About the Book
Book Title: Argosy Junction
Author: Chautona Havig
Genre: Christian Fiction/Romance
Release date: 1st edition: March 11, 2010 ; 2nd edition: August, 2018
“I want nothing to do with Jesus or God.”
After over twenty years of abuses from the cult-like church she grew up in, Lane Argosy has had it with God and His people. Though the Brethren try to make Lane and her family’s lives unbearable, freedom from their warped brand of Christianity is sweet. She’ll never go back… never.
He just wanted to visit the country he’d explored through books. So, when Matt Rushby arrives in Argosy Junction, Montana, he expects idyllic meadows and craggy rocks towering above, old-fashioned friendliness and at least one or two cowboys. Instead, he finds familiar hatred and factions very much like the ones back home in Rockland’s inner-city gangs.
The Argosy family is disillusioned, broken, and floundering. Matt knows the answer is Jesus—just Him and not the trappings of a faith He never designed.
But how can Matt help them turn their hearts back to the Lord when he suspects Lane has stolen his?
About the Author
The author of dozens of books in a variety of genres, Chautona Havig lives and writes in California’s Mojave Desert where she uses story to nudge her readers to the feet of the Master Storyteller.
Guest Post from Chautona
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 falseinformation, 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
Special Video from Chautona Havig
What I love most about the author's books is that she writes with her whole heart. The characters come alive and whatever issue they are facing, the author doesn't try to minimize the problem. She engages the characters with realism and readers are able to relate to them. I liked this story because it deals with a couple of things I have dealt with before. There are many churches out there who have different beliefs and some are even dare I say judgmental. It is hard to be a perfect Christian in the eyes of some of the churches. They are quick to point fingers and shun you. I have felt that exact thing in a church. It hurt me to the core and I became distant from God.
I was very intrigued by the Brethren. The history of how it came to be was interesting. It was hurtful for me to read how they treated Lane and her family. Can you imagine living in a town where no one wants your business or even to be friends with you? I admired how Lane handled it with grace. She is quite a great character with a heart that has been damaged with rejection. Of course my favorite character from the story has to be Patience. What a lovely child full of adventure and life. You can't help but love her. She radiates energy and happiness.
It was fun to see Matt come out to the sheep ranch when he wasn't wanted in town. He sure tried to impress Lane, but I think his ranching skills need a little tweaking. His time there was special and he really bonded with the entire family. I could see a little spark between him and Lane. Will Matt be able to help Lane forgive the people who have hurt her and come to understand what a real Christian is? To me the simplest way to tell someone what a Christian is by loving unconditionally, not judging and reach reach out to those who are hurting with compassion.
When Lane and Patience go to see Matt in his town, it is a little different for them. They are used to small town living. Where Matt lives, there are homeless people found on the streets and rough neighborhoods that are not safe to travel around at night. Lane gets a new perspective of where Matt grew up. I enjoyed how Matt shared his heart with Lane and opened her eyes to a different background from hers. I kept thinking that Lane may be a little sheltered from the real world and it upset me that she was appalled that a prostitute was allowed to be in Matt's church. I think being around The Brethren back in Montana may have caused her to be judgmental without realizing it.
I liked the conversation that Lane's parents had. Thank you to the author for not mixing words and calling what happened to Lane and her family "spiritual abuse." Lane's father is such a good character and I liked that he was able to open up to his wife. This has been a book that I will not forget. It is a story about a real relationship with God and knowing when you are deceived. It is about pride and being judgmental. It's also a book that takes two people that believe differently and shows us how hearing the truth can set you free.
I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.
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