Run, run, run-away

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280The Israelite judge, Jephthah, is generally known for the weird story about his daughter, poor kid.

But I think we generally miss the importance of this guy’s backstory and how God may have used it to his (and His) advantage.

Back in those days, having sons was pretty well tantamount to status (as opposed to having daughters; now where they thought the baby boys came from, gets me…)  And although even our secular Western culture has fairly well done away with that mindset, they (and us) still deal with the “world’s oldest profession”. 

So while Jephthah’s dad, Gilead, had several socially legitimate sons, little Jephthah was not one of them, and was treated accordingly. 

“…and when these half brothers grew up, they chased Jephthah off the land. ‘You will not get any of our father’s inheritance,” they said, ‘for you are the son of a prostitute.’  So Jephthah fled from his brothers and lived in the land of Tob. Soon he had a band of worthless rebels following him.”

Because, back then, with those kinds of credentials, that’s about all the following you’re going to get.  I can only imagine what hardship he must have suffered going from the house of his father (probably bullied while he was growing up anyway, but at least provided for) to ousted into the “real world”, possibly as a teenager.  Homeless.  Despised.  Without family or connections.  Or money.

As usual, the plot thickens—

“At about this time, the Ammonites began their war against Israel.  When the Ammonites attacked, the elders of Gilead sent for Jephthah in the land of Tob.  The elders said, ‘Come and be our commander! Help us fight the Ammonites!’ But Jephthah said to them, ‘Aren’t you the ones who hated me and drove me from my father’s house? Why do you come to me now when you’re in trouble?’”

Run off the farm, rather than living in the lap of luxury, Jephthah has been hardened by life’s boot camp, and is now evidently the one most suited for rescuing those same brothers with soft, un-callused hands. 

And rescue he does, like the rushing in of the cavalry. 

The point is this.  People do us injustices.  We have to suffer the consequences of others’ stupidity, prejudices, unkindness, or just low-down thoughtlessness.  I’m bullied, kicked out of the club, whether physically or emotionally.  Bereft.  Alone.  (At least it feels that way.)

But God has other plans, and this is just part of the Divine Boot Camp.  Plans for rescue, not vengeance, for redemption, and restoration, and it may be for the very ones who turned me out.  

man-2257145_1920Jephthah’s hands and muscles may have become just as soft as his brothers had he stay in his dad’s house all that time.  Instead, he became the hero.

Which is God’s training for all of us, to be heroes in one way or another. 

Judges 11:2-7 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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The Kraken (conclusion)

The final installment of the The Kraken, by Robert L. Jones, III.  To start from the beginning, click HERE!

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From The Kraken, by Robert L. Jones, III and illustrated by James P. Wood

 

XVI. Benediction

With Kraken gone, the fearful folk returned to ply the sea,

And safety made the legend pass, though inadvertently.

A town was founded near the place where Galen’s cottage stood.

Where once a barren coast had been, there grew a neighborhood.

 

So Galen’s fame was scarcely known, but heroes must be paid.

He used his bellows and his forge to work the blacksmith’s trade.

At times, he fashioned stranger things, though most did not know why,

And, with his arm around Celeste, would stare into the sky.

 

Their union prospered in its way for those who cared to see

That Galen and his winsome bride were blessed with progeny

Of fairest skin on stoutest limb and fire behind their eyes.

They raised them well and lovingly and taught them to be wise.

 

They taught them work and taught them play, made sure that they were fed,

And told them stories in the night, then tucked them into bed.

As seasons changed, they watched them grow till they were straight and tall,

By young desire distracted from the saddles on the wall.

 

And, one by one, they saw them leave, when they were fully grown,

To found new homes with spouses fair and children of their own.

There is a way, mad by design, a way that wisdom makes,

To set the young at liberty to make their own mistakes.

 

And, one by one or all at once, the children would return,

The cottage glowing in the night with candle wax to burn.

They laughed and ate. Some went outside to play or walk around,

No longer knowing what they paced had once been sacred ground.

 

Their father told his history repeatedly, and yet,

Through unfamiliarity, descendants will forget.

And so he hammered weaponry and saved it for the days

Another generation would embrace heroic ways.

 

Some undergo the humble change from ridicule to fear

As those once sheltered made aware of danger drawing near,

But some remember righteous thoughts, discovered in their youth,

Of better dreams and simpler ways that turn them to the truth.

 

In times of pride and apathy, depending on the year,

There well might come a moment when a Kraken will appear.

As some are lost or made aware, the cycle starts again

To test the motivations that direct the hearts of men.

 

Still, man and wife would spend their days in faith and blessedness,

Commend themselves to higher things, and frequently confess

That tribulation comes to teach the lessons all must learn

In preparation for the day the griffins will return.

To order The Kraken, by Robert L. Jones, III and illustrated by James P. Wood, click HERE.

The Kraken (#15)

(Pssst…In case you missed any, you can start from the beginning at THIS LINK.)

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From: gizemlervebilinmeyenler.blogspot.com and copied from Alejandro Quijano pintrest (Kinda scary, right?)

XV. The Restoration of All Things

A transformation soon ensued from Lordly Griffin wild

To lion then to bleeding lamb, both terrible and mild,

Who laid his wounded head upon the morbid maiden’s breast.

The color came into her cheeks. She breathed as if at rest

 

And then exhaled with softened moan to Galen’s glad surprise

As, with a start, she sat upright and opened long-shut eyes.

The former mist from when she first walked plainly in his sight

Was missing now, and in its place there shined a brighter light.

 

A bleat turned to a lion’s roar and then an eagle’s screech,

Then, suddenly, the Griffin King flew upward out of reach.

As Galen gazed upon the lass, revived in time of need,

From north and west the prophet flew, approaching on his steed.

 

Alighting next, he looked around, excitement on his face,

And smiled at Galen as he said, “Recipient of grace,

Believe your eyes. Be not surprised. It is the right of kings

To fashion something beautiful from dead and broken things.

 

“Now would it be too much to ask, what is this maiden’s name?”

She rose and spoke in wondrous tones, “Through trial I became

More of myself for this good man who sought to know me best.

My parents named me for the stars. Dear sir, I am Celeste.”

 

He joined the couple hand in hand, then to the griffins led.

A far off look was in his eyes as joyfully he said,

“Celeste and Galen, rise and fly. There are but saddles two.

Consent to take one final gift I have to offer you,

 

“In wedded bliss to live within my cottage by the sea,

But here I’ll die. Then this good host will take what’s left of me

To safer shores beyond the veil of this world’s atmosphere

To bow before the Griffin King in reverential fear.

 

“Life’s vivid moments rise and fall like waves upon the shore.

Each breaker passes over me. I want for nothing more.

My sojourn by the ocean past, and, now, my waiting through,

My course is flown. I am fulfilled in what I’ve done for you.”

 

So, tearfully, with warm embrace, they bade their friend goodbye

And, later, perched on griffin backs, conversed within the sky.

They shouted high upon the wind and spoke of many things

Until they reached that happy shore on which the ocean sings.

 

Then, earnestly, they made their vows among the griffin host

And went inside to contemplate what they both treasured most.

They hung their saddles on the wall, forever, some would say.

For after that enchanted ride, the griffins flew away.

TO BE CONTINUED NEXT THURSDAY…dot…dot…dot!!

The old-fashioned, hand-held, page-turning and fully illustrated version can be ordered at Amazon.com, by Robert L Jones, III and illustrated by James P. Wood.

The Kraken (#13)

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From: gizemlervebilinmeyenler.blogspot.com and copied from Alejandro Quijano pintrest (Kinda scary, right?)

XIII. The Battle

For hours they waited on the ice and watched the Kraken’s hole

As Galen hungered to avenge the beauty that it stole.

His older friend, beholding the frustration on his face,

Took hold of him. “Stay true,” he said. “This is the proper place.”

 

Their griffins also rested there. No fear did they display.

In time of greatest danger, they would simply fly away

And hover well above the fray, then, faithful to their call,

Return to take the heroes home, unbothered by it all.

 

It seemed that nothing happened, then it seemed that nothing would

While Galen tried to reckon what his teacher understood.

He found that he was standing where impatience fears to tread,

Where times of great excitement first by boredom must be fed.

 

As patience is rewarded in some unexpected way,

The ice began to vibrate. Then the ice began to sway

As from the edge, and looking down to see where he should go,

The hunter saw his target’s head appear from down below.

 

The eyes he sought were rising only feet from where he stood.

He felt the handle in his hands and tightly gripped the wood.

In one quick thrust, the implement was driven through the foam.

With discipline, he found his mark and drove the spearhead home.

 

The ice exploded with such force that Galen flew aloft

And landed certain yards from there on something somewhat soft.

The old man underneath him laughed, delighted by it all.

“You did it, boy! Despite my pain, I’m glad to break your fall!”

 

The two men, still disguised in white and trapped upon the flows,

Observed the Kraken thrash and bleed, imperiled by its throes.

The suctioned arms still rose and fell to crash upon the ice.

The section where they bowed and kneeled was nearly capsized twice.

 

One slimy arm caught Galen’s calf, and then he felt it slip,

When upward came more tentacles with something in their grip.

The Kraken died as Galen gasped. He recognized the face,

Lost love, once seen from pirate’s mast, still locked in dead embrace.

 

The two men worked with labored breath, made steamier by toil,

And used their spears with urgency to free her from the coil.

Then reaching into frigid sea, they pulled on her with care

To drag her from her ocean grave and out into the air.

 

And as the heat of battle through our heroes’ veins still burned,

They heard the sound of screech and wing. The griffins had returned.

Though vengeance had been satisfied, the deed was incomplete.

The men beheld the sorry sight now laid before their feet.

To be continued next Thursday…dot…dot…dot!!

By Robert L. Jones, III, at Pneumythology

Alt-Trekkie

wood 2I follow my actor-brother-in-law, Doug Jones, on Instagram and Facebook.  We rarely get to see his face, but he has been nonetheless amazing as Pan in Pan’s Labyrinth, the fish/man Abe Sapion in Hellboy, the Silver Surfer in the Fantastic Four, and Chochise in Falling Skies, to name just a few.  And we just found out that he is going to be (yet another) alien in the up and coming Star Trek spin-off Discovery

Of course, I’m old school, with the original Kirk and Spock and Bones and Scottie and all that.  But far be it from me to consider myself a snobbish connoisseur of fine sci-fi—I also enjoyed Galaxy Quest, and the “famous” quote from Captain Jason Nesmith, “never give up, never surrender!”

So, okay, I’ve not yet donned any cosplay nor stood in line for hours to talk to a personal hero of the silver screen.  Heck, I hang out with Doug and Laurie on fam-jams anyway, and they ARE heroes in my book!

I also appreciate the actors in the Hebrews 11 “Heroes of the Faith” line up—it reads like something out of one of Doug’s movie credits.  Allow me to review (from my human perspective):

Gideon, cowering in the barn trying to hide his grain, and who needed a fleece (twice) to convince him of God’s answer.

Moses, who’s recorded conversation with God (as if standing in front of the burning bush wasn’t enough) is replete with “but God!?!”

Sarah and Abraham, who both thought God needed a little help, (since that always turns out well…)

Amazingly, God chooses to interpret their history differently:

“Their weakness was turned to strength.”

Say what?  How is it that God somehow overlooks, not only their failures, but also the consequences of those failures, and chooses instead to record in the New Testament rendition (for all eternity, no less) their successes?

Like it or not, “oops” is part of a Christian’s vernacular, and “I’m sorry” should roll off the tongue more and more easily as time goes on.  One important thing that can be said for these heroes of the faith is that they never gave up.  They may have given in a few times, but they never gave up

In that, Captain Kirk has nothing on Captain Nesmith.

Hebrews 11:34   Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Better than d’Artagnan

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280I’m not literary, to begin with.  My school-age years were spent during the golden age of this somewhat new-fangled thing called television, and it was easier to watch Ed Sullivan than it was to read a book.  Thankfully, when our oldest child was a tender toddler, I found my way to the local library of the small town that was our current home.  Thus began a love affair with books for my children (and me!) that has never stopped. 

The girls flew the coop years ago, but somehow Bob and I started reading together; that is, he reads to me while I crochet in my rocking chair.  Seriously.  We look like we’re posing for a Norman Rockwell painting.  So the classics I never read are still available (children’s included) and we’re picking them off one by one. 

Case in point: The Three Musketeers.  I don’t know why Dumas called it that, since the there are really four; nonetheless, it was fun, and the author does a good job at developing the unique character of each persona, so we decided to read the sequel.  (I don’t recommend it, unless you’re into literature for the sake of literature.  Me?  I just want to be summarily entertained, which Continue reading “Better than d’Artagnan”