Conversion Story of Pilot who Led Attack on Pearl Harbor

“Wounded Tiger” A Nonfiction Novel

wounded-tiger“Wounded Tiger” is chiefly about Commander Mitsuo Fuchida, the pilot who led the attack on Pearl Harbor. This ambitious story opens on December 1941 in Tokyo, where Emperor Hirohito is described as falling weightless from a cliff’s edge, a metaphor for his decision to establish Japan’s dominance over the Pacific and East Asia.

Fuchida is well developed. We see this proud, talented military leader being challenged, disillusioned and transformed: “[H]e… observed the soot-covered poor carting off grotesque corpses, the veil of the elegant theories of war was torn away to reveal the hideous reality of a people enduring unimaginable suffering.”

T Martin Bennett excelled at finding the balance between conveying facts and demonstrating creativity. Authors writing in the hybrid category of nonfiction novel can flout some conventions of either or both genres. I would have appreciated meaningful footnotes or endnotes, an index and a bibliography to bolster nonfiction content. I would have liked a stronger spotlight on narrative arc to find this completely satisfying as a novel.

It’s evident that Bennett amassed a mountain of researched material, and the main story in this, his first novel, is overwhelmingly compelling enough to be an important movie on a par with “Letters from Iwo Jima.” For that to happen, ruthless editing and disciplined script writing is necessary, especially considering standard movie runtimes. (In fact, Bennett first wrote “Wounded Tiger” as a screenplay.)

Enough material exists in the more than 450 pages of the first edition of the nonfiction novel to be reshaped into several books. As it is, “Wounded Tiger” tries to be too much – biography, history, conversion story, saga, creative nonfiction, novel – in one package. For that reason, I believe “Wounded Tiger” would be of interest to WWII enthusiasts, and have limited crossover appeal.

At times, it seems as though Bennett threw in scenes not to move the plot forward, but rather to remind readers about some of the other characters’ existence. For example, he included short scenes occurring at the Andrus farm in Oregon, where the family of an Air Force pilot who participated in Doolittle’s raid and becomes a POW, copes with the agony of not knowing where he is or if he’s alive.

The half-page final chapter, set in 1950, is given to the young woman whose forgiving nature inspired Fuchida’s conversion to Christianity.

The second edition, according to one of Bennett’s websites, includes 276 photos – there are none in the first edition. The newer edition includes more maps – the rudimentary maps in the first edition add nothing to readers’ understanding of situations that isn’t adequately explained in the text. The second edition boasts 10,000 more words than the first edition. One hopes that typos littering the first edition were fixed before the second edition was published.

Overall, I liked the first edition and extend kudos to Bennett for his monumental achievement. Nevertheless, the book could have been better if it were shorter.

Wounded Tiger

Posted in atheism, book review, books, christianity, conversion | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Liberal Tired of Her “Tribe”

The article comes from Secularist Liberal Tired of her “Tribe”

 

Amazing letter today from a reader. I’ve hidden a bit to protect her ideman-198961_640ntity:

I’m a secular/agnostic Californian and longtime reader of your blog. I’ve enjoyed your books beginning with Crunchy Cons, and have valued your insights over the years.

Though you don’t know me, I feel like I know you and your family. And I want to share with you, from the liberal bastion of Northern California, that I am officially tired of the type of people who have surrounded me my entire life. In the wake of Trump’s election, I am experiencing “tribe fatigue.” I’m not tired of The Other, Detestable Tribe. I’m tired of my own.

A bit about me: I am a [deleted] with two young children. My parents were non-religious Democrats, and my ex-Catholic mom loathes organized religion to this day.

So I was raised a secular liberal. My college professors were secular liberals. During my journalism phase, my newspaper colleagues were secular liberals. My law school professors and peers were – in the vast majority – secular liberals. Almost everyone at my corporate law firm was a secular liberal. My California neighbors and friends are secular liberals, as are my colleagues. My mother, siblings, and their spouses are all secular liberals.

By all rights, I should be a member in good standing of their tribe, “liking” their Facebook posts and joining their candlelight vigils against the evil Trump Administration. But November 8 and its aftermath revealed to me that I am just so tired of these people. I can’t be like them, and I don’t want my kids turning into them.

I am tired of their undisguised contempt for tens of millions of Americans, with no effort to temper their response to the election with humility or empathy.

I am tired of their unexamined snobbery and condescension.

I am tired of their name-calling and virtue-signaling as signs of supposedly high intelligence.

I am tired of their trendiness, jumping on every left-liberal bandwagon that comes along (transgender activism, anyone?) and then acting like anyone not on board is an idiot/hater.

I am tired of their shallowness. It’s hard to have a deep conversation with people who are obsessed with moving their kids’ pawns across the board (grades, sports, college, grad school, career) and, in their spare time, entertaining themselves and taking great vacations.

I am tired of their acceptance of vulgarity and sarcastic irreverence as the cultural ocean in which their kids swim. I like pop culture as much as the next person, but people who would never raise their kids on junk food seem to think nothing of letting then wallow in cultural junk, exposed to nothing ennobling, aspirational, or even earnest.

I am tired of watching them raise clueless kids (see above) who go off to college and within months are convinced they live in a rapey, racist patriarchy; “Make America Great Again” is hate speech; and Black Lives Matter agitators are their brothers-in-arms against White Privilege. If my kids are like that at nineteen, I’ll feel I’ve seriously failed them as a parent. Yet the general sentiment seems to be these are good, liberal kids who may have gotten a bit carried away.

I am tired of their lack of interest in any form of serious morality or self-betterment. These are decent, responsible people, many compassionate by temperament. Yet they seem two-dimensional, as if they believe that being a nice, well-socialized person who holds the correct political views is all there is, and there is nothing else to talk about. Isn’t there, though?

I am tired of being bored and exasperated by everybody. I feel like I have read this book a thousand times, and there are no surprises in it. Down with Trump! Trans Lives Matter! Climate deniers are destroying the planet! No cake, we’re gluten-free!

These are good people in a lot of ways. But there has got to be a better tribe.

That leads me to . . . drum roll . . . the Christian Right. It is no small feat, switching tribes. It feels stressful and weird to abandon your tribe for the Detested Other Side.

Since November 8, my husband and I have been taking the kids to church. (He is politically conservative with a religious bent, so no argument there.) I have come this close to buying a giant poster of the American flag for the living room. I may do it still.

Right now, I am struggling to accept the basic Christian doctrines (virgin birth, resurrection, second coming) because I feel the Christian tribe may be the right tribe for my family. We just finished watching a BBC miniseries about the birth of Jesus, which was so beautiful and moving compared to secular TV. My nine-year-old really enjoyed it. I want to prepare my kids to live according to some unchanging truth, not subject to every passing trend, and this felt like a start. But I worry that an inability to believe in the supernatural aspects of the faith will limit my ability to be a “real” Christian.

Last Sunday’s sermon mentioned 1 Peter:18-19, “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors.” This may be obvious to you, but secular liberalism does seem empty in some way, despite all the things my educated, middle-class tribe has to be grateful for. If that’s what’s been handed down to me, I want more, especially for my precious kids. I’m trying.

I plan to respond to this reader privately, but she said I could share this letter as long as I protected her identity. What a courageous person she is. God bless her on her journey.

Posted in agnostic, atheism, atheist, church, conversion, culture, family problems, hypocrits, parents | Leave a comment

Mercy Killing Question

 

My friart-photo-pennys-cat-sleeping-perfectend’s kitty has cancer. Kitty is really sick. Friend has decided not to do chemo treatments or other serious measures.

Friend might have to decide whether or not to put kitty “to sleep.”

Euthanizing, aka mercy killing a fatally sick animal seems, well, merciful.

Euthanizing people is, according to many, including Christians, murder.

So, why does it seem OK to put animals to sleep, but not people?

Is it because we are stewards of animals and have dominion over them, plus animals don’t have spirits?

 

Posted in death, illness, mercy killing | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Rock Bottom

In 2 Peter 1:5-7 Peter put faith first and then listed the other qualities. Every writer thinks strategically about word placement. There’s a reason Peter started with faith.

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.

Are all of my behaviors today on rock solid ground? Of course not. But now I know how to get re-grounded: Read the WORD, pray, be among discerning Christians…
(Those are grape vines growing on the surface. The blue is underground water rising to the surface.)
art-watercolor-2-peter-strata-rocks
Posted in art, bible study, christianity, conversion, culture, ego, Jesus, writing | Tagged , | 1 Comment

The Last Resort

art kimberly 1Who was Jesus to me? He was a storybook character like Santa Claus and Prince Charming.

I went to Sunday school and endured goofy flannel-board stories narrated by ladies that seemed very old. At age 12, I quit going to Sunday school and church. My parents didn’t question why. Faith was never discussed in our house. You went to school on weekdays, the YMCA on Saturday and church on Sunday. Now my Sundays were free!

Decades passed. My life looked perfect. In reality, many mornings I woke up angry, but didn’t know why. Time slogged by as I guzzled alcohol, studied Buddhism, attended Avatar (not the movie, but a thought system), consumed legal and illegal drugs, used sarcasm, babbled to a psychologist, left my husband temporarily, babbled to another psychologist, yadda, yadda, yadda…I’ve broken every one of the 10 commandments.

Once in a while, I visited churches where phrases like “covered in the blood of the lamb” and sad lyrics of hymns remained indecipherable to me. My super-religious relatives (by marriage) refuse to visit us for Thanksgiving dinner if we serve wine. If that’s Christianity, I didn’t want any.

Even so, I knew there is a god and was so in awe of him or her or it that when people asked, “What are you?” I squirmed. Atheist was too final. Agnostic seemed dodgy. Buddhist didn’t fit either.

Meanwhile, a clot of grief throbbed near my heart, as though someone I loved had died. I worried that my black thoughts were radiating from me like poison. I was afraid my rotten inner world would give me cancer. Nothing I’d tried changed me. By the time I reached middle age, I dreaded trudging through the rest of my life if the future was going to be more of the same.

Then, six years ago, a Christian friend told me about an Alpha class at her church.

You see, Nicky Gumbel was a barrister (Brit for lawyer). One day Nicky’s buddy told him he’d accepted Jesus as his savior. Appalled, Nicky studied the Bible and other sources to be able to prove his friend wrong.

As you can guess, Nicky found evidence and corroboration. He became a believer, an ordained priest and presenter in the Alpha DVD series.

Nicky is the first person to explain Bible stuff in a way that made sense to me. Plus, he cited other corroborative sources. (It doesn’t hurt that he’s cute, funny, articulate and smart.)

After the first Alpha class, I wrote in my journal: “I believe Jesus was more than a man. I accept He is the Son of God. This acknowledgment has lifted my heavy, dark, judgmental cloud. The weight that lifted was from my futile effort to ignore and disregard the two billion-plus Christians living today and the 2000-plus years of Christian history and tradition.”

My husband was blindsided when I crossed the line of faith. He said, “I’m worried about the consequences.”  He was afraid I would become like his religious kin and start talking in an odd accent about Hittites and begin laying down ultimatums.

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 36:26 NIV) My new heart is beating, and Holy Spirit rewired my mind.

Who is Jesus to me? He’s my lifesaver.

Posted in agnostic, atheism, atheist, bible study, buddha, buddhism, cancer, christianity, church, depression, ego, family, family problems, Holy spirit, Jesus, marital problems, new age, parents, pride, religion, Sunday School | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Tribal Drums with Amazing I AM Statements

Posted in christianity, God, healing, heaven, Holy spirit, I AM, Jesus, jews, music, names of God, scripture | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

What’s in Your Wallet? (unique way to reconsider daily baggage)

What does what you carry say about you?

What does what you carry say about you?

Guesstimate: How much cash do you think you’re carrying? $______

Empty your pocketbook, tote bag, wallet.

From the third person point of view (he/she, his/her) write assumptions a stranger might make about the person who carries the items in that pocketbook, tote bag, wallet. For example, what would someone assume about the person’s:

  • Free time
  • Hobbies
  • Habits
  • Work
  • Family
  • Fears
  • Health
  • Values/morals
  • Worldview
  • Health
  • Spirituality
  • Idiosyncrasies

How much cash are you REALLY carrying? How close was your guess – within $5, $10…?

Now that you’ve considered the contents:

  1. What Bible verse, adage, popular title or idiom best describes your findings?
  2. What can you throw away right now?
  3. What surprised you?
  4. What do you want to stop carrying around?
  5. What do you want to start carrying with you?
  6. What do you hope to carry with you always?
Posted in culture, ego, family, money, relationships | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment