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Saturday, July 14, 2018

Bless Be The Tie That Binds

This week we have seen President Trump yearning to be the Strong Man.  Now lets all confess at the outset we have all been there before ourselves.  It is the desire in some sense to be the dramatic Superman swooping in on the scene to make histrionic and decisive change. Yet, as is so often the case in the complex cacophony of human affairs, resources can be ridiculously outstripped by the grind of mundane needs.  How often have I dreamed that if I could only have unlimited financial resources, I could finally bestow on those I love a final financial solution to end all sadness and grief?.  

Some weeks ago my wife and I were in my villa when I brought a plastic chair from off the patio and positioned it on the interior hard wood floors. On heavily resting myself within the seat the legs attempted to spread-eagle on the slick floor, a leg broke off, and I landed with a thud on the floor.  To all my young and lithe readers out there, let me rudely interpose here an unpleasant fact--old folks like me do not after a fall spring elf-like back on our feet.  No, it literally took me over two hours to so position myself on my knees with suitable structural support surrounding me to once again return to a standing position. Now my wife Connie--due to her physical limitations--could not begin to play the role of a Super-Strong Superwoman. She was there and could have called the first responders as a last resort.  But her continuous indispensable role for more than two stressful hours was TO BE THERE to supply encouragement and moral support. Sometimes with Super-Strong Man images clouding our minds, we tremendously underestimate the essential redemptive nature of just BEING THERE.  I have little doubt that countless parents under severe financial limitations daydream of a stupendous monetary windfall allowing them to save their children....whereas in truth wealth alone can never match the overwhelming need for a BEING THERE supportive embrace

This past week the chief representatives of NATO countries met to ceremonially symbolize SUPPORT in the face of continuing vulnerability.  The whole point of the ceremonies was a mutual demonstration of BEING THERE for one another--even if that should finally entail battlefield death.

When a family visits a loved-one in the hospital (as of, say, a youth seriously injured in a motorcycle accident), there may indeed be words of wisdom older family members may in their view wish to give a careless youth. But there is a season for all things and when a son's life hangs in the balance, there is need for a family circle of unadulterated and palpable symbolized support.

God give us grace to know when to embrace and when to refrain from embracing.

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Thursday, June 21, 2018

Donald Trump and Me

Good morning Pres. Donald Trump!

I would like to talk to you this morning as simply “Wayne” and I hope you don’t mind that I address you as Donald. 

Donald I look at your character and mine and come away with a nagging sense that in ways that neither of us perhaps can take credit for or blame, we profoundly differ. I understand that you do not drink alcohol and neither do I--for the very same reason I think.  We deeply understand the harm that it brings to human beings.  Both of us have an intimate acquaintance of harm done by alcohol to a loved one close to us. But at this point our behavior dramatically differs. It drives me crazy to walk through a convenience store with alcohol stacked so high that it literally seems to submerge me in its poison.  I feel for any youngster growing up after having gone down such cornucopias aisles of resplendent alcohol abundance. They cannot help but feel that alcohol belongs in American life – indeed, that it must have compelling health benefits. 

Donald even though a close family member of yours has died from alcohol and you too are so convinced of its harmfulness that you personally do not drink at all – yet even today you own a winery and own numerous properties that push alcohol relentlessly.  Your casinos were once destructive to your customers who--once clouding their judgment through alcohol--ran up enormous debts that you then relentlessly pursued with a staff of lawyers.  How is it that you do not include others within a circle of concern that includes yourself?  Do you see them as suckers to be exploited?  Do you feel that their pain validates and even proves your own superiority?

Don, I too like the smell of money – one of my favorite addictions is spending it every chance I get in Walmart. I suppose the very human response to a query regarding the measure of a money in a bank account is always “I could use more!”  Can you explain why we can be so much alike and yet so different? 

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Friday, June 15, 2018

The Weighty Matter of Post-It Notes

2 Kings 5:9-16 (NIV)

9 So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and stopped at the door of Elisha’s house. 10 Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, “Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.”

11 But Naaman went away angry and said, “I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy. 12 Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?” So he turned and went off in a rage.

13 Naaman’s servants went to him and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, ‘Wash and be cleansed’!” 14 So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy.

15 Then Naaman and all his attendants went back to the man of God. He stood before him and said, “Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel. So please accept a gift from your servant.”

16 The prophet answered, “As surely as the Lord lives, whom I serve, I will not accept a thing.” And even though Naaman urged him, he refused.


A woman can be proud and stiff
When on love intent;
But Love has pitched his mansion in
The place of excrement….

from ...Crazy Jane Talks with the Bishop


The more one experiences the leading of the Holy Spirit, the more one appreciates that God’s directives and lessons can seem sorely lacking in what humans typically consider suitable dignity and appropriateness.  The most valuable graduates from high flying Ivy League schools are those that intuitively grasp that the best answer for a perplexing outstanding social dilemma may well arise from a child's crayon drawing casually attached to a refrigerator door.

New Attitude (Lyrics)
Patti La Belle and The Bluebelles

Running hot
Running cold
I was running into overload
That was extreme.

I took it so high so low so long
There was no where to go like a bad dream.

Somehow [the] wires uncrossed
The table[s] were turned
Never knew I had such a lesson to learn.

I'm feeling good from my [head] to my shoe[s]
Know where I am going and I know what to do
I've tidied up my point of view
I've got a new attitude.

I'm in control
My worries are few
'Cause I got love like I never knew
Ooh oh ooo oh
I've got a new attitude.

I am wearing a new dress .. new hat
Brand [new] ideas
As a matter of fact
I've changed for good.

[It] Must have been the cold nights new moon
Night changes
Or forget your love for just being like I should

Songwriters: Bunny Hull / Jon Gilutin / Sharon Terea Robinson
New Attitude lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Link to source of above lyrics

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Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Let Us Stand Tall and Guilty…of being a Christian

Carl Jordan and Alan Bury were some of my best friends in that their palpable goodwill towards me could include good-natured challenges to my imperfections—Carl saying with a winning smile when I was hesitant to help provide roller skates for the children in our immediate neighborhood (lilting to the tune of the O’jays…"I know what you’re interested in…”'Money, Money, Money'’’) and then Alan as my university Wesley Foundation chaplain at a student conference saying ”Now go over and make James feel welcome": (James Hood who had just integrated with great controversy the University of Alabama).  Of course, my friends' cheerful manner overflowing with certainty that I would “straighten up and fly right” made it easy for me to do so.  Think how different I would have felt if anger and cynicism had replaced their winning confidence and trust that I would do the right thing. (Witness such trust and confidence in an American President:

Somehow, I wish that same goodwill and certainty could have been embedded with the challenges facing the church in America when it witnessed the Vietnam War—many congregations prayed for our soldiers but never once challenged or even explored the wisdom of the war or how it was executed.  Likewise, the church found it difficult to move from broad, general endorsements of brotherly love to the nitty-gritty cruelties of Jim Crow Racism.

In these matters fear (and consequential ironclad complicit silences) filled the hearts and minds of Christ’s church.  All dreaded that out-of-the-closet integrity and honesty would result in organizational disintegration and death. All were filled with self-doubt that Christian love could be any match for the passions of political tribalism.  Pathetically, they attempted to enlist as an unqualified mantra: “do not judge” to the degree that the devil himself (the very master of deceit) could remain head deacon.  All the while, it is never lost on any Christian that Christ was crucified not because he assiduously avoided judgment, but rather because he manifestly  judged the plainly evident failures of the scribes and Pharisees with uncompromising passion, conviction and out-there plain speaking.  (And we might ask ourselves, "What did these people so deeply invested in the status quo really fear?)


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Friday, June 1, 2018

By Any Other Name

(What would we do without our immensely talented artists?)

Rembrandt  - The Good Samaritan

Good Samaritan story found here (Luke 10:25-37)

The story of the Good Samaritan makes clear that a job label (or professional labels) can often not mean squat.  A major missionary providing for the needs of many smaller-town American communities came dressed not in the flowing robes of clergy, but someone with a sure faith that his proffered merchandise at affordable prices would be accepted and appreciated by a population heretofore bereft of many happy product choices. 


Question:  Consider the last person who serviced your car.....other than the obvious conventional label tagged on his forehead....did he function as a minister?.....did he minister unto you in a most practical and helpful way?  How about myriad other of our fellow human resources  "doctor, lawyer, Indian chief"  or as I heard the other day..."those working from the basement to the top floor..and all floors in between...we're all humans just trying to do our part."

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Thursday, May 31, 2018

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Government as an Instrument of Safety, Inspiration and Hope

Last evening on TV I flipped to the Local News & Weather Channel--I kid you not, the first breaking news was about a couple who incestuously molested their very own child.  Next came a report about a drive-by shooting in which a young man was killed; this  was  followed by a corruption story; followed by a story that babies in alarming numbers are being born with drug addiction due to their birth mothers’ own drug addiction   Finally came the weather report--a dangerous tropical storm is headed our way.   (Opps (ad time...)

Now the tone dramatically changed with a bouncy, attractive, and upbeat advertisement selling  the Florida Lotto (similar to ad above).  The room itself became illumined with inspiration and hope--if not exactly like a Shining City on a Hill, at least resplendent as the most luxurious suite in Vegas.

Just think about that for a moment--the institution whose sacred mission is to ensure public welfare, safety, and the common good is now peddling hope like a shyster preacher assuring that a hanky dipped in the Jordan River is your road to existential hope and preternatural riches [at core spiritually no different than peddling a false god].  

Maybe the many throughout American history who have died on battle fields, lynching fields, or dangerous streets have died with a prayer that America would one day fulfill  its promise of fair play for all …..that is, without question a death-wish prayer yearning for the erection of state-run one-armed bandits on every block and through government auspices trumpeting true-believer propaganda promising vaults  overflowing  with sequined wardrobes and a gushing satiation of private wealth.  (Maybe the heroes so died, then again, maybe not.)  Surely winning the mother lode is nothing less than the highest symbol of America’s Deepest Values and our most helpful and winning witness to the world.  [God Bless  America!!--as  President Trump so often prayerfully and humbly petitions--sometimes  even in public!!]

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Friday, May 25, 2018

Looking Back......Looking Forward

Memorial Day: Revolution (Revelation) in God’s Country

Now be Honest -- Ain’t this Great!!!!!

Think now…looking ahead…don’t you sense a fresh wind at our backs?  Like in the 50’s, the old paradigms will blow their locks and find the streets overflowing with revolutionary new sexy moves.  

Psalm 100 (KJV)

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.
Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.
Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

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Thursday, May 24, 2018

Beyond the Pale of the Humane

The book WiseDogs : Brown & Spartas

It is becoming more and more apparent that significant sectors in both Russia and America are motivated not by ideology so much as sadism—enjoying perverted thrills from inflicting pain, suffering, and humiliation on others.  The ultimate thrust of the knife and lurid achievement is the murder of hope itself—the ripping of hope from the heart of others and then to desecrate it with shit (or perhaps piss upon it in a golden shower) followed by gleefully scurrying off with it as a trophy to subterranean caverns beyond the pale of anything remotely recognizable as humane.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

And the Land I Favor and Love....What Now is Your Excuse?

The Creator’s Partnership with humanity through science presages the end of innocence as a nickname for sheer ignorance .  Will we spit in God’s face and bow before money and the self-righteous escapism fueled by codified political payola?  Warning: the true impact of alcohol upon perception profoundly undercuts the abiding glue of community and clips its wings that fly.

41Jesus said to them, "If you were blind, you would have no sin; but since you say, 'We see,' your sin remains.  John 9:41 NASB

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

A World without Borders

The other day I wrote regarding the insignificance of the real estate mantra--location, location, location.  While ethics can face challenges in regards to identifying the greater good, the determinant factor finds mental and spiritual geography a thousand times more important than physical geography.  For example, the parables of Jesus drill down to essentially a substratum of universal application. It would be absurd to think that Jesus’s whole point regarding the prodigal son was about sand location rather than the quicksand of spiritual rebellion and the forgiving grace of God.

In this light we can see the true significance of a Shining City on a Hill. Nothing is more desirable than that every single person in the world (including the US itself) be blessed by the better angels of mankind's  nature. In this sense, I yearn for the entire world to become my fellow Americans and longingly welcome each and every one to our free and open banquet table.

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Monday, May 21, 2018

Forecast--Mild and Wildly Crazy

To my friends in Missouri--the Show-Me State,….Stand by….

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Saturday, May 19, 2018

Why Don't We Give It a Shot?

5 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit[b] gives birth to spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You[c] must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”[d] (John 3:3-8  NIV)


It is my opinion that the determinants of a world view belief system are not individualistically susceptible to free choice.  Clearly there is a huge difference in my feeling of control when making a typical transient purchase decision--Coke or Pepsi?--compared to long-term often open-ended commitments such as to the nature and legitimacy of major social institutions.  We see in (the wind) passage above regarding a watershed perceptual phenomenon that Jesus punted with a descriptive answer rather than a mapped-out causative one.  (We can find some assurance is His remark that in the future “even greater things” will be done by believers. (John 14:12).)

At this point in history we are to influence basic beliefs in my view with connection, intimacy, honesty, commitment, and respect--goodwill.  (Argument and debate have little or no persuasive effect via mass media unless respect, warmth, and kinship are authentically representative of what we already know about the speaker.)  Even so, Fireside Chats when done with absolute respect--no degree whatever of patronizing or manipulation--are by far the best approach to win personal commitment to public policy.

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More than Thoughts and Prayers

A Public Servant Is Known By Real Trust in and Goodwill for Fellow Americans.  False Politicians (False "Profits") in Truth Hate Americans (and we must finally conclude, even themselves.) 

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Thursday, May 17, 2018

More than a Motto

Once a great friend (Carl Jordan), who often gave me inspired advice, once observed as I wrestled with a severe challenge: “It is what it is.  Just deal with it.”  As often with Carl, I determined that this was no mere casual advice but something I was intended to deeply implant within accessible memory. It is advice that surfaced in Walmart yesterday when I saw a T-shirt for sale with the following graphic emblazoned upon it: “These Colors Don’t Run.”

 Combining this motto with Carl’s advice results in a compass indicator directing us to deal effectively with given issues as they arise.  Our personal values are often determinant in resulting behavior.  “Dealing with it” can yield duplicity, manipulative fabrication--spinning, covering-up, contrived silence and a taboo status, hypocrisy, blatant escapism, malevolent threats, character assassination, illicit pay-offs, and cowardly acts of treachery and intimidation.

I hope that Americans look at “Don't Run” as not only standing ready to wisely exercise the Sword of the State, but also impling enlisting individual courage to speak up plainly and forthrightly with integrity and honesty concerning issues on every level.  What is the point of calling ourselves “the land of the free and the home of the brave” if we bite our lips and keep in chained silence every burning conviction smoldering within our hearts?


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Monday, May 14, 2018

The Hovering Real Estate of the Mind

(Image included in Stardock sofware package)
Advertisements endlessly affirm that we can buy happiness.  If we Americans want to inhabit a "Shining City on the Hill" it is obvious all that is needed is deep financial pockets to make that Big Real Estate Deal.  There are many Christians throughout the world that read about Jesus weeping over Jerusalem (as described in Luke 19).  I guess my first memories of the passage began when I lived in a small rural town in Florida.  It never once occurred to me to say “Whew!  I’m glad I live here because it is only in Jerusalem that bad stuff happens when the shit of self-righteousness pollutes the streets.”  The plain truth is that most believers read the Bible not as some “once upon a time far away” history, but the living Word revealing the persistent core of human nature as it exists beginning with oneself.  Most Christian never literally visit the geological location where Jesus walked (most of us don’t have the cash anyway); but we pray earnestly that God’s ”Kingdom come on earth as it is in Heaven (come even to my hometown and even to my very heart / In a sense, today may the New Jerusalem start with me)”.



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Saturday, May 12, 2018

The Forever Rebirth of Wonder and the Worship of God

As man is made in God’s image, we are asked to trust him and even so out of love (not lust) explore his universe as best we can—and through love come to see reality as God sees it rather than distorted by the power obsessions of greed that can in no way lead to truth.  In this light, it is simply the case that the exacting requirements of science and engineering (as well as the disciplined arts both practical and creative) are expressions of respect, love, and service and at core yield one of man’s highest expressions of the worship of God.
Like many stories in the Bible meanings are found within meanings and have multiple application.  It is common for man to interpret the world based upon his own ideology and thus, at times, distort "what is so regardless of what we may say about it" by what we indeed do say and think about it--often with a obsessive defensiveness arising from fear and profound insecurities.  In this sense, man comes to truth only when he is able to throw open his closed mind (to truly engage in wonder) through humility and through the structural tools designed to discipline and sustain humility over time (and to through love respect his material for what it is rather than what his preconceptions insist they be).  When this occurs reality is boss and man the dutiful listener.  Thus the song Joseph sings in the following video is an example of when man ceases to impose his own understanding.  The prerequisite for human advancement is not the fanatical worship of man, but the laying aside of man's ego for abiding trust in Providence--a trust serving to supplant personal fear and insecurity. [Trust in the Lord with all your heart / and lean not on your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5 NIV)]

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Wednesday, May 9, 2018

The Dog I’d Like to Have—at Least in Theory

Last All Saints Day I had a new amplification of a revelation I first received in 1980.

This revelation served to bring further definition to “the Lord’s minions.”  In addition to the heavenly realm, the definition expanded to include all earnest exponents of the Way—including a vast number of ordinary humble servants employed in the Lord’s work today. While I rejoiced in this illumination, on second thought it bothered me to think I could so facilely refer to humans as “dogs.”  It can be an extremely pejorative term.  Who, for example, would want to be anybody’s “Lap Dog”?  [(idiomatic, by extension) A person who behaves in a servile manner, such as a sycophantic employee or a fawning love: ass-kisser, sycophant, toady (from Wiktionary).] 

From my understanding, a loving God yearns for us to work in his vineyard; but the last thing he would want is a glue-like gaggle of simpering courtiers “very humbly” groveling in his shadow attempting to patronize and manipulate him while riffing deceptive Iago-like saccharin insinuations from the depths of hell.

In truth, many of us capitulate to the love of our pets for the simple and genuine love and affection they loyally embody.  The Perfect Dog would share with our Perfect God one additional trait—the complete understanding of the human condition.  This would include the awesome and sometimes unpleasant duty to point out that human decisions can be destructive and hurtful to others…..and depressingly often our very selves.  As humans cherish nothing so much as the role of F├╝hrer within their ill-defined proprietary spaces; a gentle, suggestive recommendation regarding possible positive behavioral modification can unleash a raging blitzkrieg of rending carnivorous fangs.



Dog’s Virtues
By Billy Graham

Dogs are quick to show their affection. They never pout, they never bear a grudge. They never run away from home when mistreated. They never complain about their food. They never gripe about the way the house is kept. They are chivalrous and courageous, ready to protect their mistress at the risk of their lives. They love children, and no matter how noisy and boisterous they are, the dog loves every minute of it. In fact, a dog is stiff competition for a husband. Perhaps if we husbands imitated a few of our dog’s virtues, life with our family might be more amiable.

Printed in the Atlanta Daily World, May 14, 1988

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Saturday, May 5, 2018

A Perennial Foundational Issue in American Politics


(Below definitions and amplifications from Wikipedia)

Ad hominem (Latin for "to the man" or "to the person"[1]), short for argumentum ad hominem, is a fallacious argumentative strategy whereby genuine discussion of the topic at hand is avoided by instead attacking the character, motive, or other attribute of the person making the argument, or persons associated with the argument, rather than attacking the substance of the argument itself.[2].....

Criticism as a fallacy

Doug Walton, Canadian academic and author, has argued that ad hominem reasoning is not always fallacious, and that in some instances, questions of personal conduct, character, motives, etc., are legitimate and relevant to the issue,[9] as when it directly involves hypocrisy, or actions contradicting the subject's words.


Those skilled in debate know that the purpose of debate can be as complex as human nature itself.  Very rarely does debate merely involve a purely objective and pristinely intellectual rationality. Self-interest, conviction, emotion, and the defense of one’s very legitimacy as a person (rather than supinely acquiescing to one’s opponent’s portrayal of you as a twisted, irrational buffoon) all can be vital to the skill and art of debate. 

In our last presidential election cycle we witnessed the ad hominem argument pursued with a spiteful vengeance by Donald Trump—even towards his Republican primary opponents. Now we see the critics of Trump also making impassioned ad hominem arguments--but now based on the rationale that such an approach has urgent, ethical grounding (and it would be fallacious to pretend that character is not the major factor at play).


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Thursday, April 26, 2018

The Spirit or the Deed : The Chicken or the Egg?

(From book WiseDogs : Brown & Spartas)


Let us define success by working towards meeting the full panoply of human needs, and a singular basic need is the sturdy health of self-confidence.  If you are one of the lucky ones, your parents realized that essential nourishment requires not only food and water--the bare necessities--but also multiple opportunities to cultivate a flourishing confidence drawing upon skills, yes--but beyond that—enduring hope and a wide array imagination and fantasy. 


Thursday, April 19, 2018

Faith: A Certitude Defined by Flexibility

The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.
F. Scott Fitzgerald, "The Crack-Up" in Esquire (2/36)


Hebrews 11 J.B. Phillips New Testament (PHILLIPS)
11 1-3 Now faith means putting our full confidence in the things we hope for, it means being certain of things we cannot see. It was this kind of faith that won their reputation for the saints of old. And it is after all only by faith that our minds accept as fact that the whole scheme of time and space was created by God’s command—that the world which we can see has come into being through principles which are invisible.


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Friday, April 13, 2018

Heading Down the Zion Trail

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Declaration of US Essential Dependence

Matthew 22:36-40 New International Version (NIV)
36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 

39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Matthew 23

27 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. 28 In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.

Please consider the following video link urgent and obligatory!

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Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Meditation Moment

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Work in Progress

It’s 5:30 AM and this morning I am sitting alone in front of the Marshall Student Center at USF Tampa – now all aglow in lights. On the way here I stopped  by  the Waffle House and had a T-bone steak with eggs and grits. The restaurant was full of happy people well acquainted with each other and with the staff as well.  A great feeling of warmth came over me when I realized we were all "works in progress." Somewhere I have seen on T-shirts “God is not through with me yet.” That’s really a wonderful insight I think. – To know that we are not the end-all and be-all of human progress and civilization. I remember so well a University of South Florida's history professor saying that it seems that every generation thinks their challenges are the most important that mankind has or will ever face. What a relief it is to see that humanity is a work in progress. There is always so much more to learn and understand. Why don't we have a little more generosity for our fellow humans not only in the past nor merely present but also in the time to come. If God is willing to risk it,  who am I to do any less?

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Sunday, April 8, 2018

The Springtime Throwing Open of Windows

Matthew 16:5-12  NIV
5 When they went across the lake, the disciples forgot to take bread. 6 “Be careful,” Jesus said to them. “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”

7 They discussed this among themselves and said, “It is because we didn’t bring any bread.”

8 Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked, “You of little faith, why are you talking among yourselves about having no bread? 9 Do you still not understand? Don’t you remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? 10 Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? 11 How is it you don’t understand that I was not talking to you about bread? But be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” 12 Then they understood that he was not telling them to guard against the yeast used in bread, but against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.


John 3:3-7  NIV
3 Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. 2 He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.

3 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.[a]”

4 “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”

5 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit[b] gives birth to spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You[c] must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”[d]


Sometimes I like to think of Emily Dickinson in correspondence with Lucy from the Peanuts cartoon.  I think it would only be a matter of time before one or the other or both committed suicide.  The above passages cannot help but elicit sympathy for Jesus—surely he must have occasionally sighed—“Come on fellows…give me a little help here.”

This past week I have been in several discussions about the story(s) of creation described in Genesis—people ask, do you think it is true?  In my view the original tellers of this story might change a word or two considering the endless enervating and bizarre discussions we now hear that seem to totally miss the point.  Maybe the author would settle for “first phase” rather than “first day" (anything to bring a little sanity and peace and, lo, a semblance of intelligence to a tiresome discussion recalling the endless chatter about how many angels can fit in a phone booth (or was it on the head of a pin?). 

But the whole point anyway is to affirm with no wiggle room whatever that God IS the Creator and humans ignore THIS FACT at the direst of personal and social peril.  Part of being real (Genesis makes clear) is that God is boss, and we are not.  (Considering the Omnipotence, Omniscience and Omnipresence of God, it seems absurdly unnecessary to make such a statement except for man’s ego IQ whose elevation falls pitifully below that of a sun-bleached cow patty.)

I too await a rebirth of wonder….punctuated often by laughter and joy.

(PS:  Some weeks ago I dismissed a friend’s sincere question regarding the Genesis creation account with an arrogant dismissal as if the question were stupid….rather than that of my splattering ego IQ.)

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Wednesday, April 4, 2018

The Puzzle Is in the Proofing

Isaiah 41:~9 & 10 NIV

I said, ‘You are my servant’;
    I have chosen you and have not rejected you.
10 So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.


Matthew 16:1-4  NIV

1Then the Pharisees and Sadducees came and tested Jesus by asking Him to show them a sign from heaven.
2But He replied, “When evening comes, you say, ‘The weather will be fair, for the sky is red;’ 3and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but not the signs of the times! A wicked and adulterous generation demands a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.” Then He left them and went away.

It seems a curious thing that believers can see the assisting hand of God daily while non-believers never see it at all. There are here two perceived realities, yet it is fair to ask is there only one set of facts?—is God in some sense absent from not only the perception of non-believers but also from actual ad hoc micro assistance as well (the Bible holds that the benefit of macro blessings obtains to all).—So then, if a probability study were to be made regarding the egregiously small likelihood of a related chain of micro events (a miracle) obtaining to the benefit of believers, it would be difficult if not impossible to devise a tenable control group to assess the sway of perception as distinct from fact.

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