Argosy Jct. Montana~
Lane~ Five years after her family broke ties with The
Brethren, the cult-like church still has firm ties wrapped around her heart and soul. The more she rejects them, the Lord, and anyone who claims a relationship with Christ, the more she
realizes how empty life can be.
Matt~ Fresh from the inner city, Matt arrives in Argosy Jct. ready to explore the Montana countryside. He’s prepared for anything but sheep, cults, and a rancher’s daughter with a chip on her shoulder.
Not until she saves Matt from assault by sheep does Lane begin to understand that Christianity is a relationship rather than a checklist to godliness. Before he met Lane, Matt never understood how damaging the body of Christ can be to its own.
Join them as they explore Montana, Rockland, and the possibility of a merge between two very
Argosy Junction is the second book in the Rockland Chronicles
Guest Post from Chautona Havig
What Do You Do When the Church Becomes Toxic?
You know how TV shows and movies like to make fun of bridezillas?
Yeah. I know. It can be funny.
But bridezillas aren’t just those gals on reality shows. They’re all over the church, too. People who allow their focus to get off the Bridegroom and onto “their day.” Instead of focusing on the One who loves them so dearly, Who has rescued them from the gutter and holds them close and tenderly, they focus on getting all the trappings right. The right wording, the right clothes, the right rules of…
So many friendships have been ruined by a bride gone wild—so focused on details that she forgets the people she hopes will celebrate it with her. She forgets her groom. Unreasonable expectations of the day and of people lead to broken relationships and an ugly taint to what should be a beautiful occasion.
What I find interesting is that people will forgive a lot from a bridezilla. You hear things like, “Well, it’s such a stressful time,” or “She’ll come around after she settles in.”
And it’s true.
So, why don’t we have the same grace for the “bridezillas” of the church? When that deacon decides to become judge and jury of people’s spiritual state based upon what he thinks or knows someone has contributed to the church, why do we write off him and the rest of the congregation (or all congregations out there)? When the church gossip shares private information… or even false information, why do we lash out with thinly-veiled, passive-aggressive rants on Facebook about brutes in the church before flouncing off in a spiritually-superior rejection of that “religious nightmare, otherwise known as the church?” (Yes, I’ve heard it called that).
When we’re blackballed by people who used to call us family, why do we reject all parts of the bride? Why do we cut off an arm, a leg, a hand, and whack away from the body known as Jesus’ bride until only a piece of an eyelash is left—us?
I get it. The bride of Christ gets ugly—like many bridezillas do. But do we love our Groom? Do we trust that He will stay faithful to us even when parts of our body fails us? When we get old, frail, and forgetful, will He remember us? Will He stay faithful and true when we wander to other loves? Can we trust that?
If Jesus can die for that person in the pew across the way, if He can forgive their sins, if He can forgive your sins, can’t you forgive His beloved?
Look, I get it. Sometimes part of the body of Christ becomes ill—gangrenous. Toxic.
When that happens, you need to remove yourself before you become ill, too. I get that. But that local body is just a tiny finger or toe of the whole body. We need to do what we can to help the rest of the body stay healthy while we pray and do what we can to help the sick part.
And I’m not condoning sin. Please understand that. This isn’t about me saying, “It doesn’t matter if the church sins against us. It does. It’s why Jesus gave us a way to deal with that.
But regardless of how someone else behaves, we still have to do what’s right. And I Peter 4:8 reminds us that “Love covers a multitude of sins.”
If you thought I’d wax eloquent about how evil the church is, how we should just abolish the “institution,” and why it’s just so bad…
You’ll be disappointed. I won’t do it.
So, What Do You Do When the Church Becomes Toxic?
I can answer the question in a word.
And really, that’s all Matt does in this book. Loves. Okay, and maybe a little prayerful ranting as well.
It’s what Jesus did when His creation—you and me—when we became toxic. He loved.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” John 13:34
When asked about writing, author Chautona Havig says, "Books. I love them– always have. From my earliest years, I spent most of my free time lost in a book, until one day I realized that I had stories in my heart and mind that I wanted to tell. Time passed, life, family, and work got in the way, and my dream of being a writer seemed to vanish into the desert winds.
Dreams are beautiful things, though; they never quite disappear. I began writing again, editing, writing, editing…more editing… and now I have over a hundred books in progress and a few dozen published. I write the stories of fictional people who have real problems, weaknesses, and triumphs. Through their stories, I try to share the Hope that is within me."
Chautona lives in a small, remote town in California’s Mojave Desert with her husband and seven of her nine children. When not writing, she enjoys paper crafting, sewing, and the knowledge that someday she'll be able to retire from home education.
She can be found at Chautona.com
Book Review by Bree Herron
I could read a Chautona novel every week and probably couldn’t keep up with her magic in writing. Even though this is a book from 2010 it is new to me and I loved it. First of all, I am a Montana gal, my blood flows maroon (Griz) and I hear the calling of the mountains daily. I felt connected to Montana a bit more with reading this novel. This novel is in authentic Chautona style, characters in large need of a good dose of love and faith.
Matt and Lane are both such strong characters. I was drawn to their personal stories that made them unique. My mind was blown with Lane’s past and her history with faith. I couldn’t imagine what that would feel like, but I felt her feelings in this book. Matt is great except with sheep, and he is learning more than he bargained for in his stay.
This was one of the best books I have read this summer, it was a pure joy to stay up till dawn to read this book. I would share it with everyone that needs a good reminder of faith.
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**DISCLAIMER: I was provided an opportunity to read this book as an Advanced Reader Copy in return for a fair and honest review.
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To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away a grand prize package that includes a paperback copy of Argosy Junction, “Matt’s” copy of Shakespeare’s Sonnets, and a $25 gift certificate!!Find out all the details and enter to WIN at Argosy Junction Celebration Tour Giveaway.
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