Sitting on the front porch this evening I observed a strange truck park just ahead of my van on the street.  A minute later a strange new Camry pulled up behind it.  A mid-forties white man got out of the truck, walked to the Camry, and entered on the passenger side.  A young black man who appeared to be in his late teens or early twenties was in the driver's seat.  I thought to myself, "This is very strange."  So, I approached the Camry and said to the two in the car, "What is going on here?  Do you realize this looks like a drug deal?  Are you dealing drugs in my front yard?"  I pulled my phone out and called the cops, gave them the license numbers and vehicle descriptions, and watched as the two bolted like scared rabbits.

I walked inside and turned on the T.V.  The Royal Wedding was on PBS.  I watched the end of the ceremony that segwayed into a carriage ride through the streets of Windsor with two million adoring Britains cheering and offering their ascent along the way.  It was a magnificent spectacle to behold, this modern day Royal wedding with magnanimous pomp and circumstance, like out of a fairy tale of old.  This vision portrayed everything that was right in the world: the union of a man and woman in holy matrimony, the patriotism of a nation proud and celebratory, the magnificence of an actual "Camelot."  And in my mind I couldn't recall observing two more opposing scenes that close together.

Two opposing visions:  the first of a diabolical and lawless existence leaching the life and hope out of people, the other of beauty, magnificence, and hope of a bright future. The first, a vision of the hard and ugly reality-the twisting and perverting of freedom. The second, a bonafide real life fairy tale.

These visions, so antithetical to each other, evoked the need in me to express the angst, sadness, disappointment, and hope that rises up in me from all I observe around me these days.  The cynicism that pervades our thinking today is because we have taught ourselves societally and institutionally to keep our heads and eyes down in order to not see the brutal injustice that surrounds us.  We have become comfortable with evil living across the street or even right in front of our own dwellings.  "As long as it doesn't knock on my door, it doesn't exist," we convince ourselves.  Then some kid jacked up on hurt and hate lets loose inside his school, and we're forced to raise our head and eyes and see what is trying to master us-what is mastering us.  One of my neighbors told me I should keep my head down because I or one of my family members might be harmed by these bottom-dwellers because of my boldness.  This is true, future conflict may result.  But if I allow this blatant malevolence to take place in my front yard for fear, then I have become a slave to it.  Damn that!!!

What vision do you live for?  What moves you to rejoice and celebrate?  What urges you to draw a line in the sand and say, like Gandolf the Grey, "You shall not pass!!"  We cannot trust our leaders as the embodiment of righteousness and justice as the picture of Prince Harry and Princess Megan conveys.  But you can be part of the process and hold your representatives accountable.  And you can stare wickedness right down when you see it taking place in close proximity and tell it to get the hell out of your neighborhood.  If you do not, the fairy-tale will always be a myth, and you will have been mastered.  Its a scary thing to do what is right in our day.  You almost have to be like one of those knights on horseback riding in front and behind the Royal couple...  its exactly like that.  Its foolish to think doing nothing and playing deaf, dumb, and blind will keep you safe.

"Arise, for this matter is your responsibility.  We also are with you.  Be of good courage and do it."  -Ezra 10.4



The pleasant scene of Captain Von Trapp's portico overlooking the placid flowage of the blue Danube came even more alive and beckoning with the first pluck of guitar string.  The Captain, so recently reunited with his love of music, began to simultaneously remember and remind his children of his vivid love for his country.  The small flower he crooned of was a dainty yet robust symbol of his land and his people, a picture, a feeling, a deep abiding intangible reality that was tattooed on my heart as a teen traipsing the byways of Salzburg, Austria.  The Sound of Music soundtrack in its entirety is on my device and visited frequently, keeping fresh the memory of a time when evil ravaged a continent.

Americans have not endured a full-fledged invasion and a pressing into servitude since its founding.  European countries that fell under the demonically influenced Nazis bear very conspicuous reminders all over its geography, and are currently experiencing another invasion that is diabolically changing the fabric of their nationalities and cultures.  It was only 78 years ago that a duped German government gave away it's integrity to an obscure lunatic self-described as possessed by an ancient teutonic spirit. How can Europe be as scarred as it is from WW2, and not see clearly why it happened, so as to not allow it to happen again?  Yet it is happening again.  How can the United States, which, in an 8th of the time dwarfed the Nazi Vermacht, arming not only itself but its allies, struggled against evil on two sides of the world losing thousands upon thousands of her best and brightest...  How can we suffer from the same blank stupidity?  Yet, eight years of an unvetted, unqualified, invalid leader has done little to sober at least half of us-true American citizens.

During the Civil War, there was much of what we are in the middle of now.  So many voices screaming, demanding, cursing the President, cursing the other "side," vitriol, media outlets lying in attempt to validate fake news, and even murder.  What most people have forgotten about that time is there was not merely the Northern and Southern points of view.  There were northerners who wanted to keep slavery in tact, but wanted to keep the Union.  There were southerners who hated and battled slavery.  The great Confederate General Robert E. Lee was opposed to war as a solution to this conflict, but fought merely out of loyalty to his state, Virginia.  There were those who thought slaves should be freed but should be returned to their mother country, and the same carried an idea of white superiority.  There was a war waging in New York City between white supremacists who called themselves the rightful citizens and immigrants (Gangs of New York).  And swirling at the eye of this despondent vortex was the struggle for states' rights against central Federal power. 

They called him the rail splitter.  Meek as a mouse and strong as an iron rail, the backwoods self educated Abraham Lincoln was Divinely thrust into the center of all things conflicted.  He was not polished as his compadres of the newly formed Republican Party wished, far from "establishment."  His appearance was strange, drab.  His speech was heavily salted with vernacular of the frontier.  He told stories in answers to questions.  Yet he held to the one thing that could heal it all, even through the darkest times our country has even seen, and forced all back together.  That one thing still is ...  righteousness.  He held to what he knew was right, unswerving, even knowing he would die before fulfilling his second term. Certainly he was the one God raised up to bring the U.S. closer to His purposes. 

The good people of Deutschland lost their hold on what they knew to be right.  They changed the doctrine of their churches.  They allowed their guns to be taken from them.  They relinquished their right to speak freely.  They permitted subtle racism, then were forced to act and live in direct contradiction of their consciences.  Hauntingly familiar, eh?  History has forgotten that Germany was a good country before the lunatic, that good Germans were astonished at the speed and cunning that cast their country as the super villain of WW2. 

Like the good Captain Von Trapp, many have sat on their porticos watching the sun set on their beloved homelands, and tearfully sang its loss.  As the tears welled up in his eyes and his voice broke, perhaps he was remembering when he thought it could never happen to his country.  Perhaps he was thinking of a pride that "goeth before destruction," and repenting in his breaking heart.  We must always keep fresh the memory of when evil had its way, so that way of peace, unity, and righteousness will not be forgotten.

The sacrifice pleasing to God is a broken spirit.  God, You will not despise a broken and humbled heart. Psalm 51.17 HCSB




"I don't need you to worry for me 'cause I'm alright.  I don't need you to tell me its time to come home.  I don't care what you say anymore, this is my life.  Go ahead with your own life, leave me alone!"

I still belt out that chorus to Billy Joel's "My Life" with the windows of my Freightliner rolled down and screaming down the highway.  At 17 it was the anthem to my defiance and the hymn of my wanderings.  Now, at 47,with two teenage men growing up in my immediate sphere of influence, the meaning is a wee bit weightier and much more sobering. 

My Dad always told me I can do anything I wanted when I was on my own, so I made it my mission.  Though I guarded "my life" from the time I left home at 19, the truth is there were many good people who tolerated my fierce individualism and somehow poured their wisdom and care into me at the same time. I have been careful to follow my own path, even when it was reckless.  And a lot of those people who have poured into me have thought(accurately) me a fool at times.  Some folks just need to learn the hard way.  On this side of it I see that those that do have to learn the hard way gain a deeper understanding of life, others, and themselves.  I've made a lot of bone-headed decisions, sometimes putting myself in danger or in jeopardy with my career positions and relationships.  But looking back I see all the times I placed my self between two hard places is the only way I could grow up. 

Now there's another song that rings in juxtaposition.  The last 3 weeks I have been experiencing the lonely joy of a father.  My boys have been gone from home.  My heart has become acquainted with new emotions as I am missing them much more than I thought I would.  And I've been doing a little moping.  They're on that mission.  That stupid, crushing, sublime, American effort to rend possession of their lives from...  me?  Discovering and honing the abilities and talent God has imparted to them is thrilling to watch.  For me, it was a rebellious defection.  For them, another part of the journey to become God's idea.  I hope the wisdom I have accrued from so much foolishness is working its way into their hearts and minds.  They have left their old man.  Harry Chapin's words have been echoing - "the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon, little boy blue and the man in the moon, when you coming home, son, I don't know when, but we'll have a good time then, Dad..."

In our bid to control, we cling heartily to our idea of what our life is supposed to be like.  I am surprised to be discovering how little of my life has turned out as I thought or planned.  I am surprised to be discovering that "my life," which I battled so valiantly to possess, is not really mine at all.  I thought I was really showing the old man how little I cared for what he thought back then.  Tricky Old Man.  I left with the seed he hid in my heart when I wasn't looking, that is now growing into a strong tree in the soil of all he taught me.  It seems everything I do now is begun, endured, and tempered with his ideals.  Somehow, all those stuffy teachers I loathed have gotten their sticky paws all in my heart and mind, as well.  I truly perceive, that, indeed," what is gold will emerge through the fire", and that "cream really does always rise to the top_" a few sayings at which I rolled my eyes.  Time + experience = you found out how immensely lacking in knowledge you were.  And you thought you knew it all. 

I visited them this past weekend.  They were very busy and didn't have time for their mom and me.  I knew it would be like that.  I just wanted to see them.  I hugged them tightly.  I looked deeply into their eyes and saw that same ferocity, intensity, possessiveness.  They think they're working out their life.  They think they're walking their path.  I'm good with it.  Ultimately they will find out the Father in Heaven has planted a seed in their hearts when they weren't looking.  The serving and ministering they are doing at a Christian camp for people with disability, the learning and growing they are undergoing-they think its all their idea and their doing.  In the driver's seat of my freightliner, trucking deep into the night, I think of my boys and smile with a little tear in the corner of my eye.  Being a Dad is brutally lonesome.  But my joy is knowing they're growing into strong trees in the soil of all I taught them, all he taught me, all He has given us.

"...you are not your own.  You were bought with a price..."  1st Corinthians 6.19-20



Remember wanting to be older?  The big kids always got to do the fun stuff.  They could go swimming without supervision.  They could stay up later and watch the cool shows.  They could drive cars and go out on dates.  They had freedom from parental oppression that squelched every desire a kid had.  My sixth grade teacher, Mrs. Stiller, always said there are two sides to every coin, every story, and everything comes with a catch.  I let that bit of pertinent info right on out of the other ear, until I got my driver's license and her words came back to me with the other thing she used to say - with freedom comes responsibility.  I could drive, but I had to follow a ton of rules to be able to do so.  My Dad had his little bit as well:  When you are old enough to leave home you can do whatever you want.  And I did eventually gain my freedom.  I also gained rent, electric, water, and telephone bills, insurance bills, etc.  Somehow, the reality of being grown up was a drag compared to the dreams of that eleven year old kid.

And so it is with everything in life.  We have a desire, a dream.  And in the concoction of all the possibilities, it is so easy to forget the responsibilities that come with realizing those dreams.  As an adult I have wrestled with all of it; the dreaming, the work, the maintenance, the responsibility.  Sometimes the dream was a lot more fun than all the work it took to realize it, and I wonder if it was really worth it.  I have prayed, worked, and served with an eye glued to the grass on the other side of the fence.  I have asked God unceasingly to bless me.  I have asked God to draw me closer to Him, to His will - His idea of me.  In those seasons when nothing was easy, when I had to work hard, when I was desperate for change, for progress, I was much more sensitive to all the little blessings we take for granted - health, employment, family, community, etc.  God's blessings in abundance is amazing to discover.  When they're new, its enthralling, overwhelming, humbling.

But when you're blessed with health, occupation, family, and all that fills our lives with goodness, over a long period of time we forget the reality of before.  There is an onus to blessing.  When we reach the point of not needing... fill-in-the-blank... we lapse into our childhood again.  We have everything we need, our lives are so full, yet we cannot see it any longer.  Gratitude beats a retreat, and behind it goes empathy, and finally humility.  Then it gets downright dangerous.  We forget the Giver of all that we enjoy. 

Its one thing to lose your gratitude.  Its a whole other animal to forget the One whose idea we are to begin with, and to begin thinking we made it all happen on our own.  Without even realizing it, we quietly divorce ourselves from living according to His purpose.  Continuing in this selfish behavior, its not until later we learn the real victim in this divorce are the children:  peace and contentment.  Hopefully that's enough to help us change course.  If we do not, we begin a destructive cycle of trying to fill the void of receding time with God with things that may not necessarily be bad, but were never meant to fill that spot.  Lying to ourselves ensues, and eventually, if something does not shake us back into our senses, we find ourselves desiring to fill our bellies with the husks meant for the pigs.  

Americans have lived in a perpetual state of blessing for decades.  Like ancient Israel, we have begun to think we did it all with our science, our ingenuity, our grit, our intellect.  We have forgotten that honoring God caused the immense blessings we have experienced.  The last 30 years serious signs have manifested in our society and our government.  What a circus.  And close to half of us don't even realize how ridiculous we are becoming.  What we are seeing happen to our culture and our government is a result of what is taking place in our homes, and in our individual selves.  Its all linked and it all begins with the individual.

If you're reading this and its hitting home, the next logical question is, "What can we do?"

1.  Take an account of yourself, your relationships, what occupies your time and money.  Judge yourself.  We have to begin by being brutally honest with ourselves using God's Word, the Bible, as the Standard.  Acknowledge the ingratitude, the selfishness, the rebellion.

2.  Confess it to God for forgiveness and to a brother or sister for healing.

3.  Turn and do what you did when you were desperate for the blessing.

4.  Don't forget God.

If you're a Christ follower and have not experienced this, you will at some point, to some degree.  Just keep in mind with blessing comes great responsibility.  Enjoy the green grass under your feet, not on the other side of the fence.  If something seems better, look for the catch.  Pursue the truth in all perspectives - that's the two sides to every coin thing. And lastly, you're never old enough to leave God (home). 

"The straight and narrow path he showed me turned into a thousand winding roads.  My footsteps carry me away, but in my mind I'm always going home."  -Joe Diffie



Arrows.  Spears.  Missiles hurled with the express purpose of changing another's mind.  They don't just want you to think differently, they want you to hurt for thinking or believing what you do. 

In the mid 1800's the Comanche, tired of the white man's encroachment and disrespect, expressed their frustration by raining brutally destructive arrows, lances, and war clubs at their antagonists, mostly defenseless frontier farm families.  They raped, plundered, tortured, and took captive the young farm children.  They hoped that, since the peaceful talks with the whites were not effective, that their bloody and fearful raids upon the settlers would get the message across that the natives did not want them there.  And it worked for a while, until the Texas Rangers figured out how to fight and defeat them.  50 years of guerilla warfare ended with the natives being herded like cattle and made to 'walk the white path.'

The seeds of their surrender were sewn in 1834 when a little known band of Comanche took captive a little girl named Cynthia Parker, whom they raised as one of their own.  She married a chief and had 3 children by him, one of which was Quana, who became a very wily and wise chief.  When he was a young brave of 14, the "blue coats" attacked his village and stole away his mother and little sister, Prairie Flower.  Because of this an intense hatred burned inside the young brave, and he took many scalps from the white man.  Quana's band was one of the last to be captured by U.S. Troops.  Just before, he sought the will of the Great Spirit and it was confirmed to him that he should fight no more.  Many warriors of his and of other bands were angry at Quana, the mighty warrior, for just giving up.  He packed away his deadly missiles, and never again used them to destroy.  He took up a new kind of weapon that helped to settle his people and make peace, rather than discord.  He began to build bridges instead of burning them - with his words.  For the remaining 30 some years of Quana's life, he advocated for his people, even though it was very hard, and became most beloved of both his native people and his Americans, which he considered himself to be.

Words are merely non-material objects we use.  We can hurl them at each other to damage like arrows and spears, or we can rub them on each other like sav on a wound to heal.  Mostly we hurl them.  We do so out of fear, out of ignorance, to defend our position, our 'territory.'  We always think we know, and that we know who the enemy is.  Republicans, Democrats, Christians, Muslims, White privilege, Black Lives Matter.  We worship our politics above our principles, by a large degree, or religious-ize them.  Deep in our hearts we know what really matters, and we know Who put that knowledge there.  But we only acknowledge Him on the surface, if at all. 

We speak the truth, but we forget the admonishment to do so "in love," which is always quite different than merely speaking the truth.  Quana, young as he was and even brimming with hatred, understood the enemy was to not see the truth - that the white man's ways would prevail.  He somehow had the understanding that survival, and to thrive beyond it, was what mattered.  He knew the white man would never listen to their words, if not spoken in peace, in love.  And so he submitted himself to that which he abhorred, for the sake of harmony.  He created such an impression that the very U.S. soldier who fought him and finally captured him became his strongest advocate to the U.S. government.  Quana's people adjusted better than any other of the bands of native Americans at the end of the 1800's because he was willing to trade his missiles of destruction for tools of building up. 

We have had 8 years of a President many consider an enemy of the American People, and now we have the opposite, who is viewed the same way by the others.  We have forgotten what matters.  survival, and thriving beyond that.  We have forgotten the enemy is to be blind to the truth of this, and not each other.  Can we lay down our arrows, our lances, our war clubs - our words of defiance against each other and simply be silent?  Can we stop and decide, in wisdom, that the only words we will use will be sav to heal each other?  Can we pick the words of building tools, and put things back together we have destroyed.  Can we acknowledge the Great Spirit, The God and Creator of us all in our hearts, words, AND deeds?  The answer to this question will decide the fate of the free world.

Be careful, when you are firing your words at someone, when you think you have won a battle, and you take a young mind captive, that you are not sewing the seeds of your own destruction. 



  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to induct into an office with suitable ceremonies
  3. 2a :  to dedicate ceremoniously :  observe formally the beginning of <inaugurate a new school>b :  to bring about the beginning of

Going through news and social feeds this morning, a few thoughts emerged in front the rest.  At the head of them is a very grim and (hopefully) disturbing one.  When I was a kid growing up in church, I remember hearing preachers talk about heretical things, dangerous things, that scared me to the core, and one of those things was the possibility of blaspheming the Holy Spirit.  I was taught this is a sin to which the blood of Jesus cannot be applied, i.e.,
N O    F O R G I V E N E S S. 
Heavy, ain't it?  No possibility of returning to a point of growth and process in God's idea of you.  No hope of Heaven.  No Divine protection.  No fellowship with the blessed saints of God. 

Reading various feeds this morning, a creeping realization that our nation, us, we the people, are standing at the threshold of the unredeemable grace of freedom.  Not our government, not the POTUS.  Us.  Stupidly, we believed we were in peril 8 years ago.  Blindly, we elected a man who promised to "save" us without taking the time to find out who he really was.  That mystery is still being revealed, but, obviously, he was a keen disruptor and divider, because we the people have not been this disrupted and divided since 1864.  We have refused to take lessons from history, and allowed aliens to flood in illegally (high on list of reasons nations fail), debt to mount so that our great-great grandchildren will be paying for us (to foreign powers-slave to the lender), we have drawn lines in the sand and stand brother against brother, friend against friend.  We don't even realize we're standing in this spot.  Yet, I'm telling it-we are, and perhaps we have already passed the point of no return.

Here's why:  we have allowed power hungry people to divide us and take away the power from we the people.  And as long as there is no meeting in the middle, there is no possibility of reconciliation.  Its not about that each side thinks its in the right.  Its about an inauguration of integrity to ourselves.  The American way has always been to apply standards equally and blindly.  That has not been our practice as of late.  The lie that we are still a "racist" country has been ground into us, and those who bite on it are the ones who stand to gain from it.  Tell yourself the truth.  Used to be if you worked hard, made a name for yourself, and lifted others up with you, you were deserving of admiration.  Now the ones who pay for everything are infamous, and the takers are vying to run the show.  "You can't legislate morality!" was a mantra trumpeted not long ago.  Strange, because now the same group demands charity legislated. Tell yourself the truth.  America, you have bitten the hand that feeds you-both taxpayers, and worse, God. 

In this trying moment, we cannot forget Who's idea we are, and Who's we really are.  Perhaps, we all need to inaugurate ourselves to Love, and to the Father of Love, once again. 



"Its a great big universe and we're all really puny.  We're just tiny little specs about the size of Mickey Rooney.  It's big and black and inky.  And we are small and dinky.  It's a big universe and you're not!!" -Yakko (Steven Spielberg's Animaniacs) 

Honestly.  How do we forget the vast vacuity of our size and affect in the universe.  The word "insignificant" is too big, even to start.  We exist in an obscure, dusty corner-somewhere in the deep "outback" of the universe.  Currently, it is too big for us to comprehend measuring.  Even with the ability to reason, many still have the unquenchable urge to try and force others to think and behave within the immeasurably smaller box of their kind.  We can observe an amazing artistic design and order in the expansive heavens beyond, yet we are unable to observe (or bridle) the proclivity of the human heart to seek control.  Adolf Hitler, Idi Amin, Vlad the Third, Lenin, Pol Pot wasted humanity that would not yield to their thinking.  If all the trouble in all of known history could be boiled down to one thing, it is this:  want of control.

A mystery in history, how the wisdom that has made the United States of America the most popular nation, by far, for migration in the last ...  forever  ...  is being foolishly and systematically tossed upon history's rubbish pile.  People the world over, living under brutal rule of those who wanted to control not just their actions, but their very thought, risked everything to migrate to the U.S.A.  Many left their own children and parents, never to see them again, for a chance to live in a place where they could live free.  They came from every corner of the world, bringing their culture and religion, their medicine and wisdom.  Each one added, unmistakably, to the greatest peaceful and functional collection of humanity since the Roman Empire.  There existed within the borders an agape, a great love, a respectful understanding among Americans, even amidst its greatest and most glaring flaws. Everyone was grateful, everyone was hopeful, everyone WORKED hard because they dreamed dreams, focused on them, and their dreams were achievable. 

Up until the last forty years, dreams were achievable because those in government had the wisdom and insight that motivated a motley crew of colonists to pick a fight with the most powerful nation in the world 240 years ago.  They knew their own dreams, and understood their God-given rights and abilities were to promote an atmosphere in which the people of the world coming to America could attain their dreams.  For all the injustice that has accompanied the forging of the U.S.A., there is magnified multiplicities of prevailing justices, achievements, and righteousness that has resulted.  Up until the last forty years, the leaders of U.S. chose to champion the vast goodness of America while challenging its flaws with grace and grit.  But now we have leaders who choose to turn all their attention and power onto every grievance and flaw.  Instead of loving and exhibiting grace, they feign concern for the smallest, most indolent and slothful among us, championing everything that is patently corrupt and divisive.  The goal of these leaders is no longer the promotion of goodness in all its diverse forms, but it is to use division to crush any other way of thinking, believing, and living.  Selfishness, hate, and chaos -the spirit of the age, the essence of Lucifer-is at the helm in a bid to thrash the people of the world into obedience of this "New" Order.  Its just the same old ugly want of control that has been the scourge of humanity for eons.

"Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom."  2nd Corinthians 3.17
"Beloved, let us love (agape) one another.  For everyone that loves is born of God and knows God.  He that does not love does not know God."  1st John 4.7&8