Monday, November 4, 2013

For Ollie Mac Devotioins

Good morning Ollies
Our readings for today are Psalm 32 and Chapter Three in Prodigal God.
Psalm 32 begins:
 How joyful is the one
whose transgression is forgiven,
whose sin is covered!
How joyful is the man
the Lord does not charge with sin
and in whose spirit is no deceit!

A spirit that knows God is forgiven and joyful. It doesn't know deceit.
In Chapter 3 of the Prodigal God, Keller states that Jesus redefines sin. It is not the legal definition of the Pharisees, nor is it the cultural definition of the rebels.
Sin is being on outs with God, unforgiving and unforgiven, not loving God.  Instead, we barter with God. Our intent is deceit. WE don't want to walk with God. We want to turn from Him as soon as possible. Either we endure His rules and regulations for a profit or we despise His rules and regulations for our own better way. Jesus teaches us that neither way leads to God, but instead tries to make our own salvation for us.
David gives two examples, the one who did not confess his sins as in Psalm 32:3 and the one who needs a bit and bridle; Psalm 32:9.
Keller quotes Flannery O'Connor from  Wise Blood. Hazel Motes states "the way to avoid Jesus is to avoid sin." What a knock out punch! How many of us subscribe to this notion? I haven't sinned today Lord so I don't really need You out in front. I'll save You for later, just in case. As if salvation is limited or only for those that need it or maybe we could just circumvent the whole sin thing and allow our own comfortable notions of self-salvation in the mix.
By Keller's examination, Jesus' definition of sin cuts against the grain. As Christians we know that we must do certain things. We must be good. We must not sin. We must obey God. WE end up with a boat-load of could'a, would'a, should'a's; a lot of knowing about God, inside knowing very little of Him.
In Micah 6:8 the Lord tells us all that we have to do and make our own salvation is not one of those things. We are to seek justice. This doesn't mean we go on a rampage against our own definition of the oppressor, but to actually consider God in our definition of justice. Jesus said let the one without sin cast the first stone. Condemnation is not what God asks of us, but justice in our own actions that we may seek His will for us and the others around us.
Micah goes on to say that we should love mercy. Again that is not to say our own mercy for others which is not true mercy, but that we should love to forgive as we also have been forgiven. In loving mercy we love God's ways, we seek His will, not our will. It is no credit to us that we forgive, but rather the glory, magic and joy are of God. We merely reflect His mercy for us.
Finally, in the rules that Micah sets before us, we are to walk humbly with the Lord our God. Neither brother in the story of the Prodigal Son is humble, or, for that matter, walking with God. One is rebellious and only humbles himself to return. The other is haughty and proud, demanding condemnation for the younger brother. His trust in his father revolves around a conviction of self-righteousness. "I have made this deal with you now see it through, Father. I have kept my end of the bargain." He does not love mercy.
David ends Psalm 32 with these words:
Many pains come to the wicked,
but the one who trusts in the Lord
will have faithful love surrounding him.
11 Be glad in the Lord and rejoice,
you righteous ones;
shout for joy,
all you upright in heart.

Micah too counsels us to trust in the Lord and walk with Him. In redefining sin, Keller teaches that we should trust in the Lord not our own ways.
Thanks for  reading, blessing and joy to you and Happy Thanksgiving.
Also posted in Ollie Mc Neil Devotions 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

First Few at NaNoWriMo

Before NaNoWriMo began this year, I read a few blogs. I liked what Victoria Grefer had to say about why not to try NaNoWriMo: Writing with the Crimson League and what Kristen Lamb said about going for it: Kristen Lamb's Blog
Here are a few thoughts about what’s happening. Many thanks to both bloggers sharing their experience and thoughtful advice.

Victoria Grefer tells us about not signing onto NaNo if we are too hard on ourselves or too worried about competing. I took her advice to heart and decided to continue anyway. The biggest hurdle for me in writing has been hating early drafts. My work seems so lousy in the beginning and I itch to go back and have a great first chapter, even if I don’t finish the work. Slowly, I have overcome this need to revise, but Victoria’s advice stuck with me in a positive way. I thought that maybe I could use NaNo to finally overcome this quirk and train myself to draft then re-draft at a later time and edit only as much as is critical to the plot and charters moving forward.
Victoria’s final word of advice is about feeling superior to others who don’t win. I loved this point, not because I am tempted to feel superior, but because NaNo is one of very few arenas where there are multiple winners and no real losers. If you go for it you essential win in your world. What I really appreciated is that Victoria cares about her writing world and the lives of those writers. She inherently knows that feeling superior is bad for all of us.

Kristen Lamb gives the other side. She compares NaNoWriMo to fitness camp for writers. What I particularly liked were her comments on endurance and mental fitness. Especially for some of us with limited schedules we must consider writing enough of a priority to move a few tasks around then we keep on writing. Thirty days has a limit, but it is long enough to keep us in the trenches so to speak. Eugene Peterson quotes Nietzsche in A Long Obedience in the Same Direction. This book about the Psalms of ascent looks at the discipline of living day to day as a Christian. In quoting Friedrich Nietzsche Petersen likens our lives to a beloved path and not a series of flighty missteps. I think Kristen says much the same thing about the discipline of writing. The short little burst of any discipline does not train inspire or endure and ceases to be discipline. She counsels us to us NaNo to train ourselves as writers to be the best we can be.

I have taken other advice. I’ve picked a time and stuck to it so far, aided greatly by daylight savings time. Also, I make myself stay at the computer even when my jumpy mind wants to go play with the dogs, make more coffee, or switch to taptiles (current game obsession.) Those are all treats for later as the daily word count hits 750, then 1200, and finally 2,000. Finally I refuse to be annoyed with myself for not being perfect.

Finally, where do those necessary re-writes fit in my schedule? I couldn't lose them altogether. I stumbled upon this option to edit my daily writing in the evening, with a glass of wine, a short nice relaxing read and time to think. This is much better than rewriting as I go. It sets up the next morning's work and helps make the horrid first draft not quite so drafty. I make notes on a big board of chapter outlines and character growth. We will see. If I like this method I plan to employ it for a few more books.

As always, thanks for reading.
More Later
Joy to you BEV
Also Posted at Writing Rogues