Friday, June 9, 2017

A Smaller, More Honest Soul: Ruby Rose

I think Ruby Rose has two things most TV show “heroes” these days are sorely lacking: The first is a High-Caliber Sniper-Scythe. The second is a genuine understanding of what it really means to be a hero.
The full quote I took this essay’s title from is Ozpin’s opening monologue to the series, an answer to the villainous cynicism of Salen warning Humankind that they can’t hope to overcome her through force of arms.
“But perhaps victory is in the simpler things that you've long forgotten; things that require a smaller, more honest soul.”
RWBY may not be a Christian series, but I feel that’s a statement very in keeping with our beliefs. After all, wasn’t it the son of a humble carpenter who saved our world? The Alpha and Omega, the one above all, humbling himself to the form of a lowly man: able to feel pain, sorrow, hunger, thirst, temptation and, ultimately, death, all to save a race of backsliding sinners. Victory in a small, honest soul indeed.
But back to Ruby Rose: Honestly, I could probably fill a small book with nothing but my ravings for this character. But instead, I’ll let the show do the talking for me: this conversation, between Ruby and Blake in The Shining Beacon Pt.2, is one of my favorite from any show:
“As a girl, I wanted to be just like those heroes in the books... Someone who fought for what was right, and protected people who couldn't protect themselves!”
As far as mission statements go, this has few equals, deceptively simple as it may be. Ruby doesn’t share her teammates strong motivations: She’s not out to redeem her family name, atone for past sins, find her mother, prove her worth, fulfill some higher duty or even just because she has nowhere else to go. She’s becoming a Huntress because that’s where she feels she’ll do the most good: nothing more, nothing less.
Ruby could easily be mistaken for a naive little girl, given how badly she fanboys over Huntsmen/Huntresses and how bright her worldview is, but too dismiss her as such would be a dangerous underestimation.
Look at the family she comes from: her mother died on a mission, her father was heartbroken and emotionally crippled for years, her uncle is a cynical, bitter alcoholic and her step mother straight up abandoned her family. All of these were Huntsmen/Huntresses: it’s a wonder Ruby hold the job in anything but contempt.
But the thing about Ruby is that, like all her teammates, she sees being a Huntress as just a means to an end. Oh sure, she’s in love with the fairy tale aspect, but ultimately she chose this life because she knows it’s where she can do the most good, combat easily being her area of expertise.
Compare her expertise with weapons to her difficulty making friends: her awkwardness at a dance to her grace while fighting for her life. Ruby is at home on the battlefield and she knows it: the only other career she is ever mentioned as considering was Police Officer, and even that could place her in fights on a regular basis (Especially in a World like Remanent).
Ruby’s innocence is not ignorance: She wasn’t really old enough to understand what was happening when her mother died, but she certainly was for everyone she lost in the Fall of Beacon. Slain friends, a physically and spiritually broken sister, a splintered teams and a long, arduous journey constantly filled with pain and difficulty. And at the end of it all, she’s just as defiant as she was when Roman gave her that speech aboard the airship, so very long ago.
She’s grown, certainly. She now acknowledges that bad things can happen just because, that there’s a nearly invincible foe looming on the horizon and that it will take more than Crescent Rose and Silver Eyes to defeat it. But all that has just redoubled her will, her resolve to never bow to evil and to battle it all costs.
Even more impressively, she still considers that a secondary motive. She’s not a broken warrior, out to avenge everything she’s lost. She is still the same, dorky fifteen (Well, sixteen now) year old girl just trying to do what’s right. Yes, times have gotten dark, but she’s fighting both out of a remembrance for the good times that came before, and a hope that those can come again.
As she tell’s her sister, it’s not for herself, or for the people she’s already lost, but for the people she hasn’t lost yet. Salem and associates be warned: Ruby Rose has placed her friends, family and the World of Remanent under her protection, and she will fight to the last to defend them.
Now, of course, there are alternate views. Blake’s, for instance.
“That's very ambitious for a child. Unfortunately, the real world isn't the same as a fairy tale.”
Blake is somehow who already knows just how dark the world can be. Even more, she has had a hand, however small, in making it that way. Happily ever afters would be nice, but she has mistakes to fix first. And don’t get me wrong: that’s an almost equally powerful motivation as Ruby’s.
A touch of personal, even selfish, motives to their hero can go a long way towards humanizing your hero. We all want to relate to our idols, and “It’s the right thing to do!” is a pretty lofty motivation. I think this is best demonstrated with an exchange from Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy:
“Why would you want to save the Galaxy?”
“Because I’m one of the idiots who lives in it!”
It really is okay to act out of greed every now and then: All things in moderation after all. We may not look up to the Guardians as much as we do Superman, but I think we all feel like the former a lot more frequently than we do the later. Sometimes, neutrality just isn’t an option: evil cares nothing for “Live and let live” policies after all. They may not destroy/subjugate you at first, but that’s only because it’d be too much effort. Rest assured, someday you will bow to them, or else perish.
Sometimes, regardless of how squeaky clean your personal life may or may not be, you have to stand up and defend you and your own. And if you save some other people along the way? Hey, at least they owe you a favour in the future. Not heroic, but definitely realistic.
And then there are people like Blake (Or, to continue the Superhero themes, Batman and Spiderman) who have deeply personal reason for their heroism, that may not be selfish exactly, but still much darker than the classical storybook hero.
But we’ll get to Blake later. For now, we’re looking at Ruby, and she has her own response for when she’s told the world if far to evil a place for optimism like her’s to realistically exist.
“Well, that's why we're here! To make it better.”
I’ll be honest: when she said that, I wanted to hug her just as badly as Yang did. In a time where the general approach to superheroes, and fiction in general, seems to be “realistic!” and “adult!”, a character who just really gets what I love to see in a fictional hero makes me borderline giddy.
Yes, the world is a dark, often hopeless place. But that’s not what the hero should focus on! They aren’t there to become just another link in some cosmic chain of misery and hurt. They’re there to be lights in the darkness, to be beacons of hope, to be better and make others want to be better, in and out of Universe.
They’re there to, well, fight for what is right and protect people who can't protect themselves! I honestly can’t say it better than that. And if I tried, I couldn’t come up with a better candidate for this mindset than miss Ruby Rose.
I honestly don’t want every hero to be like her: Tortured avengers and Idiots trying to save their homes are always a joy to watch. But a few more like her certainly wouldn’t go amiss...

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Christianity vs Fantasy

Job 11: 18: 18 And thou shalt be secure, because there is hope; yea, thou shalt dig about thee, and thou shalt take thy rest in safety.
"Since it is so likely that children will meet cruel enemies, let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage.” -C.S Lewis

1. Why no Films for us?
Veggietales and Parables
Gathers and Deuteronomy

2. The Greats
Harry Potter

Ecclesiastes 3: 1-4: 1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: 2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; 3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; 4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
"A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word darkness on the walls of his cell." -C.S Lewis

3. Why not others?

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Infinities Scripts

Image result for force awakens vs expanded universe
What if Coleman Trebor Successfully kills Jango Fett & Dooku?
Master Trebor had a split second decision: Uphold the Jedi Code and give Dooku a chance, or strike now. He chose the later and leapt from his hiding place, igniting his Lightsaber mid-flight. The Count only had a split second to react and managed to save his head. He did not, however, save his arm. Trebor was immediately forced to turn and deflect the shots of Dooku's Mandalorian body-guard. He had re-tooled his Soresu style for blade to blade combat upon news of the Sith's return, but it still proved sufficient at this close range. Trebor deflected a bolt back into Fett's face-plate, and turned back towards the Count. In an even fight, Trebor wouldn't have stood a chance. As was, Dooku fell by the Jedi Masters blade and Jango not long after. Palpatine was not entirely foiled, but the Confederacy fell apart without Dooku and he was forced to come up with a new plot for the Sith's revenge. Also, Trebor becomes respected by the versus community.

What if Obi-Wan marrys Duchess Satine, & Ahsoka marrys Lux Bonteri?

Anakin Skywalker was far from the only Jedi to break the Code and form a deep romantic attachment during the Clone Wars. A meeting of Mandalore officials, Jedi and Confederacy representatives is called early in the war, to discuss the possibility of the former forsaking its neutrality and joining the war. Before the convention can come to any conclusion, C.I.S terrorists attack and strand a number of delagets on a primitive world. Obi-wan Kenobi, Ahsoka Tano, Lux Bonteri and Satine Kryze are forced to work and live together just to survive. The Republic war effort suffered without the two Jedi, but it still amanged to hold together. A rescue party lead by Anakin rescues them a year later. But the close confines of the planet had brought tensions to the forefront, and both Kenobi and Tano leave the Order to remain with Satine and Lux, joined soon after by the Skywalkers. The Clone Wars continued to rage on, untempered by its greatest heroes personal lives.

What if Master Ima Gon Di survives?
Blaster bolts filled the air and smashed into the surrounding stone. Master Di and Commander Keeli stood in the midst of the lethal storm, the last line of defense against the oncoming waves of Battle droids. As the last of his Clone Troopers fell besides him, Di relized that he was about to become one with the Force. But he did not: With a rousing cry, Cham Syndulla rallied his Twilek warriors and charged back into battle, determined to repay the Clones for their sacrifice and the Droids for their invasion. At the same time, republic ships flew overhead, dropping off much needed supplies for the besieged Twi'leks. They also took the time to blast a good portion of the Separatist forces which, in addition to the Jedi, won them the day. Bolstered by their victory, they held out long enough for reinforcements to arrive and free their world. Master Di himself became a rising member of the Order, and earned a seat on the High Council shortly before the Wars end.

What if Both Gui-gon & Obi-Wan Survives? /What if Qui-gon trained Anakin?

The duel in the Naboo power generator reached it's zenith as the Sith attempted to use the laser grid to separate his Jedi foes. But the young Kenobi used his last ounce of strength to bypass the grid and continue the double attack, alongside his master. Maul fell under the assault and both Jedi emerged exhausted, but victorious. The Council approved Kenobi's promotion to Knigthood and Jinn's apprenticeship of Anakin not long after. Despite getting on in years, Jinn proved an excellent Master for Skywalker and the Chosen One flourished in his care. Kenobi's single career proved just as instrumental to the Order as he grew closer and closer to uncovering the Sith. Shortly after the Battle of Geonosis, Dooku came to his former Apprentice with the information of Sidious's true identity. Rather than going to the Council, Jinn brought both his protegees to confront the Chancellor. The three proved powerful enough to defeat the Dark Lord together, bringing the Sith threat to an end.

What if the Yuuzhan Vong invaded earlier?

Slowly journeying through the dark, black void of space between Galaxies, The Yuuzhan Vong fleet searches for a new home. They find one in the form of a Galaxy torn by war, a brutal conflict between a totalitarian Empire and heroic alliance of Rebels. The Vong are invited to ally with both sides, but decide on the third option of just destroying everyone. The galactic Civil War is soon forgotten as both sides desperately attempt to stall the intergalactic invaders. This new war rages on for decades, devastating almost every corner of the Galaxy. Ultimately, the Vong are only defeated by an unprecedented truce between the Jedi and Sith, a joint strike team killing the Vong's Supreme Leader. Leaderless, the Vong falter and are eventually defeated, wiped out by vengeful Imperial forces. In exchange for their aid against the Vong, the Alliance is granted a small area of space as their own independent faction. Both sides then begin the slow process of rebuilding.

What if Sidious views Ahsoka as his New Apprentice(if Anakin Dies in Episode 2)?

Palpatine is outwardly unaffected but secretly furious at the news that Anakin Skywalker is one of the Jedi casualties in the opening battle of the Clone Wars. His plans for a new Apprentice are ruined, leaving him without a clear direction to proceed. But by chance, he runs into a lonely young Togruta on the streets of Coruscant. Ahsoka Tano had failed to attract a Master and had left the Order in dejection. Palpatine realized he had the opportunity to replicate Darth Maul, raising a Force sensitive assassin almost from birth. The Sith Lord earned her trust quickly and inducted her into the Sith lifestyle. Without a firm basis in the Jedi, Tano quickly became consumed by the Dark Side and served her master loyally. When Dooku finally became to advanced in age to be of any more use, Sidious pitted his Apprentices against each other and Darth Vamon, formerly Ahsoka Tano, emerged victorious as the newest Lord of the Sith.

What if Mace Windu survived and lead a Jedi rebellion with Rahm Kota?

With a last desperate push of the Force, Mace Windu broke his fall just enough to survive. The critically wounded Master still almost perished from his injuries, but managed to survive long enough to make it off-world and escape the Purge. Even as he recovered from his battle with Palpatine, he reunites with his old friend Rahm Kota. The two hardliner Jedi Masters form an alliance, waging a personal war against the Empire even while gathering more allies. By the time Luke and the other Rebel heroes enter the scene, the Jedi lead Alliance has freed the Outer Rim Territories and has begun bringing the fight directly to the Imperial Core Worlds. Both sides of the war are recruiting as many Force sensitives as possible, recreating armies of Jedi and Sith reminiscent of those from the Old Republic era. Mace Windu takes on Luke as his own apprentice, passing on his considerable knowledge and power to the young man in preparation for the final confrontation with the Sith.

What if Asoka became Obi-Wan's Padawan?

Anakin's point blank refusal to take on an Apprentice is eventually accepted by the Council, who places her under the care of master Kenobi instead. The headstrong Togruta prospers under the calm and experienced negotiator. The initial hostility between her and Anakin eventually turns into a friendly rivalry, with the two brash young warriors competing with one another throughout the Clone Wars, much to Kenobi's exasperation. A more traditional and level headed Ashoka becomes even closer to a conflicted Barriss Offee, who approaches her friend with her concerns over the war and the Jedi's role in it. Ashoka manages to convince her friends of the Order's merits, even in the midst of warfare, and both remain loyal to the Jedi and are knighted not long after. It is a fully fledged Jedi Knight Ashoka Tano who accompanies her closest friends, masters Kenobi and Skywalker, on a mission to recover the kidnapped Chancellor from the Confederacy.

What if Dooku and Grieves are killed on the invisible hand and the war was over?

Even as he attempts to escape the bridge of the severely damaged Invisible Hand, Grievous is cut down by a twin attack from the quick thinking Skywalker and Kenobi. With neither the General or Count Dooku to lead the Separatists, optimistic senators and Jedi alike predict the end of the Clone Wars withing the year. Much to Palpatine's outward pleasure but inward consternation, they are proved correct when Nute Gunray proves an entirely incapable military leader and is forced to sue for peace. The Confederacy is dissolved and, with the anti-Jedi sentiment quickly turned to praise for the Order of victorious war heroes, Palpatine is forced to step down from office as promised, as the Clone Wars draw to a close. The Sith Lord's schemes are far from finished however and he journeys to the unknown Regions, implanting himself in the Chiss, Sii-Ruv, Hapens and other civilizations, plotting a new, more direct war on the Republic.

What if Yoda met the Father?

In his quest to discover the deeper mysteries of the Force, Yoda is lead to the same mysterious planet known as "Mortis" that Kenobi, Skywalker and Tano spoke of. There, he meets the spirit of the one known as The Father, who agrees to help the ancient Jedi in his quest for knowledge. Yoda learns much during his time on Mortis, spending almost an entire year learning directly under the embodiment of Order. When he finally feels it necessary to return to normal space, he discovers that no time has passed on the outside. He immediately returns to Coruscant, only vaguely answering the Councils inquiries to his whereabouts, and begins a series of private studies with Anakin. Yoda's direct apprenticeship and passed on knowledge gained from Mortis counters Palpatine's influence, creating a more powerful and disciplined Skywalker truely ready to take on his Destiny as the Chosen One.

What if Mace Windu killed Dooku in (aotc)?
From the door of his gunship, Mace Windu spots Count Dooku escaping the battle on his speeder. He makes the pilot wait just long enough for the other Jedi aboard to disembark, before hotly pursuing the Confederacy's leader. Windu confronts his old friend in the Geonosian hanger and, although saddened to be fighting his old friend, does not hesitate to attack and attempt to capture the Count. Like so many of their previous battles, it devolves into a stalemate, the equally matched swordsmen and Force wielders unable to find an advantage over the other. Windu is finally forced to fall back on something the newly christened Sith Lord never truly understood: sacrifice. He allows Dooku to land a lethal blow, in exchange for an opening to mortally wound the Count in turn. The two former friends die on the hanger floor together, both coming to regret their actions. The Clone Wars continue, both sides mourning the lose of one of their greatest warriors.

What if Galen Marek survived his fight with the emperor?
Palpatine screamed in furry as the explosion of Force energy enveloped his throne room. By the time it cleared, Vader's accursed apprentice was missing. To his disgust, he saw Vader himself had survived as well, and Palpatine wasted no time in informing him his continued existence depended on ending the rogue "Starkiller". Meanwhile, a jubilant Galen Marek and Juno Eclipse happily reunite aboard the Rogue Shadow. Although the two briefly entertain the idea of leaving the civilized Galaxy altogether for parts unknown, Rahm Kota convinces them to join the Rebellion and continue the fight against the Empire. Vader and Galen clash many more times over the year in the lead up to the battle of Yavin, both pinning the chances of victory for their faction on defeating the other. Galen and Juno's children are born into a war, raised and trained by their legendary father to follow in his footsteps, putting the Marek's at the forefront of a new Jedi Order.

What if Luke skywalker joined Vader in empire strikes back?

Betrayed by his masters, defeated by his fallen father and near death, Luke Skywalker quietly accepts Darth Vader's offer to join him. With permission from Palpatine, Vader begins training Luke in the ways of the Dark Side. At first, Luke is highly resistant and tries to escape several times, but eventually resigns himself to fully joining his father. Father and son become the face of Imperial might, although Luke refuses to harm his old friends and undermines Vader's campaigns against the Rebellion. The Emperor is eventually fed up with his unwillingness to fully give himself to the Dark side and pits father and son against one another in a duel to the death, planning on making the victor his new apprentice. Vader and Luke have had enough of Palpatine and his schemes how ever and join together to defeat him and take his throne instead. Vader returns to calling himself Anakin and rules the Galaxy alongside his son as iron fisted Dark Lords.

What if Anakin never quite fell in love with Padme and instead falls in love with Ahsoka Tano a few years into the Clone Wars?
To both their sorrow, Padme manages to convince Anakin that a relationship between the two of them would be impossible. It is a lonely and increasingly reckless Anakin that enters the Clone Wars, winning many victories at great cost to himself. A worried Jedi Council assigns him a Padawan, the young and headstrong Ashoka Tano, whom Anakin reluctantly accepts. The chipper young apprentice slowly brings Anakin back out of his shell, even as the two become a legendary pair at the forefront of countless Republic victories. As the years and war drags on, Anakin begins to realize that he is having feelings for his Padawan he hasn't had since Padme. Every attempt to quell them fails and when he finally approaches her, she admits she feels the same for him. The two fall madly in love, leave the Jedi Order to have weird hybrid babies and, for all our sake, everyone agrees to not ask Moonrazor to dot another romance story.

What if the Republic's clone army were cloned from force sensitives and their training revolved around the fact that they were force sensitive?

It is Aurra Sing, not Jango Fett, that hunts down and kills Komari Vosa, leading to her being offered the position of genetic template for the Grand Army of the Republic. Sing accepts once seeing the considerable payout and the Kaminoans begin work immediately. It is soon discovered that the "Sing" clones have inherited the original's Force powers and Dooku decides to take advantage of that fact. He recruits Gray Jedi, Nightsisters and fringe members of the Order itself to instruct the Republic's army in the use of their Force powers. He even personally trains the commandos and ARC troopers on how to fight with and against Lightsabers. By the time of the Battle of Geonosis, a fully fledged army of Force sensitive warriors descend on the Separatists, decimating them in a resounding victory to open the Clone Wars. It remains to be seen, however, which side of the Force this new Clone Army will serve in the end.

What if Vader's secret apprentice was an unmodified clone of himself? (Or just a clone in general)
Disappointed when Galen Marek fails to survive his brutal training, Vader informs the Emperor that he is retiring the idea of having an Apprentice, even as he secretly begins works on a new one. Believing that no one but himself posses the skills he is looking for, Vader uses a combination of Kaminoan technology and his own considerable raw Force power to create a fully Force sensitive clone of Anakin Skywalker. Vader instructs codename Skywalker two in the ways of the Dark Side at first, but finds it increasingly hard to ignore the memory of who he once was when he looks at the copy of his younger, un-corrupted self. Eventually, aware that the Emperor is close to discovering his secret, Vader stages a betrayal of his clone but secretly arranges for his escape to the Unknown Regions. There, Vader hopes Skywalker two will be able to live the life he wants, something the original Anakin was never able to do.

What if darth Vader at least won the duel on mustafar?
At the height of their duel, Anakin moves just a second faster than Kenobi and slices through his hand, ending their battle victoriously. But seeing his friend, his brother, defeated but still begging for Anakin to come back, even as the later prepares for a killing blow, finally brings him to his senses. Ignoring Kenobi, Anakin returns to the platform, takes Padme and departs. The Galaxy as a whole never truly learned what happened next: Shortly after the announcement of the first Galactic Empire, a freak storm devastated the industrial works of Coruscant and not long after, the newly christened Emperor was discovered to be missing. When he failed to turn up even a month later, Mon Mothma managed to position herself as his replacement and begin the long process of reform. Kenobi however, along with the few other remaining newly pardoned Jedi, guessed at the truth of what had happened and wished Anakin and his family luck, wherever they were.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Sermon Notes

Exodus 15:2-3
2 The Lord is my strength and song,
And He has become my salvation;
He is my God, and I will praise Him;
My father’s God, and I will exalt Him.
3 The Lord is a man of war;
The Lord is His name.

Stage 1: General intervention
 Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

Stage 2: Special Benevolence
2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

Stage 3: Call to War
Numbers 21:35 So the Israelites struck down Og and his sons. And they wiped out his whole army. They didn’t leave anyone alive. They took over his land for themselves.

Stage 4: America's relevance
Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Stage 5: Spiritual Warfare
2 Corinthians 10:4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,

Bonus Verse
Psalm 18:2- The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

Sermon 2: 26 Bible verses
Acts 16:31 "And they said, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house

Mathew 5:10 "Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven"

Mathew 11:28 "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest"

Philippians 4:6 "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God"

Psalms 99:5 "Exalt the Lord our God and worship at his footstool; he is holy"

Romans 3:23 "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God"

Matthew 5:42 "Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you"

Proverbs 10:12 "Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs."

Genesis 1:1 "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth"

Hebrews 13:8 "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever"

Deuteronomy "Keep the Sabbath day to sanctify it, as the Lord thy God hath commanded thee"

Romans 12:9 "Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good"

Proverbs 1:10 "My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not"

Romans 8:39 "Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord"

Mathew 7:4 "Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?"

John 14:27 "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid"

Psalms 119:88 "Quicken me after thy loving-kindness; so shall I keep the testimony of thy mouth

Exodus 20:8 "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy"

Romans 10:17 "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God"

Joshua 1:5 "There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee"

Psalm 25:1 "Unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul"

John 10:1 "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber"

Isiah 5:21 "Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight"

Psalms 127:1 "Xcept the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain"

Matthew 5:14 "Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid"

Psalm 97:8 "Zion heard, and was glad; and the daughters of Judah rejoiced because of thy judgments, O Lord"

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Holy Warfare

Image result for revolutionary war
Exodus 15:2-3 The Lord is my strength and song,And He has become my salvation; He is my God, and I will praise Him; My father’s God, and I will exalt Him. The Lord is a man of war; The Lord is His name.
The term "Holy War"will likely conjure up images of the ill-advised crusades or even the jihad being waged by Muslim extremists against our own country. However, despite the many negative connotations placed on this term by our society, a "Holy war" does have historical and Biblical support. Romans 8:28 says "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose". Would this not also apply to war? A good example would be the battle of Ramoth-gilead.
Considering that King Ahab and his wife were pretty much the two worst rulers Israel had to suffer through, it is reasonable in my view to assume that the randomly aimed enemy arrow that lethally wounded him was guided by divine providence. However, I will admit that not everything, in peace or war, is directly caused by divine intervention. France and Germany were defeated not by a miracle but by their inability to realize that invading Russia during the Wintertime was a very bad idea.
Still, not only do I believe that God guides battle in general, but that he provides special benevolence to those who fight in his name. This is evident throughout the Old Testament, but especially in the campaigns of King David. God gave him such victory over his enemies that his son was able to rule Israel in almost complete peace. This is not a phenomenon restricted to Biblical times either. So-called secular history shows us that the untrained and inexperienced American forces of the Revolutionary war won many battles against the greatest military force on Earth when by every right they should have been utterly defeated.
While this may be able to stump the secular, the explanation is really quite simple for a Christian and probably said best by George Washington himself: "The Hand of Providence has been so conspicuous in all of this, that he must be worse than an infidel who lacks faith, and more than wicked, that has no gratitude to acknowledge his obligations". Put simply, at the time America was a God-fearing Nation fighting for those beliefs, while Britain was not. Their are numerous fascinating accounts from throughout the war of how "chance" and luck" constantly favored the Americans. Even the weather seemed to fight for them: For just one example: During the crossing of the Delaware, minutes before daylight, a thick fog rolled in and hide the American boats. When the British tried an identical maneuver, a extremely violent storm ruined the entire endeavor. Even now, It is reasonable to assume that the outcome of entire battles is being decided by the prayers of loved ones.
An important thing to make note of, however, is that God does not indiscriminately favor one side in a war just becuase they profess to be believers. The conquest of Jericho was only accomplished by falling a specific set of directions. The Israelite forces were routed in their attack on Ai due to the sin present in their own camp. King David accomplished much more on the battlefield than the Lip-service only Christian King Saul ever did. Thousands of years later, both in the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812, American forces suffered their greatest defeats when they overstepped their boundaries and went on the offensive against Canada. Truly, our Lord is the same yesterday, today and forever.
Of more importance than all this, is that God does occasionally call his children to go to war for him. The Israelite's were called to commit outright genocide against the many inhabitants of Canaan after-all (Although anyone who has carefully studied these people can tell you that it was more than justified). It is also my belief that America was called to fight for her freedom in order to establish a land where one could worship God however they wanted, and a Nation founded on Christian principles.
Now, I will not deny that Religion has been used to justify many horrendous acts throughout history, and that so-called "Holy wars" such as the Crusades were almost always just political power grabs. I also suspect that many people would point to Luke 6:29, the popular "Turn the other cheek" passage, as evidence that God does not support violence. However, I would in turn point to John 2:13-17 where, put simply, Jesus beats the snot out of those desecrating the Temple With a Whip.
Second Timothy 1:7 states plainly "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind". God may not endorse violence as a first response, but if push comes to shove, I fully believes he is okay with and even expects us to stand up and defend ourselves and his way of life. What's more, we can be confident in the fact that he has given us a spirit of power and that if we fight in his favor, there isn't a force beneath the Sun that can stand against us.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Adi Gallia Respect Thread

Normally, I wouldn't make another Thread so soon after my last one. However, I got a request to make one for Adi Gallia so, combined with my recent hunt for Gallia pics, I saw no reason to not go ahead with this. With all that out of the way, let's begin!
1. Ona Nobis
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First off, if I miss or misrepresent some of Gallia's feats. I am sadly not in possession of the Jedi Apprentice series and am thus working off of second hand information. However, I feel fairly confident putting this on here. Ona Nobis was a skilled bounty hunter, capable of taking on Jedi with her Light-whip (Although not the same kind of Light-whip wielded by Sith). However, it was Master Gallia, not her rival of sorts Kenobi, who ultimately put an end to Nobis's career, destroying her weapon and sending her to her death over a cliff.
2. General Grievous
Perhaps Galli's most (in)famous fights were her three separate rounds against the cyborg Jedi killer General Grievous. In there first fight, Jedi and Jedi hunter fought on even ground, there duel being interrupted before a clear winner could be determined. There second fight was something of a repeat, with Grievous apparently driving Gallia back before subduing her with a physical strike. In there third and final fight, Grievous finally slew the Jedi Master. However, in there two previous fights the General had relied on two blades only: in the final match Grievous used his second pair of arms to surprise and fatally wound Gallia. Although I do peg Grievous as the better warrior, I find his ability to overwhelm Gallia through pure bladework in doubt.
3. Savage Opress
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In the penultimate fight of her life, Gallia was pitted against the powerful Dark Jedi Savage Opress. Although it is true that Savage dominated there fight from the start, it should be noted that Savage has previously driven back both Obi-wan and Anakin at once, something very few could accomplish. Gallia did manage to hold her own with the blade against the Nightbrother, largely put on the losing end by Savage's overwhelming physical (Not martial) skill, and she was ultimately brought down by a Force push.
4. Sparring Matches
Although that's the end of Gallia's true Lightsaber duels (As far as I can find) there are a few more things we can touch on. First of that would be the Non-life or death duels she has been involved in with fellow Jedi: Before the Battle of Naboo she would engage Kenobi in a sparring match and would be one of many to duel the unnamed protagonist of the Clone Wars: Adventures MMO. Although she lost both to the much younger duelist, it should be noted that even much higher up Jedi Masters (Like Plo Koon and Mace Windu) lost in the same circumstances and that Gallia was almost certainly not going full out on her fellow Jedi.
5. Field Missions
Although she has had comparatively few chances to show off her dueling ability, Gallia was far from an armchair Jedi. She was a veteran of the Stark Hyperpsace war, Yinchorri Uprising, Hunt for Aurra Sing, Mission to Malastare and, of course, the Clone Wars. Facing everything from Akk Dogs to Cortosis armed Yinchorri warriors to Magnaguards, Adi Gallia has proven her worth as a warrior time and time again. It's also worth pointing out that Siri Tachi, an impressively accomplished Jedi in her own right, was Gallia's Apprentice.
6. Force Powers
Although I mostly skip over Force powers for these Threads (Being much more interested in Lightsaber dueling myself) Gallia's Force powers are worth noting. Her basic telekinesis was advanced enough to hurl massive stones with ease and send enemies flying. Her Force sense was precisely attuned, being able to search out others and there intentions. Perhaps her most unusual ability was her mastery of precognition, which allowed her to predict the future more accurately than most other Jedi, even in the heated midst of combat. Although Gallia was most likely a Jedi Guardian, her prowess with the Force should not be underestimated.
7. Physical & Equipment

To just briefly touch on the other two categories commonly featured in the Versus Series: Gallia was a female Tholothian of unknown age. Although her species did not have any inherent advantages over your average Human, Gallia herself was a competent unarmed fighter, capable of changing these moves into her Blade-work. She was as strong, swift and acrobatic as would be expected from a Jedi Master (Read: Very) and tough enough to survive a direct explosion. Her Lightsaber hilt was of standard make, and while it originally sported a rare red blade, Gallia replaced it with a more common blue crystal after the return of the Sith.
8. Forms & Style

Jedi Master Adi Gallia was a master of Form five Lightsaber combat. Specifically, she preferred the more uncommon Shien variant. This was most obvious in her preference for a reverse grip on her Lightsaber and an absolute mastery of blast deflection. Gallia Was also more than capable of fighting staff and dual wielders, and seems to have circumvented Form fives primary weakness (Lack of mobility) with a heavy dose of agility.

All things considered, I will stick to my guns: Adi Gallia is a peer of Qui-gon Jinn, both in status and skill.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Aayla Secura Respect Thread

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Jedi Master Aayla Secura: Not one of the greatest, most skilled or most powerful Jedi of her time. However, those who underestimate her have a painful lesson on the difference between Slave dancers and Jedi Masters coming. There's a reason Secura is one of the few original Legends characters to appear in the films after all.
1. Quinlan Vos Round 1
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The first time we see Secura in a proper Lightsaber battle is against her own master on Kiffex. In the thrall of powerful Dark Jedi Volfe Karkko, a thirsty-for-blood Secura engages Quinlan Vos twice: The first time she manages to overwhelm him, although after she took him by complete surprise. In there rematch not long after Vos fights dead even with Secura, even while restraining from lethal force. Although I don't believe these feats are quite applicable (Secura normally isn't a crazed Dark Sider after all) but there still worth noting.
2. Bok
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Although Secura has faced off with this particular Morgukai assassin no less than three separate times, I have decided to address all of them at once. In there first duel, Secura and Bok fought evenly, even while Bok's father fired shots at the Jedi. Soon after, in there second duel, Secura literally disarmed Bok in single combat. The first and last time Secura fought Bok as anything but an Apprentice was during the battle of Saleucami where, despite her Lightsaber being disabled, she proved to be the superior martial artist, outmaneuvering him and fatally Force pushing him into an energy field. Incidentally, these fights prove Secura's prowess against staff wielders and in unarmed combat.
3. Grievous
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Yes, Grievous completely tore through the Jedi on Hypori. However, as we all know by know, the Jedi were at an extreme disadvantage for this fight. Completely exhausted and with no prior knowledge of there foe they were clearly outmatched from the start. That being said, Secura did handle herself well in the martial part of the battle (She was taken out by a physical strike) and was one of only four survivors. Considering two of the others were Masters on the High Council and the third was K'kruhk, this is impressive on some level at least. Especially since she was still only a Jedi Knight at this point.
4. Ventress
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Alongside fellow Jedi Master Luminara Unduli, Secura faced off against infamous Dark Jedi Asajj Ventress on a mission to Alzoc III. Although the pair of Jedi emerged victorious, it has to be admitted that it is unknown how much of a part Secura played in this victory. It doesn't help that Luminara working with Ahsoka Tano were at the very least capable of driving Ventress back, meaning that this doesn't prove anything but Secura being above your average Jedi Knight, which is something we already knew. In my view, neither Luminara or Secura are capable of defeating Ventress by themselves. However, that's just personal opinion.
5. Shon-Ju
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In the first year of the Clone Wars, Secura encountered the Ex-Jedi extremist Shon-Ju. Although he had forsaken the use of a Lightsaber, Shon-Ju was still an accomplished martial artist and lethal combatant, with both the Force and his bare hands. Although Secura was hardly in top shape when they fought (Already being wounded) I should still point out that Shon-Ju dominated there fight, at least until Secura regained her Lightsaber.
6. Aurra Sing
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In my view, this is probably Secura's most impressive martial achievement. Aurra Sing was basically Grievous before the cyborg general appeared on the scene. A feared bounty hunter and infamous Jedi hunter, Sing has slain Master and Knights alike and held her own against the likes of Qui-gon Jinn and both Jedi of the Hett clan (Dueling prowess comes with being trained by the Dark Woman after all). However, Sing met her match in Secura, who out fought her in every sense of the word. It may not have been an easy victory, but it WAS undoubtedly a victory.
7. Quinlan Vos Round 2
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The most interesting part of this fight is the almost complete turn around from the earlier fight between Master and Apprentice. This time around, Secura is the reluctant Jedi fighting an unbalanced Dark Sider with no intent of using lethal force. Although Secura was defeated, it was when Voss resorted to use of the Force. As the duelists, the two fought dead even.
8. Darth Maul
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Strangely, Secura's final feat is probably the most dubious in quality. Alongside Mace Windu, Master Secura confronted former Sith Lord Darth Maul aboard an asteroid station. Despite wielding nothing more than the Darksaber, Maul held his own against the Jedi long enough for one of his Death Watch followers to end the fight with a well placed missile. I guess Maul did manage to contend with Sidious, but still, this isn't either Jedi's proudest moments.
9. Style & Forms
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Like her master before her, Aayla Secura was primarily a master of Form four, Ataru. However, she is also described as a practitioner of the Dejem So variant of the fifth form of Lightsaber combat. It should also be mentioned that two separate sources have depicted Secura as wielding a second, green bladed Lightsaber. However, although she has dueled staff and dual wielders, she herself has never used this tactic outside of battlefield engagements and training matches.

Well, hope you all enjoyed this. Thanks for reading and see you next time!
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