New from Christy Award-Winning Novelist
Today I’m happy to welcome Davis Bunn to share about his new novel, The Turning. You can find it now at your local friendly LifeWay Christian Store! Before Davis comes, let me give you a look at the story.
A voice resonated from a distance and somehow from within. Against all earthly logic, it carried a divine command. And five very different people knew they were summoned to obey.
Their actions were demanding, but not particularly grand. Only later would they see a pattern emerge – one that links their tasks together and comes to challenge the cultural direction of the nation. They realize that one small personal response unveiled a new realm of moral responsibility. And this affirmation of everyday hope captures the attention of millions.
But power and money are at stake. Malicious elements soon align themselves to counter the trend. To succeed they must also undermine its source. Can we really believe that God speaks to people today? Surely this must be dismissed as superstition or delusion. These well-intentioned but misguided individuals should not be allowed to cast our society back into the Dark Ages.
The public debate and media frenzy place an unprecedented spotlight on knowing and doing God’s will. The five encounter threats, but try to remain steadfast in their faith. Had God indeed imparted wisdom on selected individuals? Is this sweep of events part of his divine purpose?
The movement may herald a profound renewal – one that some are calling The Turning…
The Turning opens as five different people, in different congregations, and different cities, and different cultures, all have been studying a lesson plan about listening to God. And to their astonishment, God communicates with them. In each case, the communication comes in the form of a request, or an invitation if you will. God asks them to turn away from the normal course of their lives, and do something that would be impossible unless they relied fully on him, and trusted him to see them through.
Take the main character as an example. While in university, John Jacobs was a rising star of the Ohio State football team. But one night he goes out with buddies, gets drunk, starts a bar fight, and winds up going to jail on felonious assault charges. John has spent the forty years since that point carrying the burden of that youthful mistake. When the story opens, John’s nephew is being released from jail. For the second time. During Danny’s first stint, he found Christ and turned his life around, only to get out, go back on drugs, and rob John’s own home. In John’s case, the request is for John to be there when Danny emerges from prison that very afternoon.
All five of these people assume the request from God, this turning, is all there is. But in fact what really happens is, God has a major challenge he intends to put before them. But first he had to unite them as listeners. As people willing to follow his guidance. Whatever that requires. Wherever God might take them.
The spiritual theme behind the story – and to the lesson plan available as a free download on the book’s website TheTurningBook.com – is the need for us to carve out space in our daily walk for quiet time with God. Perhaps the easiest way to understand this is to go back five hundred years, to the formation of the Protestant Reformation. Our forebears wanted to take control of spiritual development away from the priests and give it back to the individual believer. The question was, how to create a structure where this became not just a theory, but actual practice.
These early reformers came up with what they called, the Spiritual Disciplines. These were tithing, daily prayer, daily Bible study, fasting, and listening to God. It is this last crucial element that I hoped to emphasize in my story and the study.
The key question is not whether God speaks to us, in words or in his creation or any other way. The real issue is, are we attentive to his voice, to the movement of his Holy Spirit, and to the concept of calling.