Monday, March 25, 2013

Bible Passages Mentioned in Sprainter

When I wrote Sprainter, my art-themed, young adult, dystopian, romance I wanted to reach the younger reader, not so much the thirty-to-fifty year olds who enjoy reading young adult fiction (people such as myself), but the real teens, say between thirteen and twenty.

What's more, I wanted that Christian teen reader to pick up a Bible and read it. You can't follow your Christian faith if you don't know your Bible. Towards that end, I decided to make Sprainter as interactive a read as I possibly could. Thankfully, my editors at Astraea Press gave me complete freedom. [Since 2014, I have terminated my relationship with Astraea Press and Sprainter is now published by Fine Form Press] They could've made a fuss and told me that it was an impractical project, but they let me do my own thing. Sprainter reads well enough without knowing what the Bible references are, but I think they add a nice dimension to the story.

Here, then, just in time for Holy Week, is a list of Bible references that MrE spraints on the walls as part of his own propaganda in his fight against El Alcalde's religious oppression, just in case some readers might have skipped over the part where they were supposed to see what the texts refer to:

1 Corinthians 13:8-9, 13
Love never fails. Prophecies will cease, tongues will be silent, knowledge will pass away.Our knowledge is imperfect and our prophesying is imperfect. There are in the end three things that last: faith, hope, and love, and the greatest of these is love.

John 3:16
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Matthew 25:40
And the king will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.”

Psalm 23
A Psalm of David.
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
   He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters;
   he restores my soul.
He leads me in right paths
   for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
   I fear no evil;
for you are with me;
   your rod and your staff—
   they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
   in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
   my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
   all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
   my whole life long.

Exodus 20:3-17
You shall have no other gods before me.

You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and the fourth generation of those who reject me, but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments.

You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not acquit anyone who misuses his name.

Remember the Sabbath day, and keep it holy. For six days you shall labor and do all your work. But the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work—you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and consecrated it.

Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.

You shall not murder.

You shall not commit adultery.

You shall not steal.

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.

Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
   and do not rely on your own insight.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
   and he will make straight your paths.

Ephesians 6:10-18
The Whole Armor of God
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. With all of these, take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints

 * * *
So, as you can see from the readings, I tried to get the basics of Christianity across. I truly hope some of Sprainter's readers will take the time and effort to look up these well-known passages, and to maybe rediscover them. With Easter just a few days away, now is as good a time as any to get re-acquainted with the Word.

In my next blog maybe I'll post the prayers that show up in Sprainter.


Friday, March 15, 2013

"The Mark of A Man" Blogfest

Hi everyone,

When fellow author David N. Walker asked if I wanted to participate in "The Mark of A Man" blogfest, I jumped at the opportunity. After all, how tough could this be, I asked myself. I'm a man, I'll just write about what I know best: me! Yeah, right. Self-introspection? What's that?

David suggests that society's views about men might be a bit fixated at the moment on ripped abs. Of course, he's right. Flip through the television channels and you're bound to come across another revolutionary ab-training workout system. Have you seen the covers of Men's Health magazine in the last ten years or so?

But ripped abs are just one manifestation of how modern society is obsessed with youth, appearances, and with youthful appearances. Nowadays, it happens way too often that as I'm watching television I see a face that is almost recognizable. I have to imagine what this person might have looked like thirty years ago, without the facelift. Eventually, I can identify them, and place them on the show they starred in. It's a weird feeling, seeing people who are much older than me look so much younger (than me) and than they used to.

Abs, facelifts, and anti-wrinkle creams are all symptoms of the same vain culture of youth and of appearances. Given that we're in the twenty-first century, one would think that everyone in the world would have learned by now the important lesson of misleading appearances as discussed in the allegory of Plato's Cave, 400 BC. Also, since deceptive appearances are the bread and butter of just about every piece of fiction written or filmed, again, one would think the lesson would have sunk in: reality is never what people perceive it to be. Shouldn't this lesson be taught in high school? Or grade school?

Yet, this fundamental truth hasn't set into our zeitgeist yet. Why not? What's wrong with looking old(er)? What's a few more grey hair and having a pot belly? What's wrong with looking your age? Do people honestly think they will be able to pass as a thirty year-old for ever? And, more importantly, why would they want to?

I was once thirty. Sure, they were good times, but I also enjoyed my twenties, and my forties, too. So far, although they're just starting, it looks like my fifties will be the best out of all the decades. Why? Precisely because I'm not in competition anymore with everyone else in the world. I'm satisfied with my lot in life. More than satisfied, I'm grateful to be where I am!

And maybe that's the answer, and the problem. Maybe this Baby Boomer youth-obsessed ego-driven culture is so dissatisfied with life that some of us feel the need to keep searching for superficial things to make all those disappointed dreams of our youth go away. And if not to make them disappear, then maybe to hide them for a while. As if a facelift could take all those problems away...

The truth, ladies and gentlemen, is that a chemical peel does not make you younger. The truth is that we should stop getting our narcissistic ego-boost from how others see us. Because, frankly, that's what it's all about, isn't it? It isn't a matter of looking younger for your own sake, but for everyone else. Do we really care how our neighbors/friends perceive us? Would we rather not want to show them how we really are, instead of presenting them such a superficial part of ourselves? Would a kind word or a helpful gesture not show our true self better than focusing our time, energy, and money on only looking younger? 

Save the time and money you would spend on changing some superficial aspect of yourself, and use those gifts to help someone else. I guarantee you, you'll feel great about yourself, and the feeling will last much longer than anti-wrinkle cream! As for those flat abs... if you want to pursue that pipe dream, you're on your own, buddy. :-)

Please take time to check out Rhonda Hopkin's contribution to this blogfest.

Thank you for reading my thoughts on this issue. And remember: Never judge a book by it's cover...  unless it's my new art-themed, young adult, dystopian, romance novella from Astraea Press - Sprainter!

Addendum March 1, 2015
Sprainter will be re-released by Fine Form Press in the fall of 2015.

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