Monday, January 25, 2016

Finding the Point of This Blog

This blog explicitly features my 2 pence about stuff, but the blog is about me as an author. Plus it’s hosted by Blogspot, so that has the potential to cause some issues if I use it to post certain pertinent-to-me-as-author-but-not-quite-about-authorship stuff I’m working on.

Sometimes, I just want to write an essay examining something, critiquing something, or just pointing something out. Like…what is the Biblical love that Christians are commanded to display towards others? I Corinthians 13 defines it, but what that chapter literally says and what folks say it means don’t always match up, plus there’s how words don’t mean quite the same thing across languages (or even generations), so it’s easy to assign or remove nuance that actually belongs in the word.

I finished the essay and want to post it and others I have in the works—some of which will be controversial in some circles for the sole reason that an unmarried female is writing them.

(There’s admittedly another essay or three in that thought.)

I have a knack for noticing elephants in the room that are best addressed but that folks don’t think to (or don’t want to) point out. This has proved true in…pretty much every job, field of expertise, and topic of study that I’ve explored. So I have to conclude that it’s a God-given skill.

Which means I really should be using it.

Due to various factors—including repeated scoffing and derision for being young, unmarried, and female, and someone who “nobody” would want to (or even should) listen to—I’ve often held my tongue.

I can hear some of you scoffing now. Nonetheless, I have restrained myself to when I’ve been explicitly encouraged to speak out or issues are so blatant I can’t ignore them.

And I’ve long had the uncomfortable feeling that God’s already answered my prayers that someone appropriate would point out the items I’ve noticed and I’m being recalcitrant. (It’s interesting that some of the accepted-by-the-righteous prophets and bearers of wisdom in Scripture are female—but that’s a topic for another essay, I think.)

It’s been a long time coming, but various things have coalesced into me finally accepting that I see what I see for a reason—and that reason isn’t to keep my mouth shut.

Posting my opinions and observations still feels weird. Even the recent post on the Paris attacks makes me uncomfortable, for reasons that boil down to: I know certain persons are reading this, and I know precisely how they’re responding. Because they’ve always wanted me to keep my mouth shut and stick to the shadows.

Even though I have always experienced more blessing when I stepped out and opened my “big fat” mouth.

What does all this mean?

It means I’m going to endeavor to keep piping up—and to say more—but this blog isn’t a good place for the sorts of things I’ll be addressing. This blog should be kept for stuff related to writing, and publishing, and being an author. That’s the purpose, and that makes sense.

And the essays are gonna appear over on, starting with “What Is the Biblical Love We Are to Display towards Others?”.

If you look up the word “love” in the dictionary, you’ll find definitions ranging from “A friendly form of address” to “A strong feeling of affection and sexual attraction for someone”—and that’s not including what it means in tennis (ref. Oxford Dictionaries).

Yet love is central to the Christian life, an integral part of the two commandments Christ gave to sum up the Ten Commandments:

28And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all? 29And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments [is], Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: 30And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this [is] the first commandment. 31And the second [is] like, [namely] this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

Mark 12:28–31, KJV

According to this excerpt from Mark 12, Christians are to do everything out of these two precepts: 1. loving God above everything and 2. loving others in the way that we love ourselves. This is entirely consistent with what Jesus told the rich young ruler in Matthew 19, as well as with the other Scriptural commands about Christian love, such as is found in Leviticus 19:18, John 13:34, Romans 12:10, and James 2:8.

Studies into these verses so often focus on what is meant by “neighbor”—on whom we are to love—rather than what we are to do: love. Love is also the first fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22, suggesting it’s the first one that manifests in a believer, even before the rest of the list.

Keep reading over at

I have plans for more essays along those lines, where yeah, it’s pertinent to life and therefore could go here, but…better not. Theological essays of 8k words might be enjoyed by some (or most) of you, but that doesn’t mean it belongs in the same web space as, say, thoughts on the viability and feasibility self-publishing. Which I should probably comment on.

But that’s all for another day.

How are you?


Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Through the Lens of Hindsight: Some Thoughts on the November Attacks in France

Two months ago today, some horrible attacks were made in Paris. That week, I drafted this post, but I didn’t post it. Now at the two-month mark, with the new year and people looking forward and no longer thinking about the attacks, I’d like to share some thoughts and open a discussion.

First, the basics as I understand it:

November 13, 2015: ISIS lost their most visible member to an assassination. A few hours later, bombs and shootings killed dozens of people in France.

That night, the media and others were saying that the attacks weren’t ISIS, because it was too organized to be consistent with ISIS.


Even if you set aside the fact that ISIS later claimed credit for the attacks in Paris, that “inconsistent” claim doesn't hold water. ISIS erupted on the scene too stable and entrenched in order to be easily destroyed or sabotaged. That in itself indicates one or more leaders who are cognizant of both planning and politics.

Previous attacks citing ISIS have come from youth, who might have been overeager to get what they’ve been promised will be theirs if they sacrifice themselves for the cause…or they might have been encouraged or outright ordered to make spontaneous attacks to encourage the world to associate ISIS with that poor planning, to distract people and make ISIS seem less competent.

Letting or encouraging an enemy to underestimate you is a classic maneuver. And it’s far more consistent with how ISIS appeared “out of nowhere” than the belief that they’re disorganized is.

I find it notable that ISIS had one particular torturer be its most visible face, especially with how there’s precedent of assassination of such people. So ISIS had to be aware that the man would be targeted. The man himself probably knew he was targeted—and, considering his faith, would’ve seen death as a blessing and quite likely martyrdom.

Now that torturer has been assassinated. I hope someone else in the hierarchy was identified first, for further research/watching/investigation, but considering the man killed was a torturer, he was enough of a threat that the loss of potential information might’ve been deemed an acceptable loss.

But that man was someone that ISIS had to knew was a target.

Why is that significant?

The France attack seems to me to have been organized and pre-planned…to be carried out whenever that target was killed.

Okay, the plan might’ve been set specifically for two particular days, but the timing suggests otherwise. Right when the world was celebrating a victory over ISIS, that victory was soured by the news about France.

Whoever runs ISIS is organized and cunning. Whoever is handling the military intelligence and determining how various governments respond to ISIS needs wisdom and intelligence to evaluate it properly rather than jumping to assumptions. Lord willing, the media reports minimizing the intelligence behind ISIS are reflecting the public story and not assumptions being made by the pertinent intelligence agencies and investigators.

I expect ISIS will get worse, but something is always getting worse.

My prayers still go out to France, for the lives lost and injured. My prayers still go out to those trapped and victimized in ISIS territory or households.

But I also know that things like this are always happening, have always been happening, and it took it happening in the right country by the right enemy before it made the news like this particular event did.

So I don’t only pray for what I know. I also pray for what I don’t.

What about you? Now that you’ve had some time to think about it awhile, what are your thoughts on the Paris attack?


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