sherrie Hibbs
Sharon Hinck
Christopher Hopper
Jason Joyner
Kait
Karen
K. D. Kragen
Tina Kulesa
Kevin Lucia and The Bookshelf Reviews 2.0 – The Compendium
Rachel Marks
Shannon McNear
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Eve Nielsen
John Ottinger
Robin Parrish
Cheryl Russel
Hanna Sandvig
Mirtika Schultz
James Somers
Steve Trower
Speculative Faith
Daniel I. Weaver
Timothy Wise
D. G. D. Davidson
John W. Otte
Nicole

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Author Talk: Batson & Hopper Interview

Posted in On Writing on February 16, 2007 by christopherhopper

During our infamous Writer’s Boot Camp held Feb. 2nd thru 4th in Scranton, PA, Wayne and I sat down for an interview on-all-things writing. Below you’ll find the full interview, fielding questions from “What are your writing schedules like?” to “What’s the future of Christian Fantasy?” I think it turned out pretty well. Granted, you either really have to like us, or writing, to watch the whole thing as it’s nearly 10 minutes long. But for “Batson/Hopper Junkies,” this will be write up your alley.

Please make sure to check out Wayne’s awesome blog HERE. He has incredible tips on writing, as well as a huge following of his books who leave great comments.

Enjoy!

Christian Science Fiction & Fantasy Blog Tour

Posted in Community, On Writing on February 13, 2007 by christopherhopper

CSSF Blog Tour

Thought I’d pass along this wonderful new site I’m a part of called the Christian Science Fiction & Fantasy Blog Tour. Tina, Becky, and the host of others that are making this “Christian worldview of fiction” a huge success deserve much praise. I’m thoroughly impressed by their heart for networking the Body of Christ in the realm of modern-day parables.You’ll be hearing more from me on this shortly as they prepare to debut yet another wonderful author. In the mean time, please check out these fantastic authors at your leisure.

Blessings!

CH
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Finishing Up

Posted in On Writing on February 4, 2007 by christopherhopper

 Radisson

Looking back over this weekend, I have to say it was well worth the wait.

As far as writing goes I pumped out about 25 pages, which is very good for me. Socially, Wayne Batson and I have forged what I believe will be a life-long friendship. Spiritually, I have been both refreshed from the respite, as well as challenged by the Lord on many fronts including my every busy schedule, intimacy with Him, my family, and priorities in general. I have also seen once again that God is interested in us living the abundant life, enjoying what He created for us.

For a few moments this weekend, I felt as though I were lost in the shire, enjoying the company of a good friend and savoring the presence of the High King.

Radisson II

As Wayne and I check out of the Historic Radisson, I leave you with a snapshot of what awaits me as I drive home: a snow storm that’s measured in feet, not inches. So it is that I embark on yet another great adventure…just trying to get home!

Life is a great adventure! Biea varos!

Snow Storm

(Yes, I have to travel on Rt. 81 right through that white blob of doom!).

Blessings!

CH

The Banshee

Posted in On Writing on February 4, 2007 by christopherhopper

 Live Music @ The Banshee

So every great writing duo needs a venue, a “home” if you will, to sit back and wax eloquent about life and all that is good and true in this world. Wayne and I have surely found “our spot.”

The Banshee was everything we had hoped it to be, and more. But tonight was “the night of all nights,” the benchmark that made us sit back and really realize, “Hey, this was God just trying to bless us.” And to most reading this it may seem like nothing, but to us it was everything.

The Bar

As our weekend drew to a close this evening, a full day of writing and sharing behind us, we retired from our hotel room to our new beloved pub, listening to traditional Irish folk music and talking, we figure, much like those famous authors who have gone before us must have. We brought books for the general manager, a wonderful lady named Bobbi, and after a splendid conversation with her, she returned with “her hero,” Mr. Chuck Rogers, father of the owner of the restaurant, member of an ancient Irish fraternity we couldn’t pronounce nor remember, and a man that spoke as regally as he looked.

“Let’s have a conversation,” he said simply and gestured for us to sit down in a “snug,” one of the many quaint anterooms of the establishment. We felt as though we were in the presence of royalty as he sat and shared the many tales of The Banshee with us, lore that’s been passed on over a 200-year history. Then we spoke of the lost art of “talking to one another over a low board, face to face.” When he said it was an honor to have two authors in the restaurant, the first he knew of, we about died. We were the honored ones for sure.

Christopher, Bobbie, Chuck Rogers, Wayne

When all was said and done, we sat in silence, letting the music and the magical atmosphere of the place was over us. We felt as though the Lord had taken us away in time, to a far off place, much like the stories we spend our lives writing about. Accept this time we weren’t writing about it, we were living it.

The meeting was most memorable and was the perfect end to our last night of Writer’s Boot Camp 2007.

The Boys

So will history remember Hopper and Batson? I’m not entirely sure. But I do know that I will remember this night for the rest of my life.

Thanks Wayne. Thanks Jenny and Mary Lu. And thank you Jesus for a weekend to remember.

Slainte!

CH

(And here are some “behind the scenes” pics of our writing spots at the historic Radisson hotel) :

Our twin desksCH at the helmWayne diving in

Like those who have gone before us…

Posted in On Writing on February 3, 2007 by christopherhopper

In the lineage of the Tolkien and Lewis, their lies a tradition, a lost art if you will, of  great minds and men meeting together.

I hardly consider myself on the “great” scale, but certainly the need for Christians on any level to share, discuss, and mutually inspire one another is required now more than ever.

If they had “The Eagle and Child,” Wayne Thomas Batson and I have “The Banshee.”

The Banshee

Waking to a beautiful sunny sky in Scranton, PA this brisk Saturday morning, I find myself sitting in the historic Radisson Lackawanna Station Hotel with my laptop. This weekend is part of a long awaited, highly anticipated “Writer’s Bootcamp,” to get away and write, and share those ideas with my friend Wayne. Scranton lies halfway between our two home towns, and The Banshee is the most authentic and highly recommened “old world” pub we could find in the city. (Boy, is it ever awesome!).

As most writers do (at least I would imagine), Wayne and I wonder what it would have been like to sit in that famous pub and listen to Lewis and Tolkien talk. This is our feeble attempt to do the same, and possibly make our own history, for whatever it’s worth.

Already through our first day, the time has been innvaluably rich. We spent the first few hours sharing about our walks with the Lord, as well as catching one another up on our current writings. We returned to our hotel room, asked for another desk (which the staff was only to happy to provide. It’s the first time I ever had a manager call up just to check in on us and make sure we were OK…sheesh!), and then got to writing; Wayne working on development for a big upcoing project (shhhh!), and I working on the third instalment of The White Lion Chronicles.

This weekend serves as a much needed break, a respite, to gather my thoughts and take a breath from life’s normal pace. To bounce ideas and musing off a fellow warrior in Christ, and one who happenes to be a very talented author, is an experiance in itself.

To anyone out there thinking, “Huh, that’s a cool idea,” yes, it is.

More on Wayne and his amazing writings coming soon! (For now, check out: eneterthedoorwithin.blogspot.com)

Blessings!

CH