Lutheran/Protestant Rosary: The Mysteries

Lutheran Reformer Martin Chemnitz

The rosary prayers are commonly dismissed as ‘just for Catholics,’ but the devotion pre-dates the formation of the Lutheran and other Protestant churches at the Reformation; not only that, the rosary continued as a private devotion, especially among European Anglicans and Lutherans.

It’s certainly more of a Christ-based practice than getting into Transcendental or Eastern meditation using a ‘mantra’ derived from Hindu or Buddhist religious practice.

Many Protestants do use the rosary. When I was a Presbyterian child, I looked in the window of a Catholic church, seeing a rosary in the hand of a statue of Mary, and I counted the beads and tried to reproduce a rosary of my own in knotted string, since I didn’t know anywhere that one could buy a rosary. In college, at the Lutheran Concordia College, I managed to sneak away to a Catholic store in downtown Chicago and buy a rosary and an instruction leaflet. I prayed the rosary in my dorm room. I felt a bit guilty and unlutheran for doing it, and so I confessed to a Lutheran-from-birth friend that I prayed a modified rosary. She may have been a bit offended— she prayed her rosary unmodified.

One of the unique things about the rosary that sets it apart from similar non-Christian meditation is the use of mysteries. Mysteries are a group of Biblical events to think about (meditate upon) while you are reciting the words of the rosary. There are Catholic leaflets that have a small illustration for each rosary mystery.

Commonly one prays a group of 5 mysteries each time one prays the rosary. For each mystery, you say 1 Lord’s Prayer or Our Father, 10 Hail Marys (or substitute the Jesus Prayer), and end with one Glory Be (to the Father.) Catholics sometimes add the Fatima prayer after the Glory Be, but this is a modern addition.

A Lutheran rosary (with Lutheran rose symbol in the cross.)

The Joyful Mysteries are prayed on Mondays and Saturdays, and are optional for Sundays during the Advent/Christmas season. These mysteries tell the story of the birth and childhood of Christ.

The Sorrowful Mysteries are prayed on Tuesdays and Fridays, and are optional on Sundays during Lent. These mysteries tell the story of the suffering and crucifixion of Christ.

The Glorious Mysteries are prayed on Wednesdays and Sundays. They tell the story of the resurrection, the coming of the Holy Spirit, and some traditional events related to the end of Mary’s life on earth, and her going to heaven. These mysteries, being outside the scriptures, are often modified in Protestant use.

The Luminous Mysteries are a new addition to the rosary, made by Pope Saint John Paul II. They are prayed on Thursdays. (Before this, the Joyful Mysteries were prayed on Thursdays, and the Glorious Mysteries on Saturdays.) These mysteries are not part of the common Christian heritage of the rosary, but since they are all Bible-based stories about Christ (Christ’s baptism, the wedding at Cana, the Transfiguration, the Last Supper), they are easily able to be used by Protestants as well as Catholics.

The advantage of having the Mysteries is that when you are reciting the prayers of the rosary and your mind starts to wander or daydream, you have the mysteries to force your mind back on a more prayerful track. I myself, as a person with Asperger Syndrome (autism spectrum disorder) am very distractible, and so I usually keep a leaflet with pictures illustrating the rosary mysteries on hand when I pray the rosary. Keeping my eyes focussed on the picture help me keep my mind on track.

Posts on this blog related to the Lutheran rosary and Protestant rosaries: https://myantimatterlife.wordpress.com/category/western-civilization/christianity/lutheranism/lutheran-rosary/

My earlier posts on the Lutheran rosary are the most popular ones on this blog. I have decided to post a series of posts related to the topic on Saturdays. The next few will cover the four groups of rosary mysteries, and then we will move on to the prayers of the rosary. Next Saturday (God willing): the Joyful Mysteries

Wikihow: How to pray the Lutheran Rosary (12 Steps)

Chemnitz Society blog

 

Writing By Committee

Writing— fiction or any other kind— is a lonely business, and we have to have a certain amount of self-confidence in our work. If our Lead character is an elven android, we have to get stubborn when other people want us to transform our Lead into a neurotic werewolf or an Amish schoolgirl.

But lonely writing, and the self-confidence it needs, is not what we learn in schools. I remember from my own school days what happened when Teacher gave out a writing assignment. The chattier children all consulted one another about the assignment. What does Teacher really want? Does this count as doing the assignment? And, inevitably, they consulted with one another about their work. I’m writing this, is that okay? No, it’s weird, you have to change this into that.

The result of all that consulting was that the assignments of the chatty children got more conformist, more conventional, more bland and boring. Which is what you need to get good grades in school. Nowadays, it also prevents arrest of children whose imaginations run toward weapons and crisis.

Not all the schoolchildren of my past were the chatty, consulting type. I remember one boy in the ninth-and-tenth grade classroom at San Jose Christian School, who turned in a story about American POWs in a Nazi prisoner-of-war camp that was a bit close to being Hogan’s Heroes fanfiction. I’m sure that if he had consulted anyone he would have been discouraged. Fanfiction wasn’t a thing in those days; people just called it ‘plagiarism.’ But I envied the kid and wished I had the courage to write something like that. Of course, my imagination would have turned out a Star Trek/Hogan’s Heroes mashup. Maybe with a little Batman thrown in.

As grown-up writers we still are not absolved from the writing-by-committee, thou-shalt-groupthink mentality. College writing classes, writing workshops and critique groups, which common amateur-writer ‘wisdom’ says we need, all enforce the idea that our writing becomes magically better when we have a peer group of ‘enforcers’ to keep us in line.

But what really happens when we submit our works to our peers for judgment? We get condemned to an endless cycle of futile rewrites until there is nothing of originality or of risk left. And if we submit the rewritten-to-death work to another group of our peers, we will have more input about more things we just have to fix in another rewrite…. We end up violating Heinlein’s Second Rule: You must finish what you write.

Writer Dean Wesley Smith had a cool way of getting around the writing-by-committee temptation. He’d write something for a workshop or writing class, and immediately submit it to a publisher. Often it was the stories that his peers hated and picked-to-pieces that were the first to sell to publishers.

No great writers ever produced their great novels through groupthink or writing-by-committee. They had the courage to write, alone, and stand up for what their minds produced. Even if they were like Kafka and wrote about a guy turning in to a bug.

FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER: https://twitter.com/nissalovescats I follow back. Unless you tweet pictures of private parts or something.

RECOMMENDED READING:

Heinlein’s Rules: Five Simple Business Rules for Writing: Dean Wesley Smith

Killing the Top 10 Sacred Cows of Publishing: Dean Wesley Smith

IWSG: Following Heinlein’s Rules

Writers and would-be writers, since we work alone, crave rules that will promise success. Lots of people make up rules for writers— English teachers who have never published anything, or even written anything, wannabe writers who like to boss other wannabes around, people trying to sell writing classes or writer services or recruit writers to be victimized by a vanity press….

This is my monthly post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group: https://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/

The best rules for writers come from known writers who have actually written stuff, and made a living from writing. Robert Heinlein was such a writer— his science fiction is still read today— and he invented 5 simple rules for writers.

I have a book by Dean Wesley Smith about Heinlein’s rules. Smith is also a professional writer. He got that way by following Heinlein’s rules, he says. Smith has written over 100 novels and an unknown number of short stories, in his early career he was entirely traditionally published and has now gone indie, and I have actually heard of him and have some books he wrote on my shelf.

Heinlein’s rules worked, therefore, for Dean Wesley Smith, at least. Will they work for you? Probably better than writing advice from people who have never made a living at writing, who perhaps have never finished a novel or even a short story.

Here are the rules— Heinlein called them business habits:

1. You must write.

2. You must finish what you start.

3. You must refrain from rewriting except to editorial order.

4. You must put it on the market.

5. You must keep it on the market until sold.

Things are a little different today, as Dean Wesley Smith points out in his book. Putting a written work on the market can now mean indie publishing it. Keeping it on the market until sold can mean keeping an indie published work up, even if it doesn’t sell very well, instead of pulling all your work down because it’s ‘not good enough.’

As the ultimate Insecure Writer, I’m shy about submitting my work for publication, perhaps because of my Asperger Syndrome. Perhaps it’s just I am afraid of being judged by people who just don’t get me. But in keeping with Heinlein’s rules, I put up some of my work on Wattpad, and plan to do more there— a non-fiction work, and a new book of my poetry, both of which may become, in a longer version, at least Smashword ebooks and perhaps proper books (if I can figure out how to format for Lulu and how to afford a decent book cover.)

My Wattpad profile: https://www.wattpad.com/user/NissaAnnakindt

Feel free to share your own Wattpad profile in a comment.

Writers (heart) Stories

One thing about writers is that writers are persons who have learned to love story. We are addicted to story! If we go through a few weeks without reading a new book or even seeing a new movie or new episode of a television show, we are story-deprived and become cranky— the same way a carbohydrate addict becomes cranky doing without his Snickers bars or his bread or McBurgers.

The majority of good writers discovered in childhood that books are reliable sources of stories, and from that age we’ve learned the tricks to find the books with the kinds of stories we like. We look for book cover pictures— a spaceship on the cover means science fiction, a shirtless man on the cover signals ‘sexy’ romance. We look for reliable writers who have delivered good stories to us before.

As we go on in the writing life, some of us stop reading for story. When we do writer-networking, we accumulate a pile of writer-friends, all of whom seem to have books out at the moment. We also read books by our genre competitors/colleagues to see what the genre is up to lately. We may feel we have no time to read something just because the story might be fun.

But fun is the essence of fiction. Readers pick up our books and read because they want the fun that a good story can deliver. They don’t do it, say, because their boss at work will give them a raise when they’ve read 100 new books.

Reading books for fun is the way to keep the fun of story alive in our own fiction. Nothing is more dreadful than the books that are composed with the idea of teaching us some Very Important grim feminist lesson, or some other vile didactic plot. If we want to learn the latest Very Important progressive lesson, we don’t need to wade through a full novel, we can find an op-ed piece or an essay that will give us the same stuff more quickly.

Writers gain readers when they can tell good stories and make fun happen. Even writers that are accused of being politically offensive can keep their readers as long as the stories stay good. I have been more than once mortally offended by stuff progressive writer Stephen King said about conservatives like me, but I didn’t quit reading him until I was about 1/4 of the way into a book of his and he not only said something vile about Donald Trump, I realized no good story-stuff had happened yet— I was still waiting for the fun to start. I put the book aside, not out of conservative righteousness, but because I didn’t anticipate the fun starting anytime soon.

So, my advice is, read something for fun, right now. Since I am short of funds at the moment, and am a fast reader, I made for my local library today to find new stuff to read. It’s a small-town library and doesn’t always have what I am looking for— they only had TWO books by Heinlein! But I found some Temeraire books I was willing to read again, and a couple of other books by authors that Dean Wesley Smith suggested as authors to study. So I’m ready for Thanksgiving Day— instead of watching and waiting to be invited to a gathering at which I won’t be particularly welcome, I’m planning on reading my brains out. And eating Spam and fried eggs instead of dry turkey. Win-win.

Why I Don’t Want to Be Critiqued

Amateur and new writers everywhere constantly cry out to have their work ‘critiqued.’ How do you get a critique? How do you find a cheap ‘editor’ (meaning ‘book doctor’ or other hired hand) to look at your work? But I have finally grown beyond that point.

The problem with the concept of ‘critique’ is that the word brings to mind the word ‘criticism.’ Criticism tears a person down. Sometimes in life criticism is needed, as when an employee starts showing up for work late and a little drunk. But it’s a tearing-down process even then. Criticism hurts, it destroys our souls, even if it’s prissily-worded ‘constructive criticism.’ Why would people ask for that experience? Here are the reasons as I work them out.

WE WANT THE BLESSING OF ‘OTHER PEOPLE’

Somewhere in our subconscious minds, we have the notion that we are small, weak, and inept, and that everything we do must have the blessing of other people, who are larger, stronger and more talented. If we show our writing to other people— any other people— and they say they like it, that means we are OK as a writer. We don’t even want to think about what would happen if the other person said ‘wow, that’s a piece of dreck!’

FIX: Now that we are grownups, we don’t need other people to approve of our work like we did in kindergarten. When it comes to writing, random other people may know less than nothing.

WE WANT GUARANTEED IMPROVEMENT SUGGESTIONS

If you have already decided to violated Heinlein’s Third Rule of writing (You must refrain from rewriting except to editorial order.), you want a guarantee that the rewrite you labor over will improve, rather than dis-improve, your work. Some of us have a naive confidence that any suggestion by another person, if carried out in a rewrite, will fix the writing and make it magically publishable.

Others of us hold out for someone we can believe is an expert. We may hire ‘book doctors’ (‘editors’ for hire) to give us advice we hope will guarantee that our rewrite process will create a better book.

The truth is, most people who suggest something about your work won’t get it. Like the beta reader who returns your sci-fi epic with a frown, saying ‘Your novel is no good. It has a time machine in it. There is no such thing as a time machine. You’ll have to take it out and start over.’

WE MAY WANT OUR EGO SOOTHED

Many of us have egos battered by life. We spend hours working on something for school or for work, and when we are done, our work gets pissed on, ever so genteelly, by the people that count. We are accused of not having done any real work on the project at all.

What some of us feel the need for, when we let others look at our work, is validation. We really need some writing authority figure to pat us on the head and say ‘Good little writer! You worked hard, so of course your writing is excellent!’

This is why some people, asked to critique, say how excellent everything is, even first novels by writers who don’t yet know how novels work. They think what the writer really wants is reassurance.

The problem is, when I get a reassuring response to my work, I tend to just feel the work was so pathetic that the person felt I needed reassurance and perhaps mental health help, rather than to hear the truth. Even when I know in my soul that my work is good, I feel that way.

GROWING BEYOND THE NEED FOR APPROVAL

If, instead of becoming a writer, you had decided to become a plumber, after you learned the basics you would not bother with approval-seeking. If the toilet you installed flushed, you knew you had done your job.

As writers, we need to get beyond the childish level of needing someone, anyone to approve of our work. They may say you can’t ‘critique’ your own writing, but I know I find plenty of things to fix in it. Seeking critiques to get more things to fix might be a way to avoid finishing a writing project.

Heinlein’s Rules 4 and 5 state that you should submit your finished work and keep submitting it until it sells. Dean Wesley Smith says in today’s self-publishing world it’s acceptable to self-publish as long as you keep the work available instead of pulling it down in a fit of self-doubt. Getting your work published— or having it sell well if self-published— is the main kind of feedback we writers need.

Personal Note: Yes, I’m scared to let other people see my work. So I put up a short story, The Skin Shirt, on Wattpad, and intend to add a children’s story, The Dust Mouse, in a day or two. I’m also working on another short story intended for Wattpad. Because of my Asperger’s Syndrome, I have a hard time with the idea of sending my work out (though I did it with my poetry years ago) and so publishing on Wattpad is a step in the right direction. My Wattpad account, if you are morbidly curious, is at: https://www.wattpad.com/user/NissaAnnakindt

What Is A Tag Line?

A tag line is a sentence or phrase describing a book or short story. Tag lines are used to sell potential readers on the idea of reading the book or story in question. So, yes, they are about book marketing. However, when you write your tag line before writing/finishing your story, it may help you stay on track.

Particularly on older paperback books, a tag line was often printed on a book cover. Here are some random samples of books with tag lines from my personal book collection, harvested from whatever books I could find while keeping my kitten Jon-with-Rice out of mischief.

Night of the Saucers – Eando Binder – 1971

“The saucers landed on Earth. The Vexxians infiltrated. Now they planned to blow up everything.”

Starship – Brian Aldiss – 1958

“The magnificent novel of a weird and terrifying journey— generations in length— that knew neither sun, nor moon, nor stars.”

Doomsday Morning – C. L. Moore – 1957

“Comus had brought peace and plenty to a war-devastated America— but could it survive the new revolution?”

Darwin’s Radio – Greg Bear – 1999

“In the next stage of evolution, humans are history…”

Star Trek: Death Count – L. A. Graf – 1992

“A saboteur is loose on the USS Enterprise.”

Star Trek: The Trellisane Confrontation – David Dvorkin – 1984

“An attack on a small planet triggers a deadly interstellar war!”

OK, what have you learned about tag lines from reading these commercially published examples? [Feel free to have any insights you like at this point.] What I learned is that the tag line is an attempt to hint at the content of the book, and to convey the excitement that the book (we hope) will provide to a reader.

Non-fiction books use tag lines as well. In fact, in the world of non-fiction books, the tag line is a part of the title. Such as “Gone With the Wind: Protecting Your Homestead from Wind Damage.” The tag line part of the title distinguishes it from any other books that might coincidentally be named ‘Gone With the Wind.’

The example tag lines I’ve given here are a bit on the abstract/general side— no specific character is mentioned, by name or otherwise. Nothing like “Gregor Samsa woke one morning to find he’d been transformed into an insect.” Which is not to say you can’t do a more specific tag line. The examples I’ve shown are just random examples. Go to your own book horde, pull out some paperbacks, and look for other examples of tag lines used on covers.

And in the modern publishing world where so many indie-publish in varying ways and have to do their own book marketing, a tag line is an important tool whether it is on your book cover or not. You can Tweet it when you Tweet a link to the book, or share it in other ways on other social media.

What I did recently when I published my short story ‘The Skin Shirt’ to Wattpad, I used my tag line, ‘In the City, they changed their skin color as easily as changing a shirt’ as the first sentence in my story summary. I left a line of blank space and then added the story summary I’d come up with: ‘Mardetto Abrono was only a merchant. It was his late twin Marcello who was the artist. Mardetto only sold the works that his brother created. But when Mardetto was faced with the task of buying a new skin shirt, which would change the now-much-faded color of his skin, he found himself thinking of making other changes.’

The tag line is more abstract— it doesn’t mention Mardetto or his late twin at all— but it gives a hint of what is different and unique about the story.

How do you or have you used tag lines for your writing? Do you think tag lines are important, or just some other damned chore writers are told to do? In the comments, you may share a tag line you have written for a work of your own, along with one link to that work (Amazon, Wattpad, wherever it’s available.)

If you are morbidly curious about my story ‘The Skin Shirt’ on Wattpad, here is the link: https://www.wattpad.com/807299575-the-skin-shirt-part-1

KetoLife: Bone Broth & Sprout Soup – Smoothie in a Vita-Mix

For some years now I’ve been making bone broth, and saving bones for the purpose when I don’t buy soup bones from the store (Jack’s Market in Menominee, MI.) But I often forget to drink my daily cup of broth.

I’ve also been going nuts for using my Vita-Mix lately (an old model Maxi-4000 Commercial) and have been getting good results, and am also obsessive about doing my sprouting.

So I’ve combined some obsessions to come up with my bone broth & sprout hot soup or smoothie, which I’ve had for breakfast and hope to have again tomorrow. Combining two superfoods into one hot drink is a good habit, and giving me a chance to play with my Vita-Mix adds to the appeal.

BEAN BROTH & SPROUT SOUP – SMOOTHIE (VITA-MIX)

2 cups home-made bone broth, any type

1 cup sprouts

Put the broth and sprouts into your Vita-Mix and blend for about 1 minute. Makes 2 servings. Will foam up some from the Vita-Mix. Pour out the amount currently wanted into a saucepan and heat on stove. Heat gently— it doesn’t need a hard boil, just enough heat to get it to hot-soup temperature. The enzymes in the sprouts will be killed off with too much heat.

Store any leftover servings in a canning jar in the refrigerator.

Sprouts used were salad sprouts— alfalfa, onion, radish & broccoli blend. Legume sprouts such as bean or lentil sprouts may also be used. Lentil sprouts from grocery stores sprout very well so this is a cheap source of home sprouts.

Variations: sea salt, herbs and spices, and other health-improving substances (chia seed, any low-carb ‘superfood’ in small quantities) may be added as well. Good fats (butter, coconut oil, MCT oil, avocado oil, bacon fat) may also be added— one to two tablespoons.

The Vita-Mix pulverizes the sprouts so you don’t even see that there WERE any sprouts in the mix. Common blenders might have trouble with this chore. I don’t know about other kitchen appliances— Vita-Mix is what I have and what I used.