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Thursday, December 28, 2017

Mechanism of Abundance

“Because the poor are plundered and the needy groan,
    I will now arise,” says the Lord.
    I will protect them from those who malign them.
(Psalm 12:5 NIV)


Mark Twain once addressed the propensity for the religious in America to send missionaries to China. He suggested that those missionaries might be better placed within the lynching fields of America imbued as they were with the likes of the Ku Klux Klan. Likewise, I think there is a tendency for us to assume that “relatively speaking” everyone in America is wealthy. An image arises in our mind of emaciated children in some foreign land with distended bellies gazing toward us in dispassionate desperation. No doubt those born in America are fortunate in many ways. However, this in no way eliminates the fact that many in America live in poverty and the continual stress as to whether there will be enough money to pay the rent and to buy food--there are many that must assiduously account for a mere $20 that represents their set-aside for food to last out the month.

This is all to say that I believe that Psalm 12:5 quoted above relates not only to far-off countries, but to many in our own country.

Sometimes it is frankly quite difficult to discern where good practical sense ends and ethics begins. Consider the tax plan recently made into law. The role of ideology can be illustrated by a perceived ambiguity in national affairs. That is, since the phenomenon observed is somewhat hazy we all feel justified in a Rorschach application of values derived exclusively from our own experiences and prejudices. Since it seems that no position is QED provable, we ascertain that our subjective view must be right and should be passionately pursued as if it were.

The Republicans have long advocated a “trickle-down” approach in which the wealthy are “wealth creators” and generate jobs and incomes for many through their investments. It is my belief that history has not demonstrated the correctness of this principle. Rather, it makes greater sense in my view to map out the true situation through the economic process called “the Velocity of Money”. The following description of the process is by Joshua Kennon. (

What Is the Velocity of Money?

Simply defined, the velocity of money is a measure of the economic activity of a nation.  It looks at how many times a unit of currency ($1 in the case of the United States) flows through the economy and is used by the various members of a society.

All else equal, the faster money travels (the higher the velocity of money) and the more transactions in which it is used, the healthier the economy, the richer the citizens, and the more vibrant the financial system.  The velocity of money tells you how efficient $1 of money supply is at creating economic activity…..

Ultimately, economic growth is the result of consumer demand.  Thus, you want money in the hands of people who will spend it, in turn, increasing the velocity of money.  Tax cuts that only [preponderately*] benefit the rich, rather than the average school teacher going into Target to buy a box of cereal or a video game for her child, are a failure.  [*bracketed word my addition].

There are many religious groups who foresee a coming apocalypse due to the divisive centrifugal forces rending our society. It is also possible in my view to see God acting in history in ways that concurrently increase abundance and economic justice.

Transcending Doctrinaire Ideologies

Friday, December 15, 2017

Fantasy Land and the Money Tree

24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”  Matthew 19 (NIV)


Jesus in the Beatitudes says “Happy are those…” who live from essentially a stance of humility and gratitude.  The other day Connie and I asked our doctor if he could make a general observation about how HE is treated by patients.  He said that those at the top and those at the bottom of the social pyramid are generally the most difficult to counsel.  When all bark is removed, the common element of both groups is their proud belief in their sheer entitlement.  Like the doctor, I have seen that those entitled by government funding at the bottom lose sight of the fact that the source of government funding comes sooner or later in one way or another from working families struggling to pay taxes while supporting their own families. In essence, the entitled can view the source of their funding coming not from other people (essentially what is social in nature) but painlessly from a type of disembodied SYSTEM.  I see no difference in this than those wealthy at the top who never give it a thought that much of their wealth ultimately derives from the labor of others.  The wealthy top executive feels totally entitled to millions in compensation from a capitalistic SYSTEM safely detached from any suffering of real people.  No doubt there were slave owners who never once questioned the total justification of slave compensation and lack thereof.  Likewise I’ve heard totally complacent present-day executives purr regarding the idyllic contentment of their employees subjected to the stress of chronic under-compensation and dead-end jobs.

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Saturday, December 2, 2017

Sentimental Hogwash or Foundational Surety?

Zechariah 4:6 (NKJV)

‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’
Says the Lord of hosts.


The other day I played one of my favorite theme songs “Don’t Fence Me In.”  A freedom to roam and explore stands paradoxically as testimony to a nurturing, steady, reliable, and supportive background.  The turmoil of presidential politics in the United States during the past year came as a jolt to many Americans.  We felt much as children would feel who became long accustomed to a loving, nurturing environment when suddenly one parent (institution) became rabid with abuse, untruth, and malignant ill will. Such children who once assumed foundational comity and trust now felt dangerously close to the edge of a sucking abyss.


May the Force Be with You


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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Sex Scandals - My Personal View

What strikes me most about the latest sex scandals is the widespread shock and righteous indignation that such hurtful sexual predation ever manifests itself.  This is a reaction I cannot share on two major counts.  Firstly, during my lifetime my fantasies and dreams have not always carefully colored within the [respectable] lines.  There was a popular song that included the words “You can’t go to jail for what you’re thinking.” (A song that coincidentally arrived with advent of my own puberty—I remember it well!  [STANDING ON THE CORNER by The Four Lads 1956]). I can assure you that if my thoughts could land me in jail, I’d be a “throw-away-the-key lifer.”  Why am I so willing to share this admission?  Because a voice deep within me says I am not alone…there was once an individual 853 years ago that had the same predilections.  Thus, rest assured from a purely historical perspective, I’m not alone.

Secondly, I have come to avoid boastful oaths that “I would NEVER do that!” (fill in the blank).  Sometimes I think the most astounding thing about me (and that guy 853 years ago) is our ability to rationalize anything—especially when what I take to be my short-term pressing needs conflict with the rights and best interest of others.

With this in mind, it seems to me that a “holier-than-thou” stance is achievable only when I block out my own mental landscape.  This does not for a moment mean I excuse sexual predation.  But forgiveness is a prerogative of the victims and their families, certainly not of me.



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Thursday, November 16, 2017

The Canker Core of Cynicism

Readers who are conversant in legal matters will have to forgive me, but today I wish to sketch out what I take to be our justice system’ s great insight into human ideation.  The basic wisdom is that it is hopeless to assume human dispassion when great matters of personal interest are at stake.   If, for example, I am on trial and the consequence of my side losing would be 25 years in prison with no chance of parole, then you can be certain that I will yearn for legal representation that can readily morph into the opposition’s worst nightmare of a pit bull.

Now this system that frankly takes into consideration the inevitable passionate nature of self-interest works tolerably well.  Yet a two-year-old toddler can readily see how to blow up the whole thing—just let either or both parties funnel payoff money (bribes) to the judge or jury.

Well, that’s pretty much the fatal flaw in our legislation system.  No reasonable person can expect a lobbyist to be completely fair and impartial. They will be pursuing the agenda for the interest they represent.  Better outcomes may well depend upon multiple interests competing with one another in their best, most cogent presentations.  But the whole exercise becomes mere pretense when payolla blankets the capitol floor like knee-deep feces scattered forth from prolific hordes of scurrying rats.  To the extent that legislative bodies function like compromised kangaroo courts on the take, deep cynicism of political decisions is inevitable.  But be assured, however …….a bomb is ticking.

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Monday, November 13, 2017

The FIRST Order of Business - All Due Respect

Police officers protect the community by enforcing laws and maintaining peace. The job requires excellent judgment, hard work, extraordinary courage and the ability to think quickly under pressure. Knowing what to expect in job preparation, the police academy, and at the interview stage will help you get ready for your new career in law enforcement.

Reflections on Veterans Day often begin for me with the local police agency. (After all, many sworn local officers do have a background in the military.) As the above paragraph mentions, the purpose of the local police is to protect the community by enforcing laws and maintaining peace. I try to put myself in the place of an officer.  My service begins with these fundamental stated commitments. However, the actions of the police are broadly contingent upon the enveloping moral climate and the codified will of the people.  That is, practically speaking when people have “gone fishing” rather than giving due labor and attention to public policy, then seeds of bitterness are already sown.   In these cases, our military personnel have FROM THE OUTSET been cruelly betrayed and ceremonial postmortem buckets of tears and drawn sanctimonious faces bent low make plain the true cause of death--a long-standing political dereliction of duty.


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Thursday, November 9, 2017

Intemperate Weather

Blessed are the pure in heart,
    for they will see God.
  (Matthew 5:8  NIV)

The Second Coming (Excerpt)
W. B. Yeats, 1865 - 1939

The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.


The Anatomy of  Smears

Those who smear others claim rectitude and innocence and practice astonishment that anyone could possibly think otherwise.

People seek to destroy the reputation of others for selfish ends and are often filled with envy and jealousy.

When people smear others they typically seek to claim for themselves an air of objectivity, and thus express utter wonderment that any fair-minded person could question their impeccable search for truth (invariably "truth" of the most salacious kind).

The person who smears calculates that their accusations will embroil the accused  person in perceptual altering controversy and will render them thereafter tainted, damaged goods.

As for the person smeared, their loyal friends look for a response filled with adroitness and skill in outflanking falsehood followed by immediate re-imaging of and return to shared governing purposes.

For Christians the downside of salvation is that the Way can attract ruthless opposition, even hatred.  At such times the "cloud of witnesses" provide an abiding trajectory of inspiration and toughness.

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Monday, November 6, 2017

But I Repeat Myself....the Sad Results Never Change

Tuesday, July 13, 2010 (blog originally posted)

The Pint Size State

The sword of the state simply means
The state has the power to regulate
And back it up with all it takes;
This is a role it cannot abdicate
And remain the state

The citizen’s role is large and great
To create, vote, and speak
But the role of the state it cannot take
The sword of the state it must not usurp
For then citizen it ceases to be,
And becomes instead a mini-state

Oh brave new world that attempts to make
Man and gun a mini-state
Forfeiture of roles etched in heaven
It seeks to level with gun metal.

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Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Revelation Sunday

This past Sunday we celebrated All Saints Day at church.  This included mention individually of all in the congregation who passed away during the last 12 months.  Then we were given the opportunity to honor others deceased who have touched and blessed our lives.  The point was made that referring to one as a saint does not suggest complete lack of error in living, but rather that one is a member of that body of earnest players with Christian commitment.  Suddenly, the structure pictured and described below came to mind.  And for the first time I understood that the Lord’s minions include everyday, ordinary folk who earnestly seek to follow the Way.  Thus, in addition to the what might be called the heavenly Trinity, the structure makes provision for the human, intimate fellowship of ordinary believers.  

(Material below includes excerpts from previous blogs.)

The goal of the Christian way is not human purity, but divine fellowship. Our task is not to sweep and beautify the house so that there is not a speck of evil dust to be found, but to invite our Lord to dwell with us and fill the house with the laughter of forgiveness and the conversation of grace. (From A Year with Jesus (page 125) by Eugene H. Peterson author of The Message).

This passage by Eugene Peterson brought immediately to mind the structure of the “Little Joke” (see next).. The reality in this situation is not a fantasy world of the immaculately clean (the world, after all, is in a siege of “muddy rainy weather.”) The objective while within this mess is for the presence of the Trinity to fill our lives with forgiveness and grace so that steadiness can prevail in the midst of ambiguity, conflict, and strife—something only possible with the presence and strength of the Trinity—of Blessed Assurance embodied.

The Abiding “Little Joke”
Once many years ago (in 1980) I had a dear friend who gave me the following drawing on a small scratchpad piece of paper just before we left in his car on an errand one dark and rainy afternoon.  It is not the original drawing, which I lost, but a reproduction to the best of my memory and like the original is drawn with a broad tipped pen in black ink.  It is a very accurate reproduction for I immediately took it seriously though he said it was a “little joke.”  Very early on I took the drawing to have spiritual significance and assumed it was the gift of a divine messenger.  The writing beneath states (and these are the exact words) “A structure like this will please the dogs in muddy rainy weather.”  I take this to mean a holy structure (the thrice divided triangle) with a cantilever extension indicating worship of the Lord and also being and outward extension indicating compassionate involvement in the world—a structure—which will please the dogs in muddy rainy weather—in other words, through our time on earth which is a period of “muddy rainy weather.”  The “dogs” I take to be the Lord and all his minions.  I am led to share this with you tonight praying that all might be inspired to live sturdy, structured, and holy lives.
* The original given me did include the word "Yes".

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Thursday, October 26, 2017

The Seduction of America


18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written:

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
    the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”

21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.
(1 Corinthians 1 NIV)


I just heard the other day that the church I grew up in as a youth was forced to close its doors after damage to the property inflicted during the recent hurricane. I remember an active, thriving church during the late 50s and early 60s. But now the congregation has grown so small that the financial burden for repair was simply too great despite insurance coverage.

I think now of my fellow youth at the time and wonder if their travels through life have been similar in any way to my own. Too often the most acclaimed music, books, movies, and other cultural events have denigrated those values we learned in Sunday school and experienced in the Methodist Youth Fellowship. Religion which had once been the genesis of great educational institutions in America, now found itself to be seen as foolish, unsophisticated, and very uncool--something to be dismissed and ignore as beneath the truly intelligent. The ultimate putdown for those with Sunday school still circulating in their blood was the sad observation that the faithful were notoriously naïve as to the real ways of the world --despite the fact that a major part of religious training is to cultivate an appreciation for the vulnerabilities and limitations of human nature.

overtrusting and unworldly
With natural or unaffected simplicity, esp in thought, manners or speech

(Chambers Dictionary 13th Edition)

Of course, a major allegation by Donald Trump in the presidential campaign was that Pres. Obama had been ridiculously naïve six ways to Sunday. His basic problem apparently was that he was a wimp-- and what we needed was a strong man, a man with big hands and a hammer willing to smash heads and never ask questions.

 Sometimes I wonder what it would have been like to have had Donald Trump as a peer in our local church youth group in Bowling Green. Someone who would come to MYF always bragging that he had the very best of everything, who took himself to be the final judge and jury on everything, pronounced that we were all losers compared to his towering macho intellect, never felt remorse, laughed at those with handicaps, and saturated the air we breathed with a torrent of lies. I have no doubt that the self-confident among us would have put him in his place and thereby may actually have helped him. As for me, I would have cowardly smiled at some of his smears, and felt troubled by his nagging sense of worthlessness.

Of course, no one would wish for a naïve president except our enemies. What would be the alternative to naïveté? I think of Pres. Lincoln. He was someone who valued basic spiritual values – the better angels of our nature. In this sense one may say that even to the end there was a childlike Sunday school simplicity within a very complex and calculating man. Who else could write? “With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”

Call it Sunday school naïveté if you will – it’s a naïveté we desperately need at this very hour.

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Thursday, October 19, 2017

The Interplay of Integrity and Patriotism

Today I will ask the reader to invest more time than usual on this blog entry because the subject is much broader in its application than may first appear. I include two videos that treat an inveterate part of human nature that can either impel progress or presage disaster--the aspect of behavior (both individually and socially) that lusts to damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!

I say “wide application” because we have recently seen NFL players seek to warn that dangerous injustices lurk within race relations in American society. Some observers have called their kneeling during the national anthem unpatriotic. I view it quite another way. I view it as a humble attempt to respectively express a conscientious objection to America’s failure to live up to its highest ideals.

I beg you to exam the inertial forces driving human behavior itself.  I hope you will be able to agree that conscientious objection can be not only understandable but highly admirable.

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Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Breaking News


Today I announce a long-term ambition that has held me over the years – I have always wanted to be president of the United States. Did you chuckle, did you laugh? I think that's very understandable given a royally statuesque view of the presidency. (Someone once called by the kid nickname “Wiener” should better know their place.)  It is has taken me many years to develop an answer to these chuckles.  And that answer is: “Your view of the presidency is way too small.”

Many people yearn for a transformational president. I yearn for a president that has been transformed. Transformed that is by experience, education, work, and (the most important of all other than faith)—by the deep implantation within their innermost core of gratitude for the vast array of human resources and talent widely on display, but sometimes hidden but assuredly always there. Such assurances come by personal, intimate loving relations with at least some individuals outside one’s own circumscribed conventionality.  It is only then that one understands that the labels one pastes on others is directly reflective of one's own impoverished humanity.

I ask that you again listen to this recording. (It appeared also on my previous blog.)  It is of an American president and an adviser transcendentally assured they are fully capable of facilely judging the limitations of others.  To me this only says one thing—they still clutch even yet to their soiled romper room security blankets smeared deep with egocentric turpitude.

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Saturday, October 7, 2017

I’ll Hold My Tongue If You’ll Hold Yours


I have found that most people I’ve met to be kind and considerate. I am sure that much like me, they have bit their tongue more than once so as not to hurt or arouse stress in others. In short, in my life the problem has rarely been an overpowering bully, but the very opposite–an undue exercise of forced tolerance for my quirks and shortcomings.

This is much like the quasi rule of silence we have experienced in America since 1968 – a year of unbelievable and explosive social stress.

I came across a video yesterday that uncovers a subterranean chamber of latent snakes. (Please click this link immediately below)


The following link is Nixon phone call unedited.

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Saturday, September 30, 2017

Leadership Litmus Test---To Incite or Inspire?

Poet and sculptor do the work   
Nor let the modish painter shirk   
What his great forefathers did,   
Bring the soul of man to God,   
Make him fill the cradles right.

Under Ben Bulben

Please view video at this point (link below)


My father exercised three aspects of leadership: goodwill (love), empathy, and power under control (humility). Naturally as a Methodist minister he sought to encourage and inspire from the pulpit and occasionally during everyday discourse. This is something I think that most expect from their religious leaders. But of course, this need not be the case. We are all-too-familiar with the fact that religion can breed fanaticism that incites the most dangerous and inflammatory human emotions. 

As for religion, also for politics.  While of necessity a great deal of a government official's time is consumed by narrative of facts and what can be called rational prosaic commentary, it is also undeniably true that a government leader need also address the hearts, mentality, and emotions of citizens for these elements of human nature form an intractable part of life (embodied rhetoric).

Today may we seek to embrace enlightened prose and authentic poetry and eschew rank diatribe and destructive doggerel.


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Saturday, September 23, 2017

Are We Still of Any Use?

 Are we still of any use?



Verb: nurture

1. Help develop, help grow
2. Provide for and care for during childhood
3. Provide with nourishment

Noun: nurture

1. The properties acquired as a consequence of the way you were treated as a child
2. Helping someone grow up to be an accepted member of the community



Adjective: surrogate

1. Providing or receiving nurture or parental care though not related by blood or legal ties

Noun: surrogate

1. Someone who takes the place of another person
2. A person appointed to represent or act on behalf of others



As a Floridian I love to vacation in the mountains for there one is almost impelled to recognize the sweep of the forest. Today I want to contemplate society in the broadest terms. Let us ask what is the basic demand that most institutions exist to meet?  (I say “most” for in America we always maintain an underbelly of harmful “sin” enterprise often justified and even legitimized on the dubious claim of equal and ever-present free choice.) 

Institutions are created to meet unique demands arising from the multi-faceted need for nurture. I would like to discuss today two institutions – the family and the church. (Other institutions include government and the diverse roles reserved for the creative enterprise sector.)  In broadest terms, I hold all institutions are, in fact. service institutions in that they arise from the persistent need to nurture.

The unique gift that the family contributes to nurturing is the indispensable requirement for intimacy in human development and maintenance. Often, we are tempted to hold that “small things” don’t really matter that much. Absolutely nothing could be further from the truth. The unaffected knowledge that we are truly loved and that someone gives a damn whether we live or die can arise from a gentle touch on the shoulder—however irrational that may seem. Animal studies show that deprivation of intimacy can have long-term and profound debilitating effects.  The important question that confronts us is, can intimacy lack immediacy? Likewise, can surrogacy provide sufficient intimacy?

I would like to speak briefly of the church. Jesus asked us to pray by saying “Our Father.” (Some would even say “Our Daddy.”)  Nurture and extended family intimacy are very near the core of church life. When one says that we are to love one another – how different is that from saying that we are to nurture one another?  Can a  formal assembly lacking in intimacy or a family feeling still be the church?

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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The Wake of a Storm

Man is subject to death so seeks to limit his vulnerabilities.  In somewhat stable times, he can go so far as to hone a sense of security by fabricating dubious guarantors of strength either materialistically (showrooms filled with unsinkable Titanic’s) or ideologically (comforting Towers of Intellectual Babel).

During dire threats, however, man’s prior reflexive succor from handy pacifiers is at last shorn away leaving the ultimate defense against death where it has always resided—exercise of equality’s Golden Rule and mutual accommodation. Then everyday kindness is not readily dismissed as mere cotton candy, but cherished as the most vital strand of DNA.

Nature's Own Program Language  (click link below)

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Monday, September 4, 2017

Easy to Say

"You've made your bed, now lie in it".

There is a dilemma in human affairs that persists in all seasons. That pertains to the concurrent need for accountability and for forgiveness. Often it is the human heart itself that must resolve this ever-wreathing Gordian knot. Jesus represents the preferred recourse in elegant simplicity. In the incident of the woman who was the target of stoning, Jesus noted the obvious truth that none of her accusers were without somber error. By masterful indirection, he slowed the pace of events and effectively disarmed the situation. Then, as day follows night, he said to the grateful woman “Go and sin no more.” Even so, as for the stiff-necked chromium personifications of self-righteous cruelty preying upon society at large, he unrelentingly denuded them for public display.

I must share that I saw on the news last week President Trump directly relating one-on-one with little children during his visit to a flood disaster relief center in Texas.  This instantly caused me to weep.  May light suffuse our nation.

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Tuesday, August 22, 2017

“Being President above All Is a Humbling Job” ....(B Obama)

For the last month, I have been exposed to an unusual measure of personal anxiety.  A routine blood test revealed the presence of a protein that is a possible indicator of bone marrow cancer.  An oncologist directed that I take a battery of test including a complete bone survey using imaging technology.  On completion of this survey, a presiding technician who had been viewing the images as the examination progressed showed so much compassion—putting on my shoes, attaching my necklace, even correctly positioning my eyeglasses—that I was certain that the x-rays must have revealed an obviously abnormal bone condition.

Last Thursday I returned to the office of Dr. Ahmad Shaker, the oncologist, to hear the results of all the tests.  As is often the case, the congenial work environment of the staff was plainly evident.  The graciousness, authenticity, helpfulness, and cheerfulness of the staff was a sure signal that their boss was not a Hitler.

Connie was with me for the appointment in case I should need the buttressing of compassionate empathy should the news be bad.  Soon we were summoned from the waiting room.  Connie was in her transport wheelchair.  I was wearing sandals.  On maneuvering through a tight area in the waiting room, my left big toenail caught on wheelchair apparatus. It hurt, but the pain was not significant.   Waiting for the doctor in the exam room, however, we looked down and a large pool of blood surrounded my sandal.  The doctor came in as I was using paper towels to wipe of the blood.  He at once said, “That’s OK I will take care of it.”
He put on gloves, and with paper towels finished wiping up the blood.  Then he asked me to raise my foot.  He carefully cleaned the injured toe and bandaged it.  He then wrapped my entire foot.  His readiness to help and his congeniality and humility greatly impressed me. As a fully accredited oncologist and hematologist, surely staff could mop up blood and bandage a toe.  While he had my foot in his hand and was carefully wrapping my toe, a strong and warm feeling of being cared for, even loved, came over me.  (When I was a kid and Daddy would buy me shoes, he would always bend down and press the tip of my shoe to make sure that my toes had room.  He would look up directly at me and ask “Is this OK?)”.  (By the way, as for the tests, no cancer was found.)

Sometimes it is necessary for a leader (for example, an American President) to lay out facts in a forceful and even somber manner.  But it is also surely the role of a leader to faithfully communicate to others the compassion and willingness to serve (the care, the love) of the those he represents.

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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The Dunce Cap of Prejudice

Those who proselytize prejudice never seem to count the costs of prejudice:

Some would argue that the infliction of pain and suffering represents the greatest evil of prejudice.  This pain socially and individually has three dimensions--physical, mental, and spiritual (all moral considerations).   This fallout of prejudice when empathy is present can arouse widespread sadness.

But as a true American I must admit it is the impracticality of prejudice that drives me bonkers.  The very idea that we would write off even one individual as having nothing to offer--except as conforms to our sick fantasies--boggles the mind as to its utter stupidity and impracticality.  Let us say that we are in a bad way and in desperate need for insight; say, how to get unstuck from (fill in the blank).  Certainly the society that has assiduously cultivated to the maximum extent possible its entire inventory of human talent, encouraged a can-do spirit of hope and optimism, has manifested a readiness to share and receive, and knows from experience the satisfaction of shared participation and accomplishment—such a society is surely much less likely to stay stuck in the mud.

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Monday, August 14, 2017

Thank You Mr. President

Thank you President Trump for singing from the hymnbook today that most moves my heart.  I certainly do not think America owns the intellectual rights to common respect and kindness--though like many others I am grateful for our founding documents that inextricably intertwine business rules and regs with provisions for the deepest needs of the human heart--the principal need of which is for each person to be graced with love--not as an expendable state reward for some notoriety they may have received--but from our Creator duly recognized in the Declaration as the final governing authority. We especially are to cherish the spirit manifest in the Bill of Rights.  Love being the Creator's principal gift, we can spot would-be charlatans who care more about selfish gain than the wise nurturing of the commonweal.

Yes, President Trump I agree that all want to be special--in some sense great. It's uncanny how Greatness often has Generosity as its closest friend.  A moment of greatness can be seen in video below:


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Zero’s and Won’s


According to Neil Sloane, an ATT Fellow who co-edited [Claude] Shannon's large collection of papers in 1993, the perspective introduced by Shannon's communication theory (now called information theory) is the foundation of the digital revolution, and every device containing a microprocessor or microcontroller is a conceptual descendant of Shannon's publication in 1948. 


I am one of those fortunate individuals to have experienced in various ways the mental addiction that comes from “connecting the dots”. This phenomenon can induce a powerful and addictive high.  In climatic manic states, I have found myself in mental hospitals (or jail).  In my first admission into a mental hospital, I was sitting in a waiting area and took from a nearby table a pamphlet on alcohol addiction.  Someone sitting next to me pointed directly at me and offered that my own condition was much like an addiction.  I dismissed it then—to my great disadvantage

It seems to me that ideologies--political, philosophic, or religious—share at base the digital bimodal structure of a bit.  In the case of prejudice, I am white and you are black is captured by the severest and most universal addictive engine known to man—the free radical tautology “me good; you bad.” It can be argued that tool-making humanity with all the leverage that implies will survive only if and when this engine is tamed.

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Sunday, July 30, 2017

Why Call Me Good?

It is clear to me that the greatest contumely Donald Trump could possibly heap on anyone is for him to call them “a good man.”  (This would include the more inclusive phrase “a good person.”)  A similar concept describes people who are called “the salt of the earth.”   These monikers refer to persons willing to take detours to assist in lightening the load of others.  They add seasoning to life because goodwill is fundamental to fostering a nurturing and cohesive environment. 

A contrary view is that all goodwill is at base fraudulent.   By definition, humans (assuming they have the requisite guts) relentlessly pursue selfish interests at whatever cost to others.  There is the belief in fact that if one doesn’t fuck over others, then one lacks integrity and cannot be truly effective or successful.  Thus, the concepts “integrity”, “effectiveness”, and “success” are perverted to entail antisocial thoughts and actions.  This twisting of social norms and meanings reaches its nadir in the concept “law and order.”  Law and order in this inverse realm loses its function as a potent balm derived from a broad social contract and comity and becomes instead the lethal bludgeon of fanatical bullies. 


When the last nerve of a gentle lady is bludgeoned by bullies:

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Monday, July 24, 2017

The Have’s and Have Nots

I detest alcohol and do so principally because of two haunting images in my mind.  One day when I was about twelve years old, I was walking on the sidewalk next to Highway US 301 as it passed through my then hometown, Ellenton, FL.  Directly in front of me a car was parked by the sidewalk.  It was a hot day. The car windows were rolled down and I could hear distressful screams of children coming from within the car.  The car was next a tavern.  It hit me that the children could be excused for wondering in lonely hours whether they or alcohol mattered more to their parents.

Years later I carried a carload of children from Saint Petersburg to Anna Maria Beach.  On the way we stopped in Bradenton to pick up my mother who had prepared a picnic lunch.  On our arrival, the children hit the beach while mother and I found a table in the shade under Australian pines and began to set up the picnic.  Further over was another table around which sat a family with children and adults.  The adults were drinking profusely.  Suddenly…the visual that will not go away…a tipsy woman with beer can in hand attempted waveringly to embrace a child.  The child at once cowered and drew away.  It occurred to me the child may sometime find it troubling and difficult to discern alcohol induced mawkishness from the genuine caress of love.

Another visual now comes to mind—a scene from the play Death of a Salesman written by American playwright Arthur Miller.

First a trailer:

Next a Little Bit of Truth:

We know that life can level on all of us strong measures of unjustified pain.  But there is a sense in which some pain is more enduring and inured from redemption than others.  It is crucial to remember that in the Death of a Salesman even if Willy and his sons had stuck it spectacularly rich, the problem of veneered pain and the desperately driving need to assuage it would not have abated.  Piles of money in such cases mask symptoms rather than treat causes. 

I am aware that many Christians who share with me an old-time religious heritage can express some measure of support and encouragement for Donald Trump. Partly I think this is because we have been taught to sense those in pain and pray for them.  Notoriety as a snake oil elixir for deadening unendurable pain should always be quaffed from a chalice emblazoned with skull and bones crafted by the very hand of Satan himself.

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Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Democratic Party and the Rise of Personal Cognitive Dissonance

Cognitive Dissonance: (Psychology): the state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, especially as relating to behavioral decisions and attitude change.  (New Oxford American Dictionary)


I remember with much happiness the days when I was a full-blooded Democrat. The Democrats then were the unabashed champion of the poor, women, and those denied civil rights due to race or physical handicap. There were no discordant notes in my psyche. My deepest religious and political convictions dovetailed seamlessly. Now, not so much.

Suddenly it seemed with no regard for the sensitivities of those like me, the Democratic Party incredibly began to CHAMPION abortion. Likewise, it began to CHAMPION homosexuality. Like many, my sex life is not so sanely wise and pure that I would want it fully portrayed on the silver screen. It is my conviction that no human--bless our hearts--is fully wired to handle all the implications and emotions aroused by this persistent and insistent drive. And the issue is further complicated by the fact that all of us have a driving need for companionship quite apart from any baseline sexual activity. With all this said, I think that it is absurd to counsel a 14-year-old that he is gay and simply must accept that fact. The assumption that we have anything like complete understanding of carnal knowledge must be seen teetering upon the flawed foundation of ignorance and arrogance upon which it is based.


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Saturday, July 8, 2017

Mythology and the Mind Blowing Palaver of President Trump

From our earliest years we are taught to weave together truth and fact. One of my earliest experiences in this regard came early one morning on Christmas Day. Santa Claus purportedly brought our family a present – a carom board. On helping open the present I noticed postage stamps on the box containing the game. This at once shattered my belief in Santa Claus whose existence hitherto I had been taught as a fact. Immediately I wondered if Jesus and God were likewise of human manufacture. It seemed incredible to me that a world of adults would invest hard earned money, time, enterprise, and sometimes their very lives for centuries in something that had no basis in fact. This thought I kept to myself. Like the rest of my culture I soon learned that Santa Claus was, while not factually in residence at the North Pole, represented profound truths relating to innocence, wonder, anticipation, generosity, and parental love.  We experience this undeniable apprehension throughout our lives--that fact often pales in relevance to the power of experiential and emotive truth.  Say a lifelong friend of ours dies; we read a lengthy obituary in the paper that is replete with facts.  Yet to us, this in no way comes close to painting the person who meant so much to us.

The Trump administration uses the phrase “alternative facts.”  This phrase makes many of us blow a mental gasket as something that threatens society itself.  Are we to tell our young children to play with fire since it’s merely an alternate fact that fire can burn you? 

The issue before us has immense import. This issue pertains to the mythology of governance.  Truth is largely determined by what one’s mythology defines as legitimate.  Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol pits the mythology of Scrooge against the mythology of Christmas.  The parsimonious Scrooge defined truth as dramatically different from those celebrating Christmas.  It follows then that Scrooge’s world had alternative INTERPRETATIONS of fact.   A pile of money to him suggested only that the pile rightly and legitimately be even more towering.  The spirit of Christmas from its mythological perspective saw the same pile of money as the slave master of a spiritually immature Ebenezer Scrooge.

Where one stands in the mythology of governance clearly is determinative in the valence one ascribes to facts, their interpretation, and their perceived predictive implications.


The Eye of the Beholder

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Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Cruising with Jesus -- Not for the Clock Watcher

Jesus Calls His First Disciples
As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him. (Matthew 4:18-20 NIV)


I am a senior citizen and at that time of life when one tells oneself (or is told by others) you’d better do it (fill in the blank) while you still can. If you're ever going to do it, do it now!  For many my age that means travel--perhaps a cruise to Alaska to experience majestic towers of nature.

I can imagine that one day while I’m walking along in Saint Petersburg, Jesus pulls up in a Land Rover.  He asks "How would you like to go with me to Lake Junaluska (a beautiful Methodist Resort/Retreat in the Great Smokies).  I've known for years that a major aim of a Christian is to walk with Jesus faithfully and with perseverance.  Since I daily pray for this "walk with Christ" I am overjoyed by this opportunity to ride with Jesus to may favorite Christian retreat. From my past road trips there,  I know that the journey will take about 10 hours--an incredible opportunity to fellowship one-on-one with Jesus.

In good time we neared Jacksonville and stopped at a little diner for lunch. A small group of people were gathered there including locals and some travelers like us.  The blue plate special of the day was fried catfish (caught locally) served with hush-puppies, fries, and slaw.  Just like in the Bible Jesus loved to connect with others, and our quick meal soon turned into a 2 1/2 hour rendition of parables (we would say, "stories with a point") and conversation that seemed to me at times too intimate and personal.  Yet Jesus never intruded.  The people seemed to sense that Jesus was not there to put them down, but to listen and encourage.  Finally we stood to leave when a local there mentioned that a distant cousin of his in Louisiana was a prisoner of stress and anxiety.  To my utter astonishment Jesus at once ditched our plans to travel directly to Lake Junaluska.  Instead we added days to our journey just to see this man's cousin.  The man, I might add, drove with us from the diner. So my private time with Jesus was extremely short-lived.  While Jesus ministered to the cousin in Louisiana, we learned of a treatment center in Lincoln, Nebraska that was encountering unusual success in treating the mentally disturbed.  With way too little deliberation from my point of view, our plans changed again and were off on a journey to Nebraska.

The gist of all this is that my ride with Jesus to a North Carolina resort was repeatedly preempted by other destinations. While I thought I was going with Jesus on a precious one-day road trip, it turned out instead to be something very different.  I then remembered the words of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew: “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”

For Jesus the bucket list is less about places to see so much as people to free.


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