Tag Archives: imagination

Centurion: Book Two

I was talking this weekend with a man who read had Centurion. He loved the book, which is always fun to hear, but he was very worried about the ending. It turns out he didn’t know the story would continue in Book 2. I’ve actually had this conversation a couple of times with folks, so I just wanted to put it out there: it’s not over. So if you’ve been up at night worried about Maria or Deacon or the Teacher, fear not, there are more pages to come.

As always, I’m ridiculously grateful for those of you who’ve read the book and taken the time to let me know how it’s impacted you. It means more to me than you know. Thank you.

On another note, I’ll be giving a short talk this coming Sunday at 10:15 at Church of the Incarnation on the book. I’m going to discuss why I reimagined the gospel as a thriller and why I plan to keep using fiction to imaginatively engage with the gospel.

Peace and Love, y’all.

Wow.

It’s been three weeks since Centurion was published and I just want to say . . . thank you. 

I’ve been totally overwhelmed by the support the book has received. To all of you who’ve purchased the book: thank you, thank you, thank you.

I wish I could put into words what it means to have you sit down and read a story I’ve written, but I can’t. I just can’t. That kind of gratitude springs from a well too deep inside me; I can’t get my hands on it. Not yet. It’s something I can feel is there, something I know is true, but can’t quite grasp its fullness. Sort of like being in love or describing an experience with God. I fumble around, do my best, but in the end feel as though I never quite made it there. Never quite did the beautiful thing its justice.

But that’s no excuse. Because life is too short to not tell people how we feel. If we love someone, we should tell them. If we think they’re cute, we should tell them. If they inspire us, we should tell them. If we appreciate them, we should tell them.

Because it all goes by too fast. I only have so many days and I may not accomplish a lot during them, but I’ll be damned if I don’t tell people how much they mean to me and how much value I see in their lives. So, I’ll keep working on expressing my gratitude to readers, but until then, please accept a humble, thank you. 

A lot of people have asked me how things have gone this month, so here are a few highlights.

  • Church of the Incarnation’s bookstore has sold out of its copies. Twice. (There are more there now if you want them).
  • A lot of people have called, texted, and emailed to let me know they read the book in less than two days. A few did it in under 24 hours.
  • I have received some seriously heartfelt and fascinating emails describing the effect the book has had on folks’ imaginations with respect to their  relationship with Jesus and the Gospel.
  • More than a few people have asked when Book Two will be released. I’m aiming for this coming summer.

All that being said, I’m so excited to keep on keeping on. Please keep sharing your experiences with me, and if you like the book, post a review on Amazon for everyone to see!

Lastly, if you or your church or school or reading club or gang (if you’re a nice gang) are interested in having me come speak about the book, please let me know. I’ve been getting more and more of these invitations and I’m thrilled to do it. Moreover, if you think your church bookstore would want to carry the book, it can be ordered through Ingram.

Please don’t hesitate to hit me up on Facebook or ryancaseywaller@gmail.com for anything and everything.

Peace and Love.

-Ryan Casey

You can buy the book here!

 

 

Ages Ending: The Gospel as Thriller

I spent three years teaching religion to high school students.

Teenagers aren’t the slack minded creatures they’re often depicted as. In fact, I found them to be wildly curious, loyal friends, hilarious,  and enormously sensitive to spirituality and the world of religion.

I like teenagers. A lot.

But one barrier I’ve encountered is that many teenagers, like a lot of adult Christians, aren’t terribly excited about reading scripture.

Don’t get me wrong. They want the content. They clamor for wisdom. They cherish the debates and discussion. But they don’t necessarily want to sit down, open their Bibles, and read the narratives.

Why?

Because they’ve already read it. They know the story. They’ve been taught the lessons. Why read it all again?

After all, Netflix is waiting. And if not Netflix — Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. You get it.

Let me tell you a story. When I teach courses on the Old Testament the first homework assignment is to read Genesis 1 and 2 — the opening pages of the Bible.

The next class I ask the students if they did their homework. All the pretty little liars nod, smile, and say: “Yes, of course!”

I ask them to tell me how many creation narratives they found. The students answer almost unanimously: “One.”

I ask them to open their Bibles. I repeat the question.

Same answer is given.

I ask if they were honest about doing their homework. The tension rises. Eye contact is avoided, which I don’t mind because now they’re at least looking down at their Bibles. I ask again.

Silence.

Then I tell them all is well; I know they didn’t read it. I knew they wouldn’t. We share an awkward laugh.

So I ask them to do the reading now, in class. I want to know how many creation narratives they find.

It takes an average of 21 minutes before the first kid realizes there are two narratives within Genesis 1 and 2.

These are smart kids. The problem isn’t that they can’t read. The problem is that they think they already know the story, so they don’t read.

We, all of us, need to read the story again.

Especially the gospel.

How much do we miss because we think we already know the story?

Here’s what I’ve done:

I reimagined the Gospel of Mark as a dystopic thriller.  Basically, I hid the Jesus story within the framework of a larger, action-packed, three-book saga. Which, I know, sounds insane — but it’s not.

Without giving away too much . . . here’s the set up: The United States has fallen. In its place stands an oppressive Kingdom led by the handsome but vicious King Charles who controls North America with an army of foreign mercenaries. After decades of war, the king has finally tamed the once mighty shores.  And the young king will stop at nothing to protect his reign – no matter how many Americans he must hang on a Kingdom cross.

I want to light a spark in people to read scripture by showing them just how thrilling, passionate, and page-turning the story of Jesus Christ actually is.

Think it’ll work?