Category Archives: Bible and Theology

#446: The Religious Freedom Abortion Argument

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #446, on the subject of The Religious Freedom Abortion Argument.

It happens that I have twice heard this argument raised, some forty years apart, by Jewish women.  I do not know whether it is exclusive to them, but that will to some degree influence my treatment here.  The argument appears to be that Jewish law gives women the right to abort unwanted children, and therefore any national law forbidding that is an impingement on freedom of religious practice.

I had trouble believing that Jewish women had an affirmative obligation to abort a child under any circumstance, but I am no Talmudic scholar–so I consulted those who were.  Rabbi David M. Feldman’s article Abortion:  The Jewish View (here in PDF) has been adopted as a majority opinion of The Committee on Jewish Law and Standards of the Rabbinical Assembly, sixteen to none with one abstention; it thus represents the interpretation of the Talmud from the perspective of Conservative Judaism, although it is not binding.

It may be worthwhile to acquaint the non-Jewish reader with a few concepts in connection with modern Judaism.

  • The Talmud is a large collection of writings interpreting earlier writings by thousands of rabbis interpreting the Torah, and is to a significant degree the fundamental basis for Jewish theology and practice.  The image accompanying this post gives an impression of its encyclopedic breadth.  It was completed around 500 A.D.
  • There are effectively four “denominations” of Judaism in the modern world, and they approach subjects differently.
    • Hasidic Judaism is the most conservative, adopting the most traditional views and many traditional practices.  These are the men you see in the wide-brimmed hats with the side curls and frequently robes.  They might be somewhat analogous to the Amish, separating themselves from the world and focusing on their own faith communities.
    • Orthodox Judaism is not quite as conservative as that, but sticks to traditional doctrine very closely.  The men of this denomination are often seen in yarmulkes and prayer shawls when out in public, and they follow many rules modern society would consider archaic–such as the concern that a man not come in contact even accidentally with a woman who is not a member of his family.  They might be most analogized to the Eastern Orthodox churches.
    • Conservative Judaism probably comprises the bulk of those in the modern world who are recognizably but not extremely Jewish.  Some will wear yarmulkes in public, but not all will, reserving their religious clothing for religious services.  They frequently have mezuzah, those small emblems of the Ten Commandments, on the doorframes of their homes.  Yet they are fairly fully integrated into the modern world.  From an outside perspective, they perhaps provide the best balance between religious piety and secular integration.  In one sense they are most similar to Lutheran and Episcopalian denominations.
    • The fourth group of Judaism is called Reformed, and it is perhaps the most diverse.  There was a joke in Mad Magazine many decades back to the effect that Orthodox and Conservative Jews had a different name for Reformed Jews, calling them “Christians”.  Those I have known have generally been kosher and observed most of the usual rituals, but you would have to know them to be aware that they were Jewish.  Individual beliefs of this group are the most varied, making them perhaps most comparable to Baptists.

This hopefully establishes why I consider Conservative Talmudic scholarship the best representation of modern Judaism.

There are a few critical points in the article.

  • The Talmud does not believe that the Torah establishes the unborn child as a living person.  It is regarded part of the mother until the moment either its head or a substantially large portion of its body has emerged.
  • Nevertheless, a mother may not decide to abort a child; it is a decision made by an attending medic, who must make the determination that it is a choice between the life of the child and the life of the mother.  The principle is that although the child’s potential life has value to be protected and once the child is born we do not trade one actual life for another, until that moment the mother’s actual life is more valuable than the child’s potential life.  It is thus incumbent on the doctor to abort the child if the mother cannot survive the birth.
  • Extrapolated from this, it is argued that if the birth of the child will have serious medical–not social or economic–impact on the mother, a doctor may decide to abort it.  It is specifically asserted that aborting a child because of a belief that genetic defects will result in a poor quality of life for the child is not permitted, because we cannot know that having no life would be better than having that into which the child will be born.  It is only the mother’s physical well-being that can be the justification for this.

At no point in Talmudic Law is a woman given the right, let alone the obligation, to abort an unborn child.

However, as mentioned, Reformed Judaism is a lot looser in its interpretations.  It is certainly within the realm of plausiblity that a Reformed Rabbi might believe and teach that a woman has the divinely-given right to abort a child she does not wish to carry to term.  That certainly does not have roots in traditional Judaism from ancient times, but if someone believes it, that makes it their religion, and they do under the Constitution have the right to believe whatever they choose.  Does that give us a religious argument?

Classical Islamic Law, as expressed in Shari’ah, requires that apostates be put to death.  This is done not so much as a punishment for abandoning Islam but as a protection of the community from the errors of the apostate.  Although the practice is rare in the modern world, there are still countries in which apostacy is punishable by death.  Similarly, many Muslims believe that killing an infidel–someone who does not believe in Islam–is a free ticket to paradise.  This is a religious view in a centuries-old religion.  However, killing people for unbelief in a particular religion is against the law in these United States, and in the majority of countries around the world.  If you murder your sister, the claim that she abandoned Islam for another faith is not a valid defense.

Yet it is a claim of religious liberty:  my religion says that I should kill someone who does this, so by killing them I am exercising the requirements of my relgion.

It should be clear that the fact that a religion requires certain conduct does not always stand as an excuse for the performance of that conduct–you cannot kill people for abandoning Islam despite the fact that your religion says you must.

The question of whether an unborn child is or is not a person is clearly a religious one; at the same time, it is one that the law has the right to decide.  We have decided that negroes are human beings and have the rights of human beings–something relatively new in the European-American world.  If the law decides that someone is a person, a religious belief to the contrary does not justify, legally, treating him as not a person.  In the same way, if the law were to say that abortion is not legal, a relgious belief that it should be does not justify it.

Further, the claim cannot be made that women have a religious obligation to get abortions.  It can be claimed only (and as we have seen on dubious grounds) that they have the freedom under their beliefs to do so, and that doctors are obligated to perform them at least in life-threatening situations (which in the modern world would ordinarily be addressed by a Caesarean section).  There are many things that are permitted but not required by many religions that are forbidden in our country or other countries, and the accommodation in such cases is that we limit our conduct to that which is permissible, opposing the law only when it is in conflict with that which is required, and, as in all cases of civil disobedience, accepting that we will receive the appropriate punishment for breaking the law.

Thus the claim of religious freedom as a basis for abortion appears to me to fail twice, first because there is no religion that requires practitioners to get abortions, and second because the law is permitted to decide whether or not a particular group is a protected class and thus can protect the unborn if it so chooses.

That makes it an issue to be determined by the democratic process.

#445: The Song “How Many Times”

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #445, on the subject of The Song “How Many Times”.

I can explain why this song was not on the original “short list” for the Extreme Tour demo:  I wrote it in high school, and I feel like it shows the marks of an immature believer.  Yet I might judge it too harshly for that.

After all, my youngest son Adam (who co-wrote Even You, featured a few months back) likes it a lot, was learning to play the piano part for it.  I could discount that, because I think he likes angsty songs–but he says that “people” like it.  It also has a long history that commends it.

It is probably the song that put my music on the map.  The Last Psalm had been playing very small venues when we were invited to perform at the Luther College Coffeehouse Night, an invitational gathering of the heads of coffeehouses throughout the northeastern New Jersey area early in 1974.  I had Peggy (Lisbona, also contralto vocals) sit at the piano, while I joined Ruthann (Mekita, soprano), Ann (Hughs, alto), and Jeff (Zurheide, baritone, also lead guitar) in a stairwell adjacent to the dais.  The four of us sang the first verse and chorus of the hymn Softly and Tenderly in four parts a capella, and as we finished Peggy started playing the introduction to this song on the piano.  I scampered up the stairs, picked up my guitar, stepped up to the mic, and on the downbeat of the first verse I hit the CM7 chord and began singing.

At that moment, several people who thought all my talk about how to run a musical ensemble was hot air suddenly updated their thinking.  Andy (Andrew Hagan Nilssen) followed me and began playing bass mid-verse, followed by John (Mastick) on the drums, and Jeff came to the stage to play lead frills behind the vocals as the second verse began.  Ruthann and Ann joined us in time to sing the four part vocal ending, and the audience welcomed us to the stage.

We played a carefully-planned twenty-minute slot, and yielded the stage to others, but were invited back on stage at the end of the program to play another maybe half hour.  After that, several local coffeehouses invited us to play their venues.  This song had a lot to do with that, I think.

After The Last Psalm dissolved, I made a monophonic multi-track recording in which I improvised lead guitar frills; I liked them enough that I expanded them to two parts, and recorded that on a regretably lost tape I made in a studio at Gordon College.  I preserved the parts, though, for this vocals-over-midi-instruments recording, made as part of the nostalgic collection of recordings of Last Psalm songs for Jes Oldham entitled When I Was Young.  There is a midi “hiccough” in the second line, but it’s barely noticeable.  Although the lyrics don’t really strike me as great, I do like the inside rhymes.

I don’t perform it because I always feel like it needs the four-part ending vocals; I have a live recording I did at the Silver Lake Community Church one week which to my mind underscores that.  Yet it was an important song in my history, and worth preserving in its own right.

How Many Times.

So here are the lyrics.

How many times can I look down,
Only to find I’m still on the ground?
How many days?  I can’t even count.
How many ways have I tried to get out?

How much more is all I can take?
Before I know I will break?
And if I break, what else will there be?
Is it too late to care about me?

Is there someone, somebody, somewhere,
Or someone’s son who really cares?
Is there a man–there has to be–who would lay down his life,
Do what he can for you and me to save us from strife?

Yes, there is someone:  Jesus loves you.
Yes, there is someone:  Jesus loves you.
Yes, there is someone:  Jesus loves you,
Jesus loves you, Jesus loves you.

I can only hope you benefit from the song in some way.  I will continue with additional songs in the future.

*****

Previous web log song posts:

#301:  The Song “Holocaust” | #307:  The Song “Time Bomb” | #311:  The Song “Passing Through the Portal” | #314:  The Song “Walkin’ In the Woods” | #317:  The Song “That’s When I’ll Believe” | #320:  The Song “Free” | #322:  The Song “Voices” | #326:  The Song “Mountain, Mountain” | #328:  The Song “Still Small Voice” | #334:  The Song “Convinced” | #337:  The Song “Selfish Love” | #340:  The Song “A Man Like Paul” | #341:  The Song “Joined Together” | #346:  The Song “If We Don’t Tell Them” | #349: The Song “I Can’t Resist You’re Love” | #353:  The Song “I Use to Think” | #356:  The Song “God Said It Is Good” | #362:  The Song “My Life to You” | #366:  The Song “Sometimes” | #372:  The Song “Heavenly Kingdom” | #378:  The Song “A Song of Joy” | #382:  The Song “Not Going to Notice” | #387:  The Song “Our God Is Good” | #393:  The Song “Why” | #399:  The Song “Look Around You” | #404:  The Song “Love’s the Only Command” | #408:  The Song “Given You My Name” | #412:  The Song “When I Think” | #414:  The Song “You Should Have Thanked Me” | #428:  The Song “To the Victor” | #433:  The Song “From Job” | #436:  The Song “Trust Him Again” | #438:  The Song “Even You” | #441:  The Song “Fork in the Road” | #442:  The Song “Call to Worship” |

#442: The Song “Call to Worship”

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #442, on the subject of The Song “Call to Worship”.

It’s easy to explain why this song was not on the original “short list” for the Extreme Tour demo:  it’s short.

I hesitate to say that I wrote it in high school.  I think that BLT Down, the band that was precursor to The Last Psalm, used it on one occasion in 1972 to open a church service; I know that The Last Psalm sometimes used it as a concert opener.

I made this vocals-over-midi-instruments recording as part of the nostalgic collection of recordings of Last Psalm songs for Jes Oldham.  It has never been one of my favorites, but it is more a function song, a bit of modern liturgy.

I’ve had an odd relationship with liturgy over the decades.  Growing up in Baptist and Presbyterian churches, there was very little of it, and it was constantly in flux.  I remember creating worship services at summer camp, and specifically attempting to use the bits of liturgy as teaching tools.  The more liturgical churches generally had the same words repeated week after week, and this seemed to me to be vain repetition.  It wasn’t until I was in college that I read C. S. Lewis’ piece on updating the Anglican liturgy (in God in the Dock) that anyone explained to me the value of saying the same words week after week, which, according to him, meant you didn’t have to think about the words but could focus on the Person to Whom they were addressed.

I still don’t do well with liturgy, but I get it.  It’s like singing familiar worship songs, or praying in tongues, the worshipper freed from thinking about what he is saying so he can focus on God.  Liturgy just doesn’t work that way for me.

Because this song predates my reading of that essay, it has an aspect of trying to teach something to the congregation.  I know now that that’s not really what liturgy is for in liturgical churches, even if Baptists and Presbyterians use it that way.

Call to Worship.

So here are the lyrics.

God is our Father, this church is His home.
Let us now praise Him with our thoughts and our song.
Come into His presence and sing to His name,
Let Him run your life–you won’t be the same.

God is our Father, He’ll live in your heart.
Once He’s inside you, He never will part.
So when you leave here, wherever you go,
Take Jesus with you, let His glory show.

I can only hope you benefit from the song in some way.  I will continue with additional songs in the future.

*****

Previous web log song posts:

#301:  The Song “Holocaust” | #307:  The Song “Time Bomb” | #311:  The Song “Passing Through the Portal” | #314:  The Song “Walkin’ In the Woods” | #317:  The Song “That’s When I’ll Believe” | #320:  The Song “Free” | #322:  The Song “Voices” | #326:  The Song “Mountain, Mountain” | #328:  The Song “Still Small Voice” | #334:  The Song “Convinced” | #337:  The Song “Selfish Love” | #340:  The Song “A Man Like Paul” | #341:  The Song “Joined Together” | #346:  The Song “If We Don’t Tell Them” | #349: The Song “I Can’t Resist You’re Love” | #353:  The Song “I Use to Think” | #356:  The Song “God Said It Is Good” | #362:  The Song “My Life to You” | #366:  The Song “Sometimes” | #372:  The Song “Heavenly Kingdom” | #378:  The Song “A Song of Joy” | #382:  The Song “Not Going to Notice” | #387:  The Song “Our God Is Good” | #393:  The Song “Why” | #399:  The Song “Look Around You” | #404:  The Song “Love’s the Only Command” | #408:  The Song “Given You My Name” | #412:  The Song “When I Think” | #414:  The Song “You Should Have Thanked Me” | #428:  The Song “To the Victor” | #433:  The Song “From Job” | #436:  The Song “Trust Him Again” | #438:  The Song “Even You” | #441:  The Song “Fork in the Road” |

Next Song:  How Many Times

#441: The Song “Fork in the Road”

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #441, on the subject of The Song “Fork in the Road”.

John David Mastick, drummer from long ago in The Last Psalm (and, incidentally, Jacob’s Well), has been nagging me for this song since he first became aware that I was posting songs.  I hope he’s not too disappointed in this version of it.

The song goes back to my high school days, and is rather blatantly inspired by the Robert Frost poem The Road Not Taken; I occasionally recited the poem in introducing the song, but honestly even I can see that the words to the poem are better.  It was an effort to create a Christian rock song in a time when these were few and far between.  It always had vocals except on those rare occasions when I sang it solo, in which case the bottom voice part is the melody.

It was first performed by The Last Psalm, probably as early as early 1973.  The first four verses, presented below as one block, were sung, followed by a lead guitar solo, and then the vocals returned with the second half.  It’s difficult to recall the details of back then, but I think after the last line we shifted into a simple riff with an E9 sliding in from a half step below a half beat before the downbeat and another guitar solo, very much a fast jazz sound.  We would eventually do a live fade, and come back with the original progression into a thrasher ending.  Then that fall John joined the band, and we expanded the arrangement by inserting a drum solo after the first guitar solo.  It was very much the typical late 60s-early 70s drum solo, in which the band moved to the wings and the drummer played as long as he wished; I don’t recall exactly how I would know it was coming to the end, but my return to the stage signaled the others to do the same, and John would give us a pickup back into the second half.

This song landed last on the list of thirty-four songs I put forward for consideration, and I ranked it thirty-fourth for the quality of the song; I had come to think the words very derivative and the music very simple.  I ranked the midi and vocals recording found here thirty-third, and with Tristan not listing it that put it at the bottom.  Yet for some reason in 1975 when The Last Psalm broke up, I felt like this was a song I had to keep for my anticipated looming solo career, and I needed some way to fill that instrumental space.  It had, after all, been the band’s real crowd-pleaser.  I got together with Dave Oldham, who had been the band’s sound engineer that last year (and would later play bass guitar in TerraNova), and wrote an accoustic guitar instrumental section.  It was at the time one of the trickiest and most impressive bits of acoustic guitar work I had done, and I very much liked it.  Thus I included it as the instrumental break here.  We also wrote a shorter multi-chord ending, also used here.

When I put it on the repertoire for Collision, I wanted to restore the extended rock-style instrumental work, but not lose the well-constructed guitar instrumental, so I reconfigured the latter to be played by the band (much as in this recording, but with bass and keyboards playing some of the riffs), then went into a more structured improvisational solo section:  the drums played eight measures of solo, maintaining beat and tempo, then the band returned with an eight-measure lead guitar solo, a keyboard solo of the same length, and then a bass solo of the same length, and then returning to repeat with another drum solo, guitar, keys, bass, and do it again, and finish with another drum solo, playing the harmonics bit again twice, and going back to the second half of the song.  We kept the multi-chord ending.  We had only two vocals, so omitted the top voice.

So it has been through a lot of versions, and this recording is neither the first nor the last, nor the best nor the worst, but gives the sense of the song and most of what I perceived as the good parts other than that I would not presume to create a drum solo given the excellent drummers who have done so before me.

Fork in the Road.

So here are the lyrics.

I came to a fork in the road of life,
And I wondered which road to take.
I knew what one way would try to build,
The other one would try to break.
The one on the left ran fifty feet,
And disappeared around a bend,
While the right one seemed to go quite straight,
But was too long to see the end.
Looking down the left hand road
I wondered what’s around the turn.
It’s true that I might be set free,
But it’s also true that I might burn.
Then I saw the right road was one
Anyone could take in stride.
‘Though it didn’t look like much fun,
Others would walk by my side.

I stood there for a longer time
Than I’ve ever stood anywhere before.
Add all the choices I had made,
And this one meant a thousand times more.
I walked to the turn in the left-hand road,
Knowing I could turn around.
You ought to know another bend
Was all that I had found.
Went back to the fork, and I started out
Along the other road.
In no time I could see the end,
And all it’s glory showed.
I stand at the fork in the road of life,
And I tell people ev’ry day:
Ask Lord Jesus in your life–
The right road is the better way.

I can only hope you benefit from the song in some way.  I will continue with additional songs in the future.  From this point forward, songs posted will be those that did not, for various reasons, make the original shortlist, in no meaningful sequence.

*****

Previous web log song posts:

#301:  The Song “Holocaust” | #307:  The Song “Time Bomb” | #311:  The Song “Passing Through the Portal” | #314:  The Song “Walkin’ In the Woods” | #317:  The Song “That’s When I’ll Believe” | #320:  The Song “Free” | #322:  The Song “Voices” | #326:  The Song “Mountain, Mountain” | #328:  The Song “Still Small Voice” | #334:  The Song “Convinced” | #337:  The Song “Selfish Love” | #340:  The Song “A Man Like Paul” | #341:  The Song “Joined Together” | #346:  The Song “If We Don’t Tell Them” | #349: The Song “I Can’t Resist You’re Love” | #353:  The Song “I Use to Think” | #356:  The Song “God Said It Is Good” | #362:  The Song “My Life to You” | #366:  The Song “Sometimes” | #372:  The Song “Heavenly Kingdom” | #378:  The Song “A Song of Joy” | #382:  The Song “Not Going to Notice” | #387:  The Song “Our God Is Good” | #393:  The Song “Why” | #399:  The Song “Look Around You” | #404:  The Song “Love’s the Only Command” | #408:  The Song “Given You My Name” | #412:  The Song “When I Think” | #414:  The Song “You Should Have Thanked Me” | #428:  The Song “To the Victor” | #433:  The Song “From Job” | #436:  The Song “Trust Him Again” | #438:  The Song “Even You”

Next song:  Call to Worship

#438: The Song “Even You”

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #438, on the subject of The Song “Even You”.

It is difficult to know what to write about this song, because I wrote about it before.  Back when it was written, I posted web log post #181:  Anatomy of a Songwriting Collaboration, in which I described how beginning with the memory of something Jack Haberer posted in our high school yearbook I engaged my youngest son Adam in constructing this song.  Here I offer this recording, done in my living room with an acoustic guitar in competition with an air cleaner, not long after a hospitalization so I would have a recorded copy.  There is an earlier recording on another web site somewhere, linked from the previous article, in which Adam is playing the piano.

Tristan did not mention the song on his list; I suspect he had never heard it, as it was fairly new and he was not at our house much.  I placed the song itself at twenty-ninth, and the recording, flawed as it is, at thirty-second, which tied it with the previous song, Trust Him Again, at thirty-second overall.  The progressions were mostly somewhat common, and although I liked the lyrics I admit that there are spots where I’m not at all sure what Adam meant.  But it is a good song, and I’ve performed it at least once or twice live despite the fact that I rarely get to perform live anymore.

Even You.

So here are the lyrics.

If deep in your heart you remember when,
Did you want to be born again again?
The good news is the news is true:
Jesus comes to make all things new,
Even you, even you, even you, even you.

There in your mind when you feel abused,
Don’t you get tired of being used and used?
Darkness falls, then the light breaks through.
Jesus comes to make all things new,
Even you, even you, even you, even you.

You want what you want.
You get the joy, he took the pain.
You get what you get:
Redemption sustains, sin is a stain.

Ask yourself why you want to sin,
Why you lose; you were made to win.  To win
Victory, and to make it through.
Jesus comes to make all things new,
Even you, even you, even you, even you.

Thank God for what He’s done
To set us free.
He gave His only Son
For you and me.

I can only hope you benefit from the song in some way.  I will continue with additional songs in the future.

*****

Previous web log song posts:

#301:  The Song “Holocaust” | #307:  The Song “Time Bomb” | #311:  The Song “Passing Through the Portal” | #314:  The Song “Walkin’ In the Woods” | #317:  The Song “That’s When I’ll Believe” | #320:  The Song “Free” | #322:  The Song “Voices” | #326:  The Song “Mountain, Mountain” | #328:  The Song “Still Small Voice” | #334:  The Song “Convinced” | #337:  The Song “Selfish Love” | #340:  The Song “A Man Like Paul” | #341:  The Song “Joined Together” | #346:  The Song “If We Don’t Tell Them” | #349: The Song “I Can’t Resist You’re Love” | #353:  The Song “I Use to Think” | #356:  The Song “God Said It Is Good” | #362:  The Song “My Life to You” | #366:  The Song “Sometimes” | #372:  The Song “Heavenly Kingdom” | #378:  The Song “A Song of Joy” | #382:  The Song “Not Going to Notice” | #387:  The Song “Our God Is Good” | #393:  The Song “Why” | #399:  The Song “Look Around You” | #404:  The Song “Love’s the Only Command” | #408:  The Song “Given You My Name” | #412:  The Song “When I Think” | #414:  The Song “You Should Have Thanked Me” | #428:  The Song “To the Victor” | #433:  The Song “From Job” | #436:  The Song “Trust Him Again”

Next song:  Fork in the Road

#436: The Song “Trust Him Again”

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #436, on the subject of The Song “Trust Him Again”.

I am not entirely certain when I wrote this.  I am inclined to think that it was during or just after my time at WNNN, which makes it mid to late 80s.  I do know that the only time it was performed the way I had envisioned, with four vocals taking turns on the verses and singing in harmony on the choruses, was at Scott and Sue Kirkegard’s house near Freehold, New Jersey, before they moved to upstate New York.  I don’t know the dates for that, but again I think that puts it in the mid 80s.  This recording was me, live in I think my kitchen this time; it’s a WMA file, so it might take a bit of download time.

The song came from an idea, the notion that we trust God now because we see that He has been trustworthy in the past.  We see it in the life of Abraham, very specifically and clearly.  I didn’t want to make it too personal, though, so I wondered what I could cite that would demonstrate that God is trustworthy, and for some reason I struck upon creation.  The seven days of creation would give me too many verses, unless I covered two days in each chorus; that gave me an extra half a chorus, and when I got there I decided that I should cover the new creation with that last couplet. From there I built the verses as something more personal, individual, so that the song would say that I trusted Jesus with this part of my life, and I’m going to trust Him again because of all He has done beyond that.

Tristan did not include this song on his list.  I listed it twenty-seventh for the quality of the music and lyrics, and thirty-fourth for the quality of the recording and performance.  This landed it at number 32 on the list.

What held the song back as a song is primarily its length. I often considered whether there was a way to cut the second verse, but once I was committed to the creation structure I couldn’t cut the second chorus.  Also, I am often uncomfortable with songs or parts of songs that talk about how much faith I have, because I don’t always have quite as much faith as the words suggest.  But it’s a good song, and it was put on the repertoire list for 7dB (Tyler liked the way it stopped and started), although we never actually got to the point of learning it.

As to the performance, it really is extremely difficult to do as a solo piece, and it loses so much without the other voices.  You can hear me trying to get enough breath for it before the first chord, and trying to catch my breath after the last one.  The song is relentlessly demanding when you can’t split the verses between four singers, not to mention that the lyrics are not entirely easy to keep straight.  All I can say of this performance is I managed to get through it.

Trust Him Again.

So here are the lyrics.

I trusted Jesus as the savior of my soul.
I trusted Him to make me pure and make me whole.
I know that Jesus said He’d take away my sin,
And so I trusted Jesus to begin.

And I’ll trust Him again:
He’s the very same Jesus Who gave us the day and the night.
And I’ll trust Him again:
He’s the very same Jesus Who died that may be made right.
So I’ll trust Him again,
For He died for all men.
He will free us from sin
If we just let Him in.
And I’ll trust Him again:
He’s the very same Jesus Who gave us the sky and the rain.
And I’ll trust Him again:
He’s the very same Jesus Who for us endured so much pain,
So I’ll trust Him again.

I trusted Jesus when He said He’d make me well.
I trusted Him, for I was sure He could dispel
The sickness and the symptoms, and my health renew,
And so I trusted Him to see me through.

And I’ll trust Him again:
He’s the very same Jesus Who gave us the sea and the land.
And I’ll trust Him again:
He’s the very same Jesus Who frees us by His mighty hand.
So I’ll trust Him again,
For He died for all men.
And the Bible decrees
He will take our disease.
And I’ll trust Him again:
He’s the very same Jesus Who gave us the moon and the sun.
And I’ll trust Him again:
He’s the very same Jesus Who died and the victory won.
So I’ll trust that it’s done.

I trusted Jesus when He said He’d be my guide.
I trusted Jesus to remain beside, beside my side.
He knows the way to keep me safe, if I’ll obey,
And so I trusted Him to lead the way.

And I’ll trust Him again:
He’s the very same Jesus Who gave us the fish and the bird.
And I’ll trust Him again:
He’s the very same Jesus Who authored the wonders we’ve heard.
So I’ll trust Him again,
For He died for all men.
Since He knows what will be
He prepares you and me.
And I’ll trust Him again:
He’s the very same Jesus Who gave us the beasts of the earth.
And I’ll trust Him again:
He’s the very same Lord Who gives life and Who gives us new birth.
Give the trust that He’s worth.

I trusted Jesus when He said He’d take my place.
I trusted Him to live within me by His grace.
I know that sinless is what He will always be,
And so I trusted Him to live through me.

And I’ll trust Him again:
He’s the very same Jesus Who gave us the Sabbath of rest.
And I’ll trust Him again:
He’s the very same Lord who has given us His very best.
So I’ll trust Him again,
For He died for all men.
He’s as close as a prayer
And has power to spare.
And I’ll trust Him again:
He’s the very same Jesus Who died and Who rose up again.
And I’ll trust Him again:
He’s the very same Jesus Who lives to give freedom to men,
So I’ll trust Him again;
I will trust Him again.

Again, again, again, again, again.

I can only hope you benefit from the song in some way.  I will continue with additional songs in the future.

*****

Previous web log song posts:

#301:  The Song “Holocaust” | #307:  The Song “Time Bomb” | #311:  The Song “Passing Through the Portal” | #314:  The Song “Walkin’ In the Woods” | #317:  The Song “That’s When I’ll Believe” | #320:  The Song “Free” | #322:  The Song “Voices” | #326:  The Song “Mountain, Mountain” | #328:  The Song “Still Small Voice” | #334:  The Song “Convinced” | #337:  The Song “Selfish Love” | #340:  The Song “A Man Like Paul” | #341:  The Song “Joined Together” | #346:  The Song “If We Don’t Tell Them” | #349: The Song “I Can’t Resist You’re Love” | #353:  The Song “I Use to Think” | #356:  The Song “God Said It Is Good” | #362:  The Song “My Life to You” | #366:  The Song “Sometimes” | #372:  The Song “Heavenly Kingdom” | #378:  The Song “A Song of Joy” | #382:  The Song “Not Going to Notice” | #387:  The Song “Our God Is Good” | #393:  The Song “Why” | #399:  The Song “Look Around You” | #404:  The Song “Love’s the Only Command” | #408:  The Song “Given You My Name” | #412:  The Song “When I Think” | #414:  The Song “You Should Have Thanked Me” | #428:  The Song “To the Victor” | #433:  The Song “From Job”

Next Song:  Even You

#435: Hindsight is 2021

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #435, on the subject of Hindsight is 2021.

Once again, as we did last year in web log post #371:  The Twenty-Twenty Twenty/Twenty and in previous years linked successively back from there, we are recapping everything published in the past year–sort of.

I say “sort of” because once again some material is being omitted.  There have been a few hundred posts to the Christian Gamers Guild Bible Study which can be accessed there but aren’t really fully indexed anywhere.  Meanwhile, the dozen articles in the Faith in Play series and the similar dozen in the RPG-ology series were just indexed yesterday on the Christian Gamers Guild site, along with everything else published there this year, in 2021 At the Christian Gamers Guild Reviewed, and won’t be repeated here.  The RPG-ology series began recovering articles from Game Ideas Unlimited, the lost four-year weekly series at Gaming Outpost, so I republished its debut article as web log post #384:  Game Ideas Unlimited Introduction, for the sake of completeness. 

I also posted several days a week on my Patreon web log, which announces almost everything I publish elsewhere on the same day it’s published, but again omitting the Bible study posts.

Similarly, we finished posting the novel Re Verse All, featuring Lauren Hastings, Tomiko Takano, and James Beam, from chapter 58 to the end (chapter 156), which are indexed there along with the several behind-the-writings posts on it:

  1. #373:  Nervous Characters covering chapters 55 through 60;
  2. #376:  Characters Arrive covering chapters 61 through 66;
  3. #379:  Character Conundrums covering chapters 67 through 72;
  4. #381:  World Complications covering chapters 73 through 78;
  5. #383:  Character Departures covering chapters 79 through 84;
  6. #385:  Characters Ascend covering chapters 85 through 90;
  7. #388:  Versers Climb covering chapters 91 through 96;
  8. #390:  World Facilities covering chapters 97 through 102;
  9. #392:  Characters Resting covering chapters 103 through 108;
  10. #395:  Character Obstacles covering chapters 109 through 114;
  11. #397:  Verser Challenges covering chapters 115 through 120;
  12. #401:  Characters Hiking covering chapters 121 through 126;
  13. #403:  Versers Innovating covering chapters 127 through 132;
  14. #405:  Versers Converge covering chapters 133 through 138;
  15. #407:  Versers Integrate covering chapters 139 through 144;
  16. #409:  Characters Cooperate covering chapters 145 through 150;
  17. #411:  Quest Concludes covering chapters 151 through 156.

Then there were several related character papers in the Multiverser Novel Support Site, and we then began posting In Verse Proportion, bringing back Joseph Kondor in fantasy Arabia, Bob Slade in industrial age bird world, and Derek Brown on a lost colony spaceship, at this point having reached chapter 39.  It included one behind-the-writings web log post, #432:  Whole New Worlds, covering the first twenty-one chapters.

Yet there was quite a bit more.

Forgive me for burying the lead, as it were, but just as Why I Believe came out late last year, it was followed this year by the release of The Essential Guide to Time Travel:  Temporal Anomalies & Replacement Theory, the long-awaited book on the subject, at the end of June.  This summarizing of much of the information on the Temporal Anomalies web site includes updated analyses of four films and a comprehensive presentation of time travel theory.  Dimensionfold Publishing interviewed me about it by e-mail, which they published here.

Related to that, a reader sent a letter with comments on Why I Believe, which I edited a bit (removing personal references) and posted as web log post #386:  An Unsolicited Private Review.

Now, getting back to other publications, there were another dozen songs published this year:

  1. Web log post #372:  The Song “Heavenly Kingdom”, inspired by the verse about cutting off your hand;
  2. Web log post #378:  The Song “A Song of Joy”, a frenetic bit of musical excitement;
  3. Web log post #382:  The Song “Not Going to Notice”, a bit of serious eschatological humor;
  4. Web log post #387:  The Song “Our God Is Good”, with political overtones;
  5. Web log post #393:  The Song “Why”, one of my rare worship songs;
  6. Web log post #399:  The Song “Look Around You”, an old evangelistic song;
  7. Web log post #404:  The Song “Love’s the Only Command, one of the generally early ones;
  8. Web log post #408:  The Song “Given You My Name”, written for my wife;
  9. Web log post #412:  The Song “When I Think”, which I hope will play at my funeral;
  10. Web log post #414:  The Song “You Should Have Thanked Me”, the title self-explanatory;
  11. Web log post #428:  The Song “To the Victor”, another rare worship song;
  12. Web log post #433:  The Song “From Job”, calling believers to repentance.

And there will be another song published today, but since that’s 2022, we’ll not say more about it yet.

I touched on Christian music otherwise in web log post #374:  Christian Instrumental Music, where I raise the question of how to recognize it.  My series on contemporary and rock Christian music in the 80s also continued briefly with web log posts #389:  Brother John Michael Talbot and #391:  Pat Terry.  A question asked on a Christian musicians group on Facebook prompted the writing of web log post #396:  Why Music Matters.

It was a not insignificant election year in New Jersey, but my first political post, #375:  Fixing the Focus, took a more general view, suggesting that Christians need to get our eyes off politics and on faith.  Closely following that, #377:  A New Tragedy of the Common looked at how online shopping was impacting brick & mortar retail.  Another political post with religious connections was #394:  Unplanned, about pregnancies.  With rules related to COVID in flux, in the late spring I posted web log post #398:  New 2021 Face Mask Rules in New Jersey to help a few of my readers.  The really political stuff began with #400:  New Jersey 2021 Primary and #402:  New Jersey 2021 Primary Results, but before the election an issue across the pond in England called for a response in #406:  Internet Racism, asking whether online social media criticism of black athletes should be criminal.

Then as the election loomed I offered #427:  The New Jersey 2021 Ballot, including a quick look at the public questions, followed a few days later by #430:  New Jersey 2021 Tentative Election Results.

I was given a book for Christmas, which I read and reviewed at Goodreads, God Is Disappointed In You, by comic book creator Mark Russell.

Then early in May someone (and I don’t remember who, how, or why) persuaded me to register as a Goodreads author; or maybe I did that earlier, but it was in May that I was persuaded by Goodreads to launch yet another web log, this one entitled The Ides of Mark because it appropriately posted at the middle and end of each month, updating readers on what I had published during that period.  In that sense, it is somewhat redundant, as the aforementioned Patreon web log covers that as it happens, and this annual review recaps it all eventually.  However, Ides also covers postings in the Bible Study and omits a lot of the personal detail about what I’m doing besides writing which the Patreon blog includes, and gives less information about what I am writing that has not yet been published.  This year’s entries have included:

  1. #1:  New Beginnings, May first through fifteenth, launching and explaining the series;
  2. #2:  Establishing Patterns, May sixteenth through thirty-first, featuring several web log posts;
  3. #3:  The Charm, June first through fifteenth, around the primary election;
  4. #4:  About Time, June sixteenth through thirtieth, announcing the publication of the aforementioned time travel book;
  5. #5:  Going Somewhen, July first through fifteenth, citing an Amazon review;
  6. #6:  The First Quarter, July sixteenth through thirty-first, with a scattered batch of articles;
  7. #7:  Getting Noticed, August first through fifteenth, citing evidence that the blog was being read by someone;
  8. #8:  Ends and Starts, August sixteenth through thirty-first, with the end of Re Verse All;
  9. #9:  Quiet on the Surface, September first through fifteenth, including character sheet posts;
  10. #10:  Before the Storm, September sixteenth through thirtieth, with the remaining character sheets;
  11. #11:  Looking Busy, October first through fifteenth, with the launch of In Verse Proportion and the beginning of the series on Exodus, listed below;
  12. #12:  A Frightening Output, October sixteenth through thirty-first, finishing the Exodus series;
  13. #13:  Slowing Down, November first through fifteenth, including the index of the articles in French translation mentioned below;
  14. #14:  Holiday Season, November sixteenth through thirtieth, as activity winds down;
  15. #15:  Not Much Said, December first through fifteenth, continuing the quiet;
  16. #16:  Years Go By, December sixteenth through thirty-first, with my post-Christmas post.

Not all of that is repeated here, but the bulk of it is.  I also answered ten questions there, which you can find here.

Half a decade ago I wrote about those musicians who influenced me; this year it occurred to me to do the same of writers, and so posted #380:  Authorial Influences exploring that.

Quite a few Bible questions came up and were answered, beginning with web log post #410:  When to Pray, followed by a somewhat technical question about a passage in Matthew, #413:  The Abomination of Desolation.  Then another reader asked me to address a long and complicated collection of issues in an article that claimed the Exodus, as reported in the book of that name, never happened, and I produced an eleven-part miniseries of web log posts in response:

  1. The introductory article was #415:  Can the Exodus Story Be True?
  2. It was followed by an answer to the first objection, #416:  Does Archaeological Silence Disprove the Exodus?
  3. Turning to the second objection about whether such a departure could be organized, we offered #417:  Is the Beginning of the Exodus Account Implausible?
  4. The third objection was that given the number of escaping Israelites the line this would have created would have been too long to outrun Pharaoh’s chariots, to which we offered #418:  Are There Too Many People Escaping in Exodus?
  5. The fourth objection was summarized and answered in #419:  When Escaping in Exodus, Did the Israelites Have Too Much Luggage?
  6. In response to the fifth objection we wrote #420: Were the Hygiene Requirements in Exodus Impossible to Observe?
  7. The sixth objection asked and answered #421: Did Moses Write the Torah?
  8. For the seventh objection, we addressed the issue of anachronisms, and particularly those related to place names, in #422:  Are There Anachronisms in the Torah that Invalidate It?
  9. The absurdity of the eighth objection is displayed in #423:  What Kind of Infrastructure Did the Wandering Israelites Need?
  10. We looked at the penultimate objection in #424:  Did the Earth Really Stop Turning?
  11. Finally, the point was raised that there were similarities between the life of Moses and earlier accounts of Sargon, which led to the conclusion Do Similarities Between the Accounts of Moses Birth and Certain Myths Make Him a Fictional Character?, which also addresses a few final points.

After that, a Patreon patron asked about horror, so I produced #426:  A Christian View of Horror.  Comments on a Facebook group page related to one of my colleges concerning the fact that the campus is almost completely obliterated led to the writing of #429:  Luther College of the Bible and Liberal Arts, about the legacy such a place has without any memorial markers for the site.  I also finished the year last week with a post-Christmas post, #434:  Foolish Wisemen, something of a pre-epiphany epiphany.

Finally, I’ve had a long-standing relationship with the people at the French edition of Places to Go, People to Be, under which they have translated and republished quite a few of my articles.  I finally took the time to organize these into an index in English, at least for my own reference, which I made available as web log post #431:  Mark Joseph Young En Français, with links to such English versions as are available.

The writing of course continues, with more articles already in the queue, more work being done on the next novel, and more posted every week.  Thank you for reading, and particularly to those of you who have encouraged me through posts and reposts and likes, and who have supported me through Patreon or PayPal.me and the purchase of my books.

#434: Foolish Wisemen

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #434, on the subject of Foolish Wisemen.

For most Americans, Christmas is over.  Many took down the decorations on Boxing Day, and few will leave them up past New Year.  Yet this isn’t really about Christmas.  After all, we know that the wise men did not actually find Jesus in a manger in a stable; we are told they found him in a house.  Had they arrived and given gifts of significant value, Joseph and Mary would have had to offer a lamb with their two birds as an offering for her cleansing, but we are told that the couple delivered the poor man’s pair of birds.  Unless we think that the gifts were paltry tokens, they had not yet been delivered in that first week, and not before the couple made a trip to the temple.  Some of us celebrate Epiphany, which is a somewhat random number of days after a somewhat randomly assigned date of birth, but makes the point that the wise men didn’t get there that first night.  But that’s not what this is about, either.

Rather, I am recalling Balaam, who in Numbers 24:17 prophesied in the famous words “There shall a star from Jacob come forth”.  The Israelites preserved those words, and recognized within them a messianic prediction.  However, Balaam was not an Israelite; he was from Mesopotamia, the land whose people became the Medes and Persians, east of Israel.

It seems that they, too, preserved those words.  Matthew makes the connection for us, that wise men, scholars who studied the books and the stars, came from the east, which would probably mean Persian astrologers, because of a star–probably the star predicted by their ancestor Balaam.  It didn’t need to be a big, bright, obvious star; it needed to be a configuration of celestial objects that they understood to mean the birth of the ruler predicted by their own ancestor.  Seeing the star, they came to bring gifts to the baby, and to honor him.

Then they left, and we read nothing more about them.

Of course, it would be three decades before Jesus worked the miracle of redemption, and another several years before the faith was pushed out of Jerusalem into the rest of the world.  Whether those scholars still lived we don’t know.  But there is this question:  did these scholars who were aware of the arrival of the Anointed at His birth, who made a great effort to find Him and gave Him valuable gifts, ever do anything else, learn anything more, actually come to faith in Him?

And that question then transfers to the people of our time.  How many celebrated the birth of Christ, one way or another, recently, spending significant amounts of money and time and effort on the holiday, who never returned to see what more He had done?  The deliverer came, and those needing deliverance honored that arrival; but then they left, never to be delivered.

That’s sad.

#433: The Song “From Job”

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #433, on the subject of The Song “From Job”.

This song doesn’t really have a title.  I’m bad at titles, and while I suppose in one sense the title here might have been obvious, I always called it the one from Job.

It’s called that because somewhere late in that book, after Job and his three friends have finished bickering about whether his suffering is attributable to some secret sin he has been harboring, Elihu speaks, and in the middle of his speech he speaks about the righteous man, saying of this best of men, He will sing to men and say, “I have sinned and perverted what is right, and it is not proper for me; He has redeemed my life from going to the pit; my soul shall see the light.”

It wasn’t the first time I’d seen the words to a song in scripture and set them to music; it did require a few minor changes, but it produced this song about someone who thought himself fine but then recognized that he was not.

I wrote this when I was at Gordon College, probably after I got married but definitely while my cousin Peter Grosso was still attending Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in the next town.  That hurt the song, because the first people for whom I played it were him and a couple of his fellow students, and their only reaction was that it was long.  It is long, but I realized after the fact that I should have mentioned they were expected to sing along on the choruses, which they didn’t do.  Because of that response I rarely ever performed it live, and this recording, which I ranked 26th for quality of performance and recording, was done live, another done in my living room with the air cleaner coming through when the automatic level control kicked up.  I ranked the song at 32nd, and Tristan did not include it on his list, but since then I’ve come to think that this is a very important song for our era, so despite it being number 31 overall I think it worth singing, primarily because the revival so many want begins not with worship or evangelism but with repentance among believers, and that’s what this song expresses.

From Job.

So here are the lyrics.

I was no worse than the next guy–
That’s what I told myself,
And I didn’t even see why
God would ask for something else.
But I wouldn’t help another
If it broke my life of ease,
So I sinned against my brother;
So I fell down on my knees.

I have sinned, and done what’s wrong for me,
Perverted what is right;
He redeemed my soul from misery,
My life has seen the light,
Oh, I have sinned, and done what’s wrong for me,
Perverted what is right;
He redeemed my soul from misery,
My life has seen the light.

Well, I knew the twelve apostles
Had all done what Jesus said,
And I thought it was collosal
That God had raised Him from the dead,
But I didn’t really care about
What He had done that day.
But His love just kept on reachin’ out
‘Til I fin’ly came to say,

Oh, I have sinned, and done what’s wrong for me,
Perverted what is right;
He redeemed my soul from misery,
My life has seen the light,
Oh, I have sinned, and done what’s wrong for me,
Perverted what is right;
He redeemed my soul from misery,
My life has seen the light.

Well, I once knew all the theory,
And I didn’t care a bit,
‘Cause it only made me weary
Try’n’ to make life’s pieces fit.
Now I’ve got Him on the inside–
He’s become my everything–
So I’ll shout it from the hillside,
‘Cause He’s taught me how to sing

Oh, I have sinned, and done what’s wrong for me,
Perverted what is right;
He redeemed my soul from misery,
My life has seen the light,
Oh, I have sinned, and done what’s wrong for me,
Perverted what is right;
He redeemed my soul from misery,
My life has seen the light.

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
The Bible says that death is the wages of sin,
But the free gift of God is eternal life in Jesus our Lord.
He’s knockin’ at your heart, so won’t you open up and let Him in.

Oh, I have sinned, and done what’s wrong for me,
Perverted what is right;
He redeemed my soul from misery,
My life has seen the light,
Oh, I have sinned, and done what’s wrong for me,
Perverted what is right;
He redeemed my soul from misery,
My life has seen the light.

Oh, I have sinned, and done what’s wrong for me,
Perverted what is right;
He redeemed my soul from misery,
My life has seen the light,
Oh, I have sinned, and done what’s wrong for me,
Perverted what is right;
He redeemed my soul from misery,
My life has seen the light.

Oh, and I have sinned, and done what’s wrong for me,
Perverted what is right;
He redeemed my soul from misery,
My life has seen the light,
Oh, I have sinned, and done what’s wrong for me,
Perverted what is right;
He redeemed my soul from misery,
My life has seen the light.

Oh, and I have sinned, and done what’s wrong for me,
Perverted what is right;
He redeemed my soul from misery,
My life has seen the light,
Oh, I have sinned, and done what’s wrong for me,
Perverted what is right;
He redeemed my soul from misery,
My life has seen the light.

If you’ve listened to this story
And you wonder what I mean,
When you’ve seen the land of glory
This life isn’t like it seemed.
Well, you’ve cheated, hated, cursed, lied–
Admit to God you’re wrong,
Then come join me on the hillside
And we’ll sing the world this song.

I have sinned, and done what’s wrong for me,
Perverted what is right;
He redeemed my soul from misery,
My life has seen the light,
Oh, I have sinned, and done what’s wrong for me,
Perverted what is right;
He redeemed my soul from misery,
My life has seen the light.

I can only hope you benefit from the song in some way.  I will continue with additional songs in the future.

*****

Previous web log song posts:

#301:  The Song “Holocaust” | #307:  The Song “Time Bomb” | #311:  The Song “Passing Through the Portal” | #314:  The Song “Walkin’ In the Woods” | #317:  The Song “That’s When I’ll Believe” | #320:  The Song “Free” | #322:  The Song “Voices” | #326:  The Song “Mountain, Mountain” | #328:  The Song “Still Small Voice” | #334:  The Song “Convinced” | #337:  The Song “Selfish Love” | #340:  The Song “A Man Like Paul” | #341:  The Song “Joined Together” | #346:  The Song “If We Don’t Tell Them” | #349: The Song “I Can’t Resist You’re Love” | #353:  The Song “I Use to Think” | #356:  The Song “God Said It Is Good” | #362:  The Song “My Life to You” | #366:  The Song “Sometimes” | #372:  The Song “Heavenly Kingdom” | #378:  The Song “A Song of Joy” | #382:  The Song “Not Going to Notice” | #387:  The Song “Our God Is Good” | #393:  The Song “Why” | #399:  The Song “Look Around You” | #404:  The Song “Love’s the Only Command” | #408:  The Song “Given You My Name” | #412:  The Song “When I Think” | #414:  The Song “You Should Have Thanked Me” | #428:  The Song “To the Victor”

Next song:  Trust Him Again

#431: Mark Joseph Young En Français

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #431, on the subject of Mark Joseph Young En Français.

Over two decades ago, the respected Australian role playing game e-zine Places to Go, People to Be asked if they could translate an article series I had written for them, three parts under the title Law and Enforcement in Imaginary realms, to republish in their then-new French edition.  This was the beginning of a long and continuing relationship during which they continued translating my work into French for release to a wider audience.  Recently I received word that they were releasing the twenty-sixth such article, and I had often realized that I had not been keeping track of what they had published and ought to do that, at least for my own sake, but also for yours.

This is in roughly the sequence in which the articles were originally translated and posted.

  1. La Loi et l’Ordre dans les Mondes Imaginaires – 1re Partie : Les sources de la Loi, written for and still published at the Australian version back in perhaps 1998 and translated shortly thereafter, was entitled Law & Enforcement in Imaginary Realms Part I:  The Source of Law, and dealt with how legal systems develop from primitive tribal structures to modern governmental systems, and how we derive laws from that.
  2. La Loi et l’Ordre dans les Mondes Imaginaires – 2e partie : la procédure judiciaire was the second part, Law & Enforcement in Imaginary Realms:  The Course of Law, presenting the issues of who executes the law and how is it executed, including what rights people might or might not have.
  3. La Loi et l’ordre dans les mondes imaginaires – 3e partie : Les Forces de l’Ordre finishes the series with Law & Enforcement in Imaginary Realms:  The Force of Law, dealing with matters of how and why we punish criminals.
  4. Des pièces de monnaie invisibles was originally a Game Ideas Unlimited article (at Gaming Outpost), more recently republished by the Christian Gamers Guild as RPG-ology #34:  Invisible Coins, about an illusionist technique and referee control of play.
  5. Gauche ou droite ? was again from Game Ideas Unlimited, again republished as RPG-ology #47:  Left or Right?, one of my personal favorites and another illusionist technique.
  6. Dans l’esprit de la radio is an article I wrote for the Winter 2004 edition of the e-zine Daedalus, entitled In the Spirit of Radio, and no longer available in English on the web.  Fortuitously I downloaded that issue, so I have a copy, and although it was not easy to convert PDF into HTML I expect it to post in the RPG-ology series next spring.
  7. La Sagesse dans les jeux de rôles, originally published as Game Ideas Unlimited:  Wisdom about how to play a character said to be wiser than the player, but only partially preserved on the web in English, it is my hope to reconstruct this eventually.
  8. LNS : de la théorie à l’application is a translation of an article originally published at The Forge and still available there as of last look, as Applied Theory, discussing how to apply concepts of gamism, narrativism, and simulationism to game design.
  9. Théorie 101 – 1re partie : le système et l’espace imaginaire commun is a significant piece.  Some years after I had written the Law and Enforcement series for the Australian e-zine, their editors put out a general call for someone to summarize the main features of role playing game theory as it was then being expounded at The Forge.  Being at that time involved in that work, I offered to compose something, and this, Theory 101:  System and the Shared Imagined Space, was the first of three parts.  It explains the concepts system, credibility, authority, and other aspects of how games work “under the hood” as it were that enable the creations of a shared world.  This article was later republished by Gaming Outpost, and the three-article translation was compacted and published in the French print magazine Joie de Role.
  10. Théorie 101 – 2e partie : Le Truc Impossible Avant Le Petit Déj’ is the second of the three parts, Theory 101:  The Impossible Thing Before Breakfast, discussing referee styles and how they resolve the conflict between the statement that the referee controls the story and the fact that the players control all the actions of its main characters.
  11. Théorie 101 – 3e partie : Les propositions créatives is the third part of the series, originally Theory 101:  Creative Agenda, discussing what is popularly called “GNS” or gamism, narrativism, and simulationism, the three primary approaches to player play, and what makes games fun for different people.
  12. Étreintes was originally Game Ideas Unlimited:  Embraces, and is scheduled to be reposted as RPG-ology #48:  Embraces on November 16 (2021); it deals with romance in role playing games.
  13. Valeurs was originally Game Ideas Unlimited:  Value, discussing what makes anything valuable or cheap.  It is on the list to be republished as an RPG-ology piece, but not yet scheduled.
  14. Récompenses was originally Game Ideas Unlimited:  Rewards, dealing with in-game reward systems, no longer available in English but on the list for eventually republication.
  15. Création de perso was originally Game Ideas Unlimited:  Chargen, about different ways of creating characters.  The English version only exists as a partial article, but eventually I hope to reconstruct it from the translation and republish it in RPG-ology.
  16. Du cash was originally Game Ideas Unlimited:  Cash, addressing the development of systems of exchange from barter through the invention of money in various forms to the future of electronic credit.  An English version exists, and will eventually be republished as an RPG-ology piece.
  17. Points négatifs was originally published as Game Ideas Unlimited:  Negative Points, a further discussion of character generation extolling the virtues of stronger and weaker characters.
  18. Maîtriser l’Horreur comes from closer to home, a translation of mark Joseph “young” web log post #132:  Writing Horror, about some of the elements that create a good horror story, whether for a book or for a game session.
  19. Moralité et conséquences : les fondamentaux oubliés. recovers the first article I wrote for someone else’s web site, Morality and Consequences:  Overlooked Roleplay Essentials, originally published among the earliest articles at Gaming Outpost around 1997 and restored as mark Joseph “young” web log post #237:  Morality and Consequences:  Overlooked Roleplay Essentials in 2018.
  20. Les Pactes avec le Diable is a translation of Faith and Gaming:  Deals, from the Christian Gamers Guild, about the Christian value in roleplaying deals with the devil.
  21. Le festin de Javan is again from the Christian Gamers Guild, Faith in Play #3:  Javan’s Feast, about an act of charity that rocked the game and impacted the players at the table.
  22. Histoire des Points de Vie was RPG-ology #3:  History of Hit Points, discussing the origin, development, and value of a fundamental mechanic in many games.
  23. Sentience was another Game Ideas Unlimited article, not spelled differently in English, and dealing with the elements of intelligence as a groundwork for creating alien minds.  It is scheduled for RPG-ology early next year.
  24. Funérailles reproduces another from Game Ideas Unlimited, this one republished recently as RPG-ology #46:  Deceased, asking why we don’t have funerals in our role playing games.
  25. Blessures is translated from Game Ideas Unlimited:  Wounds, addressing how events from adventures should impact character personality thereafter, which eventually should wind up in the RPG-ology series.
  26. Vous avez le droit de garder le silence… was more simply Game Ideas Unlimited:  Silence, about the relatively modern right against self-incrimination and how legal systems were different without it.  It, too, is slated for inclusion in the RPG-ology series.

The original French index on their site is here, for those more facile in French than I.  They expect to continue adding my material to their collection in the future, so I expect there may be a sequel to this article eventually.  My contributions are a drop in the ocean of excellent material they have gathered from a wealth of well-respected writers whom I will not begin to name for fear of omitting someone who ought to be mentioned.