Friday, January 24, 2020

Even NASA has to Bow to Physics by C. Kevin Thompson

C. Kevin Thompson
Living here in Central Florida, we get a great deal of news about NASA, Spacex, and the International Space Station. Probably more than the rest of the country only because on a clear day or night, we can see the launches from Cape Canaveral in the sky to our east. Even seventy miles away. They are spectacular, especially at night. And as you might imagine, people travel from all around, setting up chairs, tents, and even campers along the coast to view the orange glow of the rockets.

As the intro to Star Trek said many times, space is the Final Frontier. The Wild, Wild West of the future. However, regardless of how spectacular a launch is, regardless of whether or not they are attempting a never-been-done-before experiment, the laws of physics still reign supreme. This is why NASA conducts test after test. They just had a Dragon capsule leave the ISS and return to Earth. One of the tests was to simulate trouble with the booster rocket and have it detach from the capsule safely. The capsule was to continue its descent into the Atlantic Ocean, to be retrieved, while the booster rocket was to break apart and disintegrate as it burned up entering the atmosphere.

Why would NASA and Spacex conduct such a test? The main reason is because they wanted to simulate a manned flight. If a capsule containing astronauts was on its return voyage from the ISS and the booster rocket malfunctioned, could they separate the two in order to protect the crew? If the rocket blows up, accelerates into the Earth’s atmosphere at breakneck speed, ignites at the wrong time and wrong angle of trajectory and propels them in the wrong direction, say towards Alpha Centauri, then the crew, in any of these scenarios, is as good as dead.

The other reason they conduct these tests is because physics dictates it. Gravity is strong. It takes a great deal of thrust just to get the rockets off the surface of the Earth. The weightlessness of space has a physics all its own. The reentry into the Earth’s atmosphere is always a dangerous proposition. Gravitational pulls, rotation of celestial bodies, temperatures, and more create an array of problems only an understanding of physics can help solve.

For us as writers, we too face similar challenges when we write a manuscript, speak to agents and editors, launch a new book, etc. There are many things we can do to plan, build, and enact our dreams, shooting for the stars in a way. However, the “physics of this world,” being God, His Spirit, and our Savior, has its own dictates around and through which we must navigate. If God chooses not to bless our writing at this time, but has plans to do so later, there is little we can do about that. We can build a better book through editing. We can spend more money on advertising. We can join a thousand Facebook groups and hold an infinite number of blog tours, but if the Master Physicist isn’t budging right now, good luck with trying to change the course of the space-time continuum!

Okay, Kevin, so what’s an author to do then? As Henry Blackaby says in his book, Experiencing God, “We don't choose what we will do for God; He invites us to join Him where He wants to involve us.” God is sometimes like a flowing river. Other times, He is like an ocean tide. Still others, He is a tidal wave! But no matter what simile or metaphor He resembles, our job is to join Him in, to seek where He is going, to inquire as to what He is doing, and become part of His divine plan. For ultimately, is that not what we are to do as the children of God (cf. Deut. 6)?

Could it be that God has indeed called you to write, but you are writing something (say, fiction, for example), believing it’s His calling, when He wants you to write something else (like non-fiction)? Could it be that He’s letting you build your “library” in preparation for one big “book blessing” that will open the reader floodgates somewhere down the road, in the future, making you a household name, so to speak? And would you be okay with that plan if God decided it should happened after you died (tough question, eh? But it’s happened before with other authors)?

Or, could it be that God hasn’t called you to be an author of books at all? Maybe he’s called you to write in some other capacity, like a journalist (Lord knows we need some good, truth-telling ones these days!), or a reporter for some genre/area you don’t even know exists yet? Like the student I heard about who took Agriculture classes in high school and hated them because she had no desire to bail hay or raise hogs. Yet, she loved animals, loved the industry overall, and loved to write. When she found out about publications “out there” in the industry of farming, she was elated. Now, she writes for several national agricultural publications as a reporter or sorts. She gets her hands “dirty,” but not in the traditional agricultural fashion.

The point is, whoever we are, wherever we are, if we call ourselves disciples of Jesus, then we must follow our God in the plans He has created for us. And I know, it’s difficult sometimes to differentiate between what God truly has planned and what we think He has planned. One “litmus test” I’ve learned (and am still learning as it applies to all aspects of life!) is this maxim: Jesus said, “Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19). He didn’t say, “Go do what you wish, and I’ll bless it like a genie in a bottle.”

In other words, if I cannot justify my endeavors with facts based on His plan, then I’m probably rubbing a lamp. His plans are crystal clear. God doesn’t say, “Go!” and obscure our vision 24/7. When He reveals His plan, it’s easy to see. Our spirit knows it because His Spirit is confirming it in ours. However, when there is turmoil in my spirit, doubt in my soul, and reservations in my mind, then I need to toss the lamp and get on my knees.

So, we have to be honest with ourselves and with God. The physics of “our world” (cf. John 1:1-18), which incorporates the spiritual and the physical into one cohesive unit, dictates that we write under these laws. We don’t want to crash and burn, do we? Well, rest assured, He doesn’t wish that on us either. However, He will allow it if it causes us to build a better rocket and launch it as He directs.

Could God be letting you build your “library” in preparation for one big “book blessing” that will open the reader floodgates? #seriouslywrite #encouragementforwriters via @CKevinThompson
Jesus never said, “Go do what you wish, and I’ll bless it like a genie in a bottle.” #seriouslywrite #encouragementforwriters via @CKevinThompson

The Letters
The Letters


Rachel Hamar—a Manhattan bank teller—lives nothing close to a Manhattan lifestyle. Residing in Washington Heights, NY, the only thing keeping her in The Big Apple is her mother—a long-time patient in a local psychiatric hospital. It’s December, 2014, and the twentieth anniversary of her high school sweetheart’s tragic death. She’s not sure how much more heartache she can endure, especially after being told earlier in the day she no longer has a job at the bank. A casualty of downsizing.

In the midst of spiraling depression, Rachel receives a mysterious letter in the mail. When she opens it, she becomes cautious and skeptical of its contents and discards it as a mistake, concluding it’s simply addressed incorrectly or a postal worker’s faux pas in the midst of a busy Christmas season. But another letter arrives the next day. And another the day after that. Before long, she is in possession of several letters. Each one more puzzling than the last.

Thinking that someone may be playing a cruel game, she contacts the police, and this propels Rachel and the two detectives into one of the most bizarre cases they’ve ever encountered. Is it a friend’s cruel joke? Is it some stalker’s perverse idea of manipulation? Or is it something more?

C. KEVIN THOMPSON is a husband, a father, a grandfather, and a kid at heart. Often referred to as “crazy” by his grandchildren, it’s only because he is. He’s a writer. Need he say more?

The second edition of his award-winning debut novel, The Serpent’s Grasp, is now available! The first four books of his Blake Meyer Thriller series are out as well. Book 1, 30 Days Hath Revenge, Book 2, Triple Time, Book 3, The Tide of Times, and Book 4, When the Clock Strikes Fourteen, are now available! Book 5, A Pulse of Time, is coming Memorial Day 2020! And, his new standalone novel, The Letters, is now available in e-book pre-order. The official release date is February 18, 2020!

Kevin is a huge fan of the TV series 24, The Blacklist, Blue Bloods, NCIS, Criminal Minds, BBC shows Broadchurch, Shetland, Hinterland, and Wallander, loves anything to do with Star Trek, and is a Sherlock Holmes fanatic too. But you will never catch him wearing a deerstalker. Ever.

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