Looking for an Overview Book on Christianity


I’d like to locate a book written to a late elementary or early middle school understanding covering the history of Christianity post-resurrection from a primarily Protestant perspective. Unfortunately, I’m not having much luck.

What the book would feature:

1. A basic look at the expansion of Christianity around the globe
2. Highlights of major events in the Church
3. Short biographies of important Christians from the apostles up to the present day
4. Nice layout with easy readability, quality illustrations, and a good amount of intriguing info to keep a child reading

If anyone has any suggestions, I would appreciate it if you passed them along. I’ve been looking at Christianity, which is a typically high-quality Dorling Kindersley book, but I would like to have other options.


Really, It’s Not You, It’s Me


When you’ve been a consistent voice in the blogosphere for a few years, people start to notice you. It means a lot to me that Cerulean Sanctum has been a blessing to others. I get emails from readers that bless me, too, especially those that tell how much the writings here have been a benefit in other people’s lives.

Unfortunately, that same Web presence can spawn its own interpersonal trials and misunderstandings. That brings me to four relational issues I wish to discuss: post link acknowledgments, book reviews, charity mentions, and LinkedIn.

Acknowledging links to posts at Cerulean Sanctum

Early in my blogging life, I made it a mission that I would thank every blogger who linked to one of my posts and mentioned Cerulean Sanctum on their blog. It was important to me that I acknowledge other bloggers who referenced my writings as a way of showing my gratitude and to make the blogosphere a less cold and unfriendly place.

Sadly, as more and more people link to posts here, I have been unable to keep up with this duty. In fact, if I started today and tried to make up for the backlog of just the last month or two, I would spend all day every day for the rest of my life trying to catch up.

So if I don’t post a thankful comment on your blog for your link, it’s not that I’m not grateful; I really am. Economies of scale have just made it an impossible task.

So I say here, Thank you to everyone who links to posts at Cerulean Sanctum.

Book reviews

I am also grateful that anyone would see fit to ask me to review books that they have written. That major publishers write me and ask me to read galleys is not only a shock, but one of those “I’m not worthy” kind of events.

As a professional writer, I am ultrasympathetic to the plight of authors attempting to garner marketing publicity for their books. My heart goes out to you.

However, the day has so many hours. Because I need to make a living, and I am the sole breadwinner for my family, I am willing to review books but only for a fee.

Yes, for the rare book that is dead-on-target to issues I discuss here at Cerulean Sanctum, I am willing to reconsider. But if you have a book on dating for Christian seniors or some other not-discussed-on-this-blog subject, I can only review it for a fee.

I am sure your book is deserving. The problems are on my end: limited time and the need to feed my family. If I am reviewing a stack of books all day long gratis, then I’m falling down in my most important responsibilities.

Charity mentions

Recently, I’ve seen a sharp increase in the number of charities wishing me to acknowledge their organization on Cerulean Sanctum. I did this once and now face a flood of requests. That’s normally how these things go.

To those that folks who have approached me about their charity, I want to say that I pray that God richly blesses you. But I have decided I need to stick with a decision my wife and I made many years ago. We only support those charities that are run by people we know personally, people that we regularly meet face-to-face. In this way, the accountability remains high. It also means that we can dedicate our limited resources to the people who are doing the work in those charities because they are friends and neighbors in “real” life.


This will be perhaps the most contentious issue of the four here.

I like LinkedIn and use it. It is my only genuine social networking outlet on the Web (besides Cerulean Sanctum), and I believe it to be a decent way for me to keep my business presence alive on the Internet.

But LinkedIn is only as valuable as the strength of its relationships. Its primary purpose, as I see it,  is to allow others to recommend my work and for me to do the same for them. For that reason, it demands that I know the people well that I accept as connections. I have to have some history with my connections.

Do I accept connections from people I have never met face-to-face? Yes. However, those people have two things going for them:

  1. I know what my connections do for a living and have seen examples of their professional work. In this way, I can recommend them to others.
  2. My connections and I have developed a history outside of blogging. That means carrying on conversations in private emails or phone calls over the course of some time.

Nothing is harder for me to do than decline invitations to link up on LinkedIn. For every person I decline, it’s like a little death.

If you have offered to link up and I’ve not accepted, I want to say this: It is not because I don’t like you or am being a snob. It’s solely for the two reasons above.

It’s not you, it’s me

So, if I appear standoffish, it has nothing to do with you, your book, your charity, or your blog, and everything to do with my own limitations.

I genuinely care about the people who read Cerulean Sanctum. I’ve prayed for many, if not most, of you. Forgive me if I fail you in other regards.

Sacred Spam


I think I speak for everyone here when I say that I hate spam e-mail.

What really gets me is when this blog’s inbox starts filling up with spam. I mean, the inbox for Cerulean Sanctum is geared toward you, the reader. That e-mail address exists for you to use to contact me about important issues. It’s your way to get personal, to go beyond the public discourse of a blog comment section.

Sadly, I get more spam here than I get personal e-mails from readers. The proportions are close, but spam still wins.

And what kind of spam fills this blog’s inbox? Want to take a guess?

Actually, it’s entirely spam from Christians. Or spam representing Christians. Not any Christians I know. Not from readers, at least.

What really galls me, especially as a writer myself, is that the vast majority of spam I receive at this blog is from PR organizations trying to promote Christian books, especially novels.

Now I’m really sensitive about this since I hope one day to sell my novels, but heck. How lame that Christians are spamming this blog’s inbox with this:

New Mystery : Boone’s Creek: Almost Home

Avon Park, FL – Apr 28, 2008 – Author $$$$$, in Boone’s Creek: Almost Home, develops a mystery plot with an intriguing romantic subplot built in.

Jenna Lewis’ relationship with Joe started out as casual friends. Joe’s wife died from ovarian cancer at an early age. Jenna befriended him. Jenna’s family was killed when the plane they were in went down in Colorado. Jenna was supposed to be on that plane. For months following the tragic accident, Joe helps her work through her grief.

Jenna, who is a search and rescue handler, is then summoned to Sebring, Florida to rescue a family that had gone missing. Jenna feels she is out of her league until the next night her own grandmother goes missing too. This motivates her to persevere and assist in the rescue mission.

Unfortunately she becomes entangled in a web of deceit and corruption. To make matters worse, Jenna turns to Joe for help in finding her grandmother. Their relationship develops and Jenna becomes hesistant to allow herself to fall in love with him.

About the book:

Boone’s Creek: Almost Home by $$$$$

ISBN: 978-1605631653

Publisher: PublishAmerica

Date of publish: March 24, 2008

Pages: 172

S.R.P.: $19.95

About the author:

$$$$$, who began writing at the age of ten, is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. She wrote a column for the Morrow County Sentinel from 1984 to 1989. Her book, The Shorter Version, was published October 2007. $$$$$ resides in Florida and Ohio.

The poor soul writing this kind of slapdash PR needs to go back to school to learn how to writes themself some respectubble English. I love that hesistant toward the end. What a spectacular portmanteau word, a cross between hesitant and resistant. Somewhere, Lewis Carroll is chortling.

This, and many more spam e-mails like it, are coming from bostickcommunications.com. Another spammer with religious ties is morris-king.com, who appears to have some vested interest in BeliefNet. The less said about BeliefNet, the better. And alarryross.com, which openly proclaims its Christian background, also spams up this blog.

I get prophetic newsletters I didn’t sign up for, appeals to support this ministry and that, and a multitude of corporate “Christianized” open hands I never invited here. What hath the moneychangers wrought?Hey, I don’t use the Cerulean Sanctum e-mail address except for personal correspondence, so someone from these various companies/ministries physically landed here and wrote down the e-mail address for this blog, thinking, I bet Dan would want to check out our sanctified book, newsletter, ministry, seminar, or stained glass window oven trivet seeing as he’s a fellow believer.


One of the major problems with the American subculture of Christianity is its hard sell on everything. Saddest of all, the shoe has been wedged in the door jamb not so Christ can be shared, but so another ____________ can sell some Christianized imitation of ____________. And I consider it the hard sell when some slick sales droid tries to hock “Christian” junk on a blog that exists to help the Church makes sense of the times.

In the case of the press releases for Christian authors, hey, I commiserate. Now is a tough time to be selling books. But spam isn’t the answer.

And I’m not even sure how much I like it when well-known Christian publishers approach me through the blog and ask me to review one of their books. Yes, that’s a  legitimate request, even if it is slightly abusing the blog’s e-mail address. What truly troubles me is they’re asking me to review their book, the intent being to sell those books to you because of my review and imprimatur, yet they’ll not even offer a few bucks for my time. Not that I can be bought—the lack of advertising on Cerulean Sanctum should tell you something—but that a Christian company thinks it’s okay to make money off someone’s work/time without any worthwhile form of compensation. (Sure, I get to keep a book I didn’t seek out and would not have bought myself, but that book won’t feed my family, will it?) Frankly, I find that corporate hubris startling.

It bothers me when values are for sale and Christians fall in lock-step with the world. When cash is involved, it seems far too many believers are repeating that well-worn line from Jerry McGuire rather than quoting from God’s playbook.