It seems like it’s been forever since I’ve completed an installment of the newsletter. I am still doing a newsletter, aren’t I? The plan was to send them out quarterly… more or less.
In the spirit of Monty Python, here’s something completely different:
Do you feel as if you’re always in a rush lately? I certainly do. Caught up in this last month, I drove home from work on the 3rd Tuesday, which, as everyone knows, is the time of month when the now infamous Tulsa NightWriters gather together to socialize and disseminate knowledge. My sweet wife, Kathi, had something going as well so I was alone. I worked briefly on the 4th Detective Elliot novel, threw some clothes in the washer, loaded the dishwasher, and stuck a frozen pizza – a concoction called Marinara Meatball – in the oven. To this point everything was going smoothly. When the oven timer dinged, I pulled out the pizza, sliced it up, wrapped a couple of pieces in a paper towel, left the rest for Kathi and David, and headed out the door for the meeting. With my stomach screaming for sustenance, I maneuvered the sometimes dangerous streets of Tulsa, grabbing a bite of pizza whenever possible when the unthinkable happened. One of the marinara meatballs – and quite delicious I might add – rolled off the pizza and fell between my legs on the car seat. I know most of you have experienced this. Perhaps not with a marinara meatball, but you get the idea. The more you try to retrieve the fallen object – due to the slant of the car seat and the gravitational pull of the planet – the deeper it slides beneath you. And I was wearing Kaki, colored pants, except for the red stripe.
Is it just me, or does it seem a tad too commercial that the Gambling Hot Line has three sevens in the number?
And now for a word from our sponsor:
I’ve received enough feedback, or even worse the lack thereof – you know the feeling when you hand someone something you’ve worked on and their face loses expression and they just sort of nod but don’t say anything – on Footprints of a Dancer to feel the need to talk about it. Footprints of a Dancer, the 3rd book in the Detective Elliot series, definitely differs from Twisted and Buried. Fortunately, or not, that was by design. With the book, I wanted to do something I had not done before. The plan was to incorporate my Christian faith and my love for the paranormal while still retaining the flavor of the Elliot books. I don’t think I succeeded in doing that, at least not completely. That is to say it has picked up some great reviews, but it’s gathered some bad ones too. The other books have done this as well but not to the same extent. With Footprints, it seems the reader either loves it – gets it – or they don’t. Once a story takes hold of me, the characters and the situations just sort of pull me along, and into the realm of Elliot’s tortured mind is where they took me. I would try to further explain, but in the writing business if you have to explain what you’ve written then you have failed to properly communicate your ideas. However, losing faith at this point is not recommended. With the first three books old Elliot has conquered most of the ghosts from his checkered but interesting past, and he promises to be back soon with a completely different and more down to earth – though not completely – adventurous story.
Okay, you talked me into it. For fiction to work properly, various backstage functions need to be there and working properly. An important aspect of this would be opposition for the protagonist. The hero of the story must have someone or something opposing him, or her. Sort of like a plus needs a minus, a ying a yang, or something like that. With Footprints I struggled with this until I realized who the enemy, or opposition really was. Unlike the first two books in the series, Footprints of a Dancer is a Paranormal mystery written from a Christian world view.
When you read Footprints of a Dancer, this will become clear to you. Or perhaps when you re-read it.
Will God give us anything we ask for?
The sheer number of denominations, from Catholic to Evangelical, gives testament to differing points of view within the Christian community. However, with respect to prayers being answered, the concept seems to be divided into two schools of thought:
While I’m not new to believing in God, and believing in Jesus, I am relatively new to actually getting it, putting it altogether and understanding the true significance of Christ Jesus. In the past couple of years, I’ve read various books on the subject of Christianity, and listened to numerous Christian radio broadcasts. I’m often amazed at what I read and hear. One radio evangelist claimed he’d not only healed a multitude of believers but that he’d actually raised over thirty people from the dead.
I’m not saying God cannot do these things. God can do anything He wants. The key word is want, and what you want might not be in alignment with what God wants for you. I tend to lean toward the second category listed above, though it’s not difficult to understand where believing in prayer concept number one comes from. In the words of Jesus: And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask anything in my name, I will do it. John 14:13, 14. However, in John 4:14, Jesus says: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
Was Jesus actually telling the Samaritan woman she would never have to drink water again, or was He speaking in Spiritual terms? Throughout the New Testament, Jesus speaks in Spiritual terms, and I believe the logic should be applied to the verses in John 14: 13, 14 and others in like manner. To put it in perspective, are cars, money, and big houses important to God? I hope that’s a rhetorical question. For a list of what is important to God, read Philippians 4: 8, and 2 Peter 1: 5-7.
With all that being said, do I believe that God answers prayers? Yes, I do. He has answered plenty of mine. But I’ve also had some that seemed to go unanswered.
In summary, I believe that God answers prayers and that faith is certainly involved. However, I think the prayer request must be for something that God deems good for you, and for those around you.
What about you? Do you believe that God will give you anything you ask for?
Have you ever given thought to causal relationships, the trillions of actions and corresponding reactions that continually go on around you?
This seemingly perpetual stream of events is the fabric of fiction. But allow me to illustrate a real-life example. A friend of mine, we’ll call him Mr. C, having decided to walk his Labrador Retriever, stood on the sidewalk outside his house where he saw something rather odd: A deer slowly walking down the middle of the street.
Perceiving that the presence of the wild animal had yet to come to the attention of the dog, Mr. C quickly steered his version of man’s best back toward the house to go inside and wait out the ordeal. However, before Mr. C could accomplish his plan of limiting collateral damage, his pickup driving neighbor returned from a jaunt outside the sub.
The deer bolted away from the oncoming vehicle but slowed her rate of escape when she saw Mr. C and the Lab blocking her path.
The previously nonchalant Lab ripped free of Mr. C’s leash-grip, barked at full capacity, gallantly took up the challenge of protecting his property, and charged the renegade deer.
Most of us have been in situations where it seems there’s no easy way out. We are, in fact, defined by our responses to such dilemmas. At that moment, though, I don’t think the deer was overly concerned about character. She did a 180 and ran from the dog.
Alerting people for miles around, the Lab continued in hot pursuit of the delusional doe, chasing the frightened animal back onto the street.
The driver of the pickup, perhaps caught up in a high-decibel rendition of Stairway to Heaven, was completely oblivious to the goings on. He steered the truck into his driveway and hit the garage door opener.
With highly tuned, wild senses alerting the deer to a possible hidey-hole, the animal executed a move that would draw envy from the likes of Adrian Peterson and followed the pickup into the garage.
At the same time, the oblivious driver hopped out of his ride.
Not having time to put on the brakes, the terrified deer knocked the truck driver to the floor, trampled him with her hooves, and ran into the wall of the house, knocking a sizeable hole in the sheetrock.
But it wasn’t over. The deer scrambled wildly to gain its footing on the slick floor of the garage, keeping its flanks just inches away from the jaws of the barking Lab while Mr. C frantically chased both of the animals around the fallen truck driver.
Now there’s a scene.
I've been asked by several readers as to what happened next, so here's The Rest of the Story:
Mr. C mangaged to corral the Lab, the deer ran out of the garage and disappeared, and the truck-driving neighbor was okay, just shaken up a bit.
To start off this blog roll, blog hop, blog whatever-it-is, I want to thank Patricia Browning – I think – for including me in this spirited – I do tend to exaggerate – online adventure. With her debut mystery, Absinthe of Malice, A Penny Mackenzie Mystery, Browning explored quirky relationships and interesting secrets of Pearl, a fictional, small town in California. Be sure to check it out. Here’s the link:
So much for the Hop, now for the Blog:
I’ve never interviewed myself before. So, Bob:
What is the working title of your book?
It has to do with identity, what’s inside as opposed to what we project. However, since Footprints of a Dancer, the third book in the Detective Elliot Series just escaped my fingers in time to have been published October 2012, I haven’t actually begun writing the fourth book, and the title is a bit proprietary.
Where did the idea come from for the WIP?
I hope it is a WIP and not a RIP. The possibilities for and the boundaries of anonymity within our society have always intrigued me. The book will be an exploration of this concept.
What genre does your book come under?
I like to call it Paranormal Mystery. My book, Footprints truly is a mystery with my publisher, who can’t seem to understand that I’ve stretched my wings a bit. The term Hard-boiled no longer fits, not that it ever did really. The first two books, Twisted Perception, and Beneath a Buried House slightly hinted at paranormal themes. However, Footprints of a Dancer dives right into the thick of it.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
I’m not sure. I don’t really watch many movies, and the actors that I could identify – no pun intended -- with the younger people wouldn’t know. Elliot, the protagonist of the series, might be difficult to cast effectively. He’s sort of a mixture of James Dean, Nick Nolte, and Jeff Bridges.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
I haven’t gotten that far. I don’t work like other authors. My work generally starts as an unmanageable amalgamation of plot, character, and setting. I then set out to manage it. I’m not always successful.
Is your book self-published, published by an independent publisher, or represented by an agency?
Actually a WIP probably wouldn’t be any of these things yet. However, my first three books were published by an independent publisher.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of you manuscript?
I don’t know. I haven’t written it yet. And if the first three are of any indication as to that time, I’m a bit frightened even to think about it.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
These questions are getting way too difficult.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Please see question number two.
What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
I put my heart into my books while writing them, living with my characters as I take them through the emotions of getting from here to there. I’ve been told they are worth reading.
Listed below are the authors who will post their answers to the questions posed above.
Subterranea: Nine Tales of Dread and Wonder. Mike Duran. Blue Crescent Press, 2012. 186 pp.
I’ve been reading Author, Mike Duran’s blog for several months. When I saw one of his books offered as a free Kindle download, I have to admit to jumping on the freebie bandwagon to get a copy.
Subterranea is a collection of short stories that I found somewhat reminiscent of the old Twilight Zone episodes. I found the stories to be well written and entertaining. What more could you ask?
– Bob Avey, author of Footprints of a Dancer
Walking with Bilbo: A devotional adventure through The Hobbit. Sarah Arthur. Wheaton, Illinois: Tyndale House, 2005. 194pp.
All fiction parallels life. That’s why we read it. However, certain books and stories resonate with us on a deeper level. Sarah Arthur’s, Walking with Bilbo, revolves around J.R.R. Tolkien’s book The Hobbit, and the book’s ability to grab the reader on a spiritual level due to the story’s fundamental themes being primarily Christian. Tolkien, though he was quick to point out that he had not set out to write an allegory, affirmed his awareness of these thematic issues.
Throughout, Walking with Bilbo, Sarah Arthur takes scenes from The Hobbit and compares the hardships the character Bilbo faces and the choices he must make with those of Christians as they embark on an adventure of faith. At the end of each chapter, Arthur poses questions to the reader concerning these comparisons and suggests the reading of certain Bible passages that illustrate the Christian themes.
I enjoyed reading Walking with Bilbo. I found the straight-forward prose refreshing and many of the comparisons enlightening. I have my doubts that non-Christian Tolkien aficionados would enjoy the book. However, I would recommend it to Christians who harbor a sometimes secret love of fantasy.
For purposes of this review, I was supplied by the publisher, Tyndale House, with a copy of Walking with Bilbo.
– Bob Avey, author of Footprints of a Dancer
During the promotion, Footprints of a Dancer busted into the top 10 best sellers list on Amazon, reaching spot number 6. It's back to 2.99 now, but that's still a bargain.
Not to be outdone by the big box stores, Bob Avey has put together an amazing Christmas deal.
For two days, Footprints of a Dancer, the latest book in the Detective Elliot series will be Free for a Kindle download. If you do not have a Kindle, you can download a Free Kindle app from Amazon for your pc, smart phone, tablet, or ipad.
What are the days?
Sunday, December 23, and Monday, December 24.
Here's what people are saying about Footprints of a Dancer:
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Liked it very much!! November 13, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Amazon Verified Purchase
I have read all the Detective Elliot mysteries because I really like the characters.NOTE: If you love intense murder mysteries that are fast paced this series might not be for you. There is also a lot of relationship stuff going on as well. This particular book in the series had a little bit more of a paranormal aspect to it but at the same time some Christian stuff as well. It was not overboard but it was there.Kenny Elliot is an "odd" character but very likeable. The author shows glimpses of why Kenny is like he is. The books are a little slow overall but are interesting and keep your attention. I would probably not read them if I was on a serious intense murder mystery kick though. There are times though when I like this style but they have to have interesting characters & an interesting mystery as well. Good thing this series has both those elements.I look forward to reading more in the series.
5.0 out of 5 stars Another good one November 27, 2012
Det Elliot definetly grows on you. Quite a guy and one heck of a Det. He seems to see things other don't.This one almost gets him killed yet he manages to solve the darned thing.His past always seems to find him. Heck even the good parts of his past are always there.Loads of dead bodies and some really unbalanced folks in this one. Of course Kenny figures it out and manages to beat the odds one more time.Good read and I highly recommend this one to anyone who likes the offbeat and creepy. Loads of same in this book. Good well written and solid. Another good one by Avery.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great addition to the series November 1, 2012
Here is the link:
Abraham, Article IV
Birth to age Forty Eight
Can you imagine living in a cave?
Being dark, cold, and damp, the caves I’ve visited would pass for last-ditch efforts to avoid the elements, but not as good places in which to take up habitation. However, Abram was hidden in a cave at birth, and he and his mother, Amathlai, lived there for ten years.
The caves around Mesopotamia were probably warmer and drier than those of my experience, but living there would not have been the life of luxury. And yet, even in such an environment, Abram grew in wisdom, which included a concept of God. At the age of three, he began to come out of the cave and experience the outside world. Abram’s mother and father were idol worshipers and followers of false gods, but upon seeing the sun for the first time, Abram thought it was God. Later, when the sun set and the moon rose in the sky, he wondered if the moon were God. However, as Abram continued to watch the cycles of night and day, he decided that there must be one true God who ruled over the sun, the moon, and the rest of the world; a sophisticated concept for someone so young and in the midst of contrary influences.
Amathlai must have understood on some level the importance of her son’s ancestry. It doesn’t seem feasible, under the circumstances, that the boy would have had contact with anyone other than his mother and Terah, his father. It’s doubtful that Terah would have further jeopardized his position in the kingdom of Nimrod by encouraging his son to explore his heritage. The evidence indicates Abram’s mother told him about the Flood, and explained to him his relation to Noah.
Driven in all likelihood by the information his mother had given him, Abram left the cave at the age of ten and journeyed to the area where Noah, and Noah’s son Shem, lived in the mountainous region of Ararat. At the time, Noah was 892, and Shem was 390 years old. Welcomed by his relatives, Abram lived with Noah for thirty nine years, learning about God and the Flood from the men who built the Ark.
If you enjoyed this article, or if you would like to add something, please leave a comment.
Beneath a Buried House has recently won an Indie Book Award from IBD Awards. Beneath a Buried House was selected as the Indie Book of the Day Award winner for 27th of October, 2012.As a result, the book is currently featured on our homepage for the entire day today until 7-9 am US CDT the next day. The book has also been added to our winners database (http://indiebookoftheday.com/past-winners/) and a 'for life' feature post has been created, which can be viewed here: http://indiebookoftheday.com/beneath-a-buried-house-by-bob-avey/
Footprints of a Dancer is now available
The third book in the Detective Elliot series, Footprints of a Dancer is quite possibly the best Elliot novel yet. With its familiar characters and narrative taking the reader into unfamiliar territory, the book comfortably slips out of the envelope, tiptoeing into a world where the ordinary becomes extraordinary, normal blurs with the paranormal, and snippets of Oklahoma history find their way into the present. Footprints promises to be a read you won’t soon forget.In celebration of the novel's release, Deadly Niche Press has enacted a special offer. For a limited time, the price of the first two books, Twisted Perception and Beneath a Buried House, will be lowered to 99 cents for Kindle and Nook downloads. With Footprints debuting at $2.99, all three books can be yours for less than $5.00, less than a trip to a popular coffee shop. Just follow the links below:
Not to be overshadowed by the electronic world, the books are available in paperback too. For those of you who prefer to hold a real book in your hands, Footprints of a Dancer will debut with a price of $12.95.
Not your typical mystery.
Footprints of a Dancer, the third book in the Detective Elliot series was released for publication October 11, 2012. That's 10/11/12, a special date for a special book. The book is now available for the kindle version. The paperback and other e-book versions, such as Nook will follow soon.
To celebrate the book's launch, I will be posting some specials very soon, but I just wanted to let everyone know. I've posted the the link below. Please let me know what you think. If you would be interested in getting a free copy just for posting a review on Amazon, please let me know.
Here's a description of the book:
Most of us come into this world with an inborn need for religion, a higher power to believe in. However, when fear and misunderstanding are the driving forces behind that desire, the result is rarely a good thing.
Eight years ago, Laura Bradford mysteriously disappeared off campus, causing quite a disturbance in the lives of Kenny Elliot and Gerald Reynolds, a journalism student with a fascination for Mesoamerican artifacts. When Gerald calls unexpectedly to tell Elliot he's recently seen Laura then sets up a meeting only to be a no-show, Elliot tracks him down to get some answers. Instead he finds his old friend murdered in ritualistic fashion.
Elliot takes a leave of absence from his job as a Tulsa police detective and launches an unofficial investigation, which leads him into the world of an Aztec diety with an appetite for blood.
With 40 Days to a Joy-Filled Life, author, Tommy Newberry draws on the principles set forth in the Bible verse Philippians 4:8. The book builds on the prevalent themes of Mr. Newberry’s first book, The 4:8 Principle – the power of positive thinking –; however, 40 Days puts forth a more intensified, hands-on approach.
40 Days to a Joy-Filled Life is well worth the reading, make that studying. Mr. Newberry’s knowledge of human nature and his down-to-earth handling of the subject, lends the book to practical application for both the secular and Christian markets. I would recommend the book to anyone who has reached a level of maturity, which allows them to understand the subject matter.
For purposes of this review, the publisher, Tyndale House supplied me with a copy of the book.
– Bob Avey, author of Beneath a Buried House
Who Was Abraham
Love is a powerful thing, and there is no earthly love stronger than that of a parent for their child.
Even though Abram’s father, Terah, had sworn his life and allegiance to King Nimrod, he formulated a plan to protect his newborn son, Abram, from the king. Nimrod, the powerful ruler of Babylon was the son of Kush, who was the son of Ham. Ham’s rebellion against God and his disrespect for his father, Noah, landed him in the position of being the least favored of Noah’s sons. Because of this, Nimrod suspected that his power-grab and declaration of kingship might one day be threatened by a descendant of Shem, one of Noah’s other sons. Whether or not Shem was the firstborn is debatable. It appears, however, that he was the favored son.
Nimrod’s priests warned him of the possibility of such an heir arriving on the scene, their prophecies precipitated, most likely, by their knowledge of Abram’s father, Terah, being a descendant of Shem. Should Terah have a son, his firstborn might well turn out to be such a threat. When Nimrod’s astrologers noticed a new and bright star rising in the east, they took that as a sign that a descendant of Shem had indeed been born.
In response to his priest’s warnings, Nimrod decided that all newborn boys would have to be put to death.
With a bit of bad timing, after years of trying, Terah, at the age of seventy, had recently become a potential father. His wife, Amathlai, was pregnant and about to give birth, a fact that she and Terah had managed to hide from the king. When Amathlai gave birth to Abram, Terah secreted his new son out of town and hid him in a cave. As it turned out, one of Terah’s servants also gave birth to a boy that night. Grasping the dark opportunity, Terah took the servant child and when the king’s messengers arrived, he passed the baby off as his own and turned the boy over to the king.
Abram lived in the cave until he was ten years old. What happened after that?
More to come in the next post.
As always, feel free to comment or offer additional information.
Abram, or Abraham as young Adult
Abraham Article II
Who exactly was Nimrod?
When the flood waters receded to an acceptable level, Noah and his wife, Emzara disembarked from the Ark along with their sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, and their respective wives.
The descendants of Shem became the Shemites, or Semites (Semitic line of descent); the descendants of Japheth, the Indo-European nations, also known as the Gentiles; and the descendants of Ham, the Canaanites, Babylonians, Egyptians, and the Philistines.
Since we’re exploring Nimrod, it should be noted that the story of Ham, observing and taking delight in seeing his father, Noah, naked, is a metaphor for Ham’s rebellion against God. In light of this, it is understandable that Ham’s son, Cush, and his grandson, Nimrod, might also be rebellious against God. Nimrod proved to be that and more. In fact, it might be said that it became his life’s work, his passion to persuade people away from God. His reputation of being a mighty hunter might come more from his capturing of men than from hunting down wild game.
As Nimrod’s influence grew, he established the Cities of Erech, Nineveh, Babel, and Akkad among others, which would become the land of Shinar, or Sumer, the beginning of the kingdom of Babylonia.
It has been suggested that Nimrod and Ninus (In Greek mythology, King of Assyria and founder of the city of Nineveh) was the same person. Even more interesting, theories have emerged, which indicate that Nimrod might have actually been Gilgamesh, the hero of a Babylonian epic, inscribed on ancient clay tablets, that parallels the Biblical story of Noah and the flood. According to the tablets, Gilgamesh was from Erech, a city attributed to Nimrod. Genesis 10:8-11, states that Nimrod established a kingdom. Since the Babylonian kingdom seems to be one of the earliest, if not the first kingdom on earth, it stands to reason that such an event would be recorded in extra-Biblical literature. And it was. Not only was the epic of Gilgamesh recorded on Sumerian tablets, but similar tales are found among the Assyrian and Hittite cultures as well.
Scholars and translators of the cuneiform tablets that contain the Gilgamesh Epic agree that the text was composed around 2000 BC while the material written about, the numerous episodes of adventure, relate to a much earlier time period, probably not long after the flood. There are many similarities between Nimrod and Gilgamesh. Both were known as great builders and might warriors, they were from the same area, and arguably lived around the same time period. Nimrod seemed to be obsessed with the occurrence of a second flood. He built the tower of Babel, which was most likely a Mesopotamian Ziggurat, a pyramid shaped structure with staircases and ramps that led to a shrine on top, with the hope of constructing it high enough to escape the flood waters.
Nimrod was also obsessed with something else. Being a descendant of Ham, he feared that a descendant of Shem would someday show up and challenge his authority. That descendant would be Abram, later known as Abraham. I’ll cover more of this in the next post.
Clay Tablet of Cuneiform Script, which contains part of Gilgamesh Epic
The ruins of a Ziggurat at UR of the Chaldees. This is probably what the Tower of Babel resembled
Rainbows appeared and disappeared in the mist thrown up by the Sea Screamer, the water stinging my eyes and leaving the taste of salt in my mouth as the captain of the 70' boat piloted the craft through various turns in the bay area off Panama City Beach. The first mate entertained the guests by firing a signal-cannon at unsuspecting beach goers, and later diving for sand dollars. Seeming to understand the driving force behind the economy of places like Panama City, dolphins surfed the wake of the boat, breaking the surface of the water on occasion to perform aquatic tricks for the tourists. It was magical.
If you're looking for a great vacation spot, I recommend Panama City Beach, Florida. We had a great time there. And if you want to see dolphins and get a great tour of the bay, I recommend The Sea Screamer.
The third book in the Detective Elliot series, Footprints of a Dancer is quite possibly the best Elliot novel yet. With its familiar characters and narrative taking the reader into unfamiliar territory, the book comfortably slips out of the envelope, tiptoeing into a world where the ordinary becomes extraordinary, normal blurs with the paranormal, and snippets of Oklahoma history find their way into the present. Footprints promises to be a read you won’t soon forget.In celebration of the novels release, Deadly Niche Press has enacted a special offer. For a limited time, the price of the first two books, Twisted Perception and Beneath a Buried House, will be lowered to 99 cents for Kindle and Nook downloads. With Footprints debuting at $2.99, all three books can be yours for less than $5.00, less than a trip to a popular coffee shop. Just follow the links below:
I have some news I want to share with my readers.
I have some news I want to share with my readers. Amazon featured my book, Beneath a Buried Housein a recent Email campaign. I know, I’m easily impressed, but it put a smile on my face.Beneath a Buried HouseThings aren’t always what they seem. Tulsa Police Detective, Kenny Elliot’s quest to uncoverthe truth behind the death of a transient makes him a target – from whom or what he isn’tsure. When he brushes the dirt from the surface of an apparent John Doe overdose case, hefinds a labyrinth of misdirection and deception beneath, and a trail, which leads him to anencounter with an aberration in human nature, the likes of which he’s not prepared to dealwith.Drawing on his strength of character, and sense of right and wrong, he wrestles with deeppersonal feelings to solve the case.Check out the ebook on Amazon here!
Not only did Abram’s (aka Avram) father, Terah worship idols, he was the Chief Minister of King Nimrod, with control of the armies, and the High Priest of the temple of UR, a temple dedicated to the worship of the moon god, Nanna.
Before Abram became Abraham, he lived an eventful ninety -nine years in and around the land of Sumer, (aka Shinar) a collection of city-states -- which included, among others, Kish, Babel (Babylon), Mari, UR, Erech, Akkad, and Caleh – located around the lower Tigris and Euphrates Rivers in what is now Southern Iraq.
The exact date being difficult to determine, scholars agree that Abram’s birth occurred somewhere between 2100 BC and 1800BC, which would place it in the middle of the Bronze Age period for that particular area. The eras, defined by types of metal being used, are not representative of fixed dates. Populations around the world discovered the knowledge for making different metals at different times. For example, archaeological evidence supports the emergence of the Bronze Age in Sumer as occurring around 3000 to 4000 BC.
Going back even further, the introduction of farming, which allowed people to produce food instead of having to hunt and gather, ushered in a monumental step-forward in human development. The farming concept, a decisive factor in enabling people to settle in permanent villages, emerged in the Sumer area between 11000 to 9000 BC. In contrast, the change from hunter-gatherer to farming occurred in Europe around 5000 BC. As would be expected, the onset of the Bronze Age emerged in Sumer perhaps thousands of years before the era reached Europe.
The significance of this is that Abram was born into the most advanced civilization of its time. His father was the High Priest of the temple of Ur and Chief Minister beneath King Nimrod. Far from being a wandering nomad, Abram was of noble birth into a high-class family.
However, his noble lineage would prove not to be his comfort, but rather his source of conflict. Abram was the tenth generation removed from Noah, and a direct descendant of Noah’s son, Shem, the father of all Semitic people. In contrast, Nimrod was a descendant of Ham, the lowest and least important of Noah’s sons, a son that was even cursed by Noah. Nimrod had feared that one day a descendant of Shem would appear to threaten his position. He’d grown to trust Abram’s father, Terah, who’d long ago became his servant and follower. To guard against the appearance of a possible rival, Nimrod ordered his stargazers and astrologers to watch the sky for any indication that such a thing might happen.
But who exactly was Nimrod?
In the next post, we’ll explore that question.
As always, comments are welcome.
Map of Area where Abraham lived
We’re all guilty of falling into self- pity on occasion, believing we’ve worked hard all our lives, but don’t have enough to show for it. Allow me to share a story, which might help to put things into perspective.
As a child visiting my grandfather, who lived in Arkansas, I once chanced upon a conversation he was having with an old friend who’d dropped by. Grandpa Luke didn’t talk much to us kids. He loved us. We could tell by his gentle ways. But his words were few. He’d sit in an old wooden chair, its cane bottom long since rotted and replaced with strips of rubber he’d cut from an old inner tube – nothing went to waste around grandpa’s house – and smoke his pipe, his eyes as distant as Pluto, his mind contemplating concepts far beyond our reach.
The visitor talked of the old days when he and grandpa worked together. Their job was to go into a valley, chop down a tree, clear it of its branches and foliage, and drag it back up the hill. For each completed log, they received ½ cent.
I don’t know how many finished trees a team could successfully bring to the top in a day, but my guess would be not that many. Even if you proved to be a human dynamo who could register ten trees, we’re still only talking five cents, and that would have to be shared with your partner. It’s easy to imagine why grandpa might be reluctant to drive into town and spend that nickel on an ice cream cone.
It wasn’t just luxuries our ancestors did without, but even simple pleasures that we hardly give a second thought to these days.
There’s more to the story. Later, grandpa walked the visitor to the dirt road, which ran past grandpa’s property. I couldn’t tell what was going on, but I’m pretty sure grandpa pulled out his wallet and gave the visitor some money. When grandpa came back, he again sat in his chair and resumed puffing on his pipe. Then he did something unexpected. He pulled the pipe from his mouth, leaned over, and motioned for us kids to come closer. “Yeah,” he said, “it’s true I did that all right.” Jabbing the air with the stem of his pipe toward the dirt road, he continued: “But he didn’t.”
I’ve mentioned Grandpa Luke before in another post. It’s sad that I never realized until my adult years how much that old man meant to me, and just how instrumental he was in shaping my character.
Mission Bend -- the area where Reverend Epaphras Chapman established Union Mission -- November 15, 1820
Remains of homestead near Union Mission
I'm not computer savvy, so the photos ended up at the top of the blog, instead of... whatever.
The pastor of my church often states that you don’t have to travel to be a missionary. Mission fields are all around us. However, I ran across this story that involved not only extreme travel, but extraordinary circumstances as well.
A few weeks ago, I posted a photograph of an old wooden shack, located close to where the Union Mission had been. The shack, discovered by workers clearing underbrush for power lines, sits about fifty feet from an old rock-covered road that leads to an area of Grand River known as Mission Bend. My brother-in-law, who grew up in Chouteau, Oklahoma, a few miles north of the area, often visits Mission Bend for fishing and boating. The story, as related to my brother-in-law, has it that the shack was actually a homestead, lived in by an early Oklahoma resident for ninety-seven years. Actually the structure more resembles an outbuilding, but it’s still an intriguing reminder of the past.
I’ve lived in Oklahoma most of my life. However, until a few years ago I was unaware of the Union Mission site. I’m not alone. The mission, an important part of Oklahoma history remains relatively unknown to many of the state’s inhabitants.
As early as 1796, Jean Pierre Chouteau operated a trading post along the Neosho (Grand) River. In 1805, President Thomas Jefferson learned of the Three Forks area, a place where the Neosho (Grand) River met the Verdigris and Arkansas, from his explorers, Lewis and Clarke. Speaking to Congress in 1806, President Jefferson mentioned the area along with its inhabitants, a tribe of the Osage Nation that had travelled from Missouri to settle in the region. Most historians agree this was the first time the United States government recognized the area we now know as Oklahoma. Eighteen years later, Fort Gibson was constructed to provide military protection for the region. But a few years before that, Oklahoma became a mission field.
On November 15, 1820, Epaphras Chapman and a group of missionaries from Connecticut and New York landed on the west bank of the Neosho River. At the location, about twenty-five miles north of the Three Forks area, Chapman and his followers founded Union Mission.
It’s difficult to imagine such an undertaking. The trip from New York to Oklahoma took ten months, navigating the Ohio, Mississippi, and Arkansas Rivers into present day Arkansas. From there, they paddled several hundred miles up the Arkansas River to reach the site Epaphras Chapman had chosen a year earlier, an area with no roads, no towns, and no settlements, except for a few scattered trading posts. They suffered hardship and death to bring the Gospel of Jesus to the Osage people and a handful of French traders. Talk about faith.
The Union Mission, the first Protestant mission west of the Mississippi, went on to establish the first school, erect the first printing press, publish the first book, mortar the first brick, and hold the first Christian wedding in Oklahoma. The Mission cemetery has the oldest marked grave, that of Reverend Epaphras Chapman, who founded the mission, and died in 1825 at the age of 32.
Could it be that I have more than my share of those kinds of days, or does everyone feel that way?
Every six months, I go in for a routine checkup, and my doctor always orders lab work a few days before my appointment. I’d just come out of the lab and I was a bit unsettled. After all these years, blood tests still make me nervous. I decided I’d stop and get a cappuccino before going to the office, a little treat for being such a brave boy while getting stabbed by the vampires.
I pulled into the parking lot of a convenience store, but as I was preparing to exit my vehicle, which had already drawn attention because it’s a noisy little buggy – not because it’s supped up, but because it’s old and worn out – I dropped my keys between the seat and the console. With a Dodge Neon, this is no small problem. The chasm is deep but narrow, and, like a black hole things go in but they don’t come out. At the bottom of the canyon, my keys mocked me. I snaked my hand down into the crevice but managed only to brush the edge of the key ring. Refusing to be defeated by the got-you-now engineering joke, I shoved my hand deeper. The horn started honking and the lights began to flash. My keys were still lodged deep in the black hole, though I’d managed to hit the panic button on the remote. Now I really had everyone’s attention. My dilemma had escalated to the point of fight or flight. Deciding to fight, I jumped from the car, jerked open the backdoor, and threw myself onto the floorboard where I made a few moves that would make a seasoned contortionist envious. Somehow I managed to get the keys and shut down the spectacle.
Walking nonchalantly past the snickering crowd of onlookers, I made my way into the store and went directly to the bathroom. I needed to wash my face and hands. Anyway while in the room of rest, I noticed a sign fastened to the stall wall, which read: Rent movies here for $1.00, but I ignored it. It seemed like a good deal, but I didn’t plan to stay that long.
Back at the office, each time I would take a sip of cappuccino, since the vent hole was improperly installed, the cup made a noise. Perhaps I was giddy from loss of blood coupled with a shot of caffeine, but as I read the brand name of the cup it occurred to me that I was actually whistling Dixie.
A few days later, being scheduled for a book signing during an open-house gala at the library, I drove to Chelsea, Oklahoma. Admittedly, not knowing how long it would take me to get there, I arrived a bit early. However, the library had provided a nice table for me. It would take a while to get set up. Ten minutes later, I sat behind the table, feeling a little out of place. I usually appreciate libraries being quiet, a bit of a rarity these days, but hearing particles of dust collide with the floor was a bit more than I was prepared for. I checked my watch. Only three hours to go. Later, I heard a train whistle, and I imagined Johnny Cash’s inspiration behind, Folsom Prison.
I’m just kidding around, about the library anyway. Actually I had a great time. Everyone treated me as if I was an old friend, a respect that humbled me. Being in Chelsea reminded me of just how much a treasure small-town America really is. I grew up in a one. At least Sand Springs used to be. If you’re ever in Chelsea, Oklahoma, stop by the library. You’ll never find nicer people.
I also give programs for writing groups, reading groups, or any group that’s interested. If you belong to a club, which needs program speakers, keep me in mind.
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This article was written by Bob Avey, author of, Twisted Perception, and Beneath a Buried House. http://www.bobavey.com.
I don't usually post the same article to both my newsletter and my blog. Those of you who have read both know that they are completely different. But I've been pressed for time, trying to get my 3rd book, Footprints of a Dancer, edited. Hopefully it will be out in a month or two.
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