Salvador: Sophia’s Story

10/30/23

The story of Salvador is complete! It’s taken me 20 years to write it, taking time off in-between to attend several prestigious seminaries to educate myself on the seminal topics of the novel, such as psychology, theology, philosophy and ethics, which have all influenced its themes, such as suffering, hope, doubt, despair, courage, paradox, faith, and forgiveness.

Here’s some vital info to help you better appreciate the complexity of the story.

My literary journey started long before publishing my first non-fiction book, Biblical Ethics (2019). Since I was young, I’ve been a poet, philosopher and raconteur at heart. So I have been keeping a personal journal of my writings since I was in high school. Recently (January 2023), I had them self-published in a 557-page paperback book, called From the Ashes We Rise, which is a self-exploration of universal topics, such as Beauty, Suffering, Nature, Faith, Love, Friendship, Wisdom, Discipleship, Psychology, Philosophy, Ethics, Science and Faith, Worldviews, and more. Between Biblical Ethics and From the Ashes We Rise, I co-authored a biographical book (Flight to Freedom: A Story of Refuge, Redemption and Restoration) with my parents to honor their courageous and heroic journey from a Sandinistan-occupied Nicaragua to a free speech, freedom of religion and free market economy America, during the late 70s to early 80s. My first work of fiction, Imagining Jesus: Practicing the Presence of God for Children, came shortly afterwards (2021). Its seminal character, the biblically-based person of Jesus Christ, is consciously yet creatively placed in a unique setting to inspire childlike wonder in order to suppose what Jesus might say and do in the presence of children who are experiencing doubt, fear or distrust of God’s unconditional love and enjoyment of them. It’s with the same speculative concept and Christian fiction genre that I bring you, Salvador: Sophia’s Story.

The leading protagonist, Sophia, is an embittered fourteen-year-old girl who has recently incurred the loss of her older brother, Salvador. Seeking to cope with her loss, she abjures her Christian faith to embark on a spiritual quest.

This book is targeted toward Christian young adults. It is my experience that teenagers today, Generation Z teenagers, are open and optimistic about finding fulfillment via Christian experiences. This is confirmed by a Barna poll taken from 2021-2023. (See Barna.com, “Over Half of Gen Z Teens Feel Motivated to Learn More About Jesus,” February 1, 2023) However, that faith declines in young adulthood. Sadly, “the percentage of young-adult dropouts has increased from 59 to 64 percent. Nearly two-thirds of U.S. 18-29-year-olds who grew up in church tell Barna they have withdrawn from church involvement as an adult after having been active as a child or teen.” (Barna, “Church Dropouts Have Risen to 64%—But What About Those who Stay?” September 4, 2019) For those who stay, Barna president, David Kinnaman, calls them “resilient disciples.” So, whether a Generation Y (1981-2000) young adult has become disenchanted with the Faith or has remained a “resilient disciple,” Salvador will appeal to his/her Christian background.

The expectation is that an inspirational novel like Salvador that draws from biblical principles with a modern-day messiah figure, who does not contradict biblical principles but upholds them, will inspire “open-minded” Gen Y young adults to re-engage their faith or double-down as disciples. French polymath Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) explains that “religion is not contrary to reason, but worthy of reverence and respect.” He moves to connect this respect with attraction, making “good men wish it were true, and then show that it is. Worthy of reverence because it really understands human nature. Attractive because it promises true good.” (Blaise Pascal, Pensées, §12.) This is what I hope to accomplish through my speculative fiction novel, which also serves to educate and entertain its readers while encouraging them to read and reflect on the Scriptures themselves. In a (French) word, ressourcement captures the concept of returning to the authoritative sources of the Church for rediscovery and revitalization. And in a (Italian) word, aggiornamento captures the methodology of modernizing the Church’s practices to better communicate the Gospel. This ambitious literary task of telling a unique story (aggiornamento) to evangelize the timeless Truth of the Gospel (ressourcement) is my heart, devotion, and ministry. This is why I believe this book is unique.

RUNNING SYNOPSIS

 Who would’ve believed that an eighteen-year-old Mexican-American male from East Los Angeles would be a modern-day messiah? In this speculative fiction novel, Salvador de La Cruz (“Savior of the Cross” in Spanish) is none other than Jesus in disguise who makes a “pit-stop” to Earth before the parousia (i.e., the Second Coming). Salvador’s appearance defies expectations due to his gangster-like apparel, long braided black hair and handful of symbolic tattoos, which makes him an easy target for chastisement by legalistic Christians and cynical cops. He is the supporting character in the story to his precocious fourteen-year-old sister, Sophia, who’s wavering with her faith. Luis Cifer (Lucifer), the leading antagonist, has been looking for a way to usurp God’s throne since the Creation. He claims that the true account of the book of Genesis as recorded in the “Secret Gospels,” particularly the Testimony of Truth (retelling the story of the Garden of Eden from the perspective of the serpent), depicts Satan as divinely wise and God as an envious mad titan. Thus, Cifer believes that from the beginning he’s been wrongly accused and thus he’s dead-set on rewriting history.

The setting takes place in modern times—Malibu and East Los Angeles—as well as far-flung destinations as the Gaza strip in Egypt.

After thousands of years, Cifer believes he’s discovered a way to rule heaven via a mathematical formula known as the theory of everything (T.O.E.), which subsequently Einstein was working on the last 30-years of his life as he sought the ultimate reconciliation between quantum mechanics and classical physics.

So what’s so special about T.O.E.? Cifer believes he can alter his fate by using it on top of Khufu’s Pyramid, which generates an electromagnetic field, in order to change the formation of the stars from their original signs, according to the zodiac. This formula harmoniously integrates all four forces of nature: electromagnetism, gravity, strong and weak forces. Cifer is convinced that if he can manipulate gravity by locating gravitons that have escaped into extra-dimensions in order to harness the gravitational pull of the stars, then he can change their formation from their original signs that depict him as the fallen one in order to become mightier than God, placing his throne above God’s stars. Cifer has always wanted to be like Jesus—“the capstone” the builders rejected (Matthew 21:42; Psalm 118:22) by placing himself on top of the Great Pyramid, which happens to be the only place on the planet where the universe’s energy affects the Earth the strongest.

The book starts with Cifer conducting a secret meeting with his disciples at his glass-stilted mansion in Malibu, California. The story then shifts scenes to Sophia who is having a re-occurring nightmare about Salvador. Sadly, things only get worse for her when she awakens to discover that Salvador has been murdered and she is LAPD’s number one suspect. With Salvador out of the way, the only thing that prevents Cifer from attaining the keys to God’s kingdom is Sophia, whom he believes has been given knowledge of the mathematical formula by Salvador, except her time is running out since Cifer is set on reconfiguring the stars and their meanings at midnight, on the anniversary when Lucifer was kicked out of heaven—six thousand, six hundred years and six days (666) ago.

If Sophia is successful in her mission, she will stop the world from total annihilation brought on by astronomical upheaval. Ultimately, the task for Salvador is to convince his sister with providential clues and by the help of a mysterious man, Don Ricardo, that the spiritual battle between good and evil, God and Satan, is metaphysically real. The book concludes with Cifer being demoted and Sophia returning to her faith.

COMPETITION ANALYSIS

 The book Joshua, first copyrighted by Joseph F. Girzone in 1983 and later made into a movie (2001), conveys a similar message to Salvador yet it lacks the gritty reality of explosive emotions and destructive motives, which should be exposed given the interaction between a holy God and sinful humanity.

No modern book blends biblical facts and fantastical cutting-edge science fiction into an inspirational novel as accurately and graphically as Salvador. Its chilling suspense, strong story-line, stimulating conversations, and an exciting time travel concept via wormholes, make this novel unique and warranted.

Neither in any other Christian book or movie is the originality invested in Salvador shared or matched. I feel confident that this modern-day fictional account of the story of Christ will not only be heralded in a book, but its vivid, picturesque style will be anticipated for its cinematic potential.

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