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’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).

Brother’s Book in Apple Book Store

My brother Jonathan’s book, The Death You Deserve, is now available for download in the Apple Book Store via iTunes.  The Facebook post announcing this is embedded below:

Recently, his book also became available on the Barnes & Noble Nook.  It continues to be available on Amazon.com for the Kindle, and is continuing to get good reviews on Goodreads.

If you like medieval style swords and sorcery stories, you should like Jonathan’s book.

Spring Has Sprung

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Spring is here.  That means the Winter hiking season is over, and the Spring hiking season has begun.

The Last Day, when the Lord Jesus returns, will be like Spring because it will be brimming with new and awakened life.  On that day, for those who revere his name, “the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings.”  (Malachi 4:2, ESV).

May the Lord bless you this Spring and always.

Happy 7th Anniversary Light from Light

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The first post on this blog appeared seven years ago in May 2008 A.D.  Happy anniversary Light from Light.

In the topmost picture please notice the mountains behind the trees.

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The photos in this post are from Bierstadt Lake in the Rocky Mountains at about 9465 feet elevation.

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An anniversary is always a time for reflection.

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“He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.”  (Psalm 23:2, ESV).

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“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”  (Psalm 23:6, ESV).

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God’s blessings to all the readers.  Thank you.

Under Creators

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In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.  The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep.  And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

And God said, …

— Genesis 1:1-3, ESV.

In the beginning, God created everything from nothing.  He is the original creator.

We are sub-creators.  We create only from what has been created.  One of the reasons I enjoy outdoor photography is because it embodies the very concept of capturing or reflecting the reality of what has already been created.

Because we are made in the image and likeness of a Maker, we can all make.  (Genesis 1:26).  Using our creative imaginations we can step into the picture above, stand on the shores of Lake Winnebago, and ponder the glory of God.  We could even write a short story or description of the experience.

Near the waters,
he hovers,
we stand.

He creates,
so do we.
He blesses,
we receive.

Fox Cities Book Festival 2015

“Clearly, one must read every good book at least once every ten years.”

C.S. Lewis.

The Fox Cities Book Festival is currently under way.  The purpose of the festival is to connect authors and writers with readers.  Schools and libraries all across the Fox Cities in Wisconsin are involved with the festival.

Since my brother wrote a book, I’ve developed a more intense interest in reading and writing books, and hope to attend at least one of the festival presentations in part just to see what it is like.

In this area, our local libraries can be a powerful resource.  Borrowing a book is as easy as browsing the internet, and clicking the “place hold” button.  If the book cannot be found in the local area library system, they will often do an inter-library loan.  For example, they have gotten theological books for me all the way from Concordia University’s library in Mequon, Wisconsin.  All one needs to do is make an online request.

The Lord wants us to always learn and grow.  Good books can help us do that.

Pastor Lidtke’s Letters of Recognition

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Recently after the divine service at Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Pastor Paul Lidtke received some letters of recognition.  In the picture above from left to right is Pastor Lidtke, State Representative Jeremy Thiesfeldt, Congressman Glenn Grothman, Camille Solberg, and the congregation president Greg Kargus.

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Many of Pastor Lidtke’s accomplishments came as a surprise.  Apparently, in addition to preaching and visitation, he also does many other things such as help counsel offenders and victims of crime.

I have always been impressed by his good pastoral care and common sense.  He is an earthy preacher who proclaims the pure word of God without adding a bunch of nonsense; for example, he doesn’t preach about himself.

And that is why he was embarrassed by the letters of recognition he received.  (He did not know that he was going to get them until only a few days before the service).  Nonetheless, they were obtained for him out of love and appreciation.

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One of the challenges of photography at Bethlehem Lutheran Church is the amber stained glass windows.  They can make it difficult to get a clear color-balanced picture.  Nonetheless, I like how the pictures above and below brought out the beautiful color, grain, and texture of the wood in the sanctuary.

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In the end, it is all about Christ.  His cross, his sacrifice, his sacraments, his grace and mercy are the beginning and end of all life.  (John 14:6).


Notes

For all the pictures in this post, I used Digital Photo Professional to do the white balance on RAW files.  DPP came bundled with my camera, and can be very useful when dealing with certain types of tricky indoor lighting.