Monday, September 01, 2008

GENERATION Dillon Burroughs and Marla Alupoaicei

When I got the chance to review GENERATION HEX, I jumped on it. One, because my knowledge of Wicca, or "white witchcraft" is next to nil, and two, because I wanted to see how realistic and detailed a Christian book would be about the subject of "witchcraft". Historically, the two religions haven't exactly met in the middle. I wanted to read the book for myself to see if two Christian authors could write a book that was authentic, non-judgemental, and easy for the average person to understand, when they don't know much about paranormal, or so-called "occult" subjects.

The book is called GENERATION HEX because the current teenage generation has been bombarded by information about the occult and "witchcraft" (there are various things which pass for witchcraft, as you'll read in the book). The media/TV is filled with shows: Medium, Ghost Whisperer, Reaper, to name a few. I was a "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" fanatic myself when the show was on - at least until the last two seasons when things just got plain weird with Buffy and Spike, and Angel was out of the picture. However, the importance of that show was that Buffy's best friend, Willow, became a "witch", cast spells, invoked demons, and took Buffy's little sister under her wing to indoctrinate her as well.

When I was a teenager in the 1970's, the occult was becoming very mainstream after John Lennon and other celebrities brought it in to the open during the 1960's. I owned a ouiji board, Tarot cards (and regularly gave readings to friends - whether they meant anything beyond fun I highly doubt), crystals, books on reincarnation - in fact, I won a public speaking contest using reincarnation as my subject. My friends thought these things were all normal and everyday, and so did my parents. Although we went to an Anglican church, they also regularly read books on clairvoyance, Edgar Cayce (a famous clairvoyant at the turn of the century), astral travelling, telepathy, and meditation through "spirit guides". All of these books were freely available to my sisters and I to read, and I admit we were better versed in all manners of the occult, then we were in what the Anglican church taught and stood for.

Hence my interest in reviewing a book about Wicca and witchcraft. While I've spurned the occult and the hold it had on me in the past, I'm sensitive to how Christians deal with others of different religions, and beliefs. There's nothing I hate worse than a judgemental Christian. Although we all should know what we believe about God, His son Jesus Christ, and what salvation is, that should also mean that we're able to examine what others believe, so we can relate to them in a positive way and share what we have to offer in Jesus.

I'm happy to say that GENERATION HEX: Understanding the Subtle Dangers of Wicca lays out the Wiccan belief system, how many Wiccan "churches" or "covens" there are, historical facts, and how the "subtle dangers" of allowing teens to see these things as normal is detrimental to a Christian worldview or lifestyle. At no time did the authors put down Wiccans, pass judgement, or say anything that would prevent an intelligent person having from having a conversation with a person who practices Wicca.

I'm not going to repeat their highlights here - you need to read the book to get the information. But at 176 pages, it's a fast read and easy to assimilate. It makes it easy for parents to talk to their teens about what they're thinking, or doing with friends at school, when their teens start drawing pentacles on their notebooks, and making "altars" of flowers, crystals, and candles in their bedrooms.

Wicca is the fastest growing religion in the world - faster than the rise of Islam. When my mother-in-law worked in a maximum security prison, she made regular "appointments" for male and female Wiccans (or witches, as some of them prefered to be called) to meet with prisoners who asked for them. This religion was the first on her list of requests, beating out requests for Muslim clerics, any Christian denomination, or Jehovah Witnesses. It behooves all of us to educate ourselves about something this powerful, because it affects families, friends, and people our children may encounter through school or sports clubs.

I encourage everyone who has a young person in their life to read this book. Learn the truth about Wiccan beliefs, and how confused teens usually are about what they're finding on the Internet. Dillon Burroughs and Marla Alupoaicei have done a fantastic job in researching and interviewing at least 20 practising Wiccans for this book. Please enjoy my interview with them below:


Where did you get the idea for the book?

Dillon: I had already worked on three world religion books where I had included some material on Wicca. However, most of my research showed most people were either unaware of Wicca or were misinformed. I thought a book that included talking with Wiccans and sharing what they had to say before comparing it to my faith made the most sense. Our publisher, located in Eugene, Oregon, is in a very strong Wiccan community and saw the need for the project. We did our homework on the proposal and after sharing our passion for it at a meeting during ICRS in 2007, were offered a contract in less than 30 days.

Marla: Dillon asked me to partner with him on the book to provide the female perspective on Wicca and to interview women who are involved in the practice.

What are the major themes of the book?

Dillon: It’s simply one, two: “What is Wicca?” and “What Should I Do about Wicca?” In 176 pages, we cover the basic of what Wicca is, why it matters, and how to influence those involved in it with the love of Christ. I guess you could say it’s part awareness, part outreach.

Marla: Each chapter addresses a different element of Wicca or witchcraft. We talk about Harry Potter and other media and their influence, the history of Wicca and witchcraft in America (including the Salem witch trials), the practices of Wicca, what Wiccans believe, how you can share the gospel with a Wiccan, how Wicca is spreading on college campuses, what Wiccans believe about the God and the Goddess, and much more.

What kind of research did you have to do for the book?

Dillon: Marla and I stopped by Barnes and Noble one day and took notes from every Wicca book on the shelf. We got a lot of weird looks! We read hundreds of pages of online content and magazines. We interviewed over 20 people involved or formerly involved in Wicca. I read every conceivable publication on Wicca, both by Christians and Wiccans. It has been my toughest book to write so far because I became part-researcher and part-journalist in seeking out personal stories from people on the inside.

Marla: We did quite a bit of research at libraries, on the Internet, at bookstores, and personally. We interviewed many Wiccans personally and read at least 20-30 books on the subject.

How did you decide to co-author a book together?

Dillon: Marla and I have known each other for years (since she’s my sister-in-law). We are both from Indiana and both attended Dallas Seminary. Both writers, we’ve spoken often about trying to do a book together at some point. Generation Hex provided a need in which I required a female voice to really relate with and understand the females involved in Wicca. Marla’s theological skills and writing abilities were a perfect fit.

Marla: Dillon asked me to co-author the book. We’ve talked about writing a book together for some time, and this one turned out to be a natural fit.

What do you hope to accomplish with this book?

Dillon: My overarching goal is that people who practice Wicca will experience the love of Jesus. This requires helping Christians understand the point of view of Wiccans, promote positive friendships between Christians and Wiccans, and provide examples and ideas of how to share Christ with those involved with Wicca. We’ve already seen some Wiccans turn to faith in Christ through our book, which lets us know God is already at work in accomplishing this goal.

Marla: The ultimate goal is to magnify Jesus Christ and to give people involved in Wicca/witchcraft the opportunity to come to a saving faith in Jesus. Secondly, we want to educate and equip Christians to know what Wicca is and what it is NOT so that we can teach our children about it, be aware of this powerful spiritual trend, and share God’s truth in a gracious way with those caught up in the practice of witchcraft.

Where are you headed next?

Marla: I just submitted the final manuscript for my next book, flow: Inspiring Devos for the Creative Soul (Regal Books, 2009). I am working with the president of East-West Ministries to get one of his books, The Call for Courage, written/edited and ready for publication, and I also am going to be starting on a new book on intercultural marriage called Taking the Intercultural Leap for Moody Publishing that is due on January 15, 2009. So I’ve got lots of books in the pipeline!

Dillon: In 2005, I had zero books in print. In January 2009, my 20th book will be released. People ask me how I do it. All I can say is that I do the book that’s due next. It’s all God.

Thank you for sharing with us today! For those of you who want to learn more about the authors, you can check out DILLON and MARLA at their home sites.
To find GENERATION HEX, click on AMAZON.COM. Check out AN EXCERPT here.
Others who are participating in this Blog Tour are:

A Peek at My Bookshelf
Aspire2 Blog
Be My Guest
Bible Dude
Blog Tour Spot
Book Room Reviews
Camy’s Loft
Christy’s Book Blog
read DB
Footprints in the Sand
From the desk of Flutecrafter
Gatorskunz and Mudcats
Good Word Editing
His Reading List
i don’t believe in grammar
In the Dailies
Leap of Faith
Lift My Noise
Lighthouse Academy
Morehead’s Musings
Mystery, Suspense, and God, Oh My!
One Voice in a Big World
Portrait of a Writer . . . Interrupted
Quiverfull Family
Reality Motherhood
Refresh My Soul
Reiter’s Block
The Friendly Book Nook
The Reel Katie Morgan
The Sosbee Story
Wide Eyed Fiction
Windows to my Soul
Write by Faith

I hope you find this book as enlightening as I did!


Dillon Burroughs said...

Thanks for the kind words! Keep in touch.

mark said...

I appreciate the fact that you were open to educating yourself a little further on what Wiccans believe. For you are correct, in my assessment, that we should know where these people are coming from so we can share what we have in Jesus with them. :)


Marla Alupoaicei said...

Dear Laurie,

Thank you for your in-depth and insightful post! I really appreciate you sharing about our book, Generation Hex. I have enjoyed reading the rest of your site, as well!