Why did I write this Novel?

Everyone wants to write a book, or make a film, or tell a story. Everyone has a fleeting thought about a scenario, or event that would make a fantastic tale. A situation, or predicament. Arching it back to a beginning, bringing it to a satisfying end, those are the difficulties.stock-photo-21876498-colored-books-with-clear-cover-falling-away

It’s within the execution of the telling that life gets in between, that we lose our way, that a great idea fizzles. I should know, because there are dozens of my own untold tales that have decayed in the assiduous assaults of everyday life. I have so many chapter ones that if they correlated with one another, I’d have enough material for another novel. But this novel, The Last Saint, was different. It was an idea that wouldn’t let go, and had to be told.

From a Christian point of view, if there was going to be a rapture, then there was definitively going to be someone who was the last person saved before it happened, the last Christian before the end; and I knew exactly what that looked like. Without the ambitions of publishing, or financial gain, or recognition, I only knew that I couldn’t dispel with the idea until it was fully discovered. The idea was strong, and haunting, and instead of waning, it grew to permeate my days, disturbed my sleep, and play out in my dreams. The need to write it was greater than my ability to dismiss it. It suddenly didn’t matter that I couldn’t write a novel, or that it wasn’t my job, or I probably wasn’t skilled enough, or that I didn’t have time. It was coming out, one way or another.

I found resolve in making a decision to write it. The trigger had been pulled, and like any other passion, be it music, or baking, or dance, I would undertake it’s challenges to make it as excellent as possible.

The first draft was done in one month. The story was out of my head, written badly, but on paper. I was in love. Now, to make it not so embarrassing.

I had written for years, mostly poetry, lyrics for rock songs, some unpublished shorts, none of which required the polished rectitude of a novel. Poetic license was often utilized as a license to remain sloppy, rather than bother to refine a chosen craft. This was true in many facets of life, not just art. But if I was to tell the tale, it would need to be told so that how it was presented didn’t detract from the power of the journey.

At this point, I didn’t even know how long to make it. There are articles on how long first time novels should be, articles on what techniques to avoid, what techniques to employ. A friend, by the handle Inkslick, was helpful in devising setting parameters, and encouraged literary horses, the drivers of common themes within the story. I read blogs from famous authors, and spent days filling my brain with information, until my momentum was stifled by fear. I had to let go of it all, shove it all away, off my desk, clear the mechanism. I chose one or two principles that seemed to resonate with me, and stopped trying to make it what it was supposed to be. I told my tale.

Getting picked up my a publishing company was a blessing, and quite unexpected. I had sent some chapters on a dare, and now a nationally distributed novel of my own will be arriving within days. All because this idea was so strong a year ago, and I didn’t let go. I learned. I learned weaknesses, but also what I am capable of. I learned that there is allowed to be more, much more, that flows from my heart, and into my life. I can add my own creations, my own thoughts, my own beliefs, to the world around me. I simply gave myself permission to do so, and in doing, to explore those little fleeting thoughts that we all have, crying out to tell a story. I just answered.

To order The Last Saint visit https://jrcooper.org/

 

Advertisements

Islamic Terror in Nice

This isn’t apologetcis, or theological study. It isn’t fiction, and it isn’t to teach. This is me going back to why I started writing in the first place, in order to get out my emotions, sort out my feelings.

Because confusion about the depravity of man, though always realized, is thrust into full shocking comprehension when yet another terrorist takes as many lives as possible before gladly accepting death. And those left behind to view the horrors wrought are forced to sift through the detritus in hopes of eventually emerging with some comfort. But for the non-Christian, there is none. Is that shocking? Let me say it again. For the non-Christian, there can be no concept of justice, and there will be no catharsis.

The victim’s families are fully aware that it was this person’s intention to die after the mission, this jihadist action. It was a suicide mission, and for who knows how long, this man has been taught that how he went out was the most honorable way to do so. That it was preferred, and revered, and not only would he be held in high esteem back here among the living by his cohorts, but his holy book and spiritual teachers had already convinced him that paradise awaited. That dying for the cause is in fact the only sure way to reach paradise. If you are aware of this only as a concept attributed to right wing Islamophobia, consider these Quran and Hadith Verses:

 

Whoso fighteth in the way of Allah, be he slain or be he victorious, on him We shall bestow a vast reward.

And there is the type of man who gives his life to earn the pleasure of Allah…

I would love to be martyred in Allah’s Cause and then get resurrected and then get martyred, and then get resurrected again and then get martyred and then get resurrected again and then get martyred.

Allah guarantees that He will admit the Mujahid in His Cause into Paradise if he is killed

seeking death at places where it can be expected.

Nobody who enters Paradise will return to this world even if he were offered everything on the surface of the earth  except the martyr who will desire to return to this world and be killed ten times for the sake of the great honor that has been bestowed upon him.

they fight in His cause, and slay and are slain: a promise binding on Him in truth… and who is more faithful to his covenant than Allah? then rejoice in the bargain which ye have concluded: that is the achievement supreme.”

As the Ayatollah Khomeini put it, “The purest joy in Islam is to kill and be killed for Allah.”

At a  youth convention in 1999: “Fighting for freedom, fighting for Islam, that is not suicide. They kill themselves for Islam.”

This means that,

a) Islam is correct, and these people doin fact reached paradise this way, or

b) (atheistic view) since there is no God, no trial can be held, the jihadist got what he wanted, there will be no justice, and even retribution against other extremist factions will only result in the deaths of either innocents, or those who would gladly seek death for their beliefs. Therefore there is no healing. No peace. No life after this, and only confirmation of how meaningless life is. The reaction to this mindset is either a high degree of self-satisfaction or self-destruction. Or,

c) The bible is true, and the God of the bible is real. And in it, God states that judgement is His and His alone. Which means those who do believe in the word of God can in fact take comfort that final judgement rests upon Him. It will give the hearts involved, and those who sympathize, a very real peace about how judgement is handled in the end. And simultaneously, affords that same individual an opportunity to be thankful for their own grace. The process of healing, even this way, even inundated with gospel truth, will still be long and arduous. But there is comfort in Him, and in that truth. Comfort rather than utter helplessness. And hope in God is the precise thing that will give the desperate rest.

The reason why these Jihadists are prone to homicide has nothing to do with genetics, desperation, or suicide. It is the ideology that promotes martyrdom by promising paradise to those who lose their lives for Allah. Meanwhile, any attempt to protect citizens from this dangerous mindset in the west will be met with screams of racism, bigotry, Islamophobia, and right-wing hate. Never mind the actual teachings of Muhammad, or the scriptures of Islam, or the countless examples of terror perpetrated on not only the Muslim world, but the world over, or the rapes, or the sympathy for barbaric sharia laws.  But to educate people of this is to be hated, when it is in fact a hatred of hate, in other words love, that drives the desire to teach, and to save, and to share the good news of Jesus Christ.

I have already seen in the aftermath, countless watered down, desperate attempts to categorize this attack with the socially accepted narrative of the day, and each one has been a cop-out. I do not doubt the sincerity of grief, or sympathy. But they would not use that grief to acknowledge truth, for fear of offending. So to read their thoughts, one might think, perhaps it was Militant Jews? Perhaps it was Militant Catholics? Perhaps Militant Buddhists? But that doesn’t matter. Writings infused with allusions to inclusiveness, and judgement for those who don’t agree. But we all kind of know who it was, don’t we? We may not say it, but we all kind of know. And we all kind of know why. Do we have an honest conversation about it? Or do we post a prayer for France (which of course we should be praying for them), change our profile pic to an Eiffel Tower, and content ourselves to be distracted by the next sensation, or scandal, or fad, so that we do not have to consider it. Perhaps a sports team, or some funny videos, or political scandal. But in 9 days, or two weeks, or a month, it will happen again, hopefully next time with a gun so we can quickly blame those to divert focus from the truth (and because blaming a truck is silly). And we will all kind of know who did it. And we will all kind of know why.

Lincoln and Olivia Fischer

(Back Story: The Last Saint)

“You don’t think it would be an amazing adventure?”

“I think it would be an expensive one, if that’s what you mean?” Olivia chided Lincoln’s attempt to entice her, and not for the first time, to consider a trip to Israel’s holy land. “It just isn’t in our budget, love. It’s output versus reward. At the end of the trip, we’d be $20,000 further from being in the black, and have 200 digital pictures in a file on our E-hub that we never look at.”

“You are looking at it wrong.” Lincoln set himself sternly facing her. He almost faltered against the glare he received, as she reacted to his insinuation. She was obstinate, surely, but from time to time, despite the deep love for his wife, Lincoln chose a battle to stand his ground. Their mutual respect for each other prevented catastrophic blow-ups, but with the self-control exercised by each, came the ratcheted-up, unresolved tension that could last days. “It isn’t just a vacation. It is part of history, of heritage. From that place grew almost every belief and law and value that this country used to hold dear. Most of that history you can’t even find anymore because of the Purge! It isn’t for the pictures. It’s to stand somewhere special!”

“I just got you back from overseas! Are you not somewhere special right now?!” Olivia wondered loudly.

“You mean, Tennessee?”

“No, you schmuck! Home! Here! With me!” Olivia about-faced and walked from the room, leaving Lincoln standing in their living room to consider her absence, and all that it implied. He heard the tires screech as she pulled from the garage, and as the engine reported back her growing distance from their condo, he sighed audibly, and collapsed back on their couch. “I guess I won’t be going to the gym with you then.”

Why was this so difficult, Lincoln wondered. Only back from military duty for a few days, and already the fondness caused by such a long absence had withered. “I should have known better than to bring up religion again.” It happened every time. Such a wall there; something so repellent towards his love of biblical studies.

Lincoln made his way to the study, calling to the house, “Lights at 35%.” They dimmed to his specifications as he slumped into the desk chair, dejected, and jacked in to the e-hub. “Pick up where I left off” The private journal file appeared on screen. This journal was kept off the Sky, the world’s cyber-drive. He could see at the lower right he had several more requests for the growing collection of material. The Purge had caused quite a demand within certain circles.

Lincoln Fischer focused his energy on research. Olivia would be gone awhile, and he could get a good bit done before trying to salvage the evening. It was an easy escape, a love of something mysterious and complex, that wanted to be discovered. But was Olivia not just such a mystery? So lovely, so full of fire.

Lincoln bowed his head at the desk, “Father, please help me to be a better husband. To find a way to love and respect my wife on terms she will understand. For us to find common ground, hopefully, eventually in spiritual matters, but not just that. Let her… please just let her see my love for her, in all I do; in my actions towards her. And please, help her to to see Christ in my life, and help it to soften her heart. She is so strong, and so brave, and I love that. But, Father, though she has these characteristics, I know deep down, she will need humility too. To finally see what I see; to be in awe of you, and in that new knowledge, realize her need for your grace. I don’t know… I don’t know what will… just help me Father, be who I need to be for her. Amen.” The screen was sleeping when he opened his eyes. Lincoln stood resolved to love his wife through this spat, and made his way to the kitchen to prepare a candlelight dinner.

(To find out the fate of Lincoln and Olivia, read The Last Saint by J.R. Cooper, out in only a few days on amazon.com or here at www.jrcooper.org available for pre-order now!!

candle_wax_wax_candle_263039

Answering Ark Encounter Critic

Creationism is a subject close to my heart, because of many reasons. The vast rich history of mankind, the over 350 flood legends of ancient cultures that corroborate the Genesis account, the geological features that attest to the great volume of water that had to have been covering the world, to even the words of Jesus himself, it is a powerful historical truth that points us towards the ultimate authority of scripture. It is an important lesson in ministry, because only if the beginning is true is the end necessary, perhaps a point for another time.

One of the great attempts of our time to teach this authority of the Genesis account is of course the  Ark Encounter at Ken Ham’s new park in Kentucky. I have been following closely as an apologist, and am continually impressed with Ken’s patience and grace towards his detractors. I was specifically impressed with his handling of Bill Nye, who popped up with a camera crew to fill his own documentary about why he feels Christianity takes away from science. This premise holds no water, but the exposure he gets from making an arch nemesis out of Mr. Ham gets him the publicity he desires, and his impudence towards him face to face, and on the cable access shows following their encounters is childish, petty, and full of ad hominem attacks that have no bearing on the subject in question. Furthermore, his attitude and refusal to show the same respect that Ken shows him is beautifully contrasted, in my opinion, by Ken’s love for people, his desire to do God’s good work, and to spread the gospel. I continue to see Ken’s love for others, as well as his class in the face of those who hate the God of the bible. In fact he welcomes opposition, in hopes that the Holy Spirit will change their hearts.

When I mentioned my respect for how he was handling the aggression of atheists, this comment was shared by another detractor:

$10 million spent on a ridiculous monument to ignorant superstition that could have been spent housing, feeding and clothing the needy. Do Christians ever actually read the bible and study the words of their messiah? I can’t recall a single passage that would indicate Yahushua [sic} would have approved of such a farcical waste of resources that could have undoubtedly been put to better use. Regardless of what you may say to the media, Ken Ham, this monstrosity is nothing more than a gigantic monument to your own vanity.

I would first say, absolutely you have the freedom to not only feel this way, but speak it, as this country grants those God given rights. I encourage questions and opinions on every subject, which is how we grow. It can be inferred by the comment that she clearly does not believe in the authority of scripture, and further that the flood was a made up story with no veracity whatsoever.

With what follows I will elaborate on my initial response:

It was actually $100 million, not $10 million to build the Ark. I would point out that freedom to spend money as they see fit is the right of Americans, and there is nothing stating that though charitable donations have been  given to projects concerning the great commission, which Jesus (Yeshua) did condone since He was the one giving it, that other donations cannot continue to be given towards hunger, shelter, and disaster relief, which is certainly the case. The religious demographic in America is, in study after study, found to be the most philanthropic, and specifically Christians are most likely to donate to the causes mentioned then almost any other group. It is precisely because of the Bible that this charitable heart and a value for others’ lives arises, and is distinctly void or lessened in other world views. E.g. Allah wills it, and it is karma, and survival of the fittest.

Ken, his well educated staff, and many visitors do in fact read their bibles and study the words of the Messiah. In their bibles can be found verses such as:  “But from the beginning of the creation, God ‘made them male and female (Jesus);that the blood of all the prophets which was shed from the foundation of the world may be required of this generation,  from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah who perished between the altar and the temple (Jesus);  For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words? (Jesus)”. We can conclude that Jesus believed in the truth of Moses’ historical creation narrative, and that He did not think the flood, or creation, or any of Moses’ writings were as the comment accused, ‘farcical’, or ‘ignorant superstition’. Instead it is clear that Ken and his ministry continues to teach the authority of scripture, and to spread the gospel to the world, which is exactly what Christ asked us to do in Matthew 28, known as the Great Commission. I personally couldn’t think of a more worthwhile cause then to help those with the means spread the gospel message. 

I would also point out that when people donate $100 million to discover alien life forms under the tutelage of atheist Dawkins, or SETI, or any other endeavor to show that evolution is true through the existence of other evolved beings somewhere else in space (which is their freedom to do), the same outcry isn’t heard from the majority of religious entities, when those resources, according to a Christian or Creationist world view are most assuredly being wasted. But it is the exact belief that this ministry is not a waste, and that the flood is not a myth, as proclaimed by the vast evidence that has been collected by scientists and organizations such as http://www.answersingenesis.org, that lead Christians to exercise their freedoms to teach upon the authority of scripture, the same authority that Jesus lent to it, not to put too fine a point on it.

I want to be respectful of dissenters (although I am admittedly less skilled at it then Ken), however, if with a passing shot over the bow, someone dismiss the bible’s authority as a farce and merely ignorant superstition, and in the same breath attempts to educate creationists on Jesus’ teachings about humanity (from that same bible), I have to wonder which comment I am expected to listen to?  And moreover, what reasoning I would have to do so based on logic? Furthermore, when you add the personal attacks against Ken’s character because his focus at present is different then yours, I can conclude these statements are not based in reason, but in a personal biased against the subject matter.

http://www.jrcooper.org

http://www.facebook.com/cooper.author

Releasing the Novel…

On a more personal note, I would discuss the artist’s mindset upon releasing a work into the wilds of the world. I think we all have a creative side, to one degree or another. I have found that even the most stoic and calculating souls have a hidden place inside where they always dreamed of painting, or wrote a few words of prose down. Many play instruments, some dance, and I am a big supporter of these outlets. They tend to relieve stress, and help you to know yourself. But many times it is personal and never gets beyond the door of your sanctuary. Which is fine.

But many let fly their passion, past the gates, and into the world, like releasing something they loved. Now, before the actual release, there is most certainly anxiety, some reticence, and usually a healthy bit of scrutinizing over the work. Hundreds of man hours go in to tweaking the art form, because it will become a public thing.  You have to be sure that when released it conveys the best of who you are. The best of what you can be. Many don’t release it at that last moment, because of fear. Fear of failure. Fear of letting themselves down. And there is fear of your art being hated, which, since it is something you loved so hard, means they hate you.

But those that do, those that take that step, that sign their name to something, to a performance, to a piece of art, they get to experience one of the great treasures of life, one that cannot be had by way of money, or affection from the opposite sex, or from self-service. Because to make art is to give the world a piece of yourself. It is to love others with the gifts you were given. It is to be courageously you. And if that passion moves people, or succeeds in however we measure success, then you have proven to your inner most being that you have added to the world, that you are special, that you are unique. And conversely, if you fail, you have taught yourself that actually failing after trying was not nearly as bad as what you feared it might be. You have risked, and learned how to grow. You have gained courage, and knowledge, and have come that much closer to discovering just what it is exactly that makes you beautiful.

There is a world full of joylessness out there. A world full of the anonymous negative, who hate that they have not risked, or that they have never tried, because they think if it doesn’t work out, if the world doesn’t make them ‘go viral’, it is tantamount to being nothing. Those people will attack, they will use the anonymity of the web, or the distance between your effort and theirs to berate and slander and cut down who you are. And I understand that not everyone has the self-confidence to face such a world. That doesn’t mean there is something wrong with you. But, as a man who has written songs I feared people would hate, and stepped on stage to sing when I knew that I wasn’t one of the vocally blessed, and written a novel half convinced I wasn’t qualified to write, I will say that following through is an awakening of self-discovery. Each show, or story, both the good and bad, has forced me to reflect upon my path, and honestly assess who I am and where my power lies to affect others for the better.

I don’t know if lots of people will read my novel, or even if the subject matter is cared about by most. But in a few days, it will be released, out in the wide world, to be seen… or ignored… hated… or enjoyed. I feel strongly about its quality, and am confident, if it is read, that most will really enjoy the journey within its pages. And my answer to those who hate it? “My friend, I tried with all my heart, and all my love, to do honor to the gifts that God has blessed me with.”

I would encourage you all to try, to push the boundaries of those passions you love, those things you spend hours doing, perfecting, and to put that love into the world. The world will never get better by taking from it, only by giving to it, and you all have something unique to give. Let it fly, and do your best to not just hear the negative joyless, but look beyond to the courage you had to love the world in a way only you could.

@JRCooperauthor

http://www.facebook.com/cooper.author

The Last Saint

 

The Last Saint

My first novel, The Last Saint will be coming out this month. I am currently setting up payment methods for any who want to have the book shipped to them. Or it will be available on Amazon.com once released.

The Last Saint by J.R.Cooper.

I am very proud to bring you this work of Christian Fiction. In it, Olivia Fischer seems to have it all together. Smarts, beauty, and a strong husband who is passionate about serving his country. But the arrival of her husband’s diary from overseas, coupled with his mysterious murder, throws Olivia’s comfortable life into a chaotic and dangerous search for answers. World events have been set in motion, events which will impact every citizen on a global scale. One book holds all the answers.

In The Last Saint I explore eschatology from a biblical world view, shining light on tough questions as we weave through a story that unites cultures on the front lines of the battle for humanity.

Look for more updates as we approach a release date. Brought to you by Touch Publishing Services from Arlington Texas. Please follow along here and on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/cooper.author

If this looks like something you are interested in, please help me promote, and tell your friends and family. Should be a great adventure in apologetics.