Racism – My View, All Of It.

The article below broadly explains the race problem. Black people (most not all) perceive injustices that just are not there. At least not there in the eyes of white people.  Michelle Obama conflates two situations. She confuses rude behavior with racism. She forgets or is ignorant of the fact that we all have had people cut in line in front of us. That we have all been invisible to some.

Envy and pride seems to have gotten in the way in her second example. Because someone does not “recognize” your existence when petting your dog is not even rude, some people just like dogs more than humans! I think she is being racist here!

Many people confuse perceptions with reality and this new social gospel is making it harder to love one another. Maybe instead of looking at everything in racial terms Michelle could have simply introduced herself to the lady who cut in front of her? Was her experiment ill conceived? Maybe she went into it with preconceived racial bias? We will never know! I think Jesus would have said, “I’m sorry did you have a tough day, please, go ahead of us.” He would not for a moment think, ‘these white people don’t think I exist (even if He knew it to be true). He would especially not think there is a systematic problem here that can be fixed by government. Jesus came to fix our hearts, “all sins matter” to him! Was there envy in Michelle’s heart? Is it pride that one feels when someone cuts in front of us? “How can someone do this to me?” Was she being highminded? (I think so). You see these are sin issues, not race issues. Hers appears to be a social justice obsession.

https://nypost.com/2020/08/28/michelle-obama-describes-being-invisible-to-white-america/

Can you see that the heart is desperately wicked? Race is often the excuse one uses to say, “see, white people need to reform their way of thinking.” Or ,”those darn hillbillies,  always playing country music, I can’t stand country.” I say, “people of all color, race, and gender can do wicked things, and some play rap music. I hate rap.” But I would not even for a blinking moment think, “stupid black people!”  I would not for a moment confuse rudeness with one’s color.

Now I will speak to the “culture of race relations.” When one individual desires to have the same privileges, the same esteem, the same rights as another it is logical that they must conform to the society of which they wish to be apart. This quest in truth has nothing to do with skin color, it’s more about fitting in.

Think about the struggles of a conservative wanting to be treated as an equal at CNN. To “conform” would be the only hope they would have of advancement and why few conservatives apply for the job. In fact, the streets are littered with hopeful, but disillusioned, conservative employees of main stream media. And think about the lives of Christians in muslim counties. Unless a Christian should denounce their faith and embrace Islam it is likely they will be killed. In China if you don’t “fall inline” you are sent to re-education camps. Now let’s look at black culture. This is where some of you will get angry with me.

Black culture, in the eyes of most white people, is a far too radical departure from the white suburban lifestyle in which we all live. It’s just a fact! I will not make a complete list to be attacked, because we all know the cultural differences. Things like gangser rap objectifying women, pants down the knees, fatherless homes, highest abortion rates, slang english, you know the list. These are more the cultural differences that divide us, they have little to do with ones skin color.

What one may call injust in the black community the other may call normal. 

There are experiences that white folk have had that are equally frightening. I hear that black people are afraid when they see a policeman. Well, when I lived near Chicago and worked downtown it only took one drive through “the projects” to experience fear. On one late and steamy night, I drove for miles through gang infested neighborhoods, and at every stoplight, at every stop sign, there were groups of young black men on street corners staring me down, sometimes even approaching my car saying, “what you doing here whiteboy.” I learned quickly where the cultural lines were. If I were to avoid the fear violence or death I would need to stay clear of such areas. This is systemic too! We ask in every city we travel,  “where are the bad sections of town?”  Although I now live in Montana, this fear still lives in me. Should one travel though some Indian reservations at late hours there is alway the fear of falling into the self governed hands of an Indian tribe. One bad Crow of Blackfoot Indian cop could make your life a living hell. So we all drive not one mile per hour over the speed limit and only the brave stop into a tribal bar late at night to have a beer. Culture has nothing to do with skin color.


So when black people like LeBron James or Don Lemon demand social change, white people like me see one as an arrogant vulgar racist and the other as a self appointed  intellectual opposed and fighting for control of the status quo.  Cultural Marxists both are.

These and others are unwilling to submit to a privileged, white, male, cis gendered, ethnically european  culture. Is this racist? I don’t think so, I think it is more a struggle for power. In fact they, and sadly more and more young people, are at war with what has historically been the  hegemony of our nation and it’s founding fathers. Hegemeny means the “leadership or dominance, especially by one country or social group over others.” It has little to do with race and more to do with money and culture.  This is why I call their quest and the social justice movement Marxist. They desire a change in the power structure of our nation. They are using race to accomplish it. Racial justice is the side show; and for people of color race is the red herring. The movement is Marxist because they will do anything to accomplish it. Even young, idealist Christians are mobilizing for a change they do not understand. They think it is for their friend who has had bad experiences. They don’t accept that liberal professors, judges, politicians,  and pastors are advocating for a power shift too. These “people in Robes, as Voddie Bachmann calls them, have taught us political correctness,  multiculturalism to further the cause, to help us view ourselves as oppressed subgroups. They cannot do it without us. They need us to comply. At the intersections between black and white, trans and cis, immigrant and native, male and female,  ugly and beautiful (yes beautiful matters), lies oppression. At least that is what they want you to believe. They will do, and have done, studies to show us the injustices. Get into a debate and you will be bombarded with these studies. They are teaching the young that white folks have historically oppressed, marginalized, disinfranchised, and left voiceless certain groups of people. Today in the USA they are the “Black Lives that matter.” In Scotland, Scottish lives matter, they too want a change in the hegemony. Scottish good, British bad. You see, they cannot use race to exit the dominant British because they are mostly white on both sides.

These are agendas not ideals. Racism today is mostly about culture and power, not color (how many times does it need to be said?). There is a sinister plot which has its end in real sin. It is not the current systems fault. Minorities are gaining power naturally, in a good way. It may be that black power is useful to democrats,  ya think?

I’m not saying brokenness and injustice within the system need not be addressed. There is much injustice going on everywhere. One cultural group removed and replaced by another does nothing toward solving the problems of the individual. In Christ we are neither Jew nor Greek, slave or free, male or female, we are one in Christ. If I am your brother in Christ I alone must go the extra mile to free you from the pain of oppression. Cultural Marxism dismisses personal responsibility. It puts the responsibility on the state. It’s all about distributive justice. It only transfers power from one group to another. It distributes oppression to one group as it removes it upon another. Black Lives Matter is not interested in social change for the good of mankind. It is interested in social power. It wants to dismantle cis gendered control. It wants to “free us from man centered leadership.” It is “queen affirming,” it does not like the hetrosexual male. It is anti Christian and it wishes to force me to lay down my conscience and tell the world, “I am a racist!” It tells me God has not blessed me. It demands me to admit all I have is the result of my “white priviledge.” It says, if I do not agree I am not empathetic and cancels me. It is pro hate, pro violence ( all this can be discovered on its website). It says to black people, “you are oppressed and the many of you don’t even know it.” They are partly right here, most don’t know it. They are my friends, we don’t see each other as white or black. They have even convinced the young that “you must be a black man to understand his struggle.” Jesus seemed to know the the struggles of the samaritian woman at the well, the struggle of the blind man, the tax collector. For God’s sake he was from Nazareth. Nazareth was considered a lowly, despised town in Galilee. “Does anything good come from Nazareth?” It may not be racism in modern terms, but I’m sure it feels like the same thing to me!

Jesus does speak about the one who oppresses the poor. It’s a stretch but the same principle applies to racial prejudice. And it should also not go unsaid, that the unjustified self-established superiority by one group leading to the oppression of another group is an affront to God. And so are mocking, belittling, not hiring an employee because she is ugly in the eyes of the world. “I’m sorry your not a good fit for our company” (In other words you’re a little too fat and your nose is awfuly large, you certainly won’t work as our receptionist). We must all be taught that God is no respecter of rank, status, importance, OR COLOR! This should be our systemic response. Not just the overthrow of “The Man.” Treat me, Bob Graham, a white, able bodied, heterosexual as an individual; not as a member of the hegemony. Tell me if you think I have wronged you! But don’t tell me I have wronged you because my great great grandfather owned slaves (he didn’t). Because my ancestors were white I’m white; somehow science all of a sudden does not matter if there is an agenda.

Racism and the poisen of cultural marxism “probabaly” killed George Floyd (the jury is still out). And the movements that followed that event and others tell the lie that acts like this is what happens every day. This does not happen every day, look up the facts. In fact more police officers are unjustly killed by black men than unarmed blacks are killed by police officers. More than 25 people have died AFTER George Floyds death, and more than 500 million in property damage in Minnesota alone. Tell me this is justice! The montra is to say, “you white’s need to do something for us. Fix this awful problem for us.” This will get me in trouble, but I say where is the black man’s pride? Are there not many things you as the black man can do for yourselves? The left and the black man’s leaders say they need to overthrow our culture. Can the black community not overcome racism? There are many black men who have already overcome it. Hershal Walker is a good example. But I personally know a multitude more. Don’t tell me the path has not already been trodden!

Black people are continually told about historical racism. I was told by a young person that blacks who did crack were more likely to do hard time than whites who did cocaine in the 1980’s. Thats true! But that young man was not taught that the Congressional Black Caucus demanded tougher laws for the usage of crack in the 1980’s. So much for that argument.

Can you see a theme? The media, the left, the elites, are demanding that we accept black culture, their values, their politics. Our natural reflex is not to think “damm black people!” It is to think “maybe the way they are going about it all wrong!” BML, Antifa, riots, stealing, burning, shooting, killing, only enhances the cultural divide. It says, “these people are crazy!” They want us to love this?

And when my liberal Christian friends side with the white priviledge argument, as if reparations would be a good substitute for the biblical teachings of Christ I really fear. They forget Christ alone breaks down the hostility that separates us from the love of God and each other. Galatians 3:29. Theirs is the language of law, ours the love for our neighbor.

So what is the answer to the divide? I think it is to treat all people of all colors the same. Cultural and social differences are constructs. These constructs can be deconstructed. We have removed Judeo Christian values from our country and replaced them with political strategies. Should we give people of color free stuff to right wrongs or should we teach from positions of power that doing good to our neighbors (whatever their color) is the right thing to do? Are “opportunity zones” and ” systemic judicial reforms good, then let the left say so. Can just one black republican not be called an Uncle Tom by the left? If a single black man’s story does not fit the worldview of the collective black man’s politics, it is disqualified. That’s not right! Treat me as an individual is what I hear the conservative black man or woman say. When they don’t acknowledge such things it puts us on groups, it divides us. Is it right to re-train hothead police officers or refrain from hiring some dude who just got back from Afghanistan? Of course, I want change too! We could use a few more Barney Fife’s and Andy Griffith’s (it an old tv show for you young folks). Government has taken from our police officers the gift of discretion. Think about this as you vote for Biden and Harris, I think our public prosecutors should never be eligible to run for public office. They are given the political incentive to incarcerate a nineteen year old for doing something stupid!  They do it to “look tough on crime” and be elected to the next higher office. So lets help, not defund the police. Give them the tool of necessary force. If a criminal resists arrest, they should be able to use it back justly. Justice is a judicial process granted by God, guilt and punishment should determined by our peers, not Twitter and a 30 second video clip.

In the end, there will always be a superior hegemony, one kind or another. I believe government, ruled by whites, blacks or browns is commissioned by God to punish crime and riotous behavior. That is its main function. It is my prayer that we would patiently elect and support good people of all races and creeds. That we would not tear down our systems but reform them when needed. We could all treat our neighbors kindly, graciously give opportunities to the lowly, and defend the oppressed. It is the Christian way.

Additional info:

Definitions:

Critical Race Theory is Rooted in Cultural Marxism

Marxism:

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/marx/

Nutty is Necessary

If today is like every other day I will think Jesus is coming, and coming soon! After I turn on the news or listen to one of the many conspiracy theories my friends will send me, I will know for sure! It is coming to that point, “Yep, today is the day,” I’ll say! But of course I’ll not have a clue, so the bible says.

Seriously, we all know it, even the fruitcakes in Portland and the devout in Wheaton know it, the world has gone nuts. And I believe a world gone nuts is exactly the kind of world that needs Christ. So maybe this is also the kind of world where people nutty for Jesus can have the biggest impact? What solutions are the politicians giving us? How about the Media? As far as I know Buddha and Mohammed haven’t said anything since they died. So, what about the scientists, they too seem to have everything wrong? They are more like historians, writing their prescriptions after the fact. And there haven’t been any serious philosophers since the enlightenment, so you can count those guys out! Who is there to turn to?

The people I know, the ones who are afraid and concerned about their futures are seeking answers. In that giant cesspool which millenials call “conscienceness,” the majority of people have not found their answers. “What’s wrong with us,” they ask? They rattle their brains and lurk around corners hoping to hear good news from “Q.” Or maybe they hide themselves in the confines of some app wishing it will all go away. No it’s not likely to go away, the world has changed forever, we all know it! So maybe it’s time for us nutty Christians to show the world we are looney too, but in a good sort of way?

Do you remember watching the movie “What about Bob?” Everyone loved Bob. Oblivious Bob, the patient, makes himself at home at the psychologist Dr. Marvin’s house and the doctor loses his professional composure as Bob is too much to handle. Before long the Doctor was ready for the looney bin himself. You see the world thinks like Doctor Martin, they think the patient (the Christian) is beneath them. What they fail to realize is we have been made different. We did not come to what they would call an enlightened state on our own. We have not beaten ourselves into submission or reasoned ourselves unto faith. This may be the time to reach out in love to a blind world. If Jesus does not return today, they may not think our ideas so strange? If He does return, boy will they will be in big trouble, so do it with the hope of their salvation.

It could also end that the world goes completely mad and everything works out for the persistent and faithful Christian; just like it did for Bob. Either way we will see, Jesus saves and there is the wide path where most will not be so fortunate. Therefore, whether today or tomorrow, if the world calls you nutty for believing Jesus rose from the grave to save sinners, ask them how insane is their world? Then tell them about Jesus. They might just find yours much more comforting!

Greed as a Strategy

Flattering speech is a pretext for greed and greed is evil. Even a Bernie Sanders fan understands this biblical principle. “Greed is the Religion of the billionaire class,” says The Angry One! Yet how Sanders knows this is a mystery to most of us. He never developed skills that would allow him to earn a living, and he has been basically inept at everything but convincing young minds full of mush that free stuff is good. But I mustn’t confuse you, the kind of greedy people Bernie likes to smear are his betters. So before you get bored, I’d like to say this is not a political post, it is more about about a greedy and likely devilish strategy.

First let’s just get this out there, there are many devilish strategies. This is just one that I have but recently discovered. I’ll show you how it is working. I’ll not argue it merits, but let’s use climate change for example. Here’s my hypothesis: Saving us all from ourselves is the reason given as justification for the proposed course of action, but this is not the real reason, greed is. And remember, “greed is evil.” Now I’ll show you an example.

Activists are modeling strategies that integrate devisive ideologies into business and politics. Some do this unknowingly,  others intentionally.  Incremental changes in our culture can be blamed for some of this, but recently much of it, I believe, is the work of Satan. Whether Satan’s tools can be identified as educators, ideologues, or billionares it makes no difference. I’m an investor, and this is what I’m seeing in climate change investing and corporate governance. There is a shift is taking place. And some say it is the customer that’s driving the shift. They say people want “renewable, sustainability products to invest in.” But is it so?  Investment companies like Blackrock were once passive investors, but under the leadership of the liberal Larry Fink and Blackrock has now taken to demanding social reforms through “stakeholder capitalism.” In other words companies are being forced to uphold the ethical standards of the mob. But is this really mob driven? Consider this, banks are denying capital to companies that don’t adhear to their social, financial, and political agenda. Of course we all know the foolishness surrounding the of firing Aunt Jemima? And we all saw the corporate rush to belly up to the bar and give money to “black” causes. The so called ethical rush reminded me of earth day, when companies began packaging environmental slogans and niche tree hugger products took root.  But this new approach is much more sinister. It smells more like Satan’s work than just man’s fallen nature. The world is changing faster than ever and corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives have become code words for disrupting conservative moral values and pushing progressive academic theories. Believe me these sorts of programs are not organically spawned. There are hundreds of scholarly articles available only to think tanks and paying customers. Do you think George Soros thinks for himself? Strategies are calculated, tested, funded, and put into action after careful academic review; then the sheep are fed the poison with a coating of sugar.

So I know this all sounds conspiratorial, because it is! Only the blind cannot see how Lucifer works; his hellish forces have their assignments. Remember Christians, evil has always deceived us through trickery. We can only live our lives wisely aware of evil schemes and prepare ourselves by faithfully uniting in prayer and reading the scriptures.

“8 But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation. 9 For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him.” (1 Thessalonians 5:8-10)

The Crazy Mountains and Beyond

Last Wednesday, July 1st, we hit the road again and this time we were blessed to have nearly a week away without internet or phone service.

Our journey first took us from our home in Polebridge, Montana to West Glacier where we had a parting rendezvous with friends. A group of us were greatly surprised when our friend Duke and his lovely wife showed up for dinner at the Highlander. You see Duke is very ill, and he has been couped up in assisted living throughout the whole Coronavirus thing.  It was so nice to see him, no matter his condition. He was feeling pretty punk, but he basically said, “to hell with it, let’s go sit with our friends!” He really wanted to see us and it will likely be the last time all of us will together. I cannot say this more strongly, the people in our lives bring us our greatest blessings. And this is why I cannot exclude telling you about this brief stop as we headed out of town. We left West Glacier heading east at about 8:30 p.m..

Duke and Friends

 

We figured it was the fourth of July weekend coming up and we would not likely find any camping sites and would have to camp on some remote forest service road, but we were pleasantly surprised. Glacier Park Lodge and the east side of Glacer National Park is closed and this took the pressure off the camping in that direction. We stayed at Devil’s Creek campground. It is a small campground with maybe twelve sites and the creek running through it. It was only a pit stop for us. We stayed the night and headed out the next morning through East Glacier, Browning, and along the Rocky Mountain front to Great Falls. If you have never been out this way before Hwy 287 is a beautiful drive. The drive alone is worth the trip to Montana. We like it best when we take our old Volkswagon Cabrio convertible. We just turn up the tunes and enjoy the ride. But today our destination, in our 1961 International Metro Van, was the Crazy Mountains. We had the hammer down and were crusing right along at a whooping 60mph.

Our first stop, besides taking on gasoline, was Monarch, Montana. It was not a planned stop. There on Hwy 89, the King’s Hill Scenic Byway a sign read, “Fresh Pan Fried Walleye.” Well we don’t get much walleye on the west side of the divide so we couldn’t resist. Monarch is an unincorporated micro town, that means they have a restaurant and bar, nothing else but maybe a post office. We pulled into the Cougar Canyon Bar and Grill and split our Walleye dinner served with yummy mashed potatoes and asparagus,  just as it should be served. The old building and surroundings were typical of a small town restaurant and bar, but it had a quaint deck out back with lovely views. James was the bartender and server and he put to shame all the big city servers. He didn’t hesitate asking us our names, insisted we try a certain beer and told us we could bring our dog to the back deck, then he brought her some ice water. If you were wondering, sharing food is not my thing (I like to eat). But this time we were not the slightest bit hungry, yet how could we drive by a walleye dinner? It was a great stop, the food and service was excellent! We were gastronomically satisfied and we were enjoyed being our retired selves again.

So off we headed to the “Crazies.” They call them the Crazies I guess because an Indian woman lost her husband and family to settlers heading west. It is traditionally said, “she went Crazy” afterwards. The mountains were actually called by the Crow Indians the “Crazy Woman Mountains,” but some civilized, politically correct european changed the name to the Crazy Mountains.

Our 1st night in the Crazies

The drive south on Hwy 89 was quite spectacular. There are wide open spaces in Montana, bigger than can be imagined. The land in these parts is all pretty much privately owned by ranchers, mostly cattle ranches. The ranches are huge. Many are ten, twenty, and fifty thousand acre ranches. Much of the land was cleared years ago and it has mostly been in “the family” for generations, although that is changing rapidly. We were told the change has been a point of controversy for years. They say the ultra rich and silicon valley types are buying up land whenever they can; but it’s not all bad. Luckily for those of us who enjoy seeing ranch lands they are still leased out to local cow herd owners so the out of town owners can take advantage of lower taxes; rich folk are not fools with their money. Still, it is kinda sad when ranching land is passed on to people who only visit their thirty thousand acre properties for maybe a couple days or a months per year. Most use it just to entertain their citified friends. Often they stage hunting big game with their buddies or business clients, or sometimes it’s just the cowboy experience they share for a weekend. Don’t get me wrong, the old timers with huge ranches are not poor, but it’s a different vibe. When the old time rancher goes to town to eat, they look like hard working folks because they live here and do the “ranching” themselves! The “investors” or urban cowboys I like to call them, mostly buy their properties for show and tell. Most don’t fit in, and it just does not feel right when you see them out and about on their Escalade; and they tend to fight for all sorts of public land use restrictions on locals, and they disguise their legal battles as environmental concerns. But enough of politics. You can read about this in the media.

Shield’s River Road

What we experienced as we drove to the Shield’s River Campground was awe. The views are big screen material. Huge views of green grassy ranch land with well fed black angus and elk grazing. And the partly sunny views of snowy eleven thousand foot peaks made our day. We arrived late in the day and set up camp.

Cattle Land

The next morning we got up early, around 6 a.m. and soon after we walked up the road and into the mountains for a hike. There was a little bushwacking at first, but we finally got into the open spaces and headed upwards.  The fields were wet with the morning dew and the sun made the grass sparkle like it was adorning a million diamonds. As we gained elevation  we ran across an old unused logging road. Still ascending, I spotted an elk butt, then a second one. If you have never seen an elk butt once you have seen one you will never forget what they look like. The elk did, at first, not see us as we stood silently enjoying the moment. Our dog Ania was with us, but she was lower in the grass and could not see or smell the elk. We slowly made our way closer and eventually we all made our introductions. Surprisingly,  our dog pretended she was only curious as she looked upon the two wild beasts and they likewise at us. We decided to ease our way forward and get a few photos. Within about 50 yards the elk seemed to become a little concerned and slowly moved away uphill. Ania, off leash, was even closer. She kept looking back at us as if asking, “Do you you see these two things mom and dad, what am I supposed to do, they’re not deer, they’re not grizzlies?” The elk finally trotted uphill and out of site. Ania had some great smells when we reached where they had been. We continued a little farther and we got some great views of the mountains and wildflowers then started back down the mountain. This time down a gully and into a big natural field, then back to the road. That hike we figured was four plus miles. It wasn’t a hard hike by any means, but the unusual thing about it was the ground was just beaten up with uneven elk tracks. It has been a wet spring and when the herds come through it apparently they mess up the ground and make it difficult to walk. There seems to be a large herd of elk here.

Ania and Elk

When we got back to camp it was mid morning.  We had our tea (for me) and coffee (for Jackie). We ate our donuts and later we had lunch, took a nap, wandered about, and read a bit for the rest of the day. It was very peaceful. A bit later, I’d say about 5 p.m., a couple drove up to our campsite in a ATV asking the usual questions. What kind of vehicle is that? What was it used for, etc? But this time our guests turned from gawkers to unusual acquaintances. You see the whole reason we drove to the Crazies was to scope it out for bowhunting season. Jackie has a friend from high school who married a doctor in Washington state and he recently retired. He has been hunting the Crazies for quite a number of years. But he thinks he’s getting a bit old to be hunting such wild country all by himself so he asked me to hunt the Crazies with him this fall.

New Friends
Elk sausage, white cheddar, and cheep wine!

So back to our meeting the couple. They turned out to be ranchers leasing grasslands at the neighboring “rich girls” ranch. I call it “show and tell property.” Our friend in Washington also met the same couple some time ago and he has been driving over and helping them out for apparently years. He mends fencing, puts up hay, and does general ranch hand work. Our friend was a doctor, not a blue collar guy, and he just loves the hard work of being a ranch hand. So he drives over a couple times a year and helps the rancher out for free. He gets to work hard, ride horses, and accomplish things for others. People actually do this sort of thing! So now we also have met the rancher and his wife, and we had a nice chat.

Ther is always a bushwacking hike or it wouldn’t be exciting.

The next day we went for a ride in the van around a big forest service loop road. We crossed a stream and looped back to camp. We just hung out the rest of the day. The next next morning we drove back to Wilsall and had lunch at “The Bank.” A locally owned bar and restaurant. The owners are also cattle ranchers and the beef they serve comes from American Aberdeen and Angus cattle. They are grass fed, no hormones, and locally butchered at a certified USDA processor in Columbus, MT. So the whole process is under their watch. The owner and ranchers daughter was our server. She told us about her families Muddy Waters Ranch and the farm to table concept they followed at this little bar 40 miles from Livingston. The food was great!

The Bank Bar and Vault in Wilsall

Later that evening we again ran into our new friends and invited them to join us down by the river for some chilled wine which we has cooling off in the stream. They agreed. But to our surprise they brought their own and one upped us by bringing cheese, crackers, and elk sausage; and I might add processed and seasoned to perfection. We had a fire going in the fire pit but it started to sprinkle so we moved under a huge old pine tree by the stream. The tree kept us completely dry, it was a Montana sized spruce. The evening went on which chats about our mutual friends, ranching, and of course hunting and fishing. But what fascinated us most was the cattle ranching. These folks had 800 cattle and twenty two thousand acres and still needed to lease land to feed and hay their herd. They, as usual, said, ” we cannot find all the ranch hands we need for such operations, but we have one helper that has been with us for more than twenty years.” Ranch hands as part of their pay get a little cabin. Forman get a house on ranch property and decent pay. They said, ” you’ve got to realize a ranch hand may not get city folk wages, but they also don’t have the expenses or the time or opportunity to spend all that money. It’s a decent living!” I didn’t quite figure out how the money works but I did figure the owners occasionally sell a prize bull, their calves, and some steers go off to slaughter. It was very interesting learning about ranching, laying down fences in the fall, putting them back up again in the spring, and mending them to keep the cattle from escaping. They had just trucked all 800 cows in a couple days to the grass ranch. We ran into a part of the herd as we headed to town and watched the cattle for quite a while. There we a bunch of them crossing the road. They had never seen such a van before. In fact the ranchers said they had never seen many people before that day. They also said, “Every cow has it’s own personality,” God sure is an amazing God! The rancers wife said when they first move the herd from home to the spring grasses and let them out they tend to follow her around till they become comfortable in their new surroundings. She said, “It can be a little frightening with 800 cows following you around,” ya think?

Second campsite by the stream

Well, I can’t remember everything else we did but I do remember we saw a moose and took a lot a pictures. We wanted to capture the feeling. A very warm feeling at that.

After a few days a good hair wash is needed.

One more thing I personally contemplated. It’s a bit political but an interesting observation. Ranch land out here is generally not good farming land. If you look closely my photos show lots of green grass land. The ranch land is what makes the contrasting colors. On it there are vast opportunities for recreation, and the beautiful vistas for photography. I cannot imagine this land more beautiful. Just think about this, less ranch land and more wilderness is not always more beneficial. And if we were all vegans, well, we would at least need cows to create this kind of beauty. And finally, if cows create global warming, well for now that’s a trade off I cannot accept. This beauty is worth something.

Sweet Cows

Well, that’s it for the Crazy Mountain’s. We headed out and had breakfast back in Wilsall at a neat little restaurant located in a school bus. They called it “The Little LeBuski.” We had a breakfast burrito and a carmel roll. It was a decent breakfast.

Le Buski

On our way home we traveled through Townsend and Canyon Ferry Montana on Hwy 12 and stopped at the reservoir. When we got to Wolf Point I revealed my sneaky plan to my wife. Just up ahead was Craig Montana. It’s basically at the headwaters of the Missouri River and some of the states biggest fish are caught on the Missouri. We found an outfitter and scheduled a 1/2 day trip of fishing. She had no idea this was in my plans. She took it well. Unfortunately we could not go longer than a half day float because we were with Ania, our dog. She needed to stay in the van while we were out, so we found a shady campsite opened windows and the sun roof, put up our umbrella over the sunroof and headed out fishing the next morning.

Reservoir at Townsend

Neither one of us had ever nymph fished. Nor had we ever run into 24 inch plus rainbows. We learned a lot from our guide. I being the more experienced fishermen, caught one whitefish and one very nice rainbow. But several got away and two broke my line. They were very tough to get in the boat, and I had not enough experience with fish this size on a 5 weight fly rod. Jackie unfortunately got skunked, but I think she had a great time. She likewise had hooked a couple fish on her line, but the were so big and she so anxious to land them that they too broke her line too. Live and learn. We also both learned a lot about how to “mend” a line. It basically means making sure the line does not interfere with the fly. The fly and line need to float in a neutral position to make the presentation of the fly as natural as possible. It takes a lots of finesse to land big fish that a thousand other fishermen have tried to land.

Fishing the Missouri

We left Craig about 2 pm and headed home. The highlights here were the absolutely gorgeous ride home and the pizza we got at John Henry’s Bar and Pizza in Choteau Montana along Hwy 287. Note, I’ve mentioned Hwy 287 a couple of times. I did it for a reason.

HWY 287

Back in West Glacier we picked up a 26 yr old hitchhiker making his way to Polebridge to begin a solo hike to Seattle and the Pacific Trail. We wished him well, and we are hoping he won’t run into too many grizzlies and we don’t catch the Covid from him. So this trip was only a 6 days but full indeed. At about 8 p.m. Monday July 6th we arrived home. We saw our beautiful home and thought, we are certainly blessed. We have had a wonderful time together in the old van since we retired, this trip included. It is especially good when we are disconnected… And we are glad we can share these good times with you.

Hwy 287

 

Video of our journey

Churned Butter

I’m sitting here looking out my window, listening the Willie’s Roadhouse and thinking again.  Warmed by the sun and feel good country songs, I’m sipping my tea and thinking pleasant thoughts. You see my life has been fully lived and the abundance of blessings I have received is humbling. At present it is difficult to think I could have any complaints. Because I don’t.

Yet often my mind turns to others and my butter gets churned. “How can they think that way?” I ask. Did God forget to give them sense? And even for the ones that have it, I would think they would get tired of visiting the ole Hangover Tavern? You know, that place that promises a solution to their problems, but ends up just making them feel sick. Then there are those friends with whom I mostly agree, but on certain matters cause me discomfort or even distress. (Why again are we friends?) For now the view out my window seems a much better friend, especially when it’s sunny in Montana.

But then again there are people who would for sure have their troubles solved if they would only follow my advise. The kind of advise I’m convinced they have been told time and time again. Advice like, learn to be kind, communicate well, and develop some skills and these will make your living not so hard; and stop depending on politicians and judges for your happiness; stop jumping on every popular race baited bandwagon; and for your own sake start reading your bible everyday, your worldview will change for the better.

These truths go for christians too! These christians, are actually my biggest source of consternation. You know the ones I am thinking about. She’s the blue blood who thinks President Trumps twitter feed is too base and reposts “woke” criticisms by that progressive Christian News feed. She’s hoping the President will be replaced by the radical left’s puppet, “Sleepy Joe.” The guy who she hopes will bring the civility of a type of Obama in exchange for expanding antithetical Christian doctrines and postmodern liberal theology. All because to her, “feelings” are more important than policies.

In unmuted defense there were also times in my life when I was unable to find the scent and continue chase. I hope and pray this is her case too (“she/her” is figurative, not a real person). For I too have been wayward, and at one time very lost lost.

Recently, I have found disconnecting from our television, radio broadcasts, and even avoiding many Facebook posts refreshing. While here I am writing on social media, it would probably do you best to stop reading and follow my example rather than continue reading; you know I’m right! I know I’m right!

But for our gluttonous desire to be “in touch” and learn all we can about the ways of the world I find more desirable getting up early, reading my bible, attending church, doing some physical work, eating well, being kind to my neighbor, having some fun, and loving on my wife is a healthy way to live. So not knowing what is being promoted minute by minute by the media is living life blissfully ignorant.

Still, I cannot help imagining what the media is portraying about Trump. Don’t tell me! But I can be almost certain they are talking about his racist behavior, incompetence, about his response to coronavirus, or about his upcoming “stupid” rally. You noticed, I could not imaging anything other than what they are saying about Trump. He is their obsession. It is their goal to ruin him. And this is all that is being promoted in the news. It is why I have shut them off!

My Morning- Not The News

With a sharp aim there can be another way. If we read our bibles and pray for our friends and enemies, well, then you would know it’s wrong of them to do this evil and forgiveness is a healing balm. And how wrong it is to dwell on such things? God, I think, wants us to live a quiet and peaceful life, He actually wants us to be clueless about some matters. Today this is exactly what I’m doing. It’s time to go haul some brush, eat some pizza, visit some friends, love on my wife, and thank God for my  family and my many blessings.

Gretchen Whitmer – God Does Not Care About You!

Well, not exactly! I don’t know Governor Whitmer but is she a bad person? Is her heart desperately wicked, and her policies wickedly political? Let’s explore!

Her state has become the center of the Covid crisis not because it ranks first, it actually ranks fifth in total covid cases. But the firestorm in Michigan ranks first in public interest because the governor has made public health decisions into opportunistic political gravy.

It seems the minute that the governor was perceived to be a potential running mate for Joe Biden the craziness began. It was like she started to put on more makeup, buy prettier dresses, and she suddenly found the flattering light of the left wing media satisfying. The beast in her was awakened. Do you remember the Incredible Hulk coming out when he became angry? Well the real Gretchen “comes out” when the lights turn on and the left fawns at her newly found so called strength and celebrity, especially when it can be seen as defying President Trump. This is the evil within, and beware it can affect us all.

Characteristics like the want of power and control are evil indeed. Many people find themselves in positions of power but usually get there from good motives. A true sense of public service is not uncommon when people aspire for public office. Some people see injustice in the political system and enter the frey out a sense of duty or calling. Yes, God calls some to public service. And of course some of you will stop reading if I say I believe God called Donald J. Trump to be our president –  actually I think He did. But give me a chance, read on, CNN is not as interesting. You can hear their spiel over and over, day after day. I think many of you will be pleasantly surprised by my conclusions.

Remember I started out with the premise that God does not care about the Michigan Governor. Well that’s not exactly true. He does care for her. In fact if you believe Jesus, he came from heaven to die for  Gretchen. Yes, even for her sins of promoting abortion, locking down her constituents for political gain, the private wickedness in her heart, and for hating all God fearing, Trump loving people who want to feed their families. God works this way you know. Well at least Christians know it. The Bible says, “Such were some of us” swindlers, idolaters, perverts, homosexuals, drunkards, revilers, thieves,  and even greedy bastards (like most politicians). So Gretchen does not have any trait that the average Christian did not at some point in their lives possess. But does this let her off the hook? Not at all!

So back to, “God does not care for you Gretchen.” My headline, like so many political headlines, is misleading, but there is a whiff of truth in it or it would not have gotten your attention. So let’s straighten everything  out. To Gretchen (though she will unlikely read this), and to all the democrats who think she is doing a great thing by extending lockdowns, God does actually care about you! He loves you very much. But what I am certain of is that He does not like her policies. The policies that protect her political ambitions and negatively affect the health and well being of  the people she is required to serve. Sure it’s tough to please everyone, but we are not talking about pleasing everyone.  We are discussing sin. It is sinful to hurt people intentionally. Her policies can actually be targeted to help my friends who live in Michigan, in places where the virus is stable and descending the curve. The blanket put on the fire does not need to smother every community and every business she alone deems unworthy. Timing is everything too for some people.

The American spirit, prayer, and genuine love for others can overcome this virus. It’s apparent the governor “don’t get this.” But if she does get it, this too is sin if she does not address it. It’s called a sin of omission. Sometimes one’s bad intentions can be hidden, but in this case I believe the governor’s bad intentions are being broadcast to gain favor from the loony left and elevate the governors political status and national celebrity. God does not care about our political ambitions,  he ordains them; and He gives us the responsibility to do good and punish wickedness. Repent and do good!

Finally, we freedom loving people do not hate the “governess” like she and her supporters hate Trump (but she treats us like children). We actually hope she will do what we did long ago. We asked God for forgiveness. We received His grace and through faith we put our trust in Him (not politicians). Now we feed the poor, help the widows, and go to restaurants to enjoy the fellowship of living. And we buy things to better ourselves and our families (when we can). When faced with obstacles we look to God first, then we pray for our leaders to do the right things and we adjust our habits to protect our neighbors. We love our enemies, we hope and pray that they will turn to God and seek His wisdom and His Guidance. When our government officials seek God He provides. So truly God does care for YOU, Governor Whitmer, but he also wants you to care for Him and His people.

The Big Scare is Over for me!

What a joy it has been for us this past week. At the height of the craziness we had friends from Las Vegas come visit us. Yes, we broke all the social distancing rules! And we broke the Govenors lockdown rules, before he reluctantly lifted them.

You see, my friend Jim has prostate cancer and his wife is a quite famous Las Vegas singer/entertainer. Jim was about to start radiation treatment and like the rest of us he was cooped up and going stir crazy. After a visit with his doctor, permission was granted him to take a little break before his radiation treatment begins, and he called me to see if he and his wife could come visit us for a while.

Well, it took me about three seconds to think it through. What if I had it? What if he had it? What if he gets it on the way here? It was a thousand mile drive, surely he would meet somebody with it or touch something incubating the dreaded Corona Virus. But my thoughts were short lived. In fact, I murdered them. “Of course Jimmy,” I said, “you and Genevieve are more than welcome to come stay with us, to hell with the virus and the lockdown, you have cancer and God’s in charge!” We both laughed!

Most people will not agree with me, and many of you reading this will be angry with me for “putting others at risk.” Some, by knowing the circumstances may give me a pass, but others will likely try to shame me for my stupidity; in other words, for my lack of conformity.

Let me say what I have said before, “this virus is more about scaring people and government control than it is about real danger,” at least for most of the population. If you have a brain at all you can see in hindsight the actions we are taking against it are gravely out of proportion and are destroying the lives of thousands and the prosperity and health of millions. 

I feel like I’m in a nightmare and I’m screaming “They are lying to you, and I yell louder and louder, wake up sheeple!” The Cults of State, Science, Media, and Politics, are led not by the best and the brightest, but by the followers of demons, greed, power, and lies. Yes, there are some sane and righteous voices, but the leftist, radical, elitist crowd led by the prince of this world, Satan, are drowning the rest of us out! None of these are a bit concerned for the poorest line cook or cashier who can’t make their rent or pay their bills, heck they hardly care for the old people in hospices, they only seem concerned that their deaths be labeled Covid 19. They only want Trump out and themselves in. They are certainly not sympathetic toward my buddy Jim taking a break before the greatest challenge of his life. The guy has a pacemaker and cancer for God’s sake! How does locking him down help him? How much further will their power hungry, greedy, self centered, aspirations go? And don’t give me the line that this epidemic is worse than the flu! The numbers don’t actually bear that out, yet! I’m still watching Sweden, I think they might be the winner in the end. But if I’m wrong, and I could be about some of it, it’s still true that more than half the world’s population have been scared into submission. Even my guy Trump has no way out of this, they led him down primrose street and would destroy him if he changed course suddenly. I think he has finally seen the folly of following these so called “scientists” and their fake projections. He wisely gave the responsibility back to the govenors and is letting them squirm and flail like slaughtered chickens. I fear you, not me, will face months of their lunacy, and we together will forever lose freedoms we all cannot even imagine.

I think some believe this is just a big extended holiday. The ones with big bank accounts and “work at home” orders that is. The ones who wear masks and look at you with evil eyes if you don’t. And don’t tell me working from home is more productive. Permanently free to work from home means permanently poorer in my book.

I very much fear, and somewhat hope, that millions will simply cease to obey the facist totalitarian rules which no longer make sense. Luckily, Montana has pretty much averted the pandemic and we did not have to bear arms just to eat lunch. The people here wisely disputed long ago that living in populated, drug infested, crime ridden, virus incubators, governed by liberal Democrats is a good idea. We are free in Montana, at least I am. I never felt threatened by goofy government officials. I was free (but encouraged otherwise) not to invite my friends to love on them. I chose freedom, and so did they. We laughed, sang, and prayed together. We went on hikes, ate pizza and pastries, even eventually got to drink a beer, eat out, and yes, sit down inside at our favorite restaurant. “The Big Scare” is over for us.

“We will not live in your fear!”

Bob Graham

Our friends left us today and they have left us better people. If you are a “not at risk person,” I encourage you to invite some friends over, take a risk. CNN and the Democrat party has lost its fight with us, we know your game. Howl all you wish Don Lemon, whine all you can Nancy Pelosi, threaten and tell us we are deplorable, but we do not trust you. We trust in God, we love our neighbors, and we will not live in your fear!

P.s. Pray for my brother in Christ Jimmy and his lovely wife Genevieve, that their days ahead will be filled with joy.

“The Lord Our God Will Destroy Them.”

Oh Bob! I can hear the moans even before I write these words. “Aren’t you being judgmental?” “God does not destroy people, people destroy people, God is good!” Well I say, turn with me to Psalm 94 and whence learn.

This Psalm is both a prayer and a complaint. Unjust rulers, cruel oppressors, troublesome people are having their way with God’s children.

I know vengeance belongs to God. I also presuppose that comfort is our reward when the wicked are destroyed. And yes, you weak minded honey bun eaters, I often pray that the wicked get their just reward! In modern terms we have many examples of evil magistrates. Our govenors are currently inflicting their constituents with bitterness, our foreign enemies are inflicting us with troubles, our media is inflicting us with persecution and lies.

While it is sometimes our duty to fight back with guns, God either way will not fail us. He always avenges, “He is the Lord God to whom vengeance belongeth.” But I also know that the Lord suffers for the troubles of his people. Like, our troubles are not unknown though it may seem that God hides himself. Some think He is not capable of executing His judgement upon the wicked and our oppressors. Is this is true? When have you and I gathered, crying unto God for justice? I think we complain more on Facebook than in prayer. Maybe we can learn how to address evil and evil people in this Psalm?

Remember the wicked are the proud, they not just people who have different opinions, opinions different than ours. They boast of their atheism and worldliness. They crush the poor and mock the faithful. They lie for gain. They deceive and promote their worldview. They boast in themselves, not God.

So why does God not send down fire from heaven and destroy these infidels when we pray? They are jerks, idiots, morons, haters, prideful, and perverts. He must know most of the reporters at CNN are some of these? He must know that Pelosi is a hypocrite at the very least, a wicked witch for sure (everybody knows this)! The Psalmist complains just like me! “How long Oh Lord are we to suffer their insolent boasting, their triumphant killing of babies, and the hateful division their feet bring upon the righteous?” How long can You endure it?”

When I ask these questions in prayer the answer comes easily. The injured, the believers, come to a point where we are forced to complain. Maybe it’s just age, after all these years we have had enough? Anyway, we come to a point where whatever we do is not enough. Our voices are not heard, our letters to the editor not read, our posts not “liked.” So what do we do? We must turn to God! We know the persecutions and sins of evil politicians will ultimately end in judgement, but at this point we realize our prayers are now meant to provoke God to punish our oppressors, our votes have little value.

So listen up, why do we not pray like the psalmist? These evil people will “break in pieces thy people.” They will “affect thine heritage.” You know what they are saying right? They are saying, “your god will not rescue you, he will not respond to your prayers.” When these wicked people get power in their hand they become cruel enemies. The best of them have only have civility and humanity as their gods. But their senses have been cauterized, their consciences seared. This makes them exceedingly fearless, secure in their political ideology. Relativism become justification. They certainly do not feel the judgement of God when they do evil.

We must not underestimate evil powers. We need to be wise, instructed by Gods word. The wisdom of these people is like vain folly. However they are seen by their peers, or however they see themselves they are little more than brutish beasts. Their honor is in themselves and their kind, not in God. “They are a mere breath.” Can you see to where I have progressed? I’ve just finished verse 11.

I must not leave out, though it is only implied in this Psalm, that the wicked, the atheists, the evil politicians have one hope, it is God’s long suffering at the expense of the righteous. The wicked may have time to repent, and we should hope they do. We can admonish them, and lead them to Christ for the gaining of their souls. Or, through our prayers and God’s mercy for his children bring justice in their condemnation. “Ye fools, when will he be wise?” Remenber, the Lord rules, not politicians. When they sin they sin against the law written upon their hearts, no matter which university taught them otherwise.”

Now the good part! It begins in verse 12. “Blessed is the man whom thou chastened, oh Lord, and teachest him out of thy law…” This is a temporal consolation. There are no guarantees that a Christian will be given a huge yacht, a great job, or even that Trump will get a second term. But God does prepare the faithful for everlasting rest in the midst of adversity. We sometimes are “chastened” in other words disciplined by the godly rod. This punishment as some would call it is not a token of God’s displeasure, but rather it is used to strengthen us. Just as in the end we understand the wicked will be punished, the believer can take solace in the fact that they will will be eternally delivered. He is our Sheppard, “His rod and His staff comforts us.” We will not perish with the wicked. We will not have to spend eternity with Pelosi should God not show her His extreme and gracious mercy. (Just like He did for you). Condemned believes have suffered the gallows or beheading to rise gloriously unto God. But so too have evil people filled their cup with sins and have an opportunity to repent, “until a pit is dug for the wicked.”

There are many consolations for the righteous, God’s people. The world may cast us off, but God will never see us as unworthy. His son died for us. Yes, we often times suffer as Christ did for us. We are persecuted, oppressed, yet “He will not forsake us.”

Sometimes, and I believe this is true today, earthly judges have become so corrupt that they refuse to do justice and judgement for God’s people. This is their duty. And I think God, the Judge of the World has suspended, for a time, the manifestation of His judgement against the wicked and against our oppressors; and this for His own good and holy reasons. Maybe He is waiting for us to pray this Psalm?

God used David, maybe God is using President Trump to punish some? Maybe He used Trump to give Kim Jun Un his final opportunity to repent? He at least gave him opportunity to change his ways. Trump has certainly “risen up for me against the evil-doers…the workers of iniquity. ” God is rising up others too; we must be careful not to put the orange haired man on too high a pedestal. I still respect him, he has been good for us. But remember we pray to God, He is our comforter.

Now here is an interesting verse, verse 17. “If the Lord had not been my help, My soul would soon have dwelt in the abode of silence.” In other words, seeking the help of men alone is no help at all. Being a “conservative” will not solve all your problems, it may even enhance them. If God had not helped David he certainly would have perished before any man could rescue him. In other words our confidence should not be in man. Man may assist God’s work if called to do so. And if we “slip up” it is God’s mercy that helps us, not fortune. We all need to therefore be courageous, rugged, trusting, etc. But in times of trial it is God who offers true courage. When we distrust our own strength, and we should, we must acknowledge God’s power and mercy. His comfort delights our soul, it is a lie to “trust in ourselves.” The world tell us this is the way to greatness! “The lord is our defense… we take refuge in Him,” not in ourselves, elites, or magistrates.

Do you want to insure the destruction of the wicked, and assure the protection of God? Nothing but saving faith can uphold a man in a time of persecution; these times are meant for us to draw close. And no matter how much it may seem that the wicked have power over the righteous, God will overthrow them. We may serve God by suffering for righteousness, but pray this, “Lord show them mercy by your saving grace” or else “the Lord will bring back their wickedness upon them, and will destroy them in their evil; the Lord our God will destroy them!””

It Could Be a Sci-Fi Movie or….

What if it were possible that China, or for that matter any nation with evil people in charge, could immunize their own population or at least its leaders in advance of spreading a deadly virus worldwide? World domination made possible by a military made from viral bugs? Is this what China was working towards? Maybe their leaders are already immune to Covid 19 and the experiment is now in data collection stage? Don’t laugh at me! There are all sorts of scenarios that could make this believable. Why should a communist authoritarian regime try to compete against conventional weapons systems of the western world when in a bat laboratory is the power to kill off the world? With a more powerful and deadly virus than this one, and at least a year to develop treatments or a vaccine, the Chinese could be sitting on your couch, enjoying your beer and using the TP you stashed before you died. It could happen you know! It could also be that China accidentally let the bat out of the bag and this is phase one of their experiment gone ary?

But you say, then ask, “This is silly! People are not this evil are they?” Yes is the answer. Few nations have shown more agressive expansionist desires than China. They have categorically stated to their people that they want to dominate the world economically by 2025. And they have focused vast resources on building advanced military capabilities. We all know they will someday make Taiwan their own; as soon as we let down our guard or become the second rate military Obama wish for. The Chinese have an evil regime!

Look at how they abuse and dominate their own subjects. They oppress freedoms and spy on or kill their own whistleblowers; all who don’t line up with the party get wacked or go missing. All dissenters are “re-educated,” that sounds fun right? They don’t care about the environment or human suffering. They must hate God, it say’s so in their supreme law. And does anyone think North Korea is an rogue nation? They could not exist without China. China could change Rocketman’s aggressive and strange behavior in one phone call. But, for now, the Chinese use him to keep tensions focused elsewhere – you know, not on China itself. Have you noticed they have been firing missiles lately?

Why do I bring all this up? Have I joined all the conspiracy theorists and gone wacky myself? Not really. I just think it’s important to keep one step ahead of evil. If things are possible, they are likely to come true someday, and someday somebody will make a movie about it. We should call out what we see and defend ourselves. Kinda like Trump does when Jim Acosta asks a hateful or leading question in a White House press briefing. We need to be honest with ourselves and others. There are indeed evil people and evil regimes. Why don’t some of you believe this? There are harder things to believe, like thinking human nature is generally good! I believe evil lurks about because people are all not so good. Who would not want to rule the world?

If humans didn’t want to rule the world, why do you suppose the devil used one of his three temptations on this question: “The devil took Jesus to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” Is this not the picture the Chinese government is painting for it’s people? Bow down, bow down, believe in us they say! No, I don’t see my theory so far fetched. And just maybe, and indeed I am skeptical, but we may be in the movie right now, not just watching it?

Refreshing Tribulations

It’s Easter evening, and even for me the joy I had found in the dawn is fading. The media have returned to their lectern and the assault on President Trump has begun afresh. It was an easy detour for them but a difficult one for me. I know they hate Christianity even more than this president, but I think they find it easier to hate the messenger than the message. They always take the easy path. You may ask, what do I mean by saying the president is the messenger? Certainly he is no preacher, and no specimen of saintly behavior. But yes, I do believe he is “a” messenger from God. First he is our president, and only God puts people in power over the nations. But Trump is doing more than just ruling. Today for example Trump declared he was going to watch Pastor Jefferess of the First Baptist Church of Dallas online. I suspect a few million people tuned in to hear the pastor’s personalized message to President Trump, and if they watched the whole service they got a full throated presentation of the gospel. To my knowledge this has never happened before. And just think about how many media haters tuned in to write about it! If none came to faith and only the believers were blessed, at least those will have no excuse when they stand before God! So yes, President Trump was a messenger today in an odd sort of way!

But the main point of my writing tonight is not about the president, it is about tribulations. To start, we could say this pandemic, like all pandemics, will never cease to happen. Oh joy, right! But I suspect they, like so many personal trials, are a necessary element in our redemption. In fact, if we are not fools, we must anticipate that such tribulations will not cease “until God sees the world to be redeemed or no further redeemable.” (C.S. Lewis).

But here is the catch, and I did not think this up myself, but I believe it strongly. A Christian cannot trust in anything or anyone who promises changes in our economic, political, or scientific system, and believe heaven on earth will follow! What’s funny is that although we know this by nature it still does not discourage us from voicing all sorts of opinions on how and who we need to fix all the bad things in this world. You know what I mean. They say, “Obama would be better than Trump at this, but certainly Trump is smarter than Biden. And that Fauci character is not who we need right now!” The truth is all the vigorous attempts to remove this present tribulation are absurd. When the world is fixed and when somebody or some party takes credit other miseries will take its place. (I am not saying that fixing this problem is not desirable.)

Think about it this way, we seek healing in times like these knowing that when it is over we will return to the ordinary ups and downs of life. And every now and then the extraordinary thing happens to get our attention. I say this to remind you that the vaccine is not to be mistaken for the magical potion called faith!

Living in the natural world with or without faith is never easy. We can look for happiness and security, and we should, but we must realize it will never be like heaven. In the light of day, if your eyes are even barely open, we wander about seeing pain and tribulation all around us

No matter what you call it, Chicago or Montana, there is little truly “good” about living in paradise. And if we are so lucky, we may from time to time stumble upon joy, but who is ever safe and secure? Look, I like everyone, maybe even more, enjoy a beautiful mountain range, a cello concerto, seeing old friends on a road trip, or meeting new friends over a cold glass of beer. Even a good football game can make my heart pump harder. But I do not let these joys become obstacles, yes obstacles they can be. They can, if we are not careful, obstruct our view of God’s blessings. My true home is in God’s hands, not in how or where he blesses me. And a blessed destiny is His wish for me if I let Him lead.

So I must remember God refreshes after the tribulations and we must never make the problem worse by vague talk about unimaginable human miseries. In other words, stop listening to the “scientists, politicians, and media.” Remember scientists can only get tomorrows weather forecast right less than half the time. Politicians lie most of the time and the media are biased. Our surrender and obedience to Christ are not scientific, political, or media issues. Only here, living in the will of God will heaven on earth be almost found; in the loving arms of Christ we abide till he comes or we are called into His presence. Tribulations are not so bad if they take us here!

Happy Easter!