Rachel Thompson

Jack Canon's American Destiny

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Hunter’s Son by BE Jewell (Excerpt)

Chapter 2

“You know who I am and you know what he is, so you better start talking. I saw him come in here earlier.” The stocky man slams his hand down on the table. He keeps his eyes locked forward and squeezes his hand, making the veins in his forearm pop.

This elicits the desired response, and James has to fight back a smile. The owner of the grungy little shop nearly jumped out of his skin at the sound of the hand slamming on the dirty laminate counter top. It’s the typical type of place a sympathizer might own. Funneling black market goods might pay the bills, but this guy certainly isn’t getting rich off this line of work.

“Look man, I don’t know what you’re talking about. So you better buy something or…” James’s hand shoots out and grabs the shop owner’s neck. A slight squeeze cuts off his voice with a gargle.

“Don’t you lie to me. The smell in here is enough to make me puke. One warlock doesn’t smell up a joint like this,” James says through gritted teeth. “I saw him leave here earlier and have been chasing him since. I lost him when he jumped off the fifth floor of the parking garage over on Beaubien Street and took off toward the river. Tell me where he stays and maybe I’ll let you live.”

He squeezes just a bit tighter and the shop owner’s eyes bulge just slightly from his now-purple face. A noise squeaks from his collapsing throat that sounds enough like agreement to allow James to release his grip. The shop owner rubs the red area where the incredibly strong hand was affixed and clears his throat loudly.

“He’s gonna kill me. Ya know it’s true, hunter,” the shop owner says in his new, gravelly voice.

“Either him or me.” James opens his jacket and taps the gun sticking out of his waist band. Surprisingly, this doesn’t get a rise out of the man behind the counter.

“That supposed to scare me? You know what that warlock can do. He’s not normal. The things he will do to me will hurt far worse than getting shot. Maybe I should just let you shoot me and get it over with.”

James looks at the mousey man and puts his hand on the butt of his gun. The man might be afraid of the warlock but he is clearly more afraid of dying. He can barely stop the words from spewing from his mouth.

“Alright, alright. Ya better get him though, or we’ll both be dead. He hangs out in Milliken Park down on the river. It’s off Atwater Street. Not that I care if you live, but you better be careful, hunter. Like I said, this warlock is different. Got some powers I haven’t seen in a long time.”

“Oh, dontcha worry about me. Believe it or not I know what I’m doing.” James walks to the door. “And if he isn’t there, I’ll be back. No need to worry.”

The air outside the shop is cool, even for September in Michigan. James regrets not dressing warmer. His body shivers, partly from the cold but mostly from frustration. He does not usually have this much trouble and rarely has to run like he has today. The air burns his lungs like he is breathing boiling coffee. The money he was paid isn’t worth all the trouble this warlock has given him and the thing doesn’t look much older than JC. Should have asked for hazard pay, he thinks to himself.

James heads down the street toward the area he believes is the park. His mind is preoccupied with thoughts of JC and his first day at yet another high school. He bumps into an older couple walking with bags of groceries. Cans and boxes scatter all over the sidewalk. He scrambles to help the folks clean up their food and moves on quickly. He can’t let anyone get a good look at him. If things get ugly with the warlock, he can’t have the local news putting his description on TV.

He generally prides himself on staying anonymous. No one will mistake him for a body builder, but James is sure that most people would not want to run into him hiding in an alley unless they have some sort of power. Despite his stocky frame, there is nothing particularly striking about James. Most would say he looks fairly ordinary. Not strikingly handsome but not ugly either. He could be an accountant when he isn’t wearing army cargos and a black hooded sweatshirt. Hopefully the old couple was so startled they forget everything about him.

It’s nearly dark when James reaches the park. The acidic stench of the warlock hangs on the air and almost ruins the beautiful park set inside the city. The park is completely out of place. Trails lead in every direction and trees line numerous lush green clearings. It would be easy to forget about being in the city altogether.

James heads toward a raised walkway at the edge of the river, letting his nose show him the way. This would be the perfect place for a warlock to hide out. Plenty of space to watch potential victims. It would be easy to snatch someone, drag them into the woods and perform a spell without anyone seeing. Wouldn’t matter how elaborate the ritual, the trees would provide ample cover. One day having a nice picnic in the park, the next kidnapped and waking up to a nightmare–a warlock having stolen their identity or, worse, having made them do terrible things all while they were completely unaware.

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Genre – YA Supernatural Thriller

Rating – PG13

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Connect with BE Jewell on Twitter

Website http://www.jewellbe.com/

Blog http://jewellbe.blogspot.com/

Five Times More Jesus - Jim Adam

Chapter 2:
What the Old Testament Says

Love is patient, love is kind....  [I]t is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Belief Versus Approval

One afternoon when I went out to collect the mail, I got collared by a pair of Mormon missionaries.  Unable to escape, I decided that the best defense was a good offense, and I started in with, “Do you believe the story of the Great Flood?”  That was the wrong question, but I quickly recognized my mistake and asked the question that I should have asked to begin with:  “Do you approve of what happens in the story of the Great Flood?”

For the two young Mormons, the answer to both questions was an unqualified, unhesitating “Yes,” but however similar the two questions seem, they are quite different.  “Do you believe in the Great Flood?” is a question about whether an event happened or not; it is a question about rainbows and animals going up two-by-two.  “Do you approve of the Great Flood?” is a question about an act of global genocide; it is a question about three year olds floating bloated and blue atop the flood waters.

Approving of the OT is a more serious matter than merely recognizing the OT as part of God’s ongoing revelation.  Approving means saying things like, “Yes, drowning those toddlers was the right thing to do.”

Approving of the OT is where people sometimes stumble.

Violations of the Two Commandments

Critics of the OT sometimes complain that it isn’t compatible with the NT.  Using the Two Commandments as the test criteria, if the OT portrays God as doing something immoral, then it is in violation of the First Commandment, which Jesus called the greatest commandment:  to Love God (Matt. 22:36-40).  Similarly, if the OT promotes unloving behavior toward people, then it violates the Second Commandment of Love your neighbor as yourself.

Raymund Schwager is a Bible scholar who has written several books about OT violence, and by his calculation the OT contains about a thousand verses where God performs violent acts, while in another hundred passages God orders others to kill on his behalf (Pinker, p. 10).  Listing all 1,100 of these acts of violence is outside the scope of this book, especially since violence isn’t the only source of discomfort for readers of the OT.  As a result, I will be picking and choosing.

In selecting which OT passages to list, my goal is to focus on scriptures that have caused the most trouble throughout Christianity’s history, as these scriptures will be referenced in later chapters by both critics and defenders of the OT.  I have included some lesser-known selections here as well, with the goal of showing how widespread these problematic passages are.

Acts of Violence

Some acts of violence in the OT seem to violate the commandment to Love your neighbor as yourself.  And when an act of violence is ordered by or perpetrated by God, God sometimes seems immoral or monstrous, which thereby violates the commandment to Love God.

God inundates the world with the Great Flood, which eliminates all but eight people from the planet.  (Gen. 6-9)

God destroys the twin cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.  (Gen. 18-19)

God kills all the firstborn of Egypt.  (Exod. 12:29)

God kills the army of Egypt so that “Not one of them survived.”  (Exod. 14:28)

Two priests are burned to death by God for using “unauthorized fire.”  (Lev. 10:1-2)

An unspecified number of Israelites are killed at God’s command “so that the Lord’s fierce anger may turn away from Israel.”  (Num. 25:4-5)

Twenty-four thousand Israelites are killed by a plague sent by God.  The plague is ended only when Phinehas, grandson of Aaron, takes it upon himself to kill an Israelite man and the Midianite woman the man has married.  (Num. 25:6-11)

The army kills all the adult men of the Midianites “as the Lord commanded,” but takes the women and children as spoils of war.  This infuriates Moses, who orders the elimination of the women and the boys, but allows the army to keep the virginal girls for themselves.  (Num. 31:7-18)

Several cities of Amorites belonging to King Sihon are wiped out, “For the Lord your God had made [Sihon’s] spirit stubborn and his heart obstinate in order to give him into your hands....  At that time we took all his towns and completely destroyed them — men, women, and children, we left no survivors.  But the livestock and the plunder from the towns we had captured we carried off for ourselves.” (Deut. 2:30-35)

Sixty walled cities belonging to King Og of Bashan are pacified with God’s blessing, along with “a great many” unwalled villages.  As with King Sihon’s cities, only the livestock and plunder are taken as prey of war.  (Deut. 3:3-8)


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Genre – NonFiction

Rating – PG13

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Website http://fivetimesmorejesus.migdalin.com/

Honest Sid: Memoir of a Gambling Man by Prof. Ronald Probstein

If you’re going to live outside the law, you’d better be honest. This seeming paradox was the operating principle of Sid Probstein’s life. Guileless and endlessly optimistic, he was known as Honest Sid around his stomping ground of New York’s Broadway. Sid wasn’t a tough guy, or even a bad guy. He just never had the patience for the “straight” life, grinding out a living at some monotonous desk job.

He was the quintessential American dreamer, always sure that the good life was just one big score away, a man who never stopped believing in his own good luck, even when the evidence said otherwise. He had all the tools, he was charming, good-looking, quick-witted and decent, but he had an obsession he couldn’t escape.

Honest Sid is the story of an American archetype as seen through the eyes of his son, Ronald, who loved him, and who almost lost him. It follows Sid’s adventures in the world of bookies and bettors, fighters and fixers, players and suckers set against the often-romanticized backdrop of Depression-era New York. It is also the passionate tale of the great and tempestuous love between Sid and his wife Sally, and of his son Ronald whom he idolized.

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Genre – Biographies & Memoirs

Rating – PG13

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