Stories Create Community

Nine years ago (a veritable dinosaur’s age in digital terms) Robert McCrum wrote about the growing re connection between writers and readers. He wrote about Arthur Conan Doyle responding to his readers, then how novelists rose to the status of ‘artist’ and secluded themselves away from their audience.  Finally, Mr. McCrum prophesied the growing attachment between writers and readers in the digital age.

In 2014  Carole Jelen wrote a practical ‘how to’ blog post about why authors need to talk with their readers. In the last 4 years readers and writers have become more and more heart bound, collaborators in a new kind of community to the benefit of more than just themselves.

In Leoshine has company I wrote about Public words and Private Words and the connection between writer and reader.  Let’s stop a moment and wonder at what words do between us!  

My heart dreams up a story of a man who claims responsibility for an unborn child.  What did you dream up as you read that?  Do you know men in your life who would do that?  Do you wonder whether he’ll do a paternity test?

Do you have an unborn child in your life at this moment?  My heart trembles in excited expectation with you.

Have there been unborn children who never made it to full term?  My heart aches for you.

Wow! Did you see that?  We didn’t get to the part about the mother being a drug addict and requiring restraint so that her baby could have half a chance of normal  (not chemically addled) development.  Our hearts are intertwined just by thinking of a man (father or not) who has the heart to reach out to someone vulnerable (mother and child).

If I want to be the best writer I can be, I need to imagine as many meanings to my words as possible.  You, my readers, are invited into a world that you yourselves are creating from your background and experiences, personality and proclivities. We touch hearts. Community is built, and the world is turned upside down.




Leoshine has company

Spring is tickling the feathers of our chickadees, and also my notions for this blog.  For a long time I have hidden behind the main character of my magnum opus, Leoshine.

She lively and clever, curious and thoughtful, desires to help and doesn’t always think through the consequences.  She is thrown into a desperate situation and she climbs her way to the top, not always by her own smarts.

Now she is joined by some other characters who have grown into stories of their own.  I am no longer a one story author, and my blog must reflect the diversity.  There is more to me than I can ever tell here.

Today I learned about public words and private words.  Public words mean the same thing to everybody.  Private words convey meaning to the author and perhaps an inner circle.  I believe that creating our own private meanings, experiences, devotions is the true pleasure of reading stories.

I desire for you to hunt the true meaning my stories have for you.  Make them your own. Live through my characters and grow in compassion for your fellow humans through their experiences.

I am excited to journey with you!

Love is violent

We can’t help it. We are born of a violent God.

Heresy!  God is love, I hear the crowd gasp.  Love is soft and mushy, right?  Love lets anyone do anything anywhere, as long as it feels good, right? No, sorry. Love must be tough, and Love brings brute force down upon our hearts and emotions.

Is God a pacifist?  Where does the lake of fire come in to that thought?

David was not allowed to build the temple because he was a ‘Man of Blood’.  Therefore violence brings restrictions. However, David’s warrior identity was precious to and used by God for the furtherance of His Kingdom.

Jesus said, “Turn the other cheek.” not to promote doormattedness, but to escalate the violence to the point of exposing the offender’s shame.

Training to fight and kill means training to discern the time to kill, and the time for peace.  Without the training to use the violence correctly, we propagate violence because it plows straight through us.  When violent people are intimidated by our training, they pause.

As with every aspect of our being, giving our ability, nay, our penchants for violence over to God is the only way to see good come from evil.

Violence is to humans as…..

Violence is to humans as oxygen is to water.

I once toured Britain from Inverness to Plymouth and came to the conclusion that the people of that collections of islands may be worthy of the title, “Most violent humans.”  Their domination of the globe certainly blossomed from a highly developed sense of cruelty to themselves.

Have you watched Goodbye Mr. Chips (2002 TV Movie version)?  Have you read Stalky and Company by Rudyard Kipling?  Do you know how the British navy treated its own sailors throughout its domination of the seas?

Africa is a tribal place.  The antelope were said to have grown fat and lazy during the time of Shaka Zulu’s conquest of southern Africa, because the lions fed exclusively on dead humans.

Asia, North America, wherever humans reside there is brute force borne upon ourselves and each other. We invite violence into our living rooms and bedrooms through screens and hand held devices.

Tut, tut (or the dialectic equivalent) we say.  Violence is for barbarians, for animals that don’t have the higher cognitive functions we enjoy.  We strongly disapprove of it in all forms, right?

We don’t like to think of ourselves or our God as violent beings.  We want to think we are unaffected by the blood gushing from the actors on our bedroom wall, while in truth we are desensitized.  Our violent proclivity is soothed, and nourished, permitted while we deceive ourselves with boxes of chocolates and flowers.

Rather let us acknowledge that we are, every one of us, capable of gross indecency toward ourselves and one another, and let us turn our proclivities over to Jesus and His Father and Spirit, Who alone have the wisdom and authority to control and use the evil within us for good.  Let us train ourselves with wisdom and physical prowess, to discern the purpose of our violent tendencies, to know the times to turn it on.  Only then will we be able to control it and truly turn it off.



What is Time?

I found this in an old notebook I was keeping ideas in about 10 years ago:

I, this humble human, am a fluid spread on a slice of NOW (a function of time).  I ooze my way from one slice to the next; they are stacked like dominoes. One slice follows another until I reach the final NOW that ends all NOWs.  I don’t know what happens after that, but I’m promised that it will be mindblowingly amazing.

I am sticky.  I leave traces behind me and diminish in size (volume) but I also pick up residue from what I meet in each NOW.

Other people’s souls are also oozing across each Time slice, and when our NOWs collide we mingle and leave with some residue of each other.  Souls are the connections between NOWs, of people, of places, of animals, and objects and possessions.

NOWs still happen when there is no earthly soul because there is an Ultimate Soul, a personality, a triune Being that experiences all Time as the same moment.

There is an enemy that tries to destroy all connectivity.  The Ultimate Soul accepted the ultimate disconnectivity in order to restore me to NOW.

How are your NOWs going?  What have you done to make someone elses’ NOW amazing?  Quick!  Before the Time Slice passes, before you pick up some unhealthy residue!


Carpe Diem!   


Why did King Edward VII receive the Star of Africa? That rock has probably cost more to guard than it’s worth.  Why was it given to him as a birthday present? He knew he was only a cog in the wheel, accepting treasure on behalf of the Crown.

When your child holds out a handful of dandelions, why does your heart swell and your face break into a glowing smile? When your father gives you a gift certificate to your favourite shoe store, why do you jump and dance with glee?

Are they bribing you?  Are you preoccupied with the usefulness of a bunch of squashed flowers from a pudgy warm hand?  Do you think, ‘Oh Dad, those sparkly boots with the 12 inch heels will come in handy with my homework.’

God receives from us.  Not as a bribe to bless us.  Not because what we give is useful.

We give to God to express our sense of His worth.  He receives because He doesn’t have to be humble about how much He means to us.  He is constantly looking for reasons to boast about us, this is what He did about Job, and the biggest reason He has to do that is our boasting about Him, honouring Him, declaring our need before Him.

God does not need us. He is self-sustaining, even in relationship. The Trinity provides within that circle all the love that is possible. Father worships Son and Spirit, Spirit worships Father and Son, Son worships Spirit and Father. etc.
God reaches out and draws us into that relationship. We are one in Him. When we worship, give glory, thanks and honour, and rail in honest suffering, we join in the mystery. We are lifted to a place of honour beyond our capacity.

God received Job’s suffering like King Edward VII received that diamond, like you receive those dandelions or gift card, with a full heart feeling the love.

Teddi Deppner gave this awesome summation in the comments to the previous post: “And once God showed up and spoke, Job had an encounter that no doubt transformed his motivation for worship and obedience for the rest of his life. Instead of honoring God out of fear of punishment, now he would do it out of reverence for who God is, and how worthy He is of respect / honor / obedience.”  Thank you Teddi!  I couldn’t have said it better!


New Insight into Job 2

Did you answer the question about what Job gave God?

What did God ask Job to give?  Nothing.  There really isn’t anything God needs from us, and He always waits for us to choose what we’ll give.  Then He waits some more for us to actually give it.

The fact that God receives from us should be more astounding than we make it.  We fuss about giving to God, and what He asks of us, and hardly ever think about how weird it is that He receives, freely, passionately, faithfully, eagerly, from puny little humans.

Job gave God his suffering.

Satan: What?! You’re nuts God!  What do you want that for?  Whatever are you going to do with that? (said like our suffering is a wet lump of turd. Which it is).

God: This, Little Mr. Pitchfork, is where you and I differ.  You are a top down kind of authority. You like to be exalted on high and lord it over people.  You like it when they obey your commands, that’s why you tempted Jesus the way you did.  I’m different.  I come in at the very lowest level.  Baby in a manger level.  Sobbing guts out level. Lost everything and suffering on the garbage heap level.  When Job gives Me his suffering, he is being My friend like no way else.