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Only 2 More Days in the CIA “Love Is … ” Bloghop! — Post by Mary C. Findley

cia hop

Click the graphic to visit all the authors’ blogs. Hop, hop!

Remember, if you comment on my blog here, you can receive a copy of Hope and the Knight of the Black Lion, free. If you are having trouble commenting, drop me an email at findleymjmc@gmail.com, make your comment, and let me know what format you would like. One of our fellow hopping authors, Samantha Fury, said this:

“Mary, thanks for being one of my Angels at Christian Indie Authors, and Happy Valentines day to you and yours. This book sounds like your MC has two valentines to chose from.
“… a strange, nameless knight who pledges his aid, and the man who wants to kill her.
I think if I was her I would take the Knight over the guy that wants to EEEK kill her oh my.”

Samantha has the Street Justice series of Crime Romances, and as Samantha Lovern she has Maid For Martin, which I have read, and I think you’ll find very romantic. Here’s her blog. http://samanthafury-authorsden.blogspot.com/

Krystine Kercher is another author friend who commented on the story, and hers got through. Here’s her blog so you can check out her books. She has the Legends of Astarkand series, and also designs her own book covers. http://krystinekercher.com/love-is-cia-blog-hop/

“I dropped by to say hi and offer you best wishes for a good blog hop! I love the way your cover turned out… Hope looks like a really neat story, Mary! Now I’m very curious to find out which man is which!”

Ruthie Madison has her books here: http://madisonbook.blogspot.com/2014/02/cia-blog-hop-love-is.html, including The Past Hunter. She said, “Hi, Mary! I still haven’t read your sample, but this one sounds interesting! Good luck on your blog!”

Hope’s two Valentines are not the bad guy and the good guy, though. One is Robert, the handsome young earl’s son who wants her, and doesn’t necessarily want to wait for marriage. The other is her missing cousin Richard, a much older man who went to the Crusades almost twenty years ago after disgracing the family name. “Hope” is a recurring theme in the story, as well as the heroine’s name. She really hopes Richard never comes back.

The mysterious knight, who lets her call him Sir Chris, starts to capture her attention, though. He is resolved to help her find her missing family and swears to protect her from Hugo Brun de March, the disgraced French knight the earl protects. Sir Chris alternates between strength almost like Samson and a weakness he won’t explain. Hope doesn’t know if she can trust him to be her true knight, but she has no one else, when even Robert thinks she is mad for claiming that Hugo Brun attacked her home. Please check the book out, and comment if you’d like a copy.

You can find a free sample of Hope and the Knight of the Black Lion in this short story, Home to my Father: A Knight’s Diary”. Hope reads these excerpts from a Crusader’s diary in the course of the novel. Click the image to see the book on Amazon.

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Historical Fiction for the Young and the Young Adult

Writing fiction for and/or about children (roughly eight to fifteen years of age) is a tricky business. It is easy to appeal to their vivid imaginations, their need to be “special,” accepted by peers, to become independent of adults, and to explore relationships with the opposite sex. None of these popular topics for children’s books is really appropriate or necessary, however, in the way they are usually treated, and sometimes they shouldn’t be a topic for this age level at all.

Books and movies that give children unusual powers are extremely popular. Harry Potter is a wizard. The Animorphs series had children changing into animals. In a recent movie young people are the children of ancient gods. These children are definitely “special,” but in most cases these powers give them a license to avoid adult control, to get revenge on people they perceive as enemies, and give them an arbitrary superiority over others. They do not learn obedience, submission, or reliance upon the true God. They learn self-centeredness, contempt for adults who aren’t as powerful as they are, and are convinced that the world is full of arbitrary happenings with no purpose or design.

Being accepted by peers seems essential for happiness, but the reality is that your peers are immature, sinful, change their minds about what they want from you frequently, and rarely understand or care about the essential concepts of self-control, self-sacrifice or especially reliance upon the true God. Only people with experience in life can teach these things, and they are adults. Children must respect and take advice from adults, not despise them and think they are old-fashioned, out of touch or too narrow-minded.

Becoming independent from adults is something of a myth. Yes, children grow to adulthood, leave home, get jobs, and live lives apart from their parents, but they don’t do that successfully without reliance on wise and godly counsel. In most children’s books today the main character finds the adults he deals with outright stupid, disgusting, indecisive, or too far away (sometimes dead) to do any good. Mark Twain popularized the philosophy that children need to get away from the adults in their lives. Aunt Polly is dictatorial. Tom Sawyer deserves his freedom. Huckleberry Finn thinks of his abduction by his father as an escape of sorts from the confining life he finds with the Widow Douglas, but his father is an abusive drunk from whom he also ends up escaping.

Are there any really good adults in Mark Twain’s books for children? Jim, the Negro slave with whom Huck takes his raft trip, is hardly a conventional adult, and this is the key to understanding the “right” kind of adult in modern children’s books. There is no issue with his being black, as far as his fitness as an adult is concerned. But he is a being apart in the children’s perception Jim knows magic, like charms to get rid of warts and how to divine the future from a hairball. He is childlike in his approach to life, and he wants to be free as much as the children do. Of course slaves needed to be freed, but this is almost irrelevant in the treatment of Jim in Mark Twain’s books.

Huck’s decision to go to Hell rather than return Jim to slavery sounds noble on the surface, but he is wrong in the foundation of his thinking. He has no conception of what the Scriptures teach or do not teach about slavery. In fact his whole perception of Christianity is based on willful ignorance. Church is a plague of boredom and a prison. Reading or studying anything is punishment to these free spirits, so reading the Bible to find out true and right thinking is out of the question. Huck and Tom reason things out in their heads and they are “right.” There is no perfect standard, just whatever they think.

Most modern fiction has relationships with the opposite sex starting very early, and they are not friendships. Some are quite innocent, but sexuality is no foundation for a children’s book. No child is “wise beyond his years” enough to make his own decisions about having sex, getting abortions, or dressing to attract the opposite sex. This is selfishness and self-deception. If you have to sneak around and hide a relationship from parents because they wouldn’t approve, it’s wrong. Sometimes a distracting device is used, like making the issue of parental disapproval one of race or social position so that it seems justified to hide it. But the issue is sex without maturity or marriage or responsibility, not whatever smokescreen the author tries to throw up in front of the reader’s face.

These are just some of the issues to consider in writing for children. Paramount is to make sure readers receive solid training in the Scriptures. They will end up like Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn if given their “freedom,” ignorant of everything that really matters and reliant on flawed human reason to survive.

Benny and the Bank Robber begins a Youth and Young Adult Historical Adventure. Benny Richardson loses his father at the age of ten and travels from Philadelphia to frontier Missouri in the 1800’s. Though his story includes riverboats and rafts, it is a very different one from Tom Sawyer’s. Both Tom and Huck would have scoffed at the verse that keeps bringing Benny back to remember what all of us must take to heart, God’s promise, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”

Young Adult Fiction is roughly aimed at people in their late teens to late twenties. This is a time when they are essentially adults, but may still be under the authority of parents or other adults. Stories for this age group frequently focus on independence, the freedom to make choices about the future, and especially love relationships. Too often these immensely popular books only reinforce the secularist idea that human reason can provide answers to these critical issues of entering adulthood.

Many young people in books want a complete break from parents, to “Shake off the dust of this crummy little town,” as George Bailey wished to do in the movie It’s a Wonderful Life. They want “adventure in the great wide somewhere,” like Belle in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. They have dreams and wishes for a future doing what makes them happy. Unfortunately, secularist society has ill-prepared them to face the reality that you can’t always do what you dream, that you have to get a job that makes money, that college is often bankruptingly expensive, and that true love is not easy to recognize and true lust is all too common.

The Twilight series of books and movies focuses on the dilemma of a young woman. She’s in love with a vampire. Vampires are epidemic in young adult fiction and it’s simply shameful how often they are portrayed as the “forbidden fruit,” the lover a young woman can’t resist. Dracula in the Bram Stoker novel (not any of the movie or spinoff reinventions) was irresistible to women, but he was portrayed as evil and it was clear that a relationship with him didn’t end well.

How dare writers say that damnation is worth it to have the ultimate love? They don’t even know what damnation is. They think it’s a sad state that can be altered. Vampires (aka demons) can regain their souls. It’s the gospel according to Buffy. People can make deals with the devil and then weasel out of them. There is no knowledge of the Scriptures in any of these twisted fairy tales. They tell lies about the nature of the soul, man’s ability to save himself or others, and say that true love fulfilled is worth any risk.

Homosexuality is also a popular subject for this age group. Even if you don’t practice it, you must be tolerant of it, embrace it. Girls must make a gay guy their shopping buddy. But you should at least experiment with it. Really mature adults have at least tried “swinging both ways,” and people like “Captain Jack” in the Dr. Who/Torchwood SciFi series are so cool. Note that there’s more than a hint of bestiality when Twilight turns to the subject of werewolves as boyfriends. Positive portrayals of sexual perversions are becoming so pervasive in young adult fiction that no one can say this is pure entertainment. It is indoctrination in sexual wickedness no young person should subject himself to. It should not be the mission of this group to break down every traditional barrier possible before the age of thirty.

The corporate world is a place young college graduates dream of entering. Rich, powerful, successful people ooze out of boardrooms and why wouldn’t we want to be just like them? Yet that culture is openly portrayed as being selfish, utterly materialistic, living in debt to impress, counting on the next big deal and willing to lie, cheat, steal or sleep with anyone to get it.

There are, however, simple principles to guide what you should write about for young adults and also to help them choose what they should read. Self-control, self-sacrifice, never believing that things happen without a Designer behind them, even things that seem bad. Get these new adults out of themselves and into a work ethic. No more shopping for thousand dollar purses and five hundred dollar shoes (or shoplifting them because you’ve got to have them.) No more joining a gang or becoming a prostitute because it’s the only way you can live. No more “attitude.” Practice humility, purity, hard work, and love your family and your God. No obsessions with death, the supernatural and the occult. Demons are real, but we fight them through God’s Word, not with sharpened sticks. And we don’t fall in love with them. We fall in love with the Lord, with people of like precious faith, and with reality in serving God and not ourselves.

Benny and the Bank Robber Two: Doctor Dad takes Benny through the troubles and delays of his mother’s remarriage, a boarding school with a deadly secret society, and a Christmas ending where Benny has to remind friends and family, even at the cost of losing them, that Christ came into the world with nothing to be the Prince of Peace.

Hope and the Knight of the Black Lion has no vampires, werewolves, or budding sorcerers. It does have a mysterious returned crusader who alone believes Hope’s tale of a scheming kidnapper and pledges his life and honor to the cause of getting her justice. This book is also available with illustrations in the style of a medieval manuscript. Click on the page link “Illuminated Hope and the Knight of the Black Lion” above to see a gallery of images from the book. Your Kindle Fire or other color e-reader is waiting for this one!

P.S. — Giving a shout-out to some great folks from the Indie Writers Unite Facebook page who graciously encouraged, offered space for interviews, gave links and excerpt space. I can’t necessarily endorse all their books or content, but I  so much appreciated their “uppers” when I was down!










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Preface to Antidisestablishmentarianism

The most religious people on earth are those who claim not to have any religion. Dogmatic, intolerant, and bigoted, they refuse to allow anyone to so much as speak their opposition. Yet these same people demand political power and tax support. The mildest opposition, such as the mere mention of Intelligent Design (not God), has blacklisted tenured professors. Just two parents in a middle school in Texas made the national news by objecting to Gideon Bibles placed, without comment, on a table outside the school office.1 Such people dishonestly claim that they are not religious and “religion” is a group of mythologies. The truth is that they are the ones promoting mythology. In every aspect of life they promote this mythology with unproven dogmatic assertions under the guise of “Science” vocabulary. After hijacking the word “Science,” they use the courts to elevate their misuse of the term to an established religion.

Science is the study of the world around us, the use of the experimental method and the improvement of our lives through the application of technology. It is divided into various academic disciplines such as Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics and Biology. However, what the federal courts, the academic community and the mainstream Western media mean by science is uniformitarianism. It is the cosmological foundation of the religion of Secular Humanism. “Since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation” (II Peter 3:4). This concise description of Uniformitarianism clearly shows that it is completely and entirely a religious belief in antiscientific myths.

Secular Humanists use words which have been in the English language for hundreds of years but give them “new” meanings. However, “there is no new thing under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9, KJV). The words believe, faith and trust are all historic judicial terms and they also form the foundation of the true scientific method. What Secular Humanists promote as their version of the scientific method consists of preconceptions, presuppositions and assumptions. It is the opposite of an open mind.

A true open mind is founded in belief, faith and trust. The historic meaning of believe is to perceive or understand with the mind and then make an informed decision.2 The most basic use of the word believe which the average American would understand is that of a juror in court. Which witness do you believe? Which piece of evidence is believable? A synonym would be the word credible. When we believe something or someone and then act on that belief, that is faith. The active part of belief is faith. The passive part of belief is trust. Suppose your brother says that he will drive you to the doctor. If you believe him, then you understand what he says and you make a decision to get ready. If you get in the vehicle with him, that is faith. You act on your belief. When you sit in the vehicle as he drives, that is trust, a passive reliance on what you have proven true. You trust in his driving skills. You trust in the vehicle. You trust the roads, etc. Everything we do is a combination of belief, faith or trust. By restoring their historic definitions, belief, faith and trust re-emerge as the clear language of true experimental science. These terms were deliberately segregated from science to deceive people into believing Secular Humanism.

Liberals, Secular Humanists and materialists, however, use the word “belief” as a synonym for a philosophical position, just an opinion. Faith and trust to them are metaphysical words which mean different things to different people. And this is just the tip of an enormous iceberg. Secular Humanists have redefined hundreds of words to support their religion, such as sin, judgment and anthropology. A conversation with them can be very difficult since they use historical English words but mean something entirely different.

The traditional role of religion is to place priesthood as intermediary between God and man. The traditional role of an establishment of religion places the government in that intermediary role between God and man. In the Middle Ages the Roman Catholic Church put itself between man and God, as other religions have in the past. Johann Tetzel, a “professional pardoner,” sold indulgences representing forgiveness for sins in Germany. Indulgences were based on the “storehouse” of good works believed to exist because of the sacrifice of Christ and the good deeds and prayers of past saints. Tetzel was said to promise that, “As soon as a coin in the coffer rings, a soul from purgatory springs.”3

Selling indulgences was the final act of many which brought on the Reformation. People wouldn’t have bought them if they hadn’t believed the Catholic Church alone could placate God on their behalf. Martin Luther convinced the princes of Germany that they did not need to send their money to Rome because they could go to God directly. Rome sent armies to collect the money. Even Modern Roman Catholics who do not believe that their church today claims to stand between them and God have to admit that the medieval Roman Catholic Church did.

The combined power of Church and State restricted personal worship, scientific study and access to historical truth. Today Secular Humanism has done the same by removing foundational truths from education. It excludes study and discovery that contradicts uniformitarianism. It rewrites history to undermine morality and freedom of expression.

The union between the medieval Romanist church and the state came to an end in two ways. In Southern Europe during the Renaissance, art, architecture, literature, and learning opened up to all men, not just those who were part of the church and state system. The Renaissance left the power intact, however. In Northern Europe, the Reformation abolished the need for a church like Rome through the great affirmations of the Reformation: The Scriptures are the absolute authority; Justification is by faith alone apart from works; and every believer is his own priest with direct access to God. The Reformation made a special priesthood class unnecessary because men could pray directly to God and read His Word on their own.

The medieval Roman Catholic Church kept the Scriptures almost exclusively in Latin to prevent ordinary people from studying them, forcing people to come to the priest. The priest would not only tell them what the Scriptures said, but he also mingled that with the church’s interpretation. In order for ordinary people who did not know Latin to read the Bible for themselves, the Scriptures had to be translated into the language of the ordinary people. Translation work by Reformers was essential to enable ordinary men to read the Scriptures for themselves, even though it was punishable by death under the Church-State system. The Renaissance and the Reformation worked together in the development of moveable type to make printing and distribution of translations of the Scriptures easier. Renaissance scholars revived interest in studying forgotten manuscripts and making translations into the vernacular. Erasmus’s Greek New Testament provided a basis for more accurate translations of the Scriptures.

The Medieval Romanist Church-State system took away freedom by forcing man to rely on and accept its teachings. The Renaissance and the Reformation restored freedom by returning art, science, and all forms of learning to ordinary people. In particular the people were able to worship God as the Scriptures taught, without Church-State control. Modern western culture, and American culture in particular, was founded on this religious freedom. American culture is more Christian than European cultures, but neither of these cultures can survive if the foundation of religious freedom is destroyed.

It is this Christian foundation of religious freedom which is the real target of Secular Humanists. These Secular Humanists have taken outrageous liberties in their unrelenting quest to replace religious freedom with their established religion of Secular Humanism, which they incorrectly call science or Natural Law. Their major tool is the US court system. Sympathetic US courts have consistently supported Secular Humanism by using every possible opportunity to replace the word religion with the ancient concept of Natural Law. However, since Natural Law has been used so many different ways, the courts had to standardize the term Natural Law. Their version of Natural Law goes back to Plato’s Republic. Though Plato never used the phrase “natural law” in his Republic, translator Benjamin Jowett’s notes state that, “Plato among the Greeks, like Bacon among the moderns, was the first who conceived a method of knowledge…”4 Plato’s Republic is at least the foundation of modern Natural Law, if not the detailed finished product. Together with Aristotle, Plato is supposed by secularists to have laid the foundation for learning and development of the Sciences. This is really is essence of Natural Law.

Jowett goes on to say that Plato provided for a means to spread his method of acquiring knowledge. “In the ideal State which is constructed by Socrates, the first care of the rulers is to be education.”4 Jowett makes it clear that Socrates meant to impart much more than mere academic knowledge, just as Natural Law means to teach more than mere Science. Socrates promoted “the conception of a higher State, in which ‘no man calls anything his own,’ and in which there is neither ‘marrying nor giving in marriage,’ and ‘kings are philosophers’ and ‘philosophers are kings;’ and there is another and higher education, intellectual as well as moral and religious, of science as well as of art, and not of youth only but of the whole of life.”4

Many know that Plato in his Republic based his state on a philosopher/king. Few, however, are aware that he believed in communism and free love and that these two “natural” principles were to be foundational principles of the state. Though the preceding condensation by Benjamin Jowett is an excellent job, as you can read for yourself, the actual words of Socrates, as quoted by Plato, are much longer and more difficult to understand. “None of them will have anything specially his or her own.” “… Their legislator, having selected the men, will now select the women and give them to them [the legislator gives selected women to selected men]… they must live in common houses and meet at common meals … they will be together … And so they will be drawn by a necessity of their natures to have intercourse with each other…” “… Until philosophers are kings, or the kings and princes … have the spirit and power of philosophy, and political greatness and wisdom meet in one … cities will never have rest from their evils.”5

The philosopher/king, according to Socrates, was to lay these foundational ideas through education. Though he did not use the phrase “establishment of religion,” Plato clearly advocated an established religion. It was to be put in place by a philosopher/king through education based on a state where “no man calls anything his own” and where there is neither “marrying nor giving in marriage.” Though this education would begin with children, it would continue throughout a person’s entire life. This is the Natural Law which the US Court system has imposed.

The US needs to disestablish its Establishment of Religion and reestablish religious freedom. In the 1800’s churches which tried to break away from the Church of England were called disestablishmentarians. The people who fought against the disestablishment of those churches within the Church of England in the 1800s were called Antidisestablishmentarians. Today, the mainstream media, liberal politicians, the academic community, the liberal courts and all others who file lawsuits, blacklist, fire, refuse to hire, tax, legislate against, libel, slander and do whatever is necessary to maintain their positions of privilege and power are modern Antidisestablishmentarians.

1 (No author) “Parents Fuming as Texas Schools Let Gideons Provide Bibles to Students,” Tuesday, May 19, 2009, Fox News.com. “A spokeswoman for the school district said that a number of materials are made available to students this way, including newspapers, camp brochures and tutoring pamphlets. College and military recruitment information is available all year long. The Gideon Bibles were made available for just one day. ‘We have to handle this request in the same manner as other requests to distribute non-school literature — in a view-point neutral manner,’ Shana Wortham, director of communications for the district, wrote in an e-mail to FoxNews.com.

2 Alexander Hamilton, in an 1802 letter to James Bayard. “I have carefully examined the evidences of the Christian religion, and if I was sitting as a juror upon its authenticity I would un-hesitatingly give my verdict in its favor. I can prove its truth as clearly as any proposition ever submitted to the mind of man.”

3 Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Volume 7, “The Reformation,” Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1910.

4 Plato, The Republic (c. 360 B.C.), translated by Benjamin Jowett over a period of 30 years until his death in 1893, completed posthumously by Lewis Campbell. (Introductory material (in double quotes) and paraphrases of Plato’s ideas (in single quotes) were written by Jowett.)

5 Plato, The Republic, Book Five Dialogue excerpts among Socrates, Adeimantus, Glaucon and Thrasymachus have been placed in parentheses within Jowett’s introductory material.


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