Letter to My Son: Letter II

Dear Beloved Son,

Father’s Day was yesterday, and quite by accident, I happened to write a letter to you on that day. The coincidence amused me as I went to bed a few hours ago, and now I’m awake again, and I have another letter to write to you.

I thought I’d remind you that I love you. I want to admonish you to remember that, even when it seems to you like I don’t. I want to tell you that when you are thinking this, tell me. The case should never be that I don’t love you – I don’t know how it can ever be true. I love you, even now, when I have not yet beheld your face, nor even placed the ring on the finger of your mother.

When it seems as if my face is turned away from you, it is not because my love has dried up. It is because I am an imperfect father, and like my father before me, I’m not always good at showing my love. I know this will be the case even if I do become worthy of being called your father and your mother’s husband.

I want to warn you son, that we all go through rough times. Even now, the woman whom I think will be your mother is in Japan, having just survived an earthquake, with an even worse one waiting to happen. She is now asleep, trusting in the Lord to keep her safe – and her worry is not for her safety, but for social isolation from her missionary team.

Loneliness can kill you son. Even if you’re like me, and you shun human company, preferring to immerse yourself in your own thoughts and musings, the loneliness will gnaw away at the fabric of your being until there’s nothing left but bone. Irregardless of our inclinations, God did not make us to be alone. He made us to have a partner, He made us to assemble before Him, and He made us to be with Him in the garden, until we turned our faces away from Him who loved us.

You will meet people you don’t like. You may end up like me and mostly meet people that, though probably nice as can be, you don’t want to give the time of day to spend with. The thing to remember is not your standards, what you want, your desires, what you need, but what they need. It is those who seem to have it the most together who are often dying on the inside, stricken by loneliness, besieged by sin, suffering under spiritual assault, or languishing in the thirst of their soul in a barren world.

The secret to being content in your friends is not necessarily to find the ones whose interests and hobbies you share, for while those friends may be amusing to distract yourself with, if you have nothing deeper in common you will be ever thirsty for something that you can’t name.

The secret to friendship is to love your friend more than yourself. To give up your time and your affections for another person without demanding likewise in return is to imitate Christ, the Christ to whom I pledge my life, the Christ who laid down His life for we who killed him, the Christ who came to preach forgiveness to sinful Man, knowing that we would ridicule Him for it.

Do not merely treat others as you would treat yourself. Serve others with your heart and soul, and you will find that not only are they happy, your own cup of joy shall overflow, welling up into a spring of eternal life, if you do this in the name of Christ.

You are not alone, my son. For if one part of the body of Christ suffers, so do we all. If one cries, all mourn. If one laughs, all cheer with her, and if one prays, so all shall we join in, being of one Spirit and one Brother and one Father. I have more to say on this, so I’ll write again soon, but know this:

I love you. Your mother loves you. And most importantly,

God loves you. To the stars and planets and seas and animals He spoke and they came into being, but for you, He took clay and molded you in His hands, in His image, and gave you His own breath of life. He did not merely command of you to be – He made you with care and love, before even the foundation of the world.

Love,

Dad

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Letters to my Son: Letter I

Dear Son,

Son, I’m writing this to you because I love you. I don’t know you yet, but I hope that when we meet, I will be a man you can happily call Dad.

But until we meet, there’s a lot that I have to do. I’m not your father yet. I’m a rotten man, a hypocrite, a rebel and a stubborn goat who will hear the truth preached to him all the day long and still not heed the words of wisdom. I’m unworthy in every way to be your father, and it frightens me that I might never become that man.

Or it would, if I did not have a better Father of my own. He’s not the man whose funny crooked teeth or thick hair I inherited, but He has been as much of and far more of a father than the one who conceived me.

To point, I want to be a good father to you. My father provided for me, but there’s quite a few lessons and points of guidance which he never gave to me, but which God graciously provided to me by His providence when I needed it, and even now He continues to lead me for His namesake – and I fully expect that when I see you, He will still be guiding us, me and you both. He is your Father too, and He knows you better than I ever will, for He made you with His hands, and breathed life into you in your mother’s womb.

I’m a writer, my son. That means that when God gives me good thoughts and words, I write them down. Right now, in my youth, it doesn’t seem like there’s much else that I’m good for, so it’s what I do whenever I’m not earning my wages. And that is one of the tough truths that we have to wrestle with under God. There are things we want to do, things we would want to spend all our days doing nothing but, and yet we cannot. Writing is not profitable. It is risky even to try to make a subsistence living as a writer, because unlike a standard 9 to 5 job, there’s no benefits package and no overtime pay. You live off of royalties, advances, and ad-revenue, depending on what you write. You have to practice for years just to get into the craft, and then once you’re in, you can never stop practicing.

And right now son, I’m afraid. I’m ashamed. I’m not brave enough to risk it all to get my dream career. I’m afraid of shaming myself in the eyes of those who love me by forsaking conventional labors for my writing. I’m afraid that I am just indulging laziness by wishing for this. I’m afraid that I would be acting in pride to gratify the desires of my flesh, and forsaking the God who has delivered me from my sins many and myriad. I’m ashamed already at the ungodly desires of my heart, the unrighteous intentions of my flesh, of my weakness in entertaining these traitorous thoughts.

Son, there will be a great many people in your life who will tell you to ‘pursue your dreams.’ They will tell you life is an open book, that the possibilities are limitless, that the world is your oyster.

They are lying to you. The world is not an oyster, it is a barren field. There is much possibility in it, but to extract from the bitter soil your dreams will require of you undying toil, remarkable luck, and toil again until your very bones wear out. To fulfill all your earthly desires by your own hands will consume you like a flame until you come to the end of your road and wonder what you gave up your life for.

Do not desire the things of this world. Even good and glorious things like fame, like doing something you love for a living, these things should not be your heart’s desire. Your desire must be in the Lord, or you will die unsatisfied. I know, because I chased these things and even baser desires for too long in my life, ignoring the appeals God made so gently upon my heart.

Please, my Son – do not be like me. I am not proud of my writing. I am good at it, and I know I was unarguably better at it than many of my peers in school. And there is some joy when I write well, a finely put together sentence, a good day which brought forth more words than usual. And if you become a writer like me, my son, by no means do I discourage you.

But if you are a writer, I want you to do one of two things. If you want to write because you want your name on book covers, because you enjoy it, because you’re good at it – don’t quit your day job. Secure your living first, and indulge your passion when the sun sets. Please, think hard before you give your life to art.

Did I say two things?

My son, no matter how much I want to give you that dream, of being able to do nothing but write for a living – I can’t offer it to you now. I don’t have that dream. I wonder if I even have the self-discipline to manage it if I wasn’t so hemmed in by shame.

God loves you. And if God wills it, it will happen. But when you pray to our Father, you cannot have doubt. You must know what you want, want it truly, want it for the right reasons (read: the glory of God’s Kingdom, the salvation of the unredeemed, and the deliverance of His people), and be faithful that God can do all things.

The Lord knows no doubt. He knows no fear, none of the vacillation that you see in this letter. He is not afraid of being shamed, He is not afraid for His reputation or his 401K or His marriage prospects. He is our bold and fearless King, who humbles all the wicked and proud of this world and heals the sick, feeds the hungry, and shelters the weary. It is our good and gracious God who liberated me from the lusts which consumed my whole being, our kind and merciful God who spared my grandparents from rapacious invaders and conveyed them safely to America, our holy and generous God who gave to me the woman who will be your mother, blessing me a million times in excess of that which I deserve – including by giving me you to rear and teach.

All the gifts you will enjoy, from your food, to your shelter, to your parents (hi there) to the nature present as it may be, to every single talent and ability of your body and mind – all these come from God, and they are purposed for His glory – that all should hear His Word, call upon His name, and be rescued from their evil. As our God smites the wicked so He also redeems them, saving awful sinners like me, who did only evil in His sight with no regard for good.

Our God – and I hope your God – is a delightful savior, who makes my heart sing with joy as I write this very line. For I know that a day will come when these worries will trouble me no more, when I will finally find rest when all I have known is toil. I love my God because He is good, because He first loved me when I was unlovable, and never expected a single thing in return but that I would believe in Him and look to Him as Father. And even these things are gifts from Him, to be given back to Him with loving shouts of praise.

I love you, son. I will write to you again soon. Please take to heart all that I have said, and treasure the wisdom I struggle to pass on to you.

May the peace of God be with you, offspring of mine.

Sincerely,

Dad.

Race to the Red Light

It’s fun sometimes, on an afternoon drive home from the warehouse, to observe the people who around me are making the same commute.

Fun is too strong a word. Amusing is more appropriate.

Watch the Honda Odyssey swerve across four lanes of traffic to go screaming down an exit ramp doing 65 in what will soon be a 35 zone. Take note of the open topped Ferrari driving ten below the limit, inducing the flash orange Dodge Charger behind him to cut in front of you with inches to spare, gunning it only to get stuck behind a dump truck. Or maybe you’ll be making a turn down a small city road past empty parking spaces when a girl with a top-knot and a frappe blows through those parking spaces in her daddy’s Audi A8 and nearly removes your right side mirror. See the Cadillac Escalade who in rage guns it to get around you and races towards the red light 50 feet ahead.

Why do we want to go so fast (the Ferrari notwithstanding)? What do human beings get out of getting 50 feet closer to home, at the risk of pulling a stupid and killing themselves with erratic, wild driving?

And why does this impatience carry over into the rest of our lives?

I can only speak for myself, being neither God nor one of His angels – but I know that I’m impatient. I have a decent enough job cutting metal at 12 an hour, and I’m trying to figure out how to get to 50,000 a year (preferably in two years or less.) I already have a contract to write adventure supplements for an RPG, but I want to have a publishing mill for stories and books. I want to marry my girlfriend (now would be nice!) but – I’ll be brutally honest  with myself – I still struggle day and night to stay above the temptation to look at pornography, praying to God for courage and resolve and for forgiveness and mercy to this dirty wretch down here.

Everything in its own time comes – for every thing there is a season, so sayeth Solomon. And like so we are admonished again and again in the Proverbs to lean on the wisdom of God and not on our own understanding of the world: (3:5) “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And do not lean on your own understanding.”

There is no profit in racing to the finish line, for first place in the race that we can run on our own feet of flesh and bone is death. Wait upon the Lord and run His marathon, and when your bones are all worn to dust and your flesh shriveled by time, though your feet will be tired, your soul will be rested. Wait for the Lord’s deliverance or seek your own salvation – one will see you safely aboard the Inheritance, and the other will find you bailing water out of a sinking hulk.

Worrying is like racing to a red light. God will deliver you when the time is right; why waste your gas?

For His Excellence, Labor

Lord, I am tired.
I desire to labor
but my mind is short
of the perspicacity
which I demand

Lord to what do I labor
Your greater glory I
desire above all else
If not in heart then
in mind — in cold, cold mind.

Oh Lord why does not
my heart beat for You
as it does for her?
Oh Lord — why, oh why
why oh does not Your spirit
flood my heart to wash
all away which displease
Your Holy Excellence

Lord purge me –
purify the small man – the
weak man – the
pauper who thirsts for You
No more strife, warless days
Lord, quickly, come!

Excerpt from “Rest for the Wicked”

Posted a little later than I intended, but still posted!

This is somewhat old stuff, and more than a bit theological, but it’s the only complete scene I really have that I’m not working on for the book on hand.

Enjoy. 🙂

Continue reading Excerpt from “Rest for the Wicked”

An Abrupt Change of Tone

Our world is dying.

Not in the slow, geological sense, but at the erratic and unpredictable, inexorable speed of our own destructive impulses. I can’t speak as to whether this will be our last gasp or only another maelstrom which we must endure to rebuild shattered lives, but the world that we thought ten years ago would blossom into a new era of prosperity and understanding will instead be consumed by fire.

We suffer from a cancer whose symptoms are terror, suicide and depression, and whose causes are intrinsic to the world order which we so hoped would stand out from the blood-scrawled roll of history.


Stranger Danger; tolerance; safe spaces; personal space; political correctness; affirmation; convenience; welfare state; “work smarter, not harder”: facets of the cancer consuming the West which once stood as the measure to which all the rest of the world aspired.

We no longer allow our children to explore their neighborhoods and meet their own friends for fear of a random stranger in a white van. We daren’t speak our minds for fear of the immediate and callous judgement of a society that prizes propriety over honesty, allowing hatreds and opinions to fester in the resentful pit of a human mind trapped by artificial social rules. We self-isolate from information that challenges our beliefs rather than try to understand the opposing side to prove or disprove our own opinions nor find the third way that trumps either. We submit ourselves to the animal preference for comfort over progress, to ration our resources rather than seek to expand our wealth; on the micro, we’d much rather dawdle at home or skate by at work rather than force ourselves to be more than what we are. We make a mockery of those who weren’t born with an innate level of academic intelligence or a talent for inflated grades, and this only to avoid looking inward to see our own stagnation as we chase the sweets trolley of consumerism and corporatism.

And much of this can be laid to blame on the persecution of the spirit and His Spirit from the public eye. When we have no spirit to look to for guidance, no promise to keep our eyes turned heavenward, when as Nietzsche said, “God is dead,” we do not then exist in a happy atheism, seeing each man as our equal in a Godless world. Instead, as Chesterton said, “When Man ceases to worship God he does not worship nothing, but worships anything at all.”

In a world where we doubt the power of Providence and lack the security of the Covenant, we must make our own gods, again from Nietzsche. From this proceeds violence, hatred, division, blindness, cruelty, tyranny, the glorification of murder, the anointing of hedonism as the new prince. In the absence of God, we worship the gods of Pleasure, Avarice, Pride, and War. From the pursuit of endless pleasure comes an insatiable gluttony for the means to sustain it. From the acquisition of wealth and the conquest of moral constraint flows hubris. And from such accumulated pride, excess of wealth, glut of pleasure and void of spiritual purpose erupts the bloody cataclysm of war, the crucible which forges a man and damns ten thousand.

The gods of Man are many, and their king is Man himself, cloaked in the surefooted certainty in the power of his will and his wisdom. In his right hand is held the iron hammer of craft and cleverness, and his left is the mirror which reflects only what he wishes to see. His throne is Babel, and his crown is the ten spiked cast-iron circlet of Mars.

 

 

 

A Guilty Mind

And here he sat, comprehending his own villainy, the muck and murk of human myopia and his fleshly urges to short-lived pleasures, all but castrating himself over his indescribable badness, refusing to qualify the foulness of his sin against such terrors as the kings of history and prehistory when suddenly the page spoke and said:

“Then confess if you’re so guilty. But keeping it all to yourself like this, obviously you don’t feel that bad about it.”

“Evil exists to be forgotten. When all men are dead, the good men will have gone on and left the evil ones behind in the place of no names.”

And while you might disagree, someone infinitely more important than you has decided you’re an alright sort of bloke. Without opening the door on unbridled hedonism, know that it really doesn’t matter.”

“You recognize the wrongness of it. Disassemble the transgression, examine and multiply its parts. Realize the brute pleasures come of someone else’s expense, virtual or real. And thereby brand it as the valueless thing that it is.”

“Move on. Giving up is only proving one thing.”

 

You can be a good Christian.

He’s already forgiven you.

So forgive yourself.

I Must Speak

How many of you think Israel is a repressive state?

Because I’d like you to take a moment to reflect on her neighbors.

Egypt– is only recently a democracy, and just barely.

Syria– is currently a geographical term for “sh*t hole.”

Turkey– is devolving into a theocratic dictatorship and may be funding ISIS by buying their oil.

Saudi Arabia– sentences homosexuals and atheists to death.

Iran– funds Hezbollah and imprisons apostates (though I will concede they are socially more progressive than Saudi Arabia, and it is mainly the Iranian government which concerns me, not its people.)


Contrast Israel, in which homosexuality is not illegal, apostasy is legally irrelevant, the military warns bombing targets beforehand, and despite constant terrorist attacks which have brought other countries to martial law, maintains some of the highest liberty ratings in the world.


The Jewish people have a country of their own for the first time in two thousand years, enduring constant persecution and suspicion, hatred and exile, and only three years before Israel’s founding, near-extermination of European Jewry at the hands of the Nazis. When they arrived, it was a desert; now, Israel is a vale of greenery, wealth and prosperity amidst a waste of mismanagement and violence perpetrated by medieval extremists and selfish warlords.

Take a gander at various articles surrounding the 1948 Israeli War of Independence. Notice that there were two states, Palestinian and Jewish. Notice who started the war.

Why are those who support freedom and protection for minorities and national sovereignty so quick to turn on those who need their help the most?

This is why I study history– when we ignore the past, we are all too eager to repeat the savageries of those who came before and blunder gladly into murder. We forget that freedom is not given, but earned in blood and treasure. We forget that when we ask the strong to give us bread and liberty, we receive crumbs and chains. That is why I can never accept socialism or the statist line– taking the easy way not only stagnates us, but weakens us. It is hardship that makes us stronger and makes tomorrow brighter. Israel’s story is not a story of salvation by mighty men, but determination against the odds, solidarity among brothers and sisters, and faith in destiny. With looted German weapons and indomitable courage, Israel stood up against those who would see the Jewish people struck from the face of the Earth, and not only survived, but thrived.

Do not shirk the Israelites or their friendship, for there is no ally like the Chosen People. Do not shirk hardship, but overcome it, for true men and women are not cast like bricks, but forged under fire, and quenched in storms. Do not fear hard times, but embrace them. Faith, Duty, and Vigilance will carry us unto the dawn.


If these sources are unsatisfactory or I have left something insufficiently cited, let me know, either in the comments or in a PM. Feel free to discuss and debate this, and remember to keep an open mind.
Turning the Sand to Land
http://www.csmonitor.com/1987/0519/dsand.html

Israeli Independence War
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1948_Arab%E2%80%93Israeli_War