Category Archives: Christianity

Spiritually-relative subjects.

A Labyrinth of Literary Proportions

The novel surreptitiously mentioned on the About Me page has had significant progress and I hope to be querying publishers, God willing, in August.

1 Chronicles 29:11

New King James Version (NKJV) – Verse of the Day

11 Yours, O Lord, is the greatness,
The power and the glory,
The victory and the majesty;
For all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours;
Yours is the kingdom, O Lord,
And You are exalted as head over all.

I understand I have many readers that are opposed to my worldview, which is one of the reasons I encourage them to read my About page which includes the mission statement for this blog, especially:

This blog is not in any way meant to badger, slander, or reflect and elaborate upon darkly sarcastic, cynical, satirical topics and discussions. I will abide by Biblical standards and keep a civil tone in my writings. As a Christian, I agree with the statement made by Brother Andrew, author of God’s Smuggler: that we are not anti people of other religions or other beliefs, rather “pro-Christ.” I am open to the expression of one’s personal beliefs, though you may certainly expect to see me express mine in return. This blog is for informative and expressive purposes – if you have any questions, please leave a comment on one of my posts.

That said, I have chosen Christianity out of a deeply-rotted inward desire for purpose. To become part of something that is bigger than myself, with eternal continuance and universal ramifications. Via educational mediums I have come to understand many of the predominant world views of our time and their  origins, beliefs, implications, and arguments (Agnosticism, Post-Modernism, Neo-Darwinism, Darwinism, Creationism, Atheism [variations], Theistic Evolutionism, Cosmic Evolution [Buddhism, New Age, Hinduism], Secular Humanism, [Greek Philosophical] Humanism, Marxist-Leninism, Islam, Protestant Christianity, Mormonism, Catholicism, Judaism). Consequently, each worldview have quite unique perspectives across the board in politics, ethics, sociology, psychology, and whatnot. Each must be studied in part to understand the whole.

However, instead of weakening my faith, these studies have served to strengthen my belief in God, the teachings of Jesus, and His resurrection for our sakes. I do not believe I am superstitious or illogical, for I follow not blindly, but with faith and reason. Paul’s ministry was not that of mockery, hatred, and foolishness, but a logical comprehension of society and its respective views, presenting Christ’s doctrine compassionately to all who He encounters (including his jailers under Nero, many of which converted to Christianity). I believe that today’s Christianity is a perverted deviation from the truth, and Biblical Christianity may be observed in those few who passionately, selflessly, and wholeheartedly follow Christ in serving others and living out His purpose.

If my book were to become significantly popular, or simply generate inquiry, I would desire to give any praise up to God. I hope this will help readers understand my future actions and statements.

Vitraux de Litteau: Stained Glass of Europe

PNG Image of Stained Glass

Le Pigeonnier and manor are situated in a little Normandie town called Litteau. Within this sparse, countryside community, is founded a church with beautiful stained glass. This particular piece, however, is not of a particularly cheery disposition, depicting the act of presumably Christian martyrdom.

Álainn: The Beauty of a Daffodil (& brief update)

100_8525 [Daffodils]-AW (PNG)

To stay true to the Irish spirit of this day, I have used entitled this photograph with the Gaelic term "Álainn" which I am led to understand, equates to "beauty." These daffodils were picked from our garden today, for they would have inevitably wasted away from the heat if they were not promptly extricated. It is no wonder that the ancient Greeks thought so highly of their species (the narcissus) describing them in myth as beyond compare (for such was the figure characterized). The beauty of God's creation is astounding, and its complexity as well - to think that contained within a cell is a molecular factory of sorts is beyond expectation of such seeming simplicity.

Writing Update: A few days ago the iBookstore and NOOK accepted the extended edition of my 400 Years of Silence (Play) and Short Story. I may be posting the additions to this blog by revision of their corresponding posts.

Publishing Efforts (& photo): And now… we wait!

Waiting for food...

Writing is one of my favorite pastimes (if you haven’t read the About Me page yet), albeit the action of finishing a particular work always seems to be substantially more gratifying than the process of creating (this is not to say the process of creating is lacking in enjoyability). This may be due to the fact that particular roadblocks may present themselves during the work, such as the infamous Writer’s Block.

Debatably better is the act of publishing (excluding the path of finding a publisher) which takes one’s work and distributes it for the enjoyment / enlightenment of others. Key are these final statements: enjoyment and enlightenment.

Reading is a fantastic means of entertainment, yet it may also prove to be an effective means of teaching. One of my greatest aspirations (aside from my life’s goal) is to devise a novel which will change the life of its reader, I dare say my 400 Years of Silencestory, when at its fruition, may do

The X-Structure

I have often come to a standstill in my writings, or even before the writing has begun, when an idea is simply in its infancy. You may note I have a curious description for my 400 Years of Silence (Play): "It started with a simple project, then as God's hand became manifest, the story unfolded." By this I refer to the process by which the story came into being. One day, desiring to write a play of Biblical significance, I sat down at the computer with my outline sheet and opened the Word processor. Then, calling to remembrance my purpose, I said a simple prayer, asking God to give me words that would bring Him glory, or else to take them away so that I could not write. When I began typing, it was a quick process, and I found the play was devised before an hour's time. When I came to improve upon the story later, I found myself at a lack of words with which to write. Then I prayed again and what was to be written followed suit.

just that. However, that is dependent upon future events, and at the very moment, it is quite inapplicable.

In relation to this, today I submitted three separate manuscripts for publishing. One was my 400 Years of Silence (Play & Short Story), the second being its gratis counterpart, solely the short story. Last of all is the annotated version of my War at Our Doorstep six-hundred word short story, all of which will be elaborated upon at a later date.

The stories in their current state are available here, the updated versions should be hitting markets sometime next this weekend.

Une Lumière Extraordinaire

The [altered] photograph below was taken at the Mont Saint Michel, during our tour of Normandy. It is one of the images I found within my collection having a blurry quality, due to improper composition. Likely due to the steady pace at which we were exploring le mont. Nevertheless, I loathe to see a photograph wasted and therefore heightened the detail, tampered with the lighting – contrast, brightness, exposure, etc. and produced this image.

Archangel[AW]

The illumination is a fitting aspect in this picture, considering how the Bible and interpretations of Biblical tellings portray angels, often accompanied by a shining light. What became my photographs downfall originally (unfortunate lighting, blur, etc.), "made" this rendition.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (Review)

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

Image via Wikipedia

“A five minute game?”

-Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.)

“If you think you can manage it.”

-Professor Moriarty  (Jared Harris)

Take the world’s most famous detective, a singular and most riveting case, add an arch rival, comedic brother, and a medical companion with a knack for gambling – stir, bake for 25 minutes under the cover of a bullet proof oven and out will come a piping hot Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. 

Critical analyses go anywhere from five stars to zero – with a plethora of praises and distastes. The film takes an initiative of which its predecessor partially abstained. In the first film, one may recall a deal of action, yet the overall plot was filled with a rather supernatural air of mystery and peril, with Sherlock Holmes’ deductions casting light on a seemingly foggy night. Once the big reveal is made, we find a case of dramatic proportions.

“This is so deliciously complicated.”

-Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows rids itself of superstition and focuses entirely on action and rapidly-paced deductions. A war is on the brink, and only Sherlock Holmes can stop it. The stakes are higher than ever before, thus, an action film rendition of Conan Doyle’s literary feat is what we find at the theaters.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows opens onto a crowded London Street, following the urgent pace of Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams). With a singular-looking package in one hand, and a homeless gent following quick behind, we find ourselves immersed in a suspenseful endeavor. The man rushes up beside her, covertly steals her package, and warns there are two men behind Irene with “unsavory” motives. Sherlock Holmes is on the case with one of his many disguises. Irene makes a humorous jibe about Holmes’ apparent situation of poverty, then enters an empty alleyway and stops three men joining her. Irene takes back the rectangular package from Holmes and reveals the men are her guards, ensuring the safe delivery of the package. With a few flirtatious remarks and a kiss goodbye, she hurries off – leaving Holmes to deal with the formidable thugs. A fight immediately breaks out, and it is uncertain who has the upper hand. Sherlock knocks one man to the ground while another shoves his head through two unsteady wooden beams. Holmes recovers and once again joins the fray. As two police officers walk by, Sherlock Holmes plops into an odd seating position and the thugs toss him a few coins, feigning innocence. During this time Sherlock Holmes deduces their next moves in the fashion of the first film (boxing scene deductions) with slow-motion observations with voiced over deductions, with a speedy follow-through of punches, jabs, grabs, and slams – leaving the enemy out cold. After scaring off his final opponent, Sherlock resumes his investigation.

“Did you kill my wife? …you just threw her off a train!”

 -Dr. Watson

“I timed it perfectly.”

-Sherlock Holmes

One thing happens after another – Irene dies, explosions abound, and Watson decides to get married.

Professor Moriarty. From the Sherlock Holmes s...

Prior to the marriage comes a party filled with gambling, fortune telling (by Sherlock Holmes to a key character gypsy), a rotund and comical Mycroft, and  a series of thwarted assassination encounters. Watson gets married, boards a train to honeymoon, and finds himself in danger as Sherlock “knocks antlers” with his arch-nemesis Professor Moriarty, the criminal king who is bent on fortune and glory. Will Sherlock manage to best his foes, or with he lose all that is dear to him? Such secrets are hidden in a game of shadows…

“Now are you sure you want to play this game?”

-Prof. Moriarty

“I’m afraid you’d lose.”

-Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes Featurette

Critical Review

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows is the best installment yet, and I certainly hope for a third to exceed my expectations. Robert Downey Jr. makes for a brilliant Holmes, utilizing all the quirks of Conan Doyle’s original character with a few new aspects, such as a greater romantic interest with Irene. Likewise, other characters have been “remodeled.” Mycroft Holmes, the self-secluded introverted twin of Holmes (sharing the same, even better, deductive abilities) became a comedic relief in the film, creating the only nude scene present (again, for humor. The nude scene consists entirely of Mycroft holding a newspaper while talking to Mrs. Watson about a telegram he has received from Holmes and Watson who have delved deep into their investigation. He acts normally, and there is no sexual innuendo aside from the fact of Mycroft’s nudity. He is ignorant of the opposite sex and is acting purely out of this vice.) I personally enjoy the extra additions of action and suspense and appreciated the film’s dramatic “reference” to The Final Problem (Sherlock Holmes book by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle). (Spoiler [highlight to read: the scene is question is the second to last. Where Sherlock Holmes plummets into the waterfall’s depths with Moriarty, leaving the audience to think them dead. The final scene where we find Sherlock Holmes camouflaged, sitting in a chair while Watson types his memoir, was not in the novel, albeit I thoroughly enjoyed it nonetheless.)

“Competent but predictable – now allow me to reply.”

-Prof. Moriarty

Christian and Family Perspective

The spiritual concerns I had noted with the first film (drawing of the pentagram by Holmes, and virtually the entire nature of the case until we learn it is all faux) are not a problem with this sequel. There is a fortune teller, however, and before she has the chance to make any prediction, Sherlock interrupts and (mockingly) informs her that he would like to tell her a fortune. He picks up the cards and uses them for illustration in his points: she has been driven to drinking, has a brother whom she holds dear, and a client who has come to kill her.

From a Christian and family perspective, this movie is a bundle of fun with a plethora of concerns. There is a gypsy woman whose occupation is fortune telling. The demonic is not, however, as fully pressed in this movie as it was in the first. Before she can even get out a word of Sherlock’s fortune, Sherlock tells her he would like to give her fortune. He uses the cards while presenting his points, then rescues her from an assassin. Therefore, it is not as dark as one may suspect from the previews, yet the concept should be noted. There are many fights, such as those between Sherlock and Watson against various mobs, including at a place where gambling is taking place. This movie, taking into account the action, flirtatious content (to be discussed in the full review), should be suitable for children aged 15+ (Common Sense Media recommends age 14+, however, it may be a bit much even for fourteen year olds, depending on their maturity level and “tolerance”).

-Adventure Writer's Blog: Preliminary Review

In addition to the points noted above, there is also a great deal of alcohol consumption.

“Never let these gypsies make you drink (paraphrased).”

-Sherlock Holmes, who proceeds chug down the gypsy's wine.

This film is certainly a pleasure to watch for the most part, although it is certainly not a family film, as it is unsuitable for younger children due to the above points.

400 Years of Silence: Six-Hundred Word Story

400 Years of Silence

It started with a simple project, then as God’s hand became manifest, the story unfolded. 400 Years of Silence is a creative interpretation, written in duet play form and short story prose, of the 400 year period between the Old Testament prophets and the birth of Jesus Christ. In that time, there was no word from God, until the cry of a baby broke the silence on that glorious night when the savior of the world was born.

On one cold September night, a man sat pouring over the Holy Scriptures of God. The room was dark, but for the light of a few feeble candles, arranged around the man’s place of reading, casting a yellow tinge against the dark stone walls. As he finished reading the final verse of Job, his brother Mannaseh entered the study.

“Naaman, my brother!” Mannaseh exclaimed. “What are you doing reading that old thing? It’s been four hundred years since that god of yours proclaimed anything to His people – resign this insanity of yours!”

“Insane I may be,” began Naaman, motioning to the scriptures before him. “But these prophecies Isaiah speaks of…”

“Forget the prophecies!” Mannaseh interjected, with an ever reddening visage. “Those were simply lies devised by the old Kings of Israel.”

“Yet why would the kings seek their own destruction?” Naaman reasoned, his tone measured and calm, yet with a hint of desperation. “It is by God alone that…”

“I relent brother, I relent…” cried Manasseh, storming out of the room. “I leave you to this self-ordained madness!”

Naaman sat half-bewildered, still gazing at the last verse before him. Job didn’t have faith either… then God revealed himself in a most glorious way.“My brother may not believe,” Naaman said to himself. “But I feel the spirit of the Lord is strongly manifested on this night. God will not be quiet forever, He will come after his lost sheep.”

Night soon fell, and Naaman retired to his study. Perhaps the next day would bring about a glorious awakening – one could only hope.

When the cock crowed the next morning, all the citizens of the land awoke to the realization of the day. It was the time of Caesar Augustus’ fateful decree, the census of the entire Roman world, and all were required by mandate to register themselves. Naaman had gone, his brother Manasseh with him, to register at the same time of Joseph and Mary.

“Ah, what a day is this!” Naaman spoke cheerfully, as their horses trod down the road.

“Always the cheerful one,” Mannaseh remarked disdainfully. “What is it you find so worthwhile in life?”The brother responded with a grin.

“Unlike yourself Mannaseh, I find joy in the coming of a savior.”

The horses slowed as they reached the crowded registration center, Naaman cast his gaze around, taking in all the town had to offer. On one side there were various vendors, promoting their wares, which consisted of food, cloth, or trinkets of interest. All of a sudden, however, something or rather someone in particular caught his eye – a pregnant woman among the masses, accompanied by a man named Joseph. Mannaseh followed his brother’s gaze and saw an opportunity to torment him in his purported evident superstition.

“See here brother!” Mannaseh said exultantly. “This couple, claiming to be followers of God have committed a momentous sin against the commandment of the Great Creator! Engaging in that which is sacred to marriage. What do you say in defense of your fellow brother’s and sister’s grievous reproach?”

Naaman looked confidently into Mannaseh’s eyes as he delivered his retort.“Man is inherently sinful Manasseh, who can know the bounds of depravity? Even a godly man or woman may fall into the bounds of sin. Yet my God is a merciful one, as seen with David and Bathsheba.”

Manasseh laughed, perceiving Naaman’s confidence as utter foolishness. “Such hypocrisy.” Manasseh remarked simply. “How may one be the follower of a perfect God when they themselves are imperfect?”

“For this very reason God gave us repentance through sacrifice.” Naaman answered. Though in my heart, stirring within my spirit, I am confident that God will do away with this ritual and bring us to Him through a most glorious and perfect way.”

Manasseh stormed out of the room, furious. Naaman’s superstitions had advanced too far, venturing into the realm of insanity. When did Naaman first convert from a normal child to a hopeless religious advocate? Manasseh could recall the event with superb clarity, such were the profound events surrounding it. It was upon the celebration of their father’s thirty and sixth year, when their life as a family changed forever. A tear fell down his cheek as a torrent of memories immersed his consciousness. It was a terrible day indeed.

Despite the silence of God, human life and faith in Biblical teachings persisted. The world did not end, it continued as it had before, trusting in that which had come before. One may dismiss the past as irrelevant, the things of old as rubbish to be discarded. However, there is much to be gleaned from antiquity – trial and error is a necessary process, yet it may be expedited with knowledge of another’s prior prosperity and misapplications. While God did not proclaim through prophets, His Word spoke volumes. And so it was, until the greatest proclamation came to be – the wondrous birth of Jesus Christ which ended the four hundred years of silence and brought about a means to salvation which had been foretold generations before.

Afterword

It is with a longing to expound that I conclude. Yet the story of Manasseh and Naaman will not go untold. Time brings with it many things – and writing is no exception.

NOOK Notice: This material is protected by copyright.

Copyright © 2012 – All Rights Reserved

The Christ: Notre Dame

100E6807-AW

Taken at one of the many Notre Dames of France - altered slightly for effect.

The Stand: More than a Vapor

Tonight I was listening to The Stand by Kritstian Stanfill 
(review coming soon) and felt compelled to write something...

What is life but a vapor? What is a moment in time before eternity?
If we live our lives for ourselves we are met with momentary gratification – but what if we live for something more – the plan of God? Suddenly we are part of something much bigger – the biggest, greatest plan ever conceived. Here we find our purpose, and in it we may truly [and most freely] live.

DP: Would you rather laugh with sinners, or cry with saints? My question: what is a “saint?” The answer…

2 To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours…”

1 Corinthians 1:2 - New King James Version (NKJV)
Saints - In Greek it means "holy ones," or "set apart," in reference to ALL Christians. Meaning 
we are all called to be set apart and that, in Christ, we are all saints. All equal (Galatians 3:28)