About Aspire...
 

Sandra Glahn's areas of academic interest are women in antiquity; women's history; creative writing; writing for publication; homiletics; hermeneutics; literature; fiction; bioethics; reproductive technologies; sexual intimacy in marriage; infertility/pregnancy loss; and mentoring.

She has appeared on numerous TV and radio programs, including the 700 Club, Ivanhoe Productions' "Smart Woman" television broadcasts, FamilyLife Today, AtHome Live television, Janet Parshall's America, and in other national media. She and her husband, Gary, have been married thirty-four years and have a daughter who joined their family through adoption.     

 

Sandra Tells Aspire's Story

ASPIRE began as my teamwork with the late William Cutrer, M.D. The word "ASPIRE" was our acronym for Adoption, Sanctity of Life, Pregnancy Loss, Infertility, Reproductive Technologies, and Ethics. Later we broadened our list of topics and chose as our motto, “Thinking that Transforms." You’ll find resources here on subjects ranging from abortion to zygotes. A glance at the navigation bars will give you a quick overview, but it wont tell the whole story. 

 



The Publications 

I met Dr. Bill when he was treating my husband, Gary, and me for infertility. Later I coordinated a statewide medical symposium for fertility patients, and I asked Dr. Bill to speak on infertility and spirituality. The workshop was the highest-attended of any that day, which  suggested a deep and unexplored need for spiritual guidance on the topic. 

Later our paths crossed again as Gary and I accompanied Dr. Bill and his wife on a mission team going to Russia and Belarus. The following year, we accompanied him with a medical team to Ukraine and Belarus. The year after that, we returned with him to Ukraine with yet another medical team. Gary went as a theologian; I went as a journalist. During long overseas flights, the three of us discussed linking my journalism-and-theology background with Dr. Bills medicine-and-theology background. The result was the release of our first book, When Empty Arms Become a Heavy Burden: Encouragement for Couples Facing Infertility (Broadman), which today is in its second edition (Kregel)  

After writing that book, Dr. Bill asked if I would take his lectures on sexual intimacy (many groups invited “the ob/gyn doc” to provide lectures on the topic) along with stacks of 3X5 cards he had collected of audience questions, add my own theological perspective and research, and coauthor Sexual Intimacy in Marriage (Kregel). That book, which has sold more than 150,000 copies in English and Spanish, is now available in its third edition.  

Our publisher at the time, Kregel, asked us to contribute to a book on genetic engineering. As we did research for that project, we saw stem cell research on the horizon, and the developments we saw coming troubled us. Yet we also knew if we wrote a book on stem cell research, no one (okay, maybe our parents) would buy it. Z-z-z-z-z.

Then we thought, What if we communicated the information in story form—fiction rather than non-fiction?" As edu-tainment. We didn’t want a preachy book. We wanted one with down-to-earth characters and realistic circumstances that challenged Christ-followers as much as seekers to consider why they believed as they did.

Kregel took the risk with us. And our first novel, Lethal Harvest, made the June Christian-market bestseller list. The book was later named a Christy Fiction Award finalist in the mystery/suspense category. It didn’t hurt that a major news announcement about the mapping of the human genome hit the media the same week as our book. 

In that work we made some characters’ lives miserable, and through the process of throwing obstacles in their paths, we explored embryonic stem cell research and genetic engineering gone wrong. We went on to write a sequel, Deadly Cure, which looked at adult stem cell research. Then, in our next novel, False Positive, we went with WaterBrook, an imprint of Random House. In that book we tackled some of the intricacies of abortion, RU-486, and unplanned pregnancy. We were gratified to receive positive reviews from Publishers Weekly, Romantic Times, and Booklist.

We took a break from writing fiction to return to non-fiction with the release of The Infertility Companion: Help and Hope for Couples Facing Infertility published by Zondervan in association with the Christian Medical Association. Enough time had passed since our first infertility book that a few new bioethical issues had arisen. In this work we provided an ethics grid for helping couples make wise decisions about high-tech treatment. Also, we had not addressed topics such as embryo donation or cloning in the first book, so it was time. The following year, Zondervan/CMA published our work, The Contraception Guidebook: Options, Risks and Answers for Christian Couples. In that book, we explored the ethics of contraception, particularly whether the pill causes abortion.  

Have you noticed a continuous theme that runs through our joint works? We loved exploring complex bioethical issues, particularly those relating to reproductive issues.

But after authoring seven books together, our writing took us in separate directions. To Dr. Bill's solo projects he brought together his theological and medical training to explore biomedical topics. He wrote Choices: A Pregnancy Guide (Lulu) for the woman facing an unintended pregnancy. And he released  The Church Leader's Handbook (Kregel), a guide for pastors and other ministry leaders that helps them know how to minister to people during crises such as suicide and teen pregnancy.

My solo projects included the Coffee Cup Bible Studies series. I noticed that many women’s studies in which I'd participated left out a significant step in bridging the gap between ancient biblical texts and modern-day application. So I designed this series to help both individuals and groups look at primary sources for timeless principles. So far I have nine titles: Java with the Judges; Mocha on the Mount, Solomon Latte; Espresso with Esther; Cappuccino with Colossians; Premium Roast with Ruth; Kona with Jonah; Frappé with Philippians (AMG); Sumatra with the Seven Churches. Number ten, Chai with Malachi is due out this summer.  

While pursuing PhD studies at the University of Texas at Dallas, I wrote a solo medical suspense novel, Informed Consent (Cook).  Dr. Cutrer was my medical consultant for this story about Jeremy Cramer, M.D., the next Einstein of infectious disease research. While working on a way to revive water submersion victims, he makes a breakthrough discovery in AIDS research that thrusts him into the center of a media frenzy. But the publicity turns negative and his marriage reaches the breaking point when he accidentally infects a colleague and his negligence allows his son to contract a life-threatening disease. The viruses test the limits of his new formula and his ethics. In his frantic efforts to save his son and his marriage, he must decide whether to allow his child to die or violate the rights of a young transplant donor. The choice forces him to stand face-to-face with the unfathomable love required to sacrifice an only son. 

My dissertation at UTD included writing a novel that explores first-century backgrounds, specifically focused on women in antiquity in ancient Ephesus. Perhaps you will see "The Ephesian Fragments" at some future date. 

Dr. Bill passed from this world on July 13, 2013. But his legacy lives on through the many lives he touched, the babies he saved through his advocacy for the unborn, and his written and spoken words.  

 

Whether I'm writing about current events in bioethics, intimacy, Bible backgrounds, study guides, or writing itself, I want readers to think, and I want them to leave transformed. Thanks for checking out aspire2.com. I'm glad you're here! 

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