Archive | March 2014

The Ultimate Super Power

In writing fantasy and/or science fiction, it’s the job of the writer to come up with awesome, or at the very least, amusing super powers that their heroes or villains may possess.  As a Christian, I am time and again struck by how inadequate our imagination is, for we can’t come up with a power as amazing as the ultimate super power: the ability to forgive sins.  

Think about it, we may forgive each other for indiscretions, for breaking the laws of the land, etc., but we can in no way ensure that a person’s sins are completely gone, that they are forgotten, and that the person is now pure.  We can’t make them perfect in the eyes of everyone whoever lived, for future generations, and especially in the face of the laws written on our hearts, and even in those same the laws of the land.

A killer may repent, and may be “forgiven” by the world, but that sin will never truly be forgotten.  People will never stop thinking of that person as a killer.  Every job or loan application, every time his or her name is searched on the internet, their sin will still stand there accusing them.  One sin has tainted them forever.  One sin.  And just think how many wrongs we commit in a lifetime, how many bad thoughts we have, and how many times we fail to do the right thing.

Jesus Christ, the world’s savior, and every human’s personal savior, has the power to forgive sins.  He can and has erased our sins, taking them onto Himself so that by faith in Him we can stand the judgement of that law, written on our hearts, the law that is the absolute justice of God.  Through faith in Jesus, a killer can become innocent again; a liar, a truth teller; a rapist, a protector of those weaker than himself.  With true forgiveness of sins, all good things are possible, where before only evil was possible in the heart of man.

What’s flying or super strength or speed compared to that?  It doesn’t hold a candle to what Jesus can do.  Our fictional heroes are always confined in a way that God will never be.  Maybe that’s why it’s so hard to believe in Jesus for many.  His power is really beyond our imagination.  It’s a power that doesn’t make sense, it’s a power of love.  Love, now that really doesn’t make sense.  Who of us is worthy of love?  But God does love us, and sent Jesus to die for us so that we wouldn’t have to suffer the punishment for the awful things that we do and have done.

For me, this is the ultimate super power.

“And getting into a boat he crossed over and came to his own city. 2 And behold, some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic,
 “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.” 
3 And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.” 4 But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said,“Why do you think evil in your hearts?
5 For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? 
6 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he then said to the paralytic—“Rise, pick up your bed and go home.” 7 And he rose and went home. 8 When the crowds saw it, they were afraid, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to men.” –Matthew 9:1-7 (ESV)

Once in a Lifetime Concert

The theater: Italian renaissance decor as envisioned by the 1920’s American Midwest.  The player: The fastest violinist in the world…and his rock band.  (Incidentally, I now think every classical musician  deserves a rock band).

David Garrett, Music Live tour at the State Theater in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

When my friend said she had an extra ticket for a David Garrett concert, she was lucky that I actually knew who he was, and I only knew who he was through Facebook.  About a year ago, someone shared a video of him playing and I was hooked: Master violinist restyled as a rock star, and also easy on the eyes in a rather scruffy, Kurt Cobain-like way.

From 80’s rock themes to tangos to Gypsy folk tunes, the concert was truly amazing, a once in a lifetime experience.  The theater only holds about 2,000 or so people, so it afforded a more intimate experience than other venues.  The playing and the decor evoked images of the 1700’s, and I imagine Mr. Garrett would fit very well back in that time if he happened to fall into a time machine and be trapped there indefinitely.

The concert, though, brought back a memory to me of another once in a lifetime violin concert that I went to a couple of years ago.  The violinist was an old friend of the family, now grown up to be a teenager, and her playing at the chapel at our local Bethany Lutheran College brought to tears to my eyes.  I don’t know if I will ever get to hear Miriam, or, more properly, Sonoko Miriam Shimano Welde, play again, or David Garrett for that matter.  Both were obviously gifted children, and I for one am glad that they’ve decided to share their gift with the world.  How many people have incredible talent and never share it, never work at, never become masters of that talent?

Mr. Garrett shared a few humorous stories of life on the road and the loneliness it can bring.  Pursuing art can be difficult for many, I think, because for most arts there is isolation involved.  I’ve found this to be true in writing.  You can’t get very far talking about writing, you just have to write.  The same goes for music, you just have to play and practice.  The practice, especially, is where the solitary factor comes in.

In watching a concert, the musicians make it look so easy, but countless hours upon hours of practice have built up to that amazing moment.  Hours and perhaps time spent away from loved ones that the audience can barely comprehend.  Whether in mastering a symphony, or writing an epic poem, or inventing a light bulb, or leaving home and family to serve the poor in body and spirit, sacrifice is always involved.  We give something up, personal comfort, time, or money, for something greater than ourselves.  That time of sacrifice is the awesome part, the “journey” part of our life’s quest.  That journey is what makes us all unique, all “once in the universe” people.  No one either before or after us will have the exact same life history, the same pursuits, the same pleasures, or the same connections with people around them.  We are all unique, yet we’re all the same in being unique.  A sort of paradoxical state of being, but there you have it.

And, now that I’m done with my rambling, I’m going to go and do some actual story writing and continue on my own personal journey and epic quest.  I salute violinists everywhere and wish I could be one of you, but I’ll settle for being a writer and a somewhat mediocre piano player.  Although, someday, I just might write an epic novel about dueling, magical violinists…who are also sword fighters…and who time travel.  Don’t put it past me, because this journey isn’t done yet.

TfD Origins — April 25th, 2010

Trolls for Dust

Playing around more with fantasy and also second person point of view and present tense.  Happy reading, and don’t forget that Trolls for Dust, Season One is only $1 this month on and 🙂
April 25, 2010 (Story One Hundred Seven)

You never really know if you’re going crazy or not.  Sometimes you see things like little flicks of movement at the corner of your vision. Perhaps it’s a cockroach or spider or mouse, but when you jerk your head and nothing is there, you feel foolish and hope that no one saw.

Sometimes you sit up late reading a book and you sense that someone is standing there just in front of you and off to the side.  Slowly, fearfully, you lower the book and look over the top of the pages, only to find just the dark doorway or a coat hung over a chair. …

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Five Amusement Parks That Need to Be Built

1. The Floor Is Lava!!

Most kids have played some version of this game since furniture was invented.  Basic idea: You can’t touch the floor, because it’s “lava” or “shark-infested waters” or whatever peril your kid-imagination invents.  Whoever makes it around the room or rooms without touching the floor wins.  Being that this game can torture sometimes costly furniture, it may not be too popular with moms…well, some moms.

This maybe would be an entire amusement park in itself, but one ride or challenge.  I’m imagining a huge floor area with moving lights underneath to make it look like lava, and odd-sized furniture for people to jump on.

2. The Amusement Park of Coffee.

Because everything is better with coffee.  Giant coffee bean chairs, scooters, or rafts.  An espresso machine ride that steams you at the end and dunks you in a cold pool of Frappuccino.  A haunted house made of coffee mugs called “The Ghosts of Grounds Past.”  Coffee filter lily pads that float down a river of mocha.  Okay, maybe this should just be a room in Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory.  Moving on…

3. New Technology Park.

Wouldn’t it be great to have a skating rink made of an iPad?  You could slide around on your bare feet and draw pictures or stomp your way through minesweeper!  And what about a cell phone house of mirrors?  The phones would not only warp your image but add fangs…or something.  Include a ferris wheel where the cars look like old school computer mice.

4. Lord of the Rings land.  Tolkien land.

Harry Potter has his own park, why not J.R.R.?  The Misty Mountain roller coaster.  The Smaug/Gandalf lights and fireworks show.  The quaint souvenir shops of Hobbiton.  The river barrel ride.  Gollum’s Cave.  The Dunharrow haunted caves.  The Elves’ tree houses.  Resist the One Ring in a giant magnetic obstacle course!  Fly on the wings of The Eagles!

5.  221B Baker Street.

Yes, an entire street of Sherlock Holmes attractions.  Upon entering you receive your “mystery” to solve and have to follow the clues through the gas-lit streets of old London.  Much like a murder mystery weekend, you can choose to be a detective, a policeman, a villain, an informant, etc.  Or, try your luck at hand fighting or shooting a perfect circle into a drawing room wall.  Test your skill at “rope” climbing on the giant violin.  Go sock skating on the magnifying glass rink. Hold tight to your hats on the Baskerville Hound ride of Terror!