Monday, September 14, 2009

Guest Blogger CL Talmadge




Today CL Talmadge is a guest on my blog to tell us why you will like her book even if you don't normally read fantasy. I think she has some valid arguments or ideas.

Let's see what CL has to say.



Why might this speculative epic be interesting to readers who are not usually attracted to genre fiction?
First, it's a unique, compelling tale of timeless themes: conflict and reconciliation between parent and child, between women and men, between different races, and between human beings and God.
Second, and very relevant to current headlines, it explores the demise of a theocracy. Over four generations of strong female protagonists, the series recounts how and why a country destroys itself and brings about global devastation by practicing racial, sexual, and religious bigotry and by emphasizing militaristic, might-makes-right policies over respectful cooperation with its neighbors and its opponents.
The heroines and their mysterious green gem attempt to offer a healing, inclusive alternative to a government that persecutes those who do not look like or share the religious beliefs of its top leaders.
While I am not writing allegory, the situation of this fictional theocracy, called, Azgard, is certainly applicable to the world today. The politically influential religious right is campaigning to remake the United States into a "Christian nation" while religious zealots have worked their way deep into the ranks of the U.S. military. Abroad, many who oppose the United States shroud their political aspirations in religious terms.
Yet even as the religious extremes on all sides harden their rhetoric and their positions, most Americans and many others hunger deeply for spirituality over religiosity, for inclusion over division, for community over isolation, for resolution over strife, for true healing over just addressing symptoms of disease, for unconditional love over judgment.
These powerful themes loom large throughout the Green Stone of Healing® series and they are front-and-center in our nation while what used to be called the war on terror still pervades and corrodes every aspect of life in the United States.
The preceding isn't my observation alone. Leonard Steinhorn, associate professor of communication at American University, has explored in depth the results of multiple U.S. public opinion polls about social issues and reached similar conclusions. Despite all the right-leaning hype, Steinhorn writes in his own book, The Greater Generation, polls consistently show that the new "silent majority" of this country holds what religious conservatives decry as "liberal" values of inclusion, tolerance, and civil rights for women and even traditionally despised minorities like homosexuals.
This new majority outlook has to be one of the factors in the "surprise" success of nonfiction like God Without Religion. This self-published bestseller speaks directly to those who hunger for spirituality and spiritual expression without all the trappings of religiosity.

What is the difference between religiosity and spirituality?
I would define religiosity as public displays of man-made dogmas, creeds, rules, judgments, and other constraints on freedom of thought, belief, and action. Too often those who exhibit the most fervent religiosity try to impose their dogmas on others while ignoring or circumventing those dogmas' rules of behavior in their own conduct. I can think of numerous politicians and other public figures trumpeting so-called moral values and then have been revealed to be less than pristine.
Spirituality, on the other hand, is the God-made essence of who we are as created souls. We are spiritual beings even if we don't believe in God. We absolutely have that right not to believe. As created souls, we also have an absolute right to free will that is truly free, and yearn always for freedom that is not limited by dogmas or creeds.
The Green Stone of Healing® series explores in depth the profound differences between religiosity and spirituality. As I got further into writing the series, I realized the two races, Toltec and Turanian, symbolize the former and the latter respectively. I find it fascinating that just like today's world, in Azgard religiosity is dominant and prominent while spirituality is repressed and demeaned. That says something tragic about the state of our world.

Speaking of races, what does a white woman know about racism or being bi-racial? Why is that such a major issue?
Not a thing from personal experience in this lifetime. I have been merely a witness to the race issues of my time.
I grew up during the 1960s. I recall the civil rights struggles in the South (and elsewhere), Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s speech in Washington, and the passionate controversies surrounding passage of landmark civil rights legislation. The question of relations between the races riveted me as a child and it still does today.
Why is that? I didn't get it from my upbringing. Although well informed, my parents were not political activists. One was Republican and the other Democrat. They made their opinions known through the ballot box, not the protest march. Yet the subject of race relations and the experience of African-Americans and other minorities in this country felt very personal to me for as long as I can remember.
Only after I grew up, and became involved with a method of past-life resolution called Sunan therapy, did I become consciously aware of my multiple lifetimes as a racially mixed person. Then my quietly intense interest in and feelings about the topic made perfect sense to me.

You say that this series is based on your own and others' past lives. Isn't that a little far-fetched? Who would believe such a claim?
According to The Harris Poll®, 21 percent of U.S. adults aged 18 and older believe in reincarnation. Since only 52 percent of U.S. adults voted in the 2004 election, that result means that there are nearly twice as many adults in this country who believe in reincarnation than there are so-called values voters identified in the 2004 presidential election exit polls. Yet there was never any hue and cry about how this "past-life constituency" has changed our political landscape and should affect the policies and behavior of the major political parties.
Reincarnation is a major tenet of several Eastern religions and has never been far from mainstream of Western thought. The disciples demanded that Jesus tell them if he was the reincarnation of an earlier Biblical prophet. The early Christian church espoused reincarnation until that belief was quashed for reasons that were as much political as theological. Many of the founders of this country believed in reincarnation.
Like the existence of God, it's impossible to prove past lives, although there has been eye-popping research done in Australia on the topic. I was always open to the possibility of reincarnation since I was a tiny child. I have come to be certain about it as a result of my own healing experiences.

Healing is perhaps the paramount theme of the series. What do you mean by healing?
To borrow from Mark Twain, the difference between healing and just addressing symptoms is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug.
When true healing occurs, the pain goes away, and I'm not referring solely to physical pain. I'm including mental, emotional, and spiritual pain as well. The whole self is not just a body, or even a body-mind. The whole self is a physical body, a mental body, an emotional body, and a spiritual body.
In other words, the whole self has four parts, even if science talks about two (body-mind) and religion maybe three (body, mind, and spirit). All parts of self have to be addressed in ways each part can accept in order for all of self to heal.
Physical disease is the final stage of problems that originate in the mind, heart, and soul. Until we find ways to address all parts of self, medicine will become ever more high-tech and so costly it will not be affordable to any but the wealthiest. I’m not against medical technology; I certainly think stem cell research should have far more federal funding than it receives right now. But until we acknowledge that medical technology cannot solve every disease issue and start paying much more attention to low-tech alternative approaches, we will not get the healing we are longing for so desperately.
What the world needs now is even greater than love. It needs healing, a special kind of love applied to wounds and ills great and small.

Special kind of love? Explain that further.
Healing love is unconditional love. Unconditional love is unlimited love because it is not constricted by any kind of conditions, judgments, standards, or expectations. Once you impose any of those on love, it devolves away from being unconditional.
Unconditional love is the love of God that is God. I am not trying to sound Zen or obscure here. Grace is a Western word for it that might seem more familiar to some people. Energy is a scientific term that is equally accurate, provided you define energy correctly and not in the limited way that science defines it.
I have experienced the healing of unconditional love-energy at all levels of my being, and know how powerfully life-changing it can be. Yet for all its power, unconditional love-energy cannot force itself on anyone because as created souls, each of us possesses free will, which gives us the right to reject unconditional love-energy.
We usually don't know consciously that we are rejecting this love-energy and would deny it if asked. Who wouldn't want to be loved unconditionally? Conditional love, however, is the love that most people give and receive on earth, with enormously painful consequences.
The heroines and other characters in the Green Stone of Healing® series struggle with the effects of conditional self-love while searching for self-acceptance and inner peace. In that they are no different from the rest of us. For example, Helen Andros, the first-generation heroine, just wants to be loved and accepted for who she is. Her problem is allowing other people to define her as somehow "less than" and "unworthy."
Like Helen, most of us look for love in all the wrong places. Through the generations, the series explores where and how to find unconditional love and acceptance, both human and Divine.

Here's what the book is about.

The series features four generations of strong-willed female characters who inherit a mysterious green gem ultimately revealed to mend broken bones and broken hearts, protect against missiles, and render its wearers undetectable.
For more information about each book, please visit http://www.greenstoneofhealing.com/

Thank you to CL Talmadge for visiting today. I hope you have found a new author to read.

cmr

7 comments:

C.L. Talmadge said...

First: Thank you, Chris, for allowing your blog to host one of the stops on my tour. I appreciate it very much.

Second: Any comments? Observations? Revelations? Let's keep the discussion going!

Chris Redding said...

People will comment later. No worries.

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