1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire

Cross Examined, a novel about Christian apologetics, Christianity, and atheism109-year-old Rose Cliver, the oldest survivor of San Francisco’s great earthquake, has recently died, leaving only two survivors of the event.  The Huffington Post article of the event includes some great photos of the aftermath.

While a little off-topic for this blog, this is squarely on topic for my book, set in 1906 Los Angeles in the aftermath of the earthquake.  The Azusa Street Revival, which launched the Pentecostal movement, began with a reasonably successful prediction on the front-page of the LA Times the morning of the earthquake.

Someone within the Azusa Street church saw the people of Los Angeles “flocking in a mighty stream to perdition” and saw “awful destruction to this city unless its citizens are brought to a belief in the tenets of the new faith.”

This was too cool an event to ignore, and I launched my story with this earthshaking and historic prediction.

Photo credit: Berkeley Seismological Laboratory

Related links:

  • Cross Examined: An Unconventional Spiritual Journey on Amazon.

“Cross Examined” Available on Kindle!

My novel is now available on Kindle, with more electronic formats in process.

If you haven’t heard about the book, here’s the one-liner: a young man takes a reluctant journey into the defense of Christianity and realizes that the truth of religion is something you must decide for yourself.

The book targets two audiences.  First, I want to give thoughtful Christians something to think about and to encourage complacent Christians to critique the foundations of their religion.  Many Christian leaders make exactly this point, that they too want to push Christians to think.  I think of the book as an intellectual workout—a taxing project, perhaps, but one that leaves the reader a stronger person.

Second, I want to reach atheists who might enjoy approaching these intellectual arguments in fiction rather than in the usual nonfiction form.

The book is set in Los Angeles in 1906, in an odd new church that is suddenly world famous.  The pastor’s prediction of imminent disaster had been front-page news the day before the great San Francisco earthquake—true story.  Here’s the back-cover summary:

In 1906, three men share a destiny forged by a prophecy of destruction.  That prophecy comes true with staggering force with the San Francisco earthquake and fire, and young assistant pastor Paul Winston is cast into spiritual darkness when his fiancée is among the dead.  Soon Paul finds himself torn between two powerful mentors: the charismatic pastor who rescued him from the street and an eccentric atheist who gradually undercuts Christianity’s intellectual foundation.

As he grapples with the shock to love and faith, Paul’s past haunts him.  He struggles to retain his faith, the redemptive lifesaver that keeps him afloat in a sea of guilt.  But the belief that once saved him now threatens to destroy the man he is becoming.

Paul discovers that redemption comes in many forms.  A miracle of life.  A fall from grace.  A friend resurrected.  A secret discovered.  And maybe, a new path taken.  He realizes that religion is too important to let someone else decide it for him.  The choice in the end is his—will it be one he can live with?

Cross Examined challenges the popular intellectual arguments for Christianity and invites the reader to shore them up … or discard them. Take the journey and see where it leads you.

Buy Cross Examined at Amazon today (270 pages, paperback, $11.95 or Kindle version, $2.99).

Related posts:

  • Read excerpts of the book here.