A Little Bit of Truth in Every Conspiracy? Or a Conspiracy to Undermine the Truth?

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-5g9bd-dc7ad0

It’s been said that every conspiracy has a little bit of truth in it. If that’s true, then that would warrant some investigation, wouldn’t it? It would require someone to look deeply into these narratives and see if they hold water.

As such, we now have an entire generation that seems heavily invested in fringe thinking and challenging mainstream, acceptable thought. But is this a good thing? Is it wrong to follow all of the bread crumbs? And who tends to get more invested in “conspiracy theories” as it is? 

That and more in this week’s episode of #TheNarrativeWars. 

The Writer’s Lens – Ep67: “The Great Divorce” and Why We Don’t Take Hell So Seriously

C.S. Lewis is one of my favorite authors of all time. His literary works are popular outside of even the Christian community, for which he is most known. But one such title that is often overlooked is a short story called, The Great Divorce. It’s about about a man riding a bus to somewhere. And that somewhere just so happens to be heaven. For those who get off, it’s a path to hell. But there are more than a few ways to get off the bus and head to the underworld. 

This analysis I attempt is a true deep dive. So it’s lengthy, but like any of Lewis’ works, it’s chock full of meat to chew on. In particular, the topic of heaven and hell and why we might forget about one while in pursuit of the other. 

Is The Earth a Living Thing? Or a Thing With Living Things On It?

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-2dyy5-d97db0

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a lot of reactions to surface across the globe. Namely, who to blame and what the chief cause was. Some are saying that this is merely the Earth taking revenge upon us. That we, humans, are the actual virus and must be dealt with accordingly. 

But is that a true statement? Or should we look at this recent reckoning from a different angle? 

These thoughts were catalyzed by a recent interview with Idris Elba, a British actor who had contracted COVID-19, and was giving a statement to the world about his condition and thoughts on why this was happening.  

Churches Have Been Ordered Not to Gather, But is this Persecution?

Some more thoughts I’m pushing out into the aether. You can find it here.

The Narrative Wars – An Invitation

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-hcvp4-d8be42

Some time ago, I started a podcast on the power of storytelling. After my feet were good and wet in podcasting, I started doing some episodes called ‘The Narrative Wars’. As more time went on, I saw the Narrative Wars coming into its own. I saw topics emerging pertinent to our time. And I saw those episodes as having the potential to stand on their own. And thus, here we are. 

This being the inaugural episode, I invite you to take a listen and see if you’d be interested in sticking around. There are narratives all around us. Which are true? Which ones are we supposed to believe? And how do we decide upon what narratives we believe – be it true or not? 

This is an invitation into the Narrative Wars! 

American Journalists: Stop Helping Yourselves and Start Helping America

Here’s something I penned over on Medium. Now it’s on my webpage. 

The mainstream news outlets have been the subject of severe scrutiny since the 2016 election. Are the criticisms valid? Or just another example of #FakeNews? 

 

 

People Are the Economy, The Economy Are the People

COVID-19 has rocked the world. It’s upended life as we know it and continues to be a menace upon humanity. There are plenty of reactions to be found in its wake. The Church has its own set of voices rising to make sense of it. 

Here’s something for the Church, as a whole, to consider in this trying time. 

How Times of Crisis Force People To Talk About God

In times of crisis, people reveal what they rely upon. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought many of us out of hiding. Personal convictions and underlying comforts have become public. Thanks to social media, people across the world are sharing their thoughts, their memes, and ultimately, what it is (or what it is not) that gives them comfort in a time such as this.

And it’s moments just like this when God enters our conversations. Or at the very least, enters into our private thoughts. God descends upon the masses as if to say, “Remember me?”, and many ponder just what God is going to do. Will God put a stop to what’s happening? Or is God the one to blame? And even more so, is God even there? A bevy of questions arises and discussions that normally get passed off have the opportunity to become commonplace. 

Why is that? Is it because we face an invisible enemy and therefore must call upon a seemingly invisible God to fight it? 

For one, the enemy is not entirely invisible – and neither is God. Yes, one could argue how COVID-19 is invisible. We can’t see it outright. But we can identify the virus via its effects. Our inability to see it coming creates a lot of duress though. For underneath the surface of what we see is where the virus is operating. We know it’s there. We just can’t see it straightaway. 

God operates similarly. Since God embodies a supreme ethic, we recognize that God sits somewhere beneath the surface of every action. The intangible nature of God becomes tangible through godly action. When we are calling upon God, we are also calling upon something deeper. Something bigger, even. We are acknowledging that what we have before us is not something we can beat with our own fists. Or with our own machinations.  

This runs alongside a second reality: our limitations. There are barriers we face as human beings. So when an enemy appears that’s beyond our understanding, we quickly look for someone with the proper insight. Someone who might have the intuition and know-how to defeat what we are up against. Someone outside ourselves who can intervene on our behalf if we are to beat what’s in front of us.

Which reveals yet another shortcoming: our inability to exert complete control over any given situation. When resources are plentiful, people forget about what it’s like to not live in abundance. The illusion of control begins to take root. Short-sightedness and “living for the moment” becomes the norm. Then something happens, and our control – what we thought we had – is taken abruptly. Or to put it another way, our lack of control is exposed.

That brings about fear and confusion. We fear our control might never return. You might say it’s an opportunity to learn about humility. How we aren’t actually the center of the universe. But I would argue that it goes even deeper. For having some measure of control over something – be it an illusion or real – does not always equate to things being “good”. A good outcome isn’t a guarantee. As such, a call to God is more than a call for control – it’s a call for something good.

And we need to look outside ourselves for that sort of goodness, don’t we? Because when we own the reins, we don’t have a clear picture of what’s entirely good. There’s a reason why post-apocalyptic stories and fictional zombie outbreaks are so popular and attractive. It’s because deep down, we know if all of our control and tangible comforts were taken, then it’d be no-holds barred. We’d struggle to share or do what’s right. Our natural bent, despite what we’d like to believe, is not altruism. That must be learned (if it’s ever learned at all). 

Our tangible comforts aren’t bad either. But it’s clear we cannot rely on them for every situation.

We have to go somewhere that’s external, somewhere beyond ourselves, for the best possible outcome. That’s why God surfaces in a time of crisis. Only God could extend a hand to quell the enemy – invisible or not – from destroying us. So that hopefully this question of “remember me?” is not a question we have to answer. 





The Writer’s Lens – Narrative Wars 10: “Should We ‘Bend the Knee’ to Our Critics?”

The Narrative Wars returneth….

You may have never heard of Amelie Wen Zhao (or maybe you have?) but just in case you did or didn’t, this episode was catalyzed by a recent ordeal involving the up-and-coming YA fiction writer. Ms. Zhao was the subject of some harsh criticism for her new book, Blood Heir, which hadn’t even hit the shelves yet. Her book, as described by her earliest of critics, was said to be “racially insensitive” and was encouraged to the point of not releasing her book. Here’s the catch though: many of her detractors had not even read the book. Apparently hearsay and a few buzzwords had caused many to take to the social media to block the Blood Heir release. Much talk and discussion over Zhao’s ordeal followed.

Yet after the social media mob settled, she decided to move forward with her book anyway and not give in to earlier pressures to not publish it. Her book was published mid-November 2019.

This episode is an attempt to talk through artistic expression and how creatives can face a lot of external pressure – even before their idea is off the ground.

Hope you enjoy.

For more on this situation, you can check other sources such as this one here.

The Writer’s Lens – E63: “The Fellowship of the Ring” and Finding Your Place in a Group

The Writer’s Lens returns!

In my first episode in over a month, I take a look at one of my all-time favorites: Tolkien’s first of three stories in the Lord of the Rings trilogy: The Fellowship of the Ring.

Lovers of the fantasy epic recognize LOTR for its dramatic visuals, beautiful descriptions, and downright awesome story. For this episode, I take a deeper look at Tolkien’s theme of fellowship. As a man who lived through some of the most horrific wars in human history, Tolkien understood the need to band together for the sake of a larger cause. As such, his first entry into the series explores the dynamics of group membership and how it can unravel when leadership is lost or when selfish desires take hold. And even more so, how do we even get into the group in the first place?

These ideas and questions I attempt to tackle in about 30 minutes – which is a significantly less amount of time than the extended edition on DVD or Blu-Ray. Enjoy!