Note: This post is mainly for Christians, but some non-Christians can take a peek, too. Just a warning, you may be a little bit confused by what you read.

In recent times, I have become a bit annoyed by the whole “love the sinner hate the sin” concept. This may be shocking for some people. And yes, I am a Christian. I was bathed in the blood of Christ and forever forgiven from my sins because I put my trust in Him. How then can I say “love the sinner hate the sin” is flawed?

So let me explain.

Continue reading “Why “LOVE THE SINNER, HATE THE SIN” Is Flawed.”


So get your tea, coffee and some delicious food, because I’d like you to read this all the way through, even if you don’t like some of the things I have to say. I’d like to start this out with a little less personal statement:

In 2016, Let us make the decision to not pin the actions of a few on the whole. 


Why Art?


This is a very long rant in response to a question that I decided I couldn’t answer through a simple message. It would just take too long. The question was: why is art important?

I think art’s goal is, at the surface, entertainment. Maybe that’s not what you wanted to hear, but it’s true. We enjoy it for our own sake. Artists, both musicians and painters, dancers and actors, do their art because there are things they would like to see, and nobody knows what they would like to read or see or hear better than they do.

And that’s where I have to go a bit past the surface. I think if I get to the heart of why I make art, it gets slightly egotistical. I like to think that I can truly change people’s minds. Seriously, I do. I act like I can make society think about itself and its wrongs if I write it as it is, showing all the faults in grisly detail. Maybe I can. I don’t really know. I mean to say that it has happened before. As I recall, one of Picasso’s works influenced the rest of the world to see the horrors of what was going on down in Austria in WW2. I like to believe I can make people walk back into reality and think about what would happen if they kept living their lives as mundanely as they do. I’d like them to question everything. And they do.

You see, the world itself is art. Can you imagine a world without anything but the absolute essentials? Perhaps it would not exist, because a universe is not really necessary. Nothing is necessary. But from the unnecessary comes beauty, and that is art. We are art. Every human being and animal and everything in existence is artwork. The universe itself is naught but God himself throwing what was not necessary into the utter blackness and making light. Why? Because why not?

Art is the foundation of society. It does not exist without it. Art is something that every single society can understand. You can understand how someone who speaks another language and lives in a completely different place was feeling just by listening to a song. You don’t even have to understand the words even if it includes it. It is the ultimate and greatest form of communication.

Yes, art is entertaining. We are entertained by books, splashes of ink on paper, like the Hunger Games. But did you know that the Hunger Games, a fictional book, is banned in some countries? Why? Because of this: art is more than just entertainment. Art is inspiration. And those countries’ governments that ban it fear that it will inspire its citizens to rebel against them. And I’ll be damned if they aren’t right. Art is a scary thing that way.

Art is motivation. Have you ever heard a song that came on at just the right time? I have. I have friends who owe their continuing existence to a song that gave them the courage to keep plodding on in this life when it didn’t seem quite so beautiful and wonderful to do so. Art is so much more than entertainment. So much more.

Art helps us to think in ways we are just not used to thinking. As Valerie Strauss said in an article on this same subject:

 “Artistic creations are born through the solving of problems. How do I turn this clay into a sculpture? How do I portray a particular emotion through dance? How will my character react in this situation? Without even realizing it kids that participate in the arts are consistently being challenged to solve problems. All this practice problem solving develops children’s skills in reasoning and understanding. This will help develop important problem-solving skills necessary for success in any career.” 

That’s from the Washington Post article “Top Ten Skills Children Learn From The Arts”. I know that’s not properly cited, but this isn’t an essay.

It isn’t just for children. Art is for all. With art comes awareness. With art comes respect. With art comes understanding. With art comes an outlet for those who otherwise would not have one.

There’s a reason the arts are called visual communication. Art is expression. Without art, we would have no ultimate purpose, no higher calling. There’s more to art than just curricular needs, although it does help with school. It helps with problem solving and creativity and working with others. But it also helps us to grow spiritually and mentally. It helps us to breach gaps that otherwise could not be breached. There are things that cannot be said in monotone. There are some stories that must be on paper, some that must be sung, and some that must be plastered with paint onto a canvas.

There’s a bigger reason that all the religious books have metaphorical pieces to them. There’s a reason Christ spoke in parables. We need more than the physical to help us learn what we cannot see, taste or touch. We need art to help us understand emotion, religion, and thoughts.

There’s so much more I would like to say, honestly; so much more I feel that needs to be included. The problem is that art really is the icing on the cake. But it’s also the cake itself. It makes it more than just a nutritional supplement. It makes it so much less boring. Like, imagine if you had to just eat supplements all day long. You’d go insane. But what if they’re nice tasting, good to look at? Then there’s something more there.

Can I explain every single reason art is so awesome? No. But you may be the reason someone decides to live another day. We hold life in your hands with that gift. Nobody ever decided to avoid suicide another day due to a math problem. But, how about a song? How about for a painting or a theater play? Yes, they have avoided it for that. You can sway nations with some words and a few chords. You can change a king’s mind with some properly placed spray-paint. People have died for the way they put ink on a page. There’s a power in art that can’t be denied, even if we can’t always explain why.

So art is powerful. That is my point. And don’t let anyone take that power away from you.

Hollywood Did It Again.

I don’t always get to do super long rants over Tumblr, so let me do one really quickly. If you don’t like rants, I would implore you read this anyway, but if you must, scroll down very quickly.

I am really really pissed off about the Gods of Egypt cast. This entire movie has got to be a joke. I don’t plan to watch the movie for a few reasons.

The first and most important of all is that we have a bunch of British white dudes as the main characters. It’s a movie about Egyptian gods. So please tell me, why are their gods white?

Let me show you some wall carvings of ancient Egyptian gods:

Tell me, how many of these look vaguely white-skinned to you? That’s right, TWO. TWO OF THEM. And they’re actually more of a bronze-skin if you look in most of their drawings.

Now, with the knowledge of how they look up top, please let us observe some of these movie posters.

Oh, look down. ONE not-white person so far. Great. +1 for Hollywood diversity!

*sarcasm alert*






Now, I am not against all white people. I am white. Nor am I against white people in films.

But this… this does not even make sense. After that complete disaster that was Exodus: Gods and Kings, who let this guy make another historical movie? Who?

NOW ANOTHER THING that is pissing me off: not only are they not Egyptian, they do not look even vaguely like the gods they are supposed to be!

Think about it. They could actually make them look really cool if they stuck with the animals heads as they are originally portrayed. Even if it was just a mask or a helmet, that could be awesome! But they didn’t even try! They gave them capes. CAPES.

If they had just listened to my good friend Edna Mode, they could have been spared so many things. In fact, they look far better without them!

I am not against modernizing characters from ancient tales, but this is just ridiculous. Let me show you how awesome it could be if they kept it close to the originals but modernized slightly (ignore the cape):


Oh, wait, there’s MORE beautiful art they could base it off of.

And for my personal favorite style:

But they didn’t do any of these. I can’t even imagine a good reason that they didn’t do it this way!

If you are going to make a movie about someone’s culture, do not completely disrespect the culture in doing so. And I think they have. So please, don’t watch this movie. Maybe I’m a bit more disgusted than I need to be, but I don’t think so.

Gabriel Penn, out.


 So here’s my opinion on this whole John Green pedophilia controversy. I’m going to give a very unpopular opinion. They’re both right and they’re both wrong. 

That may sound like I’m backing out and trying to make everyone happy. Not at all! In fact, I’m sure both sides are going to get butt-hurt, and that’s ok. People don’t have to be happy about your opinion; they just have to acknowledge that it exists. 

For those who don’t know the situation, here are the basics from what I understand: a girl on Tumblr basically said that John Green seems to pander to young teen girls a lot and through watching his videos, decided that he seems to act a bit like a pedophile. John Green lashed out, very angry that she would call him a pedophile. 

Props to the lady – she noted behavior that does seem typical of a pedophile. Pandering to young girls, trying to make them feel good about themselves, etc.: it can be seen as pedophilic. And girls should note behavior that’s pedophilic. If you see an old guy who watches children or plays with them very affectionately, but looks like he never goes outside, it’s all right to be very, very cautious. That’s what stops rape from happening. And that she called out a famous author for that? That’s called courage, my friends. 

Props to Green – contrary to what everyone’s trying to say, she did call him a pedophile. If you don’t see the connection between what she said and his reaction, you need some more reading comprehension classes. He has reason to be upset at being called a pedophile. Being a pedophile is a bad thing. Did he overreact? Yes. And she should probably not have put that out on public social media for everyone to see. That’s a conversation you have between friends, not on Tumblr. 

A few more thoughts on the whole situation: I do not think that John Green is a pedophile in any manner of speaking. I think he panders to the younger audience that he does because he realizes that they need books and writers that sympathize with them. I don’t think he purposely makes his videos to attract ladies, but that they often come because his books are made for that audience. I think he acts the way he does because he’s goofy and fun to watch. I am not a teen girl, but I enjoy watching his stuff, and I know lots of other guys that do. That being said, if teen romance lovers are his main audience, he needs to handle pedophilia accusation better. If you’re not a teen yourself, and especially if you’re up there in age, and writing for that audience, it’s going to happen. Whether or not the girl is right doesn’t matter. It’s all about how you respond to these kinds of things. And he responded poorly at the time.

Rant complete.

Another Midnight Post

Another midnight rant.

image from bridgetolife.de

Alright, it’s time for another one of my midnight post. This one is less about book stuff and a lot more about just regular life. I realize I haven’t done one of these in a very long time. A lot of things happen in one summer. And I mean, a lot of things. I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to make it this summer, but I was able to get a job. It’s not a bad one; I actually really enjoy it. I’m…

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Another Midnight Post

Alright, it’s time for another one of my midnight post. This one is less about book stuff and a lot more about just regular life. I realize I haven’t done one of these in a very long time. A lot of things happen in one summer. And I mean, a lot of things. I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to make it this summer, but I was able to get a job. It’s not a bad one; I actually really enjoy it. I’m something of a tattoo artist for cars. It’s a sweet gig.

My parents let me stay at home and I don’t even have to pay rent.  that is the sweetest gig of all. Best yet, they have an empty desk in the basement. I can have all my references in one spot and it’s huge. Not that I really have any references that aren’t on my computer, but if I did I would have room for them. That is probably a huge problem. Probably. Will I do anything about it? Absolutely not.

I like to say that there some kind luxurious life of being a writer while at home and having nothing to do. But let’s face it, I’m a college student. If I have any free time I’m just going to watch Netflix and eating pasta. Maybe work out a little. Maybe. That’s actually probably going to be a thing this summer. Biking is cool. I’ve basically been biking four miles four times a week. It does get you some leg muscles and abs. I’ll be the only man who’s never skipped leg day.


But I will probably also never have an epic beach body and I don’t plan to. Making tone and defined muscle, it just takes so much time. I don’t desire to use that time regularly for such a purpose. Christian bodybuilders say things like “your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit”, so I should treat it like one. But what’s wrong with a temple with a little extra insulation? That’s my opinion on this silliness.

In other news, I’m probably going to have a semi-social life this summer. Weird, I know, since I just got off saying how I use all my free time for Netflix and eating pasta. It’s not totally true. I do the uncle thing with my nephews and nieces. That’s a wonderful and excellent opportunity. But also in recent news, a friend decided they were in need of a date because, well, she wanted to have one. And she’s cool. So I’m totes up for it.

I don’t really have anything more to add to this whole thing. So I’m going to rant a bit to finish it up and get it up to 500 words. I don’t know why I have such a crazy problem involving the need to make certain word counts. I just do. But to be honest, that little bit of crazy has made me who I am today.

A Thought On Unseen Racism in Novels

This is a continuing thought from something I reblogged recently on Tumblr, but I didn’t want to spam the post with a giant paragraph of stuff. I may have written something similar before, but I’m upset about it all over again.

I think we need to be far more aware of our use of race in novels. From what I am told, it has been determined that Aragorn from Lord of the Rings is neither white nor fully human. But that is never made clear in the books. Because of that, Tolkien lost an excellent chance to have slightly more ethnic representation in a movie series that’s criticized for having so little. He didn’t think about it at the time, I’m sure. But what if he had? The legacy of Lord of the Rings could have been very different. Tolkien could have paved the way for ethnically diverse fantasy novels everywhere. 

But the fact is that nowadays unless it is distinctly explained that a character is not white, it’s assumed that he/she is white in a fantasy novel. If it’s set in Ancient Western Europe, this makes some sense. There were a lot of white people in Ancient Western Europe. But most modern fantasy stories are not in Western Europe. A lot of the time, it’s in an alternate Earth universe of some sort (ex: Middle Earth, Alagaesia, Narnia, etc.). So why are we automatically assuming everyone’s white in this a.u.? Why even assume that white skin is the dominant group? Why assume there’s white skin at all? Why can’t these humanoids have blue skin? I have no idea. Perhaps it would make people think of it as a Sci-Fi novel if we went that far.

Because of this, I made sure in the novel that I’m writing, The Dark Soldier, that there is plenty of ethnic diversities. The main character is not white, not because I have anything against white people. I’m white. But we have too many white male protagonists. That’s boring, cliché even. So yes, while nations like Africa, Europe, Asia and Latin America do not exist in this fantasy world, ethnicities similar to theirs do. There are characters distinctly pointed out to be black, white, golden, olive skinned or in-between shades. There are many mentions of racism in the series. And not one piece of this bothers any of my friends or my illustrator. She’s made sure to paint people with the skin colors that I described them, for which I am very grateful.

Maybe it’s about time we stop being scared to talk about race in novels. It’s the best way we can stop being racist ourselves.

NOTE: It has occurred to me that I might need to explain something. I do not write this in some feeble attempt to make up for white people being racist throughout the centuries. Literally everyone’s a little bit racist, as the song goes. I don’t know why we as a culture have decided to focus on white people doing so. If I was doing that, I would be writing a book without any white people at all and making sure everyone knew it so that I “didn’t appear racist”. What silliness. I’m writing this book for every tribe, culture, nation and human that has any prejudice towards any group of humans at all. I hope that maybe people who were racist against a certain group before will think to themselves, “You know what? I know this character is [certain race they are racist against], but they’re cool. I like them. Why am I even racist against their group in the first place?” That’s the idea. I hope it works.