by baldilocks

Red Pill–sort of

Since making a public New Year’s Resolution to minimize my time on Facebook and Twitter in order to finish my second novel, Arlen’s Harem, by February 1st, I’ve had minimize my time online in general.

The result is that I don’t really know what’s going on in the news right now, and it feels kind of good–I’m old enough to recall when the news cycle was a couple of weeks, rather than a couple of minutes.

Generally, I take two days off per week from the Internet Race-to-Comment, anyway, and when I come back, I have to spend an hour or two getting back in the loop. Three days of separation from the news-cycle fix nearly puts a news junkie in Low Information Voter (LIV) territory. But now, I don’t wonder why LIVs often seem calmer and happier: they don’t know that the sky is falling and, sometimes, it better not to know. Ignorance, bliss, you know.

The commentary race often gets bloggers in trouble anyway—if one is the slightest bit concerned about accuracy and about being original. That last concern is why I don’t comment on some topics and events—I have nothing new to say about them.

Staying away from shorter communications also has a positive effect on my ability to build a narrative. When I composed the bulk of Tale of the Tigers, I spent much of my non-typing work on it spinning yarns in my mind and connecting them to other parts of the novel. A handy, pre-smartphone tool was an mp3 player in which I could speak my story ideas without writing them down or having to remember them. (I made the grievous mistake of thinking through a story without out writing it down or recording it once…and only once.)

I’ve been semi-newsfree since about the 31st. Obviously, I’m going to have to watch the news a bit in order to post here and at my own blog. But, it feels good to know that I can still spit out 300 or 30K words without being fed by the Matrix.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel tentatively titled Arlen’s Harem, will be done on February 1, 2017! Follow her on Twitter.

Please contribute to Juliette’s JOB:  Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism!

baldilocks

Pillar of Fire

Talking about the nature of God is always good

by baldilocks

The Shack, a novel by William P. Young, is being made into a movie and it isn’t surprising that many Christians are up in arms about it. I read the book a few years back and found it fascinating, but I missed out on the controversy that came with it when it was first published in 2007.

At issue is Young’s characterization of the Holy Trinity, seen through the eyes of the story’s main character, who on the four-year anniversary of his daughter’s brutal killing is mysteriously invited by someone named “Papa” — his wife’s affectionate name for God — to the abandoned shack in the Oregon woods where the girl died.

He goes, reluctant and angry, unsure if he’ll be met by his daughter’s murderer.

Instead, he finds this: a Middle Eastern, Jewish carpenter named Jesus; the Holy Spirit embodied in a wispy Asian woman who loves to garden and God (played by “The Help” star Octavia Spencer) as the very opposite of the Gandalf-like grandpa figure modern society is used to seeing.

This depiction — God as a woman despite its gender-less designation [sic] in the Bible — has some critics incensed.

(Emphasis mine.)

Does anyone remember how God appeared to the ancient Israelites in Exodus 13:21?

By day the LORD went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night.

And in Psalm 91:4, God appears to take on the characteristics of an avian.

[The Most High] shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. 

Appearance, solid existence, and what each of those concepts mean seem to be the key issue when it comes to this controversy, but the problem is much more simple than that.

Even many Christians cannot not quite wrap their minds around the sovereignty of God and, therefore, around His omnipotence. He can appear as a cloud, a pillar of fire, or as a female member of the species He created. And, in this context, we might consider one of the names of God: El Shaddai.

El is another name that is translated as “God” and can be used in conjunction with other words to designate various aspects of God’s character. Another word much like Shaddai, and from which many believe it derived, is shad meaning “breast” in Hebrew (some other scholars believe that the name is derived from an Akkadian word Šadu, meaning “mountain,” suggesting strength and power). This refers to God completely nourishing, satisfying, and supplying His people with all their needs as a mother would her child. Connected with the word for God, El, this denotes a God who freely gives nourishment and blessing, He is our sustainer.

(Emphasis mine.) This does not mean that God is a woman.

Omnipotence and sovereignty–much less all the other attributes of God listed in the Bible–are hard pills to swallow, even for some of us four-dimensional beings who acknowledge that there is a whole aspect of reality that, because of our human limitations, is nearly inconceivable and, usually, imperceptible.

There is another simple problem with criticism of the novel; Young never says or intimates through the plot of the novel that God the father is a black woman or that the Holy Spirit is an Asian woman. In fact, he goes out of his way to demonstrate the opposite by contrasting “their”[i] nature with that of Jeshua, who, in the novel and the movie, both appears as and is a Middle Eastern human male.

Like any good novelist, Young gives his audience credit for being able to figure this out by reading the book instead of taking what other say about it as…ahem…gospel truth.

Simple. And fundamental. I plan on seeing this movie.

Meanwhile, have a Merry Christmas and a Happy Hanukkah!

[i] As a human being with attendant limitations, I am content with not being able to entirely understand the concept of God’s triunity.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel will be done one day soon! Follow her on Twitter.

Please contribute to Juliette’s JOB:  Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism!

baldilocks

by baldilocks

Too much sorrow in the world. I want to take a break from it…at least today.

I won’t be grilling this weekend for three reasons: 1) I live in an apartment, 2) I lost my grill and smoker, and 3) my stove is still not connected to the gas source in my apartment.

A few months back, however, I bought an electric burner and replaced my lost crockpot. So I’m finding new ways to cook entrées using that method. They come out pretty good if I follow directions. Plus, it’s impossible to overcook anything with a crockpot—unless you fall asleep and don’t hear the pot’s alarm. And, usually, the pleasant aroma will wake me up anyway.

Plan for Monday: chili. Might have to buy ready-made cornbread.

I’m saving up my pennies for new pots and pans. Especially lamented from my storage loss are three cast-iron skillets which belonged to my matrilineal great-grandmother. Replacing those is a longer-term goal.

Coffee Mugs
Rescued these. How I drink my coffee most mornings.

I was fortunate enough to retrieve my great-aunt’s china and some of the glassware—though not all the latter.

Other musings:

At the end of July, I will end my relationship with my small POD publisher who provides the gateway to get copies of my novel printed and gets them to Amazon and other booksellers. I have no complaints about the publisher, but it’s an economic decision; I can do it easier without the middle-man. Having greater control over my work is a significant issue as well.

So, until the 31st, I have a goal of selling one autographed paperback copy per day of Tale of Tigers: Love is Not Game. (Relax, guys. It isn’t a romance novel.) Be advised, in order to get it autographed, you have to buy it from my blog and not through Amazon.  Go here and click on the book cover on the left.

Meanwhile, I continue to piece together, rethink and rewrite my new novel. Interesting factor: I found a number of old writings—up to 30 years in age—and am copying them to my laptop. About half of it is crap, but, with the other half, I’ve been surprised at how many topics I wrote about in my twenties which I developed and posted about on my blog decades later.

Tuesday, I will return to chronicling the End of the World. Maybe.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel will be done in 2016. Follow her on Twitter.

Please contribute to Juliette’s JOB:  Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!baldilocks

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism—->>>>

by baldilocks

Yes, I know that I have been saying that my new novel would be ready this year. Probably not, but I have been working on it and I just want to remind readers that it exists, still. 

******

“So, your Italian side is in effect today, I see,” said Cordelia.

“Yeah. Next week, when my black side is talking to me, Deanna and I are going to head up to the new soul food restaurant that’s by the apartment.”

“Soul food in Fullerton? That should be interesting. Make sure to bring me a plate.”

“That’s what Deanna said about this place when I said what I was doing tonight. All you two think about is food!”

“Well, that’s not all we’re thinking about,” she grinned. Continue reading “Novel Excerpt: Arlen’s Harem”