Eden calls

Once, not so long ago, two people lived alone on an island. No one else was there, except for the person who owned the large island. He had planted a garden in one corner of the island, and there the people lived. It was a wonderful place. The man and his wife had endless sources of delight. The animals were tame. The island had hills that they could mine in, endless forests to cut down and make into lumber, and enough land for them to spread out over many generations. It was bliss.

There were no clouds in this perfect place, but they never were burned. It never rained, but instead a cool mist rose in the morning and refreshed the land. There were rivers, pools, waterfalls, and even mountains. It was truly amazing.

To make things even nicer, there were no poisonous plants in this paradise, so they could be at ease. The man and wife became wiser and wiser. The owner of the island, their father, told them many things: about the stars, the sea, the mountains, and the animals, birds, and fish that they took care of. There was no centralized government. The man looked after his wife, and both were looked after by their father. He had only one rule: a special tree that grew in the center of his orchard, which had fruit that he had made for himself, must be left alone. They were content. There was a whole island to explore, and they were just getting started.

Then one day, an intruder landed on their island. He was not the kind of person the father wanted in his paradise. As soon as he arrived, he caused chaos and discord: first between the husband and wife, and then between them and their father. In direct disobedience to their master, the people listened to the newcomer and stole some fruit. Instantly, they changed. They had traded the real for the counterfeit. Miserable, they fled from the father, but instead of hating and despising the one who had caused them such pain, they followed him as their leader.

Soon after, the island began to decay. Thorny and poisonous plants sprang up in the rocks and the ground. Life was hard for the rebellious ones. But their pain had one positive effect: it reminded them what they had lost. Repentant and hopeful, they turned back to their father, master, and former friend, praying for forgiveness. And he did forgive them, and patiently bore with them even as they fell deeper and deeper into sin. Finally, though, they stopped seeking him. When this happened, he had no choice but to start afresh. But remembering his promise to his undeserving creatures, he spared a family to be saved from destruction.

Now we live in a world after Eden. We’ve been trying to find it since we lost it. Every time a new island is found we want to conquer it, to make it a tiny bit of what it once was. But the curse works against us. We cannot combat it. But we try anyway.

It isn’t hard to find dreams of Eden. What about The Swiss Family Robinson? Or Robinson Caruso? Or a thousand others? Reality TV shows, video games, movies, and comic books all do their bit. It’s always an island, always a place where the characters have to conquer the place. They are alone, and they learn to be good stewards of what they are given. Sounds like a reflection of Eden.

Well, I suppose this is just another proof that as much as we try to deny it, we were made for a purpose, and consciously or unconsciously, we’re going to emulate that. It’s like our fascination with flight, the stars, and other gifts God has given us. We want them. We’re longing for God, our Father, but are too stubborn and foolish to admit it. So we turn to fake counterfeits like reality TV and novels to quench our thirst for dominion.

Forgiving producers (somewhat)

Resolved: That Books and Videoplays are very different. With this knowledge, then, let us treat them as such.

Book lovers have seen it all the time. A book that was beautifully, carefully, and thoughtfully crafted finally received the attention it was due. A producer picked it up and used the characters and story to create some sort of reproduction on the screen. And everyone is disappointed.

It’s not like the producers didn’t try. Unfortunately, sometimes their effort isn’t enough. They aren’t trying to make a precise copy of the book. They’re looking for something that will make a good movie. This is what usually makes all the book lovers revolt. This is also why they revolt.

Granted, some movie producers aren’t even trying. They don’t care about the story. They want the big money and prestige of a book adaptation. But even those who are deeply in love with the story come to the heartbreaking discovery that there is no real way to represent the book the way its’ mastery deserves.

The similarities of books and Movies are easy to see. Both are judged by the quality of their story, characters, and setting. That’s where the similarities seem to end. Books are also judged by their ability to describe and touch the reader with gentleness or conviction (or both). They rely on dialog and narration to entrance the reader. Most of the times, books are written to be read alone, unless you have a family with small children.

Movies are different. They add to their story with visual stunning, choice music, and a score engineered to elicit a response from the audience. While the story is flying through the audience’s mind, it is also being amplified by the musical background. Movies are like art projects, and require much trial and error, as well as some tinkering with the finished project. Their credibility is determined by their visual appeal. These can be watched universally, and hopefully evoke discussion about the different aspects of the story.

After studying books and videos, it’s easy to conclude that they are as different as cats and dogs, with no transitional forms at all. But there is one transitional form that imperfectly clings to both mediums, and that is the one known as Graphic Novella, or comics.

I discovered how hard it was to use this when I decided to transfer a portion of my story into graphic novel form to show to my brothers. Naively, I believed that it would be easy. It wasn’t. I realized that some parts of the story wouldn’t be able to make the transition. Other parts just didn’t make sense. And those parts left gaps in the story that had to be filled with new data. I almost rewrote the whole story, and when I finished, I looked at the graphic novel and thought “What have I done?”

If I had fans (which I don’t) they might have been horrified at the changes. I had deleted a character, taken out or rearranged most of the dialog, and changed the periods of time to make the story shorter. Since I had written both versions, I forgave myself. But what if someone else had done it?

Then I realized that these things have happened, pretty much every time that a movie has been adapted. Most of the time an author dies without getting much attention for his stories, and then some producer gets into it, and changes everything. This usually angers people. The only times I can think of that the author was there are Mary Poppins and How to Train your Dragon, though I’m sure that there were more.

So even though I’m still a little miffed at those lazy producers wasting their money and talent for counterfeits, I’m willing to forgive others. I’ve figured out that this is a hard line to walk. I know how hard it is to change things! Though this is tough to understand, I’d advise that book lovers understand that these ‘transitions’ from book to movie are really hard to make.

I don’t have the Nerve to be a feminist

I don’t have the nerve to be a feminist.

Don’t get me wrong; I understand where they’re coming from. But the way they are going about it exactly the opposite of what needs to happen. They seem to be attacking their own team.

The main platform of the feminist movement is to stand up for the rights of women and prove their equality with men. This is good, in its way. History has revealed a pattern of oppression, abuse, and mistreatment of anyone who happened to be weaker than normal. Women, because they were formed differently than men, were usually the objects of this abuse. Notice that I said that they were formed differently! Though neither is more important than the other, men and women are not equal.

I wouldn’t want to live in the ancient world anyway, as a girl. If there’s one thing that history has taught me, it’s our intense need for something more. In the ancient times of Greece and Rome it wasn’t that great to be alive. When I was little, I would read about all the killings of the soldiers, and I’d breathe a sigh of relief that I wasn’t a boy. At least I would have been safe, right?

I wish I still had that innocence. No, actually to be a girl in that or any time period would be a nightmare. No rights. No freedom. No protection. If you had a good father, and later a good husband, you could live a quiet life. But no one is free from the ravages of war. If those people were killed…who protects you? No one.

They lived in a strange time. People were objects. Property. Slaves. Most of the time women made up most of that last category. What else could you call them? They were thought of as wicked. As trophies. As servants. As toys. Never people. Being born into royalty didn’t help much. For a while, you would be secure. But imagine what would happen if your kingdom was taken? Master would be slave. Kings had some strange pleasure in making former princesses into slaves. The Iliad cued me in to that practice.

If I had been in that story, I might have been in the place in Cassandra. The Iliad is an ancient poem about the destruction of a proud city called Troy. The Greeks built the famous “Trojan Horse” to infiltrate the unbreachable walls. I don’t have time to go into the whole story, but Cassandra has always been a special source of grief to me. Her story is truly tragic.

In the midst of this strange and magical story came a young priestess, probably the youngest daughter of the King of Troy. She was young enough to have been innocent in relation to the war. It wasn’t her who had kidnapped Queen Helen of Sparta, nor did she have anything to do with it. She was probably a young child at the time. Over ten years later, she was given a special curse: the agony of knowing of the coming disaster, but having no one believe her.

Here and there she flew about, crying “Doom is Near! Please, please, stop!” But the drunken crowd would not. They had won. Inside the horse was the sign of their victory, and the means of their defeat. Did the poor princess know? If she did, she was unable to do a thing about it. By a cruel trick of the many deities that flit through the poem, she was stripped of her credibility. Perhaps it was then that she fled to the temple to try to entreat the deities that had forsaken her. At the end of the story, innocent Cassandra is punished for her older brother’s sin, and forced into a life of slavery and ill use. There her story ends.

But our story didn’t. All of us, even the feminists, are searching for something. We’ve tried to get it ourselves. Oneness. It’s what were were made to be. One. Perfectly complete. But Sin breaks into that. It makes things like slavery and adultery enter into the perfect family that God created. We can’t get away from it. We can’t rule it. We can’t stop it. Like Cassandra, we are helpless before a wave of evil. Unlike Cassandra, we are often the cause of it. In some cases, we’re more like the crowd below. We hear the warnings, but we don’t care. How many of them were left alive in the morning?

Of course the way they try to get Oneness is by proving that somehow women are superior to men, and therefore don’t need them. The One they are thinking of is themselves, a horrid object called Self that lurks inside each person, waiting to manifest its horrid face. That is why many feminists are rather mean. They have told themselves that they are sufficient, when they know they aren’t. All they have to cherish is that which lives within them, their sinful hearts, and that eventually destroys whoever tries it.

Perhaps the one thing that these people are most afraid of is the thing that would give them peace. They fear being under authority, for that would make them slaves. But they will continue to be slaves of themselves until they submit to someone higher. They hate the idea of being sheltered because they think that takes away their freedom. But without protection, are they truly free? They fear being accountable because they don’t want to feel guilty. But the true guilt that they fear every day can only be escaped through repentance. Foolish, wretched people! Who would choose this life?

Me.

You.

Everyone.

Praise God, He didn’t leave us this way! Instead He chose to be our protection, our salvation, our guard. He promised to protect those who are helpless, and to avenge them when they are abused. He is the only God in all of history. He is also the only one who ever showed any love and grace to women. His pagan counterparts all were wicked, debauched, and instruments of slavery. But He alone was alive: was, and is, and always will be! He didn’t leave us drowning in ourselves and in our sin. He rescued us.

With that new life was also a new love. For the first time in created history since the Garden, people were treated equally. “In CHRIST there is neither Jew, nor Greek, nor Parthian, nor Scythian, nor Slave, nor Free.” All are equal in the body of Christ. And for the first time, this meant that women were respected. They were loved. They were free and equal servants of the Lord.

For the first time, women were valued for who they were. Notice that this didn’t come from lobbying. It wasn’t the result of an organized protest. This hadn’t come from years of careful planning. It was spontaneous. It was deep-rooted. It was supernatural. And it’s been the driving force for the “equal treatment for women” movement years before the feminists thought up a name for themselves.

What’s sad is what my feminist friends don’t understand is the thing they’re running from is the very thing they should be running to! Our Religion isn’t one of domination and supremacy. I can think of a few religions that would qualify that description, but not the True Faith. And what really hurts is when our women, who could be the Church’s greatest ally, seem intent on tearing it to pieces. Why try to destroy our closest ally?

In a book I’m writing, the imaginary kingdom of Symettria is having internal trouble. The king has suddenly grown hostile to the nomadic tribes that rove the plains to the south, and decided all “natives” should be restricted from interacting with the “True Symetttrians.” The leader of the armies was really annoyed with this. “I’m supposed to be keeping out the evil from our land, when it keeps seeping in through the borders. How am I also supposed to also defend us from our own people? Why are we making war inside our country?”

Why indeed. It seems as if we are standing against an order that hates us, that religion that is called Islam. It wants the world subjected under it, a world dominated by men. In their eyes, women are evil. I would be killed for writing this. Just because I spoke out, and because I am a woman.

Why are the feminists so quiet against them? Why are our media ‘friends’ so ignorant at the threat of war? The one thing they’re fighting so hard to get away from they have nothing to say about. They’re attacking their allies and flattering their enemies.

That’s really frustrating. Sometimes I see the TV anchors in their dresses, and wonder if they’re really thinking through what they’re reporting. But I guess their eyes have been blinded to Cassandra’s message. “Doom is Near, Doom is near!” No one will believe her. Instead, they mock and side with those who want to destroy them.