Flash Friday Competition

My post for today is actually my (disqualified) entry in the Flash Friday Competition. Perhaps you would like to go take a look and enter the competition?  The idea is to look at the picture and then in the comments post a fiction piece of whatever length they specify that week. Here is a link, if you have time for a bit of fun. http://flashfriday.wordpress.com/2013/08/30/flash-friday-39/

unicornio-salvador-nunez

Bored Meeting

Somewhere there is a board meeting going on. But it doesn’t matter. Reggie is not on the agenda. He just has to be present because he is a VP, and I, his assistant, have to be here. To assist him.

But he can pretend to listen without my help. So I am taking my flight of fancy.

Reggie is my fancy, but there is a barrier between us. I don’t understand how to get through.

I knew he would wear that shirt. I know him so well. I chose my matching dress. He hasn’t notice.

I took a flying carpet on this dream. I could have flown, after all in my imaginings, I have wings. But I needed to bring a unicorn to pick the lock. Unicorns don’t fly. Duh!

And it turns out they don’t pick locks. They don’t talk to snails either. The unicorn is turning out to be downright useless.  And who knew they were afraid of heights.

Unfortunately, they do attract dragons. I can only maintain this flight for a little while. If I am caught day dreaming they will fire me. I wonder if Reggie would object.

I wonder if he has nice feet.

What is that friend unicorn? This door has no lock. The lock is in the tree on the other side. Then how are we supposed to get to it?

Simply walk around the door? Simply approach the man?

But what if something dreadful is waiting on the other side? Something like the CEO or the COO, now there is a dangerous old wizard if I ever saw one.

Fears are not so easily side stepped.

I really should be taking notes, instead of fantasizing about my boss.

That man should wear a dunce cap. I have fawned over him for months. He still doesn’t know I am falling in love with him.

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The Doctrine of Doubt

I weary of people who are certain they are right about everything. They are convinced they remember every detail of conversations from last week, sermons from last year, and VBS lessons from when they were children.

These people are especially fatiguing when they discuss doctrine. They are dogmatic about what they believe and are convinced they must remain so even down to the smallest of details. They believe anything else demonstrates a lack of faith.

I am quite the opposite. There are times when I believe my most faithful, trusting answer would be to say, I might be wrong. I can say this because faith is not knowing everything about God, but rather trusting God with my eternal life.

Now let me be quick to say there are many doctrines I hold with certainty. There is a God, He is good, He exists in Trinity, Jesus who is God the Son, came to earth to die on a cross, and His resurrection demonstrates His saving power. Some things are not doubtable. But there are also doctrines I am willing to be fuzzy about.

I believe Jesus will rapture believers out before the tribulation, but I could be wrong. I don’t believe God decided who would be lost and who would be saved in advance only He knew in advance who would be, but I could be wrong. I don’t believe Obama is the antichrist, but I could be wrong. I don’t believe in soul sleeping, humans can hurry up the rapture, or that foot washing was intended to be taken as an ordinance of the church, but I could be wrong.

My faith is not in my own doctrinal knowledge, in fact it’s not in information of any form. My faith is in the person of Jesus. I don’t have to understand every detail, and if this was my definition of faith, well, my goose would be cooked. So would yours. We will never know every detail. Instead my definition of faith is to trust God with my life, without having to know every detail.

In every case my willingness to be wrong is not a lack of faith in God, rather it is a lack of faith in me. I am not trusting myself; I am trusting Jesus.

 

Book Give Away

On my facebook page today I am beginning a book give away.  Go to the site, follow the directions and you will be entered into the drawing.  But be careful to read the instructions, to be entered you will need to like the author page and share the book give away status.

Here is the link to my author page, www.facebook.com/AuthorCharlesWShort/

Good luck.

Acorn Woodpecker

Acorn Woodpecker
Here is an acorn woodpecker. This bird understands the storeroom principle better than most people.

The storeroom principle is, you will only get out of storage what you put in storage. The principle hold true whether storing things in a toolbox, closet or the human heart. Whatever you do store will be available later, but what you don’t store won’t.

The acorn woodpecker earned its name because of its habit of making lines of holes in trees and storing an acorn in each one. Birders call this practice caching. Just like a squirrel storing up nuts for the winter, the acorn woodpecker will come back for them at a later time.

We humans are much more sophisticated and we have a multitude of different storage containers, for a wide variety of situations. But we might miss the applications of storage which we did not design and choose.

In Mathew 12:35 Jesus refers to a storeroom from which evil people draw evil and good people draw good. By looking at the verse before it, we can see this storeroom is a euphemism for the heart.

Brood of vipers! How can you speak good things when you are evil? For the mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart. A good man produces good things from his storeroom of good, and an evil man produces evil things from his storeroom of evil. Matthew 12:34-35 (HCSB)

The human heart is a storeroom, and when you store good things in your heart, then good things are what will come out of you later. But of course the opposite is true as well, if you store evil you will find your heart overflowing evil into your life.

When life shakes us up and something evil comes spilling out of us, quite often from out of our mouth, it’s because we are living out the storeroom principle. But it is possible to make some intentional choices earlier in the process, and by storing good things in your heart you guarantee good things will be what spills out.

Windows 8

Not very long ago my wife and I bought a new laptop. The new laptop is running Windows 8, although there are many things about it I haven’t figured out yet, Windows 8 is beginning to remind me of American politics. Let me explain.

Windows 8 is highly divided. The old familiar and functional desktop is hidden in the background and the start menu is now the start screen. The two no longer work in tandem, instead you either are working on the desktop or you working on the start screen.

The start screen sits in the forefront. It gets all the publicity and attention. It’s touted as the newest, latest, greatest, and trendiest. On the start screen are a multitude of apps running concurrently. Often the apps are less functional than going to the original in a browser on the desktop hidden away underneath.

The start screen is designed to imitate other devices such as smart phones and tablets. But it’s silly to have the more powerful computer imitate these less powerful devices by being less functional. Kind of like political leanings that want to imitate the programs and policies of less accomplished nations.

The apps appear to be giving you more, seeing headlines from facebook, twitter, and several news outlets all at the same time. But the individual apps are choosing for you which pieces of information in their arena they display. It’s no longer necessary for the user to take responsibility to decide what they want and work for it. Instead sit back and let others decide for you.

The operating system is also pushing me to use the start screen. Often when I start a program on the desktop they will give me a note saying I could have used an app. If I want to use some of old familiar programs I have to work extra hard to find them and make them work. They are hidden away in the dark recesses of the start screen.

So Windows 8 reminds me of our political situation—strongly divided, less functional, modeled after foreign ideas, propaganda driven and becoming mandated.

Jamison’s Rescue

Several weeks ago I posted a flash fictin piece called The Zilkas Asteroid Belt.  Several of you asked for a continuation of the story, so here it is.  If you did not read the first portion follow the link above, before reading this.

 

Jamison’s confusion reached its peak. What had they said?

Then came clarity, awful, churning, clarity. He had just fired on the ship sent to pick him up. He had destroyed a colonial vessel. This was why the base had not sent an automatic message.

How had this happened? Then he remembered, he had set aside his checklist. The checklist would have caused him to verify the class of the ship before firing.

He would be on this rock forever. He deserved it, too.

The station went dark. He wasn’t sure why. He wasn’t sure it really happened. He might have blacked out for a second.

“Zilkas Asteroid Belt, Camp Beta – Stand down, Repeat, STAND DOWN!” The sudden and loud transmission made him jump out of his skin. But it also startled him back into action. He scanned his controls to discover the ship was still there. “Camp Beta, please respond.”

He stared at the controls for a long time. Eventually though he responded and the frigate sent a launch to pick him up.

He would not die on this rock after all.

Two men were on board the launch. They signaled for him to open the door. Jamison couldn’t at first. It had long since frozen, his broken hand was useless to turn the large spinner. But after using a long piece of repair pipe for leverage he opened the exit and met his rescuers.

Scott and Johnson were both seasoned fighters, and on the way back to the frigate, he questioned them about many things, but first he apologized for trying to kill them. Their casual laughter at his uneasiness seemed so comforting. He would enjoy being around people again.

In the war technology had progressed. It was now possible to destroy a projectile mid-flight. They also explained the war had been over for more than a year. They had not been able to get out and pick up all the scouts, snipers, and outposts because their positions had been lost for a time.

Back on the frigate his broken hand was mended, and he was given a berth. In the quarters prepared for him and twenty-three other stranded fighters there were only eight men. Smithers and Black were not among them. Both men were dead. Smithers had died a natural death, but Black was killed in an attack.

Jamison thought about Black. The orbiting of the asteroids put Black in the line of fire. It might have been him, if the event had been a day earlier or a couple of days later, he would be dead and Black would be alive.

He tried not to think about it. He tried not to feel guilty. He failed.

They stopped at an outpost, originally having a team of four stranded fighters. No one was alive on the base. He didn’t want to know why.

They didn’t have any more stops. Only one third of the men they had hoped to rescue were surviving. Jamison’s mind clouded over whenever anyone talked about it.

The dined alone at the next meal time. Then they entered their sleep cycle. Jamison found out he wasn’t the only one having trouble sleeping. He wasn’t the only one having nightmares.

The next morning Scott and Johnson informed them they would be home shortly after third meal. As a means of celebrating their return they would dine in the officer’s mess, and at the captain’s table. The two soldiers glanced at each other as they spoke those words.

It made Jamison nervous. None of them were accustomed to the protocols of such a dinner. But they would follow orders.

New uniforms were provided. He noticed his rank had been given a significant boost. It struck him as an odd reward for survival. He also noticed the normal ceremonial side-arms were missing. He thought this was wise. He and his compatriots were not settled down from their outland assignments.

When they entered the dining hall, under the watchful eyes of Scott and Johnson, he noticed everyone else had their side arms in place. They marched two abreast to the head table. It was made out of a material he had never seen before.

They were instructed to have a seat. This was odd. Normally the crew stood until the captain was seated as a sign of respect. The chair was surprisingly comfortable, made of some material he had never seen. He rubbed his hand over it and noted how luxurious it felt.

After they were seated Scott leaned in where they could all hear him. “Stay seated, do not get up.”

A steward announced Captain Colofer. Jamison puzzled over what kind of a name Colofer was. His table remained seated as ordered.

Double doors were swung open by stewards and there stood Captain Colofer. Jamison, and all those seated at his table twitched, gasped, and someone even shrieked as they took in the blue skin and vertical eyes. Captain Colofer was a Kilkian.

Relational God

Perhaps the most basic point of theology is the question of whether or not God exists. For many people the concept of God is illogical. They would have expected the world to look different when a holy God was the source. This expectation leads them to count every evil on earth—every war, every disease, and every hungry child as evidence that God couldn’t exist.

But as far as I can see these things are perfectly consistent with God’s existence and His nature.

One often overlooked aspect of God’s character is, He is relational. He created everything for the purpose of being in relationship with humanity, the crown of His creation.

Do you remember having a Barbie or GI Joe as a kid? How good was the relationship? Did you find deep meaningful friendship with these toys?  Of course not. In order to have a real friendship, a meaningful relationship, the other party in the relationship must also be a being of free will. Love doesn’t mean a thing unless it is freely given.

I assert, from God’s perspective, giving His creation moral free agency is the righteous choice compared to withholding this highest gift from us. He knows we who have free moral agency will choose sin. Humanity will create horrific hurts on our planet, but that’s our free moral agency at work.

If we assume God is responsible for sin as Creator, we are ignoring what free moral agency is. If we blame Him for giving us the choice, we are pretending we would be better off as automatons, without free will.

Freedom does lead to bad choices and all the pitfalls of a fallen world, but we are responsible for those failures, not God. If God had not given us the opportunity to choose wrong, He would have also been withholding the opportunity to choose right.

Since the purpose of creation was to fulfill God’s relational nature; this world looks exactly like what I would expect.