Creative Christian Moments
“Reviews of up and coming Christians in the arts community.”
Blog Article 50: Book Review of Dr. Clay A. Kahler’s The Fallen
How far can one preacher go to achieve reconciliation with a family member? What if it meant reconciliation with your brother on death row, facing execution for gruesome murders? That is the conscience searing question that Kahler asks of his readers in his novel The Fallen.
Set in a gritty, dusty, and small western Texas town, Kahler examines this question between two brothers and how the choices they make lead them down paths of polar opposites of the moral spectrum of society. What captivated me most about Kahler’s story is the realism involved with the characters. Both Johnny and Coy are given the same parents, same set of circumstances, and same developmental environment, yet their lives could not have turned out more different. Below is an audio version of the first chapter you can sample.
About the Author
In Kahler’s own words, he describes himself as “always [striving] to get the most out of life” (Kahler, 2016 a, para. 2). Kahler served in the United States Army in the Desert Shield and Desert Storm conflicts, as a police officer, bounty hunter, and preacher (Kahler, 2016 a). “Clay has served as the President of San Diego County Southern Baptist Pastor’s Association, on faculty at Southern California Bible College, on faculty at the Southwest College of Biblical Studies, and served as the Founding President of the Soldiers of the Cross – Christian Motorcycle Club” (Kahler, 2016 a, para. 5). Kahler has “written for Preaching Magazine, Christianity Today, and To His Glory, as well as a number of other journals and periodicals” (Kahler, 2016 a, para. 2).
My Review of the Story
I have two words to describe Kahler’s novel: captivatingly intriguing. Though it was short, I could not put it down. In the beginning, Coy Allen learns that his estranged brother is on death row and he must come to terms as a minister to bring the Gospel message to him before his execution. The reader is then presented with a series of flashbacks paralleling the lives of Johnny and Coy Allen and how their choices forced them down different paths in life. Johnny’s life of horrible circumstantially bad choices digs him deeper and deeper into a life of crime. Paradoxically, Coy Allen’s choices, though challenging at times, leads him on towards the path of a successful minister. With a series of visitations between the two brothers, Kahler fills his story with twists and turns around every corner (which I will not delve in to keep it spoiler free). Kahler’s correctional officer experience is accurately described within the prison setting of the story and through the lives of the characters’ experiences. It is most realistic account that I have come across outside of meeting men and women who have served time in prison.
The biblical concept of reconciliation is rampant throughout the story. Kahler weaves such an honest portrayal of the process one goes through in coming to terms with forgiveness of family members. Many of the chapters are filled with personal conversation between Coy and God as he processes the emotional pain, hurt, and anger he feels towards his brother and the consequences of his choices. This process of wrestling with forgiveness and reconciliation often sparks more questions than answers at times for the Christian.
I mean how does one reconcile with someone who has significantly wronged them? How does someone reconcile with another person who will not even acknowledge their wrong doing? How does someone reconcile with another person who believes that they themselves can never receive forgiveness?
The Greek word commonly used for forgiveness found in the Gospels of Matthew and Mark is aphesis meaning “deliverance, pardon, [and] letting go of” (Bible Hub a, 2016, n.p.). The Greek word commonly used for repentance found in the Gospel of Luke is metanoeὁ meaning to “change one’s mind or purpose” followed by an accompanying action of this change (Bible Hub b, 2016, n.p.). Reconciliation becomes a direct byproduct of repentance and forgiveness from both parties at odds with one another. Only the redemptive, transformative nature of the Holy Spirit inside the believer can accomplish this goal. Human effort always fails to meet our own mental altruistic ambitions in this regard.
The Apostle Paul is a classic example of reconciliation. In the first few chapters of the Book of Acts, Paul is actively persecuting Christians until he encounters Jesus on the road to Damascus. Paul then completely changes his life as a result and becomes an adamant supporter for Christians. It took some time for these believers to accept Paul’s conversion, especially since it was highly likely that family members and friends that Paul had authorized for murder were a part of the congregation or had witnessed these deaths themselves under Paul’s leadership. Nevertheless, they did and the Apostle Paul became one of the most influential leaders in Christianity.
Kahler’s novel is going to be a movie soon too so why not pick up a copy and support him from one of the links below. If you are a reader looking for something other than fiction, why not pick up a copy of one of Kahler’s theological books, too? Kahler and other Christian authors like him will be the first fruits of a shift in Christian fiction story telling within the coming years. I pray stories would arise within him and others like him. Remember to connect with Kahler through his social media pages and lift him up in prayer as the Lord leads him on a new path towards the release of The Fallen movie in 2017.
Clay Kahler’s Pages
Internet Movie Database: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5365990/?ref_=nm_flmg_wr_1
Bible Hub. “Aphesis.” Strong’s Concordance. http://biblehub.com/greek/859.htm (accessed May 3, 2016)
Bible Hub. “Metanoeὁ.” Strong’s Concordance. http://biblehub.com/greek/3340.htm (accessed May 3, 2016)
Kahler, Clay A. “Personal Biography.” Internet Movie Database. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm7873025/bio?ref_=nm_ov_bio_sm (accessed April 28, 2016)
Kahler, Clay A. Profile Portrait. LinkedIn. https://www.linkedin.com/in/cakahler (accessed April 28, 2016)
Kahler, Dr. Clay A. The Fallen. San Bernardino: Sharing the Word, 2011.
The Fallen. Novel Portrait. Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/TheFallenTheBook (accessed April 28, 2016)
The Fallen Chapter One Audio Book, YouTube, 11:18, posted by Clay Kahler, November 16, 2012, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XmDBiG_abwk (accessed April 25, 2016)