November 25th, 2009

Doctor Who - Five - Books

Fabulous Book Giveaways!

Two fantastic book prize packages are being given away soon, and my book is in both of them!

First, my fellow fantasy authors over at enchantedinkpot are running the First Annual Inkies Giveaway Extravaganza, with prizes including three bundles of eight books each -- one focused on Fairy Tales and Folklore (that's mine!), one on Adventure and Witchcraft, and another on Ancient Curses, Modern Ghosts, and Post-Apocalyptic stories. These prize packages contain a couple of droolworthy ARCs and some bestselling titles, so head on over and check it out! Contest runs until December 9, 2009.

Second, the stupendous Debs Library contest is still running over at debut2009! If you're a library professional and would like to win 46 free books by the debut authors of 2009 for your school or public library, zip on over and enter while there's still time -- the draw will be held on January 1, 2010.
A Pocket Full of Murder

Grief is not a sin

Over the last year or so I've been reading through the Bible at the rate of about a chapter a day. I just finished Jeremiah yesterday, which is a really emotionally tough book if you identify even slightly with Jeremiah*, and as I was reading the first chapter of Lamentations I was struck by a thought that's been creeping up on me for a while.

Grief is not a sin.

Well, duh, you may say. Of course it's okay to grieve. We lose people or hear terrible news or suffer disappointment, we feel sad, it would be monstrous if we didn't react that way. And I think most people would agree that this is the case.

And yet it's easy to fall into the trap of expecting that grief, or lamentation, should only last so long or go so far. Just a nice neat little grief, not too long, something you can swallow back and force a watery smile and then put your chin up and keep marching with a smile on your face. Especially if you call yourself a Christian, because Christians are supposed to be full! of! joy! and count themselves blessed when they suffer tribulation, etc.

And for this reason people -- especially religious people, it seems -- can be amazingly cruel and dismissive toward others who are hurting, by trying to pep them up with positive talk and encourage them to stop focusing on all that negative stuff, or even (the worst) condemning and shunning them if they go on grieving and lamenting past the generally accepted time period for such things.

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Sin, and all the things that have gone wrong with our world because of sin, may be the ultimate cause of every grief we suffer, and it's true that one day all tears will be wiped away forever and that will be a very good thing. But until that happens, grieving and lamenting and suffering over sin and hardship are not just tolerable or permissible to a certain limited extent -- they're actually good and right.

So the next time you're genuinely upset over something terrible that has happened to you or someone you love, and somebody comes up to you and chirps, "Oh, well, praise the Lord anyhow!" You should feel free to punch them in the face** hand them the book of Lamentations.

* Actually, I keep thinking there has to be a YA novel in there somewhere, because God called Jeremiah to be a prophet when he was just a young teenager. I'll keep you posted if I ever figure the plot of that one out.

** See, that's why I usually talk myself out of writing serious blog posts without spending a week editing them first.

*** No belittlement is meant by the use of this term, believe me; I would gladly have used "Tanakh" instead except that some of my non-Jewish readers wouldn't have understood what I mean by it.