Tuesday, August 7, 2018

True Evangelism

   Two years ago, my family and I traveled up to Indianapolis over Memorial Day to visit family and attend the 100th running of the Indy 500. While my dad and I, along with various other family members, were walking up to the track, we passed a man holding a sign and shouting at everyone in line to get in that they were going to Hell. All I wanted to do was tell him to shut up. As I told my dad, "He's not helping us! He's just annoying people."
   The man at the Indy 500 isn't the only Christian whose evangelism methods are less than ideal. 

   Not all people handing out Christian tracts are this rude, but it still isn't a practice that's left me with a good feeling. I've been handed tracts myself a number of times. Every single time I get them, I throw them away, annoyed. By handing this out to someone, you're automatically implying that you think they're currently going to Hell. (Also, most tracts are worded kind of weird. "Have you ever lied? Stolen? Lusted? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are a sinner in need of redemption and are eligible for salvation. Call 1-800-JOHN-316 to get your free gift of salvation today." [Okay, I know they're not actually like that, but that's what they feel like.])
   The "if you don't repin this, you're denying Jesus" pins. The girls with Bible verses or other clear Christian references as their Twitter handle or their email. The people that post pictures of their daily devotions complete with highlights and coffee. The people who constantly post links to spiritual blog posts and quotes from a famous Christian theologian that makes you cringe every time you see their name. The Christian adventure books with dialogue like "So, do you know where you're going when you die?" before every dangerous situation. The cheesy Christian movies. If that's all people see of Christians, it's no wonder they think we're weird and annoying. Seriously, what kind of messages are we sending here? Do we really think we're reaching people with actions like these?
   A mantra every writer knows is "Show, Don't Tell." This is so true not only in writing, but in real life. Everything I've described above is Christians telling other people that they're Christians and everyone else needs to come to Jesus. And that's nice, and they have a good motive, but it's not usually that effective. Just as you won't draw people into your story if all you're doing is telling your readers, "Bob was angry, so he fought the man," you're probably not going to make people want to know about Jesus by just walking up and asking them if they know Jesus.
   I grew up on Michael W. Smith. On my favorite album of his, there's a song titled "Live the Life." Some of the first words he sings are these:

And when it's time to speak our faith
We use a language no one can explain
That's no longer good enough

And God knows it's a shame
'Cause if we look to pass the blame
We are not the worthy bearers of His name

For the world to know the truth
There can be no greater proof
Than to live the life, live the life

   It's not enough to just tell people about Jesus. If all they see us do is make people mad with fake money, shout at people they're going to Hell, and insult them, why would they listen to us when we try to tell them about Jesus? If we don't show love to others, why should they believe us when we tell them about God's love? Yes, trying to save somebody is an act of love, but firefighters don't curse at people while carrying them from the flames. They don't haul people out of fires by their feet kicking and screaming. If our actions annoy even other Christians, how do we expect to truly reach people?
   I think one of the main reasons this is a problem is because we're so worried about evangelism. We read Matthew 28:19 and are concerned we're not doing anything to spread the word of God so we freak out and hand out tracts and corner people in the grocery store to tell them about Jesus and make movies that are just messages with a side of cheesy story and even do really rude things like leave fake money tracts instead of tips and shout at everybody attending a race that they're going to Hell. We need to calm down, stop freaking out, and just live. If we're truly Christians, people will see Jesus in us. 
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. --Galatians 2:20
   I've had relatives apologize for using bad words and correct themselves to "gosh" after taking God's name in vain. One relative winced when his siblings cursed around us and tried to be very respectful of what we believe, even though we've never talked about our faith with him. People have accused me and my family for "judging" them over something they do that goes against our beliefs even though we've never said anything to them about it. More than once, I've been in situations where it's clear the other people know I'm Christian, and I'm just like, "I...didn't...say anything..." [Side note: I'm not trying to say I'm amazing or super spiritual; I just need examples and these are the handiest ones.]
   Don't get me wrong; I'm not saying never tell people about Jesus. But if all we're doing is telling people about Him and they can't see Him in us...there's a fundamental problem with us. They'll never listen to us if we have no credibility, and if we don't truly represent the God we are ambassadors of, we can't truly share Him with others.
   I'd just like to encourage everyone to stop trying to make sure everyone knows about Jesus and just try to live like Him. Tell about Him where the Holy Spirit prompts you, and just let Christ live in you. As Michael W. Smith said:

For the world to know the truth
There can be no greater proof
Than to live the life, live the life

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Men Prefer Girls Who Have Been Shut Up in a Basement Their Entire Life

*This is satire and should not be taken seriously*   

   Despite the fact that I am in fact female and am not a psychologist, I am definitely an authority on what guys like in women and how you should arrange your entire life to ensure catching one.
   Guys hate girls that go to college, because every single guy that might ask you out disagrees one hundred percent with every single college on the planet. When girls go to college, they learn things. Some of these things will be contrary to what every guy on the planet believes in, so girls should definitely never go to college, because disagreement between married couples in anything can lead to divorce, which is from Satan. Women are gullible, and whenever anybody tells them something is true, they believe it, which makes college especially dangerous for them. (It's perfectly okay for men to go to college. They're strong-minded and can never be swayed from any minor tenet of their beliefs which are already exactly correct at age eighteen.)
   A female with a job will never be dated. All women with jobs are feminist social justice warriors who hate men and love protesting, or something like that. Whatever the reason, I'm perfectly convinced that any woman who has a job will die alone or marry a godless Satan-worshiper who vaccinates his children and doesn't use essential oils. You could even end up married to a man who hasn't read I Kissed Dating Goodbye, God-breathed just like the rest of Scripture. Can you say #unequallyyoked?
   Also a big turn-off for guys are marks on the skin. Any female with marks on her skin is violating that verse in the Bible forbidding tattoos. Freckles? More like SATAN MARKS! God said not to put marks on your skin, so clearly you're violating the Bible here. True women have surgery to get freckles removed. To be honest, even tanned skin is kind of sketchy. It's not like you were born that way! To be safe, just stay in a dark room at all times to avoid any kind of Satan marks. The ideal women should have skin whiter than Snow White herself.
   All women know that the only thing worth doing in your life is getting married, so get out there and stay in your basement and let's do this thing! Guys will come flocking to your dad in no time.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

The Truth About Secession

   Secession. This subject tends to come around every once in a while, generally any time a state is especially mad at the federal government. It meets with varying degrees of approval depending on the person and the state proposing secession (I know we're all secretly hoping California will secede from the Union so we don't have to deal with them again). Most states have probably proposed secession at one time or another, Texas being among the most frequent. In the most recent posts about Texas secession, amidst the Texas pride that of course they can make it on their own and be super successful are the commentators shooting down the idea with the words "Of course they don't have any more right to secede than any other state does." By which they were trying to imply that they couldn't secede.
   The general populace seems to agree that states aren't allowed to secede from the Union, and whenever you try to ask them why, they say, "Well, it doesn't say they can in the Constitution." In fact, the general populace seems to agree that the US Constitution bans secession. Here, I'd like to examine the arguments against secession and determine whether or not they are valid.

Argument #1: This issue has already been decided by the Civil War. That's why the North fought the South.
   This is one of the weakest arguments. If you examine source documents, for quite a few months after the Southern states proposed secession, everyone in the North was in favor of their power to do so, and indeed, wished them well. Virginia didn't even consider seceding until the Federal government grossly violated the Constitution by sending armed troops to invade their state, an action expressly prohibited in the US Constitution. True, the Supreme Court decided that the South's secession had been "definitely and forever overthrown" by the Civil War, but outcomes forced by military action are a far cry from actions examined by a court and declared unconstitutional. The British Empire tried to forcibly keep many of their colonies from leaving, and yet nobody doubts the validity of the United States or India as nations. Military actions cannot decide legal precedents. Also, many scholars claim that the Civil War was fought over slavery or the Morril Tariff, so universally deciding that this issue has been decided by the Civil War is impossible. 

Argument #2: The Articles of Confederation ban secession, and they weren't actually expressly repealed, so they're still in effect.
   We all know the story of the US Constitution. They got up a convention to fix the Articles of Confederation, but ended up replacing it completely, the key word here being replace. No, the words, "The Articles of Confederation are hereby repealed" are not in the US Constitution. But that doesn't mean they weren't repealed in it. Indeed, the Constitution does repeal the Articles of Confederation: "This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land". The Articles of Confederation are not laws, nor are they a treaty, and therefore are not counted as the supreme Law of the Land according to this clause. Whatever the Articles of Confederation meant by "perpetual Union" is irrelevant since they are not legally binding today.

Argument #3: Article 1 Section 10 of the US Constitution states that "No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation", thereby banning secession.
   Abraham Lincoln used this argument to claim the government of the Confederate States of America was invalid. If the Southern states had entered into this confederation without seceding, indeed he would have been right. But this clause only applies to states actually in the Union, and the Southern states did not consider themselves part of the United States of America once they had voted for secession. The validity of Abraham Lincoln's argument about the CSA's government hinges upon whether the states were truly not part of the Union anymore. This question cannot be decided by this clause.

Argument #4: The Fourteenth Amendment implicitly bans secession.
   This is the hardest to refute since words can "imply" anything, and implications tend to be a matter of opinion. This being said, the only reference to states in the Fourteenth Amendment is to ban states already in the Union from denying their civilians freedoms guaranteed by the US Constitution or supporting laws and does not touch on the actions of states as collective entities.

Argument #5: Six former Confederate states banned secession in their state constitutions.
   Those state constitutions were made under duress and could easily be considered voidable. Also, state constitutions are very easily amended. Furthermore, this is a ban on a state level, not a federal level, and cannot be enforced or viewed as such. Several states also have official religions and languages, which the federal government is banned from doing. 

Argument #6: The Pledge of Allegiance states that the United States is "one nation, indivisible." The word "indivisible" means cannot be divided, and so secession is banned by the Pledge of Allegiance.
   This is about the worst argument of the bunch. The Pledge of Allegiance is not legally binding and simply exists to inspire patriotism. It is considered by Congress to be a national symbol, on the level of the National Anthem and the bald eagle. 

   So secession is nowhere expressly or implicitly banned. But are arguments for the legality of secession simply arguments from silence? Not quite. I submit two pieces of evidence: one from the Declaration of Independence and one from the US Constitution.
   "That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,--That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government,....it is their right, it is their duty to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security."
   "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."
   I could submit further arguments, such as the fact that Virginia, Rhode Island, and New York ratified the US Constitution solely on the condition of explicitly retaining the right to secede, and the US government acknowledging that also acknowledges the power of any state to secede. However, I believe that this is enough. Secession is nowhere banned by the US Constitution, so, pursuant to the Tenth Amendment, that power is reserved to the States, or to the people. This isn't even a radical idea. Ireland seceded. Scotland has full power to, but voted not to. Britain is leaving the EU. Puerto Rico has the power to become an independent country, they just keep voting against it. The United States seceded from the UK. Our states only became states by voting to accept the US Constitution (which is why Delaware is the first state). All a state would have to do to secede would be to vote in its state legislature to reject it. This isn't actually a hard issue and it shouldn't be. 
   So, if California really wants to leave the Union (pretty please?) or Texas sincerely thinks they can make it on their own, go ahead. They have the power and the right to leave the Union. It's how our nation was founded, after all.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Thirteen statements from the United States (The Declaration of Independence by Google Translate)

   I'm a big fan of Malinda Kathleen Reese's Google Translate videos, and, in honor of Independence Day, I decided to send the Declaration of Independence through many different languages in Google Translate and see what came out. Enjoy!

   July 4, 1776, in parliament.
   However, in the suit that the event supposed to separate the bonds of some of the political characters between them seems to be separate from the station deserves another opinion of the earth, in the nature of the natural forces, US Congress, which has been confirmed. This type of program can only be displayed. .
   All human beings, including the search for freedom and equal rights of creators from certain felicitas.- to ensure this right. Try this truth clearly so that the government provides people with the approval of the power of observation and design, the self - not, the people, the government, the end of harm to form edited or deleted, it is theoretically included in the new auto mode in a database, every time the power has access to safety, it is fun, they have to be affected. The previous system of injury history, which is the current history of King Grandbituuzo ball, must meet all the requirements for the torture of this situation in full. Prove that, in reality it will be presented in the same world.
   He abandoned consent in October, but most importantly, it was very important for the community.
   In order to delay the submission of a case before Adoption of an individual, the law is linked to a quick and essential basis for Adoption administrators. They have been suspended, will not be able to cure.
   He encouraged large people, but only the right of presentation on the market and in the Congress, there was no need to pass the law on human will and the poor matrix.
   Organizations are called laws, damage to the population and the loss of a common control of public policy, not paying fidelity.
   A typical room bouts heavy legal lawn of troops.
   However, it is after a disaster, a long time, does not want to choose people. God's law, the power of God always exists. Because it can not be said, because, as a rule, it will return to people to practice. the threat of time for all attacks from overseas remains, that is, there is a pond.
   He is not in any way trying to make the population invisible to the public. Foreign citizenship law to encourage foreign naturalization due to cultivate new land, forgotten creation drugihov.
   Perfect justice has been beaten, refused to accept legal position in order to establish manageable authority.
   In order to determine the desire, the zodiac Quorum and the paid wages that are able to maintain.
   Need to, established a new office, we do a lot of ministers of the wild goats here.
   At the time of the pirates, this constant field was occupied among us without the consent of the military. Neptatuhaan because of its electrical transmission, in addition to the law of its external authority from the government or civilian, the shift can be attributed to other rights, for example, we have learned. so-called law of the contract of action:
   Our army is a good neighbor:
   In order to protect them against malpractice, patent protection should apply to older people:
   Worldwide we have damaged our business:
   Unauthorized taxes
   In many cases, the jury limits the test facility:
   We will try to let them take them out of the ocean
   Administrative law is an example of ridicule with the free English system and any maximum limit as a means of entering the same network of colonialism:
   Take your word and clear the most famous laws and changes based on our leadership:
   Take a legislative meeting and report your investments in all areas.
   He condemned the government, announced and instructed state insurance.
   Destroy our ocean, destroy our enemies, burn our city and destroy our lives
   Our citizens are armed weapons against states with a harbor who take friends or brothers or fall into their hands.
internal confrontations between us representing our people Savile Savages Indian, a familiar war for all ages, sexual destruction, and undesirable circumstances.
   The following conditions apply at all levels of this discount: Requirements are repeated only on frequency. The character of the prince is characterized by all the features that can be freely identified and are not equal to the loyal masters.
   Do we want to ignore British demolition? From time to time we draw attention to unacceptable claims. Here we remember the immigration situation and the decision. We have emphasized the right administration, justice and the elimination of our age for young adults, which will lead to our relationship and correspondence. They are deaf to the words of justice and expertise. That is why we must recognize the need to divide ourselves and the declaration if we continue to overcome peace, war and enemy peace.
   The implementation of the British Crown as part of global disarmament and the ending of the national and political solidarity of the United Kingdom as a free and independent state can fulfill all the other tasks and the ability of the last generation to fight and peace and persecution of the Treaty and the establishment of exchanges or not. This hypermetropic statement has a strong defense for the weekend, which means we all believe in the fate of Lakeahna and St. Anagaotna.

For reference, here is the original text:
   In Congress, July 4, 1776.
   The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America, When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
   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.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But 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.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. 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. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
   He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
   He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
   He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
   He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
   He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
   He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
   He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
   He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
   He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
   He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
   He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
   He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
   He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
   For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
   For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
   For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
   For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
   For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
   For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
   For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
   For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
   For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
   He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
   He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
   He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
   He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
   He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
   In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. 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.
   Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
   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 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; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Just Chill

   North Korea. Russian collusion. ISIS. Trump. Blue wave. Red wave. Gay rights. Anthony Kennedy retiring.
   Please stop hyperventilating. I swear everything is going to be all right.
   2016, was, admittedly, not a pleasant year. But 2017 wasn't the worst year on the planet. America is not dying. We are not in the worst nation on the planet. Nobody is going to be rounded up into American concentration camps. Nobody is purposefully plotting to take your rights away. Nobody cares what ethnicity you are. The Republicans are not a bunch of Nazis. The Democrats are not a bunch of Nazis.
   The Antichrist is not on this world (just because someone's sinful doesn't make them Satan, guys). There aren't more earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, wars, rumors of wars, and people starving than in times past. We just don't have worldwide records of times past. The world is not more sinful than it has been before (and please don't start talking about homosexuals or abortion, it's all been around longer than Israel was a nation the first time around). Say it with me slowly: THE WORLD IS NOT ENDING.
   Is the world messed up? Yes, but no more than it has been for the six thousand years it's been hanging around. Is America a paradise? No, but we're never going to live in heaven on earth, so why are we all freaking out? We're not going to die, your "enemies" don't hate your guts, nobody is going to take your rights away, and you don't live in the next Nazi Germany. So please stop moaning and hyperventilating and mourning the death of your country and just breathe. You're going to be fine. I promise.
   And maybe, just maybe, America is doing better than you think. It's worth a thought.
   So please, and I mean this with all the compassion in my heart:

Via Pinterest

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Why "Save-the-World" Stories Are Usually Boring

   In all this craze of superhero movies, most of the movies we see nowadays are about saving the world. In fact, many, many, many books, movies, and TV shows are about this very subject: Lord of the Rings, Makilien Trilogy, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1 & 2, Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Avengers: Infinity War, Thor: Ragnarok, Iron Man, Thor: The Dark World, The War of the Worlds, Independence DayStar Wars, Doctor Who: the Movie, Tomorrow Land, Harry Potter, Superman, Dreamlander, Armageddon, War Games (and almost every other Cold War movie), the Lunar Chronicles, the Ilyon Chronicles, Batman Begins, 24, Star Trek IV, Raiders of the Lost Ark, about half of the books in the Fantasy genre, and of course, many, many more. With all the diversity of fiction on this list, what is the most common theme between all save-the-world stories?
   Most of them are boring.
   Why, though? Shouldn't saving the world be something we all care about? After all, every one of us lives in the world. It should be the ultimate relatable story.
   Far from being the ultimate relatable story, however, save-the-world stories are often the ultimate unrelatable story. After all, few if none of us have ever been in a position where the entire world is in danger. All of us, however, have probably been in a situation where our country was in considerable danger, which marks the big difference between save-the-country stories and save-the-world stories.
   It's very easy to understand why a protagonist would want to save his country: because he loves it (or because he lives in it; you know, practicality and all that). Though there are some people that do not love their country, I'm willing to bet there are many more that do. Most protagonists of save-the-country stories attempt to save their country because they love it, they live in it, they desire to defend their home, or they just don't want them and their family or friends to die. Very relatable.
   However, most protagonists of save-the-world stories attempt to save the world "because it's the right thing to do."
   Excuse me?
   Exactly how many times have you done something simply because "it was the right thing to do"? That's right. Never. Even Christians don't do the right thing because "it's the right thing to do," but because we love the Lord. Right for right's sake has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with it.
   This is why, even though I love Captain America, a lot of people think he's boring. Because everything he does is because it's "the right thing to do." (I contend that he does the right thing not for the sole virtue of "the Right", but because he loves freedom and his country and despises bullies, but that's neither here nor there.) Contrast this with the Guardians of the Galaxy:

   Guardians of the Galaxy was far from boring. In fact, it was wildly successful beyond Marvel's biggest expectations. There are many reasons for this, but one of them is definitely because someone was finally saving the galaxy for a relatable reason.
   **Spoilers for Avengers: Infinity War ahead**
   Avengers: Infinity War is pretty much the ultimate save-the-world story. Thanos wants to destroy half the population of the universe and the universe's mightiest heroes do their level best. Yet none of the characters, superheroes no less, seem to be doing it because "it's the right thing to do." Thor tries to stop Thanos because Thanos murdered every one of his people (including his brother). Bruce Banner joins the fight to stop Thanos because he witnessed the murder of the Asgardian people and can't stand that happening to Earth. Tony Stark, Dr. Strange, and Spider-Man try to stop Thanos because their city is attacked by a giant alien spaceship. The Guardians try to stop Thanos because he's committed planet-wide murder in their galaxy for a long time, he's the stepfather of Gamora and she's learned all his plans, they came across the murder of the Asgardians and realized Thanos is fianlly trying to murder half the galaxy, and they have a healthy wish to not die.
   So if you want to write a save the world story people will actually care about...
   Make. It. Personal.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Dagger's Sleep Review and Interview of Tricia Mingerink

About the Book
A prince cursed to sleep.
A princess destined to wake him.
A kingdom determined to stop them.
High Prince Alexander has been cursed to a sleep like unto death, a curse that will end the line of the high kings and send the Seven Kingdoms of Tallahatchia into chaos. With his manservant to carry his luggage and his own superior intelligence to aid him, Alex sets off to find one of the Fae and end his curse one way or another.
A hundred years later, Princess Rosanna learns she is the princess destined by the Highest King to wake the legendary sleeping prince. With the help of the mysterious Daemyn Rand, can she find the courage to finish the quest as Tallahatchia wavers on the edge of war?
One curse connects them. A hundred years separate them. From the rushing rivers of Tallahatchia’s mountains to the hall of the Highest King himself, their quests will demand sacrifices neither of them could imagine.

   My review  
 This book is so amazing! First of all, what a refresher to find a fantasy world not based on medieval Europe! I absolutely loved the native American feel to it and the settings. Seriously, all the canoes and stuff...wow. And when I say the princess can paddle her own canoe, I mean it quite literally. :)
   The characters, of course, are amazing, though since I couldn't spend as much time with them as with the Acktarian characters, I didn't fall quite as much in love with them. Daemyn and Alexander are both lovable, but they're not as adorable as Leith.
   I just loved the way the fairies were done. There's something about the way most fairies are done in stories that I just don't like, and that wasn't present here. It seemed so believable and real and like it actually fit in with the world.
   Even more amazing was the allegory. Seriously, I don't know if I've seen a more beautiful allegory. I can't go into details, but it was so beautiful.
   This book was seriously amazing and everyone needs to read it. The lessons and the themes, the characters, the settings, and of course, the amazing allegory all make it so worth it. I can't wait to spend more time in this world. (Of course, I will always be a little peeved I shipped the wrong ship, but oh well. I can't have everything, I guess.)

I also had the privilege of asking Tricia a couple questions. Check it out!

Who is your favorite fictional character (your own don’t count)?
This is a really hard question! It is really, really hard to choose. There are SO many characters that I’ve loved throughout the years. I think it might be Halt from Ranger's Apprentice. Or maybe Will's horse Tug. Really, why do I only have to pick one favorite character????
Ha, I get your struggle. I do love Tug. 

What is your favorite fairy tale?
Beauty and the Beast. I was obsessed with that fairy tale when I was growing up. I rewatched the Disney cartoon all the time and read all the different picture books and fairy tale versions of it I could get my hands on. My grandparents gave me an illustrated fairy tale book and I was so excited when not only was Beauty and the Beast the first story, it was also the one they used for the cover art.
That's one of my favorites, too! 

Marvel or DC (and please don’t say “neither” or “both”)?
Marvel. I tend to like action movies that are balanced out with a good deal of witty humor and not too dark, so that’s why I’ve always liked Marvel better. Though I’m really hoping they aren’t starting to go darker with the latest couple of movies…
 I'm not sure it's possible for Marvel to go completely dark, given their obsessive love of quips.

What piece of writing advice has helped you the most?
That would probably be the advice I got from my 7th through 9th grade English teacher who told me writing was a series of baby steps. You don’t have to worry about trying to master it all at once. Start slow and work on mastering the next step.
That's really great advice!

How does it feel to be known as an evil author?
Ha, ha. As long as that is always said fondly, I don’t mind. 
And we couldn't say it any other way but fondly. Though I'll never completely forgive you for the cliffhanger at the end of Deny.

About the Author
Tricia Mingerink is a twenty-something, book-loving, horse-riding country girl. She lives in Michigan with her family and their pack of pets. When she isn't writing, she can be found pursuing backwoods adventures across the country.
You can connect with her on Facebook, Pinterest, Goodreads, Twitter, Instagram, and her blog.

About the Book:
Freedom begins with finding the truth.
Amidst the turmoil caused by Smyth’s arrest, Celeste is stuck in limbo, stripped of her citizenship, with no choice but to flee to a peaceful Kyraenean hideaway with the tumultuous Amaya Mason.
When bounty hunters threaten the local orphanage, Celeste and Amaya must work together and fight. Even if it means risking what they cherish the most.
His plans in tatters, his career in jeopardy, Mick Haynes is forced to leave Kyraenea with the enigmatic Torrance Kyle, the agent he still can’t trust.
Torrance is good at lying, and even better at hiding his pain, but is he strong enough to deal with the consequences of betraying his own father?
Can Celeste accept the truth, accept her place in the Haynes family or will lies chain her to the past and destroy her chance at a new life?

Dissociate is available for sale on Amazon here. The first two books in the series Disowned and Dissemble are also available on Amazon.

About the Author:

Sarah Addison-Fox is a New Zealand-born home-schooling mother of two who loves action-packed fantasy with strong heroines. She has an astonishing amount of nail polish, has all her creative writing credentials shoved in a drawer somewhere, and has a husband who, after 27 years, can still make her blush. When she’s not working on her Christian YA fantasy series',  she can be found fangirling on Goodreads or sending GIFs on Twitter.

To celebrate the release of Dissociate and Dagger’s Sleep, Sarah Addison-Fox and Tricia Mingerink are hosting a day-long Facebook Festival. There will be plenty of games and giveaways, not to mention Serena Chase, author of the Eyes of E’veria series, will be the guest of honor. It’s a party you won’t want to miss! You’ll be able to stop by any time during the day to join the fun, no matter what time zone you live in!

Link to the Facebook Festival: https://www.facebook.com/events/244246872802075/

Sarah Addison-Fox and Tricia Mingerink are each hosting a giveaway for their books for the blog tour.

Sarah Addison-Fox is giving away a paperback set of the first three books in the Allegiance Series. The giveaway is open internationally where such giveaways are permitted and where Createspace ships. The books may or may not be signed depending on where the winner lives.

Tricia Mingerink is giving away a paperback of Dagger’s Sleep. The giveaway is open internationally where such giveaways are permitted and where Createspace or the Book Depository ships. The book may or may not be signed depending on where the winner lives.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Tour Schedule
Tuesday – May 22
Laura Grace – Author Interview
Reading Anyone – Book Review
Jaye L Knight – Book Spotlight
Quirky Faith – Book Reviews and Author Interview

Wednesday – May 23
Allyson Kennedy – Author Interview
Sam H. – Book Review
Addyson Huneke - Book Review and Author Interview
Ivie Brooks - Book Reviews

Thursday – May 24
Shantelle Mary - Book Review and Book Spotlight
Brie Donning - Book Review and Multi-Character Interview
Blooming with Books - Book Review and Author Interview
Julian Daventry - Book Review and Author Interview

Friday – May 25
Faith Thompson - Book Reviews and Author Interview
Hannah Gaudette - Author Interview
CM Williams - Book Review
Chloe Parker - Book Reviews

Saturday – May 26
JM Christian - Book Review and Multi-Character Interview
Abigail McKenna - Book Reviews
Liv Fisher - Author Interview
Book Wolf - Book Reviews and Author Interview
Liz Koetsier – Book Spotlight

Monday – May 28
Jessica Dowell - Book Review and Author Interview
Lila Kims - Book Reviews
Marie Elrich - Book Reviews
Faith Potts - Book Review and Book Spotlight

Facebook Festival begins 5PM EST May 24th through 9PM EST May 25th with special guest Serena Chase