Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Opinions Below. Enter at Own Risk.

The book Dale Carnegie never wrote: How to Lose Friends and Alienate Enemies.

Explicitly or implicitly, we learn this throughout life: If we want people to like us, we should avoid speaking of controversial matters, such as money, taxes, politics, religion, child-rearing, education or legal systems, immigration or national defense, and so on.

If I were a better marketer, I might avoid those topics as well, and concentrate only on publishing or writing or book reviews -- but those can be nasty, too, and bring wrath upon the reviewer. Nowhere in life are we truly free of conflict or of running afoul of someone else.*

A conversation began on Facebook when a fellow Christian and writer posted a link to an article about the recent Planned Parenthood scandal and his comments about the article. (They were not favorable.)

Someone replied that, although he abhors Planned Parenthood and their sale of body parts (which the organization denies, but is implicit in the grand jury indictments of the filmmakers whose secret  videos captured the vile practice**), Christians should back down and compromise, because the pro-life side is losing the fight and should try other tactics. Also, he wasn't sure 1) morality can be legislated, and 2) when a fetus becomes a child.

My response:
Morality is legislated every day, whether we agree with that morality or not. Case in point: the recent Supreme Court ruling on marriage. Laws themselves are the imposition of morality upon a nation, and by those laws the legal system determines guilt or innocence. Therefore, the argument "you can't legislate morality" is invalid.
However, the DNA is inarguable: A human child is a human child at conception. It is not a fully-developed human even when it's born, because it matures as it grows. Therefore, to ask at which stage of development it becomes a child is to ask the wrong question. (When does it become an adult? Well, that varies. ;) )
As for Christians taking the hard line and being uncompromising, we have an excellent example in Christ Himself. He didn't compromise, and it killed Him. But that's one of the reasons we follow Him: He loved not His life unto death and He took upon Himself the sins of us all, not backing down, not compromising, but doing what must be done in order to save any who would call on His name.
There are times to back away and try another tack. There are times to stand firm and not gloss over the ugly, not try to avoid the uncomfortable. Christians and other religious and ethnic groups in the Middle East and in Africa are encountering this daily, facing death for what they believe or for what they are. Even their children are slaughtered.
But filmmakers trying to save lives of the most defenseless are the bad guys? What an upside-down world.
 And that's all I have to say about that.***

* Of tangential interest: a list of controversies.
** Click to read a rebuttal of the undercover sting operation.
*** Borrowed, of course, from Forrest Gump. :)

Updated February 7, 2016: Looks like the indictments are "all hat and no cattle", to borrow an old saying used in this article. That's all right by me.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Story First

Anyone else wearied by myriad causes du jour? By politics and the endless “debates” about it on social media? By the expectation of outrage or an emotional response about [fill in the blank] lest one be labeled by folks who are outraged, offended, etc.?

In the literary realm, one current debate is the “inclusiveness” of novels, and some people think we need to keep score: x number of ethnic characters, x number of certain genders or sexual orientations, and so on. There’s plenty of agenda-driven fiction out there, from a variety of political, religious, and cultural viewpoints. From whence comes this need to turn stories into soapboxes or pulpits?

I have opinions and beliefs, and I’ll talk about them, but not everyone requires, deserves, or is entitled to knowing what they are. In this age of constant exposure, personal freedoms and privacy are in becoming a short supply. So is moderation of speech and behavior.

The Internet, as valuable as it can be, is also a digital three-ring circus. Society/culture at large is often a flamboyant, obnoxious tyranny demanding everyone think alike.

Not gonna happen.

Even in the most repressive governmental regimes, silence or outward compliance have never meant assent. There is always an underground.

I cannot and will not divorce what I believe from what I write. However, my focus is story first

a draft of Dragon's Rook (cKB)