By Dina Sleiman
Today I had planned to talk about editing. I've officially launched a little novel content editing business called "Step Up to Excellence." You can read more about it here.
But I decided to pre-empt that regulary scheduled (somewhat commercial) broadcast to share with you a truly life-transforming book I just read. If you're a part of Christian writers circles, you already know that there's been a lot of discussion lately on whether we're writing fiction that merely entertains or that actually impacts lives. I know I personally have been struggling with my purpose as an author. But last week I read a book that truly affected me. My hope and prayer is that someday I will write a novel that will be a fraction as powerful as this one. It is far and away my new favorite.
Soul's Gate by Jim Rubart. I would like to examine what makes it truly great. First, so that all you will want to read it. But also to inspire the authors among us to strive to write this type of fiction that truly advances God's kingdom here on earth.
In deciding if I was ready to make the bold declaration that this was now my favorite novel, I started mentally scrolling through some of my past favorite novels. Then of my favorites, I narrowed that list down to the truly life-changing ones that I bought multiple copies of and forced my friends and relatives to read: The Passion of Mary-Margaret, Arena, Embrace Me, Rooms, A Stray Drop of Blood, and Havah. Every one of these books was beautifully written and spiritually powerful. I highly recommend all of them. But as I considered Soul's Gate, I realized that it combined the best elements of each of these.
Like The Passion of Mary-Margaret, it illustrated an intimate relationship with God and characters willing to give everything for Christ. Like Arena, it offered an insightful glimpse into the spiritual realm and spiritual warfare. Like Embrace Me it cut through all the b.s. of religion and pierced straight to the true heart of Christianity. Like Rooms, it demonstrated the beauty of inner healing. Like A Stray Drop of Blood, it portrayed the amazing, overwhelming power available in the blood of Christ. And like Havah, it spoke to me right where I was at that moment and transformed my life. Oh sure, there are novels I love because they're beautiful or funny or touching, but these are the ones that have affected me the most. And I can't ignore books like the old Frank Peritti novels or The Shack that impacted me as well, but I feel like Soul's Gate went to a new place for a new time.
As I mentioned, this book was exactly what I needed exactly when I needed it. While I loved Jim's novel Rooms, it mostly dealt with inner healing issues I'd already tackled and revelations I'd already received. Book of Days had more impact on me, but this novel went far beyond. I so needed this infusion of faith and power in my life right now. This reminder that the spirit world is more real than the illusory one all around me that presses on my senses day in and day out. And I needed to have my fighting spirit revived. Another wonderful aspect of this book, which I've never found in a novel before, was the direct link between quantum physics, faith, and the spiritual realm. I'm a closet physics geek, so this delighted me to no end.
The novel challenges you to believe what the Bible really says and to tap into the supernatural power available in the Holy Spirit. The author says in the back that his main purpose for the book was to demonstrate freedom in Christ, but there was no way to get there without looking at spiritual warfare as well. From healing, to prophecy and vision, to being transported in the spirit and invisibilty cloaks, this book takes a look at a sort of Christianity few truly believe in. A sort of Christianity that I remember longing for once upon a time with childlike faith. For the sake of the story, it also examines the possibility of going into the souls of others to fight for their freedom. While the author admits that this is not precisely true, it does seem to be in a very accurate portrayal of a spiritual reality.
My husband just finished the book, and he's already shared with me practical testimonies of how it has changed his way of living and thinking. I've sent a gift copy to my mom as well. No doubt, I'll soon be buying lots of extra copies and wrangling all my loved ones into reading it. I not only highly recommend this book, I'd say it's a must read for every Christian. I'm sure I will read this one again and again. No matter where you are in your walk with the Lord, I think you'll find something in this book to minister to you. And even for non-Christians, I can't help but think you'd enjoy this peek at what Christianity was truly meant to be.
I can't finish this post without mentioning that James Rubart also ranks among my favorite people that I've ever met. It would be hard to imagine anyone else writing this amazing book. He is one of the truest believers and most inspiring people I've ever had the pleasure of spending time with. Everything about him radiates the love of Christ. And may I add, I'm so excited that he has now quit his day job to write for us all full time :)
I sincerely hope this life impacting book will be a huge hit and a best-seller! Honestly, I'd much rather you read this novel than one of mine. Soul's Gate is the first in a series, and I'll be sure pre-order the sequels just as soon as possible.
What is your favorite novel ever? What novel impacted your life the most?
Dina Sleiman writes lyrical stories that dance with light. Most of the time you will find this Virginia Beach resident reading, biking, dancing, or hanging out with her husband and three children, preferably at the oceanfront. Since finishing her Professional Writing MA in 1994, she has enjoyed many opportunities to teach literature, writing, and the arts. Join her as she discovers the unforced rhythms of grace. http://dinasleiman.com