Tag Archives: David Rosman

Atheist, David Rosman (Christian Fiction: Is It Effective?)

Guest Post by David Rosman

Confessions of an Atheist Book Reviewer

I am an atheist. There, I said it, proud of it and will not deny it, much like many of my Christian friends and authors who honor their trade(s) and faith(s). I am also an author and book reviewer.

I am not one of those radical atheists out to destroy religion or an evangelical atheist out to convert everyone to the life of reason, logic and science. I have written essays in support of Christians and Muslims when harmed based solely on their faith.

As a reviewer for the New York Journal of Books, assignments include political and religious tomes. Most are non-fiction but occasionally Christian-fiction is thrown my way.

My only concern about the target market or audience is readability. Demographics are something for the author to decide early in the writing process and the traditional publisher to analyze.

The problem, at least what many seem to assume is the problem, is how I separate my a-theistic, scientific, and Aristotlistic self while reading what other a-theistic reviewers may call “mythological dribble?” Simply, it ain’t easy. Occasionally I ask a Christian author friend to review my review if I believe I had become “radical.”

There are those moments when I do get in the occasional licks, though are most trashed during the self-editing process. It is fortunate that NYJB’s Editor Lisa Rojany Buccieri called me on crossing that line only once. Bad spelling and structure occasionally, but once for inserting my personal political and religious views.

I do admit self-control is not always possible. I have started books and thought of asking the powers-that-be to assign it to someone else, but never have. I, the faithful liberal, even reviewed Ann Coulter’s Demonic: How the Liberal Mob Is Endangering America.

Once in a while an author slaps the reader across the face with the theocratic message in the first pages. The best example is Putting Away Childish Things: A Tale of Modern Faith by Christian author Marcus J. Borg, Ph.D. For background on the book, please read my NYJB review.

In all cases, basics of good writing are essential, especially with the genre of Christian fiction.

Foremost, the story must be intriguing and captivating. Regardless of the genre of fiction, poor writing and storytelling rings the death knell for any writer. Make the reader want to continue.

Dr. Borg tells the reader in the introduction that this is a “teaching novel” and he does provide a vast amount of information concerning the liberal arm of the Episcopalian Church. However, any evidence of good storytelling, especially fictional storytelling, is not there. The story has no direction.

The second foundation is the moral dilemma of the main character, whether it is searching for one’s spiritual direction, or a forbidden love, or simply the question of morality, right versus wrong. Without this single element, the story is relegated to Writer’s Purgatory.

Borg’s dilemma is with the story of young Erin. She is a freshman in Christian college, seeking a spiritual direction to her life. Her dilemma is her entanglement in the liberal and conservative arms of the Episcopal Church, and the multiple sects of the Christian faith. A great place to begin but here under told and Erin is not the main character. Poor design.

Third, the dilemma must be resolved by the end of the book. In other words, there must be a solid closing to the story, even if there is still an element of dilemma remaining, a tried and true method of setting the reader up for the sequel. Here our author missed the mark completely. Erin never resolves her conflicts and the reader is left hanging.

Finally, the characters and settings must be believable, especially true with fiction. The locals and characters must have character. Not through over explanation, over description or over used literary devices. I expect an author to be original and know the characters as well as she know herself.

Is reviewing Christian fiction or non-fiction difficult? You bet. Is it challenging? You bet. Is it fulfilling? You bet, about 99 percent of the time.

If your book will be published though a traditional presses, have the publisher send a request to review to Rhonda at NYJB about three months before release.

If your book is self-published or has been released, send your request to InkandVoice Communication.

Have fun, write well, remember the basics and never be discouraged. My advice, have someone read a few chapters – someone who is willing to tell you your fly is open. The truth will set you free. (John 8:32)

David Rosman, an atheist, is an award winning author, columnist and educator. You can read his weekly essays in the Columbia Missourian, and on InkandVoice.com/editorials. He is also a book reviewer for the New York Journal of Books.David’s most recent book is A Christian Nation?: An examination of Christian nation theories and proofs.

Note From Nikki: Yesterday we featured author, C.S. Lakin here. Tomorrow, I am featuring author, Dianne Christner. You can read more about this series here. Just a reminder, please keep all comment civil. Discussion is welcome. I will be moderating the series all week.

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Mid-June Series Introduction: What is it About?

Dear Readers,

“Christian Fiction: Is It Effective?” will post from June 13 – 20. I have come across blog posts like She Reads or Mike Duran or even A Christian Worldview that have discussed the effectiveness of Christian fiction.

In my opinion, Christian fiction is created for Christians. How can it be effective if it’s in the Christian genre? Some unbelievers feel intense anger towards the genre and won’t give it a second look. Some Amazon reviews show this anger with comments like the genre being ‘religous,’ or, ‘deceiving’ because they ‘didn’t know’ it was of the Christian genre. Some wonder if there isn’t a plan to simply eradicate Christianity from literature by sabotaging Christian fiction via reviews. So what do nonbelievers think of Christian fiction?

In this series, four Christian novelists and two nonbelievers will square off. Though I spoke with many nonbelievers, I could not get two more nonbelievers to read Christian fiction in order to participate. Some wanted to post posts to argue Christinaity instead of taking this opportunity to examine Christian fiction. This is not a debate about Christianity. The Christian novelists will write a 750-word blog post on why they write Christian fiction and how they intend to reach the unbeliever, while the nonbeliever will write a 750-word blog post about what they like or don’t like about Christian fiction, citing examples and being specific.

Comments will be moderated that week to ensure the discussion stays honest and friendly. I don’t care where the conversation goes, as long as we treat each other like humanbeings.

I only have two nonbelievers who have contributed. They have done an excellent job in answering my question. Here are their bios and photos:

David Rosman is an award winning author, columnist and educator. You can read his weekly essays in the Columbia Missourian, and on InkandVoice.com/editorials. He is also a book reviewer for the New York Journal of Books.

Originally from the New York City metro-area, having lived in Denver, Colorado for 25-years, five-months and 22-days (but who was counting), David now resides in the middle of Middle-America, Columbia, Missouri.

David is faculty of Communication at Columbia College and Chief Cook and Bottle Washer (CCBW) of InkandVoice Communication, providing communication consulting and editing services for business, political campaigns, and not-for-profits. He is the winner of the Interactive Media Council’s award for political web site design, writing and editing, and has been twice nominated for the Kulp-Wright awards for training and academic textbook and classroom excellence.

David’s most recent book is A Christian Nation?: An examination of Christian nation theories and proofs, and is available through Amazon.com in paperback or eBook formats.

 He also writes: “I am a member of the Columbia Atheists Association (American Atheists). At 13, after my Bar Mitzvah, I wanted to become a Cantor and ended up at St. Louis University’s Parks College of Engineering, a Jesuit institution, where I was required to take all of the religion courses. There was a failed baptism in the Ohio River on my 25 birthday, and I was on the Board of Directors of two Temples before I discovered that I never really believed in God since I discovered quantum mechanics, evolution, and critical thinking.”
 
Hello, my name is Jennifer. I am the author of:
I’m about to publish a book on bullying called The Bully Vaccine: http://thebullyvaccine.com which will be out early May 2012. I write a freelance column about Humanism for the Bradenton Herald newspaper and yes, I am interested in syndicating it. I am also the Tampa Humanist and Freethought Examiner for Examiner.com and I publish the Happiness through Humanism blog and podcast. Finally, I am a speaker specializing in Humanism, ethics, morality and what motivates us to be better humans. I’m on the web at: http://www.jen-hancock.com
Christian Novelists:

Tricia Goyer is the author of thirty books including Songbird Under a German Moon, The Swiss Courier, and the mommy memoir, Blue Like Play Dough. She won Historical Novel of the Year in 2005 and 2006 from ACFW, and was honored with the Writer of the Year award from Mt. Hermon Writer’s Conference in 2003. Tricia’s book Life Interrupted was a finalist for the Gold Medallion in 2005. In addition to her novels, Tricia writes non-fiction books and magazine articles for publications like MomSense and Thriving Family. Tricia is a regular speaker at conventions and conferences, and has been a workshop presenter at the MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) International Conventions. She and her family make their home in Little Rock, Arkansas where they are part of the ministry of FamilyLife.

Carol Cox: If you’re a lover of history, mystery, and romance, you’ve come to the right place—a place where time pauses beneath brilliant Arizona skies.

As a third-generation Arizonan, I have a special love for the Southwest and its history. Life in the Old West was never easy, but the American Frontier had a way of drawing people who were resilient, who met adversity with a quiet inner strength and a reliance on God’s provision. From the deserts to the canyons to the towering pine forests, the history of my home state is filled with tales of characters whose courage and tenacity helped shape this part of the country.

I grew up listening to stories about people like this. Men and women who possessed the qualities needed to meet the challenges of this rugged land. Men and women who experienced their share of laughter and tears while taming the Southwest . . . and learning something about themselves and their relationship with God along the way. These are the kind of men and women who inspire the books I write.

Dianne Christner lives in Phoenix, Arizona, where life sizzles, at least in the summer when temperatures soar above 100 degrees. Before writing, Dianne balanced a career of office management with raising a family and serving the Lord in her local church.

 She has been married for thirty-nine years. Dianne and Jim have two married children, Mike and Rachel, and five grandchildren. With several historical fictions to her credit, she hopes you enjoy her new contemporary series – The Plain City Bridesmaids. If you want to learn more about Dianne’s writing and personal life, visit her blog. She loves interacting with her readers.

C. S. Lakin is novelist and writing coach who spends her time divided between developing new book ideas and helping writers polish theirs. She is the author of twelve novels – six contemporary novels and six in the fantasy/sci-fi genre. Whether she is exploring the depths of the human psyche and pushing her characters to the edge of desperation, or embellishing an imaginary world replete with talking pigs and ancient magical curses, she is doing what she loves best – using her creativity and skills to inspire and affect her readers.

Please join us that week. This is your opportunity to share your views. Feel free to ask questions.

Readers: Will you join us on that day and share your opinion after each post? You can subscribe to my posts so it comes to your email.

Posts begin tomorrow!

Are You An Atheist or Humanist?

Dear Readers,

“Christian Fiction: Is It Effective?” will post from June 13-20. I have come across blog posts like She Reads or Mike Duran or even A Christian Worldview that have discussed the effectiveness of Christian fiction.

In my opinion, Christian fiction is created for Christians. How can it be effective if it’s in the Christian genre? Some unbelievers feel intense anger towards the genre and won’t give it a second look. Some Amazon reviews show this anger with comments like the genre being ‘religous,’ or, ‘deceiving’ because they ‘didn’t know’ it was of the Christian genre. Some wonder if there isn’t a plan to simply eradicate Christianity from literature by sabotaging Christian fiction via reviews. So what do nonbelievers think of Christian fiction?

In this series, four Christian novelists and four nonbelievers will square off. This is not a debate about Christianity. The Christian novelists will write a 750-word blog post on why they write Christian fiction and how they intend to reach the unbeliever, while the nonbeliever will write a 750-word blog post about what they like or don’t like about Christian fiction, citing examples and being specific.

Comments will be moderated that week to ensure the discussion stays honest and friendly. I don’t care where the conversation goes, as long as we treat each other like humanbeings.

I only have two nonbelievers who have contributed. They have done an excellent job in answering my question. I need two more. Here are their bios and photos:

David Rosman is an award winning author, columnist and educator. You can read his weekly essays in the Columbia Missourian, and on InkandVoice.com/editorials. He is also a book reviewer for the New York Journal of Books.

Originally from the New York City metro-area, having lived in Denver, Colorado for 25-years, five-months and 22-days (but who was counting), David now resides in the middle of Middle-America, Columbia, Missouri.

David is faculty of Communication at Columbia College and Chief Cook and Bottle Washer (CCBW) of InkandVoice Communication, providing communication consulting and editing services for business, political campaigns, and not-for-profits. He is the winner of the Interactive Media Council’s award for political web site design, writing and editing, and has been twice nominated for the Kulp-Wright awards for training and academic textbook and classroom excellence.

David’s most recent book is A Christian Nation?: An examination of Christian nation theories and proofs, and is available through Amazon.com in paperback or eBook formats.

 He also writes: “I am a member of the Columbia Atheists Association (American Atheists). At 13, after my Bar Mitzvah, I wanted to become a Cantor and ended up at St. Louis University’s Parks College of Engineering, a Jesuit institution, where I was required to take all of the religion courses. There was a failed baptism in the Ohio River on my 25 birthday, and I was on the Board of Directors of two Temples before I discovered that I never really believed in God since I discovered quantum mechanics, evolution, and critical thinking.”
 
Hello, my name is Jennifer. I am the author of:
I’m about to publish a book on bullying called The Bully Vaccine: http://thebullyvaccine.com which will be out early May 2012. I write a freelance column about Humanism for the Bradenton Herald newspaper and yes, I am interested in syndicating it. I am also the Tampa Humanist and Freethought Examiner for Examiner.com and I publish the Happiness through Humanism blog and podcast. Finally, I am a speaker specializing in Humanism, ethics, morality and what motivates us to be better humans. I’m on the web at: http://www.jen-hancock.com
 
 Could this be you? I need two more nonbelievers. email me at nikolehahn@thehahnhuntinglodge.com
 
Christian Novelists:

Tricia Goyer is the author of thirty books including Songbird Under a German Moon, The Swiss Courier, and the mommy memoir, Blue Like Play Dough. She won Historical Novel of the Year in 2005 and 2006 from ACFW, and was honored with the Writer of the Year award from Mt. Hermon Writer’s Conference in 2003. Tricia’s book Life Interrupted was a finalist for the Gold Medallion in 2005. In addition to her novels, Tricia writes non-fiction books and magazine articles for publications like MomSense and Thriving Family. Tricia is a regular speaker at conventions and conferences, and has been a workshop presenter at the MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) International Conventions. She and her family make their home in Little Rock, Arkansas where they are part of the ministry of FamilyLife.

Carol Cox: If you’re a lover of history, mystery, and romance, you’ve come to the right place—a place where time pauses beneath brilliant Arizona skies.

As a third-generation Arizonan, I have a special love for the Southwest and its history. Life in the Old West was never easy, but the American Frontier had a way of drawing people who were resilient, who met adversity with a quiet inner strength and a reliance on God’s provision. From the deserts to the canyons to the towering pine forests, the history of my home state is filled with tales of characters whose courage and tenacity helped shape this part of the country.

I grew up listening to stories about people like this. Men and women who possessed the qualities needed to meet the challenges of this rugged land. Men and women who experienced their share of laughter and tears while taming the Southwest . . . and learning something about themselves and their relationship with God along the way. These are the kind of men and women who inspire the books I write.

Dianne Christner lives in Phoenix, Arizona, where life sizzles, at least in the summer when temperatures soar above 100 degrees. Before writing, Dianne balanced a career of office management with raising a family and serving the Lord in her local church.

 She has been married for thirty-nine years. Dianne and Jim have two married children, Mike and Rachel, and five grandchildren. With several historical fictions to her credit, she hopes you enjoy her new contemporary series – The Plain City Bridesmaids. If you want to learn more about Dianne’s writing and personal life, visit her blog. She loves interacting with her readers.

C. S. Lakin is novelist and writing coach who spends her time divided between developing new book ideas and helping writers polish theirs. She is the author of twelve novels – six contemporary novels and six in the fantasy/sci-fi genre. Whether she is exploring the depths of the human psyche and pushing her characters to the edge of desperation, or embellishing an imaginary world replete with talking pigs and ancient magical curses, she is doing what she loves best – using her creativity and skills to inspire and affect her readers.

Please join us that week. If you’re a nonbeliever, contact me to contribute at nikolehahn@thehahnhuntinglodge.com. This is your opportunity to share your views. Feel free to ask questions.

Readers: Will you join us on that day and share your opinion after each post? You can subscribe to my posts so it comes to your email.

Mid-June Series Introduction: Exciting News!

Dear Readers,

“Christian Fiction: Is It Effective?” will post from June 13-20. I have come across blog posts like She Reads or Mike Duran or even A Christian Worldview that have discussed the effectiveness of Christian fiction.

In my opinion, Christian fiction is created for Christians. How can it be effective if it’s in the Christian genre? Some unbelievers feel intense anger towards the genre and won’t give it a second look. Some Amazon reviews show this anger with comments like the genre being ‘religous,’ or, ‘deceiving’ because they ‘didn’t know’ it was of the Christian genre. Some wonder if there isn’t a plan to simply eradicate Christianity from literature by sabotaging Christian fiction via reviews. So what do nonbelievers think of Christian fiction?

In this series, four Christian novelists and four nonbelievers will square off. This is not a debate about Christianity. The Christian novelists will write a 750-word blog post on why they write Christian fiction and how they intend to reach the unbeliever, while the nonbeliever will write a 750-word blog post about what they like or don’t like about Christian fiction, citing examples and being specific.

Comments will be moderated that week to ensure the discussion stays honest and friendly. I don’t care where the conversation goes, as long as we treat each other like humanbeings.

I only have two nonbelievers who have contributed. They have done an excellent job in answering my question. I need two more. Here are their bios and photos:

David Rosman is an award winning author, columnist and educator. You can read his weekly essays in the Columbia Missourian, and on InkandVoice.com/editorials. He is also a book reviewer for the New York Journal of Books.

Originally from the New York City metro-area, having lived in Denver, Colorado for 25-years, five-months and 22-days (but who was counting), David now resides in the middle of Middle-America, Columbia, Missouri.

David is faculty of Communication at Columbia College and Chief Cook and Bottle Washer (CCBW) of InkandVoice Communication, providing communication consulting and editing services for business, political campaigns, and not-for-profits. He is the winner of the Interactive Media Council’s award for political web site design, writing and editing, and has been twice nominated for the Kulp-Wright awards for training and academic textbook and classroom excellence.

David’s most recent book is A Christian Nation?: An examination of Christian nation theories and proofs, and is available through Amazon.com in paperback or eBook formats.

 He also writes: “I am a member of the Columbia Atheists Association (American Atheists). At 13, after my Bar Mitzvah, I wanted to become a Cantor and ended up at St. Louis University’s Parks College of Engineering, a Jesuit institution, where I was required to take all of the religion courses. There was a failed baptism in the Ohio River on my 25 birthday, and I was on the Board of Directors of two Temples before I discovered that I never really believed in God since I discovered quantum mechanics, evolution, and critical thinking.”
 
Hello, my name is Jennifer. I am the author of:
I’m about to publish a book on bullying called The Bully Vaccine: http://thebullyvaccine.com which will be out early May 2012. I write a freelance column about Humanism for the Bradenton Herald newspaper and yes, I am interested in syndicating it. I am also the Tampa Humanist and Freethought Examiner for Examiner.com and I publish the Happiness through Humanism blog and podcast. Finally, I am a speaker specializing in Humanism, ethics, morality and what motivates us to be better humans. I’m on the web at: http://www.jen-hancock.com
 
 Could this be you? I need two more nonbelievers. email me at nikolehahn@thehahnhuntinglodge.com
 
Christian Novelists:

Tricia Goyer is the author of thirty books including Songbird Under a German Moon, The Swiss Courier, and the mommy memoir, Blue Like Play Dough. She won Historical Novel of the Year in 2005 and 2006 from ACFW, and was honored with the Writer of the Year award from Mt. Hermon Writer’s Conference in 2003. Tricia’s book Life Interrupted was a finalist for the Gold Medallion in 2005. In addition to her novels, Tricia writes non-fiction books and magazine articles for publications like MomSense and Thriving Family. Tricia is a regular speaker at conventions and conferences, and has been a workshop presenter at the MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) International Conventions. She and her family make their home in Little Rock, Arkansas where they are part of the ministry of FamilyLife.

Carol Cox: If you’re a lover of history, mystery, and romance, you’ve come to the right place—a place where time pauses beneath brilliant Arizona skies.

As a third-generation Arizonan, I have a special love for the Southwest and its history. Life in the Old West was never easy, but the American Frontier had a way of drawing people who were resilient, who met adversity with a quiet inner strength and a reliance on God’s provision. From the deserts to the canyons to the towering pine forests, the history of my home state is filled with tales of characters whose courage and tenacity helped shape this part of the country.

I grew up listening to stories about people like this. Men and women who possessed the qualities needed to meet the challenges of this rugged land. Men and women who experienced their share of laughter and tears while taming the Southwest . . . and learning something about themselves and their relationship with God along the way. These are the kind of men and women who inspire the books I write.

Dianne Christner lives in Phoenix, Arizona, where life sizzles, at least in the summer when temperatures soar above 100 degrees. Before writing, Dianne balanced a career of office management with raising a family and serving the Lord in her local church.

 She has been married for thirty-nine years. Dianne and Jim have two married children, Mike and Rachel, and five grandchildren. With several historical fictions to her credit, she hopes you enjoy her new contemporary series – The Plain City Bridesmaids. If you want to learn more about Dianne’s writing and personal life, visit her blog. She loves interacting with her readers.

C. S. Lakin is novelist and writing coach who spends her time divided between developing new book ideas and helping writers polish theirs. She is the author of twelve novels – six contemporary novels and six in the fantasy/sci-fi genre. Whether she is exploring the depths of the human psyche and pushing her characters to the edge of desperation, or embellishing an imaginary world replete with talking pigs and ancient magical curses, she is doing what she loves best – using her creativity and skills to inspire and affect her readers.

Please join us that week. If you’re a nonbeliever, contact me to contribute at nikolehahn@thehahnhuntinglodge.com. This is your opportunity to share your views. Feel free to ask questions.

Readers: Will you join us on that day and share your opinion after each post? You can subscribe to my posts so it comes to your email.