Friday, February 26, 2010

Fantasy, Part Two

So, if you read the title of this post you obviously saw the Part Two thing.  Well, I never actually did a Part One.  But looking back at my previous post about dragons I decided that there are so many other things about fantasy
than just dragons.  So here's Part Two of, most likely, many parts.

FANTASY, Part Two, Elves

So, as we all know there are about six main races in fantasy with variations here and unique races there, so I'll focus on the main five.

  • Men
  • Elves
  • Dwarves
  • Orcs/Goblins
  • Dragons
  • Wizards and other magical beings
I hope to cover each of these races as well as others in this series.  But this post I'll focus on elves.

So, what makes an elf?  Why are elves different than say, a human?  I mean they're both kind tall, usually slim and well built right?  Is the pointed ear thing such a huge thing that separates them?  No, there's so much more.
Just a side note, for most of these races I will be basing off of Tolkiens versions as well as a few others.  In most fantasy books and/or movies elves are portrayed as immortal beings.  I want to go with that a bit.  I can't explain why they're immortal except by saying that in Lord of the Rings and other works by Tolkien, elves were immortal mainly because they were the first-born of Il├║vatar (also known as Eru), but that's a completely different post.  So, on the basis that Tolkien is, in a way, the father of modern fantasy, and his elves being immortal, elves in almost every other fantasy novel are immortal as well.  I'm not well versed in ancient elven lore, as in, before Tolkien, which is my fault, I should probably do some research in that area.  But besides explanations before Tolkien, best I can explain is what I said above.  
So, being they are immortal, and keeping in mind that most modern fantasy is descended from the ideas that Tolkien put in his work, there's the question of why elves are always so moody?  That sounds funny, but I'm being serious.  Often in books elves are very happy in one moment, singing and being merry, then the next, very solemn and, often times, mad.  The reason I've come to by my own research and thinking is that they have more to bear.  I think of it this way.  We don't get to see very many young elves, most ones we see are at least over five hundred years old, some as old as three-five thousand!  So, think about us.  When we're young, in our teens and even up till around sixty, we are very merry and happy, and don't have very many, truly solemn moments we see in the elves.  We never get to experience all the weight they have on their shoulders at such old ages.  But we get a glimpse of it.
For example, and don't take this the wrong way, I have nothing against the elderly, in fact I hold them very dear, but when a person starts to get to a certain point in their life they start to become more, not sure what the word is here-weary-, but not in the way that they are just tired from lack of rest, but truly weary, as in, they've run the race, and now their ready to go.
That's how I see it.  And that's why they are so solemn all the time.  They're tired and have immense weight on their shoulders.  But they don't get an end like we do, they continue to go on (and that's part of the reason why they left to go across the sea, in LotR at least).  So, that covers the main attributes of elves.  I know that this probably isn't the most accurate information, and please correct me if you see something wrong.
Look out for the next post on Dwarves!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Dragons Anyone?

Dragons.  When someone thinks about that word, that species people immediately think of fantasy.  Dragons seem to be one of the hugest things that fantasy books have in common.  Let's take a few of the most prominent fantasy books popular today and in the past.  JRR Tolkien's Lord of the Rings which we all know in love, uses dragons relatively small amounts of times, but when he did use dragons, such as in The Hobbit they play a major role.  So we can check that one off as a yes, they do have dragons.
Next, the Inheritance series, one of the biggest secular fantasy series out there right now, uses dragons.  The entire idea is crafted around dragons.  So, obviously we can check this one off as a yes, they do have dragons.
Now, let's move to one from the Christian YA Fantasy genre.  For this example I'll use a series that is probably the most obvious of all these... Dragons in Our Midst series.  This series is about the sons and daughters of dragons that were turned into humans and regular humans.  So as the title suggests, this series passes off as a yes, they do have dragons.
There are many more examples, but that would take a while.  So, now to the point of this post  Why are dragons such a huge player in fantasy genres?  Is it because the readers just absolutely love dragons?  I think that's part of the reason, but I don't think that alone is the reason.  Could it be that dragons are the fantasy genre?  As in, they brought it up, they were the reason people liked it.  Well, no.  Going on the basis that mythology, in a way, was the original fantasy theory/thingy (which is another whole post worth of discussion) than dragons did play a big role in bringing up fantasy, since a lot of the myths were based of dragons and serpents and stuff(you can tell I'm not well read in my Greek mythology).  But while they were a major role in bringing it up, dragons did not bring up the fantasy genre.
So, while they're many other things that could be the reason, I think that it is much deeper, Biblical even.  Why Biblical I'm sure you're wondering.  Well, it's hard to say I think, especially since this theory is just came to me.  But if you look back at Scripture, satan was many times portrayed as a dragon.  And while I'm not sure this directly influences our view of dragons and while they're major in fantasy, it does cause some speculation, which is what I'm doing.  I think that since the original 'bad guy' was portrayed as a dragon, us authors, trying to be like the original Author, like to make dragons simply because they have a natural evil feel to them.
Now, where that idea is just completely obliterated is because many authors such as Paolini and Bryan Davis portray their dragons as very good species, in a way, the hero of the story.  But I think this theory still deserves more thought.  I'm going to think on that and possibly do another post later on about that theory.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Truth Project

So, last summer a group of people nearby(not a church, just a group started by two men) started a program called the Truth Project created by Focus on the Family.  So we went to it for a few weeks, my dad, my bro and me.  One problem though, it started at 6 AM I believe.  That means we get up at like 5:30, not exactly the time I like to get up.

So, recently my dad (who is actually a pastor) started the Truth Project with our church, but there was a minor difference.  Ours start at 6:30 in the evening.  So, back the point of this post.  Tonight we kicked off the 12 week program.  I jotted down some notes that I'll go off of.

The biggest thing in this lesson, a huge one for me, was the following question.  "Why did Jesus come into the world?"  Now, that may seem very basic for a lot of you guys (and gals) but the answer wasn't what I thought it would be. Read the following:  Jesus-"...for this reason I was born, and for this reason I came into the world, to testify to the truth." (Emphasis added)  That passage is inside John 18:37.  If you didn't catch that, Jesus is saying this before Pilate, that He(Christ Jesus) came to Testify to the Truth.  Now, this is not to say that Jesus did not come to save sinners.  It is very clear through the Gospels that He did.  But what was new here is that throughout my 13 years of church, I do not recall one time being told this.  Not once.

But here Jesus is, telling Pilate that He came to testify to the truth.  So this is not to say that the church should stop saying that Jesus came to save sinners, but rather that they should also say that Jesus came to Testify to the Truth.


But that's not all of what this lesson covered, not by far.  I won't begin to be able to cover all of the stuff that came up in this lesson, but I'll go on rambling a little longer, so with that thought, I move to point two.


*Booming Voice* "Point Two*


So, if Jesus was testifying as He said He was, what was on trial? (in case you're confused, in this case testifying is used in reference to a trial like in court)  Since there's not exactly a way to make you think about it for a moment, I'll just say it.  The truth was on trial.  The world was in a sense suing(?) truth.  The world had converted truth to a twisted opposite.  The lie.  Untruth.  Inspired and created by satan, the snake brought the lie, the opposite of the language of God, to the world.  And so the subject on truth was on trial, and continues to be on trial today.  That's the ever-going battle, lies vs Truth.


Sadly, I cannot remember if the famous quote, "The truth will set you free" is from the Bible or just a famous saying.  But in the Truth Project, another question was-"If the Truth sets us free, what holds us captive?"  I think the answer is obvious by now.  And that is lies.


One last point and that'll be it (until next week hehe)


So, Jesus said that He was the Way, the Truth, and the Life correct?  Yes, correct.  So we know He's the Way.  The Way to the Father, the Way to Heaven, and the Way to the Cross.  We know He's the Life.  We cannot live life how God intended without Him.  But that leaves one thing.  The Truth.  And that begs one more question.  Us Christians are fine with the Way and the Life.  Actually we love the Way and the Life.  But how does mankind and us Christians respond to Truth.  I mean really, how do we respond to truth.  That's not for me to answer.  And so I'll leave it at that.  That's for you and God.


So, I end this post until next week.  But not with one last statement, barely a sentence I promise ;),


"What is Truth?"

Saturday, February 13, 2010

What is your CD Player?

Today I was looking for an old PC game I used to play that I had lost some time back, and while I was looking through the CD's trying to find just that one, I remembered something.  One Christmas about five or more years ago I got a board game(I believe) for a present, while all my older cousins and brother got a CD player.  Now, before going on you have to understand that in my extended family I am the middle child, not exactly in the group of older cousins, and too old to be considered one of the younger cousins.  So, I was always trying to do what the older kids were doing.
So when all the older kids got fancy CD players and I got a board game I wasn't exactly thrilled.  So after much complaining to my parents my dad took me to the Wal-Mart and traded back the board game for a CD player.  Naturally I was really happy, but how long did it last?
The moral of the story is that even though my parents thought I'd enjoy a board game more than a CD player (if they thought I would have enjoyed a CD player more they would have gotten me one) I wanted what the majority wanted.  So, why am I telling all of you this?  Because, when I was looking through all those CD's a thought came on me, that or God let me see this situation in a new light.  I gave up what would last for something that was 'in'.  How often do we do this in our lives?
How often do we ignore what the Lord wants for us to get something that is just a fading moment.  In case you haven't heard CD players aren't used very much anymore.  The new thing is an iPod, the CD player was just a passing thing, how long do you think the iPod will last though?  It seems to be sticking, but I am pretty sure something new will come soon.
Back to the point though.  I think we often get off track of what God wants for us, for something that the is hip in the world.  We need to remember that God is the only One that can see the whole picture.

Friday, February 12, 2010

WORD WAR 2.12.10

OK, so this WORD WAR is special.  Tonight we will start the Word War(s) at 6:00, going til 7:00, then we do another one after a 30 minute break at 7:30 and end at 8:30, when we again take a break and do the last Word War from 9:00 to 10:00.  So, everybody hopefully knows how a Word War works, we type as fast as we can, no stopping.  No editing.  No-well maybe some- thinking.  Just type.  So, who's in?

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Theology

 Predestination, Part One

On a forum [http://www.heedtheprophecies.com/theunderground/] I got into a discussion with them on theology, particularly one topic, predestination.  So, I decided to make a post about what I think and believe about this topic.

Being that I believe in predestination, I will only post why I believe in it, and not the arguments against, that's your job to do through the comments.  So, if you don't know, predestination is the belief that before God created the world, He knew who would come to Heaven, and that only those who He chose will go to Heaven.  So, first off, I'm going to give a few verses that support this:

  •  29For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.30Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.  Romans 8:29-30 
  • 5Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, Ephesians 1:5 
  • 11In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:  Ephesians 1:11
Note that all of these verses are King James Version and have been copied and pasted from the internet, but not before I looked it up in my Bible and checked them word for word, so these verses are accurate.
     These are the verses I could find on so short notice.  It is obvious to me from these verses that God chose His people from the foundation of the earth and it is not by our choice but by His Will that we are selected.  While some may say that it is unfair that God chooses some and not all, I think it is unfair that we are not all condemned to hell and that God was merciful and selected some people to go to Heaven with Him.  "For all fall short of the glory of God", none of us should be allowed to go to heaven, because we are sinful by nature.  Now I am not saying that God will turn anyone away that wishes to accept Jesus into their hearts.  No, it is my belief that God will not turn away anybody that desires Him.  But I also believe that no one will have that desire except if God has put it in them, which means, only those that He chose at the founding of the world will have that desire to follow Him, so no one that has not been called by God will will ask for Jesus to enter their lives, and so that argument is not accurate.

If you do not agree with what I have said I encourage that you comment, but for this post I ask a few things:  First, please have at least one verse to back your argument(you may use the same verse if you choose to comment again) and please make sure it is accurate, word for word, second, please stay strictly on topic about Predestination, whether it be pro or con, and third, please use proper grammar and spelling, it's hard to take a discussion/debate seriously when people aren't using proper spelling.  

Part two coming soon, in that post I hope to debate some of the questions and arguments of predestination as well as have more verses to back it. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Contests

Recently I stumbled upon a contest for Christian Short Story's (http://christianwritingcontest.com/contest2010/).  I struggled for a few ideas, but then one dawned on me, I kinda like it.  I can't say much right now, but it's pretty epic.  So, I was wondering what you guys think of a few names I chose, needless to say, they all pertain to the story, I just want to know which one you guys like the most.  
1. Power of the Name
2. Power of the Cross
3. The Blood of Christ(only problem is it suggests it's a gory story, and it's for a Christian contest)
4. The Last Church
5. The Last Act of the Way
 So, what do you guys think?  Do you guys prefer making a full novel or short stories?  Both?  I'm trying my hand for the first time at a short story, I'm interested to see how it goes.

Also, I know that a lot of people from the Tribe Contest(if not see http://enterthedoorwithin.blogspot.com/2009/09/biggest-contest-in-history-of-men-and.html) are following this blog.  I'd like to say congrats to Swiftstorm on moving up, congrats to Silvertree on getting in first, and good luck to everyone on this last month.  It should be a fun final stretch.  

Monday, February 1, 2010

Word War Tonight

First Word War tonight!  Starting at 8:00 EST and running until 9:00 EST we try to get as many points as possible.  Whoever wins and gets the most points within the hour will get their name, the name of their novel, and their word count for that hour posted in the Word War Archives page.  I'm not sure if that's exactly an honor, but it is a fun way to keep up with the top typers.  So, in the comments, state the chapter or the novel your working on and the current word count before this Word War.
Chapter 7,
Upgrades,
Current Word Count: Zero

Also, I just recently finished the Isle of Swords by Wayne Thomas Batson, and I will be posting my review on that in a few days.