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The Real Guts

Truth. Integrity. Sacrifice.

From the Sword of Shannara to the hero behind the scoundrel we see in Han Solo, these traits are oft seen in speculative fiction.

But it's not something that holds much value in the world we walk. There are many who claim to know what this elusive trait looks like. Some few of them actually do. But there's one thing they often lack:
Guts on the Page. The willingness to not only face external truths, but those things we hide from ourselves. To let others see those dark things we keep deep inside. To surrender it all in order to make room for something better.

The ability to give up the things that don't matter to find that which does. And the willingness to let that which was be a source of healing for others.

The process isn't easy. It calls for support and courage from beyond ourselves.
To that end, I've decided to live a #GutsonthePage life. I'll be joining with other creatives in order to find my beautiful brokenness - and help o…

Blood for Blood: the contest!

I'll admit it: I don't like vampire tales. A vast majority of them are trite and quite frankly, boring. But the creatures themselves have always fascinated me. What must it be like to live in the space between life and death? To murder in order to sustain yourself? Does the person you once were no longer exist when you've changed? Fascinating stuff indeed!

So let's talk about a vampire story that I actually really like. Ben Wolf wrote a fascinating tale set amidst real-world history: Blood for Blood. And it's wonderful. My review of the novel can be found here. (Be warned: it was among the first book reviews I ever posted.)
As a lover of redemption stories with a twist, I can't recommend this highly enough. And I'm giving you all the chance to win a signed copy! How cool is that? All you've got to do to enter is put your favorite vampire tale in the comments. I'll draw a winner on this Sunday, October 25th.
Thanks for tuning in! 

Interview time!

And now for something completely different! I recently had the chance to sit down and ask the fantastic John Otte some questions. Read on to discover more about him!

You're a husband, father, author, and pastor. With all that on your plate, what's a typical day look like for you? Busy. I know, that's not exactly helpful, but there is no "typical" day for me, not really. I mean, I have a bit of a rhythm to my weeks. Tuesday through Thursday, I spend time working on my sermon for the weekend. And I'm responsible for getting my older son to and from school. And I try to make time to spend with my wife as much as I can. But the thing about being a pastor is that the schedule can change in an instant. For example, over the past two and a half weeks, I had four funerals, most of which came as a complete surprise. So my schedule can vary widely from week to week depending on what's happening. That means finding time to do the author thing can be tricky. I try to…

Warning! Guts on Page Two.

So, I just got back from my first spiritual retreat Realm Makers conference. And I've got three words to describe the weekend: identity, shalom, and purpose. Let me explain:

Robert Liparulo was the keynote speaker during this year's Realm Makers. He had a couple of words for us.

 The first is stop. As in, stop allowing defeat in! We have been given incredible gifts. Passions and dreams that can change the world! And the shalom - peace - that comes with knowing that He is before us!

Our dreams are prayers to God! And He never wastes dreams.

So what are we to do with these gifts? That brings us to the second word: GO!

Go with purpose. Go boldly. Walk securely in Him!


Here's where it gets all guts-on-the-page-y:

My identity has been worthless since age eleven. That's been twenty-four years of me not knowing my identity in Him.

So what did I learn on my trip to St. Louis? All sorts of incredible writing advice that I'll be unpacking - and sharing - in the coming weeks.

Wh…

Three Days, many facets.

Easter. That wonderful part of April where all sorts of good things happen. Like many holidays, how Easter is significant depends on who you ask:

Many who aren't devout will refer to it as 'Zombie Jesus Day'. Others use it as a good reason to visit loved ones. There are some who point to the fertility rites that accompanied the worship of the 'goddess' Istar as the origins. To children - and kids at heart - it's a great time to gorge on sweets. I'll admit that I fall into the latter category year-round. ;)
And to Christ-followers, it has a very special significance indeed. Good Friday gained its moniker because it was when Jesus died. So what's good about that? Scourging? Betrayal? Being mocked? Top that all off with crucifixion? That certainly doesn't sound like the start to a good weekend to me!
It's good because Jesus was sacrificed for our benefit. All of the evil of the world was piled on Him. Then He died.
But that's not the end of the…

Cinderella: Christ-Follower

Today was my day off. As it was nice out I decided to walk to the theatre a couple miles away. After consulting my lovely wife, I decided to go see the live-action Cinderella. (Yes, by myself. C.S. Lewis was a lover of 'faerie-stories'. Why shouldn't I be?)

This is the part where I could expound on the quality of the movie. How family-friendly it was. The beautiful CGI. And so forth.

I'd rather talk about some surprising things I discovered as I watched. (SPOILERS AHEAD!) 

Ella had parents that were big on some good Biblical wisdom. Specifically Proverbs 22:6 (Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he won't depart from it.) and Colossians 3:12 (Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.)

Those of you who've seen the film already may be scratching your heads and wondering what in the world I'm babbling about.  Remember the secret that Ella's mother pass…

Truth, Love, Apostasy and Legalism

Being the geek I am, of course I'm going to start this with a Babylon 5 reference. There's a Vorlon (race in the B5 universe) saying: "Truth is a three-edged sword; there's your truth, my truth, and the truth."
I'm not going to worry about the first two. Your (as in, anyones) truth matters not at all. It's garbage. In the grand scheme of things, your truth is more disgusting and less useful than used toilet paper...
... but so is mine.
The one that remains is, of course, God's Truth.  See, here's the thing: God's Truth doesn't change. Because He doesn't change. What was His reality before time was a concept will remain so long after time ceases. His Law, His Love, His reality, His TRUTH is the way of things.
The Bible gives an excellent overview of Truth. Everything you need to know, really. Little things like...   * God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent.    * We were designed to be in monogomous, heterosexual union.
  * Murde…

2015 Goals

Fresh on the heels of the Vision and the Vow post comes my 2015 goals.  I dare you, dear readers, to challenge me and pray for me as I strive to reach them!

Put the past behind me:
This is a big one.  I've got some baggage that's been weighing me down.  Time to shed those extra emotional pounds!

Be More of the man God wants me to be:
(This is filler, as the goal is rather self-explanatory)

Get into healthy/workout habits:
I'm neither a blob nor a string bean - and I'd rather not be either.  I just want to have a few better habits in terms of my svelte body.  :P

Have a home:
Quite simply, my wife and I are tired of apartments.  Time to be done with them!

Get a flash fiction piece published:
Once upon a time, I was told that I should start small.  Write, write, write.  Submit articles to magazines.  Well, instead of articles I choose flash.  Maybe Splickety will be looking for a staff feature at some point... :P

Finish my Work in Progress (Target date: July 2015):
I'm abou…

The Vision and the Vow

As an inauguration to my new blog, I figured I'd post something inspiring.  A good word to start off 2015.  Without further adieu...
 The Vision, by Pete Greig. (it's a bit long, but worth it!)

So this guy comes up to me and says,
"What's the vision? What's the big idea?"
I open my mouth, and the words come out
like this...

The vision?
The vision is Jesus:
obsessively, dangerously, undeniably Jesus

The vision is an army of young people.
You see bones?
I see an army.

And they are free from materialism -
they laugh at 9-5 little prisons. They could
eat caviar on Monday and crusts on Tuesday
they wouldn't even notice. They know the
meaning of the Matrix,
the way the West was won.

They are mobile like the wind,
they belong to the nations,
they need no passport.
People write their addresses in pencil
and wonder at their strange existence.
They are free
yet they are slaves
of the hurting and dirty and dying.

What is the vision? The vision is holiness
that hurts…