The Shepherd

Saturday, December 25, 2010 6:17 PM By crosswaysnet , In , ,

Simeon's jaw ached. It did that a lot now. Especially since the weather had turned. He pressed the tip of his tongue into the socket where his eye tooth was missing. It pushed out the scar on the lip above, beginning another dull pain.

Simeon felt a lot older than his 20 years. He shifted to his side to give his hip a rest. David played his harp to keep his mind off this hind side, he supposed. The tumbling hills below Bethlehem were certainly no more comfortable in David's day.

Trail of Tears

Tuesday, October 26, 2010 2:51 PM By crosswaysnet , In ,

Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here...

On first read, 'The Road' is all ending with no beginning. The world has long since descended into madness. Nature has abdicated. Abbadon has cleaned the table and cashed in his chips. The universe has shrunk to the flickering flame of one father and his only son. Unable to separate his identity from his only remaining responsibility, The man sets off to the South and his rendezvous with oblivion. As long as he moves the long scythe cannot take its final swing. Yet he knows he must prepare his son for the inevitable, one bleeding cough at time. Their language is sparse, poetry, but only of the free verse kind. It's the visual language of full-faced tenderness that is the world's final sonnet. They profess love till there is no breath left to bear the words. We've reached the endless sea.

Islamaphobic America?

Sunday, August 29, 2010 9:29 PM By crosswaysnet , In

This is just too fine a piece to not reprint:

Islamophobic America?
Gary M. Burge, Ph.D., Professor of New Testament, Wheaton College.
Evangelicals for Middle East Understanding (EMEU) Advisory Board

Are we all becoming – as Time Magazine suggests (Aug 30, 2010) – Islamophobic? According to one of their recent polls, 46% of us believe that Islam is more likely than other faiths to inspire violence against nonbelievers. 34% of us don’t want a Mosque in the neighborhood. According to an August 19 Washington Post poll, 30% of conservative Republicans who dislike Obama claim that he is a Muslim. Is “Muslim” the new political slur?
I’ve just returned from two Muslim countries in the Middle East. And as exposure goes, I’ve probably worked alongside more Muslims than I ever expected I would. I’m in the Middle East at least once each year, usually visiting multiple countries. I belong to an “Evangelical-Muslim” discussion group which meets annually and hosts 30 scholars from each side for 3 days of interfaith discussion. These are pious, brilliant, generous Muslim scholars whom I count as my friends. And when a topic like “Islamophobic America” comes up, I share intense personal emails with them.

The Lovely Bones

Wednesday, August 4, 2010 12:15 PM By crosswaysnet , In ,

This movie has been savaged by the well-meaning and those who don't know well what they mean.

What are 'the Lovely Bones?' Ah, now the answer to that will take a fair viewing to sort out. And the closing paragraphs from the lips of Susie Salmon will mean nothing to the viewer without the story that precedes it.

What of all the talk of Heaven? There is no Heaven here - just the longing for one. We peek over the rim from Neverland at the very end, but since we're not supposed to go there, we're not allowed more than a glaring obscurity. Some criticize the imagination of Peter Jackson for bringing us a techno-color CandyLand, all sugary sweetness and no nourishment. But that complaint completely misses his genius. This is Susie Salmon's time of bright shadows, not Peter's. Ripped from a world of polyester, psychedelic daisies and David Cassidy posters, we're entering a very different inner world than our 'today.' It's one of a 14-year-old young lady of the 1970s. It is groovy and timeless. Yet the horrors that preceded it bust in with alarming rudeness proving this is no Nirvana. Just when we've grown accustomed to this playground and think it will resolve, it crumbles to dust. As it must. It was never meant to be something of substance. Susie's looking glass is the quick blog of a soul beginning a much larger adventure. A tweet from the unending song.

Lost:The End - Much ado about NOTHING...

Tuesday, June 1, 2010 1:57 PM By crosswaysnet , In ,


What Would Jack Do, that is. And that's what LOST comes down to.

The Finale was 'emotionally rewarding' to some and a 'total bust' to others. How can it be both? It depends on what you expected.

Most of us surmised all along that LOST was some kind of quasi purgatory. The Finale certainly confirmed that guess with a heavy dose of 'quasi.' Many presumed that the 'purgatory' theme meant that the series would eventually take on a more overt Christian bent, after wading through a morass of New Agey mysticism.   But purgatory is not Christian theology and is found nowhere in the Scriptures. It was invented to gloss over the 'troubling' aspects of redemption doctrine and speak into those places the Logos chose to remain silent. The Gospel is indeed steeped in paradox. God as man and distinct from the Father and Spirit, for one. That God as Man could die, for another.  That a virgin should give birth to the One who created her. That he who loves his life will lose it. It goes on and on. Some are stronger contrasts than others, yet the parlor of Christian faith is richly papered with them.

Translation-Chapter 12

Thursday, May 13, 2010 8:42 PM By crosswaysnet , In

Chapter 12 (Sunday, 11:30AM - La Grange, TX)

Somewhere outside San Antonio, a meeting takes place between a powerful businessman and his lieutenants. He expresses his anger at a 'situation' that is getting out of hand.

Simultaneously, Mitch seeks out the pastor and elders of the Living Way Church, asking them to pray over him. After a Sunday dinner at the pastor's house, prophecy is spoken and words of knowledge affirm Mitch's prayers for clarity and guidance. Mitch is translated during prayer and laying on of hands.

Translation-Chapter 11

Wednesday, May 12, 2010 8:40 PM By crosswaysnet , In

Chapter 11 (Sunday, 9:30AM - La Grange, TX)

After a makeshift breakfast, Mitch parts ways with the immigrants. He finds himself walking along another desolate stretch of highway. Dialogues with himself about what has been happening to him. Prays for understanding.

The road blends into the heartland Texas town of La Grand. Mitch steps into a Black pentecostal church for the service. The preaching is from Acts 8 and the story of Philip's 'translation' to meet the Eunuch along the Gaza road. The sermon convinces Mitch he's not crazy but he still feels lost.

Translation-Chapter 10

Tuesday, May 11, 2010 8:39 PM By crosswaysnet , In

Chapter 10 (Sunday, 2AM - Rio Grande, near Quintano, TX):

Mitch sees a group of illegal immigrants ready to cross the river. Another group prepares to ford the river, looking far more dangerous. Young, muscular and not speaking Spanish. Mitch tracks them after their coyote deposits them by the river. Soon one of the men is swept away by the current. Mitch instinctively rushes to rescue the man. He's stopped by the cries of another victim of the current - a young Mexican boy. Mitch has to make a choice. He ends up spending the night in a makeshift camp of the immigrants.

Translation-Chapter 9

Monday, May 10, 2010 8:37 PM By crosswaysnet , In

Chapter 9 (Saturday, 12AM - I35, Canyon West/South of Austin, TX):

Sylvia Colpoys was somewhere buying the finest pair of shoes she had ever seen. They fit marvelously. They flattered her legs. There was only one pair left. Best of all, they were on sale. It was a marvelous moment and it was being ruined by someone - her husband - jabbing her ribs with his elbow. Leave me alone, she thought. I haven't bought these yet.

Translation-Chapter 8

Sunday, May 9, 2010 8:27 PM By crosswaysnet , In

Chapter 8 (Saturday, 10PM - Oak River Fellowship Distribution Center, New Kassel, TX):

Mitch finds himself transported to the darkened warehouse of the relief ministry his wife used to administrate. A security guard stumbles onto some sort of illegal activity and is abducted. Mitch sneaks into the departing truck and frees the captive at a weigh station. Mitch gives him the cash in his wallet and warns him to hide with his family for at least a week. Left alone on a dark stretch of highway, Mitch asks "Where next?"

Translation-Chapter 7

Saturday, May 8, 2010 8:26 PM By crosswaysnet , In

Chapter 7 (Saturday, 3:30PM - enroute to Canyon West, TX):

C.R. pulled out onto the feeder road and came to a halt at the temporary stop sign. The construction signalman waved him into a left turn over the half-completed bridge. Between the traffic, the construction, and the back end of a slow-moving train just clearing the nearby crossing, it took them five minutes just to get across the Interstate. By the time they were beginning to move again, Mitch had finished his lunch, crumpled up the sack and stuffed it on the floor below his seat. He couldn't remember feeling that hungry in a long time.

Translation-Chapter 6

Friday, May 7, 2010 8:25 PM By crosswaysnet , In

Chapter 6 (Saturday, 2:30PM - south of Austin, TX):

Jalapeno Hunger-Buster Meal Deal, $3.99. Today only...
It's what the sign said.
C.R. Colpoys was staring at it intensely - or maybe his eyes were just boring a hole right through the marquee into outer space somewhere. Mitch couldn't tell. He was pushing himself into a sitting position, rubbing the stiff out of his neck. He moved his hand to the dull pain in his left rib where the seat belt had just been removed. It was almost as throbbing as the top of his forehead, which he touched more tenderly.

Translation-Chapter 5

Thursday, May 6, 2010 8:23 PM By crosswaysnet , In

Chapter 5 (Saturday, 12:30PM - Canyon West, TX):

It was time to take a long, deep breath.
Mitch sat back hard on the ground and attempted that very thing. His lungs ached and his throat felt raw. He hadn't noticed either of these things till that moment. He lifted his head enough to see the devastation around him. It was black for a hundred yards around a crater that hadn't been there an hour ago. Two fire engines had doused all the flames. Only a few patches of smoldering grass suggested there had been fire. That and the charred smell which filled Mitch's nostrils. It wasn't a natural, campfire smell. It was oily; noxious; carbon.

Translation-Chapter 4

Wednesday, May 5, 2010 8:20 PM By crosswaysnet , In

Chapter 4 (Saturday, mid-day, Canyon West, TX):

The big truck lumbered its way up the caliche drive, through old iron gates, painted many times over the years and set on rough-cut limestone pediments. A narrow road wound around the cemetery leaving barely enough room for the double back axle to maneuver without displacing edge stones. Two hundred year old oaks stood separate from each other, shading the tough Texas turf in places. The oldest monuments stood in the center behind short wrought iron fences, large hand-chiseled engravings giving testament to the hard life and early deaths of settlers. Many of the dates went back to before the Civil War.

Translation-Chapter 3

Tuesday, May 4, 2010 8:18 PM By crosswaysnet , In

Chapter 3 (Saturday Morning - Rio Claro, TX):

Blanco County, 4am. Brian Cox reporting:
"A Hill Country woman narrowly escaped a fiery death early Saturday morning when her minivan was destroyed by a hit-and-run driver along a lonely stretch of US 181, just north of Lubach."
Mitch was suddenly feeling thirsty, even though he'd only walked two hundred yards. He stood next to his mailbox, tightly gripping the whole newspaper. A fly was up early, lazily buzzing around Mitch's left ear. He ignored it as it settled somewhere on his hat.

What you can learn from a book review...

Monday, May 3, 2010 9:53 PM By crosswaysnet , In ,

Well, the Publishers Weekly review is finally up on my ABNA quarter-final entry "Avenhal-Return of the Taneen." I was (mildly) hoping for something quotable and useful for future jacket revisions. Since most authors don't choose to tout scathing reviews, Ill probably pass on quoting them.

But in the interest of full-disclosure, I'm posting it here, with a few comments of my own to follow. Don't worry - I won't flame them. They're doing their job, and they proved they read the entire manuscript.

ABNA Publisher Weekly Reviewer:

In a time of war, three siblings are sent to relatives in the country, where they discover a mysterious gate between worlds.

Translation-Chapter 2

8:17 PM By crosswaysnet , In

Chapter 2 (March, Friday Morning - Rio Claro, TX):

Mitch rubbed the sleep out of his eyes and headed to the small corner kitchen of the cabin. Without a curtain, the morning light was pouring through the window over the sink. The big square of sunshine was working its way from the center of the room back toward the old pine cabinets. Mitch squinted as he stepped through the glare over to the coffee maker. Other than the electric stove and half-size fridge, it was the only other modern convenience in this little Hill Country retreat. It was also the newest. It was less than a year old and positively gleamed in comparison to the tired stove, cookware and glasses. It was also programmable and gave Mitch the satisfaction of not having to wait. He poured half a cup of his favorite Sumatran blend, added a small amount of half-n-half and stepped out to the back porch.

Translation-Chapter 1

Sunday, May 2, 2010 6:32 PM By crosswaysnet , In

Chapter 1 (November, 2006 - New Kassel, Texas):

The woman had been staring at the computer screen for a long time. It was getting dark already and a gloom had descended on the office. It felt appropriate. Soon she would be expected home to finish putting food on the table.
A steely blue glow was beginning to reflect off the polished desk as the parking lot lights blinked on one by one. Sonja Blackman looked out the large bay of windows at the colorless form of her hybrid Toyota Camry sitting alone in the parking lot. She should leave right now, she knew. Still, she was drawn back to the screen trying to make the message mean something else.


Saturday, May 1, 2010 3:27 PM By crosswaysnet , In

Prologue (June, 1995 - Monterrey, Mexico):

The day was clear and blue. Unusual for the normally dusty, urban skies of Monterrey. A cold front had pushed in all the way from the U.S., bringing with it crisp weather and taking away the haze of exhaust from cheap gasoline and open barrel fires. Things were changing fast in the early days of NAFTA, and with it came new wealth. But this was still Mexico. It seemed to be a constitutional right to burn your own trash. But not this late November day - too windy.

Movie Review-The Hurt Locker

10:32 AM By crosswaysnet , In

If yer lookin' for subtly, look on.

The movie starts with this quote from NYTimes correspondent Chris Hedges: "The rush of battle is a potent and often lethal addiction, for war is a drug." Wow! Did you get it? War is addictive! Not to waste time correcting any misconceptions, all other words fade to black other than "war is a drug." (linger... fade...)

Get it yet?

Movie Review-Passengers

Thursday, April 1, 2010 12:18 PM By crosswaysnet , In

I have great hopes for the future of Anne Hathaway's career. She needs a breakout role. This is not it.

I've seen the movie. My advice to you? Don't.

Kiersey Says...

11:13 AM By crosswaysnet , In

Now I just gotta pay the extra $20 to find out if I'm an INVENTOR, ARCHITECT, FIELDMARSHALL or MASTERMIND... (What? No option for "EVIL Mastermind?)

Take your own test at:

Custom Keirsey Temperament Report for: Bram Floria

Your Keirsey Temperament Sorter Results indicates that your personality type is that of the RATIONAL.

Top 5 Things I've learned (so far) from LOST-the Final Season

11:06 AM By crosswaysnet , In ,

5) There's 'Lost' 'Loster' and probably 'Lostest.'
4) NO one gets to die only once.
3) If it 'worked' it doesn't mean it worked.
2) Where there's smoke, there's murder.
1) Only WE can kill the gods.

He I Follow

11:05 AM By crosswaysnet , In

I have not been this way before
I will not see the destination
I only follow
where I am led
he with face toward day
shoulder to the wind
I catch the light and shadow
the sweat the blood and dust

Morro Bay

Monday, March 1, 2010 11:04 AM By crosswaysnet , In

(about like 20 years ago...)


Arrows dive
Fish meet sky
O'er the rushing bows of boats

More Ideas for the T-shirt Biz

Friday, January 15, 2010 11:46 AM By crosswaysnet , In , ,

I'm a Consultant. I charge what I'm worth... then add 300%.

I'm a Lawyer. I speak a language you'll never understand, and I charge $300 an hour to translate it for you - and you still won't know what I'm saying.

I'm a Pastor. I'm highly-trained to mystify God's plain text.