Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Tribal peoples from around the world are making preparations to attend this historic, 7th WCGIP in Jerusalem, Israel this September 9-19. Delegations from many lands including Indonesia, Iryan Jaya, Brazil, Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Taiwan, Northern India, and many more are coming. EVERYONE is invited to join together with us as “the one new person” in Christ! For eight days we will worship together with the many sights and sounds of indigenous cultures from around the world. There will be various cultural presentations, panels/forums addressing critical concerns of Indigenous populations and biblical dialogue to envision a new and hopeful future of a post-colonial Christianity among tribal peoples globally. Visit the newly designed and informative website for all the details concerning registration and the gathering itself at www.wcgip.org.


Monday, February 25, 2008

thoughts on the magical negro

Recently, I did an interview with Geralyn Beauchamp about her book, Time Masters: Book One, The Call.

Then, later, in yet another discussion among black specfic writers, I actually found myself defending the magical negro. Ah gee, how did that happen? Actually, it's not as if I defended that type of character. I just kinda excused white writers who use them. Yes, i do groan whenever this kind of character pops up in a book written by a white character. But I don't get...well...as bent out of shape as some of my black colleagues do.

Okay, okay, I've heard the arguments against these characters:
1) characters like these pretend to be making us minorities look like good people but it's just another way of dehumanizing us and taking away our individuality.

Yeah, yeah...

As I said to my black friends -- and I was resoundedly challenged and put down for this-- sometimes white writers are trying to do a quota thing. In an email recently with Sylvia Kelso, she mentioned that Connie Willis did not mention any black people in the novel Lincoln's Dreams. Sylvia thought a black character was needed. I, on the other hand, thought... heck, if there was no room for a black character in the story... why put a black character into the story?

And yet, I DO kinda have patience with white writers who feel they need to put a person of color into a book. I remember hearing a Jewish author talk about how annoying it was to see Jews pop up in books merely to "mean" something or to be a symbol. I have seen so many books in which black folks and Jewish folks and Hispanic folks are in books simply to "mean" something.

So there are two reasons for this Magical Negro inclusion bit:

One, a white writer needs to symbolize a triumphant, noble, suffering person...and who best to put in to "mean" this kind of thing but a black person or a Jewish person or a spiritual Native American tree-hugger?

Two, the white writer sometimes needs to put in a black person because the white writer wants to say something about racism. Okay, sometimes it's done badly. Sometimes we're stuck with a poor starving black child of a drug-addicted black mom and they are rescued by a liberal kind-hearted white person. That is the "we as whites are put on earth to raise up the blacks" mentality. Of course this kind of thing is offensive. The "take up the white man's burden" kind of liberality or the "take up the white female's burden" type of liberalness and feminism does make a minority woman of color (whether the white woman is "helping" an Iranian women wearing a hajib or a poor little suffering latina escaping to El Norte or a deluded innocent Christian woman who has been oppressed by the evil patriarchal Christian world or a poor little uneducated black woman with great faith).

But what if the white writer wanted to do something against racism? Stephen King, for instance, is from Maine. I have no doubt -- no doubt, whatsover-- that he does these magical negro types because he lives among folks in Maine who well....may or may know any real Negroes...and who may very well have racist ideas about us. (One day I'll tell you my story about a trip I had in New England. Right now, sufficeth to say, Stephen is probably doing a great job of enlightening certain folks.) I mean...some groups have actually benefitted by being shown as magical. I have yet to hear a gay person complain about the use of the magical gay person in movies, TV, and books. That magical, funny, quirky, witty, idiosyncratic, and just-so-cuddly eccentric magical gay person and the suffering, noble, triumphant gay person has done a lot for making homosexuality more acceptable in modern society. And I have no doubt that all those wise-cracking jolly fat women who roam television have also helped (in some weird way) the black cause. And I am sure that all those movies in which an illegal alien from Mexico is shown as a sweet-faced oppressed person...have colored our view of the immigration degate. So there is some kind of benefit in these portrayals. Heck, even if they can't see us as humans, they at least see us as objects of humor or pity.

But back to my point...reasons for possibly excusing the magical negro. There is the question of honoring a person. By which I mean...what if the white racist actually did come from some lily-white town and actually knew a lovely kind black or minority person who was a symbol of strength and peace. Folks, this kind of thing still happens in this country. This is what Geralyn mentioned in her interview. In her small little town in the west, she had a black teacher. There are black folks all over this country doing the magical negro stuff in their daily lives. (Okay, in real life, they probably are as weak as anyone else...but in their public life as the only black person in the middle of nowhere, they dang well are triumphanting nobly.) What do we do with a black writer who wants to honor such a person?

So, I dunno.... I'm still kinda on the fence when it comes to whether I actually think magical negroes are a totally bad thing. Or maybe I just think that white writers who use them are not so very bad. And honestly, I'm not gonna jump down the throats of any white writer who includes in her novel something that makes me cringe. Of course, I do kinda groan when I see how religious people are treated in books by secular writers. And I'm hoping that whether my books are overtly religious (as in Wind Follower) or subtly so, that those who read my books will finish the book saying, "I know now what a real black person is like. I know now what a real religious person acts like. I will never again indulge in stereotyping them...as magical people, as stupid-in-need-of-enlightenment people, or as evil people." IF I can do that, then I will have succeeded. -C

southern gothic

Yesterday i saw Monster's Ball. I haven't seen that film in years. Totally had forgotten how Christian the thing is. It's up there with The Apostle, Tender Mercies, Come Early Morning, Miss Firecracker, and a few others as really great spiritual stuff happening in everyday working class settings.

Of course, there are sexual and racial issues in some of this stuff...and I'm not saying that all movies about southerners dealing with their spirituality is free from racism....but these truly are films that delve into grace, persevereance, soul-searching and Christian spirituality.

Of course there are other great films out there that deal with spirituality: A prayer for the Dying, Festen, and the like. And I have to see the film The Bad Lieutenant one of these days (weird sex scenes and all). But what I like about this Southern Gothic thing is the way the authors just unabashedly drop you into the characters' spiritual world. That takes a lotta balanced world-building. The screenwriter has to show a possibly unlikable character (to American viewers who seem to have been trained to judge the likeability of story characters), the writer has to show how the character's religiousness exists side-by-side with the characters' crappy sinful traits. This is often tough because religious readers/viewers are always ready to judge religious characters and reject them for either doctrinal or behavioral reasons. And it's also tough because non-religious people are always ready to see Christians as deluded evil hypocrites anyway. The writer might also have to put in some supernatural stuff into the novel. And all this has to be shown in a casual normal natural way.

I'm glad I saw it. It's inspiring me with my present Work-in-Progress, the novel presently called Inheritance. Am trusting God I can carry it off.

light and salvation

The lord is my light and my salvation ---- Psalm 27:1

I was sitting in bed last night when the greatness of this verse, as it applies generally to God's people and specifically to my son, just kinda totally wonderfully impressed me.

God, God's word, God's truth, Christ's blood..... are both light and salvation. God himself saves...and guides us into saving truth.

This means, for me, that not only is God and God's word actively and powerfully saving me without any effort on my part except the effort to love God and read his word....but it is also teaching me and guiding me into true knowledge about earthly life, spiritual things, myself, etc.

This means also that while God is saving my son in a wonderfully sovereign way, he is also educating my son and teaching my son how to learn. Just wonderful.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

sought thee sorrowing

We have sought thee sorrowing

"Son, why have you dealt with us thus? Your father and I have sought you sorrowing."

A couple of summers ago, my church group went on a day-trip to Lake Welch, one of the small beaches in the New York's Hudson Valley. We spent the day --as one spends all festive days-- eating, singing, playing soccer, and wading in the lake.

Towards afternoon, two of the children came up missing. We had supposed they were with the rest of the company. But they apparently were not. They simply could not be found. Were they drowned or had some stranger on the crowded beach stolen them away? The older child was a young girl, quite beautiful, of about twelve. The other was a young boy of five who was mentally disabled. Soon all the brothers in the church were looking for them. I need not tell the parents among us how anxious and nervous I became. I walked on the edges of the lake shore fearing I would find a dead little child. I imagined his grief-stricken mother, sorrowing late into the night as police and lifeguards scoured the beach.

As I grew more and more anxious, the verse above began to stroll through my brain. It is a verse I've always known. And always when reading it I had agreed quite smugly, "Of course his parents should have known that Jesus was about His father's business." But now as I considered the pain Mary and Joseph endured I began to look at the verse in a different way. I found myself growing quite angry with Jesus in fact. How dare He go off and not tell his relatives --no one in the company-- what he was up to? I told myself I had never been so angry with Jesus. What a self-willed, arrogant, little know-it-all he was? I soon realized that although I had never gotten this angry at the child Jesus before, I have had moments of fear and sorrow because Jesus had seemingly gone off.

Of course the children were found. The older girl got a good talking-to from her father. And the younger one was also found. His disappearance was due to a bag of Doritos which he had found. Liking it so much, he had gone to a far side of the lake to enjoy it alone. So the children were found. And Jesus was found. Jesus will also be found. In fact, He is not lost at all. He is not missing in action. He has not left us alone to go sorrowing. And He has not left us comfortless. He is about His father's business: mediating for, blessing, and perfecting sons and daughters for the Heavenly Father who is always working and who sees all.

Moral: How difficult it is to trust that God is always working and that Jesus is always aware of us.

Prayer: Lord, be always merciful to me. Remember I am dust and flesh. When I am in great distress, my carnal side takes over. So if it's possible, keep no great secrets from me. Tell me what you're doing. And if I cannot hear Your Voice, tell others in my Christian family where you are and what you're doing. Don't let me ever feel as if you have gone far from me. I need you every hour. Amen.

Thursday, February 14, 2008


I'm in a peevish mood today.

First: televangelists who have gone to the Walmart yearly conference on marketing. Or SEEM as if they have. It's Missions Week over at my favorite christian television station www.god.tv and they're selling, selling, selling...in order to get our donations.

Now, I have no problems with giving money to Christian missions but I hate the packaging so much that I sometimes don't even look into the package. It's just so....hyped, so....greedy-sounding. And there are a few folks who get trotted out and who make the rounds of all those donations week that frankly kinda annoy me. Again, i have nothing against giving money and I do believe God wants to bless his people but there is something so programmed and packaged and marketing school about all this that I have no patient with it.

Second peeeve.... Books and sermons which lack moral courage. Yep, sermons that lack moral courage. When, oh when, was the last time I heard a minister tell his people that prejudiced people will probably go to hell because they hate their brother without a cause? Not lately. I mean think of it: we hear a lot about gay Christian folks going to hell. But why don't we hear that prejudiced Christians will go to hell...no matter how much they love Jesus. And when was the last time you ever heard a sermon against divorce? All those ministers have gotten all "understanding" to the point where they have forgotten that if one divorces it's best to remain unmarried and celibate or remarry one's spouse rather than thinking you're totally in the clear. It's a hard saying but heck....the Bible is full of hard sayings.

As for lack of moral courage in art and books, if I'm gonna watch something -- even if I'm gonna disagree with it-- I'd at least like the creatives behind a film or a book to be as brave as possible about their viewpoint. That's the one thing that annoyed the heck outta me when I watched The Golden Compass. Talk about watering down a book to make it palatable!

I remember watching Moonlight and Valentino and wondering about the Whoopi Goldberg character. What the heck was going on with her? Was she discovering she was a lesbian? Was she falling out of love with her husband for some other reason? Dang, if I know. The filmmakers decided to get all coy.

I also get pretty annoyed when a movie tones down racial issues or other "issues." For instance, I would probably like the film Frankie and Johnny if it had featured its Broadway star, Kathy Bates, as the main female character. Frankly, Michelle Pfeiffer may have been a better "draw" but I (and tons of fat women out there) would rather see a love story which deals with a fat woman who is psychologically wounded rather than a love story about a beautiful girl who is psychologically wounded. Another example-- I won't name the film but-- why does the main character have a vietnamese STEP-BROTHER? Why not a vietnamese HALF-brother? Heck, why can't the Vietnamese STEP-HALF be the main character? Folks, we have moved way past the time when Kwai-Chang Caine of Kung Fu fame was played by David Carradine instead of Bruce Lee because folks feared Asians wouldn't sell on a TV audience. And honestly, even if Asains don't sell...why should we care?

Third peeve
I recently read a Christian fantasy with a Gaelic main character. I;ll write a review for it one of these months. The book contained what we black folks often term as a Magical Negro. I kinda raised my eyebrow. I suspect there are noble writers out feel the need to show that Black folks are good people. So I tend to not dislike the Magical Negro whenever he/she pops up in a story. Besides, this is a Christian speculative fiction novel. So the author was being dang brave...and pretty much probably forcing some white extremely conservative Christian lover of time travel stories to deal with a Black character. So I'm cool with it.

I suspect there are writers out there who shut themselves down and write something tamer than they would like because they're thinking of what the audience will say. Or they're thinking the publisher won't go along with their creative choice. Or maybe it's not the writers' fault at time that they fail with moral courage because the publisher or producers did the shutting down. (I could tell you a few stories about my novel, Wind Follower.)

But honestly....when they make Wind Follower into a movie they sure as heck better get a dark-skinned girl to play Satha and an Asianish-Native-Americanish actor to play Loic. They also sure as heck better not overdo or under-do the religious and racial and imperialistic dynamics. I don't want them turning Wind Follower into an altar call with a speech on why we all need the savior plopped in the middle of it because the producers think Christian viewers need to see that. I don't want Wind Follower being given a "happy ending" because the producers think Christian viewers need to see that. And I do not want the racism and Manifest Destiny stuff toned down either.

Now, all this stuff about packaging, balance, moral courage aside....if a guy offered me $500,000 for the movie or television rights to make Wind Follower, would I stick to my guns? Would I have integrity? Lord, I hope so.

Wanting to see

I so wish i could see a miracle.

Okay, I've seen an angel -- would like to see another one.
I've seen demons -- would NOT want to see another.
I've had strange occurrences and god-winks.

I even got second-hand report of a miracle that happened to someone close to my family. A Haitian woman who was healed of brain cancer in its last stages. But the thing with that is that I didn't know the lady when she was sick. I only got apprised of the miracle when everyone was going wild at the church when the lady was giving her testimony.

So, I want a miracle. I want it in my son's life. I want him to be able to talk. His 18 birthday is coming up. I believe that God has put healing into his body. Like a seed. Now it's my job to believe that it is there...in order that I might see it manifest in the physical. Gotta believe.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Reckonizing a blessing

I'm not one of those folks who believes that the older a person is the more mature they are. I don't even believe that age makes an older Christian wiser than a younger one. The thing is...many Christians are Christians only nominally and they haven't grown one bit since they decided they would become Christians.

That said, I DO have a bit of a problem with IMMATURE Christians. (I have a lotta problems with them but will only discuss one here) The problem is that they cannot see the kingdom of God. Now, I'm not talking about folks who are waiting to die in order to get to heaven... I'm talking about folks who actually believe they will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

Some of these folks cannot taste and see the Lord...they simply cannot recognize a blessing when it looms before their eyes.

Consider someone who has called up for a job. The human resources person (or person in charge of hiring them) posted the job weeks ago. The job is perfect for the Christian job-seeker, The hours work well with other aspects of the jobseeker's life. The money is perfect. The job is a real entry into a different world. The job willl raise the job-seeker's expertise. The job comes with tuition reimbursement. But the Christian job-seeker only just saw the job and amazingly the interviewer graciously extends the deadline. The Christian jobseeker presently has a job that affects his health and has a mean cough. Then job-seeker gets a cold, making cough worst and getting in the way of the first appointment with the hirer. Hirere is cool. Then job-seeker has this issue. Hirer extends some more frace. Then job seeker has another issue. Hirer extends even more grace. And all this time job-seeker is saying, "Do I want this job? It'll cut into my partying time?" Yep. The "problem" with this job is that the jobseeker would have to come in on the weekend from 8 am-1pm. This means NO PARTYING late into the night. In my opinion, Christian jobseeker is a might old to even be taking partying into consideration when pondering a job change. But noooooo! The shallow things of this life has blurred the spiritual vision of this jobseeker.

How many times have we seen that something is lovely and absolutely created by God for a person's life...and yet the person for whom this gift was designed simply CANNOT see the wonders of the blessings before him/her! Oh Lord, teach us to recognize a blessing and not to be so addicted to our own ways of viewing things. Open the eyes of our heart, Lord. Make us see angels in heaven. But also make us see angels on earth also.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Elegant neurosis

Balance, balance, balance!

Well, i'm only about 120 pages into Inheritance, The Claimed, or whatever it's going to be called. There I am writing along and sending sex scenes to Sylvia Kelso, the author of Amberlight and to Robert Fleming, the author of Fever in the Blood.

Both of them think the sex scene is cold. Well, ...uh...yeah. I tend to write third person novels very coldly. But also, I write sex scenes very coldly and distantly. Maybe it's cause I'm a little sexually cold myself. (Am just putting that out there but I don't think I am. At least I hope I'm not.) But the other problem, that Rob pointed out, was that I am putting too much of myself into the book.

Now, that is one of my major issues as a writer. I tend to put all my soul and self into a novel. That is the blessing and the curse of my writing. An elementary teacher of mine, my french teacher, Mrs Meyerowitz, used to say that the blessing was the curse. So my blessing, and the beauty of my stories is that I put all my joy, pain, and idiosyncracies into my stories.

For instance: ever since my East-Indian half-sister told me my father liked her better because she was light-skinned, I have never been able to look into a mirror. (Trust me, you would not want to see what I look like now.) I gave this trait to Satha, my main female character in Wind Follower.

Another example: My father cheated on my mother relentlessly. Mercifully, she divorced him. I have such an issue with adultery it isn't sane. So what do i do with it? I give it to Loic, my main male character in Wind Follower. The kid hates his adulterous step-mother even more than his father does...and even his father calls him on it: "You carry my offense as if it were your own." (Something like that. I don't have the book with me.)

My issues about the death of my mother and my existential despair over my own health of course pops into the book in a couple of Satha's soliloquies...even her fear that the Creator or her husband would not abandon her.

So yeah....everything...and I mean EVERYTHING....that goes on in my spiritual, physical, familial, and psychological life ends up in my stories. That's what makes my stories beautiful, i think. Not the beauty of the words, but the honesty and the self-revealing of my soul.

But dang! When I'm writing these things, I have to be very careful. At a storytelling conference, I once heard a storyteller say, "Storytelling is my most elegant use of my neurosis." That's what I aim for....elegance. Yeah, I want my neurosis out there in the book. But I want them to be so wonderfully rendered (nice word that, like clarified oil out of gross fat) that only the purity of soul and the soul's need for God and clarity can shine forth.

So back to this sex scene and to inheritance/the claimed/whatever. I am writing a love story between a kid 27 year old bi-racial Chinese-Native American guy and a Jamaican-American dark-skinned woman who is 48. And I have to see if I a dark-skinned black woman can actually believe that this could happen. (Sure it has happened in real life...and I think it's kinda cute when some cute young thing develops a crush on me. But I never take it seriously...no matter how much the kid takes it seriously.) And that's the problem now. My female character has to take it seriously. She HAS to. She has to get rid of the familial and societal brainwashing and believe she can be loved.

And I have to believe it to. Or else the thing just won't work. The Bible says a true witness delivers souls. So as a Christian writer, I believe I am called to be a witness of what is true about the power of love, spiritual beauty and change. So, I have to make her journey neurotic and true....but also elegant.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Ten ways to know a story was written by me

The book is written in first person or in third person with strange narrative styleFrankly, I'm scared of the third person narration. When I do it it feels flat and banal. The characters seem distance. Unless I make the story a fairy-tale or very stylized.

Estranged Brothers/Family Outcast/In-law problems/Isolated from society, clan or caste, main character has some issue that makes them a bit unlikable to other characters in book or to the reader. My main character in Wind Follower had seizures which made him pee on himself. He was also pretty whiny and self-centered to begin with.

Very kind people/Moral TreacheryI love kindness. But I also love when moral treachery pops up and friends are betrayed. I can only think I was influenced by Tristan and Isolde, and by Wings of a Dove. Manners and societal issues are very important, especially etiquette. As Talking Heads sang, "I hate people when they're not polite."

An ill main character. Whether it's mental illness, physical illness, developmental delay...All my stories have at least one character with a life that has been thwarted by some grievous emotional or physical wound. My story Black is the color of my true love's hair, published in Fantastical Visions III has an Irish knight who is riding home from the Crusades who has been wounded by a sword...and the wound is incurable. My characters also cannot sleep.

Sexual issuesAh me! Sex is so dang complicated. Sex used as a sleeping pill, as a means of comfort. Sex used to manipulate. I don't know if any of my characters have ever had any kind of sane sex. Something Christian in me wants to explore this.

Morbid introspection/Religion/Existentialism/WorldwearinessMy books always have some religious issue. Sometimes political or imperialistic issues challenge the religious ones. Sometimes there is a heavy dose of morbid introspection because my characters are too honest with themselves about their temptation and sin.

Married protagonistsInterracial/intercultural marriage, odd combinations, or May-July relationshipsRomance is about finding the right and perfect person. Often one of my characters falls in love at first sight. In my story characters are always thinking of marriage. Marriage is the most romantic and complicated of journeys. And life tends to fight against true love. And God help the characters because they generally do not believe in divorce. They're in it for the long haul. Can the love survive?

A challenge to my readersI can't help it. I don't like to think of myself as argumentative but I always have to get some political, religious, or creative thing in my books which seems created simply to offend. Some sections in my books can make a reader angry or uncomfortable. Oh well.

Morbid introspectionI love normal life. I think my books end up sounding poetic because there is such sincerity and soul-searching going on in stories about these normal folks. I read a lot of memoirs and I suspect this is where this habit comes from. It's the heartfelt pain of the characters that make the narration has to be lyrical and beautiful and poetic.

Religion, The Supernatural and GodThe supernatural is such an important part of my life. For some religion is all about dogma and doctrine but Biblical Christianity has a lot of supernatural stuff in it. Plus I'm Jamaican. The Jamaican and the Pentecostal mentality in me always has to make religion supernatural. My characters often need some supernatural event to help them out of their fix. They are also very aware of sin. Redemption and the love of God is very important. Even if religion isn't Christianity, I'd like to think that something in the book shows my relationship with my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

I haven't arrived but at least I've left

It's so interesting dealing with my son who, by virtue of age and also his not reading the Bible, doesn't know the ways of faith and truth as well as yours truly.

I'm so not spiritual. I wish i were a little more spiritual. But my son....well, he still thinks way too worldly for me.

For instance I have learned to cast my care on God. Mind you, when i cast it...I walk around nervous and whiny and totally fearful that God hasn't taken up what I tossed to him. Total lack of joyful and confident faith, mind you. George Muller I'm not. But at least (patting self on back) I at least am willing to give God my life and kinda trust.

Well, the older son works in a distribution center. He's developed this mean cough -- tons of mucus-- since he started working there. Seven months ago. Logical maternal old me says: leave! But he won't. He hates the job but refuses to step out in faith that God'll give him a better one.

And I'm no help really. Cause if he had a mom who trusted in God more joyfully, maybe it'd have rubbed off on him...and he could learn to cast out into the deep. NEvertheless at God's word, he would thrown down the net. But has he been reading the word and building up his faith? Or is it second-hand? And what a second hand faith? It was tattered before I handed it over to him. Is he living on my -- shaky, wimpy faith?

Gotta force that kid to read his bible and know God for himself.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Learning to allow others to make their own mistakes

Hi guys:

Today I'm feeling a bit like a mother hen who is watching three of her chicks make very bad mistakes.

First of all, I shouldn't even be feeling this way about two of those chicks. I'm not even their mom. Which only shows I have to really commit to fasting from speaking in addition to fasting from food.

First chick: older son (the only one I'm presently worried about who IS my chick and who I really have a right to worry about.)

Older son hates his job and has developed a really bad cough since he began working there. It's a factory and there's dust on the floor, cold hallways because doors are always opened. I have told him for the past seven months that he should quit. He coughs terribly at night. But does he listen to me?

Second chick: My divorced friend is madly in love with a married man. I have warned her about this. I love her a lot. I get stressed out when I read an email from her that shows she is totally involved with this guy. Aside from the fact that we are Christians and shouldn't even be getting involved with coveting other folks' husbands, I just don't trust married men who are in love with other women beside their wives. Wait til the marriage is over and the divorce is final, i say.

Third chick: A fellow writer in our critique group left. Her writing was awful but she is self-published and many writers like her. Now, in my experience I have met many self-published writers who are great...and many self-published writers who are bad. This woman was terrible. Several folks emailed me privately that they simply could not make it through her writing. But I, like a fool, actually critiqued her stuff. She immediately pulled the story from the group and now two weeks later left. The fact is I want her published...by a real publishing company. And as long as she thinks she knows everything (or gets afraid when showed how difficult writing really is) she's not going to get published.

So here I am. Trying to learn my boundaries. Trying not to feel rejected because someone is human and simply refuses to take my all-knowing all-loving advice. I've not taken advice...so I shouldn't be so high-and-mighty about folks not taking my advice.

Even so, it hurts as heck and it feels like rejection when someone simply isn't listening. That, my friends, is not sane. I shouldn't be so invested in my advice or in other folks' lives. A hard road for a Christian and for a person who generally likes people. So, I've got to learn to let it go. Balance. Balance. May Jesus teach me balance.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Thinking of food

Well, here it is ...the seventh day of my fast and I find myself thinking of food. Not really lusting for meat or anything but this not eating meat is certainly making me realize what a crappy uncreative cook I am.

It's easy just to take out chicken and make chicken soup. Or beef soup. Or whatever. But on a fast, one really has to think. And then one starts thinking of variety and supplements. I mean...this morning I ate a banana and some nuts because I dreamt my old gyno told me I needed potassium. (Reminds me...gotta get some orange juice and make an orange juice banana smoothie.)

I have some cabbage in the house. Maybe I'll make it with Kasha tonight for dinner. Cabbage, as well all know, lasts forever in the fridge. But should it? Shouldn't we eat it way more often....for our health? Even if we don't like the taste? All taht beta-carotene.

God made so many great foods, but eating meat makes us a bit unconcious as we cook because we don't really have to learn to explore all those other foods. Today for lunch I'm gonna make a mango banana smoothie. This flu is a bitch so I'm not gonna go outside to get any pomegranates. But imagine it...the tongue (supposedly) has the ability to taste and sense about 10,000 different tastes. And we made a God who loves us so much he made stuff to fill all our senses. Okay, then...gotta commit. So that when I'm off this fast, I'll reallyl stop being lazy about fruits and veggies.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Rubber hits the road part II

Okay, so hubby annoyed me no heck last night by doing something he should've known better not to do.

Stuck as I am in a fast, the right and holy thing to do is to be loving, be forgiving, try to keep the chin up...and in general let the spirit triumph over the habits of the flesh. By habits I mean: my easy tendency to keep a grudge, indulge in sexy daydreams of whoever my soul is lusting for this week, and keep a relentless mighty powerful silent treatment going. Alas I am so much of a carnal christian so much of the time...it's a bit of a battle not to allow the wrong emotions to take over.

But I'm in the middle of a fast. And I have to ask myself: am I serious about trying to get the healing God has already placed in my spirit to transform my body? Am I serious about doing anything to get my son's healing to manifest? Yeah, yeah...I guess I AM kinda serious. The thing, of course (to my carnal mind anyway) is to manage to forgive my husband and yet to manage to make the guy feel guilty (which he really should rightly feel cause he was totally wrong.)

I know God isn't like that. God doesn't hold it over us when he forgives us. He doesn't make us suffer and squirm and wallow in regret before deigning to forgive us. You see: that's what I dislike about God. I kinda wish He'd let folks who have wronged me suffer quite a bit before forgiving them. Of course, I am never in need of His forgiveness. I'm pretty perfect. ::smile::

Okay, adelante. I'm on a fast. I can't afford to mess it up with a silent treatment. Let's see what I'll do to bring peace to hubby.....and still kinda feel I've made him suffer....and still kinda help my ego think it's won the game.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Rubber hits the road

Well, folks, I can only say that I had a crappy night. The fibro and the flu have come together to give me four almost entirely sleepless nights.

But the Lord has said, "Praise the Lord." He tells us to "rejoice always." He reminds us that the joy of the Lord is our strength and we must not give any place to the devil.

So today, I am determined to praise my Lord with all my heart and to not lean unto my own understanding. He IS working.

Think of it: when one plants a seed into the ground, it grows downwards for the initial growth period. Things often seem worse when they are beginning to get better. The thing is to endure to trust the spiritual seed beneath the soil of our lives will manifest into a physical plant above the soil. I'm looking for the blade, the stalk, and the full flower....but just because I don't see it doesn't mean I'm going to doubt its existence. I know my God sees me.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Things remembered

So often the spiritual Christian life is not about learning something new but about learning something old in a deeper way.

Well, here I am with this fast and for those of you who fast you know there are generally three things that happen during fasts.

The first: nothing at all seems to happen. You plod through the fast and at the end you say to yourself although I don't see anything happening, I know something must've happened because I fasted.

The second: you plod through the fast not really sensing God at all and at the end something major happens.

The third: you walk through the fast and every day you feel God holding your hand. So in the end you start thinking that it doesn't matter what happens at the end of the fast because everything is cool and you've been traveling all along with God.

Well, I'm kinda experiencing the third. Very interesting. God is just always here helping me along.

So that's the first thing I've "learned" or "remembered."

The other thing was something I felt God teaching me last night...re-teaching me. And what did he re-teach me? That true faith is joyful. IF I am praying and believing for something, I should be so convinced that God has already answered my prayers that even if I don't see it, I should be joyful. Yesterday, this joyful conviction of God's care and blessing just overwhelmed me. Yeah, yeah, i know this is all old hat...but I can get pretty despairing sometimes...which is being double-minded. Totally believing yet full of unbelief and sespair at the same time.

Last night, I prayed with joy and belief and didn't whine at all to hubby, my ally and comrade in spiritual arms. I totally believed. So that's the fourth day. Will see what else God will teach -- or remind-- me of tomorrow. Praise ye the Lord.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Making Spirit Stronger

Ah gee! The fight between the spirit (listening to God's voice within, reading the Bible, praying, fasting, loving one's neighbor) and the flesh (anger, fear, overeating, eating the wrong thing, lust, vain imaginings, an unruly tongue)

So here I am...fasting and committing to making my spirit stronger. Am telling my flesh everyday, "You cannot rule me." Am trying my best not to say whatever sad or angry or negative thing that comes to my mouth. Am telling my spirit, "You control me! You can tell this body what to do! The body has to give in."

Fruits, veggies, yogurt.

I succumbed to my body yesterday. Older son had some apple jacks (or was it froot loops?) And next thing I knew...I was munching them. I who am supposed to be not eating gluten or sugar or food with food coloring. But it's a new day.

The spirit says not to give up. I won't...even if I fall back a little sometimes. It'd be nice to go through one entire day without failing in this fast thing...but God is good.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Fasting for love

I am totally convinced that if I were to feel the power of God's love...liquid love pouring into my soul...that I will be healed. I mean a hefty dose of the realization of God's love.

So many illnesses are rooted in the fact that we don't feel loved, or we were rejected. I really believe this.

So many things separate us from God, or prevent us from receiving from Him. And one of those things is we don't really get how very much He loves us.

Now, I know He loves me. But alas, that knowledge isn't enough to give me the peace that passes understanding. It isn't enough to make me stop worrying about this that and t'other.

Hence, the fast. I am going to show my reliance on God --my need for Him and His love-- by telling this body o mine that food is not its real comforter. (Okay, I'll have to give up sex too because St Paul hints that we should give up sex when we fast also.)

I feel God is pulling me towards Him, so that I may know His love and not fall into the hurt-fear-snares that humans bring us. I already think this fast is working...and I'm only on the second day. This morning I was emailing someone and got into a discussion about sin in which I was very honest that although she is an atheist she is way too moralistic. I actually was brave enough to speak honestly. That's not something I am wont to do. So, something is happening within my soul. I'm losing my desire to have humans think well of me. I'm losing my fears of being myself. I'm losing my fear of appearing rude (which was always weird because the folks being rude to me never seemed to care that THEY themselves were being rude.)

All I want is to feel the love of God. I have never craved anything so badly. Let's hope a craving for chicken -- or mere laziness that makes me pick up the thing absent-mindfully and eat it-- won't get in the way of this deeper craving. If I know that God loves me, if I sense His care for me, my heart will be healed of many wounds. And healing will be able to flow better through me. Because I will know and want only God. Only God.

Friday, February 01, 2008

First day of the fast -- yet again

I've been beginning this fast for the past week.

No wheat, no meat, no teat, no sweet. I've even streamlined it for myself to make it easier. It's now... no wheat, no meat, no sweet. I like yogurt and goat milk, what can i say? But I've been pretty good as long as I wasn't tempted.

Trouble is, though, I feel I need this fast. I need a breakthrough. And I also feel that if I don't do it I'll be feeling as if I should've. St Paul pummeling his body and bringing it to bay and all that.

So, I'm starting it again today. And to prevent it from being a glorified diet I'm gonna try to put on AOL radio christian stations to help me praise in the morning. The house is filled with juices -- frozen, foreign, and otherwise.

I suspect that a part of me doesn't want to do this fast because I think nothing's really gonna happen. But maybe simply learning not to be pushed around by my apettite is the needful thing. 21 days makes a habit. I intend to drop this fast on the 18th. But maybe I'll make it to the 21st. (Not promising anything, mind you...just putting it out there.) If I manage that, it'll make my body -- and my soul-- know not to push me around. Gotta live by obedience. And honestly, I know the holy spirit isn't a bully but I keep sensing that he really wants me to do this thing. I figure I could get away with not actually doing it because God is not pushy but I figure that just because he isn't pushy doesn't mean I should take advantage. I mean... I know what he wants me to do right.... to learn not to be pushed around by earthly things such as food and emotional needs. Yep, God is my true comforter, not food. Okay -- ready, set, obedience.

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