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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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