I went rode my bike this morning. We did 50 miles, with temps around 28˚F, with massive headwinds. I'm the Bandidto in the middle. Rule #9 is in effect, of course.
For a few months now, I've been wanting to get my hands on an old typewriter. Preferably, a manual (non-electric) one. And what happens to show up at the local Goodwill??
A mid-1960's Underwood Touch-Master 5. It's crusty, dirty, and needs a lot of cleaning, but it works! And it was a steal at $15.
My 11-year-old secretary couldn't resist playing with it. It's so tactile! And it makes a nice, solid "clack" noise every time you type a letter. What's not to love?
The Second Law is Concealment.
This immediately throws up red flags. "Concealment? Are you being sneaky? Are you trying to hide something, or be dishonest?"
Let's try a thought experiment. You go into a job interview, for which you're barely qualified. You're riddled with doubt, but you really want this job. Are you going to go into the interview with doubt and fear written all over your face? No, of course not.
You conceal your real feelings. You smile, you act confident, and you do what it takes to accomplish your goal.
The opposite of concealing is revealing. Do you really want to reveal everything about yourself to everyone? No, of course you don't. The problem is, we do it all the time without even realizing it. And so, the Second Law urges us to pay attention to what we reveal about ourselves- and conceal what is necessary to ensure our survival in the Dark World. This doesn't necessarily mean deception, lying, or things of that nature. It is a simple evaluation of how we unwittingly make ourselves vulnerable by revealing too much.
I recently reviewed Ivan Throne's The Nine Laws, and while I tried to encompass as much about the book as I could, there's just no way I could cram everything I wanted to say about it into a single blog post. I promised my followers on Gab that I would delve into each of the Nine Laws individually, and so, we've come to Week One: The First Law.
The First Law is Survival
Simply put: if you're dead, you can't do much of anything. Therefore the First Rule of the Dark World is "you have to survive."
Is this in opposition to the Christian faith? Hardly. At the very core of Godly beliefs is the sanctity of life. We are created in the image of God, and so our very existence is a proclamation to the veracity and tenaciousness of life as we know it.
"But Sensei," I can hear you saying, "doesn't it also say in the Holy Word that those who lose their lives will gain it? And those who are first shall be last? Wasn't Jesus a pacifist?"
The Scripture says:
"For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it." - Matthew 16:25 (also in Luke 9:24 and Mark 8:35, emphasis mine)
Jesus very clearly says that anyone giving up their life for His sake will find it. And by "find it" Jesus didn't mean suddenly not being dead anymore. No, He means giving up your physical life for Jesus' sake means securing eternal reward. But the inverse isn't so clear: does Jesus mean if we try to save our own physical lives, we'll lose our eternal ones?
Once in a while, you run across something that's so magnificently and bluntly honest that you just have to stop and look at it again, as if to say "what?"
Reading Ivan Throne's The Nine Laws is like that. It's not something you can skim in an afternoon while delicately sipping on a latte. It's both eloquently written, and brutally realistic. But at the core, is it something worth reading, or is it just poetic drivel and fluff?
Each section begins with a story directly from Throne's life, and embodies some facet of the Nine Laws. They are powerfully moving stories in their own right, but as examples of the way the Dark World works, they're more than that. The Laws are defined, and then the last section explains each one. The reader is given thought exercises to get them to understand where they are in relation to the Dark World, and then take action based on that realization.
I decided, in light of wanting to be honest, to dig into the philosophy of the book itself and see if it held water when juxtaposed with a Christian's worldview. I will warn you: this wasn't easy, or simple. It is a complex philosophy, and even a single misstep could transform the entire thing into a conflagration of failure. If all the Nine Laws rely on each other, and even one of them is false, then the whole tower comes toppling down. I am still working through it, but needless to say, there's a lot of truth there.
I can't even begin to delve into the meaning of the whole book in a mere thousand words, so there's a good possibility this will take more than one post. But I would rather do the book justice than stamp a gold seal on it and lead someone astray. My readers deserve it, and I'm sure Mr. Throne wouldn't have it any other way.
So, without further ado, here are the Nine Laws:
Is your laptop broken, worn out, or just not not working like it should? I can fix it! Computer has a virus? Need an upgrade? No problem.
Don't throw those computers away! I've been repairing and rebuilding computers since before Windows 95 existed.
Do you want to build a computer for a special purpose? Home entertainment system, gaming, home or small business servers, or something else? I can help! I'm also experienced in building virus-proof Linux-powered computers, and can train users in using software as well.
I've done contract computer work for the U.S. Military, Ochsner Hospital, John Deere, and lots of other businesses. And I can use all that experience to help you!
Over the last few days, I've been thinking.
Specifically, I've been thinking about what my life's purpose is. There's plenty of things tied into this, but the majority of it boils down to this:
If you had to define your existence with one driving statement of purpose, what would it be?
If you don't know, what are you waiting for?
And this is where I found myself after years of floating, like a leaf in the wind. I realized I had no real, solid purpose. I mean, sure, I had "purpose" but I couldn't tell you exactly what it was. "Following God" only gets you so far, as that could look like any number of things. "Loving your neighbor" could be me, sitting on my couch, invisibly loving people from afar. What does "helping people" look like? Specifically, for me? What does "Love the Lord your God with all your heart" look like, for me?
Took my day off to fix the fuel line leak on the Rambler Marlin. I also discovered it's leaking brake fluid from the right front caliper, but that's for another day. Here's the before and after:
It of course needs to have the tailpipe wrapped in heat-resistant header wrap. That was part of the problem in the first place: the heat helped the floor rot out right above it rather quickly, and the rusty floor wore through the hard line. The fuel line being so close to the tailpipe also caused it to leave me stranded on at least one occasion, from boiling the gasoline right in the fuel line! But at least it's driveable again.
What does it mean to be a follower of Jesus Christ? What does it mean, what does it require? I spent some time this weekend contemplating on what I needed to do, at the very least, to say I'm actively living out my faith.
What are the basic tenets of Christian Faith? What is non-negotiable? Your mind may be swimming with ideas of charity, piety, prayers, who knows.
The first place we should be looking for an example of living out the Christian Faith is Christ Himself.
I've narrowed down the most crucial responsibilities of the Believer to these three things:
Now, we're supposed to act out our faith in deeds as well, but for building the foundation of our faith, these three are it. The "Building Blocks," as it were.
In a few weeks, I'll be unemployed, and I will finally get the chance to go back to being self-employed. This is a big risk for me, of course, because there's always the possibility that I'll just not find enough work, and will have to go back working for a big company to pay the bills.
I do not want to go back to work for someone else. This means I'm going to have to do my best to scrape up work on my own, for various things.
What kind of "Living Outside The Box" guy would I be if I didn't though, right?
I'm offering my services as a freelancer in several areas:
- Book/general copy editing (Have edited/formatted my own book, and a few for others)
- Article writing (I write here, and several other blogs on a regular basis)
- Music lessons (I majored in theory, instrumental performance, etc. in college)
- Background music for Youtube videos and podcasts (Have several satisfied customers already)
- Computer tech work (20 years experience, and HP certified)
Plus I'm going to work on finishing more novels and music projects for my own income. I may even branch out into other areas as time permits. I'm flexible, and in about 3 weeks, I'll be able to start adding jobs to my schedule.