A Wild World???

Posted: June 20, 2018 in World On The Edge

It takes a lot of courage to keep our faith in a world such as ours. In the recent past, we’ve seen leaders whose ethics we would like to have respected, but instead they became so disreputable that we now fear for our country.

So, we looked to a stronger leader, elected by a strong majority. A leader who is unafraid to uphold the Truths we ought to be living by, and that our nation was founded upon. And yet, day by day, we hear bigger and bigger lies from those who cannot abide his success. And we feel the pinch of that.

There is an attempt to fool us—and we’ve been too involved in ourselves to notice.

And as he taught them, he said, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.'” Mark 11:17

We have not turned over the tables in the temple. We have not warned the cheaters. We have not called for Truth loud enough to be heard. And it is my belief that if we do not raise our voices,  one day, we will regret it terribly.

Let’s wake up, before we can’t wake up at all. Let’s look into ourselves—-unselfishly look–to find even the smallest ways to assist our culture and our country, founded on principles of Faith which we haven’t seen in a long while, until now. Let’s bring them back.

Let’s bring back Honesty as opposed to lies.

Courage as opposed to timidity.

Freedom as opposed to unfounded restrictions.

Let’s eliminate the utilization of many people only to keep them victims, as opposed to lifting them to their rightful high place as good and dignified human beings, brothers and sisters, created by God.

Let’s secure respect for Life itself, from its beginning to its end.

Because if we don’t, where we end up will be worse than we can even imagine.

Day by day, our world has become wilder, and less virtuous.

Day by day, we are drowning, all the while hanging on to what we’re ‘told’ by some less-than-honest media. ‘Told’ what it is they need to survive. ‘Told’ not by our own heart and soul, but by those people who have only their imprudent interests in mind. ‘Told’ by those who would use us for their own purposes, until the beautiful core values of America become like pieces of chewed-up gum stuck to the dirtied soles of avaricious power-worshippers.

Oh yes. We left principle behind. We left Faith and values behind. It’s a wild world now. Does anyone doubt that we need to change it?

Thank God, we still have a choice to do just that. All it takes is a love for country, a love for those who will come after us, a fearless voice–AND GOOD COMMON SENSE.

The manuscript of my newest and unpublished novel, ABSENCE, has been submitted for the Penn/Bellwether Prize, an award begun by best-selling author, Barbara Kingsolver, “The Poisonwood Bible.” The $25,000 prize is awarded biennially to the author of a previously unpublished novel of high literary caliber that exemplifies the prize’s founding principles. The winner also receives a publishing contract with Algonquin Books.

The intention of The Penn/Bellwether prize is to support writers whose unpublished works support positive social change, and to “encourage writers, publishers, and readers to consider how fiction engages visions of social change and human justice.”

Will my work qualify? I hope so.

In my opinion, we cannot even consider human justice unless we first treasure the nature of a human being, that part which is immaterial and, I believe, comes from God. The natural law is a deep sense of the moral good, that all persons, irrespective of ethnic origin, gender, possessions, race, religion, etc., are to be treated equally and without prejudice. It follows then that we should never use people as a mere means to our own ends as happens in my novel, ABSENCE, which may be my favorite of all the novels I’ve written because it is based on my belief in the divine value of a human being.

Here is a brief synopsis:
Throw out any preconception you may have of a novel about a southern, peanut farmer. Absence is a mystery, in the deepest sense of the word, about marriage, about fathers and sons, husbands and wives, and brothers and sisters; all backed into corners and at odds with each other as they struggle with their human nature, and the nature of the world. The story centers around James Greene and one life-changing decision he makes. James’s family has farmed near the Chattahoochee River for three generations. He is a Vietnam veteran, seen by his wife, Katy, as strong as steel. His son, William, sees his father as a good man, almost a king; but James sees himself as a man who will stoop as low as he has to, to get what he wants. And he does just that—with destructive repercussions that alienate his entire family. And yet, even here, love can be found, along with its mystery.

The underpinnings of the novel are two:

1) The inevitable distance between human nature, which is possible to control, and the nature of the world which is impossible to control. i.e. moral evil vs. natural evil–and yet, humanity must deal with both.

2) The mystery of human nature’s innate ability to choose that which can be curative, or destructive.

I am a fiction writer who sees the world through the lens of my belief in God, and write what I believe is good fiction about that. OF COURSE, I ALWAYS INTEND A GOOD STORY, one that can be read and enjoyed with, or without, acknowledging its underpinnings

I would like my work to be taken seriously by today’s literary establishment, but I think that establishment is afraid of showing the depth of religious themes in fiction. And yet, according to the latest Gallup Poll, 89 % of Americans say they believe in God. Christianity is the world’s largest religion with over 2.4 billion followers, or 33% of the global population. Still, this is a largely ignored readership when it comes to realistic fiction with an underpinning of faith. One has only to consider works by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Walker Percy, Flannery O’Connor, and countless others, to see its value. The literary establishment’s fear might be their feeling that dogma constrains the artist; but for me as a fiction writer, dogma is a guarantee of mystery, and as Walker Percy said, “a warrant to explore the mystery.” Take for example, Christianity’s benchmark, LOVE. Who can understand its joys and sufferings without faith?

ARE YOU A BACK-STABBER??

Posted: June 12, 2018 in World On The Edge

Back-stabbing has become very popular in politics: Attack the competition without mercy. Ruin his or her reputation. Take them down at all cost, because my side is more important. The news is full of this sort of immature backyard brawling. So easy to do with social media because ‘anything goes’ and anyone can give an opinion, whether correct or not.

But it’s not just in politics that back-stabbers work. Have you ever attacked the character or reputation of a person who is not present in a conversation? On occasion, many of us have without realizing the enormous damage it can do.

And some people use back-stabbing very intentionally by throwing out information that is meant to put an un-present person in a bad light. This is done to damage that person, by playing the person he/she is talking to against the person not there and unable to defend himself.

These are people who–especially if they’ve been ignored–will play a so-called friend against another so-called friend in order to beef themselves up or to carve a place for themselves.

People who do this are dangerous. People who do this should be avoided, or at least seen as disingenuous and not truth-tellers. To listen to people such as this, to give them any slack or credence, can be very detrimental to anyone involved in the conversation. Because this is gossip at its worst, when words are used as weapons.

These word-weapons may be complete lies, or half-truths. Of course, any lie is sinful, but even if what is said about another person is true, but there is no real need to make the disclosure, then this harms the person’s good name. And that is slander if done maliciously.

We need to watch our words and our intentions in speaking them, both in face to face conversation and in social media. Words can indeed be weapons with disastrous effects for both the speaker and the receiver. After all, who wants to be around a back-stabber?

She who sees AD

Image  —  Posted: June 5, 2018 in World On The Edge

Bridge-Man Burning by Kaye Park Hinckley

EXCERPT

“Coleman tried not to think about dying, though he’d seen it firsthand, soon after he had got to ‘Nam. A boy he’d made an acquaintance with had been in the wrong place at the wrong time–right over a land mine. The mine had blown the boy’s legs off. He’d lived for about an hour, until the reality of what had happened hit him worse than the mine. He’d died in Coleman’s arms, crying out for his mother to help him. Coleman threw up afterwards, went for days without shutting his eyes. The next four deaths happened, all at once, in an ambush. It was then he remembered to pretend that his father was with him, that his father would show him where the enemy hid. His father would help him survive– because Stern was right. Vietnam was a game of survival, of winning the simple gift of another day.”

Bridge-Man Burning

by Kaye Park Hinckley

Giveaway ends June 05, 2018.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

 

Enter Giveaway

Water covers an enormous portion of our planet, and is needed for all life, human and otherwise. Without the presence of water, there would be no life at all. Water is our lifeline. But there are times when it presents trouble for us: hurricanes, floods, accidental drownings. A lot can be lost in these situations, and that loss affects us very personally, even to our core.

Families are also a mainstay of our planet, the core of human life, the domestic church. But the family is in troubled waters today. The family has been hit by the hurricane of misguided thinking, flooded with misinformation. And there are too many drownings because of it.

There are forces who hate what is right. There are forces who want to destroy the God-created family: Mother, Father, Children. There are forces who would dishonor the virtuous love meant to bind them all together, and replace it with a less than virtuous copy: a falsity of marriage, family, and even gender. And some of those forces rise high up in our government, and in our churches, as well.

How is this being accomplished?

By making something much less than good SEEM like good. Social media is filled with  propaganda like this:

That men and women are no different—that a person can even choose which to be.

That a baby in the family does not need to be welcomed, and can even be destroyed.

That boys and men are solely responsible for all that is wrong with girls and women.

That people can no longer judge what is right and what is wrong—even using the standards of God’s own laws. A bastardized meaning of LOVE will be used instead.

The family, the mainstay of our planet, is being snapped like trees in a hurricane. Family members are swallowing, and then, drowning in the contaminated flood water, without admitting there is a storm. Or if we do admit it, we lack the courage to speak out.

We don’t speak out with courage because we want to be broad-minded; we don’t want to be labeled–you know: Love vs. Hate, and all that. We have swallowed the propaganda as truth. Well, it is NOT truth. And we must cross the bridge of courage and say so, or drown as the people of God.

Broadmindedness, when it means indifference to right and wrong, eventually ends in a hatred of what is right.–Bishop Fulton J. Sheen.

We must put ourselves in the presence of God and pray for courage. Then we must put ourselves out there, and lay ourselves down in defense of Truth.

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.–Isaiah 41:10

The Catholic Mass: The Composition of Christianity. A masterpiece, the embodiment of what we believe. The Mass makes God present to His people by telling His story, and is the daily echo of our Catholic faith.

As a cradle Catholic, I have a lifetime of love for the Mass. Yet, never before have I perceived it as a symphony; The Divine Symphony, as does David L. Gray in this remarkable book.

I read the book slowly, taking in the very familiar parts of the Ite Missa Est, but seeing them in a new light–not as the Mass I’ve become used to, standing kneeling, responding, without much thought as to why we do all that–but as the particular movements of a symphonic journey revealing the Incarnation, and Christianity itself. David Gray reclaims our theology in this book, and reframes what we believe and why we believe it. He takes us through the essential life-giving act of God given to us in the Old Testament, and found in the memorial Passover sacrifice instituted before the exodus, then subsequently played out in the Crucifixion in the New Testament, and now, offered daily in Masses all over the world.

For those lifetime Catholics like me, this is a book for you. For those who are not Catholic and have wondered just what the Catholic Mass is–this book will reveal it. With examples from the Latin Rite, the Novus Ordo, Melkite, Orthodox—all—because, as David Gray says, “As God is one, so is there only one Mass that is expressed through various liturgical traditions that are rooted in a Divinely inspired cross-pollination with each other, especially for the first seven centuries of the Church.”

Backed up by biblical history, both Old and New Testament, along with the earliest church writers, David Gray has set his very keen eye on our beautiful Mass and laid before us an impeccable encapsulation of our faith.

I wrote this book to contribute to that idea of recapturing our theology and framing it around the central truth of our faith. My hope is that this book inspires you, with the prose of theological song and theory, to know, love, and reverently pray the Mass. For when you know the Mass, you truly know that Jesus the Christ loves you and that He is there for you. Be entirely dependent on Him for everything! 

—David L. Gray, MA degree in Theology, Ohio Dominican University. President and publisher of Saint Dominic’s Media, Inc.

In one sentence, The Divine Symphony is one of the most valuable books about the Catholic faith that I have read. Thank you, David, for offering it to me.

When I was young and expressing my own creative ideas to my father, he smiled, gave me a hug, and told me that I might be a “nutcase.” I took this as a compliment because he meant it as one. My father and I were very much alike–both dreamers, both able to turn a bad situation into something better with our dreams. We were very often not realists, and while that might pose a problem in some situations, because of it, we were rarely depressed. And if we did get down, were able to put things back together with HOPE.

I knew, and still know others, who are what one of my sons calls, “Debbie Downers.” These people, wonderful though they may be, cannot sluff things off, cannot dream, cannot be nutcases; they are too practical, and afraid to try new things. Instead of ideas, excuses for ‘why they can’t’ come into play: I won’t measure up. I don’t have enough talent. I am too old.

Well, you are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream, according to C.S. Lewis.

According to Shakespeare, We are such stuff as dreams are made on.

And in Alice in Wonderland, the Mad Hatter asks: Have I gone mad? Alice responds: I’m afraid so. You’re entirely bonkers. But I’ll tell you a secret. All the best people are.

If you’re looking around for someone to lift your spirits, you may find a nutcase in the spontaneous.

You may find a dreamer in the cheerful.

You may even find the lunatic you need to light up your ‘Debbie Downer’ life.

Bridge-Man Burning by Kaye Park Hinckley

                               EXCERPT

“Coleman tried not to think about dying, though he’d seen it firsthand, soon after he had got to ‘Nam. A boy he’d made an acquaintance with had been in the wrong place at the wrong time–right over a land mine. The mine had blown the boy’s legs off. He’d lived for about an hour, until the reality of what had happened hit him worse than the mine. He’d died in Coleman’s arms, crying out for his mother to help him. Coleman threw up afterwards, went for days without shutting his eyes. The next four deaths happened, all at once, in an ambush. It was then he remembered to pretend that his father was with him, that his father would show him where the enemy hid. His father would help him survive– because Stern was right. Vietnam was a game of survival, of winning the simple gift of another day.”

Bridge-Man Burning

by Kaye Park Hinckley

Giveaway ends June 05, 2018.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

 

Enter Giveaway