Thursday, October 19, 2017

Avery K Tingle, The Gamer Author

How Racism Dies

I learned an important lesson about racism yesterday.

For context: I'm one of maybe two or three black people who work here.

So yesterday, when a friend of mine showed me an apple pie facsimile made entirely of ritz saltines and tartar (?!) my first, natural reaction was "Wouldn't that be a Cracker Pie?"

Several seconds of stone silence gave way to uproarious laughter as I considered packing my desk and saving HR the trouble.
They were really laughing, though, even as I was trying to backpedal my way out of it. Finally, the guy who showed me the recipe (?!) in the first place said "Dude, no, it's good. Don't even worry about it."

I have to admit; I felt kind of stupid after that.

This morning, it hit me. I know it may not seem like it because the loud, ignorant people have the microphone, but if you look closely at world events, it can be argued that racism, one of the stupidest and ugliest concepts to curse the human race may be dying.

The fact is, far, far fewer people care about skin color than they do about whether or not you'd choke a puppy. The idea that someone would hate someone else based solely on their ethnicity is so stupid that it's literally becoming a joke.

That's how you beat it. Not with audacity or violence, but with HUMOR. We're at a pivotal time in history, where the forces who would encourage this are feeling momentarily emboldened and justified by a set of rights that has yet to figure out how to outlaw them.

If there was ever a chance for the intelligent of us to show up as one and drive them back into the shadows, this is it. Because racism IS so stupid it can be funny, and maybe by showing those who refuse to change just how stupid they are, we can be rid of this disease once and for all.
We've decided to permanently call that recipe (?!) Cracker Pie just so you know.

Thanks for reading.

Offbeat Christian, indie author and trying to strike a balance between family life and being a nomad, Avery K. Tingle is on a quest to write 200,000 words between two novels by the end of 2017. You should follow the misadventures on Twitter and Facebook. Also, he loves coffee to an unhealthy degree. You can support the journey by funding his Patreon, for which he'll be profusely grateful on social media. He also has a short on Amazon you'll like.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Avery K Tingle, The Gamer Author

3 Takeaways From Engaging Fans When You Have Social Anxiety

"So, I finished your book..."

Are there any words more horrifying to the writer's ear than those seven? It took me three tries to even type the sentence. I can't imagine how many typos the first draft will generate.

So one of the perks/curses of being an out-there writer is that every so often, you'll be fortunate enough to have someone you know purchase your book. This is not the vast, endless, relatively faceless ether of the internet. No, this is an up-close-and-personal transaction, where someone you may see on a daily basis took a chance on your story with their hard-earned money.

If you have any kind of social anxiety (hi there!) this is akin to a death sentence.

I've had hi-and-byes with people who enjoyed my work before. I've even been fortunate enough to sign a few autographs. But I've never had someone I saw on a regular basis take serious, financial interest in my work. 

Fun fact: Few people who say they will buy your book actually do. Which makes those precious few so important.

So when this guy walked up to me and recites the Seven Deadly Words, I wondered if that's what the dinosaurs felt like when they saw the meteor coming. 
So of course, critical analysis kicked in. This guy's bigger than me. I can't get around him. Pretty sure he can snatch me by the neck if I tried. Would it be rude if I suddenly said I had to go to the bathroom? Bathroom emergency? Yeah, that's it! No one asks too many questions when you suddenly make a break for the toilet--
--ahh, this is stupid. Might as well hear what he has to say.

Understand, please, that most of that stayed in my head. I think. I hope. What I managed to say, and what I recommend saying, is "Thank you! What did you think?"

This led into one of the best conversations I've ever had as an indie author/entrepreneur. These were the takeaways;

  1. You Left A Plothole. (GET A EDITOR)Ladies, gentlemen, fellow artists, one can neither overpay nor overestimate the importance of a good editor. Seriously, get one. Get one right now. If they have good references and a good reputation, get yourself an editor and don't even think about hitting the publish button until you've ran that story through your editor. Turns out my top-selling title left an egregious plot hole that myself and my editing staff missed. I cast no blame; I'm the author, I run the business, I should have caught it. The good news is that I have an excuse to update and re-release the Anniversary. More on that later. But in the meantime, get yourself an editor. Here's a good one.
  2. Feedback is Good, But...Roughly fifty to seventy percent of in-person feedback I get on my books doesn't do me much good. The most common ones were about specific character gripes, as in "this would've been so much better if this guy was gay!" or "Hey, you know what would make this better? Rape fantasy!" Yeah, I wish I was joking. People have said that to my face. I think I deserve a cookie for not hospitalizing them and catching a court case.
    A lot of the feedback you get may have nothing to do with your work. Some people don't read the descriptions before they buy, or they expect one thing and get another. There's not much you can do with that. But every so often, you get one or two people who will give you constructive, objective feedback on your work. This is priceless. In this case, the reader outlined what worked, what he enjoyed, what he found a little jarring and the like. It was an honest conversation between a reader and an author. They may come few and far between, but they make wading through the useless stuff worth it.
  3. Gratitude Is Everything. Above all else, keep this in mind. The reader did not have to buy your book. They didn't even have to download it for free. Money is a little hard to come by these days, and time is even more scarce. So when someone decides to devote both of these finite resources to you, appreciate it. Even if they tell you something you don't want to hear. Especially when they tell you something you don't want to hear.Truth is, most people you come across are pretty decent and just want to be heard. Treat them with respect. Thank them for their time. Listen to what they have to say. Don't listen to reply, listen to learn. Writers live and die on their fan bases, and repeat customers keep us out of the top ramen section. Treat your readers as best you can and you will reap the benefits.
    I thanked my reader for the feedback, the criticism, and for pointing out the plothole because hopefully, I won't repeat the mistake. He didn't ask about my other work and I didn't pitch it. Everything happens as it should, and trying to force things can lead to disaster.

Overall the experience was nowhere near as horrifying as what I was expecting, or what I've already endured. I'm learning to love this part of the job and I hope you do too.

Have you ever dealt with a reader, player, or fan? What was your experience like? Share in the comments below.

Thanks for reading. 

Monday, September 25, 2017

Avery K Tingle, The Gamer Author

Wave Rocketbook Reviewed

I love writing by hand, and I love notebooks. I'll often devote entire budgets to them and when Officemax has one of their twenty-five cent sales, I'll buy them out. I often draft by hand, finding that the scene comes together more purely when it flows from a pen rather than a keyboard.

So when DailyDot advertised a durable new type of notebook that you could use over and over again for the cheap price of twenty-five (thirty after shipping) US Dollars? I'm down.

The Wave Rocketbook is meant to be elegant in its design and simple in its execution. The instructions come on the bag itself, and only the pen and notebook are included. The pen feels like any other, so you have to be careful not to mix it into your collection or you will end up marking your notebook with the wrong pen (like I did). The ink is erasable, which is a bonus. A place to put the pen would've been nice, but it clips easily, if not securely, into the ringed binding.

The paper is thick and durable, not easily torn. I tend to be brutal with my writing instruments and I have yet to do any damage to the paper. That alone almost makes it worth the selling price. At the bottom of each page is a QR code meant to number pages in bulk upload. I haven't tried this feature yet but there are serious issues that come with native syncing, which brings me to my next point.

Accompanying the notebook is a free app you can get for both Android and Apple, and this is where the Rocketbook falls a little short.

At the bottom of each page are seven symbols. In the app, you can designate each symbol to correspond to the app of your choice, which means you should be able to auto-send notes to Evernote (a personal favorite), Onedrive, Gmail, and others. Simply mark one of the seven symbols, scan the page, and the app should handle the rest.

Rocketbook's  Seven Symbols

It took one week of trial and error before the damn thing started auto-sending to Evernote. Blessedly, you can use Android's native share feature to send scanned notes to the app of your choice, or if you're like me, you can use Evernote's scanner to upload your notes directly into the notebook of your choice. Considering that this is supposed to be one of Wave's key features,  poor execution makes this a letdown. I finally had to draw hard asterisks in the symbol I'd designated for Evernote before the scanner finally auto-uploaded. Now that I know how it works, I'll use it, but using the old-school share button works just as well.

Another key feature of the Wave notebook, and the main reason why I bought it was the idea that I could microwave the thing (wow) and use it over and over and over again. So day one, I drew some squiggles and threw it in the nuke machine for twenty seconds at a time, per the instructions.

Image Courtest of boygadgets

As you can imagine, this makes the notebook really, really hot. It took about a minute to completely erase my first notes and even when it did, ghost lines were left over. The site's FAQ warns you this will happen, but my OCD didn't like the idea of not having completely clean sheets to work on. I got over that pretty quickly.

I've since filled four of forty pages, and I imagine it may take me a month or so before I need to nuke it again. This means I'll get approximately half a year's use out of this thing before I need more.

Remove the unpolished gimmicks and thirty bucks will get you a durable notebook that should last you a good long while, depending on your usage. Future updates should include making auto-uploading simpler by being able to place checkmarks over symbols and a dedicated pen holster. As a novelty item or a gift for the writer in your life, this is a good purchase.

This is not worth a cent more than thirty dollars as is, though. As with most new things, some refinement is in order before a higher asking price can be justified. Overall, I'm satisfied with this and may buy another one, but I can't see abandoning my traditional notebooks for this one altogether yet.

Thanks for reading.

Offbeat Christian, indie author and trying to strike a balance between family life and being a nomad, Avery K. Tingle is on a quest to write 200,000 words between two novels by the end of 2017. You should follow the misadventures on Twitter and Facebook. Also, he loves coffee to an unhealthy degree. You can support the journey by funding his Patreon, for which he'll be profusely grateful on social media. He also has a short on Amazon you'll like.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Avery K Tingle, The Gamer Author

IFTTT For Writers Part 1: Facebook

I discovered IFTTT (If This Then That) about a month ago while I was looking for a way to connect the Road Home to Medium. Ironically I still haven't found an applet that can do that. I have set up numerous applets that make my life easier;

  • Texting a code word to my lost phone to turn it into the alarm clock from hell
  • Get new NASA wallpapers daily
  • Notify me whenever my wifi drops (for which my bill is thankful)
  • Automatically turns off my Bluetooth whenever I disconnect a device.
I'm still tweaking. There's so much more. Apparently, there are these things call "Smart Lights" that have been missing from my life. But anyways...

The most beneficial part of IFTTT is that it has eliminated the time needed for sharing content across the web. I used to spend more time sharing than writing, and when you combine that with promoting others, that can really eat into your morning. My publishing schedule used to look like this;

  • Write/Edit Post
  • Publish Post
  • Shrink links
  • Publish to Twitter
  • Publish to Facebook (2 Pages)
  • Publish to Pinterest
  • Publish to LinkedIn
  • get the idea

Since IFTTT, my posting agenda looks more like this;

  • Write/Edit Post
  • Publish Post
  • Shrink links
  • Publish to Twitter
  • Publish to Facebook (2 Pages)
  • Publish to Pinterest
  • Publish to LinkedIn
  • I can work on my books now!

So in this post, I'm going to show you in three easy steps how to automate your Blogspot blog, so it auto-shares to your personal and professional Facebook pages.

1). Go to and create an account.

2). Migrate to "Settings" and link your Google and Facebook accounts.

3). Search for Facebook. You should get a screen that looks like this;

4). Click on "Facebook."

5). Click "Share new Blog Posts To Facebook"

6). Click "Turn On."

7). Here, you can customize whether or not you get a notification when the applet runs. Connecting your Google account should incorporate your Blogspot info, so you don't need to enter it here. 

8). Customize this info as you see fit. You can alter the headline of what appears on Facebook in the lowest field.

9). Save.

10). Enjoy your day! Any new publication should now auto-post to your Facebook page! Sometimes it can take up to an hour to appear, and you should see this little icon to know that it worked. 

I don't use this particular applet. The one I use posts instantly and has never failed. So get in here and poke around, find something you like and go with it.
If you need help or anything, drop me a line in the comments and I'll get back to you. If you know something about this I don't, please, educate me.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Avery K Tingle, The Gamer Author

Writing/Publishing Update! (September 2017)

I know, I haven't done one of these in ages. I think my last one was more than a year ago.

The number one question I get from both friends and fans is are you ever going to re-release your books?

Well, the short answer is, no, I'm not.

I confess that I fell into a trap after Era of the Scourge: The Ring of Asarra, The Anniversary, and Era of the Scourge: Reclamation. Those titles did better than I was expecting and I got arrogant. I figured I could market those stories forever and not have to worry about anything else.

Yes, I'm an idiot, I know. But the good news is that I learn from my mistakes.

I've decided to take all of the lessons learned over the past two years and turn them into something I hope you'll love. I'm writing two one-hundred thousand word novels over the next three months because I just didn't have enough stress in my life.

Era of the Scourge: Reclamation and The Ring of Asarra are being retconned into the current universe, which begins with Era of the Scourge: Avelith. For those of you who've been following me for awhile, Era of the Scourge (think Star Wars meets Lord of the Rings meets Game of Thrones meets Street Fighter 2) is a prequel to Universal Warrior, and they all take place in the same universe at different times.

Avelith, the first official main story in the Era of the Scourge series, takes place early in our world's history when our planet was ruled by the original four horsemen of the apocalypse. Cut off from the Haevens in the First Dimension, twin sisters attempt a harrowing journey through the wildlands of Panagaea to seek help and find themselves embroiled in a civil war between ex-slaves known as the Fatherless and an impossible enemy.

Agoura Hills is about as far outside my comfort zone as it gets. I've written (and tossed) three drafts before I realized what the story was really about. Based on a true story, Agoura Hills (Supernatural YA Mystery Thriller) follows Chance Bailey and Celia Youngblood-Dobson as they race the clock and other forces as they attempt to unravel the mystery of what's been taking people from the nearby national park. First of a trilogy.

Both of these books are going to come out 2018.
I'm also going to lose a lot of money on these stories because they're first in the series. People rarely buy into first in the series. Justifiably, because people deserve to know that the stories they become invested in will be finished.

In the meantime, my other stories; Run, The Anniversary, The Appraiser, and anything else I have out there not connected to Era of the Scourge will be given away to new newsletter subscribers.

Thanks for reading.

Offbeat Christian, indie author and trying to strike a balance between family life and being a nomad, Avery K. Tingle is on a quest to write 200,000 words between two novels by the end of 2017. You should follow the misadventures on Twitter and Facebook. Also, he loves coffee to an unhealthy degree. You can support the journey by funding his Patreon, for which he'll be profusely grateful on social media. He also has a short on Amazon you'll like.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Avery K Tingle, The Gamer Author

That's Not Snow

I have to see it.
I looked my friend/guide in the eye and spoke with more ego and bravado than the situation warranted. He immediately shook his head, his eyes going wide and somber. No, he said, no one goes there. Dude, no one is supposed to go there. Not even the hustlers go there. He paused and said, that's hallowed ground.

I didn't care. I browbeat him into taking me, even threatening to abandon the fight I was there for if he didn't.

It took us about ten minutes to get there in the dead of night. The stars peeked out between the other skyscrapers, but dimmed as we drew close. We shared the streets with quiet souls moving in the opposite direction. Those who took our path did so with their heads down and no sense of excitement.
When we reached the site, the crime scene tape had been eradicated by those who came before us. My friend/guide stopped at the base of the grotesque cemetery; I'm not going up there, he said, you wanna do this, you're on your own.

I thought he was a coward.

I climbed up the hill of shattered glass, girders, and stone, giving no thought to what I was truly stepping in. As I ascended I found I wasn't alone; others were there, chattering amongst themselves as they retrieved debris and examined it with varying degrees of anger. Like me, they just wanted to see.
I reached the top of the incline and stared into a howling oblivion that went on forever. It was a gaping hole that tore into the planet itself and channeled an ethereal wind borne of those still trapped down there, in a sense. They'd had plans that day, of what we'll never know. None of them' imagined they'd end up the victim of someone's fanatacism.

I couldn't take another step forward once I reached the apex. Peering into the abyss was a bad idea. The pull of the angry was a cold wind, both pushing and pulling me, demanding I join them to pay for trespassing.

I squatted. I don't remember if I took my glove off.

I dipped my hand into the ground and pulled back cold, gray, fine dust. Instinctively I let it run through my fingers, thinking how unseasonably cold it was.
It snowed. I said, It hasn't melted yet.
My friend/guide appeared like an apparition behind me. I wasn't aware of his presence until his spoke, his words resonating through the ages.
That's not snow.
Shock and horror hit me like an ice wave as the gravity of where I stood, and what had happened, hit me. I tilted my hand and let the last of the victims pass from me. We turned, left, and allowed an hour to pass before we spoke another word. I didn't look back.

Fifteen years later I can still hear the howling.
Some say America's innocence was lost that day, when planes flew into the towers and destroyed our illusion of invincibility. I remember firefighters, police, volunteers, and others who didn't care about color, political affiliation or creed coming together to save who could be saved and mourn those we lost.

That's what I choose to remember today. I am looking forward to the day that it does not take unspeakable tragedy to make us realize what really matters; that we are all in this together, that we are better and stronger together, and that our unity is our greatest asset and our enemies greatest bane.

Thanks for reading.

Offbeat Christian, indie author and trying to strike a balance between family life and being a nomad, Avery K. Tingle is on a quest to write 200,000 words between two novels by the end of 2017. You should follow the misadventures on Twitter and Facebook. Also, he loves coffee to an unhealthy degree. You can support the journey by funding his Patreon, for which he'll be profusely grateful on social media. He also has a short on Amazon you'll like.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Avery K Tingle, The Gamer Author

How To Use IFTTT to Optimize Your Social Media

I went looking for a way to auto-connect The Road Home to my new Medium account and wound up taking the red pill.

A good chunk of my writing time isn't devoted to actually writing (which doesn't feel right to say). It's spent sharing and networking. For every post I wrote, a good half an hour went to sharing across social media. IFTTT gave me that time back. If you write, blog, or live, you should be using this.

According to Wikipedia, IFTTT is a is a free web-based service that people use to create chains of simple conditional statements, called applets. An applet is triggered by changes that occur within other web services such as Gmail, Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest.

Essentially, you set up commands and IFTTT executes these commands. I have my IFTTT set up to do the following;

-Share blog posts automatically to Facebook (both pages), Twitter, LinkedIn and a specific Pinterest board with hashtags

-Share selective pins to my author page

-Share selective Instagrams to my author page

-Share new posts to for link shrinking

-Share new Youtube videos to the Road Home

It's literally that simple. Set and forget.

Here's how to get started. For this example, I'm going to show you how to connect your Instagram to your Facebook page, which Instagram does not allow in its default options.

1). Go to and register an account. It's free.

2). Under "Services" click "New Applet", and then "Instagram"

3). Click "Selectively post your Instagrams to a Facebook Page when you include a specific #hashtag".

4). Clicking the Gear icon in the upper right-hand corner will allow you to configure the applet. This is where you set your hashtag. Every time you use this hashtag on your Instagram post, it will show up on your Facebook page. You can also set other certain conditions, such as the headline you want to appear on your FB post.

5). Click "Save" and you're done!

The applet will fire automatically, usually in about fifteen minutes. But if you're impatient like me, you can get apps for both Android and iPhone that will allow you to "Check Now" which means you can fire the app anytime you want.

I've only just scratched the surface of IFTT. There are loads of other options, including commands for Gmail (HALLELUJAH!) and smart lights that I'll delve into over the next month.

If you're familiar with this and can teach me something, or you need any help, please drop me a comment.

Hopes this saves you some time! Thanks for reading!

Offbeat Christian, indie author and trying to strike a balance between family life and being a nomad, Avery K. Tingle is on a quest to write 200,000 words between two novels by the end of 2017. You should follow the misadventures on Twitter and Facebook. Also, he loves coffee to an unhealthy degree. You can support the journey by funding his Patreon, for which he'll be profusely grateful on social media. He also has a short on Amazon you'll like.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Avery K Tingle, The Gamer Author

What Donald Trump Has Taught Us.

It's been a tumultuous seven months. Our President has played chicken with North Korea, banned
transgender people from service in the military despite campaign promises to protect them, and most recently pardoned America's favorite sheriff.

But these past seven months have also been incredibly educational. In Donald Trump, we have come to realize how truly free we are.

We have the right to pretty much do whatever we want.
We can refuse to bake cakes for those who disagree with our religious affiliations.
We can kneel down to protest the treatment of black people in America by law enforcement.
We can march, bearing the most abhorrent symbols and chant the most disgusting slogans.
We can call anything we want a fact.

Know what else we can do?
We can use the collective power of our voice and finances to drive those who use religious persecution as a tool out of business.
We can support (and speak out against) those speaking out against the mistreatment of people in this country by law enforcement.
We can gather our numbers and march back against those who spew hate and hide behind the first amendment to do so.
We can cease trying to convince those who will not be convinced and hold our own facts to be true.

And when the President of the United States continues to take action that directly undermines American safety...
When he speaks falsehoods over and over again...
When a growing number of us realize that his bigotry is fact...
We have the right to band together and demand he be ousted from office.

We have the right to say and do pretty much what we want, within reason. We also bear responsibility for these rights. People do not have to agree with us. They are not bound to support us or share our views. They are not required to share our passions.

But each of us must learn to accept the right of every human being to live and prosper so long as it does not oppress or bring deliberate harm to one another.

When it does, we have the right to defend ourselves.

Thank you for reading.

Offbeat Christian, indie author and trying to strike a balance between family life and being a nomad, Avery K. Tingle is on a quest to write 200,000 words between two novels by the end of 2017. You should follow the misadventures on Twitter and Facebook. Also, he loves coffee to an unhealthy degree. You can support the journey by funding his Patreon, for which he'll be profusely grateful on social media. He also has a short on Amazon you'll like.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Avery K Tingle, The Gamer Author

When The Monster Strikes: Attacking Anxiety

I've been dealing with PTSD and anxiety for ten years. I have been dealing with anger issues my entire life.

Most days, Trazedone keeps the anxiety at bay. But there are days, like today, where I just can't shake the monster and it seizes my gut like a python.

When that happens, this is how I deal.

1). Acknowledge It.
I'm afraid. Why am I afraid? What is happening right now to make me afraid? What has happened before to make me afraid?
Yelling in frustration to myself "I DON'T KNOW!" is a cop out and just leads further down the rabbit hole. If I don't know, then I can't deal with it. If I can't deal with it, then I will be mired in this forever.
And I will not let that happen.

2). Examine.
What is happening in my present situation to trigger my fear? Is it my writing? No, because I'm writing well right now. Is it my family? We're dealing with the death of a family friend--
That's it.
But there's more. There's always more.
The incident a couple of weeks ago, where I got confronted by the new Confederacy.
I'm not as fast as I used to be. I'm not as strong as I used to be. I can't fight like I used too, with reckless abandon only concerned with the victory. I can't do that with a family at stake.
I was afraid; if it had come down to a fight, I'm not sure I could have taken all of them. Ten years ago, sure. Now? I don't know. If that family hadn't shown up...

Between the loss of a family friend and that recent encounter, I'm dealing with my own mortality.

3). Rectify.
I am blessed to be surrounded by some good people. Twenty bucks says you are too. I try to put people around me who have had similar experiences, who are also older than me. These people are great company for pulling me out of my headspace.

One day, I'm going to die. But that does not appear to be today. The incident passed and turned into something positive. The person who died did so smiling, with people who loved him at his side. If I get that at the end, then I've achieved everything I needed in life.

Anxiety isn't something one "Just gets over". A person isn't broken or defective because they deal with mental illness. Everyone who does has their own coping mechanism. The best we can do is offer assistance, rather than condemnation.

I hope you take something from this.
This is how I deal with my anxiety.

Thanks for reading.

Greatly enjoying his status as a "Rogue Christian", Avery K. Tingle "The Gamer Author" is a survivor of child and domestic abuse. The author of scifi romance The Anniversary, he is currently writing two 100k word novels that he's determined to have done by the end of 2017. He lives in Eastern Washington with his wife and son and loves his day job in IT.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Avery K Tingle, The Gamer Author

Dear Christians: Can We Please Stop Creating Atheists?

Last week, Yahoo ran a story that you either found beautiful, offensive or were indifferent to.
Great Britain celebrated what was widely believed to be its first interfaith lesbian marriage.

In what should have been celebrated as a joyous and monumentous occasion, Kalavati Mistry and Miriam Jefferson finally found a priest willing to marry them after falling in love twenty years ago.

But the internet is the internet, and we all know that we can't have nice things on the internet.
One of the first comments is this kindly and completely unnecessary little tidbit;

You know what the really sad thing is? There are tons of people who want to know what the big deal with God is, who would happily listen to someone who wouldn't act like a holier-than-thou douchebag.
Because the fact is, God doesn't make much sense on paper. This omnipotent being suddenly willed all of this into existence and appears content to watch us destroy ourselves, over and over? It's easy to see why people are so dismissive, especially as they appear more geared to taking control over their own destinies. 

The fact is, no one is more responsible for turning people away from Christianity than Christians themselves. This has to stop.

So I'm gonna tell you some things you might not expect a Christian to say.

Half the time, we have no idea what's going on.
For some reason, we're absolutely horrified of telling someone we don't know. But the truth is, God will never be proven in life. The entire point of faith is to put trust in something you can't see or prove. That is what Christians choose to do. Despite evidence to the contrary, we believe that God created the Heavens and the Earth, sent His son Jesus Christ to die for us, and that Jesus rose from the grave three days later. I know, it's a lot to take on faith, but it'ss what we choose to believe. Most of the time, we pray, He talks to us in a way that will make us sit up and listen, and then we go with it. We often don't know how things are going to work until we get there.

We do not have an "Inside Track" to God.
We are not, I repeat, are not fit to tell anyone that they're going to hell. As far as God is concerned, we're all messed up. No one is better than the other. That was the point of Jesus' life and sacrifice. So whens someone comes out and publicly (and arrogantly) asks forgiveness on behalf of someone else, that person is usually full of shit. We're rolling the dice in life just like everyone else. We believe and hope we'll live a life worthy of gaining entry to Heaven in the next life, but God intercedes on our own behalf and judges each of us on our own merits. 

If someone asks me about God, I'll do the best I can to tell them my truth; how I came to believe (again) and the road that led me to this point. That's what our duty is as Christians; we spread the gospel to the best of our ability when someone comes to us. We greet them as brothers, sisters, equal under the Lord. We leave the scorn, ridicule, and face-punch-worthy condemnation at home because none of us are worthier than the other in God's eyes, no matter what our ego tells us.

So maybe, just maybe, if we begin to approach each other as lost souls trying to get by in this planet instead of trying to do God's work for Him (WE CAN'T DO THAT!) maybe we can see a positive shift in the world. Because right now, we're doing more harm than good and in order to turn that around, we must accept responsibility for our own shortcomings.

None of us are perfect. Most of us are trying. Most of us need help Most of us will accept help if offered graciously and without condemnation. We're all beating ourselves up enough over what we've done wrong. We don't need help from the zealously religious to make it worse.

John Pavolitz said this better than I did.

God bless and be safe.

Greatly enjoying his status as a "Rogue Christian", Avery K. Tingle "The Gamer Author" is a survivor of child and domestic abuse. The author of scifi romance The Anniversary, he is currently writing two 100k word novels that he's determined to have done by the end of 2017. He lives in Eastern Washington with his wife and son and loves his day job in IT.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Avery K Tingle, The Gamer Author

America: A True Story About Hatred and Unity

I wanted fast food tonight. That was all.

I found myself at Burger King to pick up my wife's order. I was a few cars deep when I spotted the Confederate flag. I surreptitiously snapped a few photos. This was going to be a very different story.

When I pull out of Burger King, it turns out there's more than one. In fact, there are four trucks, each flying variations of the flag. I have to go around the front of them to avoid an accident. They're parked right in the middle of the road. As I drive around them, each person in the vehicle makes it a point to ensure I see them. I do. They see me too.

When I get to McDonald's (which is in the same lot), I learn that they're not taking debit cards at the moment. Terrific. I wanted chicken nuggets and instead, I get a run-in with the new Confederacy.

So I make my way back to Burger King, again appearing in full view of the trucks. I place my order, get it, pay, and pull out.

Then one of the trucks accelerates into my path. I throw in the brakes to avoid an accident.

And stay in the car.

The driver who nearly rammed me could be about my age. He's balding, beard, horribly overweight, and coming right at me. When he takes his third step towards me, I get out of the car and start sizing him up. Instincts I haven't drawn on in years begin to fire up, coupled with the uncomfortable, frightening reality that I have a family that I'm suddenly desperate to see again.

I repress the latter emotions as the man points at me and says; "Do you know who's in the White House right now, boy?"

My world turns red. Racial slurs trigger me. I am praying, asking God to forgive me for what I'm about to do, praying I see my wife and son again and hoping they can forgive me too.

The driver is then joined by four more people; three males and one female. None of them look like they take care of themselves physically. My mind starts to process. If they're armed, I can snatch the big guy and use him as a shield, maybe get through two of them before they take me out. Maybe.

I've been living on borrowed time anyway...

Another set of doors close behind me and it's an effort not to give into terror. One word flashes through my head; surrounded.

I chance a glance behind me and it's not more of the Confederacy I see; it's a Hispanic family. Actually, it looks like all of the Hispanic families.

I have to stress; I didn't know these people. There were eight of them, and they weren't looking at me. One of them was younger and smaller than my son. The patriarch's eyes were red and on fire. The women were clenching and unclenching their fists.

Suddenly the Confederacy is not eager to proceed. 

I find myself flanked by this family and the father begins to, I assume, cuss these people out in Spanish. I heard the words madre and muerte thrown around. I imagined the guy threatened to kill him and his entire family.

I actually smiled, suddenly much happier about my odds. I wasn't alone. Armed or not, this was a fair fight. And if God chose this night to call me home, dammit, some of them were coming with me.

But that didn't happen. The Confederates hurled a few more slurs our way and then drove away. I watched them go, ensuring I wouldn't be followed home.

The patriarch turned to me and offered his hand. In exceptionally broken English he asked; "You okay?"

"Yeah." I lie, accepting his hand, "Yeah, I'm fine. Gracias."
He shakes my hand and grasps it with both hands. He looks at me with fierce, unblinking brown eyes for a brief, fleeting moment, he and I are brothers. "De nada." 
He and his family take their leave. I have a story to tell my wife that's going to piss her right off.

This isn't in DC, Charlottesville, or even in the Bible Belt; this is in Washington state. Someone racially accosted, might very well have been ready to risk his life to fight me, invoked the name of President of the United States because he thought he was justified!

Didn't know me, didn't know anything about me but was ready to come at me because I am black, and he feels vindicated in his hatred.

This is the first time the administration has hit me on my front door. 

Killing all of any people, white or black, will not solve the problem; it exacerbates it. White people aren't the problem. Black people aren't the problem. Illegal aliens aren't the problem. Hatred is the problem. 

We fought wars. People died to stamp out Naziism and the Confederacy. Unless every last one of us who disagrees with this idiotic mentality comes together, they will do it again. 

Right here, right now, we need to put aside our disagreements because there is only one enemy here, and the enemy is emboldened, gaining ground, and marching.

Conservatives and Liberals can agree that hate cannot stand. It's time for the two sides to come together to destroy our common enemy so we can go back to arguing as to how to make our country a better place again.

God bless you, and thanks for reading. 

PS: Just because it doesn't happen to you doesn't mean it isn't a problem for someone else. That's what privilege is.