Congratulations to Joy Muldoon! She is the winner of the C.S. Lewis on Love book! Merry Christmas!
Seven years ago, I wrote a play and submitted it to publisher. My rejection letter said that it was “too controversial”.
Best rejection letter ever.
But, really, the controversy was that my characters blended Hanukkah and Christmas celebrations.
My writing colleague, Brandon Clements, wears that title. And he earned it. Big time.
Brandon wrote a novel called Every Bush Is Burning. Here’s the blurb about it…
“A gritty, emotionally gripping story about forgiveness, family, and the sometimes tragically painful sins of the church.
Jack Bennett has a wife, two kids, the perfect job–and the perfect affair. When he is caught and it all comes crashing down, Jack is left with no one to turn to. No friends. No family, except his recovering drug addict of a sister.
On a Sunday morning drive, he sees a homeless man locked out of a church service, banging on the door. He stops and offers the guy a cup of coffee. He asks the man his name, and the guy says Yeshua. As in, Jesus.
Jack’s not stupid. This isn’t the real Jesus. But with nowhere else to turn, Jack forms an unlikely friendship with this eccentric homeless man–one that will test his idea of truth, faith, love, and forgiveness.”
Now, Brandon’s book is not CBA (Christian Booksellers Association) friendly. It contains language that couldn’t share a shelf with an Amish love story. The idea of Yeshua reacting violently to a Westboro-like character, although awesome, might make some readers cringe a little. Adultery, drug use, alcohol drinking, etc.
But none of it is glorified. Instead, what is glorified, is the truth throughout. Truth about God’s care for us. His presence in our despair and loneliness. His redemption. And, quite honestly, God shines in this book as a beautiful contrast to the dingier aspects. And, I’d bet $10 that it was at least a little bit of Brandon’s plan.
This book isn’t for people who are offended easily. But it is for people who want to see a little bit about how the world sees Christianity, Jesus, suffering. Brandon did a great job.
Brandon wrote in a conversational, journal entry style that I rather enjoyed. At one point, I put the book down and clapped my hands before I continued to read. Yes. Jeff looked at me like I was a crazy person. But it was worth it! I laughed several times. Cried a little. Stayed up way too late reading. And, really, I was edified by this book.
If you’re interested in reading it, you can get it as a paperback or digital download. Check out Amazon (it’s a .99 download for the Kindle).
And now for today’s give-away. I was thinking about giving away my paperback copy of this novel…but I want to read it again. Instead, I’d like to give away a copy of my play “Merry Chrismukkah” (the controversial play that was published in 2007). It’s full of Christmas sillies. To enter, please leave a comment answering the following question (because I’m curious)…
What do you think about controversial literature? Can it make a point? What if it isn’t gratuitous (like Brandon’s book)?
I’ll announce the winner on Friday!