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September 18th, 2017

12:20 pm: New Moth and Cobweb!

The final book of the second trilogy, Dark Avenger's Sidekick, is out:

TITHE TO TARTARUS

Inflicted with amnesia, Yumiko Ume Moth has managed to discover the identity of the lost love she cannot remember. She has also learned the bitter truth of her mother's murder. And the party responsible for the absence of the one and the death of the other is the same: the Supreme Council of Anarchists.

Now Yumiko hopes to rescue the brilliant young man who may or may not be her fiance while seeking vengeance for the Grail Queen, her mother. But her only allies are a scatter-brained fairy and the Last Crusade, which despite its grand name consists of a young knight and his dog. Nevertheless, the Foxmaiden will not turn from her path, though all the dark forces of Tartarus stand in her way.

TITHE TO TARTARUS: The Dark Avenger's Sidekick book three is the 6th volume of Moth & Cobweb.

John C. Wright is one of the living grandmasters of science fiction and the author of THE GOLDEN AGE, AWAKE IN THE NIGHT LAND, and IRON CHAMBER OF MEMORY, to name just three of his exceptional books. He has been nominated for both the Nebula and Hugo Awards, and his novel SOMEWHITHER won the 2016 Dragon Award for Best Science Fiction Novel at Dragoncon. The first book in the Moth & Cobweb series, SWAN KNIGHT'S SON, was a finalist for the 2017 Dragon Award for Best Young Adult Novel. 

Those of you who have Amazon Prime may be interested to know that all six books of the Moth & Cobweb series are now available on Kindle Unlimited.

And find your Moth and Cobweb merchandise here.

 

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Originally posted to Welcome to Arhyalon. (link)

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August 24th, 2017

10:01 am: What is Fan Fiction?

What Is Fan Fiction?:
How to tell it from the other stuff


Approximately where I was standing, 
when I described the fortress filling the horizon.

 

 

Here at the Wright Household, this article is legendary.

This is in part because I’ve been talking about writing it for at least a year and a half. It is more, however, because of my now-famous speech—in which I laid out for two of our sons the main points I wished to cover in such an essay.

It was December of 2015, and we stood on the ramparts at Bear’s Den in the Blue Ridge Mountains, looking out upon miles of countryside. As we halted atop the rocks, where the Appalachian Trail passes, I spread my arm, gesturing toward the open valley stretching beneath us and exclaimed:

“Imagine an immense black fortress, stretching as far as the eyes can see. The vast bulk rises up over the Blue Ridges, dominating the landscape. It is made of solid basalt, and it stretches for miles and miles. It has smooth sides with no handholds, crisply-cut crenulations along the top, and looming towers, from which a lookout could spot anyone approaching from any direction.

“Now, imagine this fortress represents the personality and qualities of impressive characters, such as Dr. Doom, Spock, Snape, or Batman. Pick your favorite.

“Each ‘stone’ of the fortress wall represents a quality about that character. Each was carefully hand-placed by the creators—writers, artists, actors, etc.—who helped shape the character. Together, these blocks of character developing, backstory, speech patterns, appearance, and actions form, in the mind of the audience, the titanic, solid edifice that make up our favorite characters.

“Now imagine that in all that vast, impenetrable, solidness, there exists only one window. It is a round window, the size of a porthole.

“On one occasion, once, a candle passed by this window.

“This flicker of light, seen through the tiny window, represents the emotions displayed by our character, a brief glimpse of suffering or hope or love in an otherwise impassive character.

“Fan fiction narrows the focus of the camera to that window. Sometimes, maybe, it shows a little bit of the basalt surrounding it. Instead of one flicker of candlelight, it fills the window with flames and fireworks.

“It then relies on the fan to imagine that the fortress is still present, even though the enormous mile-long basalt bulk of the rest of it is never so much as glimpsed.”

Read the rest on SuperversiveSF

Originally posted to Welcome to Arhyalon. (link)

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August 20th, 2017

11:18 pm: Morality and the Eighth Commandment: Thou Canst Not Steal

This is a Last Crusade article. If you are not familiar with the Last Crusade, you can find the articles here and here. It is a new movement devoted to Christ, Constitution, Chivalry.

The Last Crusade portion are here:
Intro
Tenth Commandment, Part One
Tenth Commandment, Part Two
Ninth Commandment, Part One
Ninth Commandment, Part Two


(Liberty's back)

 Thou shalt not steal. (Exodus 20:!5)

This is the only Commandment for which I did not think of a modern behavior which our culture accepts that older cultures did not.

We have many kinds of stealing. I could speak about forfetures or pirating intellectual property, for instance. But, I think most people, in general, understand that those things are wrong. I could not think of anything that I haven't already covered that falls under stealing that we think of as acceptable or good.

So instead, here is the entire text of the article on the Eighth Commandment that I quoted in part earlier. 

Next Column will be on the Seventh Commandment, upon which there is plenty to expound. 

From JSHOnline

God's Laws Cannot Be Broken

EMILY LACEY

From the December 1968 issue of The Christian Science Journal

The Ten Commandments, given by God to the children of Israel through Moses, have for centuries been a basis of human conduct, and to the extent that they have been understood and obeyed, they have uplifted the race. Many people cast them aside as useless and out of date; others see in them a moral code for orderly living; while some believe man to be a mortal sinner who must struggle to live in accord with them. From any of these standpoints there seems to be difficulty in reaching the standard laid down in the commandments.

Yet God, who is divine Love, could not give commands that are incapable of being obeyed. If we find them difficult to obey, we have evidently not understood the divine facts underlying them. When we learn their true, or spiritual, meaning through the study of Christian Science, we see them to be vital, practical laws, indispensable to our everyday living. Moses received the commandments through inspiration, and we cannot understand them except through inspiration. God's statutes are not punitive and restrictive rules that limit our enjoyment. Seen in their true sense, they protect our God-given heritage of perfection and blessedness.

Reasoning from the correct, scientific basis, we see that the man of God's creating cannot break God's law but lives forever as Mind's idea; thus it is divinely natural for him to live in accord with this law. The forbidding "Thou shalt not" becomes "Thou canst not." Mrs. Eddy states, "The real man cannot depart from holiness, nor can God, by whom man is evolved, engender the capacity or freedom to sin."1 To accept the belief that there is a mind which can break God's laws is tantamount to admitting that God is not omnipotent and supreme. From this spiritual viewpoint, which is the true viewpoint, we realize that God's absolute laws, typified by the commandments, cannot be broken.

These grand truths are of inestimable value to mankind. They deliver us from every phase of evil. As we grasp these truths, we are given the strength and moral courage to overthrow evil suggestions. If in what seems to be a discordant situation we hold steadfastly to these truths, we find light and healing flowing into our consciousness, thereby replacing discord with harmony.

If we believe we have been born with certain evil instincts and are condemned to carry them out, these powerful truths enable us to lay hold of our true being, thereby counteracting the false sense we have held of ourselves. The scientific fact of man's inseparability from the one Mind is the savior from the belief that man is a mortal sinner living in disobedience to the commandments. In proportion as we perceive and understand that there is no mind or power to break the Ten Commandments, we are enabled to conform harmoniously to their requirements.

The world in which we find ourselves often tells us it is easier and pleasanter to break the commandments than it is to keep them. On every hand there is evidence that divine statutes are being broken. This belief of gods many, minds many, is the lie of mortal mind and presents the false view of man. It would claim to oppose God; but no matter how often or for how long the lie seems to assert itself, it can never become true. We read in the Bible, "There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the Lord"2 Thus, the laws of God, the truths of being, stand inviolate; they need only to be discerned and practiced.

Christ Jesus taught the importance of the commandments. When he was asked, "Which is the great commandment in the law?" he answered: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."3

The Science of Christianity, which does not deviate from the Master's teachings, reveals one infinite God, who is Mind, Soul, Spirit, Life. It reveals man as divine Mind's reflection. Because man is Godlike, he is spiritual, perfect, and good. He lives eternally at one with his Maker, a relationship that can never be severed.

We learn, too, that this real man, living always under God's control, is infinitely blessed and can never be tempted to leave the harmony of the one infinite Mind for the discord and doubt of many minds. Man does not depart from the infinite light of Life into darkness and death, desert supernal joy and bliss for sorrow and sadness, or forsake the enjoyment of the indivisible allness of good to cross the threshold of limitation and lack. In fact, he has no consciousness of error and no option but to live forever in the glorious realm of reality. As we accept these facts, we find that rich blessings are evidenced in our everyday experience.

When we understand the true meaning and basis of the commandments, we shall realize that they protect man's wonderful state of being. Instead of depriving us of good, they reveal good as our natural state.

The sacred truth of man's sinless and pure nature is not mere theory; it must be demonstrated in our daily lives. The more we understand and express our real selfhood—the man God made upright and free—the more the false sense will fade out. Obviously, ours is no light task. We cannot in a single step depart from error to truth, from the unreal to the real, from the mortal to the immortal. Mrs. Eddy counsels us, "Think not to thwart the spiritual ultimate of all things, but come naturally into Spirit through better health and morals and as the result of spiritual growth."4

As our spiritual understanding grows, we realize that because we are the children of God we live at the standpoint of eternal satisfaction and completeness, and that therefore there is no need for us to indulge in the error of coveting. We realize that as God's expression we cannot rob or be robbed, kill or be killed. Nor can we be made to carry out or become the victim of any other delusion of evil.

A student of Christian Science is grateful for the inspiration she has derived from the Ten Commandments. At one time she found that her car, which had been parked in the town center, was missing. She made the usual inquiries of the police. The suggestion was that the commandment, "Thou shalt not steal,"5 had been disobeyed. She then found herself declaring, "There is no evil mind to break the commandments." With this truth came peace of mind, a sense of assurance, and a certainty that all was well.

On going over this thought again, she realized that previously, while reading the chapter entitled "The Apocalypse" in the textbook, Science and Health by Mrs. Eddy, she had been impressed by the statement, "The ten horns of the dragon typify the belief that matter has power of its own, and that by means of an evil mind in matter the Ten Commandments can be broken,"6 and it had now come to her aid in a time of need. The next day the student was guided to walk along a nearby street; and there was the missing car. She learned that someone had left it there during the night.

It is our privilege and duty at all times to hold to the truth of man's being, to know that he is Mind's perfect expression. As soon as we depart, in belief, from the one Mind, we run into the error of minds many, gods many. In this deluded state we believe man to be separated from God, good; we seem to live in disobedience to His laws and consequently experience discord. As we are willing to give up the belief of many minds and realize our oneness with God, we correct erroneous thinking. Then harmony is restored.

All of us at some stage of our experience must turn to God and understand His laws. God's will must be done. The Ten Commandments may at present be on our mental shelf tucked away in a remote corner, but we must bring them into the light and remove the dust of materialism that their spiritual meaning may glow and enlighten our lives. No matter how far we have strayed, God's love is ever available. As we understand His laws and demonstrate them, our lives are transformed and our being uplifted from the false sense of condemnation and discord to our native freedom and harmony as sons of God.

The Bible states, "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man."7 Through the revelation of Christian Science, Mrs. Eddy shows us the true spiritual meaning of these commandments, how to keep them, and how to experience the rich blessings resulting therefrom.

1 Science and Health, p. 475; 2 Prov. 21:30;  3 Matt. 22:36-39;  4 Science and Health, p. 485;  5 Ex. 20:15; 6 Science and Health, p. 563; 7 Eccl. 12:13.  

Originally posted to Welcome to Arhyalon. (link)

August 6th, 2017

04:07 pm: Ninth Commandment: Tear Off Those Labels

I mentioned in my previous post healings of people who had been given a label. Here are a few examples.

Our younger daughter was in tears because no one in our…

By Louisa Velnett Palmer with contributions from Patricia P. Sellars

From the January 15, 1990 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel

 younger daughter was in tears because no one in our family could understand what she was saying. We knew that she had lost something from her pocket—something that was precious to her. I prayed with a desire to help her, something our family needed to do often when communicating with this child. We longed to have her healed of a serious speech difficulty. In my prayers for her, I realized that everyone with challenging speech difficulties could experience freedom. It was comforting to have faith that one's inclusive prayers would bless our child and others.

Ever since she had begun to talk, most of the time we could only guess at what this daughter was saying. As a Christian Scientist, I knew that the beauty and perfection of God were expressed by our child in her true being, the spiritual image of God. This divine fact had to be proved through practice of the spiritual truths that the Bible and Christian Science teach.

As I prayed to help our daughter find what she had lost, I noticed a small book with a cover that portrayed a noted author and her daughter. The child in the portrait is embracing her mother. As I thought of our daughter's words that we could not fathom, the word hugging came to me. I then asked our daughter if she was telling us that she had lost a picture of a little girl hugging her mother. She happily nodded yes. Her tears changed to smiles when she finally received the longed-for answer and the picture.

At bedtime our two daughters prayed the following prayer for children in Miscellaneous Writings by Mary Baker Eddy:

Father-Mother God,
Loving me,—
Guard me when I sleep;

Guide my little feet
Up to Thee.

After our younger daughter listened to her sister say the prayer, she could only say in broken English, "I pray the same, God." We knew she longed to speak as well as her sister and the other little children.

I prayed for everyone, my family and the world. Such prayer for mankind has often been for me a gateway to healing, a prayer that one knows is answered because of a silent inner assurance as powerful and as convincing as spoken words.

Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mrs. Eddy states, "Science declares that Mind, not matter, sees, hears, feels, speaks." I thought of these words of Christ Jesus' in the parable of the prodigal son: "Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine" (Luke). It was inspiring to know that this inclusive spiritual fact promises all good for everyone.

As I remembered the healing power of a hymn in the Christian Science Hymnal, I found these lines from the first verse helpful:

In Thy clear light of Truth I rise
And, listening for Thy voice,
I hear Thy promise old and new,
That bids all fear to cease:
My presence still shall go with thee
And I will give thee peace.

A statement from Science and Health is engraved on the wall of many branch churches: "Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need." My family and I considered deeply and reverently this sacred promise with its power to heal.

My mother was coming to lunch one day when we were praying with strong trust that divine Love does "meet every human need." As my mother entered our house, she asked, "Can Patricia speak any better?" In a little while, as we gathered around the dining table, our younger daughter greatly pleased us as she said perfectly, "I can say God; I can say good; I can say Love; I can say anything at all." And she could! Our family was profoundly grateful for this beautiful healing of speech.

In kindergarten and first grade our younger daughter's school marks had been poor. In second grade, after her healing of defective speech, she received all A's. Her teacher wrote to my husband and me saying that in all her years of teaching she had never known such a remarkable improvement in a student's speech. She called the marvelous turnaround a miracle.

When this daughter was in high school, her school chose her to represent them in a television program in the state's largest city. The officials said they chose her because of her excellent speaking and confident manner. Later her school again chose her to take part in the state's assembly of gifted speech students. The girl whose family formerly could rarely understand her words was among those who received the highest honors in speech in their state.

Regarding the healing of speech, I recall this hymn in the Hymnal:

It was the voice of God that spake
In silence to thy silent heart,
And bade each worthier thought awake,
And every dream of earth depart.

Louisa Velnett Palmer
Kent, Ohio

I do not remember all of the details of the speech difficulty. I do vividly remember sitting with my family at lunch and amusing myself with an imaginary game of cowboys and Indians, when all of a sudden I was making the sounds of hard c's and g's—sounds I had been unable to make before. What a joy it was!

I am of course very grateful for my mother's diligence and firm conviction in God's healing power. And I am deeply grateful for Christian Science, which continues to bless me and my family. Today my profession, interestingly enough, is that of English teacher!

Patricia P. Sellars
Vienna, Austria

 

 

LIFT OFF THOSE LABELS

BY SUSAN MACK

From the August 31, 2009 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel

 about a new school year—rightfully brimming with happy expectation as school supplies are readied, lunch boxes packed, classrooms prepared, dorm rooms decorated. School is about expanding horizons, pulling back limitations, and lifting labels. The very word school hints at infinite spiritual frontiers to explore, and to support effectively in prayer.

Unfortunately, as the media all too often report, schools can be the arena for harmful pigeonholing and intimidation. And the recent suicide of a high school boy in Illinois, who felt like an outsider bullied and taunted, is a dramatic reminder of the need for prayer that stretches out to heal the morale of individuals and society as a whole. back to school—taking off the labels

I've witnessed the healing effect of this principle. One of our daughters had had difficulty during most of her primary and secondary school years. Reading did not come easily, and since most of the rest of her schoolwork involved reading, all academics were a struggle. Because her self-confidence was so low, she sometimes came to me in tears when other kids would ask, "Why do you go to that special reading teacher?" or, "How come you're in the lowest reading group?"

Our family supported her progress in every way we could, including working with her on her reading and homework and giving her private reading instruction outside school. Even with my confidence in my own prayers, it wasn't easy for me to be unconcerned. So much in the news media told of children having "attention deficiencies" and other learning disorders—and the problems stemming from those labels. And yet, all through those years, I continued to pray.

The foundation of my prayers was to know God better. According to Science and Health, "We know no more of man as the true divine image and likeness, than we know of God" (p. 258). So I reasoned that a clearer understanding of the unlimited nature of God, good, would enable me to see my daughter's unlimited spiritual identity and lift the labels of "poor reader," "low self-esteem" right off.

I explored the nature of God by contemplating the seven synonyms for God, included in Science and Health (see p. 465). It was not so much an intellectual exercise, but more like listening for God to declare the qualities of His being to me—such as the spiritual qualities of Soul, of infinite Mind, of Love and Truth. This deep prayerful listening and yearning led me to feel a closer identification with God's knowing as my knowing—as a divine, reflective awareness.

One day inspiration came to me in a unique way: I thought of the English language sentence construction, particularly the subject (the person, place, thing, or idea that is doing or being something). It suddenly dawned on me that since every one of us is really the expression or image of God's being, then God is like the subject of the sentence of our lives—and we (including my daughter) then naturally express God in spiritual qualities. That which evidences God must be Godlike.

Stepping aside from being the subject of life and yielding to God as its source allows us to function in the way that we're made to function, to glorify God. And it allows us to see God as the source, the subject and only Do-er, in each child's life, in every classroom, on every school ground. Jesus reflected God's healing presence because he knew that he was the effect of God, saying, "I can of mine own self do nothing" (John 5:30). And each child is the effect of the same healing God.

As I diligently prayed along these lines, there were encouraging waymarks. My daughter began to keep up with her class from year to year. Her grades got better and better. She established happy, loving, and supportive friendships. She gained more confidence in her abilities.

And I had my own triumph. One day, very gently, just as a scale tips when the weight gets heavier on one side, my prayers shifted, and suddenly my tendency to look to the human situation to measure her progress, just dropped away.

God's assurances of the presence of spiritual perfection—the mirror image if you will—became the absolute evidence to me that progress was inevitable, as it proved to be.

This daughter just finished her sophomore year in college. Her enthusiasm for what she's learning bubbles over. She calls me frequently to say, "Mom, I just love what I'm learning!" She is sailing through with strong grades and having a good time doing so. Just this summer I've watched her plow through one unassigned reading book after another. But the most glorious thing to me is that this seems natural. What else could God's image, His reflection, experience?

While it may require great courage and steady practice to mentally challenge the claims of public surveys, medical labels, and media reports about limited intelligence and learning disorders, there is great hopefulness in accepting the fact that God knows no such limitations for anyone.

There's no doubt, whether we have children in school this year or not, the need to cherish in prayer the right of each student and every school to be safe, full of growth and progress. And joy. Doing so has the beautiful effect of breaking limits and lifting labels right off, making progress expected and natural.

Science and Health affirms that everyone is "the expression of God's being" (p. 470). This fact invites us all to explore the infinite spiritual frontier and claim in our own prayers every child's, teacher's, and school's exemption from false labels. 

https://sentinel.christianscience.com/issues/2009/8/111-35/lift-off-those-labels

 

 

 

Education—without labels

RHODA MERLE FORD

From the August 18, 1980 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel

Parents should be aware that children are sometimes subjected to certain psychological theories that would stereotype them and their school experiences. These theories, which ultimately infringe on a child's well-being, run the gamut and use such labels as: "slow learner," "middle child," "inner-city child," "an only child," and even "the gifted child."

Christian Science, the Science of real Mind, can help us annul psychological beliefs, beliefs that would manipulate a child's educational development with the slapping on of a label. The truth is that God is Mind, the only Mind, and that man is the expression of this Mind. Man is not a struggling mortal with a limited brain and a limited amount of intelligence. His intelligence does not depend on genetic factors or "cultural conditioning." God is the Mind of man.

Our ability to think, reason, and learn stems from our true identity as Mind's manifestation. Mrs. Eddy writes, "Know, then, that you possess sovereign power to think and act rightly, and that nothing can dispossess you of this heritage and trespass on Love."1

We can realize that nothing can dispossess man of his God-given heritage of intelligence, creativity, and joy. Psychological theories and labels should rightfully be classified as powerless and without influence on us or our children.

At one time I worked daily with young schoolchildren from a variety of ethnic groups and economic backgrounds. Many of these children came from broken homes—a situation paralleling mine at their age. In fact, overhearing a remark about such a child jolted my thinking, which had been pretty apathetic. I suddenly realized that I had accepted the false notion that coming from a broken home had affected my education. And I was accepting the same belief about these children.

I knew it was time for me to expose the "broken home" label as a fraud. Prayer led me to this powerful passage in Science and Health by our Leader, Mrs. Eddy: "Let us accept Science, relinquish all theories based on sense-testimony, give up imperfect models and illusive ideals; and so let us have one God, one Mind, and that one perfect, producing His own models of excellence."2

The Science of Mind teaches us to give up, step by step, any belief that says we are mortal or separated from God. I realized that if I continued to believe the "broken home" label, then I hadn't really accepted what Science was telling me, nor was I relinquishing "all theories based on sense-testimony." Was I ready to accept more of what God knows of man, His beloved child? Was I ready to relinquish some phase of the belief that says man is separated from his Father-Mother Mind?

Yes, I was. I realized that behind the "broken home" label was the false assumption that God's child was unloved and unappreciated. I replaced this error with the fact that all God's children are embraced in His love and fully appreciated. And I further knew that this divine fact was to be witnessed right here—right in my classroom.

Beautiful healings resulted from this prayer. My work with these children improved greatly, as we discovered new ways to include each one in meaningful activity. Not only that; my own education found fresh direction. My whole outlook on life was more well-rounded, and at last I felt free of a label that had tried for many years to stereotype my existence.

No child's education needs to be influenced by psychological beliefs or labels. Parents, teachers, and all those concerned with the schooling of youngsters can apply the truths of Christian Science to remove this imposition. As we do this, we will help bring about a more harmonious, progressive education for all.

 

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Originally posted to Welcome to Arhyalon. (link)

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04:03 pm: Morality and the Ninth Commandment Part Two—Spiritual Thoughts

Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor. (Exodus 20:16)

Some years ago, I read an article in one of my church’s periodicals about a woman whose care had been stolen. When praying about this issue, it came to her that the Ten Commandments were not just rules, they were God’s Laws. They were not just to be obeyed, they actually could not—in God’s Kingdom—be violated.

Here are a few excerpts from the article, God's Law Cannot Be Broken.

“Yet God, who is divine Love, could not give commands that are incapable of being obeyed. If we find them difficult to obey, we have evidently not understood the divine facts underlying them. 

“A student of Christian Science is grateful for the inspiration she has derived from the Ten Commandments. At one time she found that her car, which had been parked in the town center, was missing. She made the usual inquiries of the police. The suggestion was that the commandment, "Thou shalt not steal,"5 had been disobeyed. She then found herself declaring, "There is no evil mind to break the commandments." With this truth came peace of mind, a sense of assurance, and a certainty that all was well.

“The next day the student was guided to walk along a nearby street; and there was the missing car. She learned that someone had left it there during the night.”

https://journal.christianscience.com/issues/1968/12/86-12/god-s-laws-cannot-be-broken

Some time ago, I started applying this idea to the Ninth Commandment: Thou canst not bear false witness against thy neighbor.

A friend of mine was in a work situation involving a great deal of corruption. Efforts had been made to change things for years, but corruption apparently went all the way to the top.

I prayed along these lines for about a year, even though I had no expectation of change.

Those responsible were arrested and removed.

So, now I am using the same line of thought to pray about the news. In 2015, I saw with my own eyes how corrupt the news was when people and events I am familiar with were reported on entirely falsely.

While this is a work in progress, in the two years since then, much more awareness of the corruption in the news has come to light. I am still praying along these lines…to know that we cannot bear false witness against each other…and if we should try, God will reveal our falseness.

“For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known.” (Luke 12;2)

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Originally posted to Welcome to Arhyalon. (link)

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July 26th, 2017

10:01 am: Bump In The Night Book Bundle!

Today, a special book bundle comes out. I have the astonishing honor of having my Prospero Lost appear with some of the brightest luminaries of our field. 

This is an unprecidented opportunity to own a great deal of quality e-fiction for a very reasonable price.

Some of the brightest luminaries of our field, and my humble self, unite to bring you an unprecedented deal on books. 

Here is what Kevin Anderson, author extraordinaire and publisher of Wordfire Press, has to say about the Bump In The Night book bundle:
 

Books That Go Bump in the Night!

If you’re ready for summer thrills and chills (ones that don’t even require air conditioning), I’m happy to show off the brand new “Bump in the Night Thrillers” storybundle, which just launched today. Sixteen suspenseful, fun, and entertaining reads. http://storybundle.com

You name your own price, get the eBooks via instant download in your preferred format. You support indie authors, and a portion of the proceeds goes directly to charity, to support the worthy cause of the Challenger Learning Centers for Space Science Education.

The bundle books include compelling urban fantasy reads with some of the strangest detectives you’ve ever met, including Dan Shamble Zombie P.I. in my own Unnatural Acts, as well as ghosts, elves, vampires, sorceresses, modern-day dragon slayers, immortal Shakespearean characters, and more in Dean Wesley Smith’s The Deep Sunset, R.R. Virdi’s Grave Beginnings, Patrick Hester’s Into the Fire, Susan Sizemore’s Living Dead Girl, J.A. Pitt’s Night Terrors, L. Jagi Lamplighter’s Prospero Lost, Alex Berg’s Red Hot Steele and Cold Hard Steele.

For thrilling adventures in other times and places, there’s Death Wind by Travis Heermann and Jim Pinto and Lady Sherlock by Brooks Wachtel. For straight suspense with a high-tech or a darker edge, you’ll enjoy the Daredevils Club novel Artifact written by me, F. Paul Wilson, Matthew J. Costello, and Janet Berliner, and The Demon in Business Class by Anthony Dobranski, Whack Job by Mike Baron, and The Devil’s Churn by Kristine Kathryn Rusch. If you like all kinds of fast-paced fiction, there’s the new anthology Pulse Pounders 2: Adrenaline.

The bundle is only available through August 16. Get a huge bundle of reading material, help support indie authors, as well as the Challenger Center.

Learn more about how this works

Or buy now

Selected Reviews:

Red Hot Steele by Alex P. Berg

"Do you like Law & Order? Do you like ogres and elves and swords? Do you like snarky dialogue? Then read this book."

 – Amazon Revews

Cold Hard Steele by Alex P. Berg

"An absolutely thrilling and fun noir urban fantasy read."

 – Amazon Review

The Demon in Business Class by Anthony Dobranski

"A captivating tale crafted by a true wordsmith. The author Anthony Dobranski exhibits rare talent. This is a wonderful literary achievement as well as an intriguing story."

 – Amazon Review

Grave Beginnings by R.R. Virdi

"I believe R.R. Virdi belongs with other Urban Fantasy greats like Jim Butcher. The Grave Report is sure to go far and only pick up more fans with each successful novel. I can't wait to see where R.R. Virdi will take us next."

 – A Drop Of Ink Reviews 

The Deep Sunset by Dean Wesley Smith

"[The Poker Boy] series is unlike anything else out there. It's quirky and a lot of fun."

 – Amazing Stories

The Devil's Churn by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

[Rusch’s horror novels are] horror in the same way that Robert Bloch's Psycho is—horror of the soul.

 – Locus

Lady Sherlock – Circle of the Smiling Dead by Brooks Arthur Wachtel

"A terrific tale of sleuthing in post-Victorian England with Tasha Dorrington, a daring female detective who takes on a mysterious murder of a government official. The characters are fresh and come alive, and the prose evokes sights and sounds from elite clubs to remote islands. Brooks Arthur Wachtel has written many action adventure shows for TV and combines that with fascinating knowledge of the British Empire to craft a rousing story. A real page turner."

 – Amazon Review

Unnatural Acts by Kevin J. Anderson

"Kevin Anderson sure knows how to write an "unnatural" adventure. The characters are lovable, in spite of their unnatural existence. And the cases are fun to unravel. Great series, looking forward to reading the next one."

 – Amazon Review

Prospero Lost by L. Jagi Lamplighter

"Intelligent and eminently enjoyable, this series opener by a first-time author is a first-rate choice for fans of mythic urban fantasy."

 – Publishers Weekly, starred review

Pulse Pounders: Adrenaline by Fiction River

"… fans of the unconventional will be well satisfied."

 – Publishers Weekly on Fiction River: Pulse Pounders

Death Wind by Travis Heerman and Jim Pinto

"Death Wind is a story that will keep you up well into the night. Highly recommend this title."

 – Amazon Review

Night Terrors by J.A. Pitts

"The heartbreak. The action. The drama. This is just pure awesomeness. The plot kept thickening. I can't wait for the next installment."

 – Amazon Review

Whack Job by Mike Baron

"Mike Baron's Whack Job is pretty freaking brilliant."

 – James Owen

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July 23rd, 2017

02:51 pm: The Ninth Commandment: Bearing False Labels

Morality and the Tenth Commandment Part Three

The Ninth Commandment: Bearing False Labels

This is a Last Crusade article. If you are not familiar with the Last Crusade, you can find the articles here and here. It is a new movement devoted to Christ, Constitution, Chivalry.

The Last Crusade portion are here:
Intro
Tenth Commandment, Part One
Tenth Commandment, Part Two

Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor. (Exodus 20:16)

This is the next instalment in my series of articles investigating how we might view morality differently than it was viewed 150 years ago. To this end, I am examining each of the Ten Commandments to see if our views about what they represent has changed—if we might be accidentally accepting as normal concepts that those who came before us knew to be wrong.

As with Commandment Ten, when I first sat down to consider the Ninth Commandment, I thought: well, that’s pretty obvious. We all know it’s not good to lie about each other, right? I don’t think anything has changed.

Fake news came to mind, as fake news is bearing false witness against our neighbor. But, while we might argue about which news is fake and which is real, I don’t think any of us believes fake news is a good thing.

As I prayed more, however, one thing did come to me—a way in which we regularly bear false witness against each other, and even ourselves, without perhaps realizing it.

A deliberate lie is false witness, but misrepresentation is also false witness. One way of misrepresenting people is to label them.

What is a label?

A label on a can tells us what it in it. A can of corn says: Corn. That is an accurate label, and nothing is missing.

But if labels help us identify things, why should we avoid them?

Well, if you had a can of corn, and you called it Starch, the label would express only part of what the can contained.

A great deal of the labels we put on people today are like Starch or far, far worse than Starch.

They bear false witness against the “Image and likeness of God.”

Currently, there are three such labels: Political, medical, and personality.

Political Lables

The first kind of label is when you cut off conversation with a person who does not agree with you by calling them a name. Common names for this include: racist, homophobe, cuck, islomophobic, Churcian, bigot, etc.

In reality, there may be people whose actual words and behaviors merit such objections. But that is seldom how these words are being used on social media. More often, these labels are used preemptively, not to correct a real error in thinking but to cut off conversation before it can begin.

“I believe X…”

“YOU ARE A [insert favorite derisive label here].”

This extremely common use of labels isn’t helpful. It does not produce less racists, cucks, or bigots. Instead, it is a power play. It is designed to make one’s opponent quail and go on the defensive. It results either in groveling or in rejection and anger.

Calling names in this manner bears false witness against one’s neighbor.

Medical Labels

Medical labels are very popular. All sorts of things that used to be merely a quirk or “well, that’s how he is” now have a name and a ism to go with them.

It used to be that when old Uncle Tad was a bit loony because he did X, he may have been odd, but he was an individual. But nowadays, Uncle Tad is an ism. Instead of looking at people and getting to know their personal quirks, we assign a label. He’s autistic. She’s OCD. He’s ADHD.

The problem with these kind of labels? Two things:

1) Labels of these sorts are meant to help identify problems for the sake of helping the person. But, in reality, often they become short cuts for not paying attention.

When we think we know, we stop noticing. We stop seeing. We assume.

So the label tends to have the result of making those who are suffering less visible.

2) In my church, we make a point of trying not to label people. I have read many testimonies in our periodicals that follow this pattern:

A teacher takes over a class. There is a student with label X. The teacher refuses to see the student as X but rather works to see the student as the “image and likeness of God” as defined in Genesis 1. By the end of the year, the student’s behavior had entirely changed. There was no vestiges left of behavior X.

A human being is not autistic or OCD or AHDH.

Those qualities are not what defines them. A human being is not an illness. A human being is the image and likeness of the One Altogether Lovely—who are merely currently suffering from the condition of…pick your label.

If we speak or think otherwise, we are bearing false witness against our neighbor.

Personality Labels

The third type of popular labeling is often self-inflicted. These are personality labels. She’s a Capricorn. He’s INTJ.

Grouping people into personality types in order to help produce more harmonious work groups may have legitimate value.

But when we go beyond that we venture into dangerous territory.

We begin to limit our expectations of what we can do and excuse our shortcomings by explaining that we are an X-type personality, so said shortcoming is part of our package, because X-type people do that.

At this point, we have become like the can of corn labeled Starch.

The many glorious aspects of our being, bestowed upon us by our Creator, are being reduced to a few limited ideas.

Buying into personality labels is bearing false witness against ourselves.

 

Next week: The Ninth Commandment – a spiritual perspective: How I Pray With The Ninth Commandment.

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July 9th, 2017

03:55 pm: Why I rely on Christian Science

For those of you waiting for The Ninth Commandment, I am working on it…but it hasn't come together yet. 

In the meantime, here is a short testimony. Some people ask, "Why would you rely on prayer rather than medicine, if it means that you have to suffer pain? Especially for something modern that medicine can put a quick end to: Why not just go to the doctor?"

The answer is: It depends on what your premises are. What do you think causes illness?

If illness comes from physical causes, then avoiding physical cures is foolish. 

But…if illness is the result of a spiritual cause, than applying physical cures might calm the symptoms, but it won't solve the problem. It's like taking a painkiller but not splinting your broken leg.

Have you ever drempt that you were thirsty, or had to pee, or were cold? Then, in the dream, you rushed around trying to solve this problem, but no matter what you did, you never got anywhere–until you woke up and realized that the issue had to be solved on the waking level–nothing you could do in your dream would actually solve it?

It's like that.

So…an example: once upon a time, I had poison ivy all over my face and hands. My face swelled up, my body oozed and iched. And, since I am not a person who endures itching well, it spread and spread. 

It was not pretty…or comfortable.

A brief aside, during this period, I went around with dark glasses. If I removed them, people looked freaked out. But my kids, three little boys, did not seem disturbed at all. I wondered about this and asked John why he thought that the children were not scared of me. 

He said: "They see you with the eyes of love. And I see you with the eyes of a science fiction writer, and you look like Odo from Dark Space Nine, so I think it's cool."

But I digress.

So…I had to decide what to do. Did I take some kind of medication? Put on some kind of cream? Or endure it and rely on prayer?

I picked prayer…because I wanted to solve the real problem, not just sooth the symptoms. So I prayed and prayed and prayed.

It iched something fierce.

Days went by. Then weeks. Five weeks.

I prayed and prayed and prayed. It still iched.

Then, one night, I woke up all of a sudden and discovered that something was entirely different.

I had previously forgiven someone who had been responsible for causing me a gread deal of harm. But, when I thought about him, I still saw him as having ogre-like qualities. I just didn't mind anymore.

But that night–after five weeks of itching, when I woke up, I suddenly no longer saw this person in a negative light. I just saw what was good about him. I could remember the harm…but without any sting.

Instead, I saw all the good, wonderful qualities that had been there all the time but which previously had been eclipsed by the dark image.

Now this might not sound like a big deal, but I have talked to other people who have had similar experiences. They have told me that escaping the sting that comes from such experiences is impossible.

That it cannot be done.

That this shadow, this spector of past trauma, will be with us forever.

So, from that point of view, this change in my perspective was an amazing thing. One might say miraculous.

Soon after this healing of the spirit, the poison ivy disappeared from my face. A bit of it continued for a week or two on my arms and shoulders, but one day I just dismissed it as no longer legitimate (something that happens in prayer sometimes), and…it was gone the next time I bothered to think about it.

If I had stopped praying and used medicine, I could have gotten on with my life much more quickly. I would have felt less irritable much sooner, which might have been nice.

But I probably would still be facing that ogre today.

Because I would not have kept praying. I would not have put my life on hold for weeks and spent the time turning to God, searching for healing. And that was what was needed to be free of the real irritation that I had been carrying around with me for a long time.

And this is why I rely on Christian Science, even when there might be an "easy modern fix"…because what I want is true healing.

Not just for the itching to stop.

In the midst of this period, when I was so miserable, I was sitting in bed reading testimonies and the Bible and such, I looked over at my baby, and he had poison ivy all over the back of his neck. His skin was red and irritated.

I couldn't bear this–the idea that the baby would be so uncomfortable, the way I was. I turned to God with all my heart.

When I looked back, the poison ivy on the baby's neck was entirely gone. His skin was normal and smooth.

God is good.

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Originally posted to Welcome to Arhyalon. (link)

June 18th, 2017

03:42 pm: Funny Healing for Father’s Day!

Happy Father's Day,

In honor of this day, I would like to honor our Heavenly Father with a report of his amazing–and amusing–power.

I am working on my next article on the Commandments and morality, but in the interm, here is one of my more amusing healings.

One day, some years ago, I realized that I was seriously ill. Being a Christian Scientist, I decided to turn this over to God. I was scared, terrified, but I called a Christian Science practitioner, pulled out my Books (The Bible and Science and Health: with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy), and got to work. I spent the whole weekend studying, praying, and reading Christian Science periodicals (The Journal and The Sentinel, best magazines ever.) 

After a bit, between contemplating the truths of the Bible and reading many testimonies of healing through prayer, the fear ebbed some. By the end of the weekend, I felt less terrified, and a sense of peace had come to me.

I wasn't healed yet. It would take another six months to a year, some frightening moments, and a lot of prayer before perminent healing came, but…

After that first weekend, I suddenly realized that I had been healed–of disliking bananas and monkeys.

All my life, I had hated bananas, their taste, their smell, and I had not cared much for monkeys either.

The day after this first weekend of prayer, I realized that this dislike had entirely vanished. I could now eat bananas, stand in rooms they were in, and could see the charm of monkeys.

Why this particular healing, I have no idea!  

As my eldest son likes to say, "God is odd."

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June 15th, 2017

03:09 pm: Signal Boost: For Steam and Country

New book from Superversive Press!


 

Her father's been pronounced dead. Destructive earthquakes ravage the countryside. An invading army looms over the horizon. And Zaira's day is just getting started…

Abandoned at an early age, Zaira von Monocle found life as the daughter of a great adventurer to be filled with hard work and difficulty. She quickly learned to rely on only herself. But when a messenger brought news that her father was dead and that she was the heir to his airship, her world turned upside down.

Zaira soon finds herself trapped in the midst of a war between her home country of Rislandia and the cruel Wyranth Empire, whose soldiers are acting peculiarly—almost inhuman. With the enemy army advancing, her newfound ship’s crew may be the only ones who can save the kingdom.

For Steam and Country is the first book in the Adventures of Baron Von Monocle series by top-10 Amazon best selling space opera author, Jon Del Arroz.

 "Witty, charming and downright thrilling!  Del Arroz nails the feel of good old fashioned Steampunkery with wit, aplomb and of course… panache." – Nick Cole, author of the Dragon Award winner, CTRL ALT Revolt

"FOR STEAM AND COUNTRY is a rousing girl-powered fantasy tale. I thoroughly enjoyed this action-packed airship adventure!" – Laurie Forest, author of The Black Witch

 

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