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The Spur

Ah, well, I am a great and sublime fool. But then I am God's fool, and all His work must be contemplated with respect. - Mark Twain, a Biography

Mark Twain was in good company. There have been scores of men and women throughout history who could be called God's fools. I could list them, but it would take many pages, many books. Their accomplishments in life would fill a hundred libraries. Some of these fools have made us laugh and cry. Some of them have given us life-saving medicines and work-saving inventions. Some of them have changed nations and stabilized governments. Some of them will forever remain unknown, yet they have given us life itself. Their accomplishments in the heavenly realm would no doubt fill even more libraries. All of them are worthy of respect.

The process of writing a novel is exciting but labour-intensive. When I finished the first draft of my book, I was elated ? for about five seconds. Then it dawned on me how much work was still ahead. The task of editing and revising lay before me like a long uphill climb. I knew I'd need help, so I joined a critique group.

Having my work dissected and evaluated by strangers was daunting, but it has proven to be invaluable. Others see things I missed, pointing out the errors as well as inconsistencies in the story. One of the flaws often noted is switching point of view (POV). This is easy to do when you're writing, because you, as the author, are omniscient ? you're able to see through the eyes of all of your characters at one time. But when you suddenly switch from one to another, it can be a distraction and cause confusion in the reader.

We've all seen the sign. Sometimes it's on a fence protecting a farmer's field or on a closed gate shutting off access to someone's home. Sometimes it's on the door to a teenager's bedroom.

And sometimes it's written in big bold letters across our hearts. We don't want to let anyone in. We keep our thoughts and feelings to ourselves. We create an aura of self-confidence that leads everyone to believe we're in control. It's safe that way. No-one can hurt you if they don't know you. 

We do this even when we do need other people. When life falls apart due to circumstances, sickness or accident, instead of reaching out for help we tend to withdraw, to cover up the mess and try to keep the facade in place. God forbid that we show any sign of weakness.

"We have entered a time when ... people ... are awakening to the call ... to ... transform ourselves into wholesome, healthy, balanced, collective human beings ..."

Sounds good, doesn't it? The statement, made in last week's Edmonton Journal, is no doubt well-intentioned. Who among us does not want an end to all that is unwholesome, unhealthy, and imbalanced in our lives? The writer of the article in the Journal goes on to say that utopia is possible by simply knowing ourselves, by engaging in "self-realization" and becoming "masters of our own well-being." She says that the essence of spiritual belief is "Know yourself."

I beg to differ. The essence of my belief is Know your God. Christianity is not about self-focus but about God-focus. We cannot truly know . . .

My daughter recently worked on a school project and as usual when that is going on, I became aware of the subject. She was using my computer to access information online and then rented a video to take clips for an audio-visual presentation. I was impressed with her creativity as she put the project together and I was impressed with the life of the man she was studying. His name was Mohatmas Ghandi.

Ghandi's life, if we believe the slant given to his history, was one of self-sacrifice and commitment to his country. He attempted to bring all factions together to work for the good of the whole. His philosophy of non-violence has been an inspiration to many for generations since. There is no doubt Ghandi was a man of great accomplishments.

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