Quo Vadis II

Tragic Wonders 1 by 1_6 quarter scaleWe’re almost finished with a round of editing for Tragic Wonders. In prior posts, you’ve seen some of the stories and essays that we dropped from TW because of thematic duplication. We’ve also separated out two poems that now provide a transition from the stories to the essays. The next step is copy editing. Seems the company is geared towards Microsoft Office production but, for the money, they’ll accommodate Amazon Kindle requirements. Whew! Actually, they’ve been encouraging, cooperative, and fast. We’ll see how much we can say about them at a later date.

At this point, we plan to get TW out before Christmas (Thanksgiving is the real goal, but…). To do that, I want to have at least two professional reviews in place before issuing the press release and posting the Kindle book to Amazon and registering with the LOC and Red City Reviews usually posts to Goodreads but Goodreads requires an ASIN, Amazon’s ISBN equivalent… You get the idea, the timing will be tricky. Also, we were planning on switching from PRWeb to PR Newswire. You know, the PR firm recently hacked for customer data.

We’ve had several favorable reviews on TW’s all important cover. Yes, it turns out we do judge a book by its cover (among other things, like favorable excerpts from perhaps unfavorable professional reviews).

Right now, we have Tiānmìng – Mandate of Heaven priced at 99 cents. We’re going to raise the price back to $2.99 when TW comes out at 99 cents. In other news, we’ve decided to postpone publication of A Digital Carol until next Christmas. Actually, we’ll get it out before Thanksgiving 2014 to pick up on the buying season. We’ve already got the cover concept roughed in.

Yup, we’ll get this marketing thing down, yet. Hopefully, before we’re out of funds.

We plan to start Who Shall be God early in 2014 while ADC is in editing (yes, book three, that became book four, is book three again). The WSBG themes are coming together. It turns out that the 38th parallel not only runs through the Korean DMZ but through Virginia and Maryland. Hmm, I wonder if that’s significant given what DC has been doing lately?

Book five is about China. We’re still waiting for Xi and company to declare their intent after the Third Plenum meeting of the Communist Party’s Central Committee. Other news of interest is that China has twice the shale gas reserves as the US does. That should swing the balance all other things being equal. We’ll see.

And finally, we’ve updated our links page.

Redeemed Regret – Macon Georgia

Ecclesia and the Three Sons of Noah - medieval...

Ecclesia and the Three Sons of Noah – medieval stained glass detail, Canterbury Cathedral (Photo credit: chrisjohnbeckett)

It was a cold night, and I was running through a neighborhood I feared to walk in during the day. The sun was coming up as I reached the main drag. I was almost home. Just a few more miles to go.

When I reached my toasty–warm one–room apartment, I found it as I had left it so many weeks before. The boarder she asked me to house had left it in pretty good shape. Better than I deserved. She, though, did not leave me in very good shape. I collapsed on my bed.

I was bought and sold as you would a loaf of bread, maybe half a loaf, when all was said and done. We met by arrangement of our mutual friends at the time. They had thoughts of what each of us wanted and saw a match worth making. It took a few strikes of that match to ignite a spark.

I thought one thing and she thought another. I was headed toward the idea of marriage and she was headed toward her former lover. However, her way lay through me. I was trapped by an unrealizable idea that she had no intention of bringing to fruition. She got what she wanted. I should have known better. I was so infatuated with the romance of Hollywood that I ignored the warning signs of disaffection and entrapment.

The prophets say, “More bitter than death: the woman whose heart is snares and nets, and whose hands are fetters. He who pleases God escapes her…” Well, that escape wasn’t my doing. Not long afterward, I was captured by the Sovereign One, who, alone, was deserving of my utmost allegiance. He drew me as surely as a parent draws their child to what is good. I was now free indeed.

There, in new surroundings with much to learn and unlearn, I was barely coping with all the changes I needed to make. I was juggling responsibilities that I had so long neglected. Folks were having their doubts about whether I was having doubts. Things were taken away as well as given. I was experiencing the Ecclesia firsthand. Having searched for a new place to lay my head, I found myself in the company of a diverse and chastening crowd.

My time was up so soon. I had gained my employment from one and ceded my bedroom to another. I needed to find a new residence quickly. That’s when I fell into a trap again. Not of the same kind, thankfully, but entrapped nevertheless. I should have seen the warning signs. I should have fled my obligations (but I wouldn’t on principle). Only Mercy rescued me once more.

In the midst of the turmoil and strife, I did not notice a rare opportunity escape overseas. I was too bound by my unsophistication and numbed by the rapid–fire changes in my life. I was dislocated from a proper response. In a parking lot, on another cold night, I bid farewell to someone I should have known better.

I imagine her happily married and blessed with children, prosperous and satisfied with her life. A better path than I could have given. I must tread alone toward our mutual upward goal. For I have no doubts about her.

Platitudes Have Consequences – Wilma Terretts

“You’re going to do what?”

“Turn you in as an illegal alien, hon. With this 9/11 hysteria, you’ll be tied up…for a while.”

“But I’m a naturalized citizen according to my mother’s papers. Why are you doing this to me, Harry?”

“Because you wouldn’t do as I say. Let’s see how you get out of this one, Mildred.”

“Okay, I’ll do it, I’ll do it…Please don’t bring this down on me.”

“We’ll see.”


“But I have to get my papers in order.”

“We’re swamped, ma’am, with the government shutdown and all. You’ll have to go across the state to get any speedy action. You sure you can’t wait?”

“No, my husband threa—No.”

“We’ll arrange an appointment. You’ll have to get there by the date set.”


“I found my army papers; I was honorably discharged. He hid them on me, Wilma.”

“Those prove you’re a citizen, Mom.”

“It’s not enough. He’s still threatening deportation.”

“Well, come up here and we’ll go together. It’s a fairly short drive.”


“I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity…and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.”

“You are now citizens of the United States of America.”


“How’d it go?”

“Fine, I’ve got it.”

“That must be a relief.”

“I’ve got to go back, Wilma.”

“Please spend a few days up here with me.”

“I have to go back before he does something else.”

“You can’t keep living in fear, Mom.”

“What do you expect me to do?”

“Sometimes God sends a boat to rescue us when we expect miracles, Mom.”


“I’ve been preparing him for a few months. I’ve made sure he has everything he’ll need.”

“What are you talking about, Mom?”

“Can I come up? I’d like to see you.”

“Sure, I’ll take vacation. I’ve been under a lot of pressure at work and I need time off.”


“I’ve come up here to make sure you have everything you need, and I find you’ve been taking care of me.”

“What do you mean? Of course I want you to be happy, Mom.”

“Don’t hug me when I go. I don’t think I can take that. Just leave when the train comes in.”

“I don’t understand.”

“Just do it for me.”


“She’s what?”

“In the hospital. I’m sorry, Wilma.”

“What have you done, Dad?”

“She had a stroke.”

“Did you call 911 in time?”


“I’ll be down.”

“Stay here.”

“No, I’ll stay in a hotel.”


“So, how are you doing, Wilma?”

“It seems she was hiding her condition for months, maybe years, Maud.”

“Why didn’t her doctors see it?”

“They didn’t find the first cancer for five years. It showed up in the earlier radiographs only when they knew where to look.”

“So the prognosis isn’t good?”

“She died last night, Maud. We’re having the funeral as soon as possible.”

“I’m so sorry, Wilma.”

“Me too. I feel something I said caused all this to happen.”

“You can’t blame yourself. Your father’s relentless brutality took its toll. She simply took the opportunity that presented itself. Look, she might have died even if she did everything medical science knows to do. Our lives really are in His hands.”

“Yeah, it’s just that I said, sometimes God rescues us from our circumstances through common means. But, I didn’t mean this.”


No, I’m not referring to the song by Stevie Wonder (as much as I like the instrumental version). But, instead, I refer to the prevalent bias against true religion. When we see religion as moral and ethical obedience to God–given law that is beneficial to us and to others, I’m not sure how we justify anything else. Except, of course, in order to avoid our responsibility and laugh in the face of our inevitable accountability.

English: The Flammarion engraving is a wood en...

Photo credit: Wikipedia

And we do the latter in everything we do in this scientific age. The art work in this post, Flammarion (Photo credit: Wikipedia), shows a medieval missionary delving into heaven through the firmament to see the workings of God. I think that our sciences expand the firmament to the extent that we shut out the possibility that the immaterial has place in our thoughts and contemplations. This “expansion” is seen not merely in our astrophysics but in our neuroscience and in all the other scientific disciplines. This is a mistake.

Calvin, in his Institutes of the Christian Religion, says:

With regard to inanimate objects again we must hold that though each is possessed of its peculiar properties, yet all of them exert their force only in so far as directed by the immediate hand of God. Hence they are merely instruments, into which God constantly infuses what energy he sees meet, and turns and converts to any purpose at his pleasure. No created object makes a more wonderful or glorious display than the sun. …No pious man, therefore, will make the sun either the necessary or principal cause of those things which existed before the creation of the sun, but only the instrument which God employs, because he so pleases; though he can lay it aside, and act equally well by himself: Again, when we read, that at the prayer of Joshua the sun was stayed in its course; that as a favor to Hezekiah, its shadow receded ten degrees; by these miracles God declared that the sun does not daily rise and set by a blind instinct of nature, but is governed by Him in its course, that he may renew the remembrance of his paternal favor toward us…

So, our Principle of Least Action, applied to quantum fields (if they turn out to be fields, except in approximation, as a result of the coming paradigm shift), is falsified by these “superstitious beliefs” put forth by scripture and exposited by John Calvin. Our entire mode of living, apart from reverential awe due to God, is falsified. Call scripture superstition if you must, but God is simply accommodating our finiteness as he calls us to into account before it’s too late for you or for me.