“It will be a day long remembered…” – Darth Vader, Star Wars

Amidst speaking and solitude, stress and sabbatical, severance and spectacle, 2012 has yielded the fruit of a childhood dream, as well as a response to many questions from pastors, movie-goers, and even filmmakers.

At midnight on 12/12/12, my first book was published. Merry Christmas!

I’ve been scribbling words since my teacher, Mrs. Dobbs, encouraged me in fifth grade. Over the years writing became secondary to speaking and teaching, and even written reviews on the website took second chair to audio and video offerings. It’s exciting to come full circle back to a youthful passion and publish a book in response to so many questions about what we do at Cinemagogue with story and theology.

In the next week or so it will populate on, and a Kindle edition will come rolling out as well. A version for other eReaders will come out after the new year. For now, you can purchase it directly from the CreateSpace page and here’s three reasons to do so:

1. Getting a copy directly through CreateSpace provides the most support for Cinemagogue. All distribution channels yield different percentages in profit-sharing/royalties and this sends the most back to Cinemagogue to support the website and ongoing efforts here.

2. For a limited time, the price is also reduced. You can get a copy for $12.99 today through CreateSpace. When it hits the retail price will go up to $14.99. This incentive should help offset shipping costs for those who typically use Amazon Prime or other deals. UPDATE: the price will go up Saturday December 15, you’ve been warned!!! 

3. I’m encouraged by the feedback. So far I’ve gotten a great response from test readers, complete with follow-up questions and even thoughtful conversations. It feels weird to say your own work is awesome, but I can safely say the word thus far from people who aren’t me is that its enjoyable and beneficial.

The hope of this book is to equip everyone—from the casual movie-goer to the next Steven Spielberg, from the cinematographer to the homemaker—with the basic tools for replication, to inspire emulation that will expand and transcend my own meager offerings. To that end, we walk through the “whys” and “hows” of narrative and theology, establishing the bridge and basic connections to enable anyone to view story within God’s great story… for sifting and personal growth, enrichment and edification, education and evangelism. The book addresses this by:

  • Redefining what we mean by “entertainment”.

  • Understanding why humans are born storytellers.

  • Establishing the foundation that there is only one story.

  • Looking at prime examples of story for illustration.

  • Examining our fears about encountering questionable material in the stories of our culture.

  • Calling us to a greater and intentional engagement for the glory of our Creator.

I’d like to thank my wife for patience, grace and space… as well as an editor’s eye for detail and a grand command of the English language. Thanks to Diana and Shannon for not only great editing, but a few great ideas that became revisions. Thanks to all our supporters who pledged for a Kickstarter campaign and then, when it didn’t reach the funding goal, went ahead and gave anyway so we could make this happen! Kudos to Jeff Anderson, who provided some incredible illustrations inside the book, as well as the cover. Lastly, thanks to my mom for… well, I think the book says it best.

To whet the appetite, the following are the titles that appear in the chapter menu:

prologue: coming attractions

or “sometimes the trailers are more interesting than the movie”

Act 1: James in Wonderland

or “the addled story of a story-addict”

Act 2: Redefining Entertainment

or “how ‘mindless’ is just code for not minding God”

Act 3: WRECKreation… or REcreation?

or “cracked clown mirrors reflecting his story in a mirror, darkly”

Act 4: A Tale of Two Stories

or “how I learned to stop worrying and love the redundancy”

Act 5: The Proof is in the Praxis

or “a little less conversation, a little more action please…”

Act 6: A Word on Soiling Yourself, part one: 
getting your boat out of the harbor

or “punchy and saucy to the glory of God”

Act 7: A Word on Soiling Yourself, part two: 
in flagrante on Friday the 13th

or “sex, sorcery, and the strigoi shuffle”

epilogue: theater in the round

or “sally forth into that cultural castle”

You can open or download this PDF if you want to check out the first 25 pages of the book first. You can also send it to those you think might enjoy, or benefit from, reading it to garner interest. Lastly, thanks to God for the passion he’s given me for story, and for seeing how all things, like our knees, bend and bow to the great and glorious tale He’s telling that enraptures my soul.

  1. James

    UPDATE: the price will go up Saturday December 15, you’ve been warned:)

  2. Bryant

    Been so looking forward to this. I’m in my last year of a Cinema major, and your discussions on culture have shaped my views, both biblically and artistically, more than most others I’ve found. Thanks for being your James – your perspectives are like a breath of fresh air in our conservative, consumer christian society. =)

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