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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Forget It, You’re Not Ruining My Day

2 Timothy 1:7 

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. (NKJV).

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. (NLT).

The other day I was going about my chores and felt that the person I was serving was intentionally trying to intimidate me with implied criticism and forbidding pressure. My immediate response was recalling my old reliable pictures of two dogs – one dog with tail between his legs and the other with tail curled above his back and wagging. I set my psychological heels in immediately and adamantly refused to become the intimidated dog. I will not be bullied by whatever form. The “happy dog principle” is a vignette that I have grown to use now all the time. Let the world fling at me what it will, it will not get me to become the cowering, intimidated dog. I will always be the dog with tail up and wagging no matter what intimidation ploys are viciously applied.

I was later talking with a friend and briefly alluded to the incident without mentioning a specific person. Being a wonderful Christian with unsurpassed intelligence and an alert mind, she immediately recalled the verse quoted above (2 Timothy 1:7). I include two versions here because I like both. A “sound mind” (as my friend remembered it) suggests to me a mind not undercut and eroded by controversy, but one steady and sane throughout. This can also be related to self-discipline. In this verse, I like the way in which fear and timidity are offset by immeasurably sturdy transcendental power and love. It is been said that “A leader never lets adversity get him down – except on his knees” (--Jim Williams). The preferable response is one filled with abiding grace and cheer giving the other side little satisfaction that their attempted intimidation is having any intended disintegrating effects on your behavior or character.

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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A Simple Narrative and a Simple Question

The Lord's Prayer

Our Father, which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come.
Thy will be done in earth,
As it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive them that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
The power, and the glory,
For ever and ever.

Today a friend of mine and I went to a local restaurant so my young friend of 23 years could apply for a job as kitchen help. (I have known him since he was born.) Actually we went twice. First we were there at 7 AM, but that was too early. We returned at approximately 11:20 AM. We met Kunte who works there and who put in a good word for my friend. We spoke briefly with several of the staff before seeing the manager. One of the staff told us that she believed in second chances. The manager arrived and was a very gracious woman who took a keen interest in us. She gave us an approximately 9 page application bundle to fill out. She also gave us a pen. We went to a table outside and spent some 45 minutes filling out the application. All pages required information or signature. The desired information included any arrest records. My friend put down that he had been arrested in 2012 on a possession of marijuana and cocaine charge. For this offense, a felony, he served three months in jail. After filling out the application we returned to speak with the manager. Our hopes were high but were soon dashed when the manager said that they hired no one with a felony on their record. She showed empathy for our plight since her own son was in a similar situation. The manager compassionately took the application and said she would give it to someone she knew who arranged for employment for those with felony records. Normally this person worked with the homeless.

My question is a simple one. What kind of nation destines a young adult in their early 20s to a life of sub-employment because of one arrest record? What kind of nation intentionally devises customs that relegate a large number of their population to a pariah class in a demented, self-righteous caste system? Is this really what our nation of second chances wants to do? Do we really strive for fairness and equal chances at success? Do we really know how it feels to have been born a crack baby into a life of poverty and upheaval? Do we really wish to further condemn that person to a lifelong sentence of discrimination for a single infraction? When the courts decided that he was to have a three month sentence which would fulfill the requirements of justice in the case, do we really wish to add an additional life sentence of marginal or no employment? I think not! I think we are a more compassionate country than this. I think we need to reassess our commitment to the idea of second chances not only for others but likewise ourselves.

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Sunday, October 27, 2013

You Are The Man!

-----Nathan Rebukes David (NIV 12:1-7)-----

The Lord sent Nathan to David. When he came to him, he said, “There were two men in a certain town, one rich and the other poor. The rich man had a very large number of sheep and cattle, but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him. 

Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man refrained from taking one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveler who had come to him. Instead, he took the ewe lamb that belonged to the poor man and prepared it for the one who had come to him.”

David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, “As surely as the Lord lives, the man who did this must die! He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity.

Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man!

I had a friend I would trust with my life. He was of solid, compassionate character and was full of wisdom and discernment. His word was his bond, and I could rely upon him fully. Then one day I began to notice a change in him. He began to make promises he couldn’t reasonably keep. Where once his speech was full of kindness and wisdom, it became wild lacking all self-control. His actions were in many ways grandiose and self-conflicted. Where once I would readily have trusted him with the keys to my house or car, I found myself having profound misgivings about his reliability, stability, and grasp of reality. Soon I found us drifting apart as my confidence in him began to wane and my lack of trust in him began to grow. Exactly who am I; and who is this man? I represent the nations of the world. As for the man?—you are America.

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Saturday, October 26, 2013

Am I a Communist?

Communism (from Latin communis – common, universal) is a revolutionary socialist movement to create a classless, moneyless, and stateless social order structured upon common ownership of the means of production, as well as a social, political and economic ideology that aims at the establishment of this social order. (


I believe the state (government) is a God ordained institution with inherent rights, duties, and limitations. I abhor government ownership of production due to the inherent inability of an interested party (as government ownership would entail) to promulgate an unbiased regulatory environment or to cultivate necessary change and persistent creativity. I revere American democracy, the Bill of Rights, and the primacy of the market economy as an economic engine.


I am a communist in the sense that I hold that a classless society is ideal—a society as in America where the goal is liberty and justice for all concurrent with an ethos of mutual equality and respect. I hold that capitalism is a necessary economic engine though it is insufficient in itself to secure economic justice for all due to the inherent vulnerabilities of labor and its inability to secure a distribution of wealth in accord with the realities of labor productivity.

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Friday, October 25, 2013

A Man after My Own Heart and the Cookie Jar

When caught with your hand in the cookie jar, how do you react? (Serendipity Bible, 10th Anniversary Edition, page 1333).

I like to think of Henry Kissinger in his boyhood when one day his mother catches him with his hand in the cookie jar. What sorts of things would he say to his mother? Let us consider for a moment what we know of Henry Kissinger. He always strives to arrive at the essence of a situation and, if possible, states the essence of the matter in a manner and within a light that is almost impossible to denounce because it would fly in the face of reason and experience to do so—he calls forth, in other words, the basic principles involved.

For example, this young, enterprising Henry might say to his reprimanding mom the following:

Surely you are not saying that I should never seek to explore opportunities which promise the releasing of pent up and promising resources?”

Surely you are not suggesting that I should never seek to satisfy personal ambition that promises undeniably favorable (and undeniably delicious) rewards?”

Surely you are not saying that I should never appreciate your unsurpassed handiwork reaching truly epochal proportions—the very embodiment of a cherished family tradition?”

Surely you are not saying I should decry the hierarchal yet elemental needs to eat and feel loved?”

Ok Henry, you take those cookies—and have some more; you’ve earned them!

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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Christians – Sick or Savvy?

Saint Paul arrested, early 1900s
Bible illustration (Wikipedia)

Let us begin to answer this question by referring to perhaps the most outstanding Saint of all – St. Paul. He writes “I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that one way or another I would experience the resurrection from the dead! (Philippians 3:10-11 NLT).” In today’s devotional by Jimmy Carter he writes “Whenever we bring the real message of Jesus Christ to this world, we must be prepared for conflict” (Through the Year with Jimmy Carter, page 298). And again he writes “Christ’s life brought out such animosity, conflict, and hatred because he came into a complacent religious world, filled with men and women who prided themselves on their status as God’s chosen people and on their places of worship, and suddenly tore apart their complacency. He destroyed it…. They wanted to hold on to the old ways and keep their smug, self-satisfied, comfortable religion; but Christ would not allow it” (ibid).

In today’s world (indeed, as in Jesus’s time) smugness and self-satisfaction were not only a phenomena hoarded by the religious, but by others outside the strictly religious world who thought very highly of themselves and were comfortable with their superiority over others – especially over the poor and downtrodden, the meek of the earth, and of those holding opinions that could  be thought of as in any way threatening their views of acceptable cultural. By the way it is worth remembering that for their efforts Jesus was crucified and Paul was beheaded.

When Paul writes that he wants to share in Jesus’s death, should he be directed to see a psychiatrist? That overwhelmingly is the response that our culture would offer him--else what is the Baker Act for? Yet, it is clear that an attitude accepting suffering is essential for effectiveness. To accomplish anything worthwhile in this world we must set aside the fear of death as the end-all and be-all of our existence. I have always admired politicians in both local and national politics for this reason—they court death simply by their identity as a public official. As an obvious example, the City Councilman can be murdered because an irate Citizen is unhappy with code enforcement—which enforcement goes against the belief that ownership of property brings unlimited rights (a man’s home is his castle). In other words, all public officials represent authority and we know all too well that there are a host of individuals— some of them unstable and violent— with major issues regarding authority. In this line I recall today’s news in which a teacher was allegedly murdered by a student.

So in asking whether a Christian is sick or savvy in wanting to share in Jesus’s death, we must first look unflinchingly at the world as it is. With this sober and realistic assessment we can only conclude that a willingness to suffer the ultimate sacrifice (as in Christ’s crucifixion) is the only way to be effective and to earnestly strive for integrity. So the question becomes--"Is it sick or savvy to wish to accomplish something significant in life?" Many of us feel that eternal significance alone makes our mortal lives worthwhile. For those of us with such a belief (be it sick or savvy) the inevitable answer as to whether to affirm the spiritual life is not grim but faithful and generous.

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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Power of Unconfessed Sin

In your experience, how often is unanswered prayer due to unconfessed sin or a wrong heart attitude toward the Lord or others? (Serendipity Bible 10th Anniversary Edition, page 1332).

Today at work I was dealing with an intractable computer problem. So I asked the others in the office if they had any ideas. My boss asked if I had checked the DNS configuration. I drew a blank. I simply could not remember the steps required to check those settings. Mark realized my dilemma and coached me to use “ipconfig /all”. I was humiliated that I had to be reminded of this. Immediately I felt hemmed in and defensive. In the past I have only been able to outflank such feelings by confession of the precipitating incident to others—a silent prayer to God alone just doesn’t do it. In fact, the Lord seems to direct me to confess it to someone. So, during lunch in the break room I shared the incident with a friend. Later, I recounted it with another. The confessionals confirmed once again that there is something deeply liberating in confession. It effectively overcomes the defensive “fear of disclosure” and negative feelings that are so destructive to self-esteem. As I have used in illustration before, we are to strive to be that dog with its tail up, curled, and waging over its back. It is extremely harmful to go about with one’s tail tucked under one’s legs. If you sometimes feel this way, I suggest that you identify an undisclosed negative in your life and at once share it in confessional with others. You will find your tail up and waging once again as you underwrite trust in others and share your sense of vulnerability. Often you will be amazed at the almost universal response that goes something like this...”You think that was bad, wait to you hear what happened to me.....” Suddenly both your tails are up and wagging.

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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Bipolar Americans

Americans are all Republicans. On the other hand, Americans are all Democrats. Americans clearly are politically bipolar.

For example, we all yearn to be out of control. We want to have the option of the big gamble and its unlimited returns. It may never happen to us personally—yet it just possibly could with a miracle or two.

Let me explain what I mean. Let us take a football team. I will admit my age by saying the quarterback I choose is the star Joe Namath. Now Joe just signed up for a three year contract for 6.5 million dollars. Not a single American refrains from ejaculating “Amen.” Here is a man with talent getting all the market is willing to pay. Almost without exception we would disagree with the notion that somehow Joe’s compensation should be tied to or limited in any way by the contracts other team members with lesser star power have managed to negotiate. We would find it repulsive should the NFL stipulate a regulation that said the star of a team could earn no more than four times the salary of the average player. This would be downright un-American. Likewise, we would be incensed if the owner of the team could not sell the team for what the market would bear and reap all the financial rewards despite the fact that without an outstanding and winning term the asking price would have to be much less. In our heart of hearts we want no controls on the market. That’s what it means to be American—seeing the market as inherently just and fair in ways that are sometimes mysterious but widely appreciated.

Another view holds that it is not good for us to seek after unlimited rewards. A star quarterback should no doubt earn more than the average player, but the team should be tied together in some fashion economically as it is in actuality a unitary structure of mutual support. This properly would result in the star being paid less and the average player being paid more. This better serves justice than the often purblind and myopic free market.

Being out of control is not without its downside. For a team without game official control would no doubt degenerate rapidly into bedlam—sensational entertainment perhaps, but no longer a game. Taking a broader view, game officials have many levers of power even though direct player compensation remains outside their control—they cannot officiate by throwing money at the players. For example, if it became the general consensus that in the game of football activity on the field is stagnate, the rules of the game can be changed to allow less huddle time or time out durations. If higher scoring games are desirable, one foot in bounds rather than the two foot rule would be acceptable. If greater justice is required, deliberate review can be instituted.

Thus while we are all republicans, we are also all democrats for while we yearn to be out of control and enjoy a free-for-all, we greatly qualify it with controls to enhance the game. Likewise, we are democratic in that we want strong game officials. We don’t’ want weak officials without proper and necessary training and essential tools for we know that without strong regulatory strength the game would be reduced to chaos.

This is why we are currently in a bipolar state—the republican side of our nature largely ascribes to “out of control” dreams of free markets and unlimited compensation while the democratic side yearns for greater control and more justice than the exercise of markets alone provides. Both claim in all practicality to be the preferred course and both viewpoints have skin in the game.

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Monday, October 21, 2013

Are We There Yet?

The other day I heard of yet another smart phone release. The hoopla spritzed as this earth shattering announcement was spewed with endless ballyhoo and fervid assurances that the ultimate of “cool” had at last arrived on the scene.

This raises the question “Are we there yet?” Let’s consider several intrusive realities.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that nearly 870 million people of the 7.1 billion people in the world, or one in eight, were suffering from chronic undernourishment in 2010-2012.

Almost half the world — over three billion people — live on less than $2.50 a day.

At least 80% of humanity lives on less than $10 a day.

More than 80 percent of the world’s population lives in countries where income differentials are widening.....

According to UNICEF, 22,000 children die each day due to poverty. And they “die quietly in some of the poorest villages on earth, far removed from the scrutiny and the conscience of the world. Being meek and weak in life makes these dying multitudes even more invisible in death.”

More than 10.1 million people are held in penal institutions throughout the world according to the latest edition of the World Prison Population List (WPPL), …. 2.29 million in the United States.

In the U.S. roughly “one in eleven suffers from addiction to either alcohol or another drug of abuse. Many more are addicted to unhealthy behavior.”
U.S. alcohol statistics reveal that approximately 50,000 cases of alcohol overdose are reported each year. In 2009, an estimated 30.2 million people 12 or older reported driving under the influence of alcohol at least once in the past year.

In the 10 years from 2000 through 2009, more than 298,000 people died from gunshots in the U.S., about 30,000 people a year. If you exclude natural causes of death and consider only deaths caused by injury, it is the second-leading cause of death over that time span; only car accidents (417,000) killed more people. (These numbers come from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.)
Total number of abortions in the U.S. 1973-2011: 54.5 million+
234 abortions per 1,000 live births (according to the Centers for Disease Control)
Abortions per year: 1.2 million
Abortions per day: 3,288
Abortions per hour: 137
9 abortions every 4 minutes
1 abortion every 26 seconds

Besides starvation and hunger, poverty and destitution, imprisonment and addiction, we have huge maldistrubtions of wealth especially in America with widespread unjust and indefensible payment of discriminatory wages, uneven access to education, health care, and basic opportunities. One can only conclude that the single most important factor for virtually all of us is the hand we are dealt on the day we are conceived.

Honesty is as rare today as ever. Even half the hip hop world would rather lie or die than tell you freely if they have personally experienced skeeting. We simply seem to be unable to be honest regarding sexual matters as if God’s gift of sexuality was beneath our nervously defended respectability—a respectability all dressed up in blatant lies consistently trumps simple truth. However, there is no end to boasting of “respectable” lurid sexual exploits.

Games people play have not let up. We continue to hide our true agendas and manipulate systems and people with hidden ulterior motives. The respectable lie, the silent lie, is much preferred over honesty any day.

So when the question is asked “Are we there yet?” I must in astonishment ask “What planet have you wafted over from?”

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Sunday, October 20, 2013

Spiritual Leaders as Peacemakers

How can your spiritual leaders help, not hinder, peacemaking? (Serendipity Bible 10th Anniversary Edition, page 1332).

Nothing can trump a role model and Christ is our model. But you may say that the Prince of Peace lived controversially and died violently in a cruel and violent world. Didn’t he fail as a peacemaker? Remember he said that only through losing one’s life can one gain it (Matthew 16:25). Through his refusal to raise the sword against his enemies he confirmed his identity as the Prince of Peace. We, on the other hand, are abundantly willing to wield the sword in the purported cause of peace—presenting real evidence to the contrary and tossing out any chance for peace with a violent and vengeful spirit.

I will always be suspicious of those spiritual leaders who unfailingly are among the first to mount war horses in any and every conflict all the while shrilling advocating God and country. Violence should never be (sic) the first tool taken up in the face of conflict. What I want from a spiritual leader is not shameless pandering to the prejudices of the people, but one who seeks rather to open up and explore alternative courses of action; zealots, while sometimes acclaimed as spiritual leaders, will never be my spiritual leaders. My leaders consistently will be noted for their steady forbearance, for their insistence that empathy, compassion, and love be offered even to enemies—who say in regard to our enemies: “Let us show them that we love them, that we care for them and their best interest. Let us be less concerned with 'who is right' and more concerned with mutuality of interests and areas of spiritual accord. The 'letter of the law' will have us at loggerheads until the end of time whereas the living 'spirit of the law' can bring us together in little but significant steps towards peace. We can be CONFIDENT that there ALWAYS will be people along the way to offer us cool drinks of water. Generosity will work its magic on perception—theirs and ours.” Such a person is whom I chose as my spiritual leader.

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Friday, October 18, 2013

When Meanness Rules

The Lord’s Case against Israel (Hosea 4:1-3 NLT)

Hear the word of the Lord, O people of Israel!
The Lord has brought charges against you, saying:
There is no faithfulness, no kindness,
no knowledge of God in your land.
You make vows and break them;
you kill and steal and commit adultery.
There is violence everywhere—
one murder after another.
That is why your land is in mourning,
and everyone is wasting away.
Even the wild animals, the birds of the sky,
and the fish of the sea are disappearing.

We all should strive to leave behind something greater than ourselves. Fighting injustice. Battling for the dispossessed and powerless. Comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable. (The Rejected Stone by Al Sharpton, page 258).

Once in a documentary [I think on the health care system] Michael Moore remarked that he could not understand why Americans [especially public policy] is so mean. It is to be remembered that Biblical Israel began to implode when a widespread state of meanness (of “no kindness”) cursed the landscape. There are indeed those who are very comfortable and content in America, but with them can come a streak of meanness. Al Sharpton reminds us that legacies do not arise from expensive homes or extensive travel, but from humble avenues of service. Those who worship at the altar of “cool toys” will die and be forgotten with the swift transience of the “cool toys” themselves—with a crushing vengeance like that seen in an Indiana Jones dénouement in which transience was unwisely chosen and verily subsumed the lustful chooser forthwith. May we all learn to trust God and choose wisely.

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Thursday, October 17, 2013

A Nation that Prays Together Stays Together

The other day I wrote a blog that frankly discussed my view of national politics. Today I would like to speak with the same frankness regarding the mental character of mankind. This constrains me to say something that will make some religious conservatives irate. In my view the Garden of Eden is a landscape of man’s mind and is very apt and accurate in this regard. No one will ever hear me say that I think the Bible is wrong, untrue, or even not factual. I can hold to this position firmly while yet fully acknowledging that the origins of man as a species can be detailed with another perspective due to the tools of investigation that mankind has painfully accumulated over the centuries. I do not hold these different perspectives as competing in any way. I hold they are both true. I fully realize that some will say this is impossible. Yet I know what I believe and I believe that each has great validity and authority.

Once I read a book by Carl Sagan – “The Dragons of Eden: Speculations on the Evolution of Human Intelligence is a Pulitzer Prize winning 1977 book by Carl Sagan. In it, he combines the fields of anthropology, evolutionary biology, psychology, and computer science to give a perspective of how human intelligence evolved” ( Now of course I’ve forgotten much more than I remember about the book, but essentially he discussed the vestigial traces within the human brain of the evolutionary past when a reptilian aggressive domination was necessary but which now is a serious liability as it continues to have dysfunctional impact upon human affairs. Certainly the obsession with domination and control is apparent even in recent American politics and has a continuing impact upon economic life.

Let me move from this to the Garden of Eden’s return—the “heaven”—that is in our future. I entitled this blog “A Nation that Prays Together Stays Together.” This. of course, is borrowed from the expression that says “A family that prays together stays together.” Essentially what does this prayerful exercise indicate? Well, my mother and dad would sometimes run into a quandary because mother wanted to please daddy (to do what he wanted to do) and daddy wanted to please mama (to do what she wanted to do). In short, because they loved each other and neither wanted to dominate and get their way at the expense of the other, they occasionally found making future plans problematic. What they needed was a third party to help them arrive at a consensus. This third party was God and they went to him in prayer for guidance and insight. (This was the heaven that was my home.) The reptilian mind of dominance and control was supplanted by the Godhead.

The zinger was that God, being a God of love, also was not interested in domination and usurpation of parental authority. Thus, he often tossed the ball back into mother and dad’s court with the understanding that since they loved each other, they would work it out in the end.

Thus, a nation that prays together stays together since concerted prayer presupposes love and a disinclination to dominate and control. And the God of love, content that his nation is one of love and mutual submission, gives the responsibility of ruling back to his servants. Democracy is indeed “novus ordo seclorum”—"a new order of the ages.”

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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

And When I Run I Feel His Pleasure

There I will go to the altar of God, to God—the source of all my joy. (Psalm 43:4 NLT)

In the following quotation the runner Eric Liddell in Chariots of Fire is talking with his devout sister Jennie who wants him to give up running and go back to China to be a missionary.

Eric: “I’ve decided. I’m going back to China. The missionary service has accepted me. [Pause] I’ve got a lot of running to do first. [Pause] Jennie, Jennie, you’ve got to understand. I believe that God made me for a purpose, for China. But he also made me fast. And when I run I feel his pleasure, To give that up would be to hold him in contempt. You were right. It’s not just fun; to win is to honor him.”

Today I would like to celebrate all those who have found their special calling and by excelling in that calling can feel God’s pleasure. Today I attended a meeting and found it like other meetings I’ve attended in the past—the discussion becoming increasingly over my head and passing me by. However, not all performed marginally at the meeting. In particular John Armbruster, a Parks & Recreation Manager for the City of Saint Petersburg, made vital contributions to the discussion showing acute understanding throughout and moving the discussion along without monopolizing it. In short, his graceful contributions were a blessing of illumination and clarification. It is a joy to watch runners like Eric and all those in other fields that have been true to God’s calling for them. It is not an exaggeration to say that they emit a sense of mastery, clarity, and beauty—of charismatic integrity.

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Monday, October 14, 2013

My View on the Current National Politics

I owe it to my readers to be frank regarding my views on the current stalemate in national politics. If you have read my blogs more or less extensively, you are aware that I am a man of faith who has on occasion in the past not compromised on issues. Take for example the draft in 1968 during the Vietnam War. I refused to be inducted and was sentenced to federal prison as a result. So right off the bat I have some identity with those who hold uncompromisingly in their position against some macro developments in our country. I disagree with those who are currently willing to decline funding provisions regarding the national debt. But I have been there in a way. I have done that. I know the feeling in the gut that says “This far and no further NO MATTER WHAT. When you think about it, many historically admired people have had the same feeling—Jesus Christ, Luther, Bonheoffer, Gandhi, MLK, and many others. So we cannot conclude categorically that uncompromising conviction is bad.

And I cannot take the tack that the consequences of my decision redounded only to me whereas the decision of current staunch House members would affect all of us. Surely I must recognize that some may have died or suffered life-long injury directly as a result of my decision refusing the draft.

For me clarity in this matter depends upon discerning the root causes of American economic escapism. In my view the burgeoning American deficit is a clear indication that we are carefully nursing some fundamental delusions. My sister-in-law and I talked on the phone the other day and I asked about the bees hived in their yard in north Georgia. Heavy rains had destroyed the blossoms there about so she was pressed to feed them sugar water to keep them from starving—which she did. I told her that now her bees will have become accustomed to an entitlement and that they would never again hover about the countryside gathering nectar. This is really so far as I know an open question, can bees be re-educated to never browse for nectar again but rather depend upon sugar water handouts? I like to think (though I don’t know for sure) that the first chance they get to gather nectar productively they will do so.

Just so with man; if there is nectar to gather even if substantial effort is required, if not encumbered by overwhelming negative forces, they will prefer to creativity fulfill the hunter instinct. This is an unproven supposition on my part, but I strongly suspect that is true since happiness derived from productive creativity is affirmative and supportive of self-esteem and happiness.

Now in American “overwhelming negative forces” are seated in the worship of capitalism as the primary if not sole determiner of the distribution of wealth. This has led to great disparities in wealth as the labor market sets prices of significant swaths of productive labor below its true value. That is, from the get-go there is an arbitrary redistribution of wealth from its actual sources. When this is combined with the principle that possession is nine-tenths of the law, the scene is set for great injustice and atrophy of overall economic activity. Instead of widespread abundance, we have widespread marginality and poverty. (Note: I have repeatedly asserted that capitalism as an economic engine is a necessary though not sufficient factor in the US economy.)

Thus, I do not fault those concerned about the burgeoning national debt since it represents the result of a sure to be fatal escapism. I disagree that the fundamental problem we are facing is “lazy bees.” I think the problem rather is the unjust distribution of wealth at the fountainhead—at its source not only among the entrepreneur capitalists at the top of the mountain, but among the many laborers at the base. Perhaps bees, at some point, rather just die than work for nectar insufficient for survival.

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