Tuesday, July 31, 2007


Let me preface this by saying I am offering a critique, not a sour grapes criticism. I realize that there are business realities to publishing that I know not of. I realize that as an unpublished novelist—articles and cartoons, yes. Novels, no—I do not have the experience in the industry to even know what I don’t know.

Don the Baptist’s Ninety-five—Give-or-Take—Theses on Christian Fiction

Though I see this slowly changing, it seems that many Christian publishing house’s criterion for the content of fiction is based on the same doctrinal soundness guidelines as their non-fiction materials.

Fiction is what-if stories about real life. Theology is not fiction.

I want to read and sell fiction that is godly in its basic nature without being made to feel like I am choking down a spoonful of caster oil that’s “good for me.”

Often times when I spend money on Christian Fiction, I feel like I’m “taking a hit for the team.” In other words, it’s not really worth the money, but by supporting my cause I’m being a loyal team player.

I hate to finish reading a work of Christian Fiction and think, “well, it was almost as good as a real novel.”

I think a book may be Christian because of the character of the writer, not the overt content.

I do not believe Christian Fiction has to be a sermon disguised—however creatively—as a novel.

I think Christian Fiction should show the outworking of Christian values and God’s providence in the midst of a harsh and fallen creation, warts and all.

I think CBA publishers are excluding men from their calculations of what sells. It is circular reasoning: men don’t read Christian Fiction, so don’t sell fiction that men will want to read.

As a guy and a Christian, I hunger to read things that interest me as a Christian guy. I don’t want to read watered down guy-stuff because that’s the only way women will read it.

Women and men have different interests and tastes; why not have the grace to bless both? I don’t want to exclude women’s fiction, I want to see an appreciation for men’s fiction.

I believe God has called and gifted me to produce works of “art” that give Him glory simply because they exist, not to concoct commercials and ditties that will help to market Jesus.

Saturday, July 28, 2007




Free coffee with fill-up at participating Valley Texaco’s

Power to dispatch U.S. troops anywhere in the hemisphere without consulting congress

Less time waiting around in supermarkets because of recent addition of Pastor-Don-Only check-out aisle

7. Lifetime passes to all Jethawks home games

Counterboy at In-N-Out usually tosses in a couple extra ketchups without Pastor having to ask

With Donald Trump now underwriting Church, no further need for extra paper route

4. Steven Segal has agreed to play Pastor in the movie

3. Guest host shot on Vh-1’s Back to the Seventies

2. Annoying alarm system now hooked up to clapper

1. Mike lets him make siren noises on riding mower


How about a little--very little--humor?

Friday, July 27, 2007


I was talking to a friend about the movie “Hairspray.” Actually, I was listening, since I didn’t have much to say fit for public consumption. My friend told me that the movie had a valuable lesson about tolerance, how we should accept people for who they are regardless of gender, race or dimension. Oh, and we should reach for our dreams, too. I thought, what a unique and novel idea, Hollywood preaching about tolerance and becoming SOMEBODY! Except it’s neither unique nor novel. Tolerance is the first and greatest commandment in Tinsel Town. The second is, fame is all.

All right, so I’m not really commenting on the movie. I haven’t seen it. It’s probably swell. And the lessons of the movie are not wrong or bad in themselves, either. What I’m amazed by is the notion that yesterday’s fish seems to sell like fresh every day. Hairspray has one of Hollywood’s two perennial plots. The other is: The only way Jack Pott can beat the odds, rescue the girl and save the world is by breaking all the rules! I mean, c’mon, I can see it, and I’m not all that bright.

So here’s what really bugs me. The very people who beat the dead horse of tolerance are rather selective in their own practice of it. That is, we should be tolerant of all people, cultures and viewpoints, except religious people who believe in right and wrong. Those people are BAD and must be castigated for their hate filled, deviant thoughts.

If they could just say, “I disagree with you. You should not believe foolish, unattainable ideals like truth, or right and wrong.” I would have no problem. But they can’t seem to help themselves. They want to appear open and affirming to the world at large, but they can’t quite practice what they preach.

Which brings me to the currently popular sport of Christian Bashing.

It’s easy to find moronic, petty, even evil people or events parading under the banner of Christianity. As if other worldviews were somehow immune from human nature. Greed, cruelty and self-interest are all part of the human condition, guiding philosophy notwithstanding.

A chain may be judged by its weakest link, but a worldview is judged by what it produces. Every worldview produces something. And despite our culture of subjectivism, it’s obvious that some of those products are better than others. I’ve heard the rallying cry, “But religion produces wars and exclusivism.” Really? Show me a worldview that hasn’t been used to justify those things. What are the positive things that have improved life on this planet? Historically, the proliferation of hospitals, universities and charities are gifts of the Christian worldview.

“But there have been horrid, jingoistic culture changes because of Christianity.” Duh. “But Christians are responsible for stealing land from the native Americans.” Who lives anywhere that somebody else didn’t get shoved out of? Oh and while your tossing out straw man arguments, don’t forget Galileo and all those poor burnt witches.

All I know is those things aren’t happening today. I believe that before I can share my faith I need to build a relationship first. I even ask permission before I get all spiritual and stuff. But many of today’s inclusive worldviews have no problem cramming their ideas down my throat. Like it or not.

Maybe unbelievers are not getting the point. Christians do not claim to be perfect and sin free. We claim to be imperfectly following a savior who has called us to emulate him. I know I haven’t made it yet.


Karen and I drove to Lake Arrowhead yesterday. Two aunts and a cousin live there. I grew up at the bottom of that mountain range, so I know the road pretty well. I even enjoy driving those twisty mountain roads. You really give your vehicle a workout that way. However, I am not in the Dale Earnhardt Alpine Division. Apparently everyone who lives up there—including the Little Old Lady From Rim of the World—is. Hooee! Them fellers is FAST.

I love the climate up there. 5,000+ feet and twenty degrees cooler than the desert where I live. My aunt lives in a condominium above the lake. I think I delivered cabinets to that development back in 1979. I worked for Custom Fabricators in San Bernardino then. After twenty-five years, the cabinets are holding up, but the stain and finish need some help. On the slalom ride down the mountain, I realized I wouldn’t enjoy living there if I had to commute to the flatlands and back.

At times like this I truly appreciate the desert. My aunts live in the mountains and my parents live on the beach. Those wonderful places might seem ho hum If I lived there, too. Sometimes I surprise myself.

Thursday, July 26, 2007


I may be opinionated and sarcastic, but at least I spell poorly. My friend Eric pointed out the misspelling of Hadleyville. I've at least exorcised the demon from the blog title. I'm not worthy!


Those of you familiar with Mark Twain’s works might recognize my blog title. As Samuel Clemmons grew older, he became increasingly disillusioned with humanity. Towards the end he began referring to the Damned Human Race; employing the secular and religious meaning at one stroke.

I find I’ve not reached that level of despair myself. I still believe in redemption and I still see signs of nobility even among we fallen, damned creatures. So, I could not bring myself to call this blog “On the Damned Human Race.” I did however, resonate with another of Clemmons stories; “The Man Who Corrupted Hadleyville.” And viola, there you have it. “Observations From Hadleyville.”

Okay, okay! Technically it's "The Man THAT Corrupted HadleyBURG." The good news is I'm not guilty of plagiarism, just laziness.


I've decided that blogging may improve my ability to actually write on a consistent basis. As I pretend to be a novelist, this is a good thing. Since I am an opinionated fellow, This could be a fine outlet for my admittedly sarcastic and jaded views on life, fiction and theology. I look forward to seeing if I have the discipline to post more than once...