The Official Writing Challenge
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08/21/14
Well written entry with a powerful message.

Nicely done.

God bless~
This is a great little story! Ralph just waited a breath too long to accept the message. I really liked the atmosphere and their conversations back and forth.
08/22/14
Your story has a nostalgic ring to it and the dialogue is very believable.

Well done.

This is a very interesting article that makes you think about how all of the flaws in man's nature.

You do a great job with mixing humor into a very serious situation that has eternity at stake.

The Lord is probably far more humorous than we give him credit. I know beyond a shadow of doubt, that there will be a lot of good clean humor in Heaven that will have the Lord as well as all Christians rolling in laughter from time to time!
Great article that uses humor in just the right dose when dealing with the serious situation of eternity.

I look forward to each of your articles in that I learn from them, and have a good laugh at the same time!


Keep em coming Phil!

God Bless!!
08/26/14
I love the concept, I love the debate, and I absolutely love the two characters you've created here. Two old men arguing religion, politics and society in general as they sit around at an old store is about as authentic as you can get.

Since you specifically asked for some red ink when you threw your brick, I'm going to go out on a limb and provide just a little of my two cents - feel free to chuck it if you want.

There are a few minor grammatical slips (I think you typed the word "the" twice where you wanted to type "with the") and you never closed the quotes on George's dialogue...but both of those are minor slips.

Where I felt the entry took a slight turn away from authenticity was during George's monologue. Anyway who's ever been around two old men arguing knows that one of them never gets to say that much at once without interruption. :)

I know the word count limits us, but I think George could have made his point with a more back and forth style between the two. That's how I envision something like this playing out in reality. That's not to say that what you did was bad, it just (to me) wasn't consistent with how you defined these two old men at the beginning.

Anyway, that's my input, for what it's worth. Again I love the entry as a whole and I know your point is true and important. Overall, this was a great read.
08/26/14
Blind a fly from ten feet-that was priceless, but not as extraordinary as the rest of your brilliant story.
One of my favorites this week.
08/26/14
You've come up with a brilliant scenario to play out the most important pros and cons argument we will ever have. I loved the setting.

For red ink, I'll agree with Joe's comments above; especially the one about the monologue. and I'll add one of my own.

"...filled with the venom of the Holy Spirit." (I've corrected the first 'the')

It's personal perhaps, and not meant as a theological debate, but I would never refer to the teaching or Words of the Holy Spirit as venom; especially when Scripture clearly describes venom as the lies of the enemy. I believe I understand what you are trying to say, but for 'publish-ability' I felt a better word could have been found (maybe, 'lie destroying words of...')

Loved the way you developed these great characters.
08/27/14
I have never commented on my own writing and would normally just respond to the person making a critique if need be, but I feel the need to make a comment about Grahams critique.

She is so correct in her comment about using "venom" in reference to the Holy Spirit. I will not even attempt to justify (which there is none) why I chose to use that comparison.

I prayed that the Good Lord and the Holy Spirit would forgive me and anyone that was offended by my use of those words.

I am deeply sorry. I hope I don't get kicked out of Faithwriters for making such a gross error in judgement.
08/27/14
I'm going to make another comment here...something that doesn't happen very often either. But Philip seems to have taken Graham's comment to heart, and I want to point out to anyone else who read this that I saw it completely differently than Graham did.

I have to admit that the use of the word "venomous" at first gave me pause. But then, I realized that it fit the character of George that had been developed in the story. George wields the Word over his friend as a weapon in their war of daily arguments, just as many, many Christians have tried beating sinners into repentance by hitting them over the head with their Bibles.

We all got the point that Ralph died before he could repent and accept salvation. But did we think about the fact that George's delivery of the Word may have repelled Ralph, much like every other argument they had over the years?

That was the lesson I picked up from the story, and the word "venomous" helped me see that perspective because it provided me a picture of it was more important to George to win the argument than it was to win Ralph.
This is a thrilling story. I enjoyed the back and forth and could easily picture the scene as it unfolds. I usually don't read other comments, but I did see some of yours. Personally the venom statement didn't bother me at all. God made all creatures including snakes and Satan. Venom is a poison. The Holy Spirit will fiercely fight for our souls and while venom may have a negative connotation, I didn't see it that way. It was the MC who was coiled, ready to strike, fangs barred. What a brilliant mental picture. His passion for his belief is so intense, the Holy Spirit equips him with the weapon needed to slay the enemy. I like the idea of the Spirit running through the enemy's veins, slowly paralyzing him and allowing the truth to run through the veins, creating a new believer. There is no doubt that Satan would indeed see the Holy Spirit as venom and is just as terrified as humans would be if a rattler was poised above him. My heart aches Philip as you beg for forgiveness. Your heart is in a good place. Maybe the choice wasn't the best, but I think you envisioned it much like I said. So often people, make a big deal about words. Words have no power alone; it's the intention behind the word that matters. I can't imagine that a sweetheart like you would have anything but good intentions. In my opinion, that should matter most. You've done a wonderful job here at FW and have touched countless hearts. That is what needs to be remembered. This is shown by your heartfelt apology and begging not only the owner's and readers to forgive you, but for God to forgive you as well. I believe Jesus understood your meaning and has forgiven you. Anyone who was deeply offended should likewise forgive like the example Christ gives so clearly. The only way the devil wins in this is if you allow him to whisper lies and doubts in your ear. Do not let him win. Don't become too discouraged. There isn't one among us who hasn't messed up or chosen the wrong words. You are loved, my friend. Keep your chin up and your eyes on the Lord.
Another way to take the word venom is malice, bitterness. I'm not a theological expert by any means, but I also could see this unfolding. Since the one unforgivable sin is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, I could see some malice or bitterness if one was doing that, truly being disrespectful towards God, the old man might have some bitterness in his heart, but the Holy Spirit is in there too. I know what I'm trying to say, but not making much sense. I think your story has many excellent points and even the venom remark is making readers think. I'm not saying Graham was wrong when he cringed a bit when he read it. I can see it being read in many ways. Only you and Jesus know your intention, my sweet friend, but I, for one, believe you were probably more horrified than any reader when you realized how it was being taken and I don't believe you saw it in a bad way at first. I empathize with you because I deliberately chose the phrase Jesus pestered me in my story this week. I worried that some may take it wrong, but I knew how I meant it, and believe Jesus knows my heart as well as yours better than anyone. Don't get too discouraged and don't let this make you stop writing. God bless.