Category Archives: Politics; Religion;

More Alternate Truths…

Well, I am very excited and happy to announce that I’ve had another story published.  It is in the book More Alternative Truths, available at Amazon.

I will be very honest – I wrote a story for this anthology, not because I was politically motivated, but because I need money.  I have a couple of Facebook friends who have stories in the first volume, Alternative Truths.  One of them happened to mention that the first one had done so well that the publisher was going to publish a second volume, and had a call out for stories.  Somewhere around the same time, or maybe a little after, my other friend mentioned that she had gotten her royalties for the story she had in the first book.  And the amount she mentioned was enough that I decided to submit a story to the second volume.  So, not politically motivated, at all.

However, as I was pondering what I wanted to write about, I started remembering some of the things my dad said to me before he passed away.  My dad was a sociologist and a counselor.  He studied people, governments, civilizations.  Retirement did not stop his interest in how people acted, what the politicians were doing, how the world was faring.  And my dad started making predictions to me, based on his knowledge of how civilizations grew and died, and how people tended to act and/or respond.

His predictions were accurate.  And scary.

I knew about class riots in America before Occupy Wall Street.  I knew about race riots in America before Ferguson.  I knew there would be police assassinations two years before Dallas.  I knew about the refugee situation in Europe, quite some time before it happened.  When that started making the news, my dad looked at me and said, “I really thought we had another generation to go before this.”

The last two predictions that my dad made haven’t really happened yet.  Maybe.  He told me that if Trump was elected – and he passed away before he saw it – that America would go up in flames.  I asked him how, and he said he didn’t know if it would be internal revolution – which he said America was ripe for – or if Trump would get us into another World War.  That is a scary thought.

He also told me that my knowledge of herbal medicine would make me a valuable commodity – “soon.”  That prediction frightens me even more.

In thinking about my father’s wisdom and predictions, my story suddenly coalesced into shape and form.  What would happen if the Affordable Care Act was completely repealed?  If things like being overweight or having asthma were “pre-existing conditions” with corresponding extra large premium payments.  I thought of a relative who stays alive with very expensive gamma globulin treatments.  Where would he be, if his family did not have insurance? What happens to diabetics when insulin costs a thousand dollars for a week’s supply?  I pondered this, and had my own vision of the future.

And suddenly, I was writing “The Healer”.

Only, unfortunately, while my story is set about six years into the future, the reality of it is present today.  I was describing the background of my story to a member of the medical profession.  Every sentence that I said, she said something along the lines of “But that is already happening.”  “We already have this going on today.” “This is real, not fiction.”  The elements that form the background of my story are very real and present, not in the future, but today.

When my story was accepted for this book, I was thrilled and excited.  While writing my story was not politically motivated, it became a tribute to my father’s memory, and especially his wisdom.  As I was writing my story, I remembered our many discussions on life, politics, America, the world, life after death, religion…so much.

But my story is only one of many.  When I was sent the full author’s list, my jaw dropped.  There are award winning authors in this book – people whose books and stories have been on my shelves for years.  I have the magazine (1982, I think) that David Brin’s novella “The Postman” is in.  It has been read and reread.  It is on my list of stories or books that I like to read when I am depressed, because they give me hope.  I also have the expanded novel – and that has been reread, as well.  Jane Yolen – as a story teller, I was definitely acquainted with the folk story books she has edited – and as an early childhood teacher, I am also familiar with the children’s stories she has written.  I used one of David Gerrold’s books as a reference for a term paper I did in college on Star Trek.  That was back in the 70s.  Mike Resnick.  Esther Friesner.  Elizabeth Ann Scarborough.  Vonda N. McIntyre.  So many more.  People whose stories and books have been in my library for years and even decades.  It is so hard for me to describe how I felt when I found that my story was accepted with these amazing writers.  I still find it hard to believe.

Of course, the editing helped.  Lou J. Berger, Rebecca McFarland Kyle, Phyllis Irene Radford, and Bob Brown – it is amazing how good editing can tighten a story.  I hadn’t realized how much passive language I had used in it until I got back the first edits.  You can learn a lot about how to write from a good editor.  And of course, as they are writers as well as editors, you can read some of their works in this book.  Rebecca has a story in The Ladies of Trade Town.  I met her in person at the book launch event – because the first story that I ever sold, “The Oldest Profession?” is also in that book.

The stories, poetry, songs, and essays in this book vary widely.  Some will make you laugh.  Some will make you cry.  They all will make you think.  I have not read all of the stories yet.  I am stretching it out, savoring each one.  Laughing out loud at one story, wiping my eyes and swallowing hard at another.   Concentration camp trains, ghosts,  witches, taxes and the Ten Commandments – as edited by Trump.  All that and more can be found in this book.

So far, my favorite is a piece of poetry, “A Sonnet on Truth (after Spinoza)” by Philip Brian Hall.  I think one of the reasons that I like it so much is that a couple of weeks ago, I posted something on Facebook about truth, and how we only see what we want to see.  I also tell a version of a story that may be found in one of those books of Folk Tales that Jane Yolen edited.  When I tell it to children, I ask them what they think it means.  One child answered “When you believe something is true, everything you see will reinforce that belief, even when it isn’t true.”

Ray Bradbury once wrote, “I am not an optimist.  I am an optimat behaviorist, which means every day I write and create and in creating, help to change the world, I hope, for the better.”  It is my hope and prayer that maybe enough people will see the vision of the world that this book presents – and will start to work to change that future for the better.

Or at least, maybe a few more people will start to learn about the medicinal properties of herbs.  I know I am going to continue my studies…

In the meantime, please buy this book.  https://www.amazon.com/More-Alternative-Truths-Stories-Resistance/dp/0998963437/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1510729225&sr=8-1

Book cover More alternative truths

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Christ’s love and…Politics???

I don’t often speak of politics on my blog.  But I have seen something going on lately that I feel the urge to talk about.  My home state is Arkansas.  A bill – HB 1228, has been making some news lately.  It is one of the “Religious Freedom Restoration” bills that a number of states have been passing lately.

AN ACT TO ENACT THE RELIGIOUS FREEDOM RESTORATION ACT TO BE KNOWN AS MARY’S LAW; TO PROVIDE PROTECTION FOR RELIGIOUS PRACTICE AND TO PROVIDE REMEDIES AND PENALTIES FOR VIOLATING OR ABUSING RELIGIOUS PROTECTIONS; TO DECLARE AN EMERGENCY; AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.

It has also been called the “Conscience protection act.”  The gist of it seems to be this: if a person objects to doing something on religious grounds, they shouldn’t have to do it.  So, for example, under this law, theoretically a person could refuse to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple, if gay marriage was against their religious beliefs.

Some people are taking it further, and claiming that this law could be used to, for example, deny an apartment to an unmarried couple, refuse to service the pool of a Wiccan, deny restaurant entrance to to a Catholic or a Hindu if the restaurant was owned by a Protestant…And, of course, the opposite could be true, as well, I suppose – with Wiccans or Muslims denying service to Christians.

Supporters of the law say that this type of hyperbole is nonsense, and that the laws have safeguards built in to prevent that type of discrimination. There are a number of states that have passed or are in the process of passing this type of bill.  It seems to be a backlash against a number of stories showing up in the media. Christian ministers who own a wedding chapel in Idaho have been told that they could face fines and jail time if they refuse to marry homosexual couples.  A law suit was brought against the Church of England by a wealthy gay couple who wanted a church wedding. These are only a few of the ones that have been popping up here and there.

Now, I can understand a lot of people see the secular world encroaching on their beliefs.  When I was a kid in Mississippi in the late 60s, despite the fact that the courts had already banned it, we had Bible class and prayer.  In the public schools.  Gasp.  Things have changed a lot since then.  In Southern California in the 90s, a Vice principle tried to ban the “see you at the pole” day, where students gather at the flag pole to pray before school starts. Last year, a Colorado school banned students from praying during their free time.  Posters with Bible verses are banned.  Prayers are banned, even wearing crosses have been banned in some schools – although symbols from other religions are often acceptable.

So, yes, I can see why people would support a bill like this.  Something that allows someone to act according to their conscience seems like a good idea, especially with so many things encroaching on Christian religious freedom. I just wonder one thing.

Would Jesus support it?  Would Jesus support a bill that would allow someone, in His name, deny service?  Would he support something that could cause hurt?  Pain?  Discrimination? What would Jesus do?  We each have to decide that for ourselves.  But the best way of deciding that is to look at how he lived His life.

He “ate with tax collectors and sinners”  Matthew 9: 10-11; Matthew 11:19; Mark 2:15-16; Luke 5:30; Luke 7:34.

The “tax collectors and sinners” gathered around him and listened to him. Luke 15:1

God did not send Jesus “to condemn the world, but to save it.” John 3:17 J

esus did not condemn the woman caught in adultery, or the sinful woman who washed his feet with her tears.  John 8:1-11; Luke 7:36-50

When asked what the Greatest Commandment was, he said Love.  “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it.  Love your neighbor as yourself.  All the law and the prophets hang on these two commandments.”  Matthew 22:34-39.

When asked “Who is my neighbor?” Luke 10:25-37, Jesus replied with a story of how a man was traveling and was set on by thieves who beat him and left him for dead.  Two religious leaders, a priest and a Levite, saw the man and passed him by.  But a Samaritan, whom the Jews thought of as far beneath them, saw him, and despite the traditional enmity, helped him, thus proving to be the good neighbor.

Jesus did condemn some people.  Who were they?  Hypocrites.  People who made a show of being religious, but did not care about others; who spoke religion, but did not show mercy . Matthew 23.

Jesus touched lepers, associated with outcasts and with sinners.  He brought healing to them, also, both physically and emotionally. He poured His love out to people that the established religion had discarded.

If I, as a Christian, cannot show Christ’s love to all, in the same way that He did – Why would anyone ever want to come to Christ?

So I ask myself, and you – Would Jesus support a law that would give someone a legal right to use His name to show a lack of love? Every person who believes in God, and who believes in Jesus, has a personal view, a personal concept.  I know what I believe.

“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and everyone that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.  He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is Love.”  I John 4: 7-8