Related to: 'Eternity is Now in Session'

Julie Sarkissian blogs about the problems facing the protagnist of her debut novel, DEAR LUCY

Something's Wrong With Lucy - But What?

Lucy is different – that much is clear. She speaks like a child, doesn’t recognize social boundaries, flies into rages, and treasures rotten food. Her cognition is impaired, her vocabulary is very limited and she cannot read or write. But what – precisely – is wrong with her is left up to the reader. Lucy is the protagonist of my novel, DEAR LUCY, and from the first sentence of the book I ever wrote it was obvious that Lucy was cognitively different. The way Lucy describes herself is as “missing too many words.” Her mother calls her “difficult.” Readers of early drafts of the book had a few theories as to Lucy’s condition; autism, Williams Syndrome, Down Syndrome. But Lucy’s mother has kept her from going to school and Lucy has never seen a doctor. So in the fictional reality of the book there is no official diagnosis. But as the novel progressed I wondered – should I have one? I was torn. If Lucy was presenting enough symptoms to point to a real condition, was I ignoring the obvious not to fold that condition into my development of her character? Was it insensitive of me to allude to aspects of certain real, life-altering conditions but not assign a specific condition to Lucy? I worried about appropriating aspects of serious conditions without treating those conditions with proper respect and acknowledgement. And though any clinical diagnosis would probably not be explicit in the novel, I wondered if I would be ignoring an opportunity to bring attention to a real disorder when people asked me about Lucy’s condition, the way The Curious Incident of The Dog in the Night-time did for autism. On the other hand, I had concerns that if I chose a diagnosis for Lucy, I would be ascribing to her qualities that she wouldn’t have otherwise presented. Lucy had her own will over my writing and over the novel. I didn’t want to yoke Lucy’s expression by keeping her behavior and abilities consistent with a clinical condition. Accuracy would also become a critical issue if Lucy’s condition was named. Ultimately I chose not to diagnose Lucy, though I worry the artistic freedom provided by that decision comes at the price of being judged for being too liberal with my treatment of cognitive disorders. Now that publication is a few months away, I am apprehensive of how my treatment of Lucy’s cognitive limitations will be judged. I have yet to talk to a reader who has a learning different child, or works with learning different people, and that conversation is one I will be honored, and not a bit anxious, to have.

Hodder & Stoughton

The Confident Woman Devotional

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Authors:
Joyce Meyer
Hodder & Stoughton

A Gospel of Hope

Walter Brueggemann
Authors:
Walter Brueggemann

Walter Brueggemann is beloved and respected by scholars, preachers and laity alike for his penetrating insights on Scripture and prophetic diagnoses of our culture. Both are woven throughout this new collection of his writings, A Gospel of Hope, which encourages readers to abandon what is safe and routine and instead embrace the audacity required to live out one's faith. This must-have volume gathers Brueggemann's wisdom on topics ranging from anxiety and abundance to partisanship and the role of faith in public life.

FaithWords

Jesus Is Better Than You Imagined

Jonathan Merritt, John Ortberg
Authors:
Jonathan Merritt, John Ortberg
Hodder & Stoughton

The Good and Beautiful Community

James Bryan Smith, James Bryan Smith
Authors:
James Bryan Smith, James Bryan Smith

David Suchet

David Suchet CBE is an acclaimed British actor. He has enjoyed great success with the RSC and in London's West End. He is best known in television for his portrayal of Agatha Christie's detective Hercule Poirot. He is also a practising Anglican. In 2012 he made a series for the BBC called 'In the Footsteps of St Paul'. Follow him on Twitter @David_Suchet

Don Stephens

Don Stephens is the founder and president of the international charity Mercy Ships. The charity currently operates the world's largest civilian hospital ship; The Africa Mercy. This astonishing ship takes relief and development to the port cities of some of the world's poorest countries. Every year, Mercy Ships' doctors perform more than two thousand complex operations that transform people's lives in areas where up to half the population has no access to basic health care.

Eugene Peterson

Eugene Peterson was a pastor, author, scholar and poet. He grew up in Montana and earned his B.A. in philosophy from Seattle Pacific University, his S.T.B. from New York Theological Seminary, and his M.A. in Semitic languages from Johns Hopkins University. He served as a pastor for 29 years and then became Professor Emeritus of Spiritual Theology at Regent College in Vancouver, retiring in 2006.Eugene Peterson is perhaps best known for his book THE MESSAGE: THE BIBLE IN CONTEMPORARY LANGUAGE and is also known for his involvement in the Renovaré spiritual formation movement. The books in his spiritual theology series, including THE JESUS WAY and PRACTISE RESURRECTION, are widely acclaimed.After retiring from full-time teaching, Eugene and his wife Jan lived in the Big Sky Country of rural Montana. Eugene Peterson died in October 2018.

James Bryan Smith

James Bryan Smith is assistant professor of practical theology and chaplain at Friends University in Wichita, Kansas.Through his work with Richard Foster's Renovare organisation, James Bryan Smith is emerging as a spiritual leader for a new generation.

Jenny Meldrum

Jenny Meldrum lives in Sussex with her husband, three children and Isla, her greedy black Labrador. She paints from her studio (posh word for shed) in her garden, eternally distracted by wild rabbits, moorhens, deerand a particularly pesky heron. Despite her love of art since childhood, Jenny had no formal training and began her career as an actress, only returning to painting when her own children were at school. She has since privately exhibited seascapes and views of the South Downs. In 2016 she illustrated Miranda Hart's book Peggy and Me.

Joyce Meyer

Joyce Meyer is the bestselling author of more than 100 inspirational books, including The Power of Simple Prayer, Approval Addiction, Power Thoughts and Battlefield of the Mind. Joyce's 'Enjoying Everyday Life' radio and television programmes are broadcast around the world, and she travels extensively conducting conferences.

Melvyn Bragg

Melvyn Bragg is a writer and broadcaster whose first novel, For Want of a Nail, was published in 1965. His novels since include The Maid of Buttermere, The Soldier's Return, Credo and Now is the Time, which won the Parliamentary Book Award for fiction in 2016. His books have also been awarded the Time/Life Silver Pen Award, the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and the WHSmith Literary Award, and have been longlisted three times for the Booker Prize (including the Lost Man Booker Prize). He has also written several works of non-fiction, including The Adventure of English and The Book of Books about the King James Bible. He lives in London and Cumbria.

Mike Pilavachi

Mike Pilavachi lives and works in Watford, Hertfordshire. He is the co-founder and leader of the Soul Survivor Church and ministry, running events for young people around the UK and abroad. His hobbies include cooking, gardening (especially growing vines) and Manchester United.

New International Version

The New International Version is the world's most popular modern English Bible translation. Developed by Biblica, formerly the International Bible Society, the New International Version is the result of years of work by the Committee on Bible Translation, overseeing the efforts of many contributing scholars. The translators are drawn from a wide range of denominations and from various countries and they continually review new research in order to ensure the NIV remains at the forefront of accessibility, relevance and authority.www.hodderbibles.co.uk www.facebook.com/NIVBibles

Pete Greig

Pete Greig is a writer, church-planter and bewildered founder of the 24-7 movement. He heads up Emmaus Rd in Guildford with his wife Sammy, serves as Vice-President for the NGO Tearfund and was part of the senior leadership team at HTB in London for seven years. Pete's publications include Red Moon Rising, God on Mute and The Prayer Course. He loves art galleries, live music and knocking down walls. Pete tweets regularly @petegreig

Pete Portal

Pete Portal is originally from London but has lived in Cape Town since 2009. He left a promising career in children's television to move to Manenberg, one of South Africa's most notorious communities. Pete holds Masters degrees in Theology (Edinburgh) and Theology, Politics and Faith-based Organisations (King's College London). He and his wife Sarah serve on the Core Leadership Team of Tree of Life, a church community in Manenberg that runs ministries for the vulnerable and marginalised. In his spare time Pete enjoys carpentry and plays football for FC Manenberg. No Neutral Ground is his first book. treeoflife.org.za

Ronald Boyd-MacMillan

Dr Ronald Boyd-MacMillan is Director of Strategic Research for Open Doors International, the world's largest organisation assisting persecuted Christians worldwide, and a Professor of Practical Theology in Pakistan. He has enjoyed contrasting careers as a Bible smuggler in Cold War Eastern Europe, a pastor in England, a journalist in Hong Kong, a trainer of underground preachers in China and President of a speech tuition agency. The Heart is a Noisy Room is his third book.

Stu McLellan

Stu was born in Newcastle, and landed where he is now in Hertfordshire by way of Bristol, Newport, Bristol again, Aberystwyth and Aylesbury. He and his wife Verity have three children, they host house-gigs in their front room, and they love making food, foraging, dreaming stuff up and noodling about on beaches.Stu's been drawing for as long as he's been walking - making pictures is one of his great loves. An inkpot or two, a Gillott 303 nib and a couple of brushes are his tools of choice, and he still gets a real buzz from seeing a blank page begin to tell a story.

Tad Williams

Tad Williams is a California-based fantasy superstar. His genre-creating (and genre-busting) books have sold tens of millions worldwide, in twenty-five languages. His considerable output of epic fantasy and science fiction book-series, stories of all kinds, urban fantasy novels, comics, scripts, etc., have strongly influenced a generation of writers: the Otherland epic now plays as an MMO on steam.com. Tad is currently immersed in the creation of The Last King of Osten Ard, planned as a trilogy with two intermediary novels. He, his family and his animals live in the Santa Cruz mountains in a suitably strange and beautiful house.@tadwilliams @mrstad

Timothy Keller

Timothy Keller was born in Pennsylvania and educated at Bucknell University, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and Westminster Theological Seminary. He became a Christian at university, was ordained by the Presbyterian Church in America and worked as a pastor for nine years.He was asked to start Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan in 1989, and under his leadership the church's congregation experienced unprecedented growth from 50 to 5,000 members. His target audience consists mainly of urban professionals, whom he believes exhibit disproportionate influence over the culture and its ideas.The 'Influentials' Issue of New York Magazine featured Dr. Keller as "the most successful Christian evangelist in the city by recognizing that young professionals and artists are 'disproportionately influential' in creating the country's culture and that you have to meet this coveted demographic on its own terms."Timothy Keller is renowned for his clear, reasoned approach to Christian apologetics and his book THE REASON FOR GOD: BELIEF IN AN AGE OF SCEPTICISM was named Book of the Year for 2008 by World Magazine.Timothy Keller lives in New York City with his wife Kathy and sons David, Michael and Jonathan.

Walter Brueggemann

Walter Brueggemann is William Marcellus McPheeters Professor Emeritus of Old Testament at Columbia Theological Seminary. Widely considered one of the most influential Bible interpreters of our time, he is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, and the author of dozens of books, including Sabbath as Resistance: Saying No to the Culture of Now, The Prophetic Imagination and The Message of the Psalms.