The Last Crusade: Letting God Work Through You

I have a confession to make, readers. A year ago at this time and before that, I was not walking the faith in the way I should. Sure, I believed that Jesus Christ rose from the dead to forgive our sins, but I compartmentalized my faith into a “something we do on Sunday” and did not consider God every day. I didn’t pray every day. I didn’t read scripture every day. I was like the person who is trying to lose weight but eats junk food every meal but one protein shake and won’t do anything else. But Christ said “You must serve the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and with all your mind.” (Matt 22:37). He didn’t say to make it a once a week thing.

It sounds pretty daunting to do. But it’s actually very easy. The Bible has a running motif: “Do not be afraid.” It’s said over and over in awesome, divine instances, but it’s also commanded to the church in our day to day lives not to be anxious or afraid. And often times, we do let the fear that society will reject us dictate our walk with the Lord. It results in casting our faith in the shadow of our lives rather than making it something central and bright.

The way to change that is a very simple thing indeed: 1. Listen. 2. Let Him work.

As much as that is something so small, we all, myself included, think of ways to evade both of these things. “But I’m so busy today…” is an easy one. “But what will people think of me…” is another. I struggled with the latter, a compulsion to have everyone like me that pushed me into shyness about what proclaiming what is right. Most knew that I called myself a Christian, but most also couldn’t see me doing anything different than they were doing. It was very easy to fall into that lull, and it still is. It, like almost everything else we’re supposed to do, requires vigilance and daily work/prayer.

The incredible part, is that God plants the seeds and is here to help us grow. Once you see the beautiful interconnectedness of God’s plan, the way that this universe fits together like a puzzle, the vast intricacies of everything he designed, it’s impossible to stop. And that simple observing is enough to change you and me.

I reflected on the last year in my life, and I saw a big change. One that God put in the works for a long, long time, but I failed to see.

God has long called me to witness to the entertainment community, especially in the Science Fiction and Fantasy fields. This industry is full of pure worldly vapidity, and full of not only a disinterest in the divine, but a flat-out disdain for God and Jesus Christ that is painful to see. It’s a very scary place, and the prospect of being shunned/rejected is very real. If you just scroll back through some of my comments, you’ll see that there’s plenty of folk who want to make sure that rejection stings as much as possible. It’s pretty awful and painful at times to get that treatment, especially from people who I revered and respected as heroes. I won’t sugarcoat it and say that’s not there.

So naturally the first thing I did was ignore it. God was in the back of my head for years telling me to do something. I wasn’t sure what it was. I thought perhaps I was supposed to write an allegorical Christian fiction, or something more straightforward… and even that I put off. For years I said next to nothing, letting myself be a quiet Christian who fits in with the world.

And what happened? The world rejected me anyway. I wasn’t making much headway. Even though I had a book contract and was working with some big-name industry insiders on a pretty well-known property, people didn’t come to read. God did not bless that course of action in the least, because it was a worldly goal with a worldly end. I was ignoring my calling through all of that. Because I was afraid. Because I wanted acceptance.

Around that time (last summer), God was planting seeds within me and I didn’t even know it. I’m not sure what caused me to start reading Vox Day or reach out to him, but as I look back, I see that God moved in that. I wrote Vox a message, concerned about something that was going on in the church, as I observed that the messaging, the work being done, was moving toward a focus on pleasing the world and being accepted here, rather than following Christ no matter what it took. It’s ironic that I saw this in the church and not in myself, but it’s just another way that God connects stories and builds his vision. Vox wrote back with sound advice, blogged about the church and being vigilant in faith, and though I filed that away to some extent, it did one important thing: got me thinking about God’s will more often.

It spiraled from there, and it wasn’t any of my doing. When times got tough within the worldly side of science fiction, Vox was there again, and gave me a voice, a very loud one through his blog which I’m thankful for to this day. Having that voice, taking the steps to not be afraid paved the way for me to be able to speak about God and Christ in an open manner. To shout His praises from the rooftops and have no fear.  The connection is a small one, a kernel of concern about the church, leading me to a person (if you look at the Bible, almost every story is God leading those who follow him to people, and connecting his people and the Body of Christ so we can do great things together), that on the surface didn’t seem like anything other than an industry contact. It was a whole lot more.

Because of that, I met up with Superversive Press. Again, little things, but this group is one that talks about Christ regularly, listens and prays for each other, it’s an edifying group online that cares and will hold each other accountable when we’re stumbling. It’s about the biggest blessing ever. Through them, I met my friend L. Jagi Lamplighter-Wright, who probably will be embarrassed to hear this, but she, along with some of the blogs by her husband, has been the primary driving factor in encouraging me in my faith and speaking out about it.

Now the cool little way God worked again? Jagi helped me edit my piece for Vox when I originally spoke out. In fact, that’s how I met her. She was compelled to do the little help with this, even not knowing me, probably without even knowing why or what it would lead to. He connected us all in very small ways, and that led me to finding and reading The Last Crusade blogs, which led me to a renewed spiritual enthusiasm.

All of this stuff was not my doing! It was other people working in the faith who just sprinkled their impact on me. If you ask both Jagi and Vox, they’ll tell you that it wasn’t much of their time or thoughts for this matter, but they were happy to lift a brother up. God compels them to work in the way they work as well. All caused at the onset by God telling me to be concerned about the church, which led Him to showing me that concern needed to start inside me to make a change.

Little things. All connected. It just takes opening our eyes to see it. And we won’t even see it at all unless we 1. Listen. 2. Let Him work. Pray. That little inkling telling you to walk the path is God letting you know what’s right for His plan. Don’t be afraid. You’re not alone. He’s always with you.

And that’s the good news, brothers and sisters. When you do reach out and find out what God wants you to do, and start doing it, He WILL bless you in ways that you couldn’t have imagined. The moment I started down this path, the moment I started putting Him first above all else, my career in this field changed. Sure, I had the shunning and I get the name calling by some, but that doesn’t matter in the least. God’s blessed me with tremendous support from far more of His people who care, who want to see me grow in the faith, who want to grow in the faith themselves. We build each other up and it only compounds from there. Look at what He did with just 12 followers, after all. He’s instilled far more than 12 into my life since this time.

I wouldn’t change a thing. I don’t have any regrets in dedicating more of my time, more of my energy, more of my prayers and more of my life to Him. It fills me with great joy every day and keeps me going when times are tough. It’s amazing grace, for real.

He’ll do the same for you. All of your troubles, all of your pain, lift it up to Him. God wants to help you. There’s nothing more that I’d love than to share this journey with you.

If you’re reading this for the first time and haven’t encountered Christ. It’s amazing what he did, far more so than my little story of receiving his blessings. God came down to earth, lived the only perfect life in existence, and sacrificed himself at our hands, using his own blood and pain to wash away all of our sins and evils. The amazing part of it all is that he rose from the dead three days later, and came back to proclaim the good news to all of us. Here’s here for us, and He’s listening.

If you want to know more, if you want prayer, if you want friendship, I’m not just here to blog. I want to help you like the others helped me. You can leave a comment, I can get your email off of that. Or find me on social media and I’m happy to talk more about this. We can change the world together and it starts with a prayer.

Mega-Corporate Fascists Target Independent Content Creator

Earlier today, YouTube, subsidiary of the monopolisitc mega-corporate Google, Inc., removed a video by independent artist and political analyst Bre Faucheux, flagging it for “content.”

Bre’s content does not have any violence, no sex, nothing that would be considered over the line, nothing rated R to it. However, she has a political opinion that is unpopular with the hyper-SJW fascists that make up the Silicon Valley elite.  Someone reported it to Google, and Google abused its monopolistic power to shut down an independent voice that disagrees with them. They are the only platform for video content of this sort, and it is a pure abuse of power, it is pure evil. It is the way the publishing industry treats anyone with a different view. It’s the way that hedonistic Hollywood does as well. These monopolistic institutions believe they can get away with anything, and they’re starting to push the envelope even further.  We have to stand up to this kind of thing or it’s over, and the only way we can do so is to make sure that everyone is talking about people like Bre: brave artists who will not be silenced by the corporate hatemongers who wish to take away our livelihoods and our identities, and to make us slaves to their brand and their brand of thinking.

Right now, her youtube channel has been made private as she’s being targeted by the multi-billion dollar company. But she has other avenues to find her.

She is on Twitter:  @Bre_Faucheux 

Gab.ai: https://gab.ai/Bre_Faucheux

Bre has an upcoming that can be found here, bookmark it:

http://27crowsradio.com

And you can support her fantasy writing here:

https://www.amazon.com/Bre-Faucheux/e/B00ET4CQAK

Change starts with supporting the brave artists who stand up to this kind of nonsense. Help Bre and change the world!

Retro Review: Star Wars: The Last Command by Timothy Zahn

Earlier this year I was pretty excited to find that Timothy Zahn had a new Thrawn novel out. The original trilogy was something I found exciting in my youth, and I was eager for more with this character, which they’ve actually done a great job of incoroporating into the Rebels tv show as well.  It’d also been more than 20 years since I read the original books, so I wanted to check them out and see if they held up to the test of time first. You can see my reviews of Heir to the Empire and Dark Force Rising to see what I thought so far.

The Last Command didn’t let down. It opened up in some nice battle that drew me right back in to the book. At this point, pages 50-125 perhaps, I think it dragged a little compared to the rest of the series. It fell into the standard trap I see in some books of “oh this needs to be a standalone book, so we’ll give you the lay of hte land” with a lot of dialogue really geared toward telling us how much Thrawn was some strategic wizard and how dangerous he is, which we already knew.

However once it got past that, this book flew. I couldn’t put it down for a moment. The development of Mara Jade was beautiful, and I would say that actually the character that ended up iwth the most development, and is most underrated from the series is Captain Pellaeon. His arc of training from Thrawn is really fabulous. It’s amazing that Zahn not only managed to create such a great villain in Thrawn but a sidekick villain I care to read more about. Expert writing on a level beyond almost everything else, tie in or not, ever written.

In a book like this it takes a lot to make you care about characters who aren’t Luke, Han, Leia, as we all come in for further adventures of our great heroes, but Zahn’s creations really shine and even sometimes outshine the originals. C’Baoth as a new dark jedi is actually more interesting than the Emperor in the original movies in a lot of ways as well.

The only character whose arc felt flat to me was Karrde, as he went through the same Han Solo/Lando arc that we’ve already seen with those characters. I vastly prefered the darker criminal elements to him in the first ocuple books than I did in this one where he’s all in on the Republic side. He ended up a little boring as did his segments from his perspective.

Even with that though, that’s minor. Zahn’s writing is so strong that even the parts where I didn’t like were fine. He has a nice descriptive sense that’s not too bogged down and communicates scenes well.

Not much to say about the main characters themselves. They felt real, Zahn could have written the scripts with them and i would have never noticed a difference other than the developments they’ve made in time. The dialogue between them was great, about as well done as can be asked for on that front.

The big epic finale conclusion battle is about as good as it gets in fiction as well. I usually skim through battle scenes hard because they overdescribe elements and tend to make something imminently skimable, but The Last Command is relaly battle done right. There’s character development mixed into it, tension and twists like I’ve never seen. Brilliant and beautiful, and once more, better than the original movies.

I may actually go read The Hand Of Thrawn series because I liked this so much, and apprecaite Zahn’s creations and contributions to this universe almost more than the originals, even though I wasn’t intending on reading more Star Wars books. One can only lament what could have been if Disney/Lucas developed this into film rather than the uninspired marketing-driven nostalgia pieces that they keep putting out that are devoid of feeling.

10/10

More Sci-Fi Fake News Dishonesty

I conducted fun poll about whether you are blocked or not by a very public science fiction author personality who seems to block more than 50% of people who are in the industry or are readers of the genre. My point was this was a very bad marketing plan for someone in the field. It seems to be true at that.

What does the fake news post?

Rounding up people to harass? They lie so hard it’s unbelievable. If anything, Mike Glyer rounds up people to harass me, and rather intentionally at that. It’s been done over and over since he first discovered me. People who  follow his program of harassing me and trying to besmirch my reputation then get really mad when I fight back and don’t just take it.

I exposed the heck out of his little operation, and he’s bitter now. By the way, he used to chat with me and pretend to be friendly before that happened and he suddenly blocked me.

At some point, these people need to get with the times, come to the table, realize we’re here too and we’re gonna be taking a bigger share than them because we’re 1. fun 2. write well and 3. aren’t just negative all the time. Blocking that percentage of potential readers — in a good sample size — is not productive to a career. It’s also not harassment to point that out.

Stop lying, fake news!

 

Dragon Awards -3 Days Left To Vote

I don’t have time to blog much today. My Seattle trip mid-week put me behind on both work and fiction writing, so I want to get all that done. However, Dragon Awards close Monday, and i need to make this last push.

If you want to support me and my efforts here doing independent journalism with a focus on free speech in the entertainment industry, as well as producing excellent science fiction and fantasy, please read and review my fiction first and foremost. Second, awards like the Dragon are extremely competitive, and it’s a huge profile boost just to get nominated. Star Realms: Rescue Run has tremendous support for best military science fiction or fantasy category (the 4th one down) and needs your help to put it over the top.

Vote here: http://application.dragoncon.org/dc_fan_awards_nominations.php

Star Realms: Rescue Run by Jon Del Arroz

You’re welcome to leave everything else blank if you want. However, I do have a nice slate of nominees I think are great for each category if you don’t have other ideas and want to support some great people:  http://happyfrogs.org/2017/06/23/happy-frogs-official-dragon-award-recommendations/

Thanks all. you’ve done a ton for me already and I recognize that and appreciate it. Let’s put it over the top! 🙂

Linkin Park / Chester Bennington

This is an interesting and sad topic. I know I posted about Chris Cornell before, and I don’t want to get into the trap of blogging every celebrity death as if we’re close personal friends of the deceased, because I’m not sure that’s really a good thing to do with someone’s memory, and second, I think these flood of social medias for every single one, and then forgetting them 2 days later is a bit tacky.

However, I did spend several hours with Mr. Bennington and his band in 2003. For those that aren’t aware, I had a band for awhile. We recorded around that time, and played a lot of shows up until I got a bit too busy to do so in 2008. Probably my most noticed thing i’ve ever done is actually selling a song off that record to MTV’s Real World: New Orleans, which played in the background of the show and made a nice check.

Linkin Park was actually in the same studio while recording that, working on a remix album or something, I can’t recall exactly. We shared a lounge at the time. Usually the lounge was filled with food, drinks, fun, people running in and out, but it was kind of a strange night, as it was the night that the USA was first bombing Baghdad.  It was a somber atmosphere, and we kept it on CNN, watching in awe  as the bombs went off, the overwhelming force applied, and the swift movements of our military. It was hard to actually focus on recording that evening, for both bands in the house, and so we ended up spending a lot of time together, just hanging out, as musicians.

Bennington was a super nice guy in my experience. We didn’t really say much of substance that I remember to this day, as the scene of war really drowned out any other memory, but he was relaxed, humble, nice and I was impressed with him. I’d never really gotten into their music, as it’s a bit too dark for my tastes, but as a human being, he was someone I wanted to root for.

It’s really sad to think about having spent time with someone, even if it was only a few hours, and even if he probably likely never remembered me, and to think that he’s gone now, and had a bout with struggles I’ll never even begin to comprehend. I wish his family love and the strength to get through this, and pray that God will provide for them.

There are probably far better eulogies for this man out there, but I will remember him for the duration of my life certainly, and hope this paid him the respects he deserves.

Supporting My Furred Friends

This evening I learned something tragic. That I, your humble Hispanic science fiction author, was blocked by the self proclaimed queen of diverse science fiction, N.K. Jemisin on twitter. It seems my mere existence pre-emptively causes her to make sure she is solely in an echo chamber of those who hate anyone who think differently than them.

But this is not the biggest tragedy. I found that all of my Furry friends and fans, had been blocked by this hugo award winning author, one who made diversity a hallmark of her campaign toward such an award. And I found this a true shame.

In the name of N.K. Jemisin, I therefore want to promote diversity, and I wil ldo so by promoting furred fiction. I picked this up myself, and at 99 cents, you should to. If only to send a message that lack of tolerance will not be tolerated. It’s what herself Jemisin might say were she not so blinded by rage.

Support author Donald Jacob Uitvlugt, a furred friend: 

https://www.amazon.com/Days-Witch-Queens-Tales-Veldt-Book-ebook/dp/B01LXSUVRY/

The Evil Corporate Patriarchy Is OUTRAGED By For Steam And Country

I figure these headlines work for marketing for TV and movies, it should work here. Pick up your fiction with a strong female lead written by a minority who likely is blackballed by almost all major publishing companies as a result of being outspoken. Signal your virtue like you do with your Doctor Who facebook posts and stick it to the oppressive man. You care about this. You said so many times on your social media. The real way you can show it is to vote your dollar:

http://bit.ly/forsteamandcountry 

When They Make The Point Better Than You Can

Doctor Who. I don’t need to say more. You’re already triggered. So we’ll move on from there.

I made a post on social media, a cheeky one out of amusement, that posited that Donald Glover should play Wonder Woman, and if anyone disagreed, they were by default racist and sexist. Nothing about the above BBC public television program, just this.

I’d say you’ll never believe what happened next, but exactly what I expected to happen happened next: everyone in the SocJus crowd who still bothers to associate with me came out of the woodwork to flip out about the matter. I not only affronted their new cause-of-the-moment — which is, seriously just the changing of a long time kids program television character — but I affronted another sacred cow, the Woman Of Wonder. It was doubly funny because Donald Glover caused a bit of a hooballoo about wanting to play Spider-Man years back, and caused this fake panic among SocJus types with that as well. A twofer.

I’ll note that there is no real racism or sexism or ism-ism involved on either side here, but just silly stupid reactions to something that doesn’t matter. The point holds though: if this woman can play a traditionally male character Doctor Who, a black man should certainly be just as capable of playing Wonder Woman. This is where the SocJus crowd should surprise you, but it won’t: they are absolutely horrifically opposed to the concept.

Because Wonder Woman is supposed to be a woman, which is the very thing they’re smugly proclaiming that anyone who doesn’t like this recent casting is saying in reverse about Doctor Who, while in the same breath calling them all sorts of names. The best part of this all is they default to a lower level aspect of this, the fantasy content specifics: that this is an alien time lord so that there’s nothing that says he’s supposed to be a man. They have this as a fallback to say it’s not political, their very public virtue signalling about this casting, because of it, even though they only reason they’re doing so is a gloating political purpose. And of course, the only reason the show is doing it is for a political virtue signal so that you and I talk about it on the internet.

But what’s great about this, these both being fictional heroes with superpowers, is that the core of the argument is that Wonder Woman cannot change her sex because it would undermine the character to change that, because she is not an alien being. Of course, the answer to it, is just, rewrite her as an alien being who can change her sex.

Imagine if someone did that, the outcry that they’d have about how wrong this is. These folk forget the history, that Doctor Who wrote this very alien regeneration into the storyline later to justify the changing of actors for the role (most these viewers don’t actually watch the old show so they may not know this). Therefore, what’s good for the goose, is good for the gander. And both don’t matter, because any writer can write any change at any time with legacy characters. It’s just when it’s political nonsense as a motivation, attempting to get a few short-term watches, clicks, sales, whatever, it annoys people.

Most people don’t like big changes to iconic, generations spanning characters, not because of a racist sexist ist-ist motivation, but because there is a certain amount of change that makes a character into a different character. These problems are always solved by just making your own thing, instead of trying to take a classic and morph it into something else that it’s not.

I have a great analysis of how Marvel Comics used this trick for years to try to get rubberneckers to tune in, and it ended with steadily declining long terms sales. You can read it here.

Now watch as the “nuh uh!” hate comments come in about how I’m just absolutely terrible for even suggesting to change such a sacred icon, and that they in NO WAY have political feelings about Doctor Who, but love to champion the sex change of the character anyway.

And if you’re really interested in great female characters. I am told I wrote a couple without having to make any political thing out of it, that appeals to left and right readers alike because it’s just about a fun story. Most of my readers would likely rank it better than the upcoming season of Doctor Who.