This Is Not a Martian Invasion

I was not alive in 1938 when Orson Welles made his radio bulletin describing a “huge, flaming object” crashing onto a farmers field outside Grovers Mill, New Jersey. Many listeners believed the Martian invasion was true. It was enough to scare the devil out of many folks, and a lot of good folks were taken in. Hysteria ensued and people got all bent out of shape, some even barricaded themselves in their homes.

It is said that Welles did not intend to throw a genuine scare into his listeners. He even had a disclaimer at the top of the show which explained that what followed would be a dramatization, and not a true story at all.

So what similarity is there between the fictional “The War of the Worlds” broadcast and the real and present danger of Corona virus? I have already said the story told by Welles was not true. They were not being invaded. But if they had been, what should have been the response? I say hysteria would be appropriate, right! I mean if I were told of alien, oily skinned, lipless creatures dripping with saliva suddenly incinerating Americans with a heat ray, I’d freak out. I’d probably run get my gun and head to the grocery store. And after this Covid experience, I’d grab some toilet paper first, then get my groceries and go hunker down. But in fact the Covid 19 epidemic is not a Martian invasion, it is a long way from it. However more and more I am becoming convinced the two events have their similarities. The response in both cases was overdone, but here I suggest the proportional response was more justified in the case of the radio show than our governments response to the real epidemic of Covid 19.

The danger we are told is that hundreds of thousands of our citizens will die if we don’t do what we are doing. That “we must slow the curve and protect our system from being overwhelmed and that our response is critical to the slowing of the curve. They say, “Exponential deaths will occur if we don’t do this together.” I understand the math. But I have many questions, like, have we actually seen all the numbers? Have our officials seen them? This is a complicated endeavor and there are many avenues of thought.

I see that they are building hospitals, putting up tents and triage units to deal with the demand that will eventually overwhelm the system. I know they have bean counters that deal with numbers, and I’m not so good at math. But so far the shelters are empty, the hospital ships in the ports are hardly used. Nobody seems to want to question the policy except to make Trump look bad, and when a wise question is asked I have heard both reasons and excuses.

I believe, and I know I will be criticized for this. Even the medical professionals in my own family will likely misconstrue my intentions; but I do not think we are being given enough information to make sound judgments. Of course a lock down is the safest course for us to stay alive. Here at home I cannot be overrun by a drunk or shot by a gang banger, or catch the flu, or the virus. But I took the time to look at the State of New York’s statistics on the conventional flue. As soon as they went into lock_down the cases of common flu declined dramatically. Ironically, the cases of Covid 19 increased. Do you see a relationship here?

Do we know how many people historically die of the common flu each day in New York? How many die each day of anything? Are they telling us this information? NO! Is it conspiratorial for me to wonder what number of those who died are confirmed Covid 19 deaths? Are they lumping in deaths of people with heart conditions, patients with cancer or diabetes, ones who would normally die if they had contracted the common flue? The question is did they die “of it” or “with it?” This is an important distinction and we are not being told which it is. I suspect we are moving people from one column to another, or maybe not.

My fundamental objection and heart felt concern is that we have received little validation from governments and scientists around the world that shutting down economies like they have will help avoid deaths. I’m not terribly concerned about a few horrible nights with a high fever. I personally do not see the correlation or the causation for a complete shut down. What have they said that proves the theory that shutting down everything is helpful? If we look at other countries we do not see one policy working better than another. In fact our policy seems to be, “Something must be done, and we are going to do it!” At first I agreed that “something must be done,” and trying everything seemed to be the answer. But what is happening now is that they seem to be throwing everything at it but also wrecking everything in its path.

“Forgive me Mr. President, I believe you are doing your best.” Yet, you are not telling us to repent and turn back to God. I think you are giving us your heart, and that’s a good thing, but listen up!

This is a tragedy, I know this. But I also know our response needs to be one of proportion. The President has said this very thing, but I’m not sure he is following his own advise. As for me, I say, “I will do everything I can to protect you as you should do everything to protect me.” This is biblical. But we must also justify the scale of the response. It is not unreasonable to take care of our personal hygiene and consider others in our actions. In fact before this crisis I washed my hands and when possible I opened public doors with my sleeve or a napkin, it was sensible. Handles are nasty! Are all Americans civilized? I suspect not! This is why some policies are authoritarian, I get it. Maybe we can maintain a portion of societal compliance, but our future is bleak if viruses like this become the norm. Do you think the average Bronx dropout or the radical teenage socialist will change their ways when this is all over? Remember a large portion of adolescents eat their own boogers! It’s a fallen world!

So what is happening? Almost every area of our lives is been rocked and affected by these mass lock-downs. The loss to our economy and our freedoms are massive. The government is preventing average people from earning a living (can you believe this?) In fact they are destroying our hopes and dreams, crushing our businesses, even keeping people from paying taxes because half the businesses have closed up shop. I have a friend in the party rental business, guess how many parties and weddings will happen this summer? He would normally do seven figures of income and employ many. The taxes that make government run are being withheld, our institutions are even starving themselves, but I’ll bet none in government will miss a paycheck! Deficits are increasing to unsustainable levels, and we are not being told how all this is going to be paid for. These are gigantic economic problems are being stored up for the future. If this nonsense of scale continues the middle and lower classes will not have the slightest chance of regaining our freedoms or our standard of living. Of course nothing will change for the ultra rich. Jeff Bezos will not miss a hundred billion dollars if all falls apart, he’s still have a few measly billion dollars left, but he is likely hedged anyway.

In the title of this post I suggest that we are not being invaded by Martians nor is this 1918 when the last huge pandemic took place amd multiple millions of people died. If it was like that, then these measures might be appropriate. A famous British journalist tells the story of a doctor who sees his patient with chicken pox and he says to him, “the only possible way to to deal with this is to cut off your left leg. This is a new treatment,” he goes on, “the treatment was developed in China and is being used around the world. And we believe it is your only hope.” So they cut off his leg and he recovers from the chicken pox; just as he would have had they done nothing or something different. In this case and ours, in the end all he has to deal with is one missing leg. This is the principal in which all countries are working today. I believe it is quite likely that this virus will eventually just go away or die down with much effort. Despite all our authoritarian efforts a natural immunity or vaccine will likely end it. Yes, a vaccine could eradicate it but that is a long time away; what is our other option?

So tell me please, I can take it, I may even need to know. Tell me with certainty that the information we have says shutting down everything and keeping people in lock-down is helping more that it is hurting, I mean is it really keeping people from dying? I’m not asking about our medical efforts, I know these help. Is all the economic pain saving lives? Is there one policy working consistently around the world that is saving lives? I ask because the stay at home policies in some nations differ widely from ours, and they are experiencing similar medical results. Hong Kong for example kept their businesses open they peaked and headed down slope, but it did not last. So now they are tightening again because the trend reversed, but still most business still remain open, what does this say about our policies? I’d much rather be in St Louis than Hong Kong, maybe being partly open would make sense? I ask why have we followed the tactics of China and not Hong Kong, or Sweden, or Japan, or Brazil? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying we should do nothing or that we are doing everything wrong. What I’m asking, if you remember, is, “shouldn’t our response be proportional?” I recognize it will take remarkable persistence to control the Coronavirus, maybe even a herculean effort. But we can do it! We can elbow bump, wear masks, use hand sanitizer, and wash our hands after every contact, we have to do this after every trip to the grocery store, liqueur store, or dispensary (Don’t get me started on what’s essential). Older people, those at risk, and those who worry a lot can stay in their homes with our blessing. Even idiots could be fined or thrown in jail if they pose a threat. (This is already the rule in many cities) And business owners could keep their businesses open, people could work in scrubbed and safe environments. If a business is sloppy sue them or let the Twitter trolls #bash them, isn’t that the American way? Remember, I’m debating our response and our good intentions. I offer this mostly as a secular opinion, and offer that our policies look more like we are guessing than thinking, hoping things will stick or making sure the other side does not come up with the next great idea first. If we continue beating the dead horse I believe our response could be catastrophic. Now look at the State of Montana, this is at the heart of my argument, NY has its own issues. We have 250 cases and 5 deaths, does this justify the full extent of our shelter at home policy? For goodness sake we now have contact with way more people at Costco than we ever did before the virus. Am I willing to take the risk to listen to cello music in an outdoor setting with others separated by a reasonable distance. Heck yes! A few risks make sense to me.

Finally, I know I would be exposing myself to danger if things loosen up, and they must. I understand I will not have the satisfaction of saying I was right; I play along well. Writing this has been more like a developmental exercise of my prefrontal cortex, than a hope that anybody will agree with me. It is predictable that political spin and socially acceptable conventions will shortly declare I am wrong in my thinking, I’m prepared. Besides the savage rascal in me makes my voice small, nobody will listen who counts, and half of you think I’m nuts already. So after all this, say’s the rogue spoiler, me, “We all still know the ending.” Some of our loved ones or friends will lose their lives, our economy will be crushed, government will implement more restrictions on our freedoms, the rich will get richer, and our politicians will take credit or blame the other side for everything. I kinda wish we were being invaded by Martians, at least then we would fear a real enemy.

P.S. The above is not the religious solution. I wrote this wrapped in provocative heathen rhetoric. I’m absolutely sure if our nation would come to faith in Jesus, humble itself and pray, asking God for relief He would grant it. Problem solved!

My Secret Place

There is a secret place, a place which the physical emotions and wants of the carnal mind cannot find. It is a mysterious place, a world apart from philosophy, politics or reason, where even if it could be found the unbelieving world would have no clue how to make use of it. However, for the believer it is a real place, a habitation, a shelter if you will, where all the unsearchable attributes of God’s truth, grace, power, and goodness dwell. Here, in this holy place, is where believers gather and trust in God. It is a warm and comfortable place, well furnished with love, ease, comfort, peace, refreshment, protection, and whatever else a soul could wish; it is here where the believer may and must dwell. It is here where promises are fulfilled.

Still, strong believers know they are not exempted from troubles. Nor will they not be exercised in their faith. Listen carefully, we Christians have many enemies but we shall never be overcome, or destroyed by them. How can this be you ask? I believe, and the scriptures agree, that if the believer seeks it and goes to God for refuge, and makes his habitation in this secret place of “The Most High,” he will not be refused lodging. And it is here that the believer can reside safely in “the shadow of the Almighty;” God is here for our protection and consolation.

So what happens when you enter this secret place? You will say, “He is my refuge, and my fortress, I will Trust in Him!” This is why you came in the first place right?

Surely to believe in God is also to believe in deliverance from sin and danger! Not the easy kind of danger or just the simple sins, but the kind that human wit and will cannot overcome. This takes true faith.

Sure, the believer is corrupted till the final day, but he is also protected from temptation and many snares. We have a defence, in his shadow, His watchful eye is on us always and He provides us the armor to sufficiently escape our enemies.

But how shall we defend against the terrors of night, or pestilence, or Covid 19? My friends I have thought this through, God has and does promise us safety even when many will fall. For the believer (me) and hopefully you, the suddenness of things should not increase our fears. The lord assures us no harm even “when a thousand fall beside us.” I know this is a bold statement, but the promise of deliverance is what I see in scripture. And none have this right, this promise, but the believer! The wicked will always fall for sure and we will watch in horror. We may also be exercised by fear, but the scriptures say, “No plague shall come near you;” not when you resided in the dwelling, the shelter, the secret place where The Most High is. Thus, we have a retreat from this virus and it is NOT our “shelter in place,” it is in our secret place “in the shadow of the Almighty.”

Are we so dull that we do not to see God at work? Are we too lazy to not see God beyond the daily briefings of government officials, doctors, and so called experts? I love Donald Trump, but God alone promises “no evil shall befall me, nor any plague come near my tabernacle.” So I have learned and believe God inserts himself between us and calamity to His good, and should we suffer our fate it is not a disadvantage to Him! In other words, my demise should it happen sooner than later, is no dissatisfaction to God should it happen to me while in His care. What have I to fear? I shall be with Him.

But should I live and if my enemies are too strong, He gives me refuge. If I am assailed, he provides a fortress. God has even given charge of His Angel’s to wait upon believers. Tell these things to an unbeliever and they will order us up a psychiatrist.

But we know the Lord prevents his children from destruction and he commands His Angel’s to remove stumbling blocks and provides ministering spirits for every believer. This is Christ working on our behalf! We have hope because we have the promise of victory over every enemy, over every plague and every virus. If we call upon Him, He promises to deliver us. “With a long life He will satisfy us. He has given us His Salvation.” And finally to induce the souls of unbelievers He has given them the gospel, that they too may dwell in the secret place and abide in the shadow of the almighty!

This narrative came from Psalm 91, myself, and various commentaries. This Chapter in Psalms has meant a lot to me these past few days. I hope you read it as well.

God Works!

My son asked me the other day, “Dad, are there things at your age that you are trying to accomplish?” I thought, “at my age, really, have I become a dinosaur?” Then I rattled off a couple works and obligations that satisfied him.

After that it was Sunday. I studied a little scripture, listened to a few preachers preach it, and decided today to expand on my son’s good question.

I thought about the great commission, about retirement, and work in general. First let’s get retirement out of the way. To me retirement once meant I was going to stop busting my butt to save money and put food on the table. It now means that I can actually work at “other things” because I have more time. But let’s get one thing straight! Work in an of itself is not “the curse.” If you cannot retire “just tend the garden.” You will see what than means further on. You can still act like you are retired by doing things differently. God does “work.” God gave Adam the task of tending the garden, before the “curse.” He said, “…we should work it and keep it.” The “curse” simply makes work arduous. Weeds get in the way, crops fail, there are times when it does not rain. He did not say give up, He said “tend the garden and keep it.”

And girls, childbearing is not the “curse” either. Childbearing is not a bad thing, I am told it simply hurts like hell. “I will multiply your pain in childbearing,” He said to the woman. So work itself is not bad, weeds suck, but we were created in God’s image to work and bear fruit! Childbearing is not bad, it is painful; kids bring us joy!

God works, even today! If you think like most scientists and skeptics that God or the Great Something (“if he exists,” they say) just set everything in random motion, retired, and now sits on His golden Lazy Boy hoping for grandbabies to come visit Him your view of God is all wrong!

Even Christians can get living all wrong. They think since the “New Covenant” came along our chief path is to only preach the gospel. Some even say, “Only on Sundays so as not to offend.”  It is, however, true that telling others about the good news of Jesus is our primary function, make disciples dude! But we are not all supposed to quit our jobs and become preachers (some should). There is also a social, cultural, and legal element in being a christian.

As far as retirement is concerned. Remember, most of us worked all our lives and about now (if you are considering retirement too) we finally just stopped being an idiots, and now we want to quit?

This is what I told my son. I said God has blessed me in so many ways, I’ve worked well on saving and planning, I have learned much, and I know way more than I did when I was younger. My “job” in retirement is to help others, to pass on what I have learned. I want to pass on my knowledge and my passion. Of course I will take a little time out to experience joy; to travel, fish, and build things. God is more than a slave driver, He loves us as we love our children, you want to take a little vacation kids? Let’s do it! But when we get back it’s noses to the grindstone!

Speaking for most of my friends who have not retired they either don’t feel like they have enough money to retire or they have the “what the heck am I going to do” fobia. I heard a preacher once say, “Most men if they are honest, don’t want to go to heaven!” They think heaven is a place where men sit on clouds and play harps. They are right in thinking that heaven is no place for “real men” if heaven is that boring. But heaven is also not the big golf course in the sky where retired Christian’s rest and play silly games. No, it’s not! Remember again, God works! He made us in His image. So we will also work in heaven. Did you see that sunset the other day? Did you receive a blessing from God recently? Do you know that God wants us to subdue the earth? He said so in Genesis! Why did He say so? Could it be that what we should do, what we should “work” at, is to reflect the Glory of God. Let’s think about building things. When I built my house I wanted it to reflect the glory of the mountains behind it. Who made the mountains? A walnut tree is beautiful in its own setting, but when I build a piece of furniture, the bark is stripped off, the wood is cut and planed, sanded and polished to create something beautiful! God likes beautiful things, right! I subdued creation! What I’m saying is there is also a cultural angle to worshiping God. Do whatever you do well. Hard work honors him, building things that function well for society honors Him. At the same time building things that are beautiful honors him. So it is with building relationships and doing your best at whatever you work at. We have a choice, our works in retirement and life can honor us for a season or honor God for eternity.

Let me finish by writing about goodness. Food is good right! We work to plant it and we labor to get it out of the ground. Or like most of us we labor to pay for some underpaid third world illegal worker to dig it up ( that’s another story). So with work we subdue, chop, salt and grill to perfection those potato’s, carrots and onions. And they taste good! And much better grilled. Is it dinner time? Do you thank God for the millions of taste buds He gave you? How about your wife? He gave you a “helper,” do you thank God for her? Did her loving hands cook your meal? Can you afford to share that goodness with someone else?

You see there are lots of things we can “work” at in retirement. Some like to say retirement is doing what they want when they want to do it. Other say it is like changing jobs. I like to say it is like having more responsibility. We must figure out what we should work at; not just work when or how we want to do. It is like being more in tune with “nature,” of course I mean God, not mother earth, or gaia, the non existant mother of all life. The good, one, eternal God made us from the dust of the earth. We cannot be any more in touch with nature than that! The gospel has a broad and deep influence on individuals, societies, and cultures. Preach it and live it all of your days. Work at showing others how beautiful God is. And enjoy Him forever!

Drilling For Wine in National Parks

Jed, “there is wine in these mountains!”

Presently most of us drink wine with a nice dinner. Others sip it at celebrations. And some guzzle it as if it were the center of their happiness. The proponents of wine drinking say it has numerous health benefits, at least that’s what they say after a seemingly endless day at work. Frankly, many of us just covet wine, and we buy oversized wine glasses to express our love for it!

But what if wine was a non-renewable national resource? What if it was recently discovered deep underground in some famous national park. Would it be worth recovering? I can hear the satirical responses, “Not it it tasted like Boonsfarm or Two Buck Chuck!” I get that! But what if it tasted better than a perfectly chilled bottle of Blanc 1947 St-Emilion right out of the ground? The whole idea makes way for a Hollywood drama. Greed and Envy could play the antagonists, while Self Righteousness and Fundraising the super hero’s. And what about the connoisseur’s and aficinado’s? What roles could they play?

My Favorite

I speculate to have fun, but also because the subject of drilling for oil in a National Park came up in a friend’s post. I explained my opinion this way.

“I’m not one bit concerned about exploring for oil in national parks if there is a national need. But I agree wholeheartedly that we should not export our oil, or for that matter any necessary natural resource unless there is a humanitarian reason for doing so. Having an abundance should result in less exploration and lower prices, not exploitation and greed. My opinion is one in the minority, and will not be liked by either political persuasion. Both parties, in my opinion, model the sin of thoughtlessness. And avarice typically appropriates, without permission, what belongs to another. Of self interest we are all guilty.
I have now added my “layer” to the story, thanks for letting me do so!”

Then the idea of underground wine popped into my head. – No, I’ve not been drinking! I wanted to see if my “opinion” held water in this senerio, and I think it has. I would allow drilling for wine, so long as it could be enjoyed by American citizens. Our national treasures are important, and so are our national resources. Self interest has its role in society, and both oil and wine their place within limits. God gives us limits too, within His limits are the best of things. And they usually are meant for our comfort and pleasure; oil and wine.

Bitter Pill Pelosi

I just listened to Pelosi’s news conference and I’m feeling a little green. It does not matter that you know what she said (The Media will tell you). We already know that everything she says about President Trump is filled with bitterness, hate, and lies.

Let’s start with grudges. A grudge is “a persistent feeling of ill will or resentment resulting from a past insult or injury.” I know people who carry grudges, holding them never pays off, but what Nancy Pelosi has in her mind is more than a grudge. She has expressed intent to punish the President on the scale of a public hanging or burning at the stake. She said so in so many words today. Almost in the same breath, she said again today that she prays for the President. What Pelosi does not understand about prayer is that it impossible for her to prayers to be heard by God with such hate and evil intent in her words, actions, and soul. Prayers do not work folks when we conspire to do immoral, illegal, or harmful things againt others. David in the bible said, “If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.” Psalm 66:18

In fact our prayers often backfire! Isn’t it obvious? Pelosi hates the brash Donald Trump, and it is implied that she hates me because I like him. I think the guy has learned some lessons and he is a pretty decent guy deep down.

It does take the humble view that “we too are sinners” to forgive others. I think she also hates me because I voted for him. One of her followers flipped me off for wearing my MAGA hat. It takes a lot of hate to hate a hat. This self righteous lady needs God’s love and forgiveness. I’m being kind by calling her a lady, but we can pray for her. God has his way of humbling people. All our leaders need our prayers!

It irked me today, and I turned green just after Pelosi called herself “dignified and gracious!” She also called her actions “justified” when she ripped up Trumps speech. I think Nancy Pelosi is visious and mean as hell! She has exposed herself, she is the party’s pole dancer; she will do anything to the win power, to overturn the election, to control our lives and to destroy our values. But this is more than a political battle, it is a spiritual battle.

We need to remember politics is her game, not ours. We need to be kind to others. We also need to be firm in our beliefs. We need to understand the Enemy’s (Satan’s) game plan. He lies, he divides, he wants your emotions, your fears, even your political loyalty because loyalty to a party usually requires God to be second or third. So what can we do? Vote of course! But we also need to put on “the whole armor of God.” Read about it in the bible, the last chapter in the book of Ephesians.

Our nation is at risk from evil leaders like Pelosi (It had not always been so). Today’s political leaders infect attitudes, morals, and Christian values. She, and leaders like her, are like disease causing organisms. They host the “Stone Cold Crazy” pathogen that divides good people and destroys relationships. She currently leads the elite, highly educated party of division. They support baby killing, open boarders, protecting criminals, racism, homosexuality, bisexuality, transgenderism, drug legalization, and freedom “from” religion. She lies when says her party is the party of “working folks.” It is in the rich, high tax, crime ridden, corporation infested, failing big cities where they farm the majority of their sheep. I think “regular folks” live elsewhere.

I live in Montana. I’m feeling better now!

It will take more than a kiss to change Nancy into a princess, so pray. God has done greater miracles, He saved me!

P.S. To my liberal friends and neighbors, I hold no ill will toward you, in fact I think you are wonderful. I believe this is not so much about you and me. It is a bigger “spiritual battle!” You have been kind to me and I understand you do not hold all the beliefs, qualities, and characteristics of Nancy Pelosi – nor I of Donald Trump; Thank God!

The Sweet Spot

I’m 63 years old, married to a lovely woman and we have a very kind son who makes us happy and proud.  We are both retired and fairly well off financially, We live where the air is fresh and the views are stunning, and we have a beautiful home. Our faith is strong. Our neighbors good. Even our dog is in her groove. She is almost eleven years old and she can practically speak the human language. She loves us and she certainly understands what we say to her. 

We can say definitively, we are blessed. But it has not appeared always so in the past. We have had trying times, struggles, and  losses of loved ones. We have been almost flat broke, our families life a mess, and business pretty much sucked at times. And if you include my pre-married life you could add debt, foolishness, arrogance, stupidity, and a deeply sinful existence. But this story is not about the bad stuff, nor a story of redemption or success.  It is simply about a point in time, a specific period in my life where I don’t believe it can get any better. The past had its say, it is the present I am writing about; it’s fashionable to be up to date!

I woke up this morning (when I wanted to) and as I lay in bed I was thinking about that very hour in my life. This is the “Sweet Spot,’ I thought.

To see this clearly you must know, that the day before today, my mom was admitted to the hospital with pneumonia. She is still there today, she is exhausted but doing much better thank you. She is in good hands, and I think she will be just fine, at least for another season – Lord willing. You may see now why I launched into the moment. People often do this when they think about the fragility of life. We all know things can change in a heartbeat. For those of us older folks, we have experienced the heartbreak, the fear, and the tragedy in a jumbled second in time. But this time the tragic event did not happen, it was only a bitter warning, a sort of advance notice that sorrowful days, calamities, disastrous conclusions, and tragic dramas are yet ahead. 

In the dawn of the next day (today), and after knowing my mom was ok, my first impulse was to think about where I was in this moment. I awoke to the realization that this was sort of an axis point for me. On one side of the teeter totter the struggles of a growing faith, raising a child,  a lifetime of frugality, and responsibilities working and dealing with humanity, on the other, our future; the ailments of a deteriorating body, the pain of loss, and that damned convalescent home. Then there are those fears like plagues, earthquakes, persecutions, and broken hips and cancer. But today, this day, life was in perfect balance, and I had never thought so in the past. 

There are no present struggles, few worries, only the brief blemish of fear and misery thinking my mom was ill. We have no huge material aspirations or desires unachievable. We can go practically anywhere, do almost anything, and eat great food. Eating good food is a special blessing for us at this age! We have great friends, our son is doing well, our mom’s have been well, yet they are becoming old faster than we wish. We are blessed they are still here for us and us for them. Our love for God, our prayer life, our knowledge and faith is strong. We are healthy, and medicare is just around the corner, yea!  And Jackie and I are more in love than ever. We have all sorts of plans. 

If I’m forced to look back on the photos taken over the past year in retirement I realize how much fun we have had, how much we have done, it’s ridiculous!. Today, I talked to mom, went for a run, and my wife is making us a shrimp dinner. Tomorrow we get together with our community for snowshoe softball. In a week my wife gets to spend time with her mom and in a month we hit the road again in our van. “My cup runneth over; surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life. SWEET!

Psalms 23

A Psalm of David.

1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

To be God

I just finished reading a fantasy where I encountered magical creatures, unfamiliar wonders, epic battles, and revelations of transcendent truths. It opened a door into a world I have not traveled nor believed in till now. But more notably it made me think about God and what it would be like to be Him.

Perelandra

At once, in this new discovery, I struggled to step outside the frame of human perspective, but realized I could still imagine things. I’m not thinking about things possible, but the impossible, even more the divine. I know intellectually that things which appear to be accidental can be things designed, even matters like the distinction between a sunday drive and marriage can be linked. If we think hard the missing pieces can be imagined, the author helped me here. The author likewise showed me that is easier to see divine linkage in hindsight.

I have hurried to understand the images, the meaning, the processes of God’s plan for my present and future life. He has not made this too hard. His word, the orthodoxy of creeds, even the Holy Spirit are all here to guide me.

However, I do not here want to consider His revealed character. I shall rather imagine with effort what it means to be God in an imaginative sense. I do this not to transcend His will, because I cannot. I do it because I know whatever I can imagine He can do as long as it does not offend His character. I wish to explore things like “can He fly?” (Of course He can!). I ask, has he made worlds other than our own? Maybe! But could He? Of course, He’s God! Simple right? What about the angels? Are they transported into our lives by His command or do they just act on our behalf because they love Him; a sort of desire followed by duty.

When I read a good science fiction story I think , ” Wow, the author is so creative. His imaginations are so incredibly infeasible, except if he were God himself this could never happen.” I think, “but God can you make me fly? What is impossible for you?” Have you made a cave I follow to the center of the earth? Are the clouds bright yellow on Venus? Is the grass blue? Are there floating islands? Perhaps Lewis’s Perelandra is more than mental imagery? Could it have been a true noumenon, an imagined phenomenon revealed to only one man, authored in time, written as a fictional fantasy? What stops the Lord from giving to one person a gift that expresses an unknowable world? I think we call this Eden. Is Perelandra really a fantasy? What is Venus really like anyway? What stops you Lord from giving to me a recreative imagination? The ability to experience or think about the world or worlds from a different perspective, different from the perspective of everybody else or most everybody, and different from the perspectives that are practical and reasonable; what the world presents to us? Some call such thoughts the experiences or the wishes of a madman! The Apostle John should be called a “madman” today. And Christians madmen for believing the vision written in Revelations.

The whole idea that God is so much bigger than even a transcendent imagination blows my mind!

Think about art! What artist is greater than God? Can the painter create works equal to the real thing? Just imagine what real things are yet to be created by God? He is limitless! Can He run out of ideas? Ok, I’m impressed by many artists, certain artists. But when I think of God I can only thank Him for giving those artists the ability to imagine things outside the framework of my simple mind, and the skill to pull off the duty to express them. I have learned imagination is not a fools errand, it is a gift, but not a limitless one. All magnificence, all beauty, all renoun, all honor must then go to God; I can only be one through which He is honored. I can hardly imagine Him; I cannot be Him! It is much easier to believe in Him!


The Imperfect Donald J. Trump

There is an imaginary creature present in Christianity that has troubled me all my life! He is the ideological “perfect” bogeyman. The creature who crawls out from under my bed at night to scare me into ecumenical perfection, or at least that is his intent. But, sadly, this is not an imaginary creature. He is the Christian who insists I need to be free or as free as possible from all my flaws to be used of God! This so called “friend” is the one who says of my behavior, “you are not acting like a mature Christian” and focuses on my every fault, not on how far I have come. The spooky thing about this creature is that I too played the bogeyman as a young believer. I was not a mature Christian, but I was a zealot. I assulted every bad behavior in my friends and family as if they should be aspiring Archbishops. Thank God I no longer have these nightmares.

The bogeymen I find scary today are those who call themselves Christians and sleep with bogeymen. They are always happy (not to say Christian’s should be unhappy). You may know these I’m writing about. They have the same bubbly dispositions as Moody radio hosts or NPR broadcasters who in perfect monotone voice fake their superiority to entice us to accept cultural longings over scripture. These are the kind who seem to live in the perfect home, go to the perfect Church, and usually have a lot more money than you do! They are often the executives who end up as board members or wives of church elders because of their status in their communities not for their godliness. They are the kind who look down on your youth. They say your immoral words and indiscrete behavior tells them you are no good, you are not good enough to go to college or be President! I suspect they would even say you are not good enough to be a plumber in some cases! They confuse your position in life with one’s position in the church where “beyond reproach” matters much more. So what happens if you are just a jock, a landscaper, a middle manager or even an ambitious rich guy trying your best to do right by God? Are you disqualified from living or just in need of sanctifying redemption? In our cancel culture some Christians have been quick to judge and slow to question the accusations against you and President Trump. In my opinion the accusations are little more than subjective opinions, yet, whether these accusations have merit or not, they are being used to rid Christianity of sinners before the cross and the embarrassing Donald Trump from being President, all to protect God’s good name. How arrogant!

If you have not guessed this is my response to the irrational and biblically ignorant opinion piece in the recent Christianity Today article which calls for the impeachment and removal of President Trump!

Let’s face it, some Christian’s don’t trust people unlike themselves; unlike their tribe or the teachings of a particular church, parish, pastor or Pope. Distrust goes beyond politics!

The article, and those who agree with its premise, say, “Christian’s justify President Trump’s bad behavior to the unbelieving world by supporting him.” This mismatched truth holds true if Trump were aspiring to Church leadership or that Archbishop job, but I’ve (surprisingly) not heard him being accused of that! He is our duly elected President and if they did not know already, the grace and redemptive work of God works in imperfect people (I could say the same for Obama).

Regarding government, remember the blessings we derive from Christ are spiritual. The kingdom of God does not consist separately in the wishes of democrats or republicans. Neither does freedom in Christ exist in Christian’s and not civil government. In other words whether we live under the civil laws of God or secular man we still have freedom in Christ. Freedom to worship Him exists no matter who leads our country. Therefore it does not justify us to suppose that President Trump is a polluted human and we should have nothing to do with him. With little justification for impeachment other than an insane eagerness for hurt and revenge, both ignorant pagans and Christians persist with implacable obstanacy, even for the ruin of their false adversary! How Christian is this? They use and support judicial proceedings as a defence of their own perverse conduct. That’s impeachable!

As for me I have personally drawn and quartered the bogeyman under my bed by understanding God’s ways are higher than my ways, and the realization that even people as imperfect as myself and President Trump can be used of God! He has millions of people praying for him, I’m one of them! President Trump is the elected and duly “ordained guardian and vindicator of public innocence, modesty, honor, and tranquility. He, as president, gives aid and protection to the oppressed, he arms with power our military to curb manifest evil-doers and criminals, by whose misconduct the public tranquility is disturbed or harassed.” He feeds the poor with economic policies and restrains licentous behavior with judicial judgements. He avenges the afflictions of the pious at the command of God! All in obedience to the authority of God! This is the role of government, for all mankind for all leaders. If he, like others, is guilty of anything it is that presidents do more than what God asks of them. Chase the monsters away and look for the works of God! Praying for authorities over us is biblical.

So your question is this—which party, which coalition, which collection of leaders and influencers will uphold God’s design for government?” The answer is obvious! The imperfect Donald J. Trump!

Is Your Life Grim and Meaningless, soon to be Forgotten?

Who remembers this guy?

In terms of history none of what I say or do is very important. In fact, the mad majority of us will be forgotten. Although I write a lot, when I’m gone they won’t find much about my life archived or otherwise (I feign from assuming anybody would even try, in a worldly sense my life has been quite insignicant). My political views, even my industrious accomplishments will be lost in the trash bin of history like it or not! Did you know ours was the first company to build screen doors with scenes in the bottom panel? Obscurity has already begun, all my competitors do it now and nobody will remember or care that I did it first. God forbid I suspect even my blog and Facebook posts will dissapear without reparations.

Nothing! I will be nothing but a blurb in history! Haha, right! But so too is your fate! Your life, if lived famously, could be at best a Classic movie that nobody watches 50 years from now. But more likely a film short will be made by your child or grandchildren (on an app of course), self published and “posted;” only to be lost forever by changes in “terms and conditions” or technology! When the Coup De Grâce comes (the death blow) I should be very lucky in a century or two to have so much as a readable headstone – “Loving Husband, Good Father, and Friend.” And should they dig me up 500 years in the future at best they may speculate that I was little more than a post modern human, circa 21st century; I doubt my casket clothes or Ironman Watch will make it to a museum; I hope they suspect I died smiling. To the historian will my educational degree matter? Sadly, I can hardly find squat about my playing football at Wisconsin in the 1970’s, not even a team photo exists online. I bought a brick to be placed in front of the stadium with my name on it for a fundraiser, how long will that last? Till the next re-construction project fundraiser I suspect. Will your work on quantum computing, artificial intelligence, or advanced broom pushing matter when you are little more than a pile of lime dust? Even “important people” suffer such a fate. Catherine Howard, Henry the VIII’s 5th wife, was buried beneath an unmarked grave stone under the altar in the Chapel of St. Peter ad Vincula. Upon examination they found only dust beneath her stone (probably a good thing, she was a beheaded queen).

Catherine burried under the altar. The rest of the “important people” get their grave markers walked on and worn out by tourists.

Face it, your secular future is pretty grim. If you think otherwise you have not visited a graveyard lately!

To be fairminded our lives today still matter. They matter to others; if only for a few generations. But listen up! Even if you are ok with dust in your future! Your unbelief does not negate the truth or purposes of God! There are both blessings and fearsome consequences beyond dust.

Still, with the above warning the popular cry is, “Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die!” For people in these parts we say, “Eat, hunt, fish, hike, vote, thin trees, and build things, for soon enough you’ll need to move to town! There is very little talk about eternity at potlucks.

God created us for reasons blessed and purposeful. We are objects of God’s purpose, we are called to service. Some believe that all should be able to live their lives in the manner they want, regardless of what other may think of them. This is the secular “Live and Let Live” idiom! It is a lie! Actually, we likely have many gifts assigned to us by heaven itself. These are given us for our own good, the good of others, and all for the glory of God. If we look inward we may observe both talents and thorns sown deep in our souls. Hence, for reasons and directions not always clear, we have purpose! But there is more! Every day is a day for opportunity! If we have the gifts of the Spirit by faith in Jesus our allocation may include opportunities for worship, sharing, or personal growth. Think of the opportunities to show kindness and mercy. When we do these things we do them for God’s eternal glory (purpose). Maybe this day is meant for growth in patience? All our trials, duties, and blessing are meant for eternity, not the ruins of legend or fiction. Face it, our earthly legacy will someday be dust, but our spiritual destiny is eternal. Do you remember Empress Matilda? How about Musa Keita I, “Emperor” of Ancient Mali? It is somewhere between ignorance and omniscience we live; none should regard themselves too highly, history will forget you! But with God’s eternal vision both our lives and our futures are not grim or meaningless, nor will we be forgotten.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” … 

Eat Mo Beef!

Yep, I guess I’ll be eating more beef in the future! Of course I love your Chick Fil A spicy chicken sandwiches; except for the haters who bullied the company who doesn’t? But as of today I am expressing my displeasure with Chickens! Not the food of course, but the greedy, fearful, Chickens who gave in to the LGBTQ mob. In the bible, Phillipians, Paul thanks God and commends the elders and deacons of Phillipi for their “partnership in the gospel” and he prays that their love, knowledge, and discernment would abound so that they may “approve what is excellent.” This is still a good message today. What you Dan Cathy have forgotten (or have not learned) is that Paul’s imprisonment was for Christ’s sake; it was actually an encouragement to others. For when they saw Paul’s courage and boldness they too grew confident. “…most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.” (Philippians 1:14, ESV)

I’m not saying the board of Chick Fil A should be imprisoned for supporting traditional marriage (although I’m sure some would love it). I’m saying when people or companies stand on biblical principles it matters to the rest of us. We are encouraged. We see by the hate of good things that our fight is righteous and the opposition embolden’s us to stand firm!

There will always be bullies, haters of God’s ways. But remember Christian’s are not to impose by force our values on others. (It is my understanding that the only wrong Chick Fil A did was to have an expressed value different than the haters.)

So I blame the company for fearing the bullies. I blame your board for schmoozing with idolatry and lust, all for financial gain. Yes, I’m dissapointed! This is more than the slow decay of biblical values that I am used to! You have capitulated! You have discouraged the weak and given them cause to fear! Your actions have emboldened the LGBTQ community to continue their campaign of squashing all discussion and dissent. Chick Fil A you are chickens! Paul would not have proudly written to you as he did to the Phillipians. You have given in to private equity, to worldly and evil forces, and you have denied good Christian organisations your philanthropic gifts. What’s next, going public and being open on Sunday’s?