Tag Archives: faith

Season of the Witch

Ah, October. Fall arrives, and the lingering vestiges of summer in September give way to the undeniable in the change of weather and turning of leaves. Pumpkin spice suddenly is unavoidable, and then the pumpkins themselves.

Before long, the Halloween enthusiasts are busy in their merriment. November, past that point, really can’t get here soon enough for me.

It’s difficult to explain why I despise Halloween without sounding like a killjoy. Possibly the macabre and occult don’t register on those not given to implications, but here I am, being hit in the face by a season where all the messages of the enemy are on full display to the delight of the oblivious. All I see in the ensuing doctrinal mayhem is faith trying to pull souls out of the riptide of humanity sweeping them toward perdition.

I freaking hate Halloween.

It wasn’t always like that. I was a kid once, though I don’t remember any favorite costume … outside of those plastic face masks that impeded visibility and respiration while feeling like a clammy eggshell plastered to your face. It was always great fun to go out and extort various forms of processed sugar from willing and unwilling neighbors.

Being kind of a jerk of a kid tutored by bigger and older jerks—as I was—Halloween evolved into an excuse to commit minor vandalism for the joy of overreaction such delinquency can evoke.

I blame my upbringing, company at the time, and the sparse distribution of law enforcement in rural South Dakota communities. Doing so provides a ready excuse to ignore some of my more obviously innate tendencies to follow the lesser angels of my nature, you see. Those escapades are another story, regardless of any statutes of limitation that may or may not have been exceeded by now.

I failed to absorb a vital precept until after the process of maturing delivered me through a number of idiotic incidents, any of which might have converted me to a statistic. Death’s bait is adventure.

Flirtation with the macabre and the occult is spiritual adventurism. What for the unwary appears to be dress-up and make-believe is, in the eyes of the enemy, affiliative. Meanwhile, in the wings of this occult high holiday are those who demonstrate a total commitment to his camp in spiritually degrading and horrid acts for a variation of the same thrill I felt soaping windows and … oops, there’s that potential statute of limitations thing again.

I largely outgrew my rebellion. Some souls will not.

Over time, I grew to see faithful living as a guardrail at the edge of a steep drop-off. What Works and What Kills are staples in the storehouse of wisdom, and too often the harvest of lessons bitter enough to be remembered long after the fact.

God, The Craftsman, Yahweh, the great I Am, as He said, Is above all. So is his enemy, that poisonous fruit out of the first elements of Creation, who was given the same choices inherent in the gift of free will. For the sake of those who love, He endures the loss of those who will not. The nature of love as a choice imposes by implication its antithesis.

The same spirit of rebellion and reckless abandon is tainting society in ever more obvious ways. Every day is becoming Halloween in the form of self-indulgent personal definitions, as Those Who Will Not choose the temporary attire of a preferred costume over their natural state.

The costume wearers among us can’t opt out of their place in the natural order, nor can they wish an alternate reality into being. They can only pretend until Creation’s codex of natural law imposes itself at whatever time the divine clock strikes twelve at their own personal midnight.

Then the ball is over, and it’s time to go home … or elsewhere.

Choose to love, -DA

*****

In production news, primary editing continues on Novel12/Boone6 Ghosts of the Republic, featuring Boone, Ritter, Deb Vosse, Blade Altsoba, and others. She Who Must Be Obeyed is approximately 40% through her tasks on a schedule not allowing a projected publication date quite yet. Once we get closer, you will , of course, be some of the first to hear the Rohirrim-level trumpeting.

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Content

How did you pronounce the title of this blog post? Due to the linguistic heritage of the English language you could have thought CON·tent, as in substance, or con·TENT, to be described as residing in an essentially satisfied state.

Is it an accident the same word, with two different meanings, could have those intricately related? Our needs and wants lead us toward an imagined state of satisfaction. The search for true contentment drives all advertising, ideology, and psychology. Theological premises good, bad, and evil leverage the promise to shape and direct the human soul each to their own ends.

We want to be satisfied. But how?

One eats, and eventually is full if well fed. Problem solved. How does one salve a wounded spirit, or a guilty conscience, or a traumatic memory?

Pharmacy is willing to present its answers. Personally, I have been betrayed by too many people on meds for whom I cared and with whom I merely associated to trust a prescription with the solution to deeper issues. Drugs might calm the mind, but it seems they also mute the conscience. Sometimes, as news stories of another psychotic break too often feature, the results can be horrifying.

“How could someone do that?” people ask. “Meds,” I whisper to myself.

Dissatisfaction is the result of missing something in what we think, feel, or sense. In one way or another, one may call that CON·tent. Cultivating substance in our lives and work leads to earned satisfaction in the same way diligent effort produces the harvest of a garden. But the totality of our existence encompasses more than just the physical.

Neglected, our spirits desiccate like an untended plot of vegetables. If nothing is there, the shell of our empty core collapses in on itself. It shows in what we think, how we live, and in the results we try to impose on a world we don’t really understand. Passion is no substitute for wisdom, as one ridiculous display of futility after another proves throughout the secular world.

Recently, the Editress and I, inveterate rummagers of bargain movie bins that we are, discovered a film featuring an actress we have in the past enjoyed. Neither her name nor the title is important. Art is what it is, and I’m sure the people producing this DVD felt it said just what they wanted.

But oh, did that movie suck.

Exhibiting the current trend to exclude white males from the cast was an early-warning sign. The evident millennial angst permeating the rest of the presentation settled into a uninspiring scenario in which nothing resolved, no challenge was truly overcome, and no premise outside of existential hopelessness emerged. Hollywood today. Meh.

She wanted to donate the CD to a thrift shop. I shredded it instead so no one else would be subjected to viewing that particular copy of the thing.

Like I said, it sucked, and I am sometimes a harsh critic.

Faith is the substance of the spirit. It connects us to the essential motivation of our Creator in setting this universe in motion. Without it, we are adrift like objects in space waiting for the gravitation of some greater mass to pull us in to a destination unknown. Meanwhile, we spin in a gyroscope of dissatisfaction.

I don’t make movies. I write. Regardless that my novels would make excellent films, I doubt the spirit required exists in the Hollywood of today. The same malaise can be evident in writing also, of course. One sees it throughout a novel in which the spiritual composition of the characters is ignored. Try as the author might, lacking that essential CON·tent, the presentation falls flat. There should have been something more, but neither the character nor his author ever came to the realization. It is the vitality of language and imagination versus the flat taste of a previously carbonated beverage translated into the written word … or the dialogue in a bad movie.

Our lives are novels, written in days instead of words. As Benjamin Franklin perceived, we each have our Author and Finisher. We have a part to play in determining whether we are notes in its crescendo or elements to be weeded out of a plot hole that is going nowhere, to be crushed and discarded like a page never again seeing the light of day.

Be Real Before It Gets Real. It’s a hashtag I use on social media. Those who know me well enough have seen in it the acronym REAL: Realize your need, Explore for truth, Accept your Creator’s gift of reconciliation, and afterward Live what you believe.

Welling up inside you will be spiritual substance: CON·tent. It will make for a satisfying story. You have His promise.

Choose to love, -DA

*****

In production news, there is some! The Editress has finished her timeline and fact-checking review of Novel12/Boone6 Ghosts of the Republic, featuring, for reasons that will be evident, a heavy assist from Daniel Sean Ritter.

Moving on to the heavy lifting of production editing began this afternoon. Unlike previous outings, the predictable pace of She Who Must Be Obeyed is skewed by our present situation, and whether this results in an early or later completion and publishing depends on circumstances beyond our control. I hope to get the title out in the fourth quarter. As in all things … we’ll see, won’t we?

A Single Step

I opened the lead title of Boone’s File, Absinthe and Chocolate, with a tribute to the strong women characters from my own story. The author’s own is inscribed first, of course. Before one writes, one must live, or nothing worthwhile translates to the written word. Eventually, an augmenting Muse arrives, mine bringing with her the magic playing out through the mind of a writer; it’s a spell passing through a keyboard and various means to eventually reside within each soul of his or her audience.

The Muse. I picture mine as sort of a Goth Tinker Bell—one with substance abuse issues—her legs clad in torn black fishnet and seldom far from her Turkish cigarettes and bottle of cheap whiskey. She shows up unannounced from another trip to Amsterdam, and around the flick of a Zippo lighter, announces, “Hey. Let’s write a [censored] story.”

Once she leaves again, thankfully I’m then able to turn our work over to her polar opposite.

I’ve been blessed to be the companion of the Editress for a month shy of thirty-seven years and her husband for a third of a century. She who edits my work and my life makes out of both what always should have been, and fully half of the hours of labor producing a Dale Amidei novel are hers.

I wish I could tell you more of the consummately professional career that was her choice from the earliest days I knew her, but she is specialized enough that to do so would necessarily also tell you who she is. Being your intentions might be less than loving, the possibility your attitude toward my faith and my politics is held as ideologically actionable, and considering that to enable the means of your inadvertent destruction would not constitute a charitable act, I continue to maintain my own privacy and hers. Suffice it to say there are no soft targets here, and you should consider yourself warned if thinking otherwise.

Those who challenge the Editress do not know her. She possesses an ability to suffer fools gladly my own circumstances never allowed to develop. The woman hates spiders with an arachnophobic passion, yet traps them to relocate outside. She looks after the Perimeter felines with the loving-kindness of a mother and the thoroughness of a vet tech, yet I know within her velvet is enough steel to parry and riposte on demand. With skills retained as a diligent conventionalist, she has never been observed to miss a human-sized target in more than three decades of handgun practice.

Seven years ago, I endeavored to cultivate whatever result might come out of a dedicated time to write. The decision followed through on previously sufficient confirmation of a talent I suspected—all through my life—was there. I undertook The Year in the Chair, from which emerged the completion of Jon’s Trilogy, two titles in Sean’s File, and Boone’s first three. Casting about for a reentry point into the Real World (such as it is), I instead found the position that, to date, has been the pinnacle of a thirty-year career path for the woman I love.

We undertook the challenge together. In it, she accomplished her goals better than anyone else could have, and I wrote the remainder of what will be a catalog of fifteen full-length novels … more than Vince Flynn was graced to have completed or Tom Clancy managed as solo efforts. I wrote half again as many as the great Ernest Hemingway, who started me on my own journey as a young man of many years ago. All this, we feel, stands as work intended for us, she and I respectively. It was undertaken at once individually and together.

Our tasks brought us home, and eventually convinced us that now is the time to leave again. For various reasons unseemly displays of bitterness forbid explaining, we won’t be back here. In the interim, though, we have grown rather than diminished.

When she is unhappy, the situation needs to be addressed as my third order of loyalty. We’ve looked at what we have accomplished here, seen that it was good, and recognize it as standing finished. Such allows us the settled decision to leave this place.

Faith, you see, does not walk by sight. Two patron spirits continually contend for our own; one brays from darkness that the search for meaning in meaninglessness is futile, while the other whispers out of light the reminder our perspective is not yet broad enough to fully discern Divine purpose. Everyone you know chooses affiliation with one or the other.

Hope is vital. Life produces it, nourishes its fruit, and thereby uses all power to extend itself through the experience of those who hold it dear. With all wholesome things despised by the spirit of the enemy, hope is a high-value target in the war for souls relentlessly besieged.

Both sides in the battle want our hope, as it is the approach to the keep of our souls. The enemy seeks to destroy while angels whisper their advice to defend, and we ourselves are both the object of contention and the battleground. After more than half a century, I yet find the contest one hell of a thing to watch.

It’s heartening to realize she and I are not yet so old, so settled, so complacent, resigned, or beaten down that the prospect of a new beginning intimidates us into the passive acceptance of unhappiness. We pursue the goal still, out of a sense of duty to the gift of living, and with the intent of making Thomas Jefferson proud of the people to whom he dedicated his famous Declaration.

The author of Ecclesiastes noted the value of contentment, placing it higher than two hands full striving against the wind. Later in that same fourth chapter is the reminder of two being better than one, for one may lift the other up. And again, there follows the verse gracing our wedding long ago: that a cord of three strands is not easily torn apart.

So we’ll head south, to a place people call COMO. There, she promises work on Boone and Ritter’s joint adventure, Ghosts of the Republic, will resume once we establish a new Perimeter. For the first time, the property will be unlet, unmortgaged, and completely ours, as enabled by a third of a century in the mode of living she and I prefer:  well below the means of diligent effort and in mutual support.

More than once during all this time, we suffered the derision of more profligate souls. Those spent freely as money flowed out and in at the same approximate rate. They never realized we were not hoarding, merely delaying gratification. We were saving toward a goal set for us in the realm of the Spirit until, finally, we could afford what we wanted.

We will be using a cultivated reserve to buy something more precious than possessions, investments, or even a place to live. We will, in a week and with God willing, buy our freedom to set out on a new path, just as He did with us when we were first inspired to believe. Whatever follows after, hope says, finally He has taught us to embrace with joy.

Choose to love. Show me. -DA

 

 

 

 

Remembrance

It started on Mother’s Day this year. It is always a time to miss Mom, of course, but amplified now with the seventh anniversary of her death approaching. Memorial Day only added to the emotion of the season. Always in the slow march of time there are more memories gathered of those once here who now have gone ahead, and such is the nature of mortality.

My hair is showing the split between the snow white of Mother’s side of the family and Dad’s dark coloration. According to the Editress, hair color is a personal choice, though her genetics have her locks darker now than when we met. It is difficult to keep track of time when your woman ages like one of Tolkien’s elves; I am reminded, once I’m back in front a mirror, though, that the days are passing. And I keep my hair as it is so I remember.

I’ve written here about my father, but not mentioned Mom. I assume it is because the emotions involved have kept me from doing so, in addition to being someone who values his privacy in the age of social media. What I can tell you is this: my mother did not have an easy life.

Imagine yourself in the snow-swept flatlands of the Dakotas in the 1930s. Your eighth-grade education has ended, and your own mother—my grandmother—makes the decision to walk out on four daughters and four even younger sons, leaving them with their father. Grandmother was a woman whose idea of child-rearing involved making her children sit on a pew in the entryway of their home for most of Sunday, so as not to disturb the cleanliness of a house just put in order for the Sabbath, among other stories best kept in the family.

I have encountered in the course of my life souls who gave me hope for their disposition. Suffice it to say Grandma was not one of them. Mother, regardless, kept the obligations of a child to her parent to the demonically haunted end of that woman’s life.

At sixteen, Mom left home. It was wartime, and there was work to be had in the national effort, first in Chicago and afterward in Washington, D.C. I have the ring my father took to war, engraved inside the band with a reminder that Mother was at home, waiting. She remained a virgin when they married four years later.

Dad lived until she was forty-eight. I remember forty-eight. You are neither young nor old in the years I thought then would count as my best. You are widowed. Two daughters, at times estranged and at needs reconciled, are on their own. You are raising a son who arrived late to the Greatest Generation and a niece adopted after the death of your youngest sister. Times are as difficult as you can imagine, and you cast about for connection … for a place where life can go on. I don’t remember Mother being big on movie-going, but she could quote Scarlett O’Hara: “Tomorrow is another day.”

What strength it is, I realize now, to keep going. To the limits of your strength and sanity, only to make it to another dawn where you may try again. People going through so much survive on the strength of self-preservation. There’s nothing extra for nurturing as in the luxury of better times. Pain is given and received in that place, and everyone is tested in their limits. Some of those are respected by circumstances … at other times life doesn’t care at all how difficult it is. You count victory in each sunrise.

Mother settled into another life eventually, with another soul whose memory gives me less hope than I would care to contemplate. A life followed—marginally better than her start—though through it all she found enough hope in her Catholic faith to see her win.

Mother’s life gave me more hope than I could have imagined through all our dark and painful years together. We reconciled with perhaps a decade left. Mother saw me publish my first novel and tried to read it, though her education left her unable to finish. She had the impression that Jon Anthony was a good boy, trying to better himself, and was proud of my debut title regardless. Her signed paperback was stolen by relatives from Chicago and never returned, and you may look for it on the used book market today. KMA, people.

As the saying goes, it’s not how you start, but where you finish. Mother finished in a third-rate nursing home five miles from where she was born. The Editress and I saw her there, to recover from a recent surgery in her last good days. She had her stroke about the time we walked in our own door after returning to the Perimeter in Texas.

Mother endured her last difficult days as she had all those prior in life, being too strong a woman to die quickly. She knew I had returned from Texas, and was glad, and aside from a single squeeze on my hand a couple days later, it was the last of our interaction. She managed the Lord’s Prayer with a hospice worker a short time later, ready, without a doubt in faith, to move on to the bright and better days awaiting a Christian soul. Now we miss her.

Understand this, young people: life is going to hurt. Pain is on the horizon as part and parcel of the landscape. Those difficult emotions have things to teach you concerning yourself and your place in the natural order. There is a Way Things Are, to which we’re subject and unable to escape in more convenient consensus or comforting delusional thinking. Your obligations to He who produced you are some of those Things.

Listen and learn from the perspective of valid faith gathered beforehand. Sooner is better, believe me, so you’ll end strong, like many have before you. Absent a perspective embracing clarity and appreciating your place in what God is doing, your soul doesn’t have a chance. I’ve seen it go both ways.

Sometime after Mother’s funeral I was in the Big Red Chair G. Gordon Kitty and I often shared. He was gone ahead as well, and I was dreaming. Mother was behind me, with her arms around my shoulders, younger than I had known her in life. I asked her if she still loved me. She answered, “I love you so much.” So hope goes that one day my hair will no longer be gray, that pain will be only a memory of lessons learned, and in the fruition of our Creator’s long work of life, things will be just as He meant for us.

If so blessed, don’t wait for the onset of poignant memories. Appreciate your loved ones now. Start from the top, where love unimagined in its intensity awaits with He who set you on this path of days, and work your way down in faith to the remainder of those who may be waiting. You and they have things to do … and we are all in this together.

Choose to love, -DA

Mere Christianity

The themes of the holiday season, being appreciation in Thanksgiving and joy in celebration of the first Christmas, coincide with weather encouraging long, cozy nights indoors. Such times seem tailor made for books generally and edifying reads in particular, and as an author I hope all of you are indulging yourselves that way.

My November absorption was an overdue study of the 1952 classic by the renowned C.S. Lewis, titled in his devout understatement Mere Christianity. In this work, the masterful Lewis provides wonderful and insightful commentary on the basic tenets of Christian faith held in commonality by those who believe. It is rightly considered an essential read for all of us who realize ourselves to be between Here and There.

Substantive enough that it deserves to be taken on one chapter at a time, with each being followed by contemplation in turn, Lewis assures, convicts, and comforts. Personally, I perceived evident hints of his formative influence on another convincing apologist, Josh McDowell, who like Lewis also started from a base of skepticism.

Those recognizable precepts made clear that this book had influenced my own perspective years previous to my finally engaging the thing. In a sense, C.S. Lewis is another of my literary fathers, and with me, through McDowell, helped produce my catalog of novels. Expressing in fiction the seeds of faith I’ve been allowed to present through the lives of my characters Jon, Sean, and Boone is therefore partially their legacy as well. Such is the work of the Spirit.

Like Lewis, my character Jon Anthony sought to emphasize commonalities of faith rather than spur conflict in outlining divergence. Their respective efforts similarly proceeded from a peaceful nature, the bestowment of which is a core value and benefit of embracing Christianity. Such descends from the essential motivation of our Creator, which is love. Love was born in the mind of God, who then realized his desire for servants and souls with whom He could share the best of all emotions.

Everything else followed. Love, necessarily a choice, has a dependency on free will, the unfortunate application of which gives rise to sin rather than harmony. All things nurturing and charitable proceed from it, and we rightly celebrate those each holiday season and whenever else the proper mindset allows.

Mere Christianity is eminently worthwhile. Regardless of your state of belief you should read it for yourself as a life task and initiative of spiritual edification.

A personal side benefit of digesting the work was an insight as to the nature of truth. Actualities, you see, and particularly those from which Lewis constructs his arguments, are and were always here. Truth, as does the existence of a personal Creator, endures in an essential state of being. Those exist independent of discovery, acceptance, promulgation, or consensus. Truths of the physical plane discovered and undiscovered through science, for instance, are in effect independent of anyone being aware of them. In that way, physical and spiritual laws share an essential commonality. It is in their embrace that we grow our perspective and build a more useful outlook beyond the data set from which we previously proceeded.

It is this aspect of useful truth inviting embrace that led to the Great Commission, and the efforts of Lewis, and afterward McDowell, and then myself. Everything true directs toward sure knowledge of the nature of its Craftsman: the motivating love of the Father, the accommodating forgiveness of the Son, and the unrelenting outreach of the Spirit through whom we commune with Him from this world we know.

As is so eloquently expressed in Mere Christianity, what He does has the goal of successfully delivering us to our Creator. Should one understand nothing else of His Will, that would be enough of a beginning to launch a life lived as it should be. Remember one precept, descending from the apostle Paul’s commendation to the Bereans, who searched Scripture nightly to confirm the things he told them were so: truth fears nothing from inspection.

So it is each holiday season, as in the dawn of another day: a fresh chance to begin appears again. Like truth, the opportunity is always there, waiting to be picked up, held dear, and carried forward. You have our wishes for a Merry Christmas and the best of New Years from everyone here at Single Candle Press.

Choose to love, -DA

*****

Just a reminder that all three of my series—Jon’s Trilogy, Sean’s File, and Boone’s File—now have a free gateway title available through links on the sidebar if one uses an e-reader. Those collections of novels I have connived to support and enhance each other, as each takes place in its own decade of the same literary universe.

Reading material in any form, though, makes a great gift, one with the potential to move forward from then on with the mind it encounters. Should you think enough of my writing to pass it on to another, thank you in advance!

Roads to Rome

Since at least the twelfth century, there has been a saying: “All Roads Lead to Rome.” Generally, this is taken to mean the same outcome may be reached by many methods or ideas. Once, though, it was literal truth.

The Roman network of roads constructed in the days of empire covered 120,000 kilometers from Portugal to Constantinople. They projected the power of the emperor, connected nodes of commerce, and assured Rome’s legions had a straight road to wherever trouble might arise. All roads, indeed, led back to that center of civilization … if such was the direction taken. With one’s course reversed, they all eventually ended as far as possible from it.

But Vae Obscurum isn’t about history, though such is always a consideration. It is about thinking. Analogous to the directions available to the Roman pilgrim, two modes of philosophical thought beckon the intellectual traveler: extension and reduction. Toward Rome, representing clarity, and away into the wilderness of false premises diffusing into irrelevance.

There are a vastly greater number of ways to be wrong than right. This is one reason why, for the sake of example, the LGBT∞ pantheon of delusions will never—short of divine intervention—cease adding its addendum letters. Philosophy seems too often concerned with muddying rather than clarifying thought, and theology likewise has its share of overblown and under-supported doctrines (speaking of Rome). Such in the nature of human ego, fed by needs to make oneself more than might be objectively justified, and to build sustaining institutions and hierarchies to afterward enjoy the advantage or other comforts they generate.

My deep-thinking character Jon Anthony, in Killing Doctor Jon, called his intellectual antithesis

“‘reduction to essence,’ where we stop believing and start seeing. The valid precepts of all the great religions are found there … because things real have always been real, and are just as they will always remain.” (KDJ, 2013)

Another great philosopher, Winnie the Pooh, opined that it is always best to begin at the beginning. Christopher Robin’s friend intuited truth at a primal level, and so realized a truism of logic: a false premise cannot be successfully extended. To correct child paradigms, one must start fresh from a justified foundation of thought. A reliable frame of reference reflects clarity and aligns with the state of actuality from which all natural endurance draws vitality.

Another of my characters, Boone’s mentor and Chinese pastor Lin Shun Lun, noted in his likewise naturalistic orientation the tripartite nature in much of God’s creation:

“We live in the bounds of our material existence, yet we sense, as Lao did, something more. Those, as so many things do upon reflection, often divide themselves into threes: Father, Son, and Spirit … beginning, middle and ending … Heaven, Earth and Man.” (The Bonus Pool, 2015)

Applying Jon’s approach of simplifying rather than extending makes for a more penetrating message, which in the way matters are considered here ought to be the focus of Christian outreach. Taken to the beginning, one arrives at the point of origin, the Creator, manifesting Himself as He sees fit and to our eyes as the Father, representing his essential unity and love. He also appears as the Son, to embody His grace and represent the creative force of the Right Hand of the Craftsman. His ministry of the Spirit resides in divine communication and inspiration that projects His will into the world among those who will listen and live what they believe.

Sets of three become one and accumulate into work, and works into a portfolio, and somewhere beyond into the sum total of what He is doing in a plan held close and beyond our sight. Faith is the window into that far green country Professor Tolkien envisioned.

What do we need to know? Taken back to essence as Jon would approve, divine love, saving grace, and the sufficiency of Christ comprise the essential tripartite of the Christian faith. One or another duty follows from these three concepts, and life is found along whichever occupies our minds at any given moment. These are real, and may be successfully extended so long as we do not lose line of sight to our home. Doing so, we can never truly become lost.

Begin with clarity, and end with success. Be R.E.A.L. before it gets real:

Realize your need
Explore for truth
Accept God’s gift of forgiveness
Live what you believe

You will find other concepts along the way worth holding onto. Remember that in most endeavors, methodology is everything. Deliberating is no exception.

Choose to love, -DA

*****

In production news, Boone’s sixth title and one split with Daniel Sean Ritter, Ghosts of the Republic, is currently undergoing Content Edit. The process is not easily forecast due to the nature of the Editress’s work. GOTR will, God willing, appear sometime next year depending on what else He sets us toward doing in the meantime.

HBD, America

Pop. There’s a reason we celebrate this country’s Declaration of Independence with fireworks. Doing so serves to remind that independence, ironically enough, has a continual dependency on being enforced by those on whom it is bestowed.

Many firecrackers, bottle rockets and other pyrotechnics are charged with a smaller granulation of the same sort of black powder that filled the horns of minutemen. If they were particularly well equipped, the same fine FFFg from a miniature horn might have primed their flintlock muskets, rifles, and pistols. Those discharges sending your cat under the bed are a microcosm of history repeating itself, as it will always.

Pop. Pop-pop. Men lined up at the Concord, Massachusetts North Bridge because they’d had their fill of the assumptive imposition of authority by other men. It was a time given to the long contemplation of ideas and the study of consequences exhibited in natural law, and in those ruminations arrived a realization:  folk, by their nature, are free.

Society has organized itself in various ways since civilization began. Uneven distribution of advantage, for most of history, led to those who have it and those who serve them. Life, too has its dependencies, and when ambition combines with the compulsion to direct the lives of others it seeks to control the distribution of necessities and restrict the means of resistance. The result of controls and restrictions imposed rather than adopted in consensus is tyranny.

Bad ideas are often institutionalized in the attempt to legitimize an indefensible precept, or to justify those arrangements which, for a time at least, prevent society from descending into chaos. So evolved the supposedly divine right of kings. Such led to inherited leadership, good or bad, and the tradition of being protected by those who, in turn, most enjoyed advantage. This particular vision of governance—that of nobles by subjects—endured for centuries, established colonies in foreign lands, and built empires.

Pop. People colonizing a new continent, folk who had to build for themselves, and protect themselves, and provide for themselves shared their challenges with others having identical attribute requirements for survival. They prospered, and their prosperity led to easement in the general standard of living. After some decades an era of enlightenment, fed by newly discovered time to read and think, had arrived.

They began to watch, and learn, and discern the natural rules of faithful living. Knowing as they did the will of God revealed in Scripture, they nurtured in long-held traditions whose utility was the preservation of reliable conventions through time rather than a single lifespan. Premises tested for soundness and then extended on the basis of merit rather than whim began to transmit from one mind to another through the printing press. Some of those questioned the dominant paradigm of monarchy.

Pop-pop. Men realized that just power derives from the consent of the governed. They perceived that souls kindled by their Creator were on equal footing at their appearance, each with the same moral responsibilities to each other and the God who created them, and with an identical duty to assert those in times when overly presumptive authority thought otherwise.

Pop. One shot was heard around the world, and the diametric opposition of ideas formed camps as patriots lit brushfires of freedom in the minds of their peers against the status quo. Ideological Americanism began to spread, fueled by the light of liberties promised to those who adopted morally upright and responsible living … the only sort that endures. In time, the Founders declared their right to govern themselves as they saw fit, and the ideology of America manifested in a new nation. Its citizens had to assert its independence against those who thought otherwise lest their freedom again degrade to subjection, and free folk took up a fight that will never end.

God’s enemy whispers egotism and self-aggrandizing false premises into the ears of those who’ve not guarded their minds, and therefore their souls, yet today. The voice of the enemy is like water. It seeps, then puddles, stagnates, and finally breaks out into a flood of evil when spiritual dams let loose. We are seeing this happen now, in the acting out of those lacking any clear vision of how to preserve themselves, their freedoms, or anything else.

Evil has not left us, for the same reason we exercise by lifting weights. God’s voice is in the arena as well, fortifying those who listen and lending the strength to stand upright in any flood. Those who clearly perceive their nature and that of their Creator will value gifts descending from Him over offerings of a world tempting us away with false premise and promise.

People must learn the same lessons as their forebears from time to time until reliable paradigms again solidify. To be free of each other, we must first be freed of sin beyond our own means, and only faith in a loving Creator leads to the lifting of that yoke through His grace. Freedom in all realms comes by listening, and studying, and discerning truths and solid ideas from those fatally flawed.

One may know when enlightenment arrives. It pops.

Happy Birthday, America. Choose to love. -DA

*****

In production news, Boone’s fifth adventure, A Garden in Russia, is nearing the three-quarters mark in production editing and on schedule to appear in September, God willing. If you’ve not started in on the titles of Boone’s File, there is no better time to catch up than before an epic drops.