If one choose to write substantively—and I do—one may encounter people who are not necessarily well equipped to absorb a particular read produced. While that is a pity in itself, the inadequacy can also at times manifest itself in negative feedback. The opinions of the ignorant are always a burden, and more annoying when made available for propagation on the Internet.
My free title, The Anvil of the Craftsman, is also the most widespread of my work. That in itself is a joy. While I am currently working on my eleventh full-length title, had I been blessed to produce only one I would be quite happy to have it as Jon Anthony’s 2006 Iraq adventure.
“Anvil,” in the paperback edition, is at this writing customer-rated in the top one percent of 7,300+ Political Fiction titles. Some, of course, did not like it as much. There is a reason why people swear in my novels, and that reason is for the sake of realism. Likewise, sexual situations—not something I usually care to put on screen, by the way—are portrayed because sex is a reality also encountered in the living of life.
I regret that I may have introduced these things into the puritanical fortress of solitude that some readers have raised around their carefully ordered literary world, but that’s the way it is, boys and girls. Possibly, there is a better way for you to deal with realism than capping on my novel for content I warn about on the book’s retail description page.
Regardless of the preceding mini-rant, those minor quibbles do not bother me … much. More frustrating are the opinions of the readers whom the FAQs on my website (linked below) designate “pontificating self-righteous jerks.” You know who you are, or should. The next time you are speaking, ask Jesus what He would think of underrating a five-star novel you downloaded for free.
I’m not sure what some of you people expected of Jon Anthony in Al Anbar Province, addressing an assembly of Muslims, tribal elders and opinion leaders. That, gentle reader, was not the time anyone with Jon’s level of intelligence would have launched into his rendition of a Southern Baptist tent revival. Instead, he focused on commonalities, which is an attribute of civilized men and women and the orientation of anyone, as Anthony puts forth in his tripartite choice, who chooses to love.
Per the Greatest Commandment of Matthew 22:36-40 (NIV):
36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Well, that seems pretty clear cut, does it not? It was also the foundational premise Jon was attempting to propagate.
In reaction, my novel has been called heresy, unChristian, and theologically inadequate by the sort of reader I mentioned in the first paragraph of this post. Allow me to retort.
When Christ died on the Cross, that centering point of history served not only as a historical reference going forward, but backward as well. The moment was the act of a loving God, accommodating in the only way possible the differential nature between Creation and Divinity. It is as accommodating of the righteous person who, for whatever cultural reason, has never grasped the significance of the mission of Christ as it is to those who can recite the story chapter and verse without realizing its universal applicability.
The Cross was inclusive act. It allows for the imperfect to become perfect in the sight of a perfect Creator, and enables our undeserved life through the counterweight of an undeserved death. Regardless of the empowering dogma of any theological hierarchy, I do not believe in and cannot accept the sacrifice of Jesus as a point of excluding legalism. As such, otherwise loving humanity would be cast into the flames of hell on a technicality.
Should you be a Christian? Dear God, yes! To do otherwise makes you ignorant of a wonderful act of love at best, an ingrate otherwise, and a contemptible reprobate at the worst. Will I consign any of you to hell for your current stage of development? No, I do not, because your Craftsman has not yet finished His long work of your life.
Somewhere along our way, the Spirit whispers His guidelines: first, that He Is … afterward, that life is better than death, that love overcomes hate, and that our essential orientation to either is our responsibility. There arrives a time when the heavens declare the Glory of God, and we see, and in seeing are changed from our essentially inadequate state to a viable child soul of a loving Creator. Everything we need to know in the work of our Craftsman follows to His ends.
Such happens in billions of places, with billions of souls, and in an unimaginable number of ways. This is so because the Spirit has no point of overload, no bandwidth restrictions, and a limitless capacity for concurrent projects. He is very good at what He does, and His work is life. Those hours of agony Jesus endured on our behalf—and, in a metaphysical sense, always did and always will, though that point is another topic. This actuality is what takes His work to the best end imaginable.
Readers are, of course, free to rate my work at whatever level they wish. That is their right. Regardless, realize first that I do not write haphazardly and am well able to defend any point I hold dear. If one thinks otherwise, perhaps he or she should read my novel again, more slowly. Rest assured that I am well capable of doing this all … day … long.
As far as news of production: Boone’s second, The Bonus Pool—my sixth full-length title—is on schedule for June, 2015. Her third and my seventh, One Last Scent of Jasmine will follow, God willing, sometimes around the end and beginning of the year. Next year, if we are so graced, Sean’s third, King of a Lesser Hill, and Boone’s fourth, Meat for the Lion, will appear. I hope to see you there. As always, more information is available at www.daleamidei.com.
Choose to Love, -DA