Archive for August 26th, 2008

26
Aug
08

Celebrate!

Sometime this morning, I logged my 10,000th hit at this blog. Now, to be honest, I don’t know whether that’s good or not for a blog that’s been around since mid-February and had posts almost every day to read. I think I’m not in the dumper anyway, and I’m grateful for every reader I have.

Thanks to those who like what I read and tell me how good I am.

Thanks to those who maybe or maybe don’t like what I say and challenge me.

Thanks even to those who think I suck and tell me so.

Thanks to everyone.

So, today’s a special day and I’m making it a busy one. In addition to the two Two-Fer Tuedays posts as usual, I also have another installment in my blog novel Cleansed By Fire to follow up the previous installment just a few days ago.

26
Aug
08

Two-fer Tuesday: Jesus by Deacon Blue

As I noted recently, I mention Jesus a lot but don’t really address him directly and as a specific topic as much as I should. Who he is. Why he’s important. What you need to know about him. Today’s “two-fer” topic is another step in the right direction toward correcting that, along with my August 8 post What Jesus Endured.

As a topic, “Jesus” is pretty broad, but I guess that’s kind of the point of these two-fer’s, so that Miz Pink and I will rarely tread over each other’s points on Tuesday. What I want to focus on is what was said about Jesus in the Book of Hebrews, chapter 12, verse 2, that he is the “author and finisher of our faith.”

Author of Our Faith

To me, this one is really interesting. On the one hand, it clearly indicates that Jesus has “written” out for us what to do. He did it through verbal teachings and actions, of course, and others wrote it down later, but he’s still an author. He had written out the plot lines for our lives and let us know the things we need to do and why.

But what really makes this resonate is the statement in the Gospel of John, chapter 1, which tell us in part (in verse 14):

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father.

Not only is Jesus author of our faith, he is also the very Word of God in the flesh. We have the Word in the form of the Bible now, but it was fully realized in one place in the human body and godly spirit of Jesus Christ. He’s not just the author of our faith, he is the embodiment of the whole story of creation and eternity.

Finisher of Our Faith

In the one sense, you could say that this ties back to Jesus being author/story, and he is the dramatic conclusion. But more fundamentally, he is the person who corrected the basic problem of the world: the lack of spiritual connection between humans and God. It took one very special person to screw it all up (and make no mistake, Adam and Adam alone is to blame; Eve played a part but her decision wasn’t what started the ball rolling). And it took one much more special person to fix it once and for all.

There is a reason that Jesus told people “No one comes to the Father but through me.”

Jesus walked the walk, talked the talk and did everything he was supposed to. Everything that we are supposed to but don’t, he did for us.

26
Aug
08

Two-fer Tuesday: Jesus by Miz Pink

The Jews (and the Arabs, too) look back to Abraham, really. That’s were it all began seriously with God trying to get people back on the right path.

And so the Bible talks about Abraham being the father of many nations and the Hebrews being the children of Abraham and his heirs and all that. But even Abraham was living on pure faith in God and God’s plans. Abraham knew something…someone…better was coming. He didn’t know that someone would be named Jesus. Neither did King David, who also operated on faith that a messiah was coming. Or anyone else in the Old Testement who knew that a savior would come, but probably not in their lifetime.

Jesus of course is that messiah and savior. He ended up being something more and less than people expected. When he arrived on the scene, Jews had really been counting on a kick-butt messiah who would free them and elevate them and put enemies under their feet. They weren’t expecting a teacher and healer.

I think also that people knew there would be something spiritually powerful about the messiah but I’m not at all that sure they were expecting him to be the literal son of God.

And that’s what makes Jesus special. He isn’t just this very special person. He’s the son of God, and heir to everything that is God’s. Being an heir to Abraham? That’s garbage in comparison.

And here again that makes jesus something extra special because he shares that inheritance with us. He isn’t just our lord. He established himself as our brother. He makes is so we can be children of God. And that means we get to share in what is God’s. Not just passing blessings on earth but stuff that is more eternal and more meaningful.

It started with being Abraham’s inheritors, but that’s old news now. If you haven’t already, you might want to get on board with being heirs to the being that Abraham bowed down to.

26
Aug
08

Cleansed By Fire, Part 12

For the previous installment of this story, click here

There is also a link under “Categories” in my sidebar for Cleansed By Fire, to more easily access all the installments of this novel; alternately, you can click on the “cleansed by fire novel” link under the Tags heading for this post (or click here) for a complete listing of installments.

Cleansed by Fire

Chapter 3, Narrow Paths and Wide Gates (continued)

With Paulo safely delivered to Templar’s Tower and her own uncertain path filled with anything but safety, Maree felt an odd sense of relief. She realized that perhaps for the first time in her adult life, she had peace of mind. she doubted it would last, but she marveled at the sensation all the same.

She had always assumed that solace would arrive by only three paths: She would see the mortal wounding of the Vatican in her lifetime, she would be captured by the Vatican and no longer have to live her double life, or she would die.

Instead, she was alive, if still sore from Stavin’s ministrations; free, though unsure for how long; and now an official enemy of Secular Genesis and, soon, the Vatican.

No longer did she have to feel the guilt of hunting down and helping to condemn people for a government she didn’t agree with, feebly assuaging her pain by reminding herself that if she weren’t there as a plant in the upper echelons of the templars, someone else would be doing her job anyway.

No longer did she have to wonder whether she was a freedom fighter allied with people unfairly labeled as terrorists or instead a terrorist with delusions of a higher purpose.

With a single decision, she had shed two skins and felt all the more alive for having done so.

And now she was dressed in a literal new skin, mostly covered by her street clothes—a skintight wraithskein that had been worn until recently under the uniform of the livery driver she had slain. No doubt he had been intended to shadow her any time she might have left the tower today. It had a small hole in the back now ringed with singed blood, so she experimentally placed her hand on a nearby faux stone column and activated the suit, watching as it went from transparent to mimicking the stone texture perfectly—at least for her exposed hand. Presumably, the rest of the suit was working as well despite the slight damage, but no reason to strip in the open and test it fully right now.

But even as she reveled in the image of shedding old skins and donning a new one, and indulged in gratuitous images of herself as a serpent in the Vatican’s garden, she realized that perhaps more accurately, she was a hydra that had simply lost its two most contrary heads.

So, despite her feelings of peace, she was still conflicted. She felt vulnerable. She felt liberated. She felt dangerous. She didn’t know which she should embrace. She didn’t know what to do with her life now that she was Maree Deschaine again and not Maree sup-Juris.

But she was relieved at least to be rid of the twisted and corrupted remains of the rebel movement her grandfather had helped found. And at least one thing was clear: She had no reason to lash out at the Vatican. Not anymore. As much as she hated the institution, she had done her part now. Secular Genesis had something terrible in store; of that she was certain, and it was meant to happen soon. She was happy to let the Vatican reap what it had sown for centuries. She felt only the tiniest twinge of regret that the reaping would almost certainly carry away any number of innocents as well. At this point, she cared little who lived or died except for Paulo and his family and those of her own relatives that she had just put in harm’s way.

Whether to find Stavin and repay his visit last night was entirely less clear. Part of her wanted revenge, but the idea of living was rather attractive, too. For nearly an hour, she hardly moved or breathed as she considered all her options, pondered what her suffering was worth and wondered whether her dignity was something she could even retrieve by balancing accounts with Stavin. No. She was prepared to walk away. She had no idea what her father might have done, but Grandfather wouldn’t have pursued such a personal brand of vengeance.

Almost in sync with her silent resolution, her vox cued up the Astoria news feed she had hot-tagged, as a report came in of two children abducted en route to school that morning and three adults taken from their homes or en route to their places of employment. Every one of them was named Deschaine and so the media was in a frenzy about a family abduction; how much more so would they be when they found out it was the former name of a missing templar admin officer? Which shouldn’t take long, Maree realized, as another report noted that authorities had just put out a fast-moving inferno that had engulfed a historic cottage and the acre of land on which it sat.

She had been prepared for the news, but it hammered her regardless. Maree’s vision began to dim at the edges and constrict until all she could see was a finger-wide gray tunnel narrowing to utter blackness. Her chest tightened and her breathing became ragged. Her head swam. She closed her eyes—she could hardly see shit anyway—and that help her vertigo, but then it was simply replaced with a crescendo of deep, dull, throbbing pain that she hadn’t noticed before when her major concern was not passing out.

Other news reports came and went as her anxiety spiraled out of control, an emotional storm ripping around her and through her. For another half hour, she sat there and wondered if she might be dying. The voices in her ear meant nothing to her, until one of them spoke about five bodies found in the smoking remains of the cottage.

Three adults.

Two children.

Almost a third of her family in Astoria. The only relatives she had been in contact with since taking her templar’s vows, save her late grandfather and, every so often, her father. As if a switch had been shut off, her anxiety sharply receded and an icy clarity took its place. Maree turned off her vox, though, fearing that any more news right now would put her back in the mental shackles she had just sloughed off.

Stavin killed them. But I consigned them to their fates.

Maree imagined five twisted and charred figures standing up inside her head and regarding her with with an abyssal intensity through black eyes that were moist and alert. Maree saw in those eyes a mixture of rebuke, pity and pleading. She sincerely doubted they would be leaving her thoughts any time soon. She knew what they wanted. And what she needed.

So much for walking away.

***

When Ather walked into the command center of Templar’s Tower, entering a sea of madness in a place that had already been a scene of barely controlled chaos for the past few days, he didn’t ask what the fuss was about.

He had known about Maree since moments just after Paulo had ordered security to lock down her slipchair and bare minutes before Paulo or anyone else had reached Lyseena. So he didn’t ask. And as he approached Lyseena, the eye of this particular hurricane, it was to her credit that she didn’t tell him; she clearly trusted his skills enough to assume he already knew. And Ather had already called and awakened every source he had already kept up all night to fulfill his original task so that they could work on this problem as well. All hail caff, strongtea and good old-fashioned coffee. They would be needed for the next several days in abundance by all.

“What do you have for me, Ather?”

He tapped the oblong grey device surgically attached to the base of his skull. “I assume what you really want is insight about Maree, but I’m still collating that. I really hate using the hindbrain but there’s too much data to go through in too short a time. I still guarantee I’ll outrun anyone else to good hypotheses and real answers about Maree, but you’ll have to wait until the midday meal break at least.”

“Angling for an extra lunch, Ather?” Lyseena was trying to be light, but the strain in her voice was evident.

“I would rather eat with you and the remains of your admin team in the suite than go up top. After all, Maree has left an open seat. With her absence, even my prodigious mass shouldn’t rob you of too much maneuvering room in there.”

Ather handed her the datastrip. “All of the criticals and some extra bonus materials about Adam Devan and Elisya Sutco are on there,” he continued, “and it’ll be easier for you to read them than have me play storyteller. But I’ll tell you the worst right now.”

“Hit me.”

“Never, sweet Lyseena. In any case, your logistical experts were duped. Someone wanted them to be caught, both to rob you of talent and to strain morale. I had both Adam’s and Elisya’s personal accounts gridhacked…”

Lyseena raised an eyebrow.

“…the backdated warrants for that should be on your desk within minutes after I finish my story. Just make sure you use the sig-pen that will be on top of the docs so that the timestamps will mesh. In any case, they’ve been fornicating with use of multiple contraceptives for at least the past three months. Most of it here in the tower on breaks and after hours, since they were still in gender-segregated housing. Someone nicknamed Enn has been helping them steer clear of security. But from all indications, after establishing how trustworthy and helpful he or she was and how adept at manipulating security systems, Enn finally reversed the agenda and sent a drone into where they were going at it when we caught them.”

“Could Enn have been Maree?”

“Possible. But my intuition says not. Indications so far point to Enn being someone outside your circle but with proximate access.”

“So, we have someone who knows how to move through our shadows and not trip real or virtual alarms. Someone who probably has connections to the death of the Red Pope and maybe the defection of Maree as well. Someone who cannot penetrate our security deeply but who can do so just deeply enough to hurt us.”

“Very likely.”

Lyseena sighed and regretted, not for the first time, that vows to the Vatican didn’t allow for a person to resign from their job.

(To read part 13 of this story, click here.)




Deacon Blue is the blogging persona of editor and writer Jeffrey Bouley. The opinions of Jeff himself on this blog, and those expressed as Deacon Blue, in NO WAY should be construed as the opinions of anyone with whom he has worked, currently works, or will work with in the future. They are personal opinions and views, and are sometimes, frankly, expressed in more outrageous terms than I truly feel most days.

Jeff Bouley

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Jeff Bouley

To find out more about me professionally, click here. To find out more about me generally, click here.

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You can reach Deacon Blue/Jeff Bouley at deaconbluemail@gmail.com.

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