Why Shiloh for my Story’s Setting?

 

In Sanctuary, my premier Southern mystery, readers are introduced to the quaint, time-lost South Georgia town of Shiloh. The story begins as Theo and his wife Liddy desire to relocate and retire back to their country roots, after investing four decades of their lives in the shadows of Atlanta. According to the story, it is Liddy who discovers an advertisement for a quaint Craftsman home that convinced her Shiloh would be a perfect fit for them.

But, it’s what readers sense early on as they arrive in Shiloh that draws them into the story? First of all, Shiloh’s reputation paints a serene picture about this time-lost town, but like its namesake from biblical lore, reputation and present reality are subject to the whims and shortcomings of men.

Like the Shiloh of old, Sanctuary reveals that the once proud Shiloh had lost its luster and position as the county seat decades earlier. Alexandria, like Jerusalem in biblical lore, surpassed Shiloh as the center of power and influence, leaving the proud people in Shiloh with their beautiful, antebellum courthouse on the town square a victim of progress. According to the story, Alexandria blossomed during the post-WWII boom and expansion in Georgia, while Shiloh stagnated and struggled, like many real-life small towns in South Georgia. Shiloh’s conciliation came in the preserving of its beloved courthouse as it received a facelift and became reconfigured into the town’s city hall. However, the facelift and remodeling of their sesquicentenary courthouse left the edifice’s skeleton of 19th Century hewn timbers and ornate woodwork in tact. Decades later, their beloved historical courthouse would be razed to the ground and steal away the life of a town hero, who rescued others from the growing inferno.

Biblical Shiloh became the first seat of governance once Joshua and the nation of Israel completed their conquest of the Promised Land. The ark of the covenant and tabernacle that had traveled for forty years found a seemingly permanent resting place in Shiloh. Israel’s priests and judges (leaders) established Shiloh as the central seat in the Promised Land until Israel felt unsettled about the way Israel was governed, and desired to be like the other nations. Not long after Israel turned to the rule of king’s, rather than priests acting on God’s behalf, Shiloh fell victim to King David’s selection of Jerusalem as his site for his palace and the building of the new temple. A rival army burned and ransacked Shiloh not long before David ascended the throne as the second king of Israel. However, he turned his back on Shiloh and chose Jerusalem for his palace.

All that remains of biblical Shiloh in modern Israel.

The name Shiloh to this day still paints a different picture than the historical reality which its namesakes have experienced. One of the bloodiest and decisive battles fought during the Civil War became known as the Battle of Shiloh, in Tennessee.

Darley’s Painting of the Battle of Shiloh, 1862

Even the Hebrew origin of the name Shiloh means “place of peace,” but as history revealed, “peace” requires the cooperation of men to live up to the expectation of maintaining peace in their community. Sanctuary and its sequel play on the dichotomy of Shiloh’s reputation and the reality of its present state as Theo and Liddy soon discover upon their arrival to Shiloh that there’s a rift in the tranquility of the community.

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Hope you will read more here and then head over to T. M. Brown, Facebook Author page. I’d love to connect with you and offer the latest on my book tour schedule and insight into this Southern author.

Take it from this Southern boy, you won’t want to lay Sanctuary down…

Please leave any comments or questions you may have about Sanctuary or about me. Also, feel free to ask other questions concerning the upcoming sequel, Testament, an early 2018 release.

 

Your Being Defines the Motives of Your Doing

We are Never Alone when We Walk Daily with the Master
We are Never Alone when We Walk Daily with the Master

Your Being Defines the Motives of Your Doing 

All the ways of a man seem right to him, but the Lord evaluates the motives. Doing what is righteous and just is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice. The lamp that guides the wicked—haughty eyes and an arrogant heart —is sin. The plans of the diligent certainly lead to profit, but anyone who is reckless only becomes poor. Making a fortune through a lying tongue is a vanishing mist, a pursuit of death. The violence of the wicked sweeps them away because they refuse to act justly. A guilty man’s conduct is crooked, but the behavior of the innocent is upright. Prov 21:2-8 (HCSB)

In the final evaluation of all that matters about life, you will discover that “your being” ultimately defined “your doing.” Outwardly we may appear to have done a lot of right and good things, but in the end we inwardly realize that God looks to the heart of the matter. God is never impressed with our right and good acts as much as our attitudes and motives behind our acts.

God-is-never-impressed

Why we do what we do, whether “religiously” attending church, giving offerings sacrificially, volunteering to help the needy or being seen caring and serving in the community? Think about the real reasons behind why you invested your time, talent and treasures in these activities. Were your reasons always selfless or could there have been underlying selfish motives for investing in these activities? Could your motives have included guilt or pride? How important was it that you were seen as a good person for personal or professional reasons? Was some form of guilt driving you? Have you ever felt it necessary to appear better or above others? Certainly none of us would ever dream of being inspired by such motives, but we know others who may have been driven by such motives. However, let us be reminded God considers the attitude of the heart that inspires our outward actions – our being behind the doing!

God’s Word declares, if we have any guilt-ridden, haughty or arrogant motives God will know because he sees any “sin” that stirs within our heart. Therefore what many applaud as exemplary diligence is selfish recklessness in the eyes of God.

God simply desires that we do what we choose to do because we love God, desire to please God, and want to know God better. Likewise, we love others so much that we seek their fellowship. God is pleased when we reveal a generous heart without calculating the cost of the gift, whether our time, talent or treasures.

What are your motives of doing? Have you checked your being? If not, know that God will!

Coach

www.coachbrown.org

Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God. Romans 12:1-2 (HCSB)