Here At Last

Hello readers,

Perhaps you remember a little while ago I promised to post online my latest video editing project from Pirates of the Caribbean. Well, the wait is over:

enjoy!

Piratica Ultima – An Explanation

In France, the year 1789, the prison Bastille was stormed, sparking the French Revolution. This, in turn, sparked a creative revolution, and turned the artistic world’s tables for good. Neoclassicalism was a thing of the past, and Romanticism would forevermore hold sway over popular culture. Eventually, though, the Revolution was taken too far, and many heads were taken as well.

Imagine, however, a different scenario. Romanticism came first, and Neoclassicalism, on the rise, is methodically stamping out Romantics wherever they be. Hanging, not beheading, is the new regime’s method of death. The Revolution is a fight for freedom. And the Romantics? They are pirates.

Now you have the world of Pirates of the Caribbean, and an understanding of my latest video editing project: Piratica Ultima: A Hero Comes Home….

**coming soon!**

A Note on Gender Inclusive Language and Related Issues

OK. I don’t know how much you have heard, read, or had experience with the whole idea of “Gender Inclusive Language” but here at Messiah College, where I learn stuff, I have had to account for this phenomena in my writing, with no small amount of perfunctory annoyance.

Simply put, gender inclusive language removes the “he, him” and “MAN-kind, you guys” and all other usually male oriented pronouns or nouns when used in reference to a person of unknown gender, or collective group of mixed gender. For instance, in my last post, I said something like “the Bible has made more men than any other book.” What I should be understood as saying is this, “The Bible has made people better,” which is how I should rewrite that sentence to avoid any semblance of excluding women from this. I actually do not mean that the Bible has made no women, I mean simply that the Bible has a tendency to transform and strengthen the core traits that makes a man a man and a woman a woman.

This then becomes the habit of my writing. Its not that I mind using language that includes women just as much as men, it is more that I was taught in a literary tradition that was just peachy for a long time until someone decided that it was somehow discriminatory. And habits are hard to break.

Personally, I think we could all stand to be way more mature than we are being, and realize a device of literature and move on with our lives, rather than to get offended about it. Seriously, why bother going around outraged because a new person in college, or high school is a freshman when they are in fact a woman? I mean, come on. Excepting the days when women were perhaps barred from institutions of higher learning, I don’t think anyone seriously intended to mean that only men could go to college, or whatever whoever is offended by this thinks.

Furthermore, if we don’t like all this, and we can’t use words like “mankind” anymore, than we need to rename the entire race. Human still has man in it. And so does woman. and women.

Since when did it become so about us that we had to start being offended by everything, and demand that society bend over backward to include, pander to, cease from offense toward, and in any/every other way stop inconveniencing ourselves and whatever little club, group, or minority that we perceive ourselves as belonging to?

in one very real way: Grow up, people.

Blood Sweat Tears

The rain drops softly from grey bleeding sky
Running down cloud edge to roof
Streaking window to puddle upon sill
Splash splash splashing upon the tender ground
Rush down road and alleyway behind
Buildings grim-dark
Caged around with rusted metal and haunted –
Broken – staring – eyes

The world works hard, spinning day by day
Hurtling through vacuous vacuum
Vainly struggling to push off of nothing
And rush forward into the black
Pulling moon like puppy-dog
Barely keeping the sun’s seething time and pace
Exertion builds with each revolution’s effort
The rain drops softly from grey sweaty sky

The rain drops softly from grey crying sky
Injustice after war after hate after famine after
Weeping for those that die
Weeping for those that live
The greater tragedy unknown
A heart eternally broken, without comfort
Seeking solace in the infinite void
Not void, but God, hugs the traumatized world

The rain drops softly from God…

Open War Is Upon You

This was written as a response to my friend Zach wondering about just war, killing, and all the rest….I thought it worthy of posting here….

Death, War, Killing, Defense, Capital Punishment….where is the end of the matter?

Extreme examples do little to advance the issue: “A man with a bomb on his chest about to destroy 100 babies,” Hitler, rape happening right in front of you. Of course, there are few people who could object to saving babies, who could keep themselves from punching the rapist’s lights out, or from seeking a way to stop Hitler.

The solution must be able to work in the simple areas of human life, else, how could it apply to the larger issues of a Hitler? Life is lived in the small, not the grandiose. More often than not, the decision is to strike out against a fellow human, not to go to war. Should we not govern ourselves in the micro, and thus, be able to govern ourselves in the macro? What was it Naaman was told, “Be faithful in the small things.”

You cannot get around the history of the Israeli people. The Bible is full of God-sanctioned wars, and killings. He Himself practiced genocide against the entire human race save eight people. But, granted, God is God, and the Creator by right has complete control over the Created. So God can move as He wishes. Herein is my first point. Most of the wars and killings we see are at God’s command. Kill Achan and his family. Wipe out every inhabitant of the land. Destroy the Amalakites with the edge of the sword. As human followers of God, we must obey Him, and do as He commands, no matter how it seems to us. But ok, I doubt any of us have received a directive from God to move against Toledo because it is an exceeding wicked city. What then?

Jesus taught a gospel of love. “Love the Lord your God, and your neighbor as yourself.” Who is your neighbor? Practically anyone beyond yourself. The book of 1 John declares how love is to be. Complete unselfishness towards another. If you are acting for another’s benefit, are you going to hit them, let alone, kill them? Chances are no. But ah, here is the issue, what if someone else is? Protection and defense, what then?

God goes to a point of telling us to accept wrongdoing against ourselves, to stand up and suffer for His Name’s Sake, and that He will reward us in the end. But for others, we are told to protect the fatherless, the widow, the weak. I believe God gives strength to protect weakness. The woman being raped, the unborn baby, the Jew, the oppressed, all lack the ability to protect themselves. It is the duty, the responsibility, and the obedience towards God to step in, and defend. But how far? Lethal force? Love is your guide, love of your enemy. I believe, only as much as necessary. If one punch will do the job, do not swing two. But some evil cannot be so easily restrained. If they insist on trying to harm to their own detriment and death, then that is a choice they have made.

This then, I believe, applies from the small, all the way to the large. Sometimes war, that great evil, is necessary to stop an aggressor who simply refuses to cease hurting the defenseless. In the rules of war in Deuteronomy, God gave instructions to give the city a chance to surrender, before the Israelites attacked. If you are governed by love, even of the unlovable, you will be slow, as God is, to move. He gave the inhabitants of Canaan 400 years to repent, and they still refused to turn from being evil. They chose their doom. Achan chose to sin, and to lie. He chose his doom. In both situations though, it was man who had to shed man’s blood.

Is the statement “Whoso sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed” a command or a prophecy? I could see both, but think of it this way: Which makes you less likely to repeat an act, making reparations yourself, or having another do it for you? If God killed all offenders, so be it. But if you, acting in obedience to God, yet still loving them, must kill the offender, will you be as likely to let it get to that point? No. I think not.

Of course, evil is in the world, and some murderers get themselves made executioners, but that is the way of things. It is for us to make it as much like God has declared it should be.

Love all men, even your enemy, but so also, protect those without protection.

This then, is my understanding.

“The Die Is Cast…” – Bootstrap Bill Turner

“You know, for having such a bleak outlook on pirates you are well on your way to becoming one: sprung a man from jail, commandeered a ship of the fleet, sailed with a buccaneer crew out of Tortuga, and you’re completely obsessed with treasure.” - Captain Jack Sparrow on Will Turner 

His father is undead, trapped into an eternity of service aboard the Flying Dutchman. His betrothed wife is living under sentence of death. His closest friend is a lying pirate, and he is a blacksmith.

He is alone on this continent, sent to America by his mother. He has had a hard life at the bottom of a harsh social structure. He commandeered a ship of the King’s navy, and sailed as a bucchaneer aboard the terrifying Black Pearl. He seeks only to live as a good man.

Will Turner has a path before him that is both terrifying and thrilling. He watched his friend Captain Jack Sparrow walk into the grip of the Kracken, and before that he watched his fiance kiss said Sparrow. Where does her heart lie? He is tortured and in agony.

His father swore his life to the cruel Davy Jones to save his son, but Will swore to undo that fate. He was left by his father, abondoned in England, but he vowed to rise above his father’s legacy and not leave him bound forever.

Jack, though a liar and a self-centred pirate, though he may be stealing the heart of the woman he loves, is still Will’s closest friend. It was Jack that saved him from Barbossa’s evil hand, it was Jack that helped him save his true love. Jack has been there, and Jack is not unloyal. But now Jack is lost.

His true love, Elizabeth, is a woman of passion. She truly loves Will, or does she? She seems attracted to the rogue called Sparrow, and has kissed him. What does that mean? She lied to Will once before, about his origin. Is she lying now? He cannot be sure.

“For too long I’ve been parched of thirst and unable to quench it. Too long I’ve been starving to death and haven’t died. I feel nothing. Not the wind on my face nor the spray of the sea. Nor the warmth of a woman’s flesh.” – Captain Barbossa

“Not just the Spanish Main, luv. The entire ocean. The entire wo’ld. Wherever we want to go, we’ll go. That’s what a ship is, you know. It’s not just a keel and a hull and a deck and sails, that’s what a ship needs but what a ship is… what the Black Pearl really is… is freedom.”

“One word love; curiosity. You long for freedom. You long to do what you want to do because you want it. To act on selfish impulse. You want to see what it’s like. One day you wont be able to resist.” – Captain Jack Sparrow

“Let no joyful voice be heard! Let no man look up at the sky with hope! And let this day be cursed by we who ready to wake… the Kraken!”

“Do you fear death? Do you fear that dark abyss? All your deeds laid bare? All your sins punished? I can offer you an escape…” Davy Jones

“My story? My story is the same as yours just one chapter behind. I chased a man across the seven seas. The pursuit cost me my crew, my commission, and my life.” – former Commodore Norrington

The world already seems less bright, and Will Turner is unsure of his place in it. 

“Are ye willing to sail to de ends of de Earth and beyond to fetch back wicked Jack?” – Tia Dalma

This questions haunts the soul of young William as he agrees to a final voyage and hopeless quest….

…the journey and battle of Will Turner through the Curse of the Black Pearl and the adventure of the Dead Man’s Chest to the final culmination At World’s End, along with the legends told of the Pirates of the Caribbean has captured the imaginations of many….

 

The Unwilling Warrior

I thank the hardcore bloggers of Star Wars.com, for their heartfelt encouragement. They don’t know me and I don’t know them, but they write and it soothes my heart. For my readers, I echo a sentiment from the mission field but with a twist: I’m a Star Wars fan, you wouldn’t understand.

This post is inspired by my SWblog friends, and a product of my melancholy state, but the truth is still there

 

The Jedi stood, abandoned in a universe of dark, alone and afraid. All that he had fought and bled and cried for had been cruelly snatched away and destroyed. His way of life was outlawed. Devastation was visted upon his family, and only one other had survived. The other, the most ancient, frail, and powerful was walking into the heart of darkness to do battle. Alone. Always now they would be alone, the Jedi felt it in the currents of the Force. His light was dim, and flickering, and fueled only by his discipline and quiet grace. The Jedi was a man beaten, crushed down, and uncertain. He was a shell of the man he had been; all that he was, stripped away, all that he hoped to be, vanished away. Some wounds cut too deeply to ever heal, some scars define who you will be, some betrayals never are forgotten. Espcially when they come from a friend, particularly when they are dealt by a brother.

The Jedi sees his brother, listens to his words. Or rather, the animal that was his brother. It is only a twisted fate and horrible irony that this destroyer wears the face and form of the brother. It would be easier were this creature of hate and rage behind a mask, obsucured. A simple thing it would be if the voice was different, if the eyes could not be looked into. How convienent his task if with every guesture, word, and movement the monster did not resemble the brother. The Jedi watches as his former brother destroyes the very reason for which the betrayal was done, and he is sick. He cannot watch it happen.

“Let her go!”

The command is difficult to voice. Once the sonic waves emanate, they are ignored. The Jedi tries to reason with the creature, and only succeeds because he distracts it. The evil one stalks and spouts forth things the Jedi never thought he could hear that voice say. The pain roars in the darkness, and the Jedi cannot silence that shout. Not with his training, not with what he knows to be true: none of that is a help to him. There is only the Jedi and the pain.

The Jedi makes the decision to ignore the pain, to disregard the hurt, and to lay aside his love. He is still a Jedi, and a thing remains that needs doing. He hates the universe for forcing this upon him, he hates the Force for keeping him alive to face this destiny, and he hates the Dark Side for being the mirror of the dark, though in this shrouded, hateful moment, the Dark Side is much with him.

“I will do what I must.”

Those words spoken by him echo the unwillingness of this warrior to fight. But mere fractions of a moment later, that fight is forced upon him, and he is the embodiement of defense. He is unwilling to be more, and cannot be less. They are more than brothers, the Sith and the Jedi, they are twins, halves of the whole, mirror images. The Sith is feral, raging, and powerful; the Jedi is calm, peaceful, and powerful. In this fight now the Force flows into him, and its presence brings a centre to the storm that brews. The Jedi is able to accept his destiny, and release his hate, his doubt, his disbelief. He releases attachment and his will, and follows the will of the Force.

The fight never seems to end. One blow and parry, one block and thrust, one leap and chase after another. From landing platform, though a hall of dead, to a gantry, to lava flow, and repulsor platform. Impacts of lightsabers clash like shards of hate, the Force is formed as weapons. The Jedi no longer feels the Dark Side within himself, only without. He no longer feels hate, only pity and sorrow. The pain is still there, and always will be. He disengages, and prays that this will be the end.

“Don’t try it!”

He pleads with love, and foreknowledge. The Sith is deluded, and does not listen. He leaps, trying to gain a higher position, but is blinded in his self-importance. The leap is not enough, and the Jedi is horrified to see his lightsaber sweep through both legs and an arm of the Sith. The Sith tumbles down towards the lava flow, and becomes again the brother, if only for a minute.

“You were my brother, Anakin! I loved you!”

The Jedi’s heart is breaking, torn to shreds and ribbons by the pain. The brother becomes again a Sith. The force whispers of what must be done, but the Jedi is unwilling. For the first time in his life, he rebels, he disobeys, and walks away. He will not kill his brother.

The Jedi stood, abandoned in a universe of dark, alone and unafraid. He has faced again the Sith that was his brother, so long ago. The son of the father watches this drama he cannot comprehend. He sees emotions that he does not understand, and hears words without meaning. He cannot, for he does not know his past. The Jedi could not tell him, the pain is still to near, even this twenty years later. And the Jedi was wrong. It is no easier to obey the whisper of the Force. His foe is masked, and the voice is different. He moves and guestures differently, but still the Jedi sees his brother, half a man and burning. He always will, just as there will always be pain. The Jedi has grown, and the Force has matured him. He still has the strength of discipline and quiet grace, but though the opportunity is there, he disobeys a second time. The Jedi raises his lightsaber in salute, and is cut down by his brother’s blood-tinged blade. The Jedi is no more.

The Jedi, the Unwilling Warrior, Obi-Wan Kenobi, is dead.

But that is not the end. The Jedi becomes the Force, and time is meaningless. In the next thought he sees his companion, the once ancient Yoda now ageless, and there appears his brother. The pain he has lived with forever fades and disappears. Anakin has done the impossible and turned from the dark path and joined his soul to the light. Redemption is bought in the salvation of the son. These three, the Jedi, and the Force, appear and look to the son. He is the future now, and they smile upon him.

Light returns to the galaxy of night and the night flees away.