Thursday, June 30, 2011


With the granddaughter and one of her friends occupying my recliner this morning, an overnight slumber party allowing them some late night TV, it seemed as good a time as any for my three-mile walk. The sun was just up, rising over the hills to the east, causing the trees on the far side of the road to spread their shadows over me as I turned north. The city park has a back entrance beside the railroad underpass, the path yet a bit caked in dry mud from recent flooding, but nothing so bad as to hinder my pace. The few hundred feet to the bridge across the creek and that span, itself, had already been conquered, my option to initially turn south finding me now about to enter the picnic area, when something on the ground before me caught my eye. A child’s puzzle piece, one of those foam letters of the alphabet, strange in that it was this particular member of the twenty-six, as if, indeed, “X” did “mark the spot"...
Buried treasure? I would doubt it. More likely some mother’s child on a family outing had it stolen by some bird that, upon discovering it wasn’t food, dropped it from on high. No matter the circumstances of its current position, though, it couldn’t entice me with promise of anything, not even if an old pirate’s map instead of an attempt to exercise was what had led me to the location. Something much more precious than gold was waiting for me at home. By now, Beth should be up with the girls, getting them ready for breakfast at Bob Evans. With at least a twenty minute stretch in front of me, I picked up speed in anticipation……

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


A trip to Pensacola over the weekend also embraced a slight departure from our usual route, penetrating into south central Alabama for a visit with some old navy friends. We were stationed together at Rota, Spain in the late sixties, he and I, while there, sharing a few months of cramped space, temporarily attached to duty aboard a submarine; and it was good, now, to reconnect after all these years, both of us a little older, both of them still the same pleasant people we knew so long ago. A brief return to civilian life had brought decision, on his part, to re-enlist, allowing them to fully experience what that branch of service promises: a chance to see the world. If their home (that sits beside the small United Methodist church he now pastors) was filled with oh so many mementos of global encounters, though, it was quite clear to me that what really held their hearts was four children and eight grandchildren who, along the way, were the main substance of what life was all about. The message wasn’t merely a matter of pictures, photos framed here and there. Bedrooms yet reflected identities, old personal treasures retained, a new generation’s toys added as they came. If there was any doubt that a “family” yet occupied this space, no matter the actual separation endured, one section of their upper level had been converted into a “castle”, a “kids’ place”, where everything about it just spelled “fun”. Sitting on their porch that evening, reminiscing and catching up the decades between, was enjoyable; but the witness of what Christ produces in one’s existence, the rewards far beyond a promise of heaven, has lingered with me since…..

Thursday, June 23, 2011


The weather, around here at least, has been really weird lately. Monday a rain storm blew through, its dark clouds dropping so low as to touch the earth, the sunlight so obscured as to make the expressway I was navigating at the time enveloped in thick, smoky darkness. While the downpour on that occasion remained merely enough to warrant an umbrella, it was followed Tuesday by a gulley-washer, several hours of what appeared to be heavenly rivers emptied into our midst, producing flooding that somehow avoided our immediate neighborhood, but covered the main road above us and just south of us with 8-10 inches of water. Tsunamis, tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes in diverse locations: surely there are those who must be seriously pondering the Mayan forecast for 2012. Whatever one’s views on Biblical prophecies, Nostradamus, and the Farmer’s Almanac, to me it all boils down to today, this hour, this moment, what if the next tick of the clock served me notice that it’s all over, my mood, I suppose, brought on by an early morning perusal of Psalms. “The ungodly,” it read, “shall not stand in the judgment.” People have all kinds of opinions about that final word, some believing themselves, as Christians, to be the ones escaping that part of eternity all together, some holding that the event is merely a matter of them receiving whatever rewards they earned in His service. It was, however, the first term that penetrated my thoughts. Just who are “the ungodly”? Who among us can boldly lay claim to that label? I like what the preacher brought forth last night, the particular way he chose to describe his status in Him. “In me,” he stated, “dwells a righteousness, a representative of the Godhead, holy in all that He is, and willing to walk with me in the mess that I am.” However it all comes to pass, He, alone, is my assurance……


“Creed” by Steve Turner

We believe in Marxfreudanddarwin. We believe everything is OK as long as you don’t hurt anyone to the best of your definition of hurt and to the best of your knowledge. We believe in sex before, during, and after marriage. We believe in the therapy of sin. We believe that adultery is fun. We believe that sodomy is Ok. We believe that taboos are taboo.We believe that everything’s getting better despite evidence to the contrary. The evidence must be investigated and you can prove anything with evidence.

We believe there’s something in horoscopes, UFOs and bent spoons. Jesus was a good man just like Buddha, Mohammed, and ourselves. He was a good moral teacher although we think His morals were bad. We believe that all religions are basically the same, at least the one that we read was. They all believe in love and goodness. They only differ on matters of creation, sin, heaven, hell, God, and salvation.

We believe that after death comes the Nothing, because when you ask the dead what happens, they say nothing. If death is not the end, if the dead have lied, then it’s compulsory heaven for all, excepting perhaps Hitler, Stalin, and Genghis Khan.

We believe in Masters and Johnson. What’s selected is average. What’s average is normal. What’s normal is good. We believe in total disarmament. We believe there are direct links between warfare and bloodshed. Americans should beat their guns into tractors and the Russians would be sure to follow.

We believe that man is essentially good. It’s only his behavior that lets him down. This is the fault of society. Society is the fault of conditions. Conditions are the fault of society.

We believe that each man must find the truth that is right for him. Reality will adapt accordingly. The universe will readjust. History will alter. We believe that there is no absolute truth excepting the truth that there is no absolute truth. We believe in the rejection of creeds and the flowering of individual thought.

If chance be the Father of all flesh, disaster is his rainbow in the sky, and when you hear: State of emergency! Sniper Kills Ten! Troops on Rampage! Whites go Looting! Bomb blasts School! It is but the sound of man worshipping his maker….

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


“Much of what has passed for the Christian message has been nothing more than frothy God-talk – mindless, thoughtless, and in its exploitation of people, heartless; but just as much as anti-theistic thinking, when scrutinized, is found to be impoverished in so far as making any sense, so also can much of our religious verbiage, bereft of reason and seeped in emotional drivel, be tossed at unsuspecting audiences in the name of orthodoxy. The ruinous end of the latter, in its destruction of lives plundered, both materially and spiritually, may be greater than the ideas perpetrated by the openly cynical”….

Ravi Zacharias, like C.S. Lewis, can get into Christian apologetics and have my brain swimming in a thick philosophical soup almost before I can blink. Thankfully, though, the author’s books, for the most part, shift into linguistics much easier for me to contemplate, the three I possess not only a good read, but also a good “feed” again and again. In Chapter Two of “Can a Man Live Without God”, he gives several definitions of atheism, but what struck me on this occasion was a Madalyn Murray O’Hair quote wherein she expressed such “theology” as rational thinking, a belief in the “technical philosophy of materialism”. Asserting that nothing exists but natural phenomena, she concludes that “We atheists believe that nature simply exists. Matter is. Material is.” In other words, she requires no explanation for those things she can see or touch. They just “are” and therefore they, indeed, are….Why, I wonder, do so many in Christianity find fault with such thinking? In truth, the majority of us seem likewise content with founding our faith on similar statements, as if “belief” is all that’s required, a Bible verse sufficient for others to accept the validity of our witness…..

Monday, June 20, 2011


I was cleaning out my old e-mails this weekend and re-visited a story sent to me about a seminary instructor quoting another man’s brief synopsis of the Church’s history as follows: “Christianity,” it began, “started in Palestine as a fellowship, moved to Greece and became a philosophy, spread to Italy and turned into an institution, taken to Europe and evolved into a culture, and finally brought to America where it is now an enterprise.” Then, to better clarify that last term to his young students, he repeated it and added: “a business.” When a young girl, though, raised her hand to ask if it wasn’t Biblically supposed to be a “body”, he was without words momentarily, simply somewhat stuttering “yes” in reply, and she quizzically continued: “But if a body becomes a business, isn’t it a prostitute?”…… The rest of the tale, true or not, offered the instructor’s thoughts about the incident. My own, however, took me back to the temple where, Jesus, Himself, as a child, wondered why Mary and Joseph didn’t realize that He must be about His “Father’s business”; and it seems to me that the accusation only possesses validity in so much as we, as believers, market the Gospel for self-gain. Guilty as charged? That takes an individual self-examination overseen by the Holy Ghost…..

Saturday, June 18, 2011


Browsing through Alfred Edersheim’s “Bible History of the Old Testament”, I came upon the following statement: “It should be distinctly marked that on this, as on ever other occasion in Abraham’s life, his faith determined his obedience.” Within the teachings of the Church, such a declaration might indeed stand out as an example for all to follow; yet if the believer doesn’t stop to examine the fullness of what can be crammed into the linking of those five words, what does he or she really possess in terms of a foundation for his life? Cogito; ergo sum. I think; therefore I am. In truth, surely it is safe to say that all of us, for the most part, simply stumble down the path by our own reasoning and to whatever degree we find to trust in someone or some thing. What makes great God’s covenant with us is “grace”. Not, though, in the sense that unto us is given the freedom to define it, but in that “it” is the reality of who He is, Christ “in” me, another name for the Holy Ghost every bit as much as peace, assurance, forgiveness, joy – the list goes on. He does not make us any less human; He goes with us in the next step; and even in lieu of the fact that we all too often are prone to “lose” Him in our religiousity…..

Friday, June 17, 2011


Walking through Sam’s Club the other day, looking for the advertized release of “Pacific” and failing to find it, I picked up, instead, several five dollar purchases whose story-lines appeared to be interesting. Summer re-runs now own the TV channels and watching a movie together affords some quality time with Beth, she usually watching Fox news and me sitting in the recliner either reading a book or working a crossword puzzle. Thus it was, then, that last night found the two of us absorbing “The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry”, one of those present-day attempts by the Church to provide their membership with more wholesome entertainment than what Hollywood sets on the table. I am not adverse to such thought. To tell the truth, there has been at least a couple I’ve seen whose production deserves applause; but when the entire theme is nothing more than some Sunday school class, a cinematic portrayal of one’s individual doctrinal dogma, it seems to me that the money invested could have been better spent in other areas. The tale in this one was a bit amusing; even so, within its setting, was a demand for singularity, a “this way or the highway”. All that was missing was the bullhorns…..

Thursday, June 16, 2011


In a nut shell, our service with the men at the mission last night seemed to me well received, God in our midst, but at no time with His presence made heavy and obvious unto us. Hearts were connected, ears open to our sharing, prayer brought forth at the end with a sense of our being one in Him. Mark spoke on our journey bringing to us a need of being frequently refreshed. Tony took them motorcycling down windy roads, every day a new experience, the Spirit with us in every turn. I, then, pointed to the truth that, whether we were simply following the crowd or independently stumbling along with a mind of our own, every one of us requires of Him an assurance of His residence within us and the assistance of His rod and staff in the next step. Our interactions with Grace may well one day be judged, but it is given to us with no demands other than permission granted for re-entry through Christ. Once established, however, we do not walk within some sacred, invisible shield of protection wherein our identity has somehow become “holy” and incapable of error. What we have is an inner oasis, a position of contact from which the anchor-line extends, holding together our spirit and soul only in as much as we submit ourselves unto it. That is so whether one finds life has brought them to a rescue center for a good meal and a warm bed or to a place of occupying a pulpit realizing that it’s always “day one” with Him……

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Beth and I live in an old house belonging to my oldest daughter and her husband, a rock structure positioned, approximately, in the backyard of a rather large log cabin that they own. This one was originally built by his father and grandfather from nearby creek-bed stone and time has weathered the exterior. We are comfortable here, happy with the arrangements, but each year find ourselves battling tiny black ants who seem unable to get my message that they are trespassing on private property. Inside, I have discovered “Terro”, a liquid bait trap, around which they gather en masse, resembling some tribal ritual as they feed, then disappear for a month or so before the whole act of genocide needs to be repeated. Outside, I just spray with about the same results. To watch them in their individual, community routes, though, traveling back and forth as if some invisible chalk-line determined their course has always intrigued me. Who goes out first and marks the route? Do they possess some sort of long-distance communications system between them whereby one calls back to the others: “Come to me! I have found great treasure!” or must that initial explorer first return, like Marco Polo, with proof of what’s waiting for them at the end of the journey? Regardless, it seems to me that we humans are not immune to such instinct. It just depends on the person, the enticement, and one’s willingness to “go with the flow”


The city has a park directly across the creek which runs adjacent to our stretch of old state highway #17; and if heavy rains bombard the countryside south of us, before any of the houses on this side are threatened, that area over there always gets flooded first. Nonetheless, baseball and soccer fields are immediately restored, that portion fenced-in for people to exercise their dogs is continually repaired, and most any time of day someone is picnicking, bicycling, or walking the paved trails at a brisk pace. I, myself, have a three-mile course mentally marked off that is conquered on a regular basis. Monday morning, early, having entered via a path that winds its way through some trees and past “canine country” before connecting with a small bridge leading to a north or south option, I turned right and circled that end before approaching that same point, now coming down the main road. It was not yet eight o’clock and, seated in the bed of a red pick-up, two young adults, boy and girl, were talking and looking over the cab at the sky before them. They seemed to me as if they were parked at the drive-in theater and watching some movie. Nothing but fluffy white clouds in the distance, though. Love in bloom? Conversation over a couple of cokes while the sun was just beginning to rise on high? None of my business. By the time I lapped the other end and returned, they were gone, leaving me with the above questions. It was the beginning of a beautiful day. To each their own…..

Monday, June 13, 2011


Nearly thirty years ago my wife and I were part of a volunteer staff that birthed a church school, a one-on-one program with individual work stations, small at the time, but today occupying its own building, operating with salaried employees, and with an enrollment, annually, of more than two hundred kids. Saturday, late afternoon, we drove out to the gymnasium to celebrate the recent graduation of one family’s youngest son and, while we were there, some good-natured banter was tossed around concerning two of the boy’s classmates who arrived with newly-acquired tattoos. Three decades ago such “sin” would have been sufficient reason for immediate expulsion, no debate, no apologies, no grace at all about the matter, our roots being in “old-time holiness”. Nowadays they still run “a tight ship”, but realize, as well, that the world has changed around us. As I told someone once, the Old Testament indeed forbid any desecration of our bodies; then, again, in the New Testament women are told not to cut their hair and to ask their husbands at home if they have any questions regarding ecclesiastical policies! Somewhere in this, we have to consider culture, environmentally and calendar-specific as it evolves. God never changes; men, however, remain men, carving out mental images of deity as they go and seldom aware that more is accomplished when the procedure is reversed……

Saturday, June 11, 2011


In an attempt to appease my wife’s definition of keeping the house in good order, I emptied my assigned closet space the other day, dusted, sprayed, and sanitized the area, then re-hung my wardrobe and filled the shelves again with various items mainly positioned there for storage. Thus it was, though, that a small box containing a journal written during the turn of the century plus some diary posts composed in the year 2003 began to stir this old man’s memories. It’s hard to believe what just a decade can bring to one’s relationship with his grandkids, the oldest now in college but yet very much an every-day event in my life, the youngest not even a part of the package back then. Time marches on, however, and in more ways than one. To read those thoughts concerning my family matters, church fellowship, initial entry into working in Special-Ed with autistic children, and history as it came to me, is to realize an evolution, as well, into who and what I am right now. The body is not the only element of what makes up a man that ages. Muscles weaken, bones begin to ache, and the mind may lose its grip on a number of items; but, inside, the “person” is still there, a product of opinions forges along the way, experiences encountered. The difference, I think, is in “the tie that binds”, the cord, the cement, the “super-glue” that holds it all together. For me, the anchor holds. He remains faithful…..

Friday, June 10, 2011


“For thus saith the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall ye be saved: and ye would not’…..Isaiah 30:15

While Wednesday evening’s Bible study was labeled “The Sacred Becoming Commonplace in Our Life”, mostly we just looked at the Ten Commandments and considered how much concern men really held today about taking God’s name in vain, honoring their parents, and observing the Sabbath. Somewhere along the way, though, it became quite apparent to me that condemnation was mainly being directed toward the un-churched who raised their children with no knowledge of “thus saith the Lord”, their minds steeped in Hollywood philosophy and soaked in musical lyrics written by the demon-possessed. If there was, at least, some truth to the whole issue being brought forth, no one considered examining our own baggage, our own record wherein history reveals kids soaked in Pentecost seemingly survive adulthood with no better success rate than anyone else. Maybe the answer is not merely gaining a “religious uniform”, but learning the reality of what Christ “in” me means. That, however, appears to be an on-going lesson taught in the next step, a man’s age and the journey thus far being factors, but no guarantee any wisdom is gained…..

Thursday, June 9, 2011


After blogging for over ten years, I feel like I've come to a stalemate. There is that within me which enjoys putting thought into print; but, at the same time, a bit of desire to find conversation over what is being examined. Few there be, it seems, who see truth as "divinity afoot", an unconquerable quest worthy of pursuit. Someone once said “From cowardice that shrinks from new truth, from laziness that is content with half truth, from arrogance that thinks it knows all truth, O God of Truth, deliver us all”; and it is within the boundaries of such plea I have been staggering down the path since March 27th, 1972. The Bible remains sacred to me only in a belief that “He who is infallible” speaks to me out of its content, leaving me with my humanity, Christ “in” me, and the next step to learn as I go. The Church, in as much as it has come to me, remains a vital part of my experience, but the relationship has greatly evolved. That said, I launch this site with hesitancy, not sure where we go from here…..