Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Planning and plotting...

Well, I have been thinking for a bit on what I really want for myself, and from myself, in regards to this blog.

This post my not be very coherent as I got very little sleep last night, and I might be wise to wait on this post until later, but then again, I might never post it if I wait. So, here goes.

This may be ego, this may be pride, this may just be proper desire to have my work appreciated, but I would like to build a regular readership base. I would like to have readers who are "my" readers, not just people my friends and family have sent this way as a favor to me. I would like to have people put my blog on their RSS feeds because they have a genuine interest in what I have to say.

Which means I need to expect a few things from myself. Darn.

I believe the rules of capitalism are true to a great many things, and this is one of them. If I want to have eyeballs on my blog, or "customers" in my "store," than I need to provide good content, or good "products." Or, as many web comic artists and writers reply when asked how to succeed in web-comics, "Don't Suck."

I also need to provide a consistent product. I need to post on a regular, hopefully predictable, basis with a content one can expect to of a particularly good quality. Maybe not Time Magazine quality, but worth reading.

I will need to create some either very niche specific or broad based content. Both can be good, but I think I will choose the latter. I could focus all my writing on Faith, or Politics, or Nosehairs, but that only will last so long for me, and I tend to wander in my thoughts.

I should also consider if I need to have a minimum length. Dropping by just to see "I HATE POLITICS!!!!111!!!!" isn't really worth while, but then requiring myself to write a thousand words when only five hundred will do is also a little silly. This bears thinking on. And will likely not be decided today.

So, out of this, I would appreciate some feedback on what ya'll (yes, I live in the south) think on what I have already written, on what I have listed as this blogs topics, what interests you, etc. I basically am trying to do some "Market Research" for my readership. So, if you please answer a few questions for me in the comments section, I would greatly appreciate it.

On a scale of 1 (Don't care/know nothing about Topic) to ten (This topic is my bread and butter of life), please let me know how you feel about the following topics. Feel free to add a short response as well.

1. American History - Politics

2. American History - Economics

3. American History - Industry and Commerce (more a Culture, then the way money flows.)

4. Current American Politics

5. Current American Economics

6. Current American Industry and Commerce

7. Faith issues, with a heavy bent towards Christian Evangelical Protestantism.

8. Retail/customer service gripes, experiences (from both sides of the counter) and cheers.

9. Computer tech geekery.

10. Gaming culture/subculture.

11. Books/movies/tv shows with a HEAVY emphasis on plot and character. (Warning, I have most of a degree in Theatre.)

12. My cat.

13. Family Issues.

14. FOOD! (Not likely to be a main topic, but you never know)

15. Puns.

Please also give a short, one sentence response to the following:

Which way do you lean on American Politics, if you care?

What are your basic beliefs when it comes to Faith?

Are you someone who cares a lot about the service you get from a restaurant or store?

Do you like to read, watch movies/tv, or play video games? Which ones?

Feel free to only answer ones you care about, I just want to get a feel for where you folks are at and what ya'll are looking for. Thanks.

The Writer. (of doom.)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Declaration.

Two hundred and thirty-five years ago, a group of some fifty or so men gathered together for two months in a large, crowded, window ventilated room and began to discuss the response the Thirteen Colonies should give to the  Proclamation of Rebellion of late 1775 and the Prohibitory Act from early 1776. This Congress was given, for the first time ever, the power to do the impossible: Defy King George III, his Parliament, and the British Commonwealth.

In early July, (and accounts differ on details) these men announced to the world that "We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness..."

This had never before be so clearly and concisely stated. In the history of Mankind on the face of the Earth, this had NEVER been stated. Imagine a world where you had not heard these words before? Where only Kingdoms and nobles had rights like these. Could you dare to stand up against them and declare these rights yours? Could you really?

Then, as if they set out to make it worse (Hint: They did.), they said that "... when a long Train of Abuses and Usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a Design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their Right, it is their Duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future Security."

They declared it their Duty to throw off the government of King George the Third.

They committed Treason against their king.

What drives men to do this? "The History of the Present King of Great-Britain is a History of repeated Injuries and Usurpations, all having in direct Object the Establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States."

Tyranny. That one man could hold rule over any other, in ways that violated the self-evident truths that all men, kings, merchants, farmers, soldiers, and servants, are created equal, that they have unalienable rights, among which are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Crimes against these are forms of tyranny, and these men would have no more.

They listed the crimes, they denounced them as acts unworthy of government, and said " A Prince, whose Character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the Ruler of a free People."

Free men had declared that their ruler was unfit.

It gets better (or worse, if you're King George).

"We, therefore, the Representatives of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the World for the Rectitude of our Intentions, do, in the Name, and by the Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly Publish and Declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be, Free and Independent States; that they are absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political Connection between them and the State of Great-Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved..."

Independence. How often we take this so granted. Our forefathers lived through the reign of a tyrant, or ignored the will of his people to serve his desires. They, knowing that their chances of worldly victory was slim at best, challenged the greatest power in the known world, charged it with moral disobedience, social decay, and legal failures.

Knowing that it could well destroy them, they swore an oath.

"And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm Reliance on the Protection of the divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor."

How many times do we read this and just give it a familiar nod? Think fresh on this.

They pledged their Lives. They were willing to die over this. God spoke to Ezekiel, and said "And I sought for a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the breach before me for the land, that I should not destroy it, but I found none." (22:30) God found such men here.

Put it this way; many are willing to kill to stop a murder, a rape, a theft. How many will die to stop it? To trade their lives for the chance to stop it? No guarantee, no promise. A chance. Less then 50/50. Would you make that trade?

They pledged their Lives.

They pledged their Fortunes. Many if not all of these men were men of wealth and property. These guys were top tier in the economy, or matters of business and colonial survival. This was no small pledge, they had more to lose then most in the colonies. Would you give your car to stop a murder? Your cell phone? Your computer?

Your home?

Everything you own?

They pledged their Fortunes.

They pledged their sacred Honor. How many men nowadays have Sacred Honor? Fewer then there should be. Say it another way, they pledged their souls. The essence of what made them the men they were. And when we say "pledged," you can also say "forfeit."
Some acts that are necessary to life cost men dearly, and they give up a piece of themselves to do it. Speak to men have had to kill another man, ask them how it changed them. What it cost them. It is needed, at times, but the cost is very high.
The tyranny was so great, they would forfeit their honor, do the unthinkable, commit unconscionable acts if need be, to free the colonies from it. They would pay with their souls.

They pledged their sacred Honor.

July 4 1776, these men declared themselves to be free men, Independent men.

Twenty-two years later the United States Constitution was ratified.

Twenty-two years from a declaration to a Constitution to protect the rights so declared.

Some two thousand years or so prior, another declaration against tyranny was made.

Tyranny was again sought against man, suppressing his rights to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness, to the Equality of all men. Few men knew it, even fewer knew how to fight against it. And none had the power to do so. Sin had so oppressed mankind that man could not stand for himself, could not fight against oppression, could not even find a reason to resist. Mankind was a slave to his own carnal, sinful, craven self. And no congress could change it.

But one night a group of humble men, who were simply going about their work, were given a declaration of independence. An Angel came to them, saying "... behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.Then a Congress of Angels came singing praises, saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!"

A Savior is born. A Savior to free us from the tyranny of sin. One who could fight for us, guard us, teach us, and challenge us. A Savior who challenged sin, charging it with the corruption of mankind, murder most vile, and legalism prohibiting grace.

And thirty-three years later, he sealed his salvation with sacrifice.

He did not sacrifice his honor, he had no need. And, were it even his goal, he gained greater honor in the process. He made himself a little lower then the Angels to grant us Independence.

He did not sacrifice his fortune, for he had none to lose. He was born naked into this world, and he died much the same way, have given everything of his, quite literally, away in the process.

His life. he sacrificed his life to grant us Independence. He died the slow, painful death of the cross, giving his blood and body up to pay penance for an ungrateful breed of men. Traded for a murderer and rebel, betrayed by his closest friends, and forsaken by even his father in heaven, he traded his life. And he did it willingly.

The humble shepherds who saw angels that night did not know what the future held, just as the Congress in 1776 did not know their future. They simply knew Something was changing. A declaration was made that we were free.

And one other thing the shepherds didn't know was the vision Joseph had some months prior. An angel came to him and said that the son would be born, and he would be called Emmanuel.

God. With us.

Again, we read this with such crass familiarity.

God. With us.

No longer were we separated from God by sin. No longer would we need to seek God's forgiveness with offerings and sacrifices. God was now with us. Right here, right now, on this Earth, WITH US.

And He was here to make us free men.

Our world is forgetting two of our most important Declarations in all of history. That we are free men, with rights that are unalienable, given to us by our Creator, and that our Creator is Emmanuel, God who is with us, to make us Men and Woman who are truly Free. Freedom from Sin. From Tyranny. From the sting of death itself. God has declared us independent of sin, because we declare ourselves Dependent on Emmanuel.

This is my Declaration. I was once a slave to sin, having suffered it's tyranny over my life, and was subject to it's penalty of death, having had my rights to spiritual life, happiness, and the well being of my soul usurped, and I was powerless to stand against such usurpations. That the Christ, Jesus, the Messiah, Emmanuel, came to this Earth, was born of the Virgin Mary, and that being fully God and fully Man, did make a sacrifice for my sins, and having made payment, purchasing my soul, was raised again to life on the third day from his death. Having achieved victory over Death itself, the Christ, my Lord, was raised to the right hand of God the Father, is there now, and has sent the Spirit of God as his seal of purchase over me. I declare myself to be a free man from sin, and wholly Dependent on the Grace and Mercy of God, and that to Him I pledge Life, my Fortune, and though it never be required, my Honor.

Eric Flint.

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