This video goes into my full Christian testimony. It's much more than what's on my Bio page on this website, and I've waited a long time to tell it. But the Lord deserves to get all His praises for the miraculous works He has done in my life over the years. Please watch until the end.
This is an excerpt from my upcoming Christian steampunk novel Queen of the Skies (Book One in the Steam & Mettle Series). This scene introduces two characters, Ripley Owen Hall, a security expert at the Ersatz Corporation, and James Moore. the biological father of our main character, Merritt Baxter.
Ascending the dimly lit stairs at a measured pace to the building’s third floor, Ripley Owen Hall entered his access code to the keypad on the wall next to the secure entrance. The pad lit up and gave its annoying buzz to acknowledge acceptance of the code, then the door lock automatically clicked open.
He entered the hallway which led to the Ersatz Corporation’s Scientific Division and followed a familiar set of turns down well-traveled corridors. He walked in long steady strides, his eyes taking in all the details as he moved. The automatic lights flickered on as his movement activated their sensors in the hallways. Traversing white-tiled floors past dull gray walls and deep brown wooden doors with frosted windows, he eventually reached a door with another code reader. After entering his code once more, he waited for another shrill but mercifully brief buzzing before the indicator light shifted from red to green. Then he proceeded into the New Projects room.
On its opposite end and facing away from Ripley was James Moore, lead technology developer for the New Amsterdam City branch of Ersatz. He was sitting in front of a wooden desk tilted at an angle to allow him to sketch his designs onto traditional 18-inch by 24-inch paper. With a generous head of curly red hair, James was of average height and somewhat stocky. He was so engrossed in his drawing that he hadn’t heard the door open.
“You know, James, there are these marvelous new things called ‘computers,’” Ripley remarked with a straight face and crisp British accent. “Why, you could toil away for hours and transmit your work electronically instead of confounding some poor technician who has to scan those behemoths you draw.”
“I’ve tried that, actually,” James answered in his Lancashire accent, swiveling around in his chair towards Ripley. He flashed a genuine grin. “The tech is sound. But I don’t feel inspired the same as putting pencil to paper. I’m probably just stubborn and old-fashioned.”
“Be that as it may, it is quite an ironic stance for someone of your position.”
James stood up and stretched, resulting in some little pops from his back and limbs. Ripley stood by patiently with his hands clasped behind his back. “I don’t think I’ve left that chair since I got here at five this morning,” James realized, seeing on the digital wall clock that it was nearly 8:00 a.m. “Care for some tea? I can make some.”
Ripley held up a hand flatly. “No, thank you. I had some earlier. How is ‘it’ coming along if I may ask?”
“It’s slow work, but promising,” James replied, slowly leaning his head to one side then the other. “I stand by my estimates of one to two weeks until completion of the design.”
“Excellent. I’ll pass that along to Mr. Stockton.”
James walked over to the adjoining break room which housed two vending machines, a refrigerator, coffee maker, and three microwave ovens. Next to the sink was an electric kettle and some boxes of various teas. James poured some sink water into the kettle and flicked a switch to start the brewing. Ripley thought he seemed to be in a reasonably good mood, if a little hurried in his actions.
“Do you like soccer?” James turned around and asked.
That puzzled Ripley. He considered the question a moment. He and James had been acquaintances for a decade now, and friends for about half that time. He realized that they had never discussed this topic. And it was a reasonable question.
“I’ve been known to watch a game or two, yes,” Ripley responded.
James nodded, pleased. “My nephew is playing with the Addingtons this Saturday. Want to attend?”
“I didn’t know you had a nephew of college age?”
“My sister is a few years older than me,” James replied, stroking the hairs in his trim, red beard. “Anyway, sound good?”
“Unless something else comes up, then yes.”
James acknowledged Ripley’s words with his eyes more than his smile. The brief furrowing of his brow made his slight disappointment clear without being provocative. Then he nodded again. “Occupational hazard, I suppose,” he added.
“Yes, sir,” Ripley acknowledged.
“Call or text me if ‘something else comes up’ then,” James said as he grabbed a mug from one of the cabinets near the sink.
Ripley turned to leave the room, his task accomplished. He heard the water boiling in the kettle before it clicked, signaling it was done. Leaving the New Projects room, he went back to the stairway and down to his office on the second floor. Once he heard the door close and its lock click behind him, he sat down at his desk and grabbed the phone. It rang twice before there was an answer.
“Stockton,” a middle-aged man answered in his deep, gravelly voice.
“Moore confirmed ‘it’ will be ready in one to two weeks as estimated.”
The other man harrumphed. “Good. Keep a close eye on him and make sure he has no distractions between now and then.”
“Keep me apprised,” Stockton concluded.
Stockton hung up abruptly as he always did. Ripley returned his receiver to the phone base and looked at the paper calendar hanging on the wall to his left. He sighed. “Looks like you won’t get to attend that game either, James.”
Fault: A Christian Band's Tale is a new Christian fiction novel project I'm currently developing. This is a book trailer for that project.
Supervillains in 1935? Why not? This is an excerpt from one of my works-in-progress, a Mindfire prequel called Unto Dust. It's a Christian fiction superhero time travel novel. The antagonist will be causing problems for the heroes, Crusader and The Cat. This scene is a lead-in to that situation.
MCCLURE, TEXAS - NOVEMBER 1935
Bill DeFarr had made it into this little town around twilight with its pretty Main Street. McClure seemed pleasant enough, like a good place to raise a family. He had begged a few coins off a nice-looking couple and used that to buy a sandwich. All he needed was a good spot to sleep.
Then he saw her. Or was it her? She looked like Susan, his wife of so many years ago, with her long brown hair tied up in a bun. But who was that man she was with?
Bill bustled forward towards the man who was wearing a black and white suit. The woman wore a long green dress.
“Hey! You two!” Bill cried out.
The couple froze and the man narrowed his gaze. He stood directly between Bill and the woman in a protective stance. “Hey buddy, we don’t want any trouble!” the man said. The woman held her hand near her mouth and looked frightened.
“Susan, is that you?” Bill asked, ignoring the man.
“Who’s Susan?” the man interjected, regaining Bill’s attention. “My wife’s name is Mary.”
“Don’t tell him that!” she whispered at her husband.
“If it’ll get him to leave, I will!” he said at full volume, not hiding his irritation.
“You look like Susan, my wife…or she was my wife,” Bill declared to Mary. “Where’s Billy?”
“Billy?” the other man asked in an agitated voice. “Who on Earth is Billy?”
“Our son. We have a son named Billy.”
The other man, who was a few years younger and stronger-looking, grabbed Bill by the shoulders angrily. “Look pal, I think we’ve listened to you long enough. You’re scarin’ my wife and you stink! Get outta here before I paste ya one!”
Bill was not easily intimidated. His mouth curled into a smile as he lifted his right hand to his side. He extended his fingers and caused flames to encircle them. “I’ve taken shots from bigger guys than you,” he boasted. “And you’re in my way.”
I have many expectations of Christian fiction, whether it’s my own or some other author’s work. And I think that’s fair. It’s a relatively small genre in a big literary world. And there’s lots of competition. So, to me, if a book, short story, or novella is labeled as “Christian fiction,” it should live up to the name.
There’s a big difference between “clean fiction” and “Christian fiction.” Now, Christian fiction should also be clean fiction (no swearing, no overt sexual scenes). But clean fiction is not always Christian fiction.
Simply put, Christian fiction needs (Jesus) Christ in it.
I believe Christian fiction should show a non-believer the difference that accepting Jesus Christ makes in the life of Christian. For example, one way is by showing how the Lord took a spiritually broken person and saved/redeemed them. The reader should see the hope and joy that Christ brings. They should see that Christians are human, we certainly make mistakes sometimes, but Christ gives us the Holy Spirit to help us resist sin and live for Jesus. For that reason, I believe Christian fiction should be for non-believers first; it should have something believers can enjoy and learn from, too.
I hope to see more Christian authors take a stand for Christ in their written works. That comes with some risks but also rewards.
In Matthew 6: 6 (KJV) Jesus said, And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.
In my opinion, this is not a time to be fearful of what others think; the truth of the Gospel stands. It isn’t time to restrict our faith in these works of fiction. Shouldn’t the glory of Christ be the highlights of our stories? Otherwise, what makes these tales stand out as Christian? I’d like to encourage my fellow Christian fiction authors to lean even more on the Lord for inspiration and courage. He can provide more than we could ever ask for.
Matthew 28: 20 (KJV) reads, Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
In conclusion, I believe that labels should mean something. And in my view, that’s especially true for Christian fiction. We can all improve. I believe that, as Christian fiction authors, we should be striving to do the Lord’s will and share His goodness and love through our writing. Conflict is a part of every story, but Jesus will always be the answer to life’s problems, no matter what they are.
“(Fill-in-the-blank) is a social construct.”
With those words, a person can claim that reality itself is within their control. Whether you believe in God or not, it seems like many people believe they have the power of God. This "social construct" concept started in academic circles and has been fiercely pushed on social media by activists and believers in this ideology.
I can see the appeal. If you don’t like your circumstances, why not just change who you are? If you want to gain attention or crave affirmation, change who you are to match what you think people want. For better or worse, people have done that (socially) throughout history. The problems begin when a person challenges reality.
A male may truly believe they feel like and identify as a woman, but biologically, their DNA will always be male. A male can take feminine hormones and have surgery to alter their outward appearance, but their brain is still biologically and chemically male. That person’s bone and muscle structures are still intrinsically and biologically male, giving them strength and endurance advantages over biological females.
There are many unique differences in the physiology of biological females as well. And their DNA will always be female. They are the only ones born with a uterus and the capability to bear and give birth to children, regardless of how they identify. They have different thought processes, sensitivities, and instincts than biological males.
We are born the way we were created, the ways we developed in our mother’s womb. We can change our outward appearance and present an illusion to the whole world, but it doesn’t change the core of how we were made. It can’t change who and what we are biologically.
There is no such thing as a non-binary person. Gender is not vague or fluid, it is binary. Androgyny is not a new thing but is just another illusion people use for various reasons. Biology declares the two genders, male and female, and science confirms it. There are many theories and opinions out there, but they are not supported by facts.
The real problems we are facing concerning gender identity are mental health issues, internet-fueled social activism, and widespread FOMO (Feeling of Missing Out).
I have genuine sympathy for people suffering with gender dysphoria. That is a very real mental health condition and can be caused by a variety of things ranging from trauma and abuse to chemical abnormalities and other medical reasons. In my opinion, gender dysphoria is far better treated through traditional mental health therapy than gender affirming care.
If the individual dealing with gender dysphoria is having underlying mental trauma and issues, then green-lighting hormone therapy (which causes permanent sterility) and irreversible surgery will not help that individual; it will only hide those underlying problems behind an illusion. That isn’t just a very expensive band-aid. It could also leave the individual at higher risk for depression, self-harm, and suicidal behavior. It literally does more harm than good.
However, it’s not hard to understand the motivation behind those offering gender-affirming care: There is considerable financial profit to be made. There is also the benefit of furthering a genderfluid ideology and the power/influence which comes with that.
And for the average person, what is the motivation for changing gender identity? Acceptance? Affirmation? Wish fulfillment? How is that accomplished by avoiding and burying the identity a person was born with?
Life isn’t fair. The most-deserving people don’t always win accolades or the job they wanted. The kindest people sometimes suffer abuse or neglect. Illness and cancer don’t play favorites; we’re all at-risk for something. People are born with disabilities or are disabled in accidents, violence and other ways.
We are all born, and we will all die. That’s life.
What matters is how we live. And how can we truly live if we don’t accept who we are, who we were born as? We shouldn’t run away from that. Each of us was born the way we were for a reason. We should be grateful we were born and that we still live. Our circumstances may be bad (or not), but as long as we’re alive, those circumstances will change, even if it takes a while.
But if someone thinks they don’t have to adhere to realities such as biology, historical and scientific facts, or even morality itself, then what separates them from believing they’re a god? Nothing, really.
Let’s break this down further: if our focus is on ourselves, we literally don’t focus on others as much. If we tune out reality, we live in our own world and invite people into it now and then. And then, we don’t have to listen to others, even if they are aware of things we’re not and have our best interests at heart. And if no one can tell us anything, we may as well be our own god. And quite frankly, believing you’re a god is delusional.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. There are all kinds of help out there including psychological help. My advice, however, is that if someone claiming to offer help recommends “gender affirming care,” run in the opposite direction. Gender-affirming care is a very expensive placebo with lots of consequences down the road. Some people are already learning that the hard way as they discover that transitioning hasn’t given them what they were told it would. It hasn’t solved their problems; it’s added to them. Some are doing their best to de-transition, but they can never be the same as they were before. And if they realize later on that they want to have biological children, they won't be able to.
Those who will be most harmed by gender-affirming care are children. And that’s because children and teens are not sufficiently informed or emotionally mature enough to make such life-altering and permanent decisions. I believe someone should be at least eighteen years old before making such choices. I also believe the entire gender-affirming care industry should be heavily regulated like any other industry.
I’m a Christian, so I’m going to offer this advice, too. If you have questions about who or what you are -- if you feel confused or lost, reach out to God, either in your thoughts or out loud. Pray to Him in the name of Jesus Christ and ask for answers and clarity. Then wait on His answer. You won’t regret it.
No matter how much we may want to have power over our lives like a god, we are not God. But God does have the answers to all we’re seeking. Trust Him to provide those answers. It’s okay to just be human and to let God be God.
On August 19, 2009, I had the opportunity to do a 15-minute phone interview with Leonard Nimoy for my podcast show, PODWOM (Podcast Without Measure). At the time, I was the Founder and Director of the International Size Acceptance Association (ISAA). My wife, Angel, narrated the introduction to the show. The bumper music from the band Coram Deo was used with permission from the band.
About the author
Allen Steadham is a nondenominational Christian. Happily interracially married since 1995 and the proud father of two sons and a daughter. He and his wife have been in the same Christian band since 1997. He plays electric bass, she plays strings, they both sing. It's all good.
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