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Book Review: Influence by Kate Motaung and Shannon Popkin

BOOK REVIEW

A.W. Tozer wisely wrote: “Promoting self under the guise of promoting Christ is currently so common as to excite little notice.” He wrote this in the 1940s, way before a self-centered culture ushered in by the arrival of digital media would become the new normal. He didn’t foretell the perils of social media, although we know that self-promotion is nothing new. However, the distinction made in Kate Motaung’s and Shannon Popkin’s new book, Influence: Building a Platform That Elevates Jesus (Not Me), warns believers to not fall into the trap of seeking adulation from the world at the cost of their purpose in life: to glorify God.

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More Valuable Than What a Book Can Teach

Some lessons are better learned in sorrow

As soon as my son returned from a few days backpacking and tenting in the desert in October, we were off again in November for a weekend in Mexico. There, I got sick for days, my madrina almost choked at a taco stand, my middle son got a nosebleed, my daughter got stung by a cactus, and my mother’s face became puffy from a mite infestation, all during the trip. It’s been an eventful month. The air in California recently has been brutal considering the Woolsey firestorms that misplaced so many. I find myself grateful for much, and even for that which seems hopeless in life, there is room for thankfulness. Being ill is humbling. Being out of the country, albeit for a few days, was a lesson more valuable than what a book can teach.

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The Truth About Ethnic Names and Their Marks on Childhood

How saying my name over and over has become a routine

When I was in fifth grade, my teacher decided to give me a new name because it was easier to pronounce. I recall feeling flustered by the whole ordeal—like I had been causing an inconvenience for being who I was. This alone made it hard for me to reconcile one of her comments to me during reading group. She sat in the center of our half donut shaped table and said in a clear and frank tone that I was a scholar. I didn’t know what the word meant at the time but I asked around. I felt embarrassed to ask her myself—I was intimidated by her towering presence and her weekly assessments of our oral readings of poetry and prose, among other public speaking exercises.

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Interview with Emily Conrad on Justice and Heroism

A discussion about hope, faithfulness, and writing

Back in winter of 2017, I came across an announcement of Emily Conrad’s debut novel, Justice. Here, we talk about what inspired her novel, how she handles doubt, hardship, and the pitfall of perfection. This novel captures Emily’s growth as a writer just a few years after her ACFW First Impressions win (2015) and her position as an ACFW Genesis semi-finalist (2012, 2015).

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The Secret of Writing with Privilege is Nothing to be Fearful About

On bilingualism, language, and writing with abandon

It is a fight to write. The time it takes to settle my thoughts in front of a blank page when the urge is there and ready but my mind is exhausted from the busy-ness of the homeschool. I live the unconventional modality of the stay-at-home mom, or the work-from-home mom—my children are not shuttled to schools for long hours in the day. Nevertheless, I force myself to start new projects or continue existing ones, measuring all waking hours, making allowances for domestic tasks to go to perdition for just a little while.

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We Need Diversity by Writers of Color in Christian Publishing

 Why does Christian fiction continue to underrepresent writers of color?

There is an observable gap in Christian fiction. Currently, Christian fiction limits its boundaries to the traditional tropes: historical, romance, speculative, Amish. Long overdue are the contributions of a well of writers who are overlooked under the Christian fiction umbrella.

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