In January of 2015, I received an invitation to an upcoming Spring blog tour for Cedar Fort direct from the author, as one of the benefits of working with Cedar Fort as a book blogger is being able to engage with their authors; generally with enough lead-time before you even know of a pending tour that is coming up next or during the time where the blog tours are being scheduled, allowing you the benefit of interacting directly with the authors as you make your choices. For me this has been beneficial on several levels, as if a book (novel or non-fiction; I am developing a fondness for non-fiction of late) interests me, but I feel I might be on the fence to read it (at this point in time), I find it quite comforting to know I can reach out to the author and ask a few questions pertaining to the context of it.
The title of this book implored me outright to become interested in reading it as I have had a curiosity to uncover more about Christ (as a man as much as the Son of God) in regards to who He was whilst He lived on earth and how the legacy of His teachings left behind for us to find after He left. On a similar vein, Mum and I have wanted to dig inside the women of the Bible, to uncover more biographical bits about who they were and the lives they lived because too often we only get to know fragmented pieces about the men and women who lived centuries ago yet who have such a crucial part of our shared religious history. As far as the women go, I know we want to seek out Biblical Historical fiction as a gateway, but when I saw this non-fiction release about Christ, it was definitely a moment where I felt as if I had stumbled across a book I was meant to read ‘at this moment in time’.
Books are serendipitous discoveries — they have the tendency to alight inside our lives right at the moment we’re meant to read them.
I find they are as joyful as butterflies and as challenging as finding the rainbow after a horrific thunderstorm or natural storm system has wrecked a bit of havoc in your towne. Books which endeavour us to gain growth and humbling insight are the little lightning bugs of unexpected mirth giving us seed to thought and a propensity towards developing our awareness of what is happening in our lives and around us at the same time.
Although I do not often broach the subject of Religion directly on my bookish blog, I do refer to the fact I am a hybrid reader who reads across mainstream and INSPY (refers to ‘Inspirational’ and is not religious specific as it can be Christian, Jewish, Amish, Buddhist, Hindi, Catholic, Quaker, etc; most classify their readings as “Christian Fiction” however, the umbrella of the whole is “Inspirational Fiction” because it’s a full compass of all recognised religions.) markets. As I grow as a reader and as a book blogger, I am finding myself wanting to bridge the gap between the two markets and be more bold in my selections of the works of literature that speak directly to me and perchance will inspire someone else after I’ve shared my own thoughts, views, and impressions.
I do keep my own spiritual path tucked under my hat, as I do not believe we have to declare outright where we are on our own walk of faith, however, I do mention time to time I was raised Protestant and continue to be today. I applaud Cedar Fort to bringing these books to readers and for encouraging their authors to engage in open-minded discussions with their book bloggers because I find the open exchanges invaluable. You may find other works of non-fiction alighting on my blog time to time, even though my main focus is on fictional works of literature, I have to admit, I have a healthy appetite for stimulating literature wherein you can find ‘a story of enlightenment’ as riveting as any fictional world can develop and yield to provide!
I wanted to share a snippet of my initial enquiry about the book I had sent to Dr Litchfield as a stepping stone to explain why I was drawn to the book itself:
Most of the non-fiction I take a pass on if I feel the subject matter would apply more directly to an LDS church member, as I am Protestant and have felt some of the titles are more directly poignant to those who attend a Mormon church. However, in this particular instance, the one verifiable thread of connection between the churches I attend and yours, is Jesus Christ. He’s quite central to Christianity (both for Catholics & Protestants alike) but also, an important connective thread for LDS, as I had a wonderful conversation with two missionaries of the LDS faith who visited my local area. Our entire conversation was on Jesus Christ, and how his teachings befit the world at hand, as much as how to embrace his ideals with the perspective of acceptance, tolerance, and curating a more positive world out of love and charity. It was quite a stimulating conversation to say the least!
I nearly took a pass on submitting a tour stop for this book, not due to a lack of interest, but as I wasn’t quite as sure how it was going to be writ or to be honest, if it would be conflictive from my point-of-view compared to an LDS. I requested only one LDS specific non-fiction release, where in the end I had to affirm it was truly for LDS families, as the outlook within it was more narrow than expansive. I felt badly for it, as I research my family histories through Family Search, carrying on the tradition of my grandfather and Mum. Mum and I want to expand our efforts at some point, but with Family Search we have benefited from connecting pieces of our past we otherwise might not have known. Therefore, the previous book I had hoped would be for everyone who wanted to research their ancestry rather than one point of reference.
When your email arrived, I clicked through to your website and read the expanded synopsis you included with your email — I clicked open the PDF file for the cause/reason for Christ’s death, and noted your method of relaying facts was both informative but easy to follow as a layreader. I am presuming you carried forward a pace of thought similar to that or perhaps even evoking a bit of narrative to dig deeper into the history of this topic in “Enslaved to Saved”.
Dr. Litchfield went on to present an explanation similar to the one he’s prepared for me to share ahead of the blog tour, as my key questions were the following:
The key for me was the very last expressed thought in the synopsis: surrender to the will of Christ, which could even be inclusive of my own approach to believe and trust in the will of God (as the trinity is together & one but we all have a different path towards how our own hearts, minds, & perceptions align to root our faith into our lives). Is this then an explanation of how despite having free will in our life, we still need to take precedence and heed towards the wider picture of how our lives fit within the realm of the spiritual; to where we are being guided if we seek consul and if we remain open to what is being revealed, we are then living directly in align with God’s will?
The word ‘slavery’ is a transitionary word in your book — from what the word meant to those who were enslaved by the Pharaohs of Egypt straight through the early origins of Christianity in the time of Harold & others, to how the foundations of the Deep South were entrenched in the slavery of Africans who were brought here for cheap labour; to the modern variants of how there is still slavery in existence to those who are not yet free. I was curious do you focus on this quite heavily in the book or is it more of a juxtaposition piece where the word is explored by how the definition of what it implies has altered and changed through history? To how bending to the will outside of ourselves is not a resolute exit from our own conscience and will, but rather a lifeblood of how to live in tandem of Christ and thereby God?
The New Testament interests me greatly, which is why I have been seeking out fictional Biblical stories as much as non-fiction works which delve into the individual lives of those who lived during that timescape. Oft-times I like to approach history through fictional stories as it helps envision the world in those eras for me a bit more than reading a technical specific non-fiction which might give way to a harder point of origin for me to visualise. I wanted to ask — is “Enslaved to Saved” writ with a fluidity of context that reads like a story being relayed to the reader or is it more of an academic tome of knowledge taken out of the research you conducted? Either way, I’m interested, but I simply wanted to know how it flows — did you break it down by topical reference points or in sections of how what is known is stitched out of what can be perceived between the texts of your research?
Do you go into any kind of graphic detail about slavery or about Christ’s more difficult history? I cannot handle graphic violence or even imagery that could sour my stomach because I have a sensitive heart.
I should mention that those of us who are sensitive to violence and/or graphic descriptions, I was assured that the necessary bits about slavery from the stand-point of the Roman Empire are how they were needed to be written in order to have an authentic tone to the passages. As I haven’t yet come across that section, I cannot relay my own thoughts on the matter, but when I post my review next Monday, I will make a notation about it.
Instead of sharing my thoughts on what he has written in this guest feature, I am going to hold my comments until my review as a reflection of how I extended myself from our conversations prior to the blog tour, my further understanding via this guest feature, and how I was able to internalise and understand the basis of where Enslaved to Saved led me to journey as I read his book. I hope that this guest feature will be beneficial to those who might have developed a curiosity about Dr Litchfield’s impressive tome on scholarly insight into Christ or if any reader or visitor of mine has become curious about how the LDS church and other Protestant churches inter-relate to each other, as they are under the same branch of Christianity. I know I had originally misunderstood where the LDS church fell, and was pleasantly surprised to find we’re all Protestant Christians together!
Published By: CFI (imprint) of Cedar Fort Inc (@CedarFortBooks),
an imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc (@CedarFortBooks)
Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook
Add to Riffle | Public Library
Converse on Twitter via:
#EnslavedToSaved, #ChristCentered, #BibleStudy & #ChristianNonFiction