Moving Forward


Last night I decided I’d shut down my deviantART account. (See? Didn’t even link to it.)

I’ve kicked this around for a long time. I have the option of deleting my account, and having no presence there at all, but I decided I’d just remove all my writing from the public area (deleting them would have taken forEVER) and store them where they’re not visible. Then I’d leave a goodbye note to friends and loved ones there and just let it go.

If you’re not familiar with it, deviantART is essentially Facebook or MySpace for artists. Originally founded to showcase visual art, it also has a thriving photography and literary community too. Discussion boards and chat rooms too. It’s a thriving community.

It’s also just not the sort of place I want to be anymore.

Things started going south for me in 2008. I am a conservative surrounded by short-attention span liberals and that mixes like oil and water. I’m not a politico by any means, but I also won’t be told how I should feel or act or vote. So there were fallings out with “friends”. Of course they weren’t really friends, were they? Just people I knew from dA.

Something happened with a person I don’t associate with anymore. I’ve alluded to it before, and things between us soured. I went away shocked and angry, and in a couple of days I was just snarky. I don’t have the energy to hold a grudge so I didn’t. 2008 was the last of the really bad years for me. I lost not one but TWO dA friends that year over ridiculous, stupid things. I never bothered reaching out because, honestly, who cares? Those weren’t people I’d ever see in person anyway, and not being in contact with them only left me more time.

FAITH-BASED, BELIEF-SYSTEM ORIENTED CONTENT WARNING!

Click away NOW if you don’t like hearing about Jesus, or think it’s your place/job/duty to argue, insult or demean me and my faith. /Disclaimer.

Over the course of the past eighteen months, I’ve grown in my Christian walk. I’ve come to realize Christ’s living relationship with me is more important to me than any other relationship I have now, or will ever have. I realize with each passing day the influence He has on me and my thinking, how He works in the hearts of those who follow Him, and how He shifts my views. I don’t see things the same way I did a year or two ago. Not even close. And as I seek His face every day, every time I get on my knees and pray, I realize more fully how insignificant some of the things I held important were.

One of those things was being right all the time. I can read about how someone on the Internet thinks my faith is for morons and laugh. I can see statements from others which conflict with how I think and believe and recognize how trivial a disagreement can be. So if someone isn’t my “friend” anymore because I said Barack Obama was elected SOLELY on the color of his skin and NOT on the content of his character, well … I guess we can’t be friends then. *Shrug* Based on the level of incompetence this entire administration has shown I don’t retract or feel embarrassed by ANY of the statements I made shortly after the election of ‘08. One “friend” down? Yeah, guess so.

I had another disagreement with someone who thought I was “psycho” and the use of that word “offended” me. (No, it didn’t. I was lookin’ for a reason to step in her face because I felt she’d stepped in mine.) I look back on how THAT “friendship” fell apart and realized how the two of us weren’t friends in the first place. But I did appreciate her helping me down the road toward improving my prose. She was the first very honest critic I had, though I’ve had much tougher and more honest ones since. I didn’t react as well as I should have, and that put her on tenterhooks. When I joked about how she never said much of worth to me after that, she got upset and before that day was out she’d thrown me off like so much dirty underwear.

Ah, well. Enter Jesus again, Who took my hand and showed me how unimportant it was, how harmless it was, for me to be soft and gentle in my response instead of harsh and looking for excuses to fight. Being pugilistic didn’t get me anything except down another friend (this actually happened first, in May of ‘08 I believe). Which is exactly what happened. I wouldn’t budge, and while I thought she might have extended an olive branch several months ago, it was not in my scope of ability to recognize it OR respond appropriately to it. Goodbye, friend number two.

Finally, in October of ‘08, someone I cared a lot about basically went stone-cold nuts and chose a psychological time-bomb to side with over me in a disagreement which didn’t have to be anything more than a simple misunderstanding left alone to straighten itself out. Two people working on a written “apology” (which said, in effect, I’m sorry I reacted to you being such an a$$hole) didn’t do much to move me toward reconciliation, and I wanted nothing whatever to do with the pathological liar and manipulator I saw on the other side of the triangle. My “friend” felt otherwise, joined to their cause and left me down “friend” number three.

That last one stung. I sided with that person over her own church and tried to encourage her when she felt attacked by the very faith community she tried to be part of. My wife, innocent of all wrongdoing, was also mistreated. This angered me more than my own mistreatment by far.

Yet, the Lord has gotten me to see that, my wife wasn’t really injured in it. It was a lousy thing to do, but honestly, she didn’t have her integrity insulted or her dignity stained. Her reputation was intact. Nothing happened. Not really. It was a slight but nothing more.

So here I sit realizing I’m complicit in each of the disasters befallen those relationships. I knew to stay out of political things. Why did I do what I did? All I needed to do was keep silent. I felt, at the time, I didn’t have to do that, I had as much right as anyone to speak my mind on the subject. I did, and do, and all that’s fine but politics – and the election of 2008 more than any other in my memory – polarizes people and views. If I had no wish to disrupt the status of my relationships all I had to do was say nothing. It was after the fact anyway; what difference did it make? None. It just drove someone away I cared about. Or thought I did anyway. And why not an apology to those who, whether rightly or wrongly, felt slighted by me? Who would be harmed by that? The cry of “But I don’t have anything to apologize for!” is the cry of the lonely person sitting alone in a wilderness, abandoned by all would-be companions. Seldom do those who want to be right ever recognize when they’re wrong. SOMEONE must be the grown-up in such situations.

Last night, I decided I would be the grown up in these cases. I would, in my parting notice to those who have called themselves “friends”, humble myself enough to apologize for the perceived wrongdoings. I couldn’t apologize specifically – after all, I don’t know what they feel offended about or by – so I threw up a generic “I’m sorry for what happened between us and what I did or said that hurt you.” Notice I didn’t say “MIGHT have hurt you” – it’s a forgone certainty I did, in fact, inflict real or perceived injury. So I made no bones of my apology and didn’t cap in any disclaimer in any way. I simply apologized. Not to all three of them, but to two of the three. (I have specific reasons for not apologizing to the third person, and yes, they’re unrelated to feeling I had nothing to apologize for. I think I probably do, but won’t because that would be hypocrisy. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.)

And almost immediately I received notice that one of the two persons I’d apologized to had commented on my goodbye note. Only to say they missed me and I should email them, but contact nonetheless. I answered no, I wouldn’t email; I don’t know what else to say and it’s late. They responded AGAIN saying they felt they owed me a long explanation and they would, in fact, send an email.

What I got wasn’t “long” – which is relative, at any rate – and it rambled to the point of almost being indecipherable, but basically this person wanted me to know how they had, for months, considered apologizing, reaching out, explaining things, yada yada yada…

All blather, of course. If they’d sincerely meant to do that they’d done it, just as I would have had the spirit moved me (or is that the Spirit? hm) to do so. It’s only very recently I find myself longing for people of like mind, of like faith, of like interests. I want to share with conservative Christian writers and move in their circles, but I know in my heart they could never embrace my work. But it’s hard for me to fit in to any group, so I stay where I am, hoping someone will be at least similar to me somehow. It hasn’t happened yet, but the world is big and despite how full the Internet is of denizens, it’s a lonely place when you feel you belong with no one.

No, I said my apologies and meant them as best I could, and don’t expect reciprocity either in word or deed. All I want to cleanse my conscience of the stain of my own inequities in the matters, and move on.

I don’t know if blogging will or won’t be the next thing to go for me. I’ll have to even wait and see what the ramifications are for leaving dA. I spent so little time there and found so many things I once held interesting to be annoying, it can’t be a mistake. But where on the Internet CAN I go to find people who believe as I do and share my interests, worldview when appropriate, and more? One of the two to whom I apologized felt that way to me through the haze of memory and yet, the email response I got indicates to me perhaps I’m again alone in the most important aspects I sought companionship about. Strangely sad to know that bridge didn’t exist anymore.

But then, in many ways and in many topics, we can never go home again, can we? Time moves in one and only one direction and I am not the same man I was before. I will never be him again. While I’m interested in finding out who I am now and what I want, I can say with assuredness not finding it will not surprise me, neither disappoint me. I don’t expect to discover it.

What I will discover remains to be seen. Isn’t that what life is about?

-JDT-

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11 thoughts on “Moving Forward

  1. Well, there’s at least one Christian author out there that likes your work. (Me)

    *Bow* The admiration, my friend, is mutual. Thank you.

    I changed my arguing on the internet ways a bit ago when I saw a xkcd comic where a character couldn’t go to bed because “someone is wrong on the internet.”

    I’ve see it. It’s a classic and favorite of my wife’s. It really accentuates how ridiculous it is, doesn’t it?

    One thing to consider – you may not be at a point where you really need to digitally hang out with that many other “writers”. Just other like-minded/opinioned folks. You can be the writer of the bunch. And now that I think about it, there’s probably plenty of groups comprised of Christians that would be in to horror.

    I agree, maybe just some like-minded believers to be around digitally. I’m not ready for IRL hanging yet. But then again, it’d be nice to discuss my biggest interest aside from Christianity with them. And you’re likely correct– I bet Christian horror writer groups teem the Internet. As an aside, however, and one which emphasizes my point, Jerry Jenkins tweeted just today that while we don’t have to have scriptural references throughout our work, we should be clearly putting across our belief and worldview. That’s EXACTLY what I disagree with. It is my sincere and heartfelt belief that I can and do honor God and Christ by doing my very best with the talent He gave me, regardless of genre. That’s just me apparently.

  2. Wow, I can’t believe you let dA go! I think you will feel free and happy after the initial break up period. You sound like you’re going through the same kind of thing I am. It sounds like your heart is open to new avenues, and that’s great. That’s when change happens, don’t you think? You have to be open to it first.

    Well, I don’t know if there WILL be a break-up period. I don’t really feel any mourning over it. No grief. I was hardly ever there, and when I was it was to clear out the deviations which had piled up in my message center. I removed some of the major offenders (the people or clubs I watch which submit the most art) and hope that’ll chill it out. As for open to new avenues — ah, I don’t know. I think the avenues I have still are more than enough, but if they don’t start satisfying me I’ll go to still older ones. Like a church, for instance. Maybe what I want is a community of believers and I know the avenues for that already.

    “If they’d sincerely meant to do that [apologize] they’d done it” … You said yourself you were not in the most giving place in the matter, so maybe they doubted an olive branch would be accepted.

    It doesn’t matter what they thought or where I was; I didn’t consider their thoughts or feelings when I unilaterally surrendered, and no one should when offering an apology. I just think it didn’t matter to them as much as they claim, and it’s all right if it didn’t. I didn’t care enough to do it before either.

    There are Christian horror writers. I’m acquainted with one who shared my agent at one time. His name is Dan Keohane, and he’s on my FB friends list if you want to check him out. He probably has plenty of people like him in his circle. Might get you started on the trail.

    Maybe I’ll check him out, I don’t know. I might spend some quality time on Facebook trying to find a group or something. But it’s not a big deal.

    Maybe you will end up realizing you are unique, and no one in the world shares your precise blend of politics, religion, and general interest. Maybe you married the only other person in the world who’s even close! But whatever the case, I do hope you find what you’re looking for, and barring that, I hope what you need finds you.

    Oh, I hardly hold myself unique in any way. I did marry one of a kind, but I think our uniqueness lies in our person, not our gifts. There’s nothing new under the sun wise Solomon once wrote, and it’s true. I’m just a person with a newly discovered hunger for like-minded individuals. It’s late in my Christian walk to find it, but I believe it’s the result of the stirrings of God in me, Christ conforming me to what He made me to be in the first place. Christians need and want their company and I’ve shunned it for a long time. I think Jesus is just showing me how much we all need each other. It’s not a new hunger, it’s just new to ME. 🙂

  3. I try not to get too emotionally invested in stuff from the internet.

    Ah, but Bob, you and I locked horns not long ago because you were emotionally invested in me, didn’t we? 😉 Still, very sound and mature advice my friend. And yeah, I think of you as friend. Hope that’s okay.

  4. You sound reasonable to me. Not that my opinion counts. Your is the one that counts in such situations and points in life. Being okay with other people being different is always a challenge for everyone–some more than others.

    Well, I don’t know, Marta — I think it depends on the differences. I’m okay with the differences between me now and me then though. I’m a better man as far as I’m concerned.

    I try my best not to take disagreement personally. Now with my mother-in-law we can never talk about religion. Ever. Because I don’t share her beliefs, it makes her feel like I’m rejecting her. I don’t share your beliefs either, but that doesn’t mean demeaning them or getting angry.

    For the record, I’d not tolerate disagreement on my blog. Here, there is NO free speech, only MY speech. 😉

    I hate getting into arguments with people about such things–because no one is going to change their mind. Sure, I get angry when conservatives make it sound as if I have no family values because I’m liberal, as if I’d sell my child or get divorced at the drop of a hat. But once I get over the initial outrage, it just doesn’t matter. I’m still me no matter someone else thinks.

    True enough. Sometimes someone’s assessment is accurate. Other times, not.

    So, you and I disagree on loads of things–like Obama, for instance–but you’re a fellow human being who has shown me support and thoughtfulness in this cyberspace world. I wouldn’t wish you ill or insult you and get crazy about it. That isn’t to say that when I disagree with friends and loved ones I don’t have moments of, “How can they believe that?!” But that is raw reaction and my ego. Perspective and reflection tries to get that under control and realize that it isn’t all about me.

    I understand that “WTF?! They think THAT?!” moment only too well. The case I’m making here is for me to grow up and look at things without the filter of … well, me.

    And I might be wrong. I heard one fellow say how Christians win no matter what. Either they’re right, and so of course when they die they’ll get what they knew they’d get and they’d “win.” Or they’re wrong, but they’ll spend their lives believing they’re right and never know otherwise. Win-win!

    If we’re wrong, what have we lost by living as our Lord asked us to? I say nothing. We’ve lost nothing and live a life of love and kindness, shot through with ample doses of humanity. If we’re RIGHT though, what have those who rejected us risked? lost? gambled? Is it worth it? That’s the real scenario posited there. 😉

    Anyway, we’re different and manage to get along. That’s a nice thing.

    Good luck with whatever you do and whatever you write.

    Thanks. You too. 🙂

    • Oh, I lost a friend once because I deleted a comment on my blog because i didn’t feel comfortable with other readers seeing it. I thought it would give the wrong idea about my blog. My friend thought I was practicing censorship and was outraged at my moral failure. Our friendship never recovered from her view of this, and we are no longer friends. But you know, it is MY blog. And the things is, the person whose comment I deleted? We’re still friends. Go figure.

      That’s weird, isn’t it? The censored person understands better than a third party who doesn’t have any right to judge your moral strength or weakness, by the bye (there’s that Christianity rearing up in me again). Folks are pretty amusing sometimes, aren’t they?

      The story I’m talking about in this post — where I lost a “friend” because she chose someone else over me when the chips where down — is kind of similar. It was the intervention of a third party — the one the “friend” chose instead — which stemmed and caused it all. The “friend” isn’t the third party’s friend anymore either now. Weirdness? Aplenty.

      Well, as for the what have those rejected us risked… if you’re right, lots. Obviously. But even knowing that, I can’t make myself believe something that I just don’t feel in my heart. I understand what you’re saying, and it sounds great, but the reason I don’t believe isn’t to be difficult or contrary or gamble or anything other than myself. Maybe I’ll change my mind one day, but for now, I can’t feel it.

      I promised not to proselytize, and I won’t. But I will leave you with a parting though: Does your ability to feel something in your heart dictate reality? Does a belief in one’s heart that they are a poached egg make them one?

      I promise, no more. I never meant to start going that direction, honestly. I just was expounding on the position you’d heard previously, and I didn’t mean to direct it at you. Just so you know, this blog is not where I conduct that sort of discussion so you’re free to come here and not see it. While my faith is the biggest piece of my life and who I am, and dictates how I see things and respond to them, if I want to evangelize someone I’ll do it in person. 😉

      But great for those who find meaning there. I don’t begrudge them that or belittle it. I’d live in a tiny, lonely world if I did.

      Those of us who DO believe it and embrace live in a tiny, lonely one too, because there are plenty — I mean, PLENTY — who somehow find this belief system so distasteful they actually seek to destroy it or outlaw it. *Shrug*

      I’m glad you’re here. Thank you for your show of support. 🙂

      • I assume (for better or worse) that you feel about people slamming your faith as I do about people trying to shove their religion down my throat. Neither experience is pleasant.

        Hm. I’m not sure to whom you refer. I haven’t shoved anything down anyone’s throat, and to be frank, this post wasn’t about religion. It’s about a falling out and response to an apology. The “religious” aspect — and it wasn’t a religion-thing, it’s a FAITH thing which was INTERNAL to me, and this post depicted the results of that internal process from my perspective and DID come with a disclaimer — was in response to something you said in your comment. Again, I’m not going to proselytize anyone here. But… you keep bringing it up, and I’m not sure why I guess. If you want a theological discussion, I’m certainly able to do that. Christian apologetics is something I’ve studied and practiced for a long time. But this blog isn’t for that purpose and I’m not putting my theology forward here. I’m not trying to be rude, so please understand that, but this is a blog about my life, me, how things are internally for me, and yeah, Christianity is going play a role in that. A big one. I’m a Christian, I don’t apologize or make excuses for that, and I don’t invite differing views on it because I’m not setting up a forum for debate here. (Lots of them exist.) I thought from your initial comment that wasn’t something you’d be interested in either, but I could have been mistaken. Still, I want to be clear, I wasn’t trying to be evangelical in my discussion or impose my beliefs on you. At all. I hope it didn’t come out that way; I didn’t think so.

        In a perfect world we could all feel comfortable with our differences and not need to force our ideas on others or feel threatened by those who disagree. And I know you weren’t trying to go in this direction. I almost didn’t comment because I didn’t want you to feel attacked by me or criticized because that was/is not my purpose.

        Oh, please don’t be concerned. If I felt attacked, I’d delete your comment out of hand. I don’t feel attacked at all, neither offended in any way. I wasn’t trying to do that to anyone either, so I’m hoping that’s not what was communicated. I do welcome your comments, and promise to let you know should I by chance feel attacked somehow. (It’s happened before; that commentator’s not around anymore, notice.)

        I don’t think I feel threatened by different ideas or beliefs; at the same time, I’m not into embracing all ideas and beliefs either. Not my cuppa, honestly. I won’t let someone else espouse their belief system here because — well, not to beat a dead horse but this is MY BLOG. If a body wants to put forward an opposing idea to mine, that’s what WordPress.com and Blogger.com are for. They can get their own soapbox, you know?

        And of course how I feel doesn’t dictate reality. But that’s true for anyone. Anyway, it has been a good talk.

        I’m glad you think so, even if it did drift way off the initial topic. 🙂

        • Oh, no. I wasn’t referring to you at all with the comment about forcing religion down anyone’s throat. no no no. That was just a general comment about people who have been in such situations. I’ve lived in a country where people weren’t allowed to practice any religion, and that was nothing I’d ever agree with. It is a terrible thing for any power to take faith away from people. Sad.

          Ah, I see. Not allowed to practice any religion? ReallY? That’s so alien to me I can’t even imagine it. 😦 Still, while they (government?) may have the power to prevent me from practicing my ceremonies or rites, and even from gathering to worship, they could NEVER strip my faith. I suspect that’s true for the people where you were too.

          So. I guess I just return to it because it is interesting. I don’t go into these topics directly on my blog because I don’t like disagreement, but I love talking (peacefully) about religion, science, politics and the like. They speak so much to humanity and the world we live in. And I probably also go back to it because I have a hard time giving up on conversations and talk too much. I’ve spent a lot of time over here and like knowing more about you and the way you see the world. I hope that is okay.

          I’m not a fan of disagreement either. Generally I don’t talk about these things for the same reason. And of course it’s okay for you to ask how I see the world. I just have to warn you, I’m pretty boring and straightforward. If I were fictional no one would remember me at all, or even read me. 😉

          And I guess I get tired of how many people stay in groups where everyone thinks the same. So, for selfish reasons, I suppose (you could look at it that way), I feel it does me good to share with people who don’t think like me–not so that I can simply find a reason to argue or insult, but to always remember that people different from me are great people. It seems too often too many people only listen to other opinions to think of insults or belittle. If too many people spend all their time with just like minded people…I don’t think that is good. I hope that makes sense and sounds the way I mean it to.

          How interesting; I’m in a time of my life when I only WANT to be around people who think like me, have had more than enough of people being disagreeable to me and hostile to my beliefs. Funny how different we can be, isn’t it?

          I like you and Darcs. So anyway. Shutting up now.

          We like you too. 🙂 Thank you.

  5. Last week, I met an older man with a cane at the mall while I was waiting for my ride. I sat waiting on the bench reading, and he sat, just waiting. Finally, I asked “are you waiting for your ride, too?” (I didn’t see which direction he’d come from), and he said he wasn’t, just waiting for someone to leave a shopping cart near the entrance, so that he could go for a walk around the mall. I offered to go fetch one for him, and he argued and said no, he didn’t want to be a nuisance, I told him he was being foolish, it was no trouble, I had another 20 minute to wait. So I took off to find him a cart, when I came back, he thanked me, again, and again, and then said “I’ll pray for you tonight”, I smiled and said thank you, because I didn’t know what else to say, and thank you was the only thing that felt appropriate. I saw him again before he left the mall (my ride was late), I went to open the doors for him, and he thanked me again, and then left to get into his vehicle. I hope I run into him again sometime, he had a kind face.

    I remember your comments about Obama, you were quite clear on them. I’d only just started speaking to you then, and didn’t bother commenting back about it, because it didn’t feel necessary. Much like when people post religious stuff on their Facebook, or their opinions of how people choose to live their lives. It’s their choice, it’s their belief, it’s their way. Not mine, and that’s cool with me.

    I don’t share the same beliefs as many people, such as my mother, but we don’t discuss it. When I am home for the holidays, Matt and I attend Christmas service with her, which she can never thank us enough for. It makes her happy, and that makes me happy. Being able to speak publicly has it’s down falls for me. Our neighbor always sees me, and comes running over, and asks me to do a reading, to which I grin and bear it, and I say sure, only because I see my mother’s smile that says “oh please, for me?” And when that hour is over, I know I’ve made my mother’s Christmas.

    I fought her when I was a kid, I fought her when I was a teenager, and I fought her until I was about 21. My mother and I don’t agree on many, many things, but she has taught me more than anyone, I believe, when it comes to tolerance, and respect. If you have a different opinion than someone, that’s fine, but you can’t be rude. If you can’t have a civil conversation about it, then don’t discuss it, kind of like “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all”.

    My sister-in-law can’t express her opinion without being rude, and I’ve come to accept that, because that’s who she is. I don’t like it, but there is no point in arguing with her, because she only sees her opinion when it comes to certain subjects, and thinks anyone who feels otherwise is terrible.

    Online, there are so many different people, finding those who share your unique views, could be difficult, likewise, for me, if I were looking, it could be, too. We all have many views on many things, too. So it goes both ways, whether you’re very, moderate, or a bit conservative, or likewise, very, moderate, or a bit liberal.

    I know you are a very proud American, a proud Christian, and a proud conservative, and that’s great. I think faith, is a truly beautiful thing, and everyone in the world should have faith, in something, whether it is faith in oneself, or faith in a spiritual being, or faith in God, or what-have-you. Faith keeps you strong and it helps you love stronger.

    My Nana went to church every Sunday, she wasn’t crazy preachy or anything, but she loved to go to church, and sing the hymns (always reminds me of the song “That’s What I Love About Sundays” by Craig Morgan… sweet Miss Betty loves to sing off key in the pew behind me…), and attend church luncheons/suppers. She loved it all, seeing the preacher, seeing the people in the community, seeing my cousin and I help the preacher (I don’t know what our duties were called, but we wore white robes, and helped prepare communion and all of that stuff), it made her happy. She died of cancer when I was 13, and the preacher came to see her at the house, and he talked about his last visit with her, about how she made sure, as sick as she was, he was fed, and had coffee, and was comfortable, and they discussed many things, like about what was going to happen. He said he asked her if she was scared, and she said she wasn’t, because she knew she was going to a better place. He then told a story called “Keep Your Fork” (http://keepyourfork.net/keep-your-fork-inspirational-story) which he felt was appropriate, and summed her up nicely. And it did, it was her, perfectly.

    When I was sixteen, I started working in a pharmacy, and I met a woman from Pakistan. She was a regular, came in nearly daily, with her baby girl. All of the ladies at work warned me not to get too chatty with her, said she was annoying, and drove them batty, always wanting photocopies, and thinking she could barter the price with them. Sure enough, she came in daily, and she took a liking to me, I’m not sure why, but maybe because I enjoyed her visits. She was funny, I loved her accent, I loved her stories, she made me smile. She was always getting photocopies of pictures to show her daughter when she and her husband would finally come to Canada. After a few years, it kind of made you wonder if they were ever coming. She told me prayed and prayed for their safety, and for them to come here. The day she introduced me to her husband and daughter, I wanted to jump for joy. Maybe it was God, maybe it just worked out, but no matter what, I watched this woman’s faith year, after year, never falter. And that’s amazing. I think of her off and on, and she probably doesn’t even remember me, but she was inspiring.

    Six chapters later, my point is, people are different, in many ways, through culture, and opinion, and I think that is what makes us beautiful.

    Bless your heart, sweetie. You’re such a sweet-natured dear-hearted person. God bless you. I’m glad you’re around, you know that?

  6. Politics and religion are almost always a tempest in a teapot and therefore, usually somewhat volatile if both parties let it get that personal.

    Well, the person who stopped speaking with me after the election took it personally. I didn’t; the election wasn’t a personal assault. But he didn’t like that I’m conservative and vote that way as much as I can, and he let me know why in personal attacks riddled with pretty poor facts about Bammy and earlier African American candidates. It just opened my eyes to why I don’t generally discuss politics in open forums. (There, I cannot control commentator input as I can here.)

    I am not an overly religious person and yes, I voted for Obama, but I have no problem with you having a different view as that is what makes the world go around. We just agree to disagree amicably. That’s what friends do.

    And honest and truly, the election was OVER. What I said didn’t make any difference, so why did he get mad? I’d have thought he’d gloat, but no. *Shrug* Like I said, I guess he and I weren’t friends after all.

  7. I make it a point to not be close with those who are toxic to me. I’ll be civil, but that doesn’t mean I’ll embrace “friendship.” If people are so fickle that they can’t handle a difference of opinion, then I don’t want them for friends. There’s too much everyday stress that I don’t need any extra.

    AAAA-MEN. Jeez. I guess I ticked off the person who reached out to me. She sent an email, I answered, and she never responded, so I guess that’s that. I won’t lose sleep. I did my part and like you say here, I have enough stress without that kind of bull$hit.

    I don’t know that I agree with Jerry Jenkins, in that a Christian’s worldview needs to spill out in work. If it doesn’t fit the story, why should it be there? That’s my thinking. I follow the art more than my convictions or moral center.

    I don’t see how we dishonor God and Christ by writing a story using all the talents and abilities he gave us without writing a Christian novel. My characters are foul-mouthed, my stories are horror, and if someone doesn’t like that, they don’t have to read them. But I know if I use the talent God gave me and am not shy about telling people what I personally believe, I’ve not let Him down. Why are we not allowed to tell the story? Christians put themselves in boxes like this and it’s impossible to get out of; meanwhile, first century believers only worshiped together and lived the rest of their lives in the world among its people sharing Christ.

    Dean Koontz and John Grisham don’t often write from the Christian worldview, but every once in a while, you find touches of their beliefs, which I prefer, because then it doesn’t come across as preachy.

    I didn’t even know those guys WERE Christian. HA! Guess I don’t follow authors as well as I thought. 🙂

    My book Kings & Queens and it’s follow up Sapphrie Reign do have elements of love and redemption and God’s grace and forgiveness, but not all of my stories will work out that way. My newest novel is horror and I purposely want to avoid any Christian-y factors. I don’t want to be a “Christian” writer, but rather, a writer who happens to be a Christian.

    That’s perfectly said. That’s me too. I’m a writer. I’m a Christian. Why do I have to be a Christian writer? I say I don’t.

    Like on the Edgy Christian Fiction Writers forum–you might be able to connect with some writers there–and also on Christian Writers, it’s evident that soooo many Christians object to even a small amount of profanity. I’m just not that bomb-shy. It’s ridiculous to me, that a writer would go around in circles to avoid using the word that fits the situation best. I can’t write far away from my worldview, but I also can’t be handcuffed by it either, as my characters are rarely upstanding. Even the Christians make huge mistakes.

    I’m with you on this one. Christians have their own dirty little secrets and want to make everything boring by just leaving out the spicy elements that make life realistic in our work. My characters use profanity (most people do if they’re honest, and I don’t do “a small amount”, just to be clear), and that has nothing, whatsoever, to do with what I believe about how I should communicate with people. NOTHING. C’mon, we’re Christians because we couldn’t be holy, aren’t we?

    I’m writing a Christian novel about a husband and wife on separate pages sexually, because that’s a huge contributing factor in divorce. And many Christians won’t be happy with its frank sexual discussion, but, oh well. That’s where the conflict lies and I want to open up dialogue for people who are in that dangerous place.

    Wow, that’s a great subject! Maybe if more Christians had those frank discussions about sex with each other or a counselor, they wouldn’t be divorced. *Shrug*

    I like to write about flawed people and real struggles, not sugar-coated prairie strolls, and sometimes a bad word or two, falls into the mix.

    And I like to write about things most Christians would considered demonic, occultic, and just un-Christian. 🙂 Let’s be rogues together and shake things up, CV. 😉

  8. Yeah, like others have said, if people let politics get that far (especially on an art site) then it’s probably for the best that the relationship falls by the way side. I have friends and family that I disagree with about all sorts of stuff, but we just don’t really talk about it. Simple as that. Especially when we have stuff we DO have in common that we can talk about.

    It was strange to me. He served in Iraq, but you’d never know from the way he speaks about politics. It’s all water under the bridge now anyway. 🙂

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