The First Flap

Though I don’t yet have a specific date, the next book in the Anointed trilogy (it seems to require a name of some sort to qualify it as a trilogy, if for no other reason than to amuse me and my publisher), Flutter: An Epic of Mass Distraction, will be in stores in spring of 2011.  It still seems a long way off, but that’s the process, and I have no choice but to wait it out, nervously tapping away as the editorial process ensues, as characters and plot lines are dissected, as event dates are put together, and as the reviews and blurbs trickle in.  In the meantime, however, the preliminary jacket art is in, and I can’t help but feel like it’s headed in the right direction.

The subtitle is yet to be added.

No telling where it’ll wind up, but it definitely represents the theme of the book well.  I’ll post the changes as they are made.  Feel free to drop in your thoughts.

——–

“Bishop” Eddie Long.

Who made him a Bishop, anyway?

He made his first public statements regarding the sexual misconduct charges Sunday morning, at 8am, from the pulpit.  The mere fact that his first statements to the charges were delivered from the pulpit is more telling than anything he said.  How better to draw further attention to the “church” and bolster its reach than to have the media in attendance, broadcasting your (lack of) denial, while thousands of followers scream and holler and praise JeebusAlmighty.  It was a circus.  It was exactly right for what he is.  If you read the transcript, it’s quite obvious from the outset that he’s proud of the attention–the opportunity even–that this scandal has brought his church.

“Good morning New Birth. And good morning to all our other guests.

And I would be remiss not to say good morning to the world.

You all may be seated in the presence of the Lord.

I do want to remind folk that we’re here at 8 every Sunday morning. Every Sunday morning.

And I’ll be here next week.”

The other bit that struck me was, fittingly, at the end of his presentation:

“Please hear this. Please hear this: I’ve been accused. I’m under attack. I want you to know, as I said earlier, I am not a perfect man. But this thing I’m gon’ fight.

And I want you to to know one other thing. I feel like David against Goliath, but I’ve got five rocks and I haven’t thrown one yet.”

He never denies the accusations.  He never defends his actions.  He simply states that it is a hard time for him, that he’s been accused, and that he–the pastor of a mega-church–feels like David, fighting for his life against the giant, Goliath.  I believe he may have that bit backwards, however.  These young men, whether honest or deceitful, are not Goliath.  The man who deemed himself anointed by God, the “Bishop” of 25,000 people willing to put money on his name, the person that is as much a politician of faith as he is an admitted multi-national corporation, stands with far more might, and far more capable defense than young men, who are armed with nothing more than accusations, and a date in court.

—–

From the shelves of the departed Wordsmiths Books vault, I leave you with a video of the Harry Potter cover band, Draco & the Malfoys.  They were one of a few who passed through, and one of my favorites (though the Remus Lupins are right there as well).  Their performance–with the rest of the gang that day for Wizard Rock–ranks as one of my favorite memories.  If you are a Potter-head, and haven’t heard these guys, then by all means, give them a listen.

Touched by the Long hand of God

You’ve all heard this one already, so I’m not going to tread over ground that’s already been flown around the world, massaged, and molested.  But the facts are the facts (at least the facts that are being reported): Eddie Long, Pastor of the Atlanta-based mega-church, New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, has been accused of sexual misconduct by multiple teenage boys.  The charges imply that Long coerced the young boys into sexual relationships, and…this is where I just add, yadda yadda yadda, because what more is there to say?  Then I say, “Of course, these are simply allegations, and Justice is Blind, and ants can’t carry celery, and stuff,” which is meant to pacify you into believing that I haven’t already prejudged the pervert.

If it didn’t work, then maybe you should eat more celery.

There are many issues at play here, not the least of which is the idea that a professed man of God, who has marched against homosexuality, is accused of homosexual acts with underage boys.  I can’t gloss that one over.  There’s also the fact that we have, in Pastor Eddie Long, a man who has accumulated vast amounts of wealth, and assets, from people who are offering their very wallet’s end, simply to give unto the God they believe in.  This man, who has been quoted as saying, You’ve got to put me on a different scale than the little black preacher sitting over there that’s supposed to be just getting by because the people are suffering,” has bilked these people of their meager earnings, and has done so with a sense of purpose and divine right that even the one he supposedly speaks on behalf of–that Jesus fella–did not.

Jesus wore sandals.  Just sayin’.

Eddie Long also offered up a quote that completely justified Anointed, for which I am eternally grateful. Behold:

“We’re not just a church, we’re an international corporation.”

Ah…it just smells like redemption.  I may have missed the boat.  The Christ Corporation should have replaced Timmy Christ with a handsy black preacher-man.  Oh, well.  There’s more writing yet to be had.

Is there anyone else that finds this a little creepy, in retrospect?

But, for me, the real issue is that Bishop Pastor Molester Man Eddie Long has now–whether guilty or not–joined the long line of evangelists, who preach, and thrive financially from, the supposed Word of God that they cannot possibly, or are not capable of, believing in themselves. And in doing so, he has further alienated Christianity from those who are either agnostic, atheist, or simply wavering in between.  Yes, I’ve heard countless times already that he is but one voice amongst millions.  But he is one very prominent, and visible, one.  Much like Falwell, or Graham, or Hagee, or Mr. Toothy Shine, Joel O’steen.  He is the Tom Brady, the Barry Bonds, the Kobe Bryant, or any member of Congress, of Christianity.  He is to be held at a higher standard, whether he–or you–likes it or not.  Such is our culture.  And when you have something as virulent as religion, especially one that loves to jam itself into your personal space in order to share a message you might not have even asked for, you get emotional reactions that ultimately define lives.

We look to those who have succeeded, as possible glimpses of what we can be.  Likewise, we also look at those who have succeeded, where we believe they should not have, and scrutinize their acts, analyze their words, and fill the webber-nuts up with blogs, updates, and posts about how much we disagree with them.  This is natural.  This is human.  And this is what Eddie Long, and his misbehaving band of Christians, has done: He is the nail in coffin for many, many, people who were on the fence about Prince Jeebus.  He has removed any desire that they might have had to possibly give Christianity a chance.  If they were in the back seat of the car, listening to the debate up front, they opened the door and jumped.  Is this right?  Is this fair to the entirety of a religion?  Well, hell no, but it’s reality.  Unfair stuff happens all the time.  I think that might have been omitted from the Bible, but I’m sure God would like you to know.  Shit happens, and we have to deal with it.

Christianity has to deal with this.  I don’t.  It just gives me more to write about.  And what Christians around the world should take from this simple statement, is this: Back off.  Let people find their way.  Let go of the notion that you are some holy crusade to bring people to God (and it’s important to note that the word, ‘crusade,’ has some links to The Crusades that you might want to be familiar with).  And for God’s sake–no really, He’s getting a little miffed–quit giving life to mega-church evangelical poopyheads (that was for you B).  You want people to respect you as a faith, and look to you for guidance, and perhaps even walk alongside you?  Then don’t feed the pandas.  They will eat you.

I remember watching this movie and thinking, “This is why religion sucks.”  The video’s a little wonky at first, but evens out.  For some reason, I can’t seem to find a better one.  Hmmmmm.

Imaging Googe

Here’s the Googe image I referenced in a previous blog. Thanks to the ever vigilant Katie Moss for taking five seconds of her time to locate it for me.

It’s the simple joys in life…

Speaking of simple joys, I have somehow, over my time, managed to completely miss out on Chick Publications, which is not at all what it presents itself as.  There are certainly no chicks to be found on this site at all, which is always a bit of a sad, if you ask me.  But the chick-less nature of Chick aside, it’s an utter win to find a piece of religion that so insists that you pay it heed.  Apparently, as I am told, this Jack T. Chick person created these books–slightly more than a comic, I guess, but far less than Superman can offer me in such a short blast–that are handed out at various religious functions, on street corners, or at the Gap, if it’s a particularly slow day.

There are quite a few to browse through, or buy, if you’re in a festive mood.  I’m collecting the whole set.  They’ve presented me with a Michael Corleone moment.  I thought I’d finish up with Flutter, and leave Timothy, and gang, be after that, but they’re pulling me back in.

Here’s a little peek into the glory of Chick Tracts:

He has a Little Black Book, has he? Hmmm...must be quite the dater.

Ahh! Zombies! Oh, wait, never mind...they're flying away.

Fire, fire, fire! Hey...who's getting married? Jeebus?

Is it just me, or does the Beast look like Rob Zombie? I didn't know he had an army.

A thousand years? Awww...I can't wait that long! Mom, why doesn't God have a face?

The End?

Anyway, I have a new love.  Chick(less) Tracts are basically going to be responsible for a few more devil fiction books that I had no idea I absolutely had to write.  A lesson to all writers: Inspiration is everywhere.

Mah Birfday

Today is my birthday, or, as some have called it, the anniversary of my birth.  I don’t really care how you spin it, as long as it involves cake.

It needs to involve pizza, if at all possible, as well, though a good run through at a Hibachi joint will serve as a nice substitute, if necessary (and it’s generally superfineok with me if it is).

So, what, pray tell, do I want for my birthday?  Well, I did find seasons two and three of Six Feet Under on sale, so that’s an easy Win.  I was gifted the first two seasons of Dexter, so that’s Win number two.  Hibachi?  Check.  Cake? Check…and, check, actually (Win, Win).  Tasty Coffee? Archer Farms Fudge Brownie, with Bailey’s Irish Creamer (not Bailey’s itself I am sad to say), check, and Win.  75, ooo 7th Day Adventists? Chec…wait, what?

In honor of all that I am likely to do wrong over the next ten days, and because this is my damn blog, and I can write whatever I damn well please, I would like to say that there is no greater gift on my birthday, than this:

59th General Conference Session

(I have no idea who this guy is, but I hope I get to sell him a copy of my book)

3468625879_9457578da5_m.jpg

A General Conference Session is a unique occasion. There is no moment in the life of the Church which demonstrates so vividly–so tangibly–the extraordinary way God’s Spirit is moving among us. And so I’m delighted to invite your presence and participation at the 59th Session of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, in Atlanta, Georgia, June 23 –July 3, 2010.
Now, I do have a job to protect, so I have some boundaries, but when you have someone tell you that you shouldn’t sell books on Vampires because it is an affront to God (sadly this wasn’t said to me, or I probably would have hissed, and bitten her), it evokes a certain need to speak your mind.  Of course, on the heels of my blog about Jesus slaying vampires, I’d say that, in relation to Vampires, the Christians have very little to be worried over.  I mean, zombies, or werewolves, or emo-goth-punk-hipsters of the FU I’m Texting Generation, are far more threatening at this point.  Frankly, I think the Second Coming is on delay while Jesus polishes his skills a la Neo and the Matrix, and catches up on South Park episodes involving the Goth Gang, but the next ten days may teach me otherwise.
Also–and as a serviceable farewell for the moment–I’d like to leave you with the opening paragraph of the worst book ever written, Apocalypse South, by Kyle Watson.  If you haven’t ever read this book, do it now.  Buy it used, and read it immediately.  This is complete, and unedited by these hands.  Frankly, it wasn’t edited by any hands and is the poster child of everything that is wrong with Print on Demand technology.
“A host of demons is hovering above the crust of the earth.  They are waiting on their leader to speak to them.  None of them are speaking words to one another, only hissing and snickering has come forth from the mouths on their evil angelic faces.  Their leader is dressed in a black robe wearing a gold colored breastplate, and his demon followers are dressed in brown robes with silver colored breastplates.  The leader starts to speak when a demon asks a question.
‘Satan, since we have lost the war in Heaven, what is our next plan?’
The Leader roars like a lion before he speaks.
‘How many times have I told you to call me Lucifer and don’t you ever again say that we have lost anything.  You hear me?” Lucifer says infuriated.
Ah…that’s better.
They say you can tell everything you need to know about a book from its first paragraph.  I gave you a couple of lines of dialogue to reinforce the point.  Now, go find a copy, and read it.  Then tell everyone you know.  I’m going to make a bestseller out of this guy yet.

A Haunting in God’s Office

A few days ago, I announced that Flutter: An Epic of Mass Distraction, had been given the release date of October 1, 2010.  I also promised some material from that forthcoming work.  So, today we’ll take a peek into one of the more bizarre, and unfocused, locations in the whole of the scope of Heaven: God’s Office.  Yes, even God has an office.  And he has a picture of you in it.  Well, you, and another few billion people.  Also, his office is haunted, though the spirit in question isn’t much of a menace.  A whiny, moody, ghost, true, but not menacing.  This scene also included the arch-angel of dreams, Morpheus, who has a lot to live up to, given that his identity was, in effect, swiped and utilized in the Matrix.  So, anyway, here  you go, with no further set up.  Enjoy and feel free to comment!

God’s office was infinite.

            This was as much a product of His love for a spacious workspace, something tolerable to His love for plastic plants, and pictures of loved ones—and there were billions of those—as it was a universal necessity.  To say that a limited, defined, space would produce an undesirable amount of clutter on His desk would be a gross understatement.  It would, in fact, produce nothing short of Armageddon.

            The prospect of the utter obliteration of humanity aside, God also had a fascination with aesthetics.  Further, He had a fascination with structure.  And though He was still working to understand the finer nuances of Feng Shui, and how to best apply such principles to an infinite space, He was quite fond of His space, and had plopped in a few million bookcases, end tables, chairs, and trinkets for good measure. 

It was good, as He might say.

            With the exception of Morpheus, the only angel to have earned visitation rights, no spirit—human or angel—had ever stepped foot in God’s Office.  The only company He kept, and the only soul that had ever occupied this luxurious space at the same time on a regular basis, was a fraction of His being—a splinter of Self created purely as a means to combat His galactic boredom—known as the Holy Ghost.  This was as much a product of His affinity for the Holy Ghost, as it was that it simply could not go anywhere else.  Ever.  In a way, the Holy Ghost was God’s personal pet, imprisoned in an infinite office, bound to amuse its creator, and as complicated a being as a jello mold encased in a blanket, providing the jello was bitter and reeked of teenage angst. 

            WHAT DO YOU THINK?

            The Holy Ghost, contemplated God.  “Woooo?” it asked.

            God looked at Himself, and balled tiny fists.  WHY SHOULDN’T I BE?  MORPHEUS THINKS THIS BEST, AND I RATHER AGREE WITH HIM.

            Though it lacked a defined shape, and form, to any degree, it did sparkle quite a lot, if only dully.  And though any action in which it partook was typically not entirely visible to any eyes short of God’s unless it wore the Holy Sheet, the Holy Ghost shrugged.  It liked to shrug.  Being in God’s presence had cemented the need for a quality shrug.  “Woo, wooo, wooo,” it replied.

            PLEASE STOP THAT, said God.  IT’S NOT VERY BECOMING.  FRANKLY IT’S ENTIRLY UNECESSARY, AND MORPHEUS HAS NO IDEA WHAT YOU’RE SAYING.

            “Oh, don’t worry about me,” Morpheus smiled dimly at the Holy Ghost.  “I’ve no desire to be a bother.  But, for the record, I think You look absolutely adorable.  Though I do admit to simply being happy just to be able to see you, for a change.”

            God stretched his tiny arms outward, eyebrows raised to the translucent specter in His seat.  “SEE?  ADORABLE.”

            The Holy Ghost sighed somewhere from the depths of the fourth level of Heaven, and slumped further into the seat.  “Fine.  Whatever.  I just don’t get why you can’t be the old man with the beard, and all, you know?  It’s like you’re more You that way, and stuff,” it moaned.

            I’VE BEEN THE OLD MAN WITH THE BEARD BEFORE.  HUMANS DISREGARD ANYTHING THAT PLAYS TO A STEREOTYPE.  THEY HAD ME COMMITTED.  RUINED A PERFECTLY GOOD SABBATICAL.  I’VE NEVER FELT SO SHORT-CHANGED.

            “That’s what she said.”

            WHAT?

            “I believe,” Morpheus interjected, “that our transparent friend was curious as to how long you stayed, during that unfortunate time?”

            The Holy Ghost shrugged.  “Whatever.”

            WELL, I LEFT IMMEDIATELY, OF COURSE.  WHY DO YOU ASK? 

            “Well, it’s, like, you forget who you are, and all, when you’re there too long, you know?”

            God snorted, allowing a simple laugh.  I MOST CERTAINLY DID NOT FORGET WHO I WAS.  I SIMPLY NEGLECTED TO REMEMBER EVERY FACET OF MY BEING.  A CAVERNOUS DIFFERENCE OF INEVTIBLE RESULTS THERE.  SUCH THINGS CAN HAPPEN WHEN YOU DABBLE IN HUMANITY.  FILL AN EMPTY GLASS WITH WATER, AND SEE HOW LONG IT TAKES TO FORGET THAT IT WAS ONCE EMPTY.  HUMANITY IS NO DIFFERENT.  THE TRICK IS NOT TO STAY TOO LONG.  OR TO FILL THE GLASS TOO MUCH.  I’VE TRIED TO GET HUMANS TO UNDERSTAND THIS, BUT IT SEEMS THEY ARE FAR TOO BUSY DEBATING THE ORIGINS OF THE EGG TO SEE THAT THE CHICKEN WAS NEVER INTENDED TO BE SEPARATE FROM IT AT ALL.  EITHER WAY, I’LL BE FINE.  He nodded to Morpheus.  I’LL BE FINE, he repeated.

            “You’re so blind!  You deserved to be accused of insanity!  Jeez!”  The Holy Ghost triumphantly crossed its arms, and, if possible, slumped further into the chair.

            I DID NOT DESERVE TO BE ACCUSED OF INSANITY.  IT WAS SIMPLY THE RESULT OF A POOR CHOICE IN WARDROBE, AND A LACK OF SELF-AWARENESS.  THIS TIME WILL BE DIFFERENT.  YOU WILL SEE.  THEY WILL NOT DENY A CHILD HIS VOICE.

            The Holy Ghost rolled its eyes, and, being short on further, more visible, dramatics, offered a huffed, “Whatever.”

            God considered the Holy Ghost, and placed His small hands on His small hips.  DON’T SAY, ‘WHATEVER,’ TO ME.  I KNOW WHAT I’M DOING.  THIS IS A VERY DELICATE SITUATION, AND IT REQUIRES A DELICATE VOICE.  IT WILL ALL WORK OUT FINE, YOU’LL SEE.  ONCE I’VE MET WITH IZZY, AND LOCATED OUR WAYWARD SOUL, I CAN RETURN AND DEAL WITH THE OTHER PROBLEMS AT HAND FROM HERE.  IT’S SHORT WORK.  MORPHEUS, YOU WILL CARE FOR THINGS WHILE I’M AWAY.  Morpheus offered a dramatic bow.  I WILL BE SET UP SOON ENOUGH TO MONITOR MATTERS FROM EARTH. 

            “That should be awesome for us all, I’m sure,” muttered the Holy Ghost.

            THINGS WILL BE FINE, AND I’LL RETURN AS PLANNED.  YOU’LL SEE.  DON’T WORRY.  I KNOW WHAT I’M DOING.

            “Of course you do,” replied Morpheus, remaining prostrate.  “You are God.  God knows all.”

            In response, God simply nodded.  He was not often prone to doubt, at least none that the universe at large could be made aware of, but He had to admit that this situation was a difficult one, and had already proven itself to be tricky to set in motion precisely the way He desired.  INDEED I DO.  NOW, He said to the Holy Ghost, YOU WILL REMEMBER TO DO YOUR JOB AS INSTRUCTED?  IT IS VITAL THAT YOU DO.

            The Holy Ghost shrugged.  “Whatever.”

            God raised His eyebrows. 

            “Yeah,” shot the Holy Ghost, “I said, ‘whatever,’ didn’t I?  We’ve only been over it a bajillion times.”

            After a moment, God nodded, raised a small hand, and waived a farewell to the Holy Ghost, and to the nearly doubled-over form of Morpheus, feeling slightly at odds with the feeling of physicality.  It had been close to a hundred years since He had last taken a trip to earth.  Even for God, that was a lengthy bit of rope.  BE WELL, THE BOTH OF YOU.  I SHALL RETURN WHEN TIME IS IN MY FAVOR. 

            In a physical sense, God turned to a nearby wall, stepped into an open tubular portal, and shot out of sight in a whoosh of air.  In the infinite expanse of the quite unphysical realm of God’s Office, however, He simply vanished in a trickle of rippled light.

The Holy Ghost looked at the now empty space where God had stood, shrugged, and began a search through God’s desk for a crossword puzzle to keep it occupied. 

“This is all very exciting.  He left you a job, did He?”

“Yeah,” said the Holy Ghost.  “Some letter I have to give to some angel when he gets here, or whatever.”

“Truly?  How wonderful.  A message of grand importance I gather?”

“Not really.  Just a stupid message that doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense at all.  Typical.  You wanna see it?”

“Well, I wouldn’t presume to corrupt the job left to you, but, maybe for the sheer fun of exploration, let’s give it a look, yes?”  The Holy Ghost pulled a folded letter out of a top drawer, and slid it across the desk.  “Well,” said Morpheus, reading the short note.  “Now the fun truly begins, doesn’t it?”

“Whatever.”