Friday, July 29, 2005

2005 Bulwer-Lytton (Bad) Fiction Contest Winners

For a good chuckle, check out the San Jose State University Bulwer-Lytton (Bad) Fiction Contest Winners. It's amazing how talented some people are at writing poorly. The winner compared a woman's breasts to knobs on a carburetor, and one of the runners-up wrote about India, "that hangs like a wet washcloth from the towel rack of Asia". Here are some of my favorites:

  • After she realized the man she had fallen in love with was her long lost twin brother and they must break up immediately, they shared one last kiss that left a bitter yet sweet taste in her mouth--kind of like throwing up after eating a junior mint. [Tami Farmer, Rome, GA]

  • The rising sun crawled over the ridge and slithered across the hot barren terrain into every nook and cranny like grease on a Denny's grill in the morning rush, but only until eleven o'clock when they switch to the lunch menu. [Lester Guyse, Portland, OR]

  • Long, long ago in a galaxy far away, in General Hospital born I was, and quite happy were my parents, but when a youngling still I was, moved we did. [Mary Potts, Oneco, Fl]

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Family Dinner

Once there was a happy family with many children. Their father, being a good father, saw to it that three good meals were provided for his many children every day. He worked hard to provide money for groceries so that his wife could cook up tasty and nourishing meals for his children's growth. He placed great emphasis on these meals, for he said "The family that eats together stays together".

His children enjoyed the meals (especially the desserts). They loved to sit at the table and see their many brothers and sisters, and listen to their stories and jokes. Their parents insisted on some rules at the table (no chewing with your mouth open, no talking out of turn, and don't touch dessert until Mommy does), but they weren't so strict as to forbid chocolate covered faces and outbursts of laughter.

One day, however, the oldest child, a strong-willed daughter of 12, did not appear at the breakfast table. "Perhaps she is feeling ill this morning", her father thought. Neither did she show up at all for lunch. When dinner time arrived, and the little girl was not at her table, Dad withheld the opening blessing and passing of the food to go and find her. She was in her bedroom, with the lights off, sitting and looking at the wall.

"My beloved daughter, what is wrong?"

"Oh, nothing Papa, I was just beginning my dinner with you all."

"What do you mean? We have waited to start dinner until you should arrive. Why have you skipped our meals together today?"

"Well, Papa," she explained, "you see I have come to understand what you want us to learn about one another: why it is so important that we eat together. I know that it's not the food in itself that is our nourishment, but our spiritual communion, in our hearts, that really nourishes us. You want us to come together to eat so that we can learn how to feast on each other, and on you, and find the real nourishment that our hearts need. So that's what I was doing. I was sitting up here, meditating, thinking about you and how you provide for everything I need, and how much I love Mommy and my brothers and sisters. It's been so much better than sitting at the table and being distracted by the babies crying and little Peter making snort noises when he laughs. I even got up extra early today so that I could feast with everyone before they got up."

Her father said nothing, but bent her over his knee and gave her a hearty spanking, until she apologized for being such a disobedient and foolhardy daughter. Then she came down to the dinner table and ate twice her portion, being very hungry.

All Roads Lead Where?

To those who say that Christianity is as good as any other religion, because "all roads lead to God", I do not contradict this statement because God has said otherwise. That would be a right answer, because God is the creator of heaven and earth, and His word trumps all vain and foolish philosophical reasonings. I do not argue against this in this way because your argument is so unsound that it does not even need answering.

It is manifestly obvious to anyone with any knowledge of the world that all roads do not lead to the same place. Any rudimentary study of the cultures of the world will show you this. Hinduism does not lead to God: it leads to the untouchables class and starvation and darkness. Native American animism does not lead to God: it leads to savagery and tribalism and alcoholism. Islam does not lead to God, but rather to misogyny, terrorism and poverty. Can anyone show me a modern flourishing culture anywhere in the world that is not the product of centuries of Christianity?

But I will grant you your conviction in your argument. You believe that all religious roads lead to the same place: that is to no place. Perhaps they lead us to look inwards and find feelings of comfort and spirituality, but the only road that leads anywhere for a culture is that of secular humanism. It's only by passing laws and spending money on government programs that our culture will progress. It's only by experiments in the laboratory that we can know truth, and only by medicine and education that we can find salvation. This, it seems, is so obvious as to be questioned by no one.

So let's look at the evidence of that claim a little further. Where exactly has that road taken us? Does this road lead to the same place as biblical Christianity?