Go West


That phrase always evoked images of adventure, romance, and a certain anonymity that was attractive to me. People who went West recreated themselves in a sense. They left past failures behind, and risked everything on a fresh start, perhaps lived a more simple and direct life, wild and free.

I think that’s what we all crave. A simple life, fresh and clean, stripped of nonessential things. And as soon as we reach for the door knob leading into that, something takes place. We find the fellowship, and as we settle in we begin to understand their special brand of dysfunction. The colors become muted, the music slightly off key, and we hear a voice telling us to move on because “this is no different from that”, whatever “that” was.

We begin the fantastic new job, and some bad actor takes a special interest in trying to destroy our career. Or the company announces some new initiative to down size and you quickly find yourself back in a similar situation to the one you were anxious to leave.

What is this? What is going on? In a sense, it’s warfare. There is a measure of struggle that we all must go through in order to reach out and up, into the life of God, into the life of Jesus.

I can see this all around me now, in several facets of my life. There are things that I thought I had left behind, abandoned, that have somehow trailed me across the divide and into the Golden West.

Someone far wiser than I said that they are there to drive us to the cross. To point us to the end of ourselves, so that the only help we receive truly comes from the Lord.

I see things in myself, selfishness, grumpiness, inflexibility, a sense of loneliness at times, that truly can only be overcome by the Blood of The Lamb. I can’t combat these in myself, they are there to show my need. To create humility and drive me to a source higher than myself.

So perhaps I’ll find a group of humble travelers that will share in this broken mystery we call Life.



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What Is Said In Jest


I had a conversation the other day with my wife about my former marriage. She periodically asks me questions about how things were, how they went sour, etc. And what I felt, what I knew and when.

My first wife used to joke that she only married me because I would make pretty babies. Then she’d laugh, and I’d laugh, and we’d go about whatever it was that we were doing.

Until once, many years later in marriage counseling, she made a similar statement, but this time no one was really laughing. I think the marriage counselor did for a brief moment, then realized the gravity of what she said, and looked all serious.

Later on, that same marriage counselor told me that as a Christian Counselor to a Christian man, in his spiritual capacity he recommended that I divorce my ex-wife. I was shocked, and so I asked him why he’d say that. His only reply was that he couldn’t divulge my Ex’s secrets due to the “doctor-patient” relationship, confidentiality and all. In his opinion there was no way to expect that she would ever change, or come around. Wow.

I had to think through that for a while. And then things began to come clear. Like the time when we first began to date and I met her room-mate, a rather masculine looking woman with a very short haircut, broad shoulders, no makeup, etc. I felt like the woman was glaring at me, and couldn’t even bring herself to talk with me when later I picked my then-date up to go to a movie. I thought it was weird.

Later, when we married, how that same woman who had been a very close friend of my then wife for a number of years didn’t even show up at the wedding, though she had been invited. Hmmm.

And how many years into the marriage my Ex began to gradually weave homosexuality unexpectedly into conversations, and why did I feel about it the way that did? And what if my son, or a friend, were gay?

And finally my father-in-law told me a story of when my Ex was about to be confirmed, and had a private conversation in the kitchen with the Pastor. The conversation ended abruptly, and the Pastor left in a huff, telling my in-laws that he couldn’t confirm their daughter, and that she would be going to Hell. Wish I had know about THIS earlier.

The most telling thing was how after having two beautiful children, my Ex suddenly pronounced that marital intimacy was no longer a necessary part of our marriage. Forever more.

It took a couple of years for all of these fragments, swirling around in my head, to coalesce into a recognizable picture. One that been hiding right there in plain view.

All that to say that it’s become obvious now that my Ex is a closet lesbian, who had only married me so that she could have pretty babies. She had been telling the truth openly all along.

That truth doesn’t make any of the rest of it easier, less painful, or confusing. Or redeem those lost years, make them suddenly turn to gold. For any who were involved.

But at last I realize that no matter what I tried to do, how I tried to fix what I thought was broken, the fundamental problem wasn’t with me. Sure, I could have been a better husband, better man, prayed more, listened more closely to God. But even all of that would not have changed this one dark fact.

I firmly believe that somehow, I am better for this, and somewhere along the way what I have experienced will make a difference in another life. That the Lord will bless the brokenness of the past, and bring joy and healing to others.

He has given me a wonderful companion, the love of my life, so the healing has begun!




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Having Itching Ears

“For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.”

What exactly does this mean? This speaks specifically to us, Christians, the Church, in the last days. We increasingly cannot submit to authority, bear sound doctrine, remain calm in the face of adversity, or accept being the minority. We are loud, demand attention, and have disputes among ourselves regarding the meaning of difficult passages instead of trusting God with it all.

2Ti 2:14 Remind people of these things and solemnly charge them before the Lord not to wrangle over words. This is of no benefit; it just brings ruin on those who listen.

We want the easy fix, and exhilarating, mind-tickling doctrines, so we have jumped on the rapture wagon, the sign – gift wagon, all in search of our own “personal private church”. Because we CAN fall asleep in the Light, the Truth, all too easily. This is as much about boredom with God as anything else.
Eph 4:14 So we are no longer to be children, tossed back and forth by waves and carried about by every wind of teaching by the trickery of people who craftily carry out their deceitful schemes.

So the stories that attract us, like a hummingbird to a feeder, are put out there by the trickery of the people that have crafted them. They are traps for the unwary.
3 As I urged you when I was leaving for Macedonia, stay on in Ephesus to instruct certain people not to spread false teachings, 4 nor to occupy themselves with myths and interminable genealogies. Such things promote useless speculations rather than God’s redemptive plan that operates by faith. 5 But the aim of our instruction is love that comes from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith. 6 Some have strayed from these and turned away to empty discussion.
1 Tim 6:3 If someone spreads false teachings and does not agree with sound words (that is, those of ourLord Jesus Christ) and with the teaching that accords with godliness, 4 he is conceited and understands nothing, but has an unhealthy interest incontroversies and verbal disputes. This gives rise to envy, dissension,slanders, evil suspicions, 5 and constant bickering by people corrupted in their minds and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a way of making a profit.

Wandering off into myths…

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An Unintended Hero


In 1903, my Great Grandfather and Grandmother came to the United States from what is present day Croatia. Hearing my Grandfather tell of his early years there, following shepherds, milking cows, hunting with his dog, life prior to WWI and II in the Batschka region seemed reminiscent of the Shire.

My Great Grandfather “Karl” was a big guy, 6 footer, and had dreams of making it rich in the US, raising his family here, and then going home to a big farm he’d buy with all the money he had saved. He’d been sending money back to his Uncle in his hometown for 9 years, and Uncle was buying choice pieces of land as he found them for Karl.

My Great Grandmother Margaret bore two children, a girl and a boy, before she died at a young age in Cleveland Ohio, circa 1912.  The circumstances of her death have led some family members to suspect that she died from complications of an abortion.

However it came about, her death nearly brought the American experiment to an end.  Karl regrouped, saved some more money, packed up his kids, and sailed home across the Atlantic. I’m sure he entered town with mixed emotions, excited to be back among his people, but wishing his young wife were here with him. He probably went straight to his parents home, then quickly on to see his Uncle and all of the land that he’d been buying these 9 long years with Karls hard earned money.

I imagine his Uncle was surprised to see him, and a little nervous as he explained that the relatives there had fallen on hard times, and that the money had gone to feeding the old people and children. At least that was his story and he was sticking to it.

Now Karl was in a real pickle. He was broke, his wife buried on the other side of the ocean, no farm and no place to live, and he had two young children to raise. So he went to see another Uncle who had three daughters, and set about making a deal. He would earn his families passage back to America, and take one hungry mouth back with him as his wife, and make a new life for them all.

So his Uncle trotted out all three daughters, two who were beautiful by all reports, and the third who was too skinny, had a pointy nose with a scar, and had already been married and divorced by age 18. You can guess which one became my Great Step-Grandmother (a sweet godly woman).

The story goes that she was married off at a young age to a much older man. He was cruel, a sadist, beating her and worse. One day Great Granny’s father and brother showed up and mixed it up with the guy, coming away with her and taking her back to the family home.  She told me that her Father solemnly told her she would never go back there, but would live with him instead.

And she told me how disgraced she was in the town because she had been divorced, the old women gossiping behind her back, and people generally shunning her.  And because of this she had no marriage prospects, was an outcast, and had lost all hope. Then one day a tall, dark and handsome cousin arrived from America, married her, took away her disgrace and later carried her back to the New World.

I wrote most of this down long ago as a 13 year old interested in where he came from, and recently began putting the names, dates, and stories into something cohesive which could be passed down.

In my recent studies of the matter, I’ve discovered that nearly 100% of my family that stayed behind in Europe perished in Tito’s concentration camps, nearly 100% in one called Lager Jarek.  Accounts say that 6,429 people, of that 955 children, perished there. Most were from nearby towns where my family has its roots.  The sobering thing is to see the ledger of those who died there, and seeing the names of family members, many I recall hearing stories of as a boy on my Great Aunt’s sofa.

My Grandfather Peter (Karl’s son) told a story of his Uncle who bore the very same name. Uncle Peter had no sons, but did have three lovely blond daughters. When Karl decided to return to America, Uncle Peter hatched a plan to carry on his name. He carried young Pete around his spacious farm, pointing to the barn that held his white Arabian horses, and to a stone high in the gable of the roof of his fine home that had young Peters name already carved in it. “Peter, stay here with me and be my son, marry whichever of my daughters you like, and the farm and horses, all you see, will be yours. Look, the house already carries your name!” It was a temptation that no 10 year old boy could be expected to turn down. As it just so happened, Karl put his foot down, told Uncle Pete off, took his son and they all sailed back across the Atlantic.

Years later my grandfather told me that he had been very upset with his father for taking the opportunity for such a wonderful life away from him. But once he grew older, he realized that his Uncles’ wife and daughters had all perished in Lager Jarek, and his Uncle had barely made it back to the town only to live as a pauper a few years more before he too died. And that he, my Grandfather, would have perished along with them all had he stayed. “The Lord used my fathers stubborn determination to save me and our family”.  Tears welled up in his eyes as he said that, for he had a wonderful family, friends and a good life, and knew he owed it all to his fathers foresight.

So Karl thought he was a failure, and returned to America because at least there was work and food. He was a common laborer, sweating in foundries, walking home at the end of the day with a metal lunch pail and would stop at a tavern and fill it up with beer for he and his wife to enjoy. It may have made life a little more bearable. He never bought a farm, was never an important man, but did help countless others escape the ravages of Europe and start a new life in the States.

Karl heeded a voice somewhere inside, and landed a second time in Ellis Island around 1921. Because of that his family is alive and well today.

I’m sure he didn’t understand the complexities of the day, couldn’t see the forces aligning around the world which would cause the death and destruction of what is now estimated to be 90+ million people worldwide. He had no idea how he had threaded the needle, what a miraculous escape he had engineered. The heart ache and disappointments that had made life bitter and difficult forced him to look within, and outward. He left his past behind and reinvented his family, saving those he loved from certain death in the process.

I remember him well, he was a large imposing man, somewhat gruff, and doted on his great grandchildren. My clearest memory is of him sitting in a chair outside, calling me over and giving me a couple of silver dollars as he stroked my hair and repeated my name. Much later my father told me that he was so proud that the family name would live on, and that the promise of a new life here was alive. He died shortly after.

Godspeed Karl, you were not a spiritual man by most accounts, but you followed the voice of One that led the way from death, unto life.



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Hope of The Hopeless

THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEYIn his recent post “Can The Middle Class Be Saved“, Stephen Freeman says

” This is the eye of the needle: our competency and excellence. We are doing fairly well, on the whole, managing our lives in a responsible manner. If we are not worthy of the Kingdom of God, at least we are worthy of something, perhaps the American Dream.

The disciplines of the Christian life are not meant to make us “better persons.” The better persons will barely enter the Kingdom. A truly good discipline will reveal us as failures and without hope. In the Liturgy, Jesus is addressed as the “Hope of the hopeless.” But only the hopeless would know that.

And this is why our salvation is so truly difficult.”

Mathew 13:44-46;  “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure, hidden in a field, that a person found and hid. Then because of joy he went and sold all that he had and bought that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls.  When he found a pearl of great value, he went out and sold everything he had and bought it.”

Doesn’t sound very middle class, does it? Indeed. What is impossible with man is possible with God. I stand convicted. We have to get to the place where we hold all that is dear loosely in the light of Eternity. And recognize our great need, our poverty.

Bilbo knows..

life at the intersection

Just got home after watching “The Hobbit”. The movie is excellent, positively fantastic.

And wow, Bilbo has one big hairy pair of troglodyte feet. Real caveman specials.

But tonight was a chance to unplug, sit back, and take it all in.

But I soon began to hear something, familiar.

Here sits Bilbo, comfortable in his nicely decorated home. His pantry is full, his garden thriving, and his bookshelves are full of safe arm-chair adventures to be taken in between smoke rings and slices of cheese.

Bilbo is content, and happy with his existence.

But then here comes Gandalph, like a long sharp needle ready to pop the cheery, comfortable balloon that Bilbo has fashioned and calls life.

Gandalph talks of adventure, and danger in a way that makes Bilbo uncomfortable. As if he knows, expects, that this is what Bilbo has been waiting for.

Bilbo retreats, hides, cowering in his…

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Road Less Traveled

lonelyroadSo… this is hard to write, and I express honest, and possibly less than truly spiritual sentiments. And it has caused me to walk alone more than once over the last 30 years.  I am not a good example, not a great spiritual man. I struggle, I lose my temper. And salty words often pass the lips meant to bless and invoke His Name. I am a puzzle to myself.

But the Lord has given me a sense of intuition that I have not always given free reign, not always heeded. I have come to realize that I am a sheepdog of sorts.

34 years ago, a baby boy was born to my sister. He was a cute little thing, and looked a lot like my brother-in-law. Imagine that 🙂

It quickly became apparent that this was no ordinary child, and not in a good sense. As an infant, he screamed and clenched his fists, holding his breath until he turned purple. Not normal behavior for a 9 month old. Who knows what causes these things.

As he grew older, he came to visit with my parents. We were living on the Georgia coast, and I took him seashell hunting on the beach, we caught blue crab in tidal pools, and fished for Sheepshead. And he was the bossiest, most manipulative 10 year old I’d ever known. He began talking to my father in ways that I would never have thought about when I was 10. After several very insulting barrages from him toward my father, I’d had it. I clipped his butt right there before my Dad could even say or do one thing about it. He straightened up and behaved the rest of the trip.

Later, he got into trouble in Junior High. He was caught making very inappropriate comments to several neighbor ladies by anonymous cell phone. And later was kicked out for calling in a fake bomb threat. And in recent years I learned he had molested a friends very young daughter when he was about 10.

The remainder of his High School years were spent in a high security “children’s village” type place. He went to counseling every day, and later my sister told me that the counselor had said that “nephew” was a sociopath. All I know is that I had a very unsettled feeling when talking with him, something about his eyes, lack of genuine emotion.

My Dad passed away 11 years ago next month. I spent the last two weeks of his life caring for him, talking with him, comforting him, by his side round the clock. The last week of his life was difficult, and he spent most of it in hospice. I was there with him thru it all. The last day of his life, a Friday, my mother, sister, brother-in-law, and nephew came in to say good by to Dad.

We all went on a quick lunch, and came back to spend the rest of the day there as he transitioned. I had stepped down the hall to the mens room or something, and my nephew came up to me and told me that he had something very important to tell me. But he walked down a long hall way, motioning to me as he went. I followed, curious as to what he was about to tell me. After we had walked a long way, he turned and told me my father was about to breath his last, and that he “nephew” could say that he was the last one to see him alive.

I turned and sprinted down the long hallway just in time to find the nurses around his bed, my mom still asleep in a recliner. He had just passed. There were several other sick instances surrounding the funeral, his threatening language and behavior to my mother, sister and brother-in-law. But when the Pastor arrived to go over funeral plans with the family, he presented the most beautiful eulogy that he intended to read at the graveside service. I told the Pastor not only no, but hell no. I would not allow it, and would interrupt it if he attempted it. His behavior was disturbing, and I’d not allow the last memory of my father to be tainted by this sick individuals self-aggrandizing eulogy.

The Pastor delivered her standard funeral service, but took some time to directly address me regarding forgiveness, and “allowing family members to grieve in their own way”.  My Aunt came up to me after the service and said “that was directed at you, you know”. Yeah, I knew but didn’t care because there was something terribly wrong here, but I just didn’t have all of the facts at that time.

A year or two later we visited my Mom, and spent about a week there. “Nephew” arrived uninvited, and hung around too closely. He was especially weird, trying to hug us all, and seemed too interested in my daughter.  My daughter was sleeping on an air mattress in the living room, and nephew decided to sleep on the sofa since there was no room. My mother thought it was a great idea. Something didn’t feel right, and I just packed my kids up and we spent the night at a friends, and left a day early.  My mother verbally raged at me for “hurting his feelings”. I told her that they were all blind, she was nuts, and that he was a danger to everyone around him. I would not expose my kids to him.

There were many dead end jobs, a marriage, baby lost because he kicked his wife in the stomach, stealing thousands from my mom, and unavoidably divorce.

Years later I discovered that he had done something to my daughter when she was about 5 years old. She hasn’t completely faced it yet, but I know that he “hurt her bad”.  I sobbed, I hadn’t protected her well enough. My intuitions were right all along.

Three years ago he was caught by Police as he was attempting to set up a meeting with a man so he could have sex with his very underage daughter. He’s been in prison most of the past three years, and only got out last week.

And the insanity has begun all over again. My mother has been in assisted living. “N” showed up there last weekend, trying to get money off of her, food, and then I found out spent two nights sleeping on her sofa. So I have intervened, called the Retirement Home and brought them up to speed, called the State Police, State Sex Offenders Registry, local Police, and even tried to find a shelter for him. He called the number I gave him, they tried to help, but he had excuses for why they just didn’t “fit him”, and why staying with my mom for a few days “was better”.

I was shopping for a few grocery items tonight when I received a call from my mom. I answered, only to be talking with “N” instead. He asked me to pray for him, he was “reading his bible”, told me he didn’t have much money, needed to move to a warmer climate, etc. I told him I did love him, but that he needed to take advantage of local resources, changed the subject and ended the call. I am not having him anywhere within 500 miles.

Immediately upon hanging up I exercised POA, called and demanded the Retirement Home kick him out for the safety of their residents. And that if he returns, they call the Police and have him picked up. No one is safe when he is around, especially a defenseless old person. Yeah, it’s cold up North, but he had a chance to go to a shelter, do the right thing, make a fresh start. Stalking Senior Citizens is not the way to go about it.

It’s taken a long time to fully trust my instincts, to learn to read between the lines. To not make excuses for someone, and to realize that sometimes you must get comfortable with being an a-hole to some for the safety of those around you.

The story is not over. I’ll do whatever I have to in order to prevent him from hurting another soul.  In this case, blood is not thicker than water.





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Here’s a very sweet memory- I remember “saying my prayers” out loud every night as a child, with my Mom and Dad right there beside me. I’d pray for my Grandma and Grandpa, Aunts and Uncles, cousins, people in trouble and even my little sister. And I’d usually end by giving thanks for my dog. Yeah, childish stuff I know. Of all the important things that you need to give thanks for, a dog surely isn’t one of them. Well, I can now definitively say that this is NOT true. I give thanks to God for my dog. There were some very long lonely days, and God sent this dog to me at just the right time. I didn’t want her, but I did need her.

I’d forgotten about “dog-prayers” over the years, and certainly hadn’t repeated them. But my wife and I were talking recently about God’s care of everything, how he cares for even the Sparrow, and has even numbered the hairs of our head. And she asked if I thought we would see our beloved pets in Heaven. I reflexively said “Of course”, while I made a note to refresh myself on why I believed so.

Some scripture to ground us in Truth;

Psalm 36:6 (ESV) Your righteousness is like the mountains of God;
your judgments are like the great deep;
man and beast you save, O Lord.

Romans 8 (ESV) 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.

Psalm 84:3 (ESV) Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, at your altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God.

Proverbs 3:10 (ESV) Whoever is righteous has regard for the life of his beast,
but the mercy of the wicked is cruel.

Ecc 3:19 (ESV) For what happens to the children of man and what happens to the beasts is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and man has no advantage over the beasts, for all is vanity. 20 All go to one place. All are from the dust, and to dust all return. 21 Who knows whether the spirit of man goes upward and the spirit of the beast goes down into the earth?

Isa 11:6 (ESV) The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them.  7 The cow and the bear shall graze; their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. 8 The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den. 9 They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.

So what does this all say?

In Psalm 36, the Spirit is saying that the judgments and righteousness of God save man and beast alike. Similarly, Ecclesiastes 3 speaks to our shared journey, that we both share the same breath, and asks the rhetorical question whether man’s spirit goes up and that of the beast goes down. The sense is that as we both return to dust, our spirits return to Him as well.

Psalm 84 tells us that the sparrow and swallow find a home at the altar of God.  And Proverbs 3 defines a righteous man as having regard for the life of his animals. For we elevate them in our sight as we have been in Christ’s. We are, in a sense, Lord to them.

Romans 8 is most telling to me, in that the creation itself eagerly awaits redemption, and will be set free and share in the glorious freedom of the children of God. When Satan fell and tempted Eve, it was not just mankind that became his target. Everything in the Universe became corrupt. He not only wanted to destroy mankind, but the entire Creation. Salvation was wrought to save and redeem ALL that which was lost. To  restore the entire world, everything,  to Eden.

And finally, in Isaiah, a Little Child will lead all the disparate parts of Creation into a harmonious eternity together. To include the Wolf, Leopard, Goat, and Lamb, and even the Cobra.

And we will all dwell together, finally at peace.

As animals were there in the Garden at the beginning, I believe they will be there in the New Jerusalem.

Cats and Dogs alike.

Here’s a link to a more scientific treatise on the subject.


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Pillows, Pillows Everywhere!

Huge Pile Of Pillows

My wife and I made a Saturday shopping trip into town last weekend to pick some things up for our Airstream. And to look for a new dog bed for Snuffy, and to replace the coffee cups that invariably go to an early grave around here.

One of her desired stops was a store known as “Home Goods”. Funny, but of all the stores I’ve escorted her through (think of me here as financial “Robocop”, my presence encourages thrift), I didn’t remember her even talking about this one. I won’t forget it soon, however.

So… I dropped Sweetie-pie at the front door, parked the Dodge, and walked into the store.

Immediately upon entering I was struck by a frightening visage… “THIS IS A PILLOW STORE”.

You have to understand, my better half is in LOVE with pillows. Big ones, small ones, short ones, tall ones.

I fought off the urge to hyperventilate, walked around the wall of pillows, and found my sweet love pushing a cart and looking dreamily at a row of dog beds. Which, by the way, are just specialized pillows for dogs…

Now to help you see why I fear the pillow, a picture. On our bed, the true count was 13. This picture is not of our bed, but just to give you an idea…


So what is a man to do? More importantly, where does a man lay his head???

Now I’m going to preemptively ask forgiveness, because I’ve surely descended into the dog house.

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Awake O’Sleeper

Check this out… a very powerful image.

I see myself, and many I know, right here.

Do you hear the Lion roar?

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Living In A One Story Universe

ngc891FrankeI had written a long, and I thought good, post under this heading not too long ago about Father Stephen Freeman’s blog and book on the subject of Secular Protestantism.  As I stared off into space, sipping my coffee and pondering the imponderable, my fat thumb rested up against the back space key. And all of those priceless thoughts were erased. Not a problem really, if I knew of it and reacted quickly enough. But I took another sip of coffee, as I curiously watched auto-backup kick in and write over all of it with a nice, clean blank page. Drats.

To summarize, all of what I’d said before can said in one brief, astounding sentence that you may not agree with.

God is here, watching and present, listening, and because of his undying love for us He actually intervenes in the affairs of men.

He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow, and steps in and alters the course of history, of our lives, and those around us. Because He is merciful, loves us, and sent His Son for us. He holds everything we are, every last one of us. We live and breath in Him. Whether we acknowledge Him or not.

And that’s all I have to say about that.


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The Age of Unbearable Thinness


I visited my ophthalmologist yesterday, and secured a good report from my annual glaucoma testing. The test consists of sitting with your face pressed into a contraption that measures your percent of retained visual field by the number of minute light speckles that you can correctly see and record by pressing a button on a small clicker. My eyes have remained stable for the last three years, thanks in part to some minor surgery that I had 2 years ago.

As I received my results, the doctor told me that I was definitely NOT a candidate for laser eye surgery, and that if anyone ever told me I was, to run. I don’t know why I’d  ever see anyone but him,  best eye doctor I’ve ever had.  His prognosis was that my corneas were too thin for any type of corrective surgery, and that I need to be careful. “Your corneas are thin, unbearably thin.”

Unbearably thin so as to easily sustain damage from routine bumps and bruises that life can toss our way.  This is also what has happened to our thought processes in the age of the internet, thanks Al Gore. We do not understand what it means to stand in the pocket and study a subject, conduct deep and meaningful personal study of a subject, take time to ruminate over a thing, not forming an opinion too quickly. Or not being too easily offended. We may look at some articles written by authors of questionable or non-existent pedigree, gather some opinions by those fear-mongers that seem to always fight their way to the forefront of YouTube, and then form an opinion within a few days, possibly a month.  We have “conducted our research”, decided what is “Truth” on the matter, and moved on to the next glittering subject. We’ve lost the art of marinating in a subject, pondering it, dreaming about it, praying through it, and most importantly hearing the wise authors of long ago, understanding what the ancients have to say about a subject.

We are soft, easily deceived and offended, having become eaters of spiritual fast-food that fancy ourselves to be gourmets.

We live in the Age of Unbearable Thinness.

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Just One Bite

My wife has a favorite phrase,  “I just want a bite”.  If it is something especially choice, a “bite” may appear quite unexpectedly and in the most inconspicuous of places.  It almost sounds biblical now that I think about it.

Anyway,  several of us were having a conversation a while back about what we think church should be like, what it shouldn’t be like, and eventually how certain books were included in the bible.  At some point someone made a comment that we should at least be able to see the reasons why certain books were included in the canon by the Bishops of old, and decide for ourselves. I understand where this comes from,  but think it is a dangerous exercise because we elevate ourselves above the many wise and godly that have come before us.

Our natural tendency, especially in these United States, is that WE should decide. We are the final authority, we are in control. This is not a new phenomena. We doubted Gods goodness first in the Garden, and in every generation since.

This is the history of how Protestantism came about, and continues to die and shatter into myriad expressions of Jesus “one church”, continuously for the last 500 years! At the outset, Martin Luther wanted to exclude a number of important books in our New Testament because he felt that they undermined the primacy of grace and reinforced works, prayers for the dead, invalidated the work of the Reformation, etc. Books like Hebrews, James, Revelation, etc. Can you imagine what we would have lost had these three books been stripped from our spiritual conversation?

So the thought seems to be that if it was done in the past, it was uninformed, and the reasons for the choice were primitive, not as informed as we are today. That only now do we have the enlightened ability to rightly separate wheat from chaff, truth from error, god-breathed scripture from the imitation.

This position invalidates the work and witness of the saints of the past, what the church calls Tradition, and what Chesterton calls the Democracy of the Dead.

“Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about. All democrats object to men being disqualified by the accident of birth; tradition objects to their being disqualified by the accident of death. Democracy tells us not to neglect a good man’s opinion, even if he is our groom; tradition asks us not to neglect a good man’s opinion, even if he is our father.”  I would go on to clarify by saying that Democracy today tell us not to neglect anyone’s opinion even if he is our enemy, while Tradition asks us not to neglect a good mans opinion even if he is our Great Grandfather. You get the point, we can’t and should not adjust the past to appease our current myopia.

So what Orthodoxy refers to as Holy Tradition can really be understood as Chesterton’s Democracy of the Dead, the wisdom of all the generations of godly that came before weighing in on a subject. The great cloud of witnesses.

If you accept this definition of Tradition, then you see how the church becomes a plumb-line through time, never changing, never wavering, shining as a light and a witness because she is consistent from generation to generation.

This is what I believe was gradually lost in the Reformation, seeking the fresh and new, and throwing out the wisdom of the ages.  Mat 13:52 –Then he said to them, “Therefore every expert in the law who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his treasure what is new and old.

I think the great tragedy of our day is our loss of continuity with the past, family traditions around holidays, the luxury of spending time with one another.

But the greatest tragedy of our day is that we doubt Gods truth, His words, and the wisdom that brought them to us.  The church is like a bride who has seen her face in a mirror and having gone out and taken a bite of forbidden fruit, has forgotten what she looks like, who she is.



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