Hopefully reading

Ever since the coronavirus officially entered Indiana, the state I live in, I’ve been reading books that had a post-apocalyptic and/or world spreading virus theme. For instance, I’m a little under 200 pages left in Stephen King’s “The Stand.”

At first, I thought I was reading it out of sheer morbid obsession. Reading a book about 99.4 percent of the world dying from a super flu while the actual world is living through a pandemic with flu-like symptoms. But then I got to page 904. For those that don’t know, “The Stand” starts with a super flu that kills off most of the population. The survivors are pitted in a battle between God and Satan. The prophet that God has chosen to lead His people is Mother Abagail. Spoiler Alert: She instructs some people to travel to the heart of evil, Las Vegas, and stand up to Satan’s prophet, Randall Flagg.

Here’s the end of Mother Abagail’s instructions. “But he is in Las Vegas, and you must go there, and it is there that you will make your stand. You will go, and you will not falter, because you will have the Everlasting Arm of the Lord God of Hosts to lean on. Yes. With God’s help you will stand.”

Now, only one of those chosen four were religious. The other three were skeptical at best, but they all believed in Mother Abagail. And Mother Abagail believed and trusted God.
I’m sure it’s no coincidence that I’ll be finishing the book this weekend. For those that have lost track of the date/time (I know I have on several occasions), it’s Easter. For those that don’t know the specifics, here’s a brief rundown of events.

Beginning in the Bible, Matthew 26:47, Jesus was betrayed by Judas. He was arrested, taken to the high priest Caiaphas, accused of false crimes, condemned to death, mocked, beaten, and crucified. Here’s the thing, Jesus knew this was going to happen. He knew Judas would be the one to betray him and that he would be put to death. Knowing all of this, he didn’t fight the Sanhedrin physically or try to escape (I imagine he could’ve if he so decided).

Now, I’m not saying that the Bible and The Stand are equal in importance. If there was one text, I would advise reading it would be the Bible.

Both have a great moral story to them and teach a valuable lesson. In fact, in each text, it’s the same moral story. The moral is that if you trust in God and stand against evil, you will prevail. Even if your results aren’t what you desire, you’ll eventually prevail.

And that’s why I’m reading the Bible and The Stand. Not for the doom saying or the plagues or the death and destruction. Trust me, there’s a lot of that in each book.
But there’s also hope.

In this time, the Era of Corona, we could use some hope. That’s why Easter is such an important time for those that believe in God. Jesus died and in three days he was resurrected. If we trust in God and are faithful to His instructions, then we will also live again in Heaven. It is my hope that you find something to read that inspires hope. For me, I find hope in the Bible and fictional novels like The Stand.

I wish everyone has a safe and happy Easter. Remain faithful to God, trust in the Word, and do the only thing we can in this harrowing time.

Stand.

As a Christian, should I be writing horror?

Here’s a little known fact about myself: I’ve been baptized three times. When I was born, I had some kind of complication with a kidney or something like that. Doctors were worried that I wouldn’t live and with my family being Catholic, they wanted me to be baptized in case of something terrible happening. Now, the 2018 version of myself would make some joke about how moving to Michigan would be the terrible thing that happened. But the 2018 James Master died much like how the 1985 James Master almost died. The 2019 version wouldn’t dare throw insults like that around…

Spoiler alert, I lived past that day. Now even though I had already been baptized in the hospital, I was baptized again, but this time at a proper church. I couldn’t tell you where. I had other things on the mind at the time: What is this place? Who are all these giants? Why are they forcing a bottle of white liquid in my face? Why can’t I properly tell the difference between green and red? 

You know, those types of questions.

The third time was five years ago when I asked Christ into my life. Now, I might bore you all later with all that, but I really want to tackle the matter at hand.

As a Christian, should I be writing horror novels? 

If you don’t know, I’m the author of a series of seven books that focus on the Seven Deadly Sins. Get it? Seven books, seven sins… do you see a pattern here? When I wrote the first two, I hadn’t accepted Christ into my life. Looking back now, I’m not sure that those books would have turned out the way they did had I written them now.

I write the books as a means to investigate how the deadly sins of gluttony, lust, pride, wrath, greed, envy, and sloth have an effect on people. Mainly, I write them as an outlet to how the sins are effecting me. 

When you look at a Horror book, what are some of the words you would attribute to that genre? Scary? Violent? Gory? Pornographic? Overly Offensive?

How can I, as a Christian, write things like that? How can I promote my own books that have that type of content? How can I promote other books that have that type of content on my social media sites? Could I even write that type of content anymore? 

How can I do all those things and still walk into church on Sundays? There are kids and young adults at church that know I’m a writer. They can find my books on Amazon. They can even read them if they so wish. How will they view me as a Christian when they finish that last page of the book?

I take a small amount of solace when I see reviews like this one from a fellow horror writer: “It reads like The Walking Dead written by someone who prefers proper English and avoids contractions. I wouldn’t call that a bad thing, but I did find it jarring. Most zombie prose is heavy on vernacular and harsh language, while The Book of Roland isn’t.”

Personally, reading it over again, I think my first book is quite heavy on the harsh language. 

In the past when I’ve thought about this question, I’ve always used the defense that I’m only writing how the characters would act or say. Sadly, sometimes real-life is vulgar. Real-life at times can be violent and gory. Sometimes real people shout obscenities and break down. I’m only writing real-life scenarios.

But if that’s the case, then why am I so conflicted over this?

I’ve come to the point in these rants where I realize that it’s going to be too long to write for one single rant. Sometimes I decide to push on and others I decide to wait a week and come back with the next part. I’m choosing the latter in this particular situation. I promise that I’ll do some digging, both on the internet and in my soul, and come back to you all with my conclusion.