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Friday, May 31, 2013

To All Who Would Label Me

Let me save you time, just call me a follower of Jesus.

Other names I have been called, even to my face—Draft Dodger, American Chicken, Pervert, Pedophile, Homosexual,  Nut Case, Crazy. Fair warning to all name callers—you are wasting your time. You are not my judge—Jesus is my judge—and he died for me and loves me at this very moment—what have you done for me?

My last word on this matter.

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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Evolution and the Human Family Unit

In my last blog I pleaded that we accept the principal that humans are mammals and that the male is the intended head of the family like we see in all other mammals. Of course, ideally the family unit will represent a team—but using this metaphor we must understand that the proper role for a man is captain. A plethora of dysfunctions occur when circumstances interfere with this basic plan. A problematic situation in America now is that the female is often the primary breadwinner and as such may feel that she should overturn millions of years of evolution and relegate herself to captainship. (Money, as our society never tires teaching us, rules.) Certainly I have seen the effects of problems raised in the black community in which I live. Economic and social pressures often make a man feel castrated and not infrequently he will leave the family field entirely rather than stand for it. Addictions often occur in an attempt to regain manhood from a bottle of Colt 45. As I mentioned in the last blog, this evolutionary imperative pertains to the family unit (a God instituted unit) and does not apply to larger social units.

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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Gracious Yes We Need Grace

Sister Faustina
Grace: A disposition to kindness and compassion (WordWeb Pro) unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification (Merriam-Webster)

It seems to me the world could use a hefty dose of grace in many quarters right now. People sometimes argue whether men or women should rule in business or government—whether we should consider a woman for president, for example. In my book it doesn’t matter a whit whether it is a man or woman—so long as the leader is centered and strong……and full of grace.

Now I have one caveat in all this. I am firmly convinced that IN THE FAMILY SETTING, the man should lead. I think this is in the nature of man (as we see displayed in some way or other in all other mammals.) Are women brighter than men?—frequently; do they have better ideas than men?—most always; should men listen up and stand corrected?; no doubt. But in the last analysis it is the man that should lead in the family setting.

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Saturday, May 25, 2013

Tick Tock

To all my friends. Cut to the chase. The wolves are at the door. No dress rehearsal necessary. The best way to know a person in my opinion is to look at their roots, current and past. Get to know their friends, acquaintances, family, extended family, and, yes, those who may give bad reports. Never forget that one’s worst enemy when faced with discernment can prove to be one's best friend.

Of course it helps to understand that friends who answer will speak candidly from the heart. Be not concerned whatever about craven cowardice or sullied interests.

Intimate friends have integrity made of carbonite steel. Proceed confidently into that good night.

One should not be afraid and never walk on eggs. Ask the hardest questions imaginable—those certain to destroy all hope if answered in abysmal ways. Recognize that all are in and will do the will of God.

Above all, have fun. We are in for quite a ride. It is a serious mistake to believe that God does not love laughter….and joyful tears.

PS:  The Twenty-four Thousand Dollar Question:  Demigod or Demagogue

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On Homosexuality

And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.” (Mark 16:17, 18).

My dear friends in Christ, this morning I would like to handle snakes – or at least a snake – in the form of a highly controversial issue. I want to discuss the issue of homosexuality. I have written in Male Manifesto** the way God intended for males to develop. Of course not all males have developed this way to great mischief in human affairs. For example, when “the little angels play in the woods” does not occur two diametrically contrasting results can happen. One result is that of a prude; the other is that of a letch. The behavior of a prude develops when one tries to deny to himself and others that he ever desired to have sex with males. He knows in his heart that this is not so. Secondly, when at the appropriate age a male does not receive affirmation from other males that he is a male and normal, then he can spend much of his life jumping from bed to bed with females to prove that he is a man – something that could’ve been proven in 10 minutes as a little angel in the woods.

The other day I heard the report that Boy Scouts of America is accepting gays as a lifestyle. My heart is grieved that mass dishonesty on the point of other males cruelly let some males feel they are destined to live the homosexual role because they have played as “little angels in the woods” at fourteen. This mass dishonesty is greatly displeasing to God.

God knows that if America cannot get this right, then no country anywhere will ever get it right because America is extensively a nation of love and compassion. Quite rightly it is putting into law that one cannot be discriminated against for sexual preference. That is what one would expect of Americans. Yet, this must not lead to celebrating the gay lifestyle as some sort of highly desirable model for in essence it’s a sad state affairs when people deny the sexual role God intended for them.

Let us pray for God’s extensive blessings in our dealings with this matter.

**Male Manifest:

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Friday, May 24, 2013

With Angelic Grace

Saturday I will be traveling with Deangelo and Angelo to Chuluota (near Orlando, FL) to place flowers on Kathy's grave (my wife died last October). We will have a short ceremony including prayer, some remembrances, and the reading of the following poem which I wrote for the occasion.

With Angelic Grace 

Sweetness and Light”
(Like “Motherhood and Apple Pie”)
Was a phrase made fun of when I was in school
Everyone rolled their eyes in rejection
And disgust,
And felt themselves much superior to the humble and inferior.

But time can be unkind to hatred (however dressed)
Making it slip away into the mist,
With time eventually Kathy came into our lives
And bound us to belief in the power of affection
For me a wife, for several a mother, for all a friend
With kind words, thoughts, and deeds,
Kathy quietly reset reality
With angelic grace.

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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Restraining Orders on God

The bottom line for Daniel is that the royal power of the Most High God always triumphs over the kingdoms of men. (Serendipity Bible, 10th Anniversary Edition, page 1241.

With all its authority and with its deepest indignation, the governments of men would place a restraining order on God. This has always proven to be shortsighted and contrary to the best interest of men. Men duly affirm that God is love, but have limited vision as to what this entails. Essentially God is like a good manager who would manage with extensive accountability assignments rather than through micromanagement. But like a good manager, he will see to it that his goals are accomplished in the end. Nations rise but are certain to fall eventually if they rebel against God’s ways and God’s purposes. This is something every nation—every person—should appreciate and a warning they should heed. The Bible makes this abundantly clear.

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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A Confession

I will be quite frank with you my friends, I am not the source of many things I write in this blog. As I told a friend, I sit here at night scratching my ass and farting and somehow find things written down that in my opinion were things that would not have occurred to me alone. I have a saying “I do my best, and when I fail I fail with the rest.” That pretty much sums up my part in the matter. I pray that there are more hits than misses, but only God knows. Please see my blog on Spirituality and Intelligence:

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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A Change in the Weather

Could mankind be so naïve as to think God does not intercede constantly in the life of the world? Do we really think a migrating bird flies thousands of miles with a brain the size of a pea and gets to exactly the right place at exactly the right time? My friends, this is an intercession of God. (If you believe that this is not so, impair the telemetry of the bird with alcohol and see for yourself.)

Now as to the weather, God is not a mean God but he cannot prevent the despoiling of the world with man’s pollution. Again please heed my plea and come clean regarding all matters, especially regarding sex. You say, this guy has an obsession here. Not so. Think about it. If one is dishonest about something so real and vital, how might this lead to general decay and effect energy conflagrations far beyond man’s detection, control or calculation. Surely as a result the innocent methodically suffer. What God expects of us is a little humility, trust, and faith. The proof will be in the pudding if only mankind would accept the challenge.

If we play by God’s rules regarding creativity and honesty, then inconceivable progress can be made on all fronts. You will be utterly amazed at the rapidity of improvement. God will have his way in the end—that’s for certain. Wouldn’t it be grand to be on his team and emerge now from the long line of human suffering into broad sunlit uplands?

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Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:36-40 NIV).

We tend to conceal two things about our character: the embarrassing mistakes we’ve made and the personal needs that might make us blush. Often the two are interlinked. Why do we feel so reluctant to reveal these things?
Usually it’s because we fear that by living more transparently, we become vulnerable. Being honest about ourselves might make us uncomfortable, so we tend to hide those things away. When we go to church, we put on a happy face, or maybe a devout expression, to let people know, “I am okay in the eyes of God. I’m not ashamed of any of my habits, actions, or failures.”….

But when Jesus walked by [the lady with the hemorrhage], she took a chance. She revealed her most embarrassing secret to him. Jesus rewarded her honesty and her faith, as he will reward yours. (Through the Year with Jimmy Carter, p. 141).

My friends, and I view all my readers as friends, we must finally come to realize that we must be honest not only with God but with man. It is simply not good enough to say “This secret is shared between me and God.” I have said it before and I will say it again, the dysfunction we see in our world today (and have seen from the days of Eden) results from the belief that we must conceal the truth about what we do and feel and wish to do.

We must come to know and believe that deceit is of the devil and that God stands for truth. Our fears are many. We fear that if we share the truth, this will pose a threat to me or will be perceived as a threat or some sort of solicitation. I repeat, this is NOT of God, but is of the devil.

I know you don’t want to hear me say this, but I must. We must be candid regarding our sexual actions and desires from our earliest days. The first thing applied after the fall was a fig leaf. That must be the first thing to go if we are ever to see the prophecy come to pass that “prisoners will be set free.” [The cowering prisoners will soon be set free; they will not die in their dungeon, nor will they lack bread. Isaiah 51:14 NIV]. Like it or not, a fully abundant life will be based on the habit truth—not only about “high and lifted up” matters, but about the ordinary. Until with the grace of God the chains of taboos as subjects of discussion are relegated to the scrap heap, our prisons will overflow with those who are essentially innocent and addictions will enslave us.

Why, after all these years, is it now possible to write what I just did? Because in the fullness of time in America, through divine inspiration, a group of believers penned the First Amendment. In the United States one can speak without being tossed in jail or censored (or in my case, not even fired). It is a country where love is extensive and practically enforced. Let us commit to learn to trust one another and in goodwill and without fear and within the love of God continue to search for the truth not only among the stars but among our innermost thoughts—let us truly become THE LAND OF THE FREE, THE HOME OF THE BRAVE.

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Sunday, May 19, 2013


A great discipline of love is patience. It has been my experience that if you want something to happen now, well you may have to wait a long time—even years. The older I get the more I’m at home with this. You would think at near 70 I would be fidgeting with a bucket list. Well, I have lived a full life and have no feelings of emptiness. Rather my life has been filled with blessings—even those I received today have incalculable value. So why do I listen to the music clip below. Maybe because I know those days when I felt transcendental pressure are long over—no “time bonds” now—they all have been safely defused. I rest secure in tranquility and peace. The intimations of immortality are palpable.

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On Second Thoughts

The wolf will live with the lamb,
the leopard will lie down with the goat,
the calf and the lion and the yearling together;
and a little child will lead them.
(Isaiah 11:6 NIV)

Mankind has kept before it a dream never realized that one day all will be well and a little child will lead us. When we think of the love, creativity, honesty, and innocence of a little child, we dream about what a glorious time that will be. I would like to give one word of caution. For anyone who has been around a little child, they can appreciate that children are substantially unfiltered. The child will ask a handicapped person “Why is your arm like that?” Of course, all adults nearby sink beneath the carpet. When and if our dream of Isaiah 11 ever is fulfilled on earth, I wonder if mankind will really be ready for it. I hope so, but I doubt it.

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Friday, May 17, 2013

Think Small

Some years ago Volkswagen had an ad that said “think small”. I’m inclined to this persuasion myself. For example, I tend to dislike large crowds much preferring smaller assemblies—as found at early church services and small group Sunday school classes. There is a saying something to the order that great thoughts come about in small rooms, even the bathroom. We as a nation are very fortunate to have the facility to bring public events into our living rooms. This has completely outflanked and made obsolete some of our customs—a principal one being political conventions. I can abide a gaggle of people if there is something to be decided – say an athletic event. But we have the spectacle of huge fortunes spent to congregate what is already decided and air positions that are already known. I long for a more intimate political season with much less (to put it bluntly) sham, gladhanding and backslapping—and, yes, baby kissing. Give me a convention in an auditorium the size of a rather modest church and with candidate adulation toned down from the over the top hype trumpeting yet another Second Coming. As Mark Twain said about another matter, I can hope for this next election season, but I rather doubt it (unless there be a sun fleet of miracles).

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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Male Manifesto

It is my intention here to describe closeted secrets of male sexuality. It is my belief that it is Satan himself, the master of deceit, who has shackled mankind with falsehood, guilt and shame. Since sex is fundamental and powerful, the mischief this deceit inflicts upon human affairs is incalculable.

Man’s penis is a source of anxiety because its arousal is associated only with the act of having sex. This is a fundamental error. The penis is aroused not only by sex, but also by simple affection that is unassociated with having sex. Men can have affection for other men, children, pets, and women. The man is troubled and filled with anxiety and self-doubt that this is a sign that he is some sort of pervert. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is a sign of affection pure and simple and does not imply that sex is indicated or desired. Such affection is from God.

Now we have in America a celebration of the gay life style. This is—as an honest man I talked with today described it—bull crap. In fact the gay relationship represents a fundamental failure to accept the responsibility of a mature commitment with the opposite sex. It is in this sense represents a personal tragedy and is deeply saddening. [This does not imply that homosexuals should be discriminated against—all of us can have our personal tragedies.]

I will now discuss two essential matters. There is a time that is more or less blameless when “little angels” play sexually in the woods. This occurs because males need reassurance that they are normal and like other males in this important aspect. It is aptly described as based on “curiosity” – though it is also driven by the sexual urge and can even be patterned in dreams.

The second thing to appreciate is that beyond this stage two males may feel the need to affirm a friendship or lend essential affirmation. This can involve sex. However, this is very much an exceptional occurrence and neither party feels the need or desire to continue it. It certainly has nothing to do with a long-term same-sex partnership that is induced by sexual irresponsibility.

[PS: I would like to thank those in my life that have freed me to write this Manifesto. They are all those people who have had love and affection for me all within an environment where blunt honesty is regularly practiced—this includes males and females. I would also like to thank the Trinity for bringing into my world angels and messengers.]

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Love and all its disciplines and manifestations can be significant irritants to those inordinately self-determined and self-willed. To them life is a zero-sum game. Mutuality from this point of view is only cynical accommodation and kindness a similar ploy. Such a mindset is antithetical to God's purpose of love and peace. Disdain thereby is shown for God's word. Do I honor God's word?--sometimes. Sometimes the reptilian legacy of the mind reacts with and expresses domination and power instincts. It is such times that I remember hymns of faith, such as “Sweet Hour of Prayer” in attempts to set aside anger and a bent for retaliation. (Blog of 3/8/13 - Disdain or Kindness?)

“Unless I can be instructed and convinced with evidence from the Holy Scriptures or with open, clear and distinct grounds and reasoning—and my conscience is captive to the Word of. God—then I cannot and will not recant, because it is neither safe nor wise to act against conscience. Here I stand. I can do no other. So help me God.” - Martin Luther

Prayer from today’s mediation: Through the Year with Jimmy Carter, p.136:

O God, keep me from the arrogance of considering myself superior to others. Help me look my sin square in the face, give me an insatiable desire to do your will, and grant me the strength to follow through on my commitments. In Jesus’s name I pray. Amen.

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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Our Silent Lies

Mark Twain on Silent Lies
Hal Holbrook in "Mark Twain Tonight!" (1967)

Mark Twain here speaks of the “silent lie”. Surely the proclivity for the American people to engage in the silent lie has not diminished in our generation. What candidate would we now have to vie for the honor of outstanding silent lie? I would suggest two: the egregiously unfair distribution of wealth in America and the resolute refusal of the average person to be honest regarding their own sexuality. In the first instance we have in 2007 1% of the Americans owning 34.6% of the country’s total wealth, and the next 19% owning 50.5%. Thus, the top 20% of Americans owned 85% of the country's wealth and the bottom 80% of the population owned 15%. Financial inequality is even more egregious (( In the second instance we have the notion prevailing that the autonomic nervous system determines what is ethically proper and right. What bull crap we hear in both instances. First, we have given up the worship of God for the worship of capitalism (however bankrupt the notions of communism and socialism have proven to be). People in poverty in America are now in a state of permanent hopelessness unless and until we have the courage to stop lying that all is perfectly fine. The poison in the well of truth regarding sex far outweighs any peccadillos in the acts of sex. For example, I would sincerely like to see how many people would be left on this continent if everyone who has ever had a homosexual dream were to keel over dead. Yet we have the absurdity of homosexual dreams being given as proof certain of the validity of “gay” behavior even passed the days when it is more or less forgivable for little angels to play in the woods.

My friends I plead with everyone who reads my blog to dedicate themselves to the truth in these matters. Forget about what’s politically correct and begin with being honest with yourself. Let us save our nation from certain ruin if we persist in abject worship of these silent lies.

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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Peace that Passeth Understanding

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
(Isaiah 55:8-9 NIV)

In “Off the Chain” (link) I said that by placing one’s eyes upon Jesus and getting ultimate validation from that source, the pain of human rejection is outflanked and acrimony is truncated. This bias towards amelioration of contention’s poison becomes a signal characteristic of believers as leaders. However, what is needed at this point is an example of what conversation a believer has in some form or other when confronted by active ill-will—for surely the hurtful intent of others cannot be realistically ignored.

The answer to this question is provided for us in Scripture—since the Trinity realizes the tendency of human nature towards sinfulness is great. At this point we turn to Genesis 45. Joseph realistically must take cognizance of the stark intent of his brothers to harm him when they sold him into Egypt. Joseph illustrates what understanding in some form or other the believer has on such occasions. Joseph says to his brothers; “And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives God sent me ahead of you…. So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God” (Genesis 45: 5, 8). In short the believer when confronted with malevolence prays something like the following: “God I dislike how I’ve been treated (am being treated) and from a human perspective wish it were otherwise. But it is not my place to resent my opponents who are acting to fulfill your will. My understanding of all this is not clear, yet I place my trust in you, oh Holy Trinity--omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent. Grant me the peace that passeth human understanding. Amen.”

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Sunday, May 12, 2013

Believers as Leaders

John Wooden in 1960
There is a poem that has been in circulation for some years, which is appropriately by an unknown author (as you will appreciate once you read it). This poem has been quoted by many famous people — Coach John Wooden, Mickey Mantle, actor James Caviezel, just to name a few — who, despite their worldly fame, realize that ultimately what really matters is not what man says about you, but rather what God says about you.

I pray that you will find in this poem the deepest longing of your own heart as well.
[Above introductory comments by James Ryle].

Your name may not appear down here in this world’s Hall of Fame,
in fact you may be so unknown that no one knows your name.
This hall of fame is only good, as long as time shall be,
but keep in mind “God’s Hall of Fame” is for Eternity.

To have your name inscribed up there, is greater, yes, by far,
than all the halls of fame down here, and every man made star.
The crowds on earth, they soon forget, the heroes of the past,
they cheer like mad until you fall. And that’s how long you last.

But God, He never does forget, and in His “Hall of Fame”
by just believing in his Son, inscribed you’ll find your name.

I tell you friend, I wouldn’t trade my name — however small,
that’s written there, beyond the stars, in that celestial hall –
for every famous name on earth, or glory that they share.
I’d rather be an unknown here, and have my name up there.

In my blog last Friday ( I discussed one reason why it is important to retain believers in leadership positions—a tendency towards acrimony is dampened. The above poem points to another significant reason—the proper retention of primary objectives is maintained. When a desire for earthly fame or power is primary, the maladies revealed in the book of Daniel become evident as mastery of tasks takes a backseat to destructive tendencies (see video clip here:
King Darius probably preferred Daniel for he sensed that Danial lacked lust for power, so therefore could be trusted to be honest and forthright.

Determining who is a believer requires utmost discernment for, as the saying goes, you cannot tell a book by its cover.

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Idealism's Bankruptcy

What is your view on the call to Christians to defend, with force, certain human rights or freedoms? (Serendipity Bible 10th Anniversary Edition, page 1239).

Idealism: Impracticality by virtue of thinking of things in their ideal form rather than as they really are (WordWeb Pro). 

When I was a young man in prison for opposing the Vietnam War, a prison official in a cordial way once told me that I was an idealist. Despite our comity, his comment burned me to the core. I perceived it as an inaccurate description of my true stance and was in a sense dismissive of me as a person and what I stood for.

The reader will no doubt tire of me referring to the “Little Joke”*, but I must do so as it is very much aligned with my perception of reality. In this schematic are the words “A structure like this will please the dogs in muddy rainy weather.” Muddy rainy weather is a very precise description of the world as we find it. From my experience, this world of necessity is replete with paradox and irony. The Prince of Peace himself said: “Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law” (Luke 12:51-53). 

From idealism’s point of view, life is absolutely precious on principle without any provision for irony or paradox. Yet clearly the realm of muddy rainy is filled with square holes. Say my job is a policeman in Saint Petersburg. I entered the profession as an idealist dedicated to upholding peace and security and protecting life and property in my home town. I embody in a limited way the sword of the state and the police power of the state. We can without any effort whatever readily think of a plethora of circumstances in which paradoxically I would have to use deadly force to uphold the principle that life is precious. On a national/international level the military finds itself in comparable circumstances. Clearly idealism represents a form of intellectual bankruptcy to the extent that it is uncompromising absolute and dismissive of life’s heavy ironies.

Now that said, I will always honor my Uncle Calhoun for his unqualified opposition to war. I simply feel the world would be a much drearier and hopeless place if not graced by men of his conviction. I frankly cannot resolve the conflict of Christ’s crucifixion vis-à-vis the necessity of proactive deadly force. Yet I know without doubt that the Trinity stands for holiness not in some abstract gauzy world of unreality, but in our world of muddy rainy weather. I cannot explain why Hitler’s ilk would spread hatred and death upon the innocent. We all know only too well the human heart and its capacity for depravity. It is my view that the police power of the state has a holy mission and that this can entail deadly force. God grant discernment.

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Friday, May 10, 2013

Off the Chain

"If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters--yes, even their own life--such a person cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26 NIV). 

You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:43-48 NIV).

Jesus taught that we should love our enemies. It is said that this is impossible for humans to do without the intercession of God. I would like to discuss the logic structure that complements divine intercession. Humans have a tremendous need for justice. We are hurt by our enemy because their ad hominem opposition to us represents an attempt to invalidate our sense of worthiness—perhaps even to the point of homicide. Thus, justice demands retribution.

The Christian belief system sets in place a structure that outflanks such attacks and precludes the infliction of hurt. This is because a believer accepts the proposition that God – a transcendental being – loves him and finds him worthy. David said that he has sinned against God alone. Likewise our focus for final validation is on God alone rather than man. From this perspective our enemy does not impact through their hatred a hurt that in human terms calls for retribution. That is so because we are receiving absolute and transcendental validation from God and it is to him alone that we look for validation. (God is his own validation and does not require us to validate him, thereby our freedom is real.)

That is why it is so important for leaders to be believers. In leadership positions one usually has enemies—or less dramatically, opposition—aplenty. It is extremely poisonous and disruptive to the process of task definition when this critical activity is sidetracked by tit for tat acrimony. This can only be avoided from the perspective induced by belief. The believer does not retaliate since he has not been hurt in the first place. And he has not been hurt in the first place because he receives all necessary validation transcendentally from the heavenly father. Leaders who are believers do not become sidetracked by internecine one-upmanship in the infliction of pain. A believing leader can therefore be task focused rather than preoccupied with pursuit of revenge.

The reason I quoted Luke 14:26 is to demonstrate that even in family relationships one’s loyalty is ultimately to God alone. And this transcendental relationship brings with it absolute validation by God. Another way of putting this is that by being a believer in the home, the believer frees his relatives from love’s duress – the blackmail of codependency is absent. So paradoxically, by “hating” loved ones, the believer imbues his family relationships with true freedom.

To illustrate points discussed here I refer to the “Little Joke”. The cantilever can be viewed as the ultimate focus (line of sight) directed to God alone:

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Misplaced Paranoia

Ever feel that you are being watched? That someone knows what you're about? That someone is designing outcomes? That things are simply too coincidental to be happenstance? My advice is not to consult a psychiatrist but rather consult the Scriptures and believe. Only then will you find peace of mind and navigate life with the trust of a child.

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Statues and Statutes Frozen in a Fluid World

When in your life have you experienced God in the midst of a “lions’ den” of skeptics, critics, etc.? How has God alone been your lifeline? (Serendipity Bible 10th Anniversary Edition, page 1232).
Story of Daniel in the Lion’s Den: Daniel Chapter 6

Many of us remember from childhood the story of Daniel in the lion’s den. Then I saw it pretty much as a “good guy” versus “bad guy” kind of thing. Daniel was the good guy and the King was the bad guy. On reading the story now as an adult a striking thing becomes clear – King Darius when he gave the order to throw Daniel into the lion’s den did it with a reluctant heart because he had been trapped by circumstances – by what was politically correct at the time. On throwing Daniel into the lion’s den King Darius said sincerely “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!” King Darius spent the night in anguish and misery. “At the first light of dawn” Darius went to the lion’s den and called out in an anguished voice “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?” In truth, the King fervently hoped that his “official position” mandated by the power structure would fail.

I imagine that many teachers or managers have at times privately hoped that their students or employees would prevail despite official policy, rules and procedures that hindered them in in their pursuit of destiny. The brutal fact is that the leadings of conscience can be frustrated by various forms of organizational accretions that mandate what is professionally or politically correct. Let us pray fervently that God will have his way despite our poor attempts to fabricate effective human structures that too often result in shortchanging human conscience and divine will.

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Thursday, May 9, 2013

Taking the Bait

What would you do if you were offered position and/or power as a way to buy your vote or pre-determine your thinking? (Serendipity Bible 10th anniversary edition, page 1230).

The answer to this question all depends on how and where one is anchored in life – where one’s core values lie; what decision rules one has in place. If one’s core values lie in power and prestige, then when one is offered them at the expense of lesser held values the result is highly predictable. One of the central objectives that my parents had was to instill within me core values which forcefully implied that to achieve at any cost was ill advised. The fast track to the top was valued immeasurably less than anchored direction. Unfortunately sometimes I think well-intentioned concern with scholarship and academic success in school can be destructive of the child’s best interest. The pursuit of the honor roll is not always a good thing – in fact it can be destructive. The basic business we must be about is how to live faithful lives—not showy, successful ones. Our legal system underscores this approach when it recognizes that a speedy conviction is less important than justice – hence, the implementation of Miranda rights. Unfortunately our economic system sometimes seems to affirm and reinforce the bankrupt notion that we should achieve at any cost, and thus deeply undermines bedrock democratic principles. (Inherent within human freedom is the paradox that our actions must be limited.) A poisonous and demonically inspired way of thinking ensues when we ascribe to the notion that success is its own justification – in the service of this end, any means will do. This is clearly antithetical to the disciplines of love that validate and enable true prosperity.

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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Trap Door of Success

At this time Babylon, with its hanging gardens, is a “great” nation. Why does such success make change or repentance difficult? How does this relate to Jesus’ word about the rich entering the kingdom of God (see Mt 19:24)? (Serendipity Bible 10th Anniversary Edition, page 1228). 

Watch out and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees” (Matthew 16:6).

There is a saying that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Nothing is more common and more dangerous and more fraught with peril than the experience of success. This is because we have a driving inner need to claim credit and worthiness ourselves. This from the get-go is delusional and only gets worse with compounding events. Perhaps the first thing to sink from sane awareness under this fevered mentality is an appreciation for eons of precedent – the indispensable contribution of what has come before us and vitally sustains us now. And as for the future, we too often assume our meager achievements will be definitive and will preclude and supplant future efforts and contributions for generations to come (the grandiosity of a Hitler comes to mind). Nothing of human productivity can possibly accomplish this—this is solely within the spiritual province and will of the Almighty. So, all who have met with success need must fall to their knees in prayer for deliverance from the dead hand of prideful stupidity. With a sense of desperation and raw need, they must fling themselves upon the mercy of God for deliverance from the poison, insanity, absurdity, and myopia of human arrogance.

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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Ego I Yearn For

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up” (Daniel 3:16-18 NIV).

In what ways do you identify, or not identify, with the… ego of the near-martyrs [found here in the book of Daniel]? (Serendipity Bible 10th Anniversary Edition, page 1226).

All my life I have suffered from a weak, intimidated ego. I have felt reluctant, even embarrassed, to assert myself. This has been the case not only in the company of those with power and authority over me—but even among casual strangers. I enviously reread the account of Shadrach’s, Meshach’s and Abednego’s gutsy, candid rebuke of powerful King Nebuchadnezzar. After throwing down the gauntlet under the King’s very nose, the three were subject to the readily predictable rage and retaliation of the powerful King.

Bottom line, in the last analysis the three were immune from intimidation not by the absence of fear of Nebuchadnezzar’s highly volatile ego and absolute power, but by their unwavering refusal to fear the ultimate threat of death's worst case. Death or violent physical harm is the old reliable persuader of last resort. It will always work in every case…so long as there is a strong fear of death. But have that thoroughly taken away, and the tables are turned—a whole new game now comes to town. We can see this new transformational reality played out in the lives of Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., and others. Thus to effectively avoid all shades of intimidation, we must cut to the chase and bypass lesser fears and go after the final fear of death itself.

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Sunday, May 5, 2013

Way Out There in the Blue

Daniel was given wisdom. Nebuchadnezzar had power. Who in your life or society claims to have wisdom or power? How to their claims compare to God’s gifts to us? (Serendipity Bible 10th Anniversary Edition, page 1223).

CHARLEY: Nobody dast blame this man. You don’t understand: Willy was a salesman. And for a salesman, there’s no rock bottom to the life. He don’t put a bolt to a nut, he don’t tell you the law or give you medicine. He’s a man way out there in the blue riding on a smile and a shoeshine. And when they start not smiling back—that’s an earthquake. And then you get yourself a couple spots on your hat and your finished. Nobody dast blame this man. A salesman is got to dream boy, it comes with the territory. (Death of a Salesman, Act 2).

Individual conscience is the wildcard at play in all of life. Self-respect in the end depends upon our willingness and ability to follow our conscience. And there is no guarantee that our best lights are true lights. We throw ourselves upon the mercy and grace of God to enable us to see clearly the will of God and to endeavor to do it. At the heart of a society therefore is instability based upon an unknown variable – the conscience of man. We often think of Sodom and Gomorrah as wildly undisciplined places while in fact everything there was no doubt done in good conscience – no matter how misguided. Mankind can readily justify anything.

American society can be seen as a battleground upon which the consciences of men struggle for expression and ascendancy. The Civil War was a painful example. Let us earnestly hope and pray that our best lights lend us courage to struggle for righteousness and that this sense of righteousness is aligned with divine purpose—the only guarantor of ultimate well-being and success.

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