I’m a full-time church planter.

What does that mean? It means I’m a spiritual entrepreneur living the startup life. My hours are as irregular as a senior’s bowels. I’m a visionary with my head in the clouds, forced to march my life along the asphalt of crisis mode. Jesus and his mission is all-consuming.

The thing is, I’m also a writer.

For years, I felt as though my writing ‘hobby’ was like ‘the other woman’ drawing me away from what mattered most. God helped me resolve that tension by leading me to write resources that helped ignite and shape faith, like these bad boys:

Pumping out these books helped me realize: I. Must. Write. It’s not a hobby, it’s part of who I am, central to my calling. But recently I’ve started to embrace and relish yet another slice of my calling: writing fiction.

Fiction? Really?

It happened during my daily God time awhile back, actually. I was talking to Jesus about my life, my purpose, my writing, and my… uh… stifled love for fiction. Edgy, sometimes dark, not often overtly Christian… fiction. Like, people behaving badly, evil rising up, people dying while exploring important themes without preaching them… fiction. His reply was something like a knowing chuckle and a sense that he was saying, “Yeah, I was wondering when you’d figure that out. I put that passion there, you know.”

And then. And then I saw it, clear as day in my mind’s eye: the book I was supposed to write, based on an apocalyptic sci fi I’d begun more than a decade ago. As in, I ‘saw’ the cover of the book in print in my mind’s eye. That day, I dusted my old story off—but with renewed purpose. I asked the Holy Spirit to help me write the book I was supposed to write. He’s been helping me ever since.

Here’ the thing.

If you’ve read my other fiction—Beloved, the fairy tale; and Realms, the allegory—I should warn you. This ain’t like that. I suspect many of my ‘church people’ readers may struggle with how very “un-Christian-bookstore-ish” this story is. None of the characters are believers. None of them become believers by the end. There are no angels, no miracles, no Bible verses to speak of. But my characters do wrestle with critically important issues—human nature, fate, choice, the limits of human potential, the slippery slope of technology.

That’s what the book is for, ultimately—not to tee up a salvation prayer for each and every reader, but to set up camp inside you, to make you think, to disturb your status quo. Like the Bible does.

As the story unfolded on my laptop, I realized I didn’t know exactly where it was going. Now that I’m 87,000 words in, I think I see how it’s going to end. God is leading me, so along the way I experienced some crazy God-moments. On several occasions, the Holy Spirit led me to include specific locations for critical plot points. Curious, I then googled these locales (which I knew nothing about) and found they fit spookily well into the plot. For example, one scene involving a high-tech mech unfolds in Tel Aviv. Why? God dropped it into my mind. Google later informed me that Tel Aviv is known for advanced robotics the world over. So cool!

My first attempt at a teaser

What’s it about? Teasers are ridiculously hard to write, but here goes:

On January nineteenth, 2020, at 10:19am Mountain time, Brenden Fouth witnessed the creation of a fully sentient Artificial Intelligence called The One in his computing lab. When The One escapes the into the world wide web, the exponential ripple effects trigger a series of stunning events that will shake the foundations of the world and threaten humanity’s very existence.

Yeah, it’s going to be dark. And no, it’s not the typical AI storyline. For one thing, the AI is one of the main characters and has its own character arc. And for another… I can’t tell you anything else, but it’s gold. I can’t wait to finish this thing and get it into print so you can read it.

FYI, I’ll be looking for Beta readers in the coming days, people who love sci-fi, have a social media presence, and are willing to review and share when it’s live. Keep your eyes peeled for that!

Here’s a question for you:

Is there some quirky aspect of your life, some strange gift, some slice of your calling that doesn’t seem to fit… something you can’t seem to let go of? Maybe God wants you to lean into that, to breathe life into a new path. I’d love to hear what it is in the comments below!