The sun still rises and sets.

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The sun still rises and sets.

Some things preexist the government.  The sun, the earth, humanity; these are things that neither came from the government nor do they need the permission of the government to exist.  Human families are where we came from; all of us came from an unbroken succession of one man and one woman back to the very beginning.

The sun does not ask the government’s permission to shine.  The earth is not fruitful because the state approved.  And the physical union of one man and one woman was not ordained by the U.S. Constitution.

Our right to exist, our right to life, our very lives all preexist the government.  Our lives all came from one woman and one man.  We do not ask the government for permission to live because our lives were given by God through our mothers and fathers.  Once upon a time, we knew such things, and said:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.  That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men …

— U.S. Declaration of Independence.

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court attempted to usurp the authority of reality by declaring a dead rock to be a “family tree.”  But reality does not and will never comport itself to the words of man.  Our words should comport with reality, not the other way around.  We play God when we attempt to shape reality through our words.

God laughs.  No child will ever be born from two-men or two-women.  No one has ever been born from two-men or two-women.  None of these so-called “marriages” will ever be consummated.  None of these so-called “marriages” will ever produce a single child.  None of these so-called “marriages” will ever experience the one-flesh-union of real marriage.

True marriage is the life-long one-flesh union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others.  It is based on and flows from our human design.  Men and women are designed to be together, their bodies compliment each other.

All Justice Kennedy and the U.S. Supreme Court have succeeded in doing is playing redefinition word games.  A rose is a rose by whatever name one calls it, and so is true marriage.

The government did not create the sun.  The government did not create life.  The government did not create liberty.  And the government did not create marriage.

The sun rises.  The sun sets.  The true Lord is still in control.

Looking and Finding

There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something.  You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after.

 — J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit.

We are all looking for something.

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.

— Jesus of Nazareth, Matthew 7:7-8, ESV.

We can look, but there is only one way to find.

I am the way, and the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.

— Jesus of Nazareth, John 14:6, ESV.

But do not follow a fake Jesus.  The real Jesus claimed to be God and man, and for it he was condemned, and gave his life on a cross.  Ponder who this almighty God really is.

Find.

A Marvelous Kingdom

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After a lot of rain, the sky cleared, the sun called, and still sprinkled with sparkling drops of water, the daisies answered.

These wildflowers just show up every year.  Whose wardrobe is as beautiful and wondrous as the lowly field of wildflowers?  And yet, it is a marvelous kingdom.  The King’s subjects are bees and jumping things.

Consider how the wildflowers grow:  They don’t labor or spin thread.  Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was adorned like one of these!  If that’s how God clothes the grass, which is in the field today and is thrown into the furnace tomorrow, how much more will He do for you—you of little faith?  Don’t keep striving for what you should eat and what you should drink, and don’t be anxious.  For the Gentile world eagerly seeks all these things, and your Father knows that you need them.

But seek His kingdom, and these things will be provided for you.  Don’t be afraid, little flock, because your Father delights to give you the kingdom.  Sell your possessions and give to the poor.  Make money-bags for yourselves that won’t grow old, an inexhaustible treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Be ready for service and have your lamps lit.

— Jesus of Nazareth
Luke 12:27-35, HCSB.

They sway together in a cool breeze under a warm sun.  And through them their maker imparts wisdom.

Book Cover Design

The Death You DeserveAshlee Willis has published an interesting interview with authoress and book designer Anne Elisabeth Stengl regarding book cover design.  Anne Elisabeth designed the cover for Ashlee’s novella, A Wish Made of Glass.

Stengl said the most important part of cover design is the readability of the text.  The text should be designed right along with the image so that the image does not overwhelm the text.

Stengl is an accomplished author and book cover designer, however, she does not design her own book covers.  “I feel much too close to my own stories to dare design covers for them,” she said.

I would struggle to get out of my own head and think in terms of dynamic imagery rather than specific scenes or character looks, etc.  These days, I am often very much involved with the talented artists who create my cover images … but ultimately I try to let the creative invention and imagination be theirs.  I’m usually much happier with the covers I end up with as a result.

On the other hand, my brother designed and produced the cover for his own book, The Death You Deserve; and it turned out very well.  Almost from the first sentence, it is easy to tell which character is depicted on the cover.  However, designing one’s own cover might not work so well for authors whose novels have multiple character perspectives and many beautiful scenes.

What do you think?  Should authors try to avoid designing their own covers?  Are there any good science fiction and fantasy book cover designers that you can suggest?

2015 Clive Staples Award Semi-finalists

clive-staples-sealThe semi-finalists for the 2015 Clive Staples Award have been announced:

  • Blood for Blood, by Ben Wolf
  • A Draw of Kings, by Patrick W. Carr
  • Golden Daughter, by Anne Elisabeth Stengl
  • Haunted, by Charity Tinnin
  • Merlin’s Nightmare, by Robert Treskillard
  • Reapers, by Bryan Davis
  • Resistance, by Jaye L. Knight
  • Saving Yesterday, by Jessica Keller (Evander)
  • The Seahorse Legacy, by Serena Chase
  • The Seventh Door, by Bryan Davis
  • A Time to Die, by Nadine Brandes
  • The Warden and the Wolf King, by Andrew Peterson

The second round of voting is still open to the readers.  Qualified voters must have read at least two of the semi-finalist books, and must vote for at least two.  Voters may vote for three books, if they have read at least three of the nominees.  This makes it so that the followers of only one author cannot dominate the nomination and voting.  Voters must enjoy the genre, not just a particular author.

The semi-final voting period is short, and closes on June 8, 2015.  Click here to read all the rules, and then vote.

Lutheran Artists

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We glorify God through art because through it we reflect the image of God.  Our art reflects us, and we reflect God.  We make because we are “made in the image and likeness of a Maker.”  (J.R.R. Tolkien).

In pursuit of my interests in art, specifically the visual, liturgical, and writing arts, I’ve discovered other Confessional Lutheran novelists and artists.  Here are some worthies:

If there are any worthy Confessional Lutheran artists that I missed, please leave a comment letting me know.  Thanks.

2015 Clive Staples Award – Reader Nominations

The Death You DeserveThe time period for reader nominations is now open for this year’s Clive Staples Award for Christian Speculative Fiction.  Speculative fiction refers to stories containing elements that are fantastic, futuristic, or supernatural.  This is a chance for readers to nominate their favorite Christian novels published last year in the categories of science fiction, fantasy, allegory, and time travel.  The nomination period closes Friday, May 29, 2015.

Clive Staples refers to the C.S. in C.S. Lewis.

This year, the award is open to self-published authors.  However, authors, agents, and publishers are not allowed to nominate their own books.  The nominated book must have a Christian theme or worldview, be at least 50,000 words, written for adults, published in English, and its first publication date must be in 2014.

Click here to read the instructions, and vote for your favorite books.  (The survey link is below the instructions).

This year, I nominated two books: The Death You Deserve by my brother Jonathan Techlin (self-published) and Golden Daughter by Anne Elisabeth Stengl (Rooglewood Press).  Anne Elisabeth’s novel Starflower won the Clive Staples Award in 2013.

Readers can nominate up to three books.  Nominations are open until Friday, May 29, 2015 A.D.

God’s blessings.

Perspective And Truth

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One of the reasons I enjoy photography is the ability to explore and share different perspectives.

This Spring, I was hiking with a friend, and we stopped by a footbridge that was under construction over a creek.  We chatted briefly with the gentleman who was building the footbridge.  While there, I spotted a tree with these tiny little flowers, and snapped a few photographs.  My friend thought I was taking pictures of the footbridge, and did not even notice the tree.

They were small flowers.

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Even if no mortal ever saw these flowers or those particular blooms, they did exist.  The truth exists outside of ourselves and our perceptions.

God sees every perspective in the world; he sees everything.  “But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.”  (2 Peter 3:8, ESV).  Imagine if you had a thousand years to explore every day.  Vernal blooms, warm Summer rains, Autumn leaves, every snowflake, and every sunset would last a long time.  Babies grow up quickly, but if we could savor a thousand years of family relationships every day, maybe, just maybe we could fully appreciate one another.

Then again, we live in an imperfect world corrupted by sin.  All that is, is passing away.  The grass of the field, the birds of the air, and even family in our homes are here today, and then one day they are gone.  That is the truth, this world is passing away.  The defining truth of this world is death.

But there is truth that is eternal, his name is Jesus, and he is not passing away.  He conquered sin and death.  In him, in heaven, a thousand years will be like a day, and a day will be like a thousand years.  And there will be no sad days because the defining truth of Christ is not death, but life.

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.”  (John 14:6, ESV).  He is the truth, forever.

New Comment Policy: No Ingsoc

600px-Ingsoc_logo_from_1984.svg“But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.”

— George Orwell, 1984.

The last post, Liars’ Language of Lies, discussed how certain radical and totalitarian movements in our society are seeking to subvert the truth by manipulating language.  Almost immediately, a scold appeared to lecture about the definition of truth, saying:

Truth is entirely personal and subjective, based on and permanently biased by your own individual experience.  Your truth isn’t my truth, and can’t ever be, no matter how many things we may choose to agree on.

I could not tell if this person was seriously confused or a troll.  Anyway, the new comment policy is that all comments must be in English.  Comments written in Ingsoc are not allowed.  Ingsoc is the name for the invented manipulative language of George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984.  Ingsoc was designed to foster confusion, doublethink, and slavery by making it impossible for people who spoke and thought in Ingsoc to think or speak clearly.  The most famous slogan in Ingsoc was this:

War is peace.
Freedom is slavery.
Ignorance is strength.

— George Orwell, 1984.

The basic premise of every sentence in that slogan is: “Truth is relative.”  If “Truth is entirely personal and subjective,” then maybe war is peace, freedom is slavery, and ignorance is strength.  Further, the commentator’s entire point was self-defeating doublethink because he asserted, as objective truth, that “Truth is entirely personal and subjective.”

“You are a slow learner, Winston.”

“How can I help it?  How can I help but see what is in front of my eyes?  Two and two are four.”

“Sometimes, Winston.  Sometimes they are five.  Sometimes they are three.  Sometimes they are all of them at once.  You must try harder.  It is not easy to become sane.”

― George Orwell, 1984.

Without objective truth there can be no freedom or reality.  Thus, the new comment policy reads as follows:

All comments must be in English.  Comments written in Ingsoc or Newspeak, or comments attempting to “correct” normal English with Ingsoc definitions are subject to deletion without comment or explanation.

If you wish to speak another language, have at it, but be honest, and do not pretend you are speaking English.  If you wish to comment here, learn to use an English dictionary.

“Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four.”

― George Orwell, 1984.

The purpose of communication is to reveal truth.  It is the truth that sets us free.  (John 8:32).  There is a person who claimed to be the truth.  His name is Jesus.  He said, “I am the truth.”  (John 14:6).

Liars’ Language of Lies

Even people who contend for the truth often get caught in a web of language lies.  For example, they will often say something like this:

“I know it’s not politically correct to say this, but two men are not designed to have sex with each other, so they can’t get married.”

The picture is correct (two men are not designed to have sex), but the frame lies.  The true statement is framed as being “not politically correct” or “not … correct.”  Why do we put that frame around a true statement?

Is it politically correct to say that two men can get married?  No.  It is politically radical to say that.  Saying that two men can get married is a radical departure from what is and always has been.

The phrase “politically correct” itself is a lie.  What does politics have to do with correctness?  Nothing.  Politics do not determine what is correct.  The truth is objectively true.  Politics are irrelevant to the truth.  The very phrase “politically correct” assumes a totalitarian world where man and his will to power are the measure of truth.

Unfortunately, liars are making our language turbid through their constant use of lying words and phrases.  They put euphemisms on every evil thing, and after a while “war” does start to sound like “peace.”  (1984).

When we use their words, we participate in their lies.

Jesus said it best:

“When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

— John 8:44, NIV1978.

“Be serious!  Be alert!”  (1 Peter 5:8, HCSB).  Test “everything; hold fast what is good.  Abstain from every form of evil.”  (1 Thessalonians 5:21-22, ESV).