Saturday, March 30, 2013

No Longer Celebrating Ish-

I mean Easter. Sorry, almost made the typical modern American mistake of calling it by the name of the goddess the original festival is named for.
What am I talking about? The same "Christian" thingamabobber that kids in church are raised up on. You know, Easter bunny, colored eggs, egg hunts, blah, blah, blah.
As a kid, there was something strange about Easter to me: the eggs, bunny, hunt, treats did not make sense to me when put into context with the Bible.
At all.
In college, I would hear about how Babylon had its own city-official religion, simply called the "Babylonian religion," and of the myriads of gods and goddesses it had worshipped, the goddess of fertility (yep, meaning sex, and plenty of kids) was known as Ishtar. Linguistically, my mind began to notice that Ishtar did have an eerily similar ring to "Easter" yet it wouldn't be the only thing I would find out.
How was the Easter festival in Babylon like? No egg hunts. Nothing childish. For the goddess of fertility, nothing but sex, and in full view.
There was a recent episode of World's Worst Tenants I had seen on TV where a tenant was being warned through their landlord's client that they could not be having sex in full view of the place they lived in. In other words, they were having sex on the balcony. Crazy thing was, the lady claimed to have a fetish where she got sexually crazy by not having it be in privacy. Strange world we live in, huh? But during Easter in Babylon, that really was how it was like- and it was mandatory. And, no, it was not strictly one woman with one man. It was anyone with anyone, not strictly one partner. But, just like many of the stories of the Bible that we've watered-down so they would not be offensive to unbelievers and kids, Easter itself was watered-down to be kid-friendly. But now, after years of research dealing with the festival, the traditions, and comparing it all to the Resurrection, I can say, for sure, that there is nothing about Easter that's connectable to the Resurrection.
And, remember, just because the women who came to give the corpse of Yeshua in the tomb some perfume mistook Yeshua for the gardener does not mean that He was petting a little bunny. That doesn't count for justification. I choose to celebrate His Rising, not a symbol of Ishtar's debaucherous festival.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Winter Sparrow by Estevan Vega: A Review

Have you ever felt out of place, like you don't belong or, worse, like you're unlovable? If so, you could place yourself in Mary's shoes. She's getting ready to get married to Joshua, an architect. Mary, a painter, can see inspiration on many fronts, but it's not always getting that inspiration, especially after a tragedy happened when she was a little younger in high school. Before getting married, Joshua shows Mary the mansion he's inherited and will live with Mary when married.
While exploring the run-down areas and wings, she sees the one area that gives her hope of a good life, an exquisitely, elegant, and unbelievably beautiful garden (with Estevan's powerful word smithing skills, I can imagine it, and my jaw dropped at the imagery). Yet, while there, she spots a tree in the courtyard with a single word carved into its bark, and something about it, Mary doesn't know what, bothers her on a level she doesn't comprehend, then she sees something strange, if not a little unsettling.
This will be the start of strange things that happen to Mary while she's married to Joshua.
Though Estevan's a powerful Christian writer, he doesn't abide by today's standards of Christian fiction writing, so this is not a light read, there are parts that are hard to fathom, some of the pain described, some of the circumstances that are just out there. And even a brief conversation between Mary and her little sister that implies hypocrisy. Yet it gets weirder, as it seems anything with Estevan's writing does, only, as much as I've read from him, this definitely took things to a new level of weird, yet, by the end of the story, I understood what was going on and why he wrote it the way he did. A beautiful, unsettling, dark, at times humorous, at times harrowing, frightful tale about how true love (not the tainted, flat portrayal in Hollywood films today) looks like no matter the consequence, and the end of it, with some hindsight, makes complete sense to me about what's going on, making it feel more true-to-life than a dark fantasy novellum.
I imagine, if this isn't Estevan's stride, that he will hit his stride and craft a masterpiece that will drop my jaw very effectively, even better than the beautiful garden of Joshua's estate.
Also, it makes me wonder if there could be a potential sequel in the works..?

Slow inspiration

There's a recently new Dell commercial, featuring a man who goes on a train at a specific time every day he goes to work. He goes early to find inspiration for a comic book (maybe graphic novel) he draws in. The narrator is right about something when it comes to one's inspiration, and using him with it: "Sometimes, inspiration comes slowly."
Stephen King would know. In his book The Waste Lands, he has Roland Deschain constantly referring to when he beat his mentor, Cort, in a duel, to prove he had the merit to be a gunslinger. In the book's timeline, sixteen hours after defeating Cort, Roland goes to bed with a hooker. In the afterword in his next book in that series, Wizard and Glass, Stephen reveals that, though it was only sixteen hours difference in the storyline, it took him 26 YEARS to finally think of a way to bridge the events and the courage to write it down. Yep, inspiration came quite slowly for him, but he finally got it and wrote it down.
And now, 36 years after releasing one of his fan-favorite books, The Shining, he is giving his fans what they've been waiting for all these decades afterward (and that book was released a decade before I was born!), a sequel called
Though it has been quite some time, inspiration had come to Stephen, through multiple inspirations over time.

Personally, I know the feeling of inspiration being slow. To date, I have been inspired to think of over 100 stories, some have taken a long time to get inspired, others took just a quick thought. So, remember, if you think there will be nothing to inspire you to do something that's not considered "mundane," don't give up, inspiration can be slow, but, as God constantly reminds me through inspiration, it will come.