Tuesday, July 27, 2010

INKBLOTS July 25, 2010

INKBLOTS, July 25, 2010, seven men on a sunny summer evening on the cool side of the house.
Doug McComas read the synopsis and sample chapters of his submission to Writers’ Edge. Admitted that his wife thinks it’s still rough, needs smoothing in (wives can be brutal critics, in my experience, but then it isn’t much help to have them stifle a yawn and say, “It’s just awesome,” when you and she know it’s not. We must never encourage lying in our spouses).
John Schrupp commented that he was trying to read some Ernest Hemmingway and he thought it was pretty not very good writing and wondered what the big deal is about the guy. He doesn’t give very good description of things, John thought.
Doug read a sample chapter we had not heard yet. I love his inflections reading his own characters.  Claire is a crack-up female who is totally unrealistic about her understanding of the war, wounds, casualties.  Nathan re-entering civilian life, home, getting a much-needed night’s sleep, meal, renewed energy—he did a good job of showing us the difficulties of post-war life.  Preaching poor or unscriptural… How about “lacking eloquence” or power or not very interesting, instead of poor. Subtly exposing his shallow faith.
The humor and refreshment of this chapter gives a time to breath again after the intensity of the war sequences.  Doug will  be near all this as he goes to Guam to work on nukes.  I ask a bout how he is going to transition to show more depth and substance to Claire’s character. He explained that he is going to have Nathan need her cheerfulness and her loquaciousness as a counter to his own personality.
David Killian read the first chapter, rewritten, of his futuristic political thriller. Great clam on scientists. Story revolves around cloning, si-fi. Don’t tell us that he didn’t care about what happened to human subjects. Show this, don’t tell it. We need breathers, more sensory description that makes the reader feel like the contrivance could be real. Give more of a sense of the reality of what these cranks are up to, a newspaper article mentioned that debunked cloning, scorn for those who persist in ignoring their research, what they are capable of. The reader has to feel like this could actually be happening somewhere in the world. May be compare with when critics though man could never fly, do heart transplant surgery, make a motor car. John S suggested having some kind of controlling symbol--he referred to the beginning of Duncan’s War and finding the hole in the ground near the castle ruins. And then he had the gall to say some derogatory thing about me not taking his advice when he reads for me. Shocking. Opening scene has bad guys—two of them, but no normal joe that the reader can care about, can see the unfolding drama through his eyes. Handle it carefully and the reader will begin to worry about what will happen to a relatively good guy like the lab assistant, who maybe drops a beaker overhearing the scheme unfold.
Doug decided to read the brutal review he received from his first submission. We could feel it coming, especially use of the word “competence.” They describe problems with pace and moving too slowly in places. This is a book for men and men do not buy Christian books. Mostly women buy Christian books. They would not buy one on Nazis, some who may be considered Christians. Writing style they gave a 2, and said the book for the Christian audience needs to have a clearer Christian conviction. For a first feature length fiction work it is remarkable.   
I read the first chapter of my Evangelical Press biography of Isaac Watts, A Watts Awakening, my seventeen-year-old experience of grace and the gospel prompted by singing Watts.   

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Cedric and Ryan's Lake Placid Time Trial, Monday, July 5, 2010

Relevant gleanings on preaching from Modern Reformation

While reading MODERN REFORMATION on the plane from DC to Seattle, I came across Michael Horton's article, Interpreting Scripture by Scripture. He addresses some critical hermeneutic understanding necessary to properly interpret Scripture. "... the Westminster Confession properly reminds us that not everything in Scripture is equally plain or equally important. We have to interpret the more difficult passages in the light of clearer ones. Scripture interprets Scripture, and we learn the whole meaning of Scripture by studying its parts and its parts by learning the whole."

He is particularly helpful in his critique of specific problems with some interpreters of Scripture. "A noted pastor once told me, 'When I'm preaching through the Sermon on the Mount, I sound like a legalist; when I'm preaching through Galatians, I sound like an antinomian.' although this sounds like fidelity to the text--wherever it leads us--it is problematic for at least two reasons. First, it's naive. No one comes to the Bible without presuppositions. We all have some doctrinal framework we have acquired... Second, this assumption undermines confidence in the unity of Scripture. Jesus did not teach legalism and Paul did not teach antinomianism. As an apostle commissioned with the authority of Jesus himself and writing under the Spirit's inspiration, Paul's message is Christ's message. If we interpret the Sermon on the Mount as something completely unrelated (mush less, contradictory) to Galatians, then we haven't gotten either right."

The article concludes with a quotation from RC Sproul. "The primary rule of hermeneutics was called 'the analogy of faith.' The analogy of faith is the rule that Scripture is to interpret Scripture: Sacra Scriptura sui interpres (Sacred Scripture is its own interpreter). This means, quite simply, that no part of Scripture can be interpreted in such a way as to render it in conflict with what is clearly taught elsewhere in Scripture."

Video K2 warm up for time trial at Lake Placid

Lake Placid last days: hiking; time trial

Cedric is a bit committed to the Olympic Training Center, taking all his meals there, team meetings and activities he must attend, regatta logistics. All that to say, I had more time on my own than I had expected, and got some good writing time in, though I'd have rather spent it with Ceds. We did have some good times, though fairly short, where we were able to talk, read the Word, pray together. At one such time at a coffee shop we were reading in Isaiah 61 (the Romans of the OT), and a fellow came in, Art Summers, who began to tell us how the Lord rescued him from a rough life and prison, and transformed him by the gospel of grace. We watched the fireworks together from the shores of Mirror Lake, a bullfrog croaking through it all. I went for a hike in Henry's Woods, walked around Mirror Lake,reviewed 1-3 and worked on Ephesians chapter 4. Last morning, I went out on the chase boat and filmed Cedric and Ryan's time trial for the K2 1000m.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Cedric at LPI Canoe/Kayak International Regatta--Saturday afternoon

Quite an afternoon for the USA team, especially many of Alan Anderson's Gig Harbor Canoe and Kayak team kids! Cedric got schooled a bit by several big boys, senior paddlers. He made a respectable showing  but will have to continue gaining speed, as he well knows. He takes home 1 gold and 1 bronze for the regatta, and good lessons learned and more experience gained. A beautiful day with lots of sun worshipers coming out for the race. Allison Morse finished with 2 golds and 1 bronze, a Bantam athlete, paddling up a division. Well done, Allison. Natalie, Katie, Bryce, Brin, many other GH paddlers significantly contributed to Team USA's success at LPI.

Cedric at LPI Canoe/Kayak International Regatta--Saturday morning

Lake Placid is sort of like Tacoma: gray, drizzly, chilly when you think it would be nice if it were otherwise, but when the sun illuminates a brilliant summer morning--it's an absolutely charming place to be. I'm thoroughly enjoying things here with Cedric and all his athlete friends, though I'm ready to get home to my wife and family (the non-Cedric part of it, that is). We met his friend John Napier, bobsled Olympian, 2010, and World Class Athlete, combat engineer in the US Army, shipping out to Afghanistan in two days, and a Christian fellow. Craig Morse is here working as he watches Allison race--she's doing very well, a Bantam racing up in all Juvenile events, and taking down series mineral in the process. She's got great potential as a paddler. Craig and I had a chunk of time to visit this morning. Cedric and Ryan had 200m heats this morning and both place 3rd in separate heats. Cedric's heat was a near photo finish, with only whiskers between the top 3 boats. Finals at 2-ish. Pictures above include last evening's attempt to break the European time standard (3:22, 1000m K-2) for World Cups. They'll need another try at it.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Cedric and Ryan at LPI Canoe/Kayak International Regatta--afternoon

What an afternoon of racing it's been! A few quick highlights: Mens 1000m K-1 final, Cedric came in a close 3rd, behind the 1st boat paddled by the #2 Canadian senior paddler. In their 1000m K-2 final, Cedric and Ryan, paddling against the big boys (all senior division-Olympics division), they finished first! 1 Bronze and 1 gold! It was an incredible race day so far. Pictures below:

With Cedric at Lake Placid OTC and International Canoe/Kayak Regatta

Lake Placid, New York is a beautiful place! Though a bit unseasonably chilly (38 degrees one morning) and rainy (like Western Washington), but not any more. This morning, the opening day of the Lake Placid International Flatwater Canoe and Kayak Regatta, is gorgeous. This is a critical race for my son Cedric because he and his K-2 partner Ryan Stock have an opportunity to bump up to the full USA Senior Team and World Cup racing in Poland, not an easy thing for two guys who are only months into being senior division athletes (18 and above).

It's been an interesting morning meeting all Cedric's kayak friends from around the country--and the world, and talking with his new senior coach, Sean Caven, as well as various parents and supporters. There's virtually no wind, water is flat and calm, wispy clouds linger in the hills (they call them mountains) surrounding Mirror Lake where the regatta is underway.  See pictures below of Cedric, Lake Placid and countryside, warming up, adjusting a borrowed boat (XXL--too big), warming up and off to the start, midway in the 1000m heat, and the 3rd place finish and an advance to finals. More later today!