(Left: Dan McKinnon)
Creative Christian Moments
“Reviews of up and coming Christians in the arts community.”
Blog Article 22: Review of Dan McKinnon’s book entitled Breadcrumbs
Many times when I write a review, God always brings me into contact with a humble artist. In this case, God led me to a friendship with Christian author Dan McKinnon that began during a prophetic discipleship night held at Mill Creek Foursquare years ago and most recently this relationship has been built further through their young arts group entitled The Studio.
McKinnon is an old breed of disciples who embodies the Christian walk with God many of us aspire to be when we reach our elderly years. His daily walk with God models the monastic practices of ancient Christianity that all can learn from such as daily devotion to prayer, Bible study, and allowing God to lead one’s day to encounters with sharing the Gospel. McKinnon’s personal character embodies the definition of humility. He offers warm smiles and encouragement but can also offer criticism in a gentle manner making one want to achieve more. McKinnon offered such a literary critique of my own novel, The Weak and Foolish Things of Seattle.
McKinnon describes the writings within his book Breadcrumbs as follows: “you hold in your hand or see on your screen a collection of short stories, memoirs, and vignettes that I wrote over a period of 15 years” (p.xiii). “It is my hope that each, by God’s grace, reveals a brief glimpse of the Most High, a breadcrumb if you will, that helped me see God in my circumstances. Little is much when God is in it. I hope these stories shine light on your path as well” (McKinnon, 2014, p. xiii).
The stories within this book are like the penetrating rays of the sun; they illuminate the reader with illustrations of God expressed through personal experiences, fiction, and science fiction. His memoirs are rich with the peaks and valleys of life’s journey illustrated by honest reflection on his Christianity. As I partook of each short story and memoir, I was able to understand McKinnon in transparency as a writer. McKinnon’s words illustrate his humanity: both the fallen attributes and the triumphs of a redeemed life.
The first short story that caught my attention was entitled “Chief” and describes a Native American’s perspective of spirituality and discovering of God’s son while illustrating a story of forgiveness experienced by the Native American who endures a drunken beating of brutality at the hands of an American. Being a native born New Zealander, native culture is so integrated in our society that I enjoy learning about cultures in other countries like America. My fascination lies with how God uses their myths and legends to identify Himself within their culture. The Native American culture is so fascinating as their concept of the Great Spirit reflects so many characteristics of the Christian God in the Bible. I hold a personal belief that God identifies Himself to everyone before they believe in His son and this concept is reflected again and again in the Christians I meet. Each one is able to look back at their lives and see how God was identifying Himself to them in times of disbelief. Cultures are no different and this further reinforces the reality that there is a God and He has a son named Jesus Christ that paid for the sins of humanity.
“Three Days and Counting” is a short story staged in a Utopian technological future offering humanity all the pleasures and luxuries of life and while Christianity is a forbidden religion. “Three Days and Counting” reminded me of such science fiction classics in film and literature such as Terminator, The Giver, Blade Runner, Minority Report, and 1984. McKinnon’s ability to dream about the technological advances of tomorrow are carefully balanced with characters who question meaning and the levels of control their machine processing society presents them. This story drew me in and I could not put it down. Characters in the story that do not conform to these rigid societal standards are sentenced to the Bin; a hell no citizen wishes to experience. But as the story progresses, the prisoners of the Bin appear better off than those in the utopian society because they are able to love their Master and their neighbors through meaningful communication and service towards on another. I do hope McKinnon considers taking this short story and making it into a novel. I can see this story among the other greats of classic science fiction literature.
“Thoughts of Mortality” is a reflection by McKinnon about the concept of grace and the shedding of blood much like Jesus Christ endured on the cross for the redemption of humanity. McKinnon describes his first experience with grace through an award ceremony of the Boy Scouts in which all the scouts were given medals for attempting a ten mile hike; whether they completed it or not. Next, McKinnon discusses the atrocities of war and humanity’s inhumanity towards on another provoking the thoughts of the shedding of blood in comparison to Jesus Christ’s sacrifice. I enjoyed this personal reflection from McKinnon the most because it provided an answer to one of the most basic philosophical questions of the human experience: the concept of suffering and why God allows evil in this world. “Maybe God allows some of His saints to be sacrificed so that unbelievers will come to belief. Maybe some people will never believe unless there is blood spilled for or even by them in their lifetimes, pointing back to the perfect sinless blood of the Savior” (McKinnon, 2014, p. 178). One answer I personally developed as I read this story was that God’s capacity of love and forgiveness are so massive that one could commit a lifetime of evil and still be accepted by God through belief in the message of Jesus Christ and repentance of sin. No other religion on the face of this earth can boast such love of a Creator to His creation nor the chance at impossible redemption.
You can support McKinnon through prayer, connecting with him on social media, and purchasing a copy of his book. McKinnon also works as a freelance writer and can be reached for advice, reviews, and critiques on personal literacy projects. As I end my review of McKinnon’s Breadcrumbs, I challenge the readers to reflect on God in your own lives through this paragraph in the introduction of his book.
“We may never see the tapestry from the front as God does; we are finite beings. He generously allows us glimpses of it, however, and He gives us His spirit to view His marvelous workmanship with understanding and appreciation in a number of significant ways, whether by faith, His word, or seeing things from His loving perspective” (McKinnon, 2014, p. xiv).
Dan McKinnon’s pages
Xulon Press: http://www.xulonpress.com/bookstore/bookdetail.php?PB_ISBN=9781628718669&HC_ISBN=
Book Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch/?v=0EJBJFNU
Dan McKinnon. Portrait. Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1723120928797&set=a.1652108593533.2088406.1561561550&type=3&theater (accessed April 29, 2014)
McKinnon, Dan. Breadcrumbs. United States of America: Xulon Press, 2014.
Xulon Press book Breadcrumbs Dan McKinnon, YouTube, 1:40, posted by Xulon Press, February 21, 2014, http://www.youtube.com/watch/?v=0EJBJFNU (accessed April 21, 2014)