Extravagant love

Jesus was in Bethany at the house of Sime, a man who had suffered from a dreaded skin disease. While Jesus was eating, a woman came to him with an alabaster jar filled with an expensive perfume, which she poured on his head.

The apostles saw this and became angry. "Why all this waste?" they asked. "This perfume could have been sold for a large amount and the money given to the poor!"

Jesus knew what they were saying and so he said to them, "Why are you bothering this woman? It is a fine and beautiful things that she has done for me. You will always have the poor people with you, but you will not always have me. What she did was to pour this perfume on my body to get me ready for burial. Now, I assure you that where ever this gospel is preached all over the world, what she has done will be told in memory of her."

Mathew 26:6-13

Several years ago, I heard a message on this passage. I don't remember who, where, when. But I remember one thing that the speaker said that Jesus approved of extravagant love. An extravagant love doesn't always make sense, it can seem wasteful or even useless. But that doesn't mean it's not valuable.

This passage reminds me of a woman in Rome, Ga who started a ministry of washing the feet of the homeless. She said she wanted to do it because they were constantly on their feet, with no money to buy decent shoes. Like the woman with the alabaster jar, critics said she could do something different, something profitable.

But, like the woman with the alabaster jar, the woman who washed feet was showing extravagant love. Jesus, when he rebuked the disciples, was saying extravagant, reckless love is good on occasion. It's valuable. Yes, we have to be about His business and follow His teaching, but every now and then, it's good to love Him in a senseless, reckless way. When I say senseless and reckless, I'm saying that's how its perceived by those on the outside of that moment.

She was called to show extravagant love, a senseless, but beautiful love, a humbling love, not unlike the woman with the alabaster jar. Jesus showed his approval to the woman with the alabaster jar by promising her story would be told forever. The woman in Rome, Ga was rewarded with a small feature in the newspaper (by me). Her story may not last forever, but in my mind, it will. And I believe Jesus will remember it, too.

Extravagant love isn't suppose to make sense. It has a bit of planning, but yet a bit of reckless abandonment that can only come from overwhelming passion. As fiction writers, our novels and stories have that same reckless abandonment -- we don't care what the knowledgeable, well trained disciples say. We're offering what we have.

Our talents could be used on helpful and very necessary tools like Bible studies and commentaries. Our skills could be used to research and validate disputed parts of the Bible, which would be far more profitable, at least monetarily. But, just as the woman with the alabaster jar and just as the woman with a soft cloth and warm, soapy water, we aren't called there. We've been called to love extravagantly, a love that is senseless in the way that only Jesus truly understands.

I look at "Fair Balance" and all the stories in "Light at the Edge of Darkness" and "Higher Honor" and I pray that my words, and the words of my fellow scribes will be a rare, beautiful oil flowing over my Savior and we'll be humbled when He accepts our offering of an extravagant love. For me, it's a humbling love, for Him, I hope it's a beautiful, extravagant love filled with a passion He understands.


Super Heroes and the Truths of Life

What's the most popular fantasy/sci-fi medium? Comic books. To some, they are merely silly books. But according to pastor and author H. Michael Brewer, they are far more. Across the pages of Superman, Batman, the Amazing-Spiderman, the Incredible Hulk, and more, you can find universal truths.

In his book, "Who Needs a Superhero?" Brewer brought many great and obscure heroes to life and then showed the truth that lies beneath the surface. The strange visitor from another planet who comes to Earth points us to Christ.

Batman and Iron Man show the futility of goodness and success to save ourselves. The Incredible Hulk (the original one) serves as a powerful illustration of our sin nature. In exquisite detail, Brewer fleshes out truth from the stories of these great heroes in a read that's enjoyable as it is edifying.

I was pleased recently to have Mike Brewer as my guest on the Truth and Hope Report podcast recently. It was nice to take a night off from politics, and have a fun and intriguing guest to talk to.

Brewer is an expert on comic books, having followed the medium since the Silver Age. He said he remembered seeing X-Men #1 and the Avengers #1 out on news stands. When asked about research for his rich and detailed chapters, he admitted to doing practically none except when he needed a quote.

Brewer ran into some challenges in the writing process, particularly when it came to finding pictures for the chapters. Marvel Comics was happy to license a few pictures, but DC refused. However, the person who did the illustrations was very clever in using images that inferred the Superhero without using the hero themselves.

When I asked him why he wrote the book, he said that while there was a market for it (what pastors aren't looking for new illustrations?) , perhaps the most persuasive reason to write it was that it was a book he was "born to write." No other book has garnered so much reaction for the thrice published author, and based on my interview, I'd agree he was born to write it.

Click here to download the podcast. Click here to learn more about "Who Needs a Super Hero?"


As of earlier this evening, the Lost Genre Guild's blog address has changed to:

Please bookmark this. For the time, you can still type in the original blogger address and still get here.

Thanks to Andrea, we were able to connect the blog with our own Lost Genre Guild website.


The Christian Writers Market Guide

This week the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is doing something a bit different: it is touring a book of non-fiction!

Sally Stuart's Christian Writers Market Guide is an annual publication that has become an invaluable resource for writers. Now in its 21st year, this edition has listings for everything a Christian writer could possibly need:

  • literary agents
  • publishers
  • online and print magazines
  • newspapers
  • markets for greeting cards, photograph, and poetry
  • conferences and writers groups
  • foreign markets
  • distributors
  • contests
  • websites

This year's Christian Writers Market Guide comes with a searchable CD so you can locate the 1,200 markets for books, articles, stories, poetry, and greeting cards, which includes information on 40 new publishers, 83 new periodicals, and 34 new literary agents!

Who is Sally Stuart?

Sally Stuart has authored more than thirty books, is a popular speaker and authority on the business of writing, and noteably, Christian markets. She has been a longtime marketing columnist for and has sold over one thousand articles and columns. Her long-term involvement with this market guide as well as her marketing columns for the Christian Communicator, Oregon Christian Writers, and The Advanced Christian Writer and has sold over 1000 articles and columns!

Sally lives in northwest Oregon, is the mother of three and grandmother of eight!

Visit her website: http://www.stuartmarket.com/

Amazon link to The Christian Writers Market Guide www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1400071259

CSFF Blog Tour for February - wherethemapends.com

I just posted this over at my own blog and wanted to let you all know. Enjoy!

Grace Bridges


Excerpt from Miracle Micro

A STRING OF BARE bulbs cast dim light down the concrete tunnel. My electric cart’s motor hummed loud in the close-quarters. The familiar sound soothed me. It had been almost a year since I drove these tunnels and wore Sparky Services’ blue coveralls. One final intersection separated me from the scene of my impending crime, and that knotted my gut.

Don’t get me wrong, I was not a member of Chicago’s most notorious underground terrorist organization. Everyone knew the Body of Christ was pure-paranoid-potato-flakes, end of story.

Believers of all flavors had been blowing things up through all of history. At least these people had a new twist. They claimed the One State government was really behind all the violence.
But who knew? I didn’t believe in truth anyway—everything was just spin and opinion. In all my months underground, the most explosive thing I’d seen was a baked bean, but I hadn’t exactly worked my way into their Elders’ Circle.

I’m in it for the money I reminded myself.

For decades Sparky Services had remained well-connected with certain people in the mayor’s office. They provided utility maintenance for more than one-third of the Chicago Metroplex. Before I joined the underground, workin’ for Sparky had been a great job. One I thought I’d retire from. But that was a different lifetime . . . a workin’-stiff’s lifetime.

When the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Bureau of Terrorism approached me with a seven-digit onetime undercover offer, I left Sparky faster than a rock-fan at a D.J. Danglewood concert.

I put on my Casio headphone-goggles, and a virtual desktop of icons appeared before me. I poked a finger at a telephone-shaped symbol and then the re-dial option from a sub-menu. The icon flashed five times before glowing bright yellow . . .

And, you can read the rest of Miracle Micro's preview HERE . . .


Sneak Preview: Frozen Generation

I WATCHED THE MECHANICAL arm remove a post-gestational fetus from the purple semi-transparent encasement. The Kevlar and steel womb could have slept a half-dozen grown men, easy.

Based on the Product of Conception’s development, under other circumstances, the male child would’ve been transferred to the nursery a year ago. By law, fifteen minutes separated a POC from a non-person—the more dignified slave designation—so breeders gave living spare parts no freedom.

The doomed POC sure screamed like any free child, though. It screamed as the mechanical arm whisked it through the air. It screamed as the arm dropped it in the separator. It screamed until the droning silver cylinder silenced the screams, extracting the beating heart needed to save the baby the parents had wanted.

I lowered my head. My eyes remained as dry as the Sahara, which my ancestors had called home before that POC’s ancestors reduced mine to chattel. Maybe the soldier who executed my husband fathered the child. Maybe his mother made the report about my husband’s preaching against my current employer, against the breeders turning the descendants of slave and master alike into chattel.

I whispered, “The sins of the fathers.”

Read the rest of the "Frozen Generation" preview here.


Mirtika of Mirathon posted on her blog (see prior link) in response to my post Roots in Frozen Generation. Thanks, Mir!