Wednesday, April 29, 2015



How do we, “win friends and influence people”? How does a writer or a speaker inspire his/her audience? How do we get hold of a listener’s/reader’s imagination? These are some of the questions I’ve struggled to answer. Perhaps this is the goal of any kind of Christian leadership: to be an influencer for God’s reign. But in particular, how do authors go about this?

When we look at the Lord’s methodology, he seemed to tell a lot of stories to the people of His day. There’s something about a story that draws in the reader or the listener. Even though they may be as mundane as a farmer casting seed on his land or as poignant as a father rushing out to embrace his errant son, the story beguiles us and somehow captures our attention. It has almost infinite applications. When the young prince Hamlet wanted to confront his murderous uncle, Shakespeare had him say, “The play’s the thing!” Aye, there’s the rub indeed, we might add. Systematics and didactic presentations have their uses, no doubt.

But the story is the thing: it is the way of the heart.

One of the first books I read was “St. Augustine and His Search for Faith”. He told his own story of how he wandered throughout his early life on a quest for meaning and understanding, finally finding rest in the great “Thee”. This has somehow marked my own life. Stories of redemption fascinate me. So, I have tried to tell some of my own. Aedistamen is a redemption story in another world where a people who have been unfaithful find themselves enslaved to a cruel and merciless race. They are trapped and exiled in an alien world where their very children are fodder for a demoniacal deity. But they have one thing going for them: the almost forgotten memories of an ancient faith that speak of a forgiving, loving and redeeming God. Will He leave them in their pit, or will He mastermind an astounding work of liberation?

Ultimately of course, Aedistamen is our story. In my bio, I stated that I wanted to tell some tales of a forgotten God in a godless world. As we read of and hear of riots in Baltimore, earthquakes in Nepal, and terrorist acts in the Middle East, we might just conclude that our own memories of an ancient faith need to be refreshed.

Tony Hilling is a retired pastor and writer. He was born in Glasgow, Scotland and now makes his home in Western Canada. “The Voice of Aedistamen” is his first novel.

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