Monday, April 23

Why Christian spec fic writers shouldn't include Jesus

I have so many things bouncing around in my head tonight. Life and all its little stresses.

One thing I've been pondering on is this argument that goes on in Christian fiction writers circles: the question of How Much of the Gospel Do We Include?

Some people take Jesus's command to spread the gospel to its extreme, and say that every story has to have Jesus in it, or a Jesus figure who is a redeemer.

Other people go to the other extreme and recommend no religion at all, unless the story absolutely has to have it.

Seeing as this argument goes on between writers of fantasy/sci-fi/paranormal etc., it does raise interesting questions of how you have Jesus when you're writing about elves fighting aliens on another world. I've toyed with writing Christianity in fanfiction for years. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. (The only time it seems to work is when it's laid in with a feather touch. Anything heavier and it just goes into a sermon, or worse, Bible verses with the nouns changed to something more 'fantasy' sounding.)

I've been reading from the Amplified Bible every night. I'm enjoying it hugely. Anyway, I came across Luke 12:8:

And I tell you, Whoever declares openly [speaking out freely] and confesses that he is My worshiper and acknowledges Me before men, the Son of Man also will declare and confess and acknowledge him before the angels of God.

Notice that Jesus doesn't say "whoever declares me in all of his stories, or at least has an Aslan." He says "Whoever declares openly ... that he is My worshiper". Like, in person. To real people. Face to face.

Think about the life of an author for a minute. Once they write books and people start reading them, they start getting fanmail. People want to meet the person who delighted them with a good story. That's the place for the author to make a statement of faith. I know that I'm always appreciative when a person of a different faith says so on their website, but keeps it out of their book. I feel like that writer respects me as a reader.

So why do Christians think we can save people by sneaking "Jesus saves!" into our books? We can't save anybody. Only the Holy Spirit can do that. But we can tell darn good stories. We don't even have to have Jesus (or any religion at all) in them. I think it's more respectful for the author to drop the "get people saved" agenda and just tell the darn story.

Tuesday, April 17

Washing the car

Today, the kids and I washed the car.

 Unfortunately, I didn't take any pictures of us actually washing it because it didn't cross my mind. Also, cameras, small children and water buckets are a bad mix.

We just got buckets of water and dish soap, and dishcloths, and washed the car like it was a giant dirty dish. We soaped it, then rinsed it, then dried it. We didn't get it quite as sparkly as it would have been had there been a garden hose available, but we did get the mud off from all that rain last week.

Also, the munchkins thought that washing the car was terrific fun. All except the youngest, who had to stay inside with Daddy.

Speaking of the youngest, she's decided that she likes eating snails.

She had one last night and another one this morning. I don't know where she keeps finding them! The dumb things must slime up and stick to the inside of the door. I had opened the door this morning for the fresh air. The next thing I knew, she has bits of snail shell all over her little smiling face, and a slimy snail gripped in her slimy hand.

Snail slime doesn't come off easily. Even with soap.

Isn't your day brighter now that you know that fact?

Friday, April 13

April showers

It's been raining like crazy here. In Southern Cali, we don't usually get much rain. A couple inches at most. Most of our water comes from the snowpack on the mountains. Well, this year decided to go like it did six years ago and rain for all of April.

Our lovely flooded sidewalk.

Check out the Doppler radar. We're the circled dot right in the middle of the storm. That doesn't usually happen, and I'm way too gleeful about it.

The storm started, naturally, while I was in the grocery store on Wednesday. With the kids. None of us had coats. We walked out of the store into a cloudburst.

I rushed the basket with my (drenched) munchkins and groceries out to the car, got everything stowed and wiped down. Then A. begged me to take his quarters, which he had left in the car, and please get him some gumballs. So I raced back out through the downpour and got him the gumballs.

By the time I got home, got everyone inside and all the groceries too, I was quite wet. But it was funny, too.

Thursday, April 12

Easter weekend

We had a nice Easter this past weekend. Gorgeous sunny weather, kids who love, love, love hunting Easter eggs, and uncles who don't mind hiding them.

My mom cooked dinner for us, and all of us kids got together with our assorted munchkins. I swore I took more pictures, but I guess I didn't. There were a few other ones (I have one hilarious shot of Alex sneering his nose while holding up an egg full of candy, but it's not blogworthy).

 I've meant to blog about this all week, but that meant sorting through my (lame) pictures and looking for ones that weren't lame. We had such a nice time, and my pictures don't convey that.

Good thing it's not this weekend! It's supposed to rain and thunder.

Wednesday, April 11

Cool Bible trivia

I got a Bible app for my ipod, and I've been reading chunks of the Bible in the Amplified version.

I've always wanted to read the whole Amplified Bible. I was reading Samuel, but apparently Hebrew is pretty straightforward, because there's not much  to amplify in there.

So I switched to Luke. Man, Greek must be really nuanced. I feel like I'm reading the Extended Edition, like Lord of the Rings. There's so many passages that always confused me, like this one:

Luke 8:18, KJV: Take heed therefore how ye hear: for whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have. 

And in the Amplified: Be careful therefore how you listen. For to him who has [spiritual knowledge] will more be given; and from him who does not have [spiritual knowledge], even what he thinks and guesses and supposes that he has will be taken away.

I understood that passage for the first time in my life!

But the really juicy bit came a little later. You know the bit where Jesus and the disciples get into a boat and are going across the sea of Galilee, and Jesus is asleep, and a storm comes? See what it says in the Amplified. I put the interesting bit in italics.

Luke 8: 22-25: One of those days He and His disciples got into a boat, and He said to them, Let us go across to the other side of the lake. So they put out to sea.
But as they were sailing, He fell off to sleep. And a whirlwind revolving from below upwards swept down on the lake, and the boat was filling with water, and they were in great danger.
And the disciples came and woke Him, saying, Master, Master, we are perishing! And He, being thoroughly awakened, censured and blamed and rebuked the wind and the raging waves; and they ceased, and there came a calm.
And He said to them, [Why are you so fearful?] Where is your faith (your trust, your confidence in Me--in My veracity and My integrity)? And they were seized with alarm and profound and reverent dread, and they marveled, saying to one another, Who then is this, that He commands even wind and sea, and they obey Him?

You know what kind of whirlwind happens over water and revolves from below and upwards?

 A waterspout.

So it wasn't just a storm that was swamping their boat. It was a freaking waterspout! No wonder the disciples were terrified! And then Jesus rebuked it and it went away.

I just thought that was awesome and had to share it with somebody.

Sunday, April 8

Happy Easter and birthday baby

Happy Easter, everybody! Yesterday was the baby's first birthday. Here she is, enjoying her obligatory birthday cupcake.

The next time she has an Easter birthday, she'll be old enough to really enjoy it. Presents and extra candy!

Hope you all have a very blessed Easter Sunday. :-)

Wednesday, April 4

Thinking about cupcakes

Today the kids and I walked out to see if we could find flowers for our vase. We sang A Hunting We Will Go. It was very cute. My favorite rose bush in the apartment complex is in bloom, and I got a couple nice buds. So very thorny, though.

The baby's birthday is this weekend. She'll turn 1, which is like the biggest letdown of a birthday ever. She's still a baby. She doesn't understand birthdays yet. So I'm going to make cupcakes and take them to our family dinner on Easter Sunday.

My hubby asked for these particular cupcakes that are chocolate with cream cheese and chocolate chips in the middle. They're called something like Chocolate Cheese Cups. They're a bit fiddly to make, but you don't even have to ice them. They're that delicious.

I'm also doing Patrice's Farmhouse Chats, because this blog post is feeling awfully short.

What was the first sign of spring that you saw this year?

Around here, all the ornamental pear trees bloom first. I don't know if they're everywhere in the country. They're like generic shade trees that get little inedible berry things on them. In the spring they get great big white blossom clusters that smell exactly like cat urine. They're pretty, but hold your breath as you walk downwind.

The other day I was sitting outside with the munchkins, and a mockingbird flew into our tree. He was singing, but my cockatiel was shrieking. The mockingbird's song trailed off as he listened to the cockatiel, and I heard him mimicking, very softly. First he made a similar sound, then he varied it until he dialed in the sound of the cockatiel's shriek. It was really interesting. I've never heard a mockingbird actually learning a call before.

What was the last package you received in the mail?

A box from my husband's folks of Easter candy for the kids. It's stashed in a mysterious box on top of the fridge, and only Mommy knows of the wonders that await within.

Do you have any Easter, or spring traditions in your home?

We're still working on that. So far the munchkins are still thrashing out this whole Easter basket thing, and they know it's about Jesus coming back to life. We do a fun activity with my extended family where we have twelve plastic eggs, each with things inside that pertain to the Crucifixion and Resurrection, like nails or rope.

Do you hand wash dishes or machine was them?

Both. I can't put my big pots and pans through the dishwasher. I use the dishwasher for cups, plates and silverware.

If I had an extra hour each day, I'd ______________.

Write and draw more. That's why I stay up late, actually. So I have time to write and draw. It's amazing how much I can get done in that extra hour every day, although sometimes I'm ready to fall asleep sitting up.

Sunday, April 1

Fun with hats

The other morning, the munchkins started playing with this tiny toy hat while we were getting dressed. It wound up on the baby's head, and she was so proud of herself, I had to take a picture. Look at her new teeth!
The older ones had to take their turns with the hat, too.
I got this picture right as the hat fell off her head. You can't tell it's in motion here, but it was.
It's fun trying to be quick reaching for the camera. I snap the oddest moments. We do have so much fun all the time.


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