Here’s something true. This is a Bible study blog. And Christians should read the Bible. But what else should we read? The truth is that entertainment is an important part of our lives. It’s part of how we rest and play (things that God does too!). Sure, entertainment done wrong can hijack our lives and our sleep, or can gradually woo us away from our values. But entertainment done right can actually make us more productive and effective in all the things we do (even, or especially, the things we do for God). And entertainment done right can reinforce our values and get us thinking about our faith from different angles. I would place Act of Valor in the category of “Entertainment Done Right.”
This post was originally shared on the Real World Bible Study Blog
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3 Reasons Act of Valor is Entertainment Done Right
#1 Entertainment Done Right is…well, entertaining!
It’s okay to read books that are not “for fun.” Even fiction doesn’t have to be lighthearted and funny to have great value. (Lighthearted and funny can have great value, though. Like the funniest book I read last year.) But we should get caught up in the story. For me, suspense does that, and Act of Valor kept me on my toes enough to pull me into the story. I’m not a huge dog person – not anti-dogs, just don’t know a lot about them. But the K-9 police dogs in this story were a riot. And yes, I found myself Googling to learn more. Kind of like the little brother that can bless your socks off one minute and destroy your favorite fill-in-the-blank the next, they were true characters and they made this book fun to read.
I liked the human characters too, although I think I would have liked to get to know Zach more. Violet was a tough cookie. I loved how she refused to be a victim (even when she was a victim); refused to let the drug dealers trying to kill her steal away her life, her job, or her home. When she does agree to take some time to go get safe, it is as much to protect those around her as herself. Violet Griffin is Griffin tough. She is calm in crisis, loyal to her friends and willing to call them out, and doesn’t give up on people. I would be okay with girls in my Mpact Girls Clubs wanting to be more like her.
Listen carefully, because I’m not saying that we can’t be entertained in a healthy way by watching a secular movie or TV show. When I finished reading this book, I watched The Devil Wears Prada. Secular entertainment can still inspire great conversations. But Christian fiction has managed to do something that Christian movies haven’t yet (for the most part): create a very high-quality product that entertains and also shares our worldview.
The thing is, while we can benefit from secular entertainment, and we can be entertained in a healthy way, we have to have our guards up, because some of those elements that don’t fit into our worldview can sneak into the back doors of our lives if we’re not careful.
Act of Valor isn’t preachy. Faith is woven through the story, especially as Zach wrestles with God and remembers things he learned growing up. But even more importantly, it’s the worldview. So when friends kiss, they don’t then go have sex. That’s just one obvious example. Worldview trickles out in the language, in attitudes and how we respond – not that we respond perfectly, but how we think about what just happened. Worldview affects the way we think things should be, and that matters. Because entertainment does have the power to change the way we think.
#3 Entertainment Done Right Makes us Think Without Overpowering the Story
The story has to be primary, or we don’t stay in the theater. Or in the case of reading, we don’t keep reading the book. But good authors can help us question things, challenge our faith even, without pulling us out of the story. I read another book this week that kept pulling me out of the story for these challenging conversations, and it was way too much. It came across as preachy and too much backstory.
Not Act of Valor. I’ve seen this “challenge me without pulling me out of the story” done better, but author Dana Mentink did well. As I read, I thought about questions like “if you train up a child in the way he should go, what happens when something shakes his faith as an adult?” “Can you learn to trust God after you’ve been broken and betrayed?”
Overall, I would recommend this book to someone who enjoys light romantic suspense from a Christian worldview. It was exactly what I needed for a slow weekend to rejuvenate for the week to come.
Act of Valor is on Tour with Celebrate Lit
About the Book
Book: Act of Valor
Author: Dana Mentink
Genre: Inspirational romantic suspense
Release Date: June 1, 2019
A True Blue K-9 story …When airline employee Violet Griffin encounters several suspicious passengers, she’s thrust into the crosshairs of a drug smuggling operation. NYPD officer Zach Jameson and his drug detection beagle, Eddie, can tell this is no small-time threat. Someone’s gunning for Violet, and after recently losing his brother, Zach refuses to lose her, too…especially now that she’s gone from friend to the woman he’s falling for.
Click here to purchase your copy.
Dana Mentink is a two time American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award winner, a Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award and a Holt Medallion winner. She is a national bestselling author of over forty titles in the suspense and lighthearted romance genres. She is pleased to write for Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense, Barbour, and Harvest House. Dana was thrilled to be a semi-finalist in the Jeanne Robertson Comedy With Class Competition. Besides writing, she busies herself teaching third grade. Mostly, she loves to be home with Papa Bear, teen bear cubs affectionately nicknamed Yogi and Boo Boo, Junie, the nutty terrier, and a chubby box turtle. You can connect with Dana via her website at danamentink.com, on Facebook, YouTube (Author Dana Mentink) and Instagram (dana_mentink.)
More from Dana
Cops and killers and beagles, oh my! It was a ton of fun writing the second book in the new True Blue K-9 Continuity series. First of all, I had the honor of working with some AMAZING authors. (It’s challenging creating a world together and keeping all those details straight!) I had the privilege of following the amazing Lynette Eason, so that’s always a plus! Second, I learned all about the astonishing world of beagles! Those critters are just amazing. For instance, the original beagles were tiny, only 8 inches tall and could be carried in a pocket, which is why they called them Pocket Beagles. I need one of those! The name beagle comes from the French, which is translated “wide throat” or “loudmouth.” This is well earned by Eddie in my story, who will occasionally let loose with the trademark baying. The beagles small size, general friendliness, and ferocious scent drive, make it the perfect dog to sniff around airports and get into compact spaces. Eddie enjoys doing just that with Zach, his handler and best friend. He earns those gourmet treats that Zach bakes up for him. Best of all, Eddie was rescued from death before he became a canine cop star! It’s just awesome when you can twine fact with fiction to come up with a tail wagging suspense story! I hope you enjoy the second installment in the series!
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