It’s a sad fact that the realm of politics is as close to religion as the godless can manage. It never really occurred to me to write any other sort of novel, as the genre of political fiction afforded plenty of opportunity to best say what compelled close to a million-and-a-half words. The essential themes therein are what have allowed my storytelling to remain relevant to the point that, ten years on, my first novel remains visible in the stack of its genre on the free side of major venues where e-books come alive.
Pride. Wisdom. Courage. Cowardice. Love. Hate. Indifference. Fiction is effective only when it is relevant to the real world. One could not be transported otherwise, and immersion is the kick that keeps a reader coming back for more.
The first one’s free, kid. Actually the first three. But I digress.
Effective novels compel continued attention, and those stories arise from conflict. There is a cosmic struggle in human nature between basic morality, the edified character that values humility over pride, and empathy above predation. The base elements of deficient humanity are largely characterized by a sense of entitlement to impose one’s will. Pride may target individuals, hierarchies, paradigms, and the tenets of natural law itself.
Pride stops only when stopped, whether by intervening strength of character or the inevitable consequences defining The Way Things Are, as current events often show.
And current events are a show, all right. One featuring copious amounts of often airborne dung. The collision of thesis and antithesis produce the synthesis of a good historical lesson or a satisfying novel’s payout as does the chemistry producing gunpowder from blending less volatile materials. That said, more than once I have looked at headlines rising out of current events and thought, “The Editress would make me tone this story line down for the sake of plausibility.”
Pride is an epidemic in today’s society, and doesn’t give two morning grunts about wisdom, much less about faith. Pride drowns out the lessons of past lives in a cacophony of self-congratulatory accolades, and where wisdom watches and listens carefully, hubris wishes to speak instead. It’s driven by the need to be heard and obeyed, a weakness manifesting in insatiable control issues. Pride can find its own god in the nearest mirror. People stricken with pride, as invariably are my antagonists, cause most of the problems in the world.
The prideful couldn’t conjure faith if they tried. It is a worse situation than ignorance. They have been abandoned to themselves, and the faith not of ourselves preserving us is denied them. They been left to their own minds, and may God some day have mercy on their souls as He has on ours.
Where we have faith, hope, and love, they have baiting, dross, and hubris. They troll while we attempt to edify. We build, and they burn. We are mindful of eternity, and they struggle on against deception screaming that the physical plane and our present lives are all that is.
We’ve been told otherwise, and so have they. By the grace of God we listened, and that makes all the difference in eternity.
The current political climate is one giving the political Left all the rope it need to hang itself, and that scaffold is rising like an ideological Tower of Babel. More of their own number than ever are walking away, and the defections will render unsustainable any moral authority by which they hope to operate. The non-Western world, China, Russia, Persia, and Islam, have long political memories, unlike the West and the U.S. in particular. They are watching, with an interest that should make your blood run cold, as our political extremists debase themselves drunk with perceived power. Their buzz is actually death throes from the political establishment.
“You’re wrong. They’re stronger than ever.” I was told that in an online forum by a hopeless contrarian who couldn’t force himself to absorb the points I’m trying to bring across now.
Hopelessness is another lie of the enemy. You know who was strong in 1939? Hitler. Six years later, his thousand-year Reich has been flattened by the Hammer of God for daring to strike the Almighty’s chosen people.
Pride did that. Pride will wreak similar havoc on overreach and arrogance wherever it overtakes the assumptive and unmindful. These ash layers of history don’t striate themselves, and today Adolf Hitler’s remains nourish the base soil of some parking lot in Berlin.
Overreach is repulsive, because no one likes a loser. And the more extreme one’s folly, the greater number will see what’s coming prior to the victim of his own self-wrought circumstances.
The appreciation of freedom, as a result, is breaking out like a virus. Winter gives way to spring as a chill waiting to abate. The sun is on its way.
I try to not make these columns a sermon, but without testimony the soul of a believer is barren. Without something to say, fiction is flat and uninteresting as distilled water. Without a spiritual journey, a character in fiction or real life is less embraceable than otherwise would be.
Life gives one the choice between hope and fear, and the delivery from fear is the reason Christ appeared in our own historical epoch to be documented by the very ones to whom he was delivered to be crucified in our place. Hope in any circumstance arises just as He did if we remember this.
A century ago, people my age had been born during the Civil War, and had lived the time of westward expansion that followed to the first Great War prideful, as opposed to rational, nationalism wrought. They were, as we are now, strung between two times, trying to piece together the mysteries of how men and nations ought to order the world.
Pride and faith were in conflict then as well. Some would listen and others race ahead in blind ambition. These things have all happened before.
The basis of character is the realization that Emmanuel—God With Us—is an ongoing commitment on His part. We are not alone in this unless we close that door ourselves. The great unseen host of witnesses on our every side are whispering their advice as loudly as allowed while He tarries, not willing that any of us should be lost.
Be one of those who ‘ll absorb the lessons to be had in the last chapter. You’ll find, as often happened to me, that in fact the story doesn’t end there at all.
Choose to love, -DA
In production news, the Editress continues progress, now one-eighth through her final editing in Ritter’s sixth and concluding novel, and one marking his return to present-day Bosnia in ‘Sister’s Shadow.’ Look for it at the end of summer, should God be willing for us to see a fifteenth title through.