Learning to Write Well

“The arbitrary modification of full blown or full-grown characters is one of the artistic sins that spot the record of Dickens.”
— Oscar W. Firkins

May I never forget this.

This quote comes from a fairly academic review of Jane Austen, her style and writings. From reading this I hope to gain a broader understanding and vocabulary for literature in general.

So far, though he grants her exception for dialogue, he treats the first two books as if all they have to offer the 20th century is cheap drama and immature romance. (I think “lacking experience” was his exact words.) I don’t mind a modern’s review, being that the majority of women I knew to adore her were likewise naive and romantic concerning matters of Life. But I greatly anticipate his conclusion because I’ve ever only known contemporaries to praise her never to criticize.

But, with lines like the above quote, I like how this guy thinks. So cheers for literary analysis and may we all be better writers because of it!

Happy Reading.

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Click this to read the article, When Life Hurts

Dr. Michael Horton confronts the stoicism of our day. You know, the “wear a smile until you can be alone and collapse under your pain” kind of belief many suffer from today.

Read and enjoy the freedom Christ offers to those who feel pain and don’t be ashamed to feel anymore!

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Christian Witness 101

“Maybe if the world didn’t see us as crusaders against wickedness and sin, but salt and light, they’d be more inclined to listen to the supposed good news we’re offering?”

What is salt?

Simply, a preserver and flavor to make something taste good.

What is light?

Comfort in a dark room and practically helpful to those needing it to function.

Why didn’t Christ liken us to a flame thrower who apologizes and pleads with the person we just fried to a crisp with the moral law to repent and believe? Or an angry dog barking the same damning message about what they want to see destroyed by the Lord’s glorious return! Or a crazy shouting from a street corner with signs using scriptures extremely out of context making God seem like some homophobic maniac?

Maybe because salt is a preservative. It’s an everyday aid in the kitchen and a life preserver to the pilgrim. Life is a journey and if heaven is home then you will need other saints to encourage you along the way. This kinda preserves a person.

Maybe light, because it just is. It silently brightens the darkness of a room giving the owner of that room a good look at what ghouls and monsters hide in the shadows. I’m not inferring a Christian shouldn’t give biblical answers to questions, but shoot- wait to be invited into the room! Don’t just barge in like a crusader waving your torch and scaring people into saying anything to make you leave.The crusader does harm and hardly any good. Surly, if any good come from a crusader it’s evidence of God’s sovereignty and kindness to the individual attacked by the crusader.

This isn’t going to be peppered with scriptures to show you some exegetical treatise supporting this idea. Nope, enough of the proof-texts. God gave us wisdom too and I don’t think the bible and wisdom are divorced from each other. Nay, I believe if wisdom has no place in scripture it be not wisdom of God, but of this world. But I also believe God gives all of humanity, saved or not, common graces like wisdom.

If you must have a scripture I’m sure you can see Romans, “it is the kindness of God that leads a man to repentance.” But don’t stop there, actually practice it. There’s a difference between “being mean by telling people the truth” and “telling a hard truth that could come across mean”.

Let me break it down for you,

If I have no relationship with you but say “Oh, you’re gay. Well God says that’s a sin and all sinners if they don’t repent and believe will perish eternally. Please repent and believe, I ‘m telling you this because I love you.”  You are mean. That’s what the unbeliever will always think. (Unless by some act of sovereignty God intervenes in your maybe thoughtful, but actually mindless presentation of the gospel. )

On the other hand, telling the truth when it’s hard and may not be received well stands a much better chance of being received if the person hearing the truth is actually a friend and trusts what you have to say regarding the topic.

Until that awesome day, pray, bear with them their worldly burdens, whatever they may be and don’t you DARE make them feel judged or less-than because they’re sinning differently than you! It’s obvious when they know you’re a Christian you probably won’t be invited to their drunken soirees, sleep overs or whatever else. But having dinner or a cup of coffee is harmless. Just be a friend! Go. Talk to unbelievers without an agenda to save them. You might actually make a friend that likes you, not because you’re a Christian like them and they have to, but because you’re a good friend and actually likable.

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Saturday-Slowdown: Slaying Monsters

It’s Saturday.

I can almost think cognitively, now. But why do I feel so irritated? Like some tiny finger in my brain is tapping, tapping, tapping, tapping, etc.

Let’s review some highlights from the week:

The daycare lost a part-time client, our elderly neighbor needed us to watch his elderly dog and apartment because he went to the hospital midway through the week. Then, because of said emergency we missed a birthday party that was pretty important to us. That’s the cake now here’s the frosting and sprinkles: children under the age of three come over from 6:30am-5:45pm every day, husband was gone taking finals most of week then gone Friday for appointment out-of-town. And the cherry on top may be that I’m way overdue for some alone time–

I’m sure we could read these events in a number of ways:

1) Angry monster says, “Client had concerns? Well what the @#!$ does she know? She’s an overly protective anxious mess. Good ridden! Actually, good ridden to EVERYONE! I QUIT!”

2) Passive monster says, “Well, #$@% happens. Where’s that bottle of wine?”

3) Depressed monster says, “This kind of stuff always happens to me. Why is everything always against me?”

Great. I’ve seen all these monsters at least once this week, now how can I put these monsters to sleep? Because the truth is, no one likes being a monster. And if you do, well… I guess you enjoy misery and that my friend, is honestly quite sad.

Give us the Sleep Aid, already! Okay, here’s what I got so far:

Monster’s Sleep Serum – “I definitely felt kind of defeated by a few things this week which makes me feel like a loser. But largely, I had no control over them. I can’t really control what people think of our location for child care, nor can I control when people need our help, nor can I control how these things affect other prearranged commitments like the party we missed. In light of that, it’s okay to feel defeated, but also enlightening to know there is no logical basis for some big internal ogre, saying ‘You have to feel like a miserable loser FOREVER!'”

So, moving along. Now that the monsters are comatose by a heap of logic and personal enlightenment, let’s kill ’em!

The Headsman’s Ax – “Trying week to say the least. I felt defeated for a bit, but now I can’t wait to unwrap what the present holds.”

There we have it. Blogging Therapy.

I realize this wasn’t an apocalyptic-kind of week, but irritating nonetheless, and maybe it can be used to example a positive thought pattern so the next time monsters begin lurking inside we can subdue them before they destroy us and we eat our loved ones.

Remember, don’t just feel and react. Slowdown, think and respond.

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Here’s some scripture to meditate on if you’re reading this and want to see where the idea of slaying internal monsters comes from,

“For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God and take every thought captive to obey Christ,” II Corinthians 10:4-5

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Aaron Becker’s Journey: The Illustration Process

Here’s a blog called Gurny Journey blogging with Aaron Becker about how Mr Becker illustrated his best-seller Journey. 

aaron becker_journey 4

Enjoy!

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Covenant Theology 101

“God’s promises to you in Christ stand on the firmest of all possible footings — on the promises that the triune persons exchanged with each other before they set the world in motion.”
Redemption Accomplished

This quote comes from the article by Dennis E. Johnson, professor at Westminster Seminary California, titled, Redemption Accomplished.

Why should you care? Why should you read it?

Because it just might be the most complete explanation of God’s covenant with all of creation (this includes you) that I’ve ever read.

Just Astounding. Let it blow your mind.

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My Child With a Disability Is Not My Hero

A thoughtful and balanced view! I enjoyed reading this very much.

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