Author Q&A

Interview for GoodNews
Christian eNewsletter Jan 2005

Prayer Warrior
by M. Anthony
Best known for his many contributions as a freelance baseball writer, Michael recently bridged his love of Civil War history and faith-writing for Onward Christian Soldier.

What inspired this project?

Although I had extensive experience writing about baseball, when writing as a Christian, I struggled to find subjects that I deemed worthy of God's Word. Then I watched Ron Maxwell's cinematic masterpiece Gods and Generals which featured a breathtaking performance of General Jackson (played by Stephen Lang.) From childhood visits to Gettysburg, to my current residence in Fredericksburg, the Civil War has always fascinated me. After viewing that film, the life (and death) of Stonewall stayed with me. He touched me and I had to write this.

What lessons can Christians learn from Thomas Jackson?

He was a true believer who lived everyday for the glory of God. In the end, he died with open arms and a smile on his face. We should all go that way. What a blessing it is to embrace death instead of fearing it, knowing that the Kingdom of Heaven will far exceed anything we have down here.

What lessons did you learn while writing this book?

I learned that Thomas Jackson doesn't get the respect he deserves outside of the southern Civil War community. Yes, he was eccentric. Yes, he was a warrior, but he was also a compassionate man who loved his God, his country, his family and his men. He was a REAL Christian soldier - not the "blood-thirsty racist" that several "experts" have portrayed in the past.

I believe whether you're interested in American history or Christian ideology, this book has something that everyone can come away with. It may be newfound knowledge of the Civil War or a renewed respect for their faith. It's a different approach to the "historical biography" and my goal is to inspire others to come to Christ through Jackson's glorious life and death.

You've already written and signed on for another?

Yes. Initially, my intent was to write a single biography focusing on the spirituality of one of America's greatest Christian soldiers. However, as my own study of Thomas Jackson progressed, I discovered another legendary Confederate hero that shared an exceptionally similar life (and death) as "Stonewall." That man was General J.E.B. Stuart. I actually feel that the second book is better because I learned so much from researching and writing the first one, that I was able to jump right into the companion.


Interview for SPC Post
Spotsylvania Presbyterian Church Newsletter April 2005

Onward Christian Writer: Finding A Purpose
by Reverend Alan Hager
This month, SPC member Michael Aubrecht describes how his newly discovered "Purpose Driven Life" has led him to publish two books on local, and legendary Christian soldiers.

What has been your background as a writer and what kind of writing have you done?

The Lord has blessed me in so many ways and I am very grateful for the opportunities that I have been given. Every success in my life, I now credit solely to Him. God not only granted me a steady job as an Art Director, but also a writing hobby that has evolved into a second career. Back in 2000, I was hired as a freelance writer for and over the years, I have produced over 375 studies for them on the history of major league baseball.

How did you become interested in incorporating your faith in your approach to writing?

Shortly after becoming a member at SPC, I felt the Holy Spirit come into my life. I remember a particular sermon on the subject of using our time and talents for the glory of God. As a result, I started entertaining the idea of writing from a Christian perspective and discovered a group on the Internet called Faith Writers. I prayed on it, submitted some articles and ended up published in three of their books as well as Cross Times Magazine and of course, the SPC Newsletter! None of this would have ever happened if not for a desire to share my relationship with Christ.

Have you faced any tensions when trying to write from a religious perspective?

"Fear" would be the word I would use. It's scary sometimes to take a risk and I really felt uncomfortable expressing my own faith with the written word. I've been participating in Mike's Bible study for the last two years and the spiritual strength that I have received from those guys was (and is) a major factor in my pursuit of religious writing. Ironically, the manuscript for my first book was circulating between publishers when we began The Purpose Driven Life program and any remaining doubt that I had in myself, or the message, drifted away during those 40 days.

What led you to write Onward Christian Soldier: The Spiritual Journey of Stonewall?

I have always been a huge Civil War buff, and after viewing the film Gods and Generals, the life (and death) of Stonewall stayed with me. His total faith and devotion to God literally touched my heart and I felt a strong calling to write about it. There have been so many brilliant and long-winded studies on Jackson over the years. All of them however, spotlight his military service and strategic genius. My book recalls these events, but is ultimately focused on his religious awakening and it's affect on both his life and the lives of his men.

What did you come to especially appreciate about this man from your research?

I learned that Thomas Jackson doesn't get the respect he deserves outside of the southern community. Yes, he was eccentric, but he was also a compassionate man who loved his God and his country. I also discovered a man struggling to deal with the horrors of war. General Robert E. Lee once said, "It is well that war is so terrible, or we should grow too fond of it." This is the internal struggle that many soldiers face in fulfillment of their duty. All wars are dreadful, but civil wars are the worst of them all. Brother against brother, countrymen killing fellow countrymen, all of this weighed heavily on Jackson's conscience, but he later found comfort through faith.

Any other projects in the works for future books?

Christian Cavalier: The Spiritual Legacy of J.E.B. Stuart will be coming out in a few months. He was another true believer and his "swashbuckling charisma" was fresh and fun to portray. I am also debating a third book on General Richard Ewell; a stubborn non-believer who was later converted by witnessing Jackson's example. I think it will be a while before I publish anything new though. I love to write, but I love my family more and they sacrificed a lot of time so I could pursue this dream. I owe them, SPC, and the Lord more than words can say.


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