Junkies, a Dagger, and Revenge

My wife and I are junkies. On our days off, you will find us roaming the aisles of a Goodwill, antique shop, or junk store. Soon after entering a location, I search for the book section and scour the shelves for books on theology, writing, or a fantasy novel. It’s not unheard of for me to preoccupy myself in the book section until Amber gets ready to leave. (Don’t worry. She looks over the bookshelves too.) However, on a recent trip, we went to a store with a glass display cluttered with many knives. One caught my attention. It was a dagger. I felt the surge of inspiration when I looked at the shiny two-edge blade with a black handle. The inkling of a fantastical story was laying before my eyes. I called the clerk over, asked if I could hold it, and within minutes I’d purchased it and was walking out the door.

This is the actual dagger I purchased with a purse I brought pack from Suriname.

After some daydreaming, the phrase “the Curse of the Oskaran Blade” kept coming to mind. I was reading Ronald B. Tobias’s 20 Master Plots and How to Build Them around that time and I came across the revenge plot. Although I risk stating the obvious here, but Tobias explains that in this type of story, “Your protagonist seeks retaliation against the antagonist for a real or imaginary injury.” When I looked at this dagger, I felt this was the story it was telling me to write.

I’m still working on some details, but here is what I have now. When Oskaran raiders ransack his village and kill his mother, a teenage blacksmith’s apprentice Wren Westfletcher wants to avenge her death. But can he avenge her death when Joktan, the famed Blackheart knight, claims he is responsible and challenges him to a fight to the death? It’s a work in progress, but it all came from a dagger in the junk store.

Of course, there will be a fight scene at the climax, so I have researched medieval dagger fighting. (This is where my love for research and Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA) come into the mix.) For a sneak peek into how exceptional HEMA dagger techniques are, I’ve included a video below.

Have you ever come across an object that inspired a story? Let me hear about in the comments section.

Big Dreams, Bigger God

Can I share my dream with you? I’ve hesitated, but I want you to know. My hesitancy comes from not wanting to be seen as a dreamer or overly ambitious. The first time I shared my aspirations, I remember being told, “You have mighty big dreams.” And I guess I do, but after some soul-searching, it’s not for vainglory. My intentions are to glorify God and edify others. I may have big dreams, but my God is bigger.

What is my “big dream?” I want to impact the nations for Christ through biblical teaching. It’s a lofty task, but one I feel called to. How am I going to accomplish it? My goal is to write biblical commentary from a pastoral perspective. My intentions are to write in a manner that is accessible to the average laity, but also helpful to the clergy too.

I’m writing this post to invite you to come alongside me in this endeavor. This blog will serve as a window through which I can show my work. It’s a monumental task and I know I will need encouragement and critique along the way.

What is your dream? What is the thing ablaze in your heart? It drives you. It wakes you up in the morning and keeps you up at night. We all have dreams (or at least I think we should have them). Would you share your dream in the comments below?

“In the Word Together” and the Foundations Series

A few weeks ago, I learned an important lesson about solid foundations. Amber and I have always wanted to landscape our backyard, so we decided that our first project would be a flowerbed, complete with a fountain. I’d seen fountains in gardens and assumed that it wouldn’t be too difficult. I was wrong. After three complete do-overs and many hours playing in muddy clothes, I leveled the foundation and got the fountain flowing properly.

Like our backyard fountain, a person’s worldview needs a solid and level foundation. Without it, things don’t seem to work quite right. We build our worldviews by answering four major questions. 1) Where do we come from? 2) Why are we here? 3) What’s wrong with the world? 4) What’s the solution? The Bible gives the answers to these existential questions in the opening eleven chapters. Yes, Genesis 1-11 provides the bedrock for the biblical worldview.

Over the next several weeks, I’m guiding the congregation of Morningside Baptist Church through a survey of these chapters. I use the word “survey,” because it will in no way be an exhaustive study. I’ve created the In the Word Together category to help fill in some gaps and help them study these chapters of God’s Word for themselves. Will you join us? Let’s get “in the Word Together?”