Thursday, February 19, 2015


While northern Kentucky has not yet even come close to the depth of snow accumulation that others have known, we have experienced about six inches this week thus far and awoke this morning to a minus seventeen temperature holding us captive. To be reminded by the good chaplain at the helm of “Monk”, then, that we are entering into the Easter season was a dose of sunshine to an old man who is, at the moment, seated in his recliner, in front of an electric fireplace heater and under a warm woolen blanket. His definition of Lent, however, that it is not a matter of “getting better”, but about “dying until we’re dead” gave me pause. I was reminded of a Henri Nouwen quote that suggests: “Learning to weep, learning to keep vigil, learning to wait for the dawn: perhaps this is what it means to be human.” We visited the men at the rescue mission last night, speaking to faces both young and hold, some reflecting no thought at all for present circumstances, others with more of the journey behind them giving image to having covered enough distance to at least consider the trek, a few with witness of an inner warmth in the furnace providing promise for whatever lies ahead. Life is hard; it can be cruel; and the biggest mystery of all is not so much all that comes unto us in the transition, but “me, myself, in how I meet it in the next step. Theology can assist us if we realize that, in and of itself, it is no “set-in-cement” solution to the problem. Indeed, when I hear our President declare that “no religion is responsible for terrorism”, in my opinion he gives evidence of his own dogma falls short of “truth, and nothing but the truth”. “Religion”, in its various forms, has proven, along the way, to be a disease capable of massacring all those who disagree with its doctrinal demands. God, however, is medicine for a man’s soul, strength for a man’s spirit, resurrection for a man’s heart, and reins for a man’s inability to direct his own path. The question is only whether we, as individuals, recognize that it is not our lungs pumping in oxygen that brings meaning to our existence, but our surrender of our existence unto He who holds it in His hands. His breath melts a cold heart and speaks of Spring……


  1. Very well said, Jim. True. Religious doctrine does not equal God.

    My guess is that your present President is trying to be fair and attempting to calm the people who jump to that tired old habit we humans have of painting everyone with the same brush and worse. Perhaps his statement might be more accurate if it said that any "religion" is capable of anything good or bad just like any human being is capable of the same. However, I doubt those who would take a vigilante stance would take the time to process that thought.

    I don't know why but I was just reminded of hearing speeches by past presidents and how they reminded me of Drumlin, the character from Contact with his convenient piety. My jaded self is always suspicious around politicians in general and even more so when I hear them use "the right words." The machine that gets them elected knows all too well what will prick the ears of the majority; they know the trends.

    1. I'm no fan of Obama, Mich. He has disappointed me in too many ways. I try my best, though, to not become another heated voice so lost in anger that the noise is just that: a bunch of noise. This country is not going to be cured of its present ills by whomsoever wins the next election. While I am not one of those who believes it having been established on true Christianity, yet the facts do point to Christian values having been sought by our forefathers in their own stumble down the path. We seemingly have come to a place, however, where the Church has lost its witness, too many within it having strayed too far from an anchorage in the reality of the Gospel. "Religion" does not equate to "Christ in me". Still, my hope is in Him, believing that whatever the future holds, He will see me through it. In loving my country, however, it hurts to see it in its present condition, so many having given their lives to defend those principles upon which it was given birth.

    2. I remember that you're not a fan. Like I say, politicians are suspect in general with me. As far as I'm concerned, they all try to cater what is culturally appealing to the largest portion of the electorate whether they lean toward the left or whether they lean toward the right.
      I suppose the only point I'm attempting to make is that, not so unlike "mind readers" or "carnies" who seem to mysteriously know things about us, politicians or those who advise them zero in on the cliché phrases that will resonate with their target audience. Marketing is marketing.

      I could easily add Prime Ministers to the list.

      I know, I know, I'm a cynic.

    3. Looked up the definition for cynic just to se how close it came to being a skeptic. Close enough, in my opinion. I believe in the human spirit being, at its base, capable of desiring to do what is "right", but also finding that it is a product of its own history and environment. Morality, on our own terms, is a stumble down the path. Rebirthed in Him, it gets a tug on its renewed anchor line, but yet has to deal with our own thinking, our own ability to yet choose for ourselves. Put all that into politics and you begin to notice a stink in the midst of it.

    4. So I just happened across a docu-drama thing about Jonestown on Netflix and decided to watch it. Though I remember when it happened all those years ago in the 70's, I didn't remember many details. Interesting and horrifying all at the very same time. Quite well done. Kinda fits in a bit with this particular discussion.

      Very insightful comments from survivors including a reporter from CBS (I think) and Stephan Jones, Jim Jones' son. Thought it might interest you. If you don't have Netflix, you can also watch it on Youtube. It's called Jonestown: Paradise Lost. Here's the link: