Month: April 2012

Neighbourhood Roundup

So I finally let myself take downtime and read blogs and catch up on Twitter links. It was fun. Cool things going on around the neighbourhood:

Ashley gives some great straight talk about a compassionate God.

Marcher Lord Press brings us the best 404 page yet. [UPDATE: Until they changed their site to NOT have a military space dinosaur crashing through the temporal fabric of the interwebz. Sad face.]

Jennette writes about worry and progress.

I notice that Lelia Foreman has Girl Genius in her blogroll and totally geek out. Check out her blog here. Cool variety.

Linda holds a poll on cuss words and inspirational writing. The results are not as conservative as I expected, actually.

Diane talks about the pain of writerly rejection–when it’s personal, not professional. Something we almost never discuss honestly. But it’s simple truth.

Hank has a new place. I got to preview the Max Headroom post series recently and found myself watching gloriously campy-but-prophetic 1980s storytelling on YouTube for like way too long. Nefarious. Utterly nefarious.

Luther muses on youth ministry. Tough balance, but important.

Sam Martin takes Mike Pearl to task for just not getting it on the things of Scripture. Or the basics of sound argumentation. Both entertaining and informative.

Jill Domschot writes this amazing dreamoir that drags me into a mental space I eerily recognize: The Contrarian’s Nightmare.

A student named Chris Peterman gets kicked out of Bob Jones (video) for taking a stand on the board’s ethics regarding sexual abuse (Google Chuck Phelps and Tina Anderson and it’ll all come clear). Apparently it’s insubordinate to be a better Christian than the board of trustees.

Raygun Revival goes all interplanetary frontier. I can see exactly why Johne and crew couldn’t resist this space cowboy short story.


A Chat with Mike Duran

Mike is an author and discusser of thinky things (my favourite!) who lives over here on the internet, at a lovely place called DeCompose. We recently engaged in a thought-filled ramble through the wildernesses of postmodernism, Christianity, postmodern Christianity, art, life, and gender issues. Also hideous soul-eating angels.

Yes. Lighthearted fun was had by all.

Most of the conversation will be appearing in the “People” column of SciendaQ Summer 2012. Lord willing and the internet crickets don’t chirp, that issue will be available online next week. (And we give it away free for the first week or so on our Facebook page, so come on by.) But for now, here’s a blog-sized excerpt.



Scienda Quarterly’s Summer Issue is Coming!

The summer’s issue came together in a serendipitously beautiful way. “Do we have a theme?” the writers asked. “Just…summer,” I said.

And with little prompting from yours truly, Shakespeare met King David, life met death, and art met life. Also there is a bicycle race in the Netherlands that you must know about.

SQ Issue 2’s offerings are listed in detail here. As with last time, we have:

  • two short stories–one standalone, one serial;
  • two essays–one thoughtful, one pure fun;
  • a good book from a good author, brought to you by T.E. George,
  • and a good conversation, this time with the inimitable Mike Duran. An excerpt of that interview will be hitting this space on Friday.

Also as with last time, a free code for downloading the zine from Smashwords will be available through our Facebook page for a limited time, so please make sure to follow us and get your free copy. Smashwords will give you your choice of format for pretty much any e-reader.


Thoughts on Co-Authoring

I was talking with Grace by video chat not too long ago, and she asked me about the co-authoring Marc and I are doing. He’s in Texas, I’m in Canada. How does that work?

The quick answer: We’re in the same time zone, and Google Docs allows real-time collaboration.

But given that we’re both strong-minded and absolutely brimming with personality, actually the first response that occurred to me was, “we argue in really healthy ways.”


The Metamorphosis of Doubt

This is the summer of my life, the time when life’s early rains and startling frosts turn to warm winds and growing fruit. Yet a blight crept across my summer’s first revolution, a niggling vermin. It sucked at the unripe fruit and left it shriveled, and it called me friend.

Doubt does that.

It was a slow and subtle chewing at the leaves in the place where I inscribe my days, with vague promises of excellence in exchange for my personhood, couched in a gentle gnawing that slowly stripped the growth away.

Metamorphosis is not just about the transformation but the waking up aware of it. Awareness is everything in such instances. Is there something non-verminous in our blood? The taint itself is not in question. When a verminous epiphany occurs, the question is whether we recognize it.

So I saw this thing that had become me, and I found I couldn’t live in its shell. (more…)

Where the Flyboys Don’t Land Anymore

Stylized composite image, just for fun. Being a rank hobbyist, I don’t have Photoshop–I use GIMP. It’s certainly free enough and decent enough for my needs. Anyway, that’s a very quick muck-about with the stylus and 3 layers.

The old WWII hangar was shot at evening, and the night background was a time-lapse taken in my yard.

Scita > Scienda | the headspace of C.L. Dyck and known associates



Take Your Religion and Shove It Where?

I haven’t blogged much in the last year, but I’ve kept reading and observing. I’ve had a front-row seat to the anti-evangelical-post-evangelical-postmodern discussion online, in all its de-churched fury, passion and emotiveness.

Some of it is very thoughtful and important.

Some of it is just stupid.

And here’s why.

If we don’t like the way we were treated somewhere, that doesn’t make it okay to treat the offender the same way. Doing so just proves we’re all criminally selfish at heart.

If we don’t like the lack of sound reasoning used among the more superstitious religionists, that doesn’t excuse our own indulgences with subpar thinking, paparazzi-style commentary, and pseudo-refutation. Those things are about knee-jerking, sense of entitlement and self-justification. Oh, and wanking. Not making a better world.

You’re either A or you’re not-A. Sticking a “religious” label on other people doesn’t make them not-people, and sticking a “post-religious” label on oneself doesn’t make one a fashionable rebel. People are people are people. Intellectual, spiritual and social institutions are just toys we build for displaying our peopleness, whether for better or for worse.

The question is whether we’re going to be decent people who critique ideas intelligently, or jerks who rant about religious topics as if the current-day, American context and interpretive lens is the only one that informs the meaning of sacred texts.

The other question is whether we’re going to have respect for people and assign an inherent value to them, regardless of what institutions they’re mired in. That value can come from a spiritual belief or a humanist social contract; it doesn’t matter a whole lot, pragmatically. What matters is how well it’s lived out.

And I don’t care much who you are, very few people’s claimed belief–agnostic, secular humanist or traditional religion–is worth much when they have the safety of a computer screen and a keyboard to shield them from having to look others in the face.

Because the internet is one more toy we’ve built for displaying our peopleness. And it has perhaps the clearest mirror lens of any. In a cloud of pseudonymous jerk-offs, no one has to see themselves individually reflected there…and so the resulting portrait of wankage is far too revealing, all the while everyone thinks it’s gotta be someone else.

Being human means being a little bit of everything. We are all part jerk (some more than others). We are all partly in awe of existence at one time or another. We all wonder what’s the meaning and purpose of life. We are all partly lost and partly angry.

Right, then. So much for the sad, sad song played by tiny violins. That doesn’t make it okay to take it out on others, no matter how sweetly or subtly.

Religion can be far too sweet and subtle, especially when it’s asking us to be good, nice people who use positive language all the freaking time. Hi-diddly-ho, neighbour.

But so can other alleged enlightenments. And yes, I have seen people contorted, pushed, pulled, manipulated and rejected in order to feed post-evangelical egos and agendas. There is a lot of self-justification out there. A lot of pomposity.

When ideology matters more than people, there is no moral high ground.

Sometimes, though, there’s the recognition that it’s not okay to hurt others for ideology.

Of any kind.


Because if you’re a Christian, then people are the only thing you can take with you to heaven.

And if you’ve been hurt by religion, you should understand a thing or two about pain.

And if you despise religion, you might consider the power and value of compassion for those involved in it. Compassion, not patronization.

According to the sacred texts, Jesus Christ was crucified by religionists and secularists alike. He said this: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”

Whether you call it history or a fable, the principle is sound.

My 21 Influential Books

In response to this post at the Steve Laube Agency (I really like those folks)…twenty-one books that have become “punctuation marks” along the way. Mine are a mix of fiction and nonfiction, modern, classic and ancient.

  1. The Bible – I know, that sounds dorky, but as someone who grew up a firm secularist, it’s something that has surprised me.
  2. Absolute Surrender – Andrew Murray
  3. In the Beginning was Information – Dr. Werner Gitt
  4. The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse – Van Vonderen/Johnson
  5. Twelve Sermons on the Cries from the Cross – Spurgeon
  6. Pensees – Blaise Pascal
  7. Eternity in Their Hearts – Don Richardson
  8. After the Flood – Bill Cooper
  9. Nineteen Eighty-Four – George Orwell
  10. SiddharthaHerman Hesse
  11. Asimov’s Robots, Foundation and Empire epics
  12. Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes
  13. The Atonement Child – Francine Rivers – fiction that probably saved my life, and definitively taught me the power and worth of story.
  14. Blaggard’s Moon – George Brian Polivka – one of the most beautifully voiced and emotive fantasy novels I’ve ever read.
  15. The Dark Man – Marc Schooley
  16. Lucky Baby – Meredith Efken
  17. Raven King trilogy – Stephen Lawhead
  18. Mark of the Lion trilogy – Francine Rivers
  19. The Iliad – Homer
  20. Various Roman historians writing on ancient Europe
  21. The Norse Edda as compiled by Snorri Sturluson

I could probably write a separate post on how these have come together to influence my sense of meaning and purpose. It’s a very odd list. But the result of these benchmarks? Books have made me a writer who cares very much about personal beliefs; the state of the world and the role of culture over the course of history; and the ability of storytelling to capture the transcendent.

Scita > Scienda | space for thinky things and derring-do