Friday, June 18, 2010

Show, don't tell

Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.  ~Anton Chekhov

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  1. In my teenage years I must have read hundreds of volumes on the subject of how to write. One of my favorite writers of all time was a Jack Woodford of Illinois. His novels were not really worth reading, in my opinion, but his works on how to write novels were the best I have ever read. He knew the authors like Faulkner, Hemingway, Steinbeck, etc., and he could cite chapter and verse from their lives and works. I once used the information he provided to refute everything my Composition teacher in high school said in class about how to write. In writing such a critique, I followed every rule the teacher insisted should guide the writer, while citing examples to the contrary from all of the famous authors in literature (thanks to the liberal provision by Jack Woodford). My teacher read it to the class, pointing out how I had followed every rule, while citing all of my contradictions of those very rules. He gave the paper an "A", a matter of great satisfaction to me.

    There is no denying the power of language to convince, persuade, influence, and move people. Anton Chekov is one of the truly great writers of literature. Just think of pale moon beams glinting from a broken window pane, a moving poignancy of a night of melancholy.

  2. I love the quote from Clement of Alexandria, "If you do not hope, you will not find what is beyond your hopes." We live in a time seemingly devoid of hope. Every one is fearful of an economic catastrophe, a calamity of world-wide effect, and all of the facts seem to point dismally to such a disaster as can scarcely be conceived. Interestingly enough, C.S. Lewis, in his sci/fi trilogy, especially the volume titled, That Hideous Strength, speaks of a the success of a conspiracy of great evil. But in the midst of the success of that evil came the fulfillment of a more hopeful prophecy. The words of the central character, one Ransom, to the effect, "They pull down deep Heaven upon their heads," takes on a reality of fulfillment. Heaven comes down to earth with tremendous impact upon the inhabitants thereof. Even the wild animals like the bears are changed into gentle, loving giants. Evil people who cannot abide the changes remove themselves from the scene, while all others are transformed.

    Interestingly enough, Lewis in giving a list of conspirators, supposedly fictional, actually mentions a historic individual, Cecil Rhodes, who has been actually associated with a supposed conspiracy of a similar nature as the one Lewis described in his novel. The point of interest, however, is the hope of heavenly influence or the coming down of such influence which would certainly alter society for the better. All of which dovetails with what I found in my researches into the Great Awakenings and the launching of the Great Century of Missions. Could it be that such a coming down of heaven to earth could be the means for a better hope for our world than we might imagine? I think so, and to this end I have been praying for some 37 years. There is a change in society beginning to occur, what it portends, I cannot say. However, God does speak of commanding his word, His covenant, to a thousand generations (I Chronicles 16:15). Allowing just 20 years for a generation, it sounds like we might have 20,000 years in which to win enough souls to get close to having enough to fulfill the promises to Abraham of a seed a numerous as the stars of heaven, the sand by the seashores, and the dust of the earth. That sounds like a better hope fo tomorrow than what we now seem to behold, and who knows what lies beyond a hope for heaven to come down to earth. After all, Isaiah said, Isa.45:8, "Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let tne skies pour down righteousness...." nd Jesus taught us to pray for His kingdom of Heaven to come and His will to be down on earth just like it is done in Heaven. That is a better hope, one for which we all should be willing to make sacrifices in prayer and otherwise to see fulfilled.