Monday, December 29, 2014

Adult Singles - The Church's Dirty Little Secret

Now if that isn’t an inflammatory title, I don’t know what it.  Yet it’s largely true.  After years of examining Protestant churches throughout the country I have come to the conclusion that most of them just wish singles would shut up and not bother them (I suspect Catholics are no different.)  Oh, they are certainly welcome to participate and join any sub-group in a church, but don’t ever expect real support to create one to reach Adult Singles.  A few of the bigger cities have mega churches that attempt to reach single adults, but it really hasn’t caught on with the church community as a whole.

Churches stress the value and importance of marriage.  I think they are ashamed of Adult singles.  I think they look at them as failures that tarnish the Christian image.  They don’t fit in.  They have young marrieds groups, they have classes for those who may be planning to get married.  They even may have a class for support for those actually going through a divorce.  Churches create groups to deal with those suffering addictions, they create groups and even homes for neglected seniors.  They go out of their way to create subgroups to teach and provide activities for their youth and college age children.  They even go so far as to actively evangelize on college campuses and public schools with satellite groups.  They will build orphanages in Africa, schools in South America, and hospitals in rural areas, but when you get to the arena of adult singles the first thing church leadership and pastors will tell you is “we tried that and it didn’t work.”  Later on when you pester them about it they may also tell you “Oh, we can’t do that.  That’s like a dating service,* someone might have sex even.”  That one made me laugh to think why they aren’t afraid of that with their teen and college youth groups.  The bottom line is they will promote and advertise and stress the importance of all these ministries very actively.  But mention the words “Adult Singles Group” and everyone runs the other way.  These are the things I’ve heard and seen over the years in almost all the churches I’ve attended.

Some churches will grudgingly allow attempts at forming adult singles groups but find very little interest in promoting the idea, and so it dies the natural death they predicted.  I really don’t understand any of this.  If there is one group the church can do great things with, it is adult singles.  They are often people with severe stress and loneliness issues, many suffer addictions.  Often, they are single parents struggling to get by with no help whatsoever.  Just the emotional support of a group of folks going through similar life challenges and experiences would be of inestimable value to many of them.  I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to find that churches today have a critically huge segment of their congregations made up of single adults and they don’t even realize it.

With the single population of America growing due to divorce to the point that nearly half the country is single, you’d think America’s churches would be seriously concerned about reaching out to that population.

* And what exactly, pray tell, would be the holy horror of someone finding a mate in a church adult singles group!!!! 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

My Post Election Analysis

OK folks, let’s talk real politics for a minute here.  Everyone who is a Republican or conservative is riding high on a wave of optimism that we just had a Republican landslide repudiation of the liberal Obama policy agenda.  At least that is what all the conservative political pundits and political action groups are saying.  But what is the truth here?

The truth is that we still have a badly fractured political party system that is represented by elected officials who in many cases are bought and paid for by people and corporations with money who expect favors in return.  We have a TEA Party agenda that is still a divisive wedge in the Republican party, and we will likely not see cooperation in securing votes.  And the term landslide is laughable…we have a two vote majority in the senate and a slightly larger majority in the house…if all the TEA Party folks vote with the traditional Republicans.

Likely, what we will see over the next two years is a legislature that is still driven by hardline political ideologues who cannot compromise or work cooperatively together.  We will see votes that fall along the lines of the agendas of the monied puppeteers who funded campaigns of Republicans, Democrats and TEA Party legislators.  More importantly, we will see the Ideologue-In-Chief continue his march to rule by Executive Fiat by promulgating Executive Orders to implement his liberal strategies.  Congress is so fractured that no two-thirds majority will exist to block his actions.

Trust me, this is going to be a circus act, not a group of statesmen with the country’s best interests at heart.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The New America

I just read that in Switzerland they are now following the lead of other European countries and actually building publically supported facilities for prostitution and staffing them with social workers to protect the girls from abuse.  They tax the prostitutes to help pay for it and they feel it’s better than having them work the streets.  I don’t propose to debate that here, but I have questions about the moral implications and the long term effects.  (Are we looking at a future of temple prostitutes as in ancient times?)  Since we are busy following the liberal left’s lead to become more like socialist Europe, I suspect this will become the next new thing in America along with legal marijuana (and other harder drugs) everywhere in the country.  It is funny though, we see these as victimless crimes, yet the victims abound in less visible ways than the typical mugging or shooting.  The victims often are one step removed…family members or perhaps others who are stolen from in order to support the lifestyle.  Is this really the wave of the future?

Then we have city after city that are opting to create government built and supported homeless villages and encampments in their jurisdictions.  Portland, OR and Santa Cruz, CA are two great examples.  Certainly the socialist, liberal trend is on the rise.  The economy is not in good health.  I find it sad to note the effects and the twisting of the facts by the political pundits.  We were doing pretty well in 2007.  Things went south back then when the left (like Barney Frank in the legislature) provided banks the encouragement to make loans with no credit worthiness and practically no down payment.   In the end it nearly ruined our banking systems and has left us in a less prosperous position than before.  Nothing the government is doing encourages business success, and much discourages it.  Oh, the pundits and the administration will say things are good, but the truth is that there are more homeless and unemployed than ever.  Even in my town we have cars that line the highways at night with homeless sleeping in them.  That didn’t exist in 2007 or any time before!!!!!!!!  People have literally opted out of the workforce and aren’t part of the statistical calculations of prosperity anymore.  Fewer people participate in the workforce than ever before.  Sad, Sad, Sad! 

Conservatives are unlikely to regain control of our government, so, I guess what I’m saying is…look for it all soon in a community near you….

Firefighter's Rules For A Successful Marriage

I’ve been a firefighter for many years and these underlined rules below are on the wall at the station (and also in my bathroom…LOL)  They are critically important commandments for safe and successful fireground operations.  One day I was looking at them and realized how they could parallel successful operational rules for marriage.  So, here are the fire rules with their parallel in marriage.
  • Size up your area of tactical operation
What kind of person is this that I intend to marry?  Are we suited to each other in outlook, character, values, beliefs and interests.  Focusing only on appearance, popularity, sex among other things can be serious risks to be aware of and avoid.
  • Determine the Occupant Survival Profile
Take a good long look.  Do I think this is the kind of person that I will get along with and be with for the rest of my life?  Am I just attracted to one of those pitfalls in the tactical area of operation and there is no chance of success.
 Once you decide to marry, you will have to make decisions and will find yourself arguing over issues.  Guess what, not every argument is winnable.  Sometimes you might actually be wrong.  If you have differing opinions and arguments, as all couples will, leave room for saving face and compromise.  Know when to give in to your partner’s way of looking at something.  Put on your “big boy” and “big girl” pants and realize that not everybody gets their way all the time.
If you have a strong position on your relationship itself and don’t see a potential compromise, keep an open mind about how significant the issue is and be prepared to re-evaluate your stand on it.  Time may show that you want to abandon your position…in other words, don’t be blindly bull headed, stupid!
Marriage is a team sport…spend a lot of time doing things together that bring joy to your time with each other.  Date nights, alone time just talking, doing chores together…you know what I mean.
Don’t just assume that because he or she promised to be yours forever that they will.            Stay on top of problem areas and seek resolution, communicate and serve each other’s needs.  Marriage takes work!
Pay attention when he or she tells you something…there may be a bigger message there than you think.  Communication is a two way process.  There needs to be a sender who is clear and a receiver who understands and acknowledges the message.
Eventually, one or both of you will want to do something that will damage the relationship.  It may be inappropriate friendships, too much alcohol, lack of satisfying sex life, or any number of other problems.  Be self-aware and other aware.  You need to know how what you do will affect your relationship and take action to mitigate that…and no, keeping it secret is not the way!
When you find your plan isn’t working, retreat to the basics.  Men generally thrive on respect, women on love.  Find out what love language your spouse gets the message with.  For further details on that, read Gary Chapman’s “Five Love Languages.”

Seek good counsel from a minister or professional counselor to help you deal with issues.  Outside evaluations can often open up lines of communication and resolve problems that have grown cancerous.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Why Angels?

The Bible doesn’t spend a whole lot of time discussing Angels in detail.  I would venture a guess that almost every person on the planet has some sort of idea in their head about whether angels and Demons exist and what they are like.  And to show how confusing the image might be, the ancient philosophers are even rumored to have discussed how many Angels could dance on the head of a pin.

If God is the Alpha and the Omega, and creator of the Universe, one would have to assume that the angels are created beings He made.  They apparently have free will if one-third of the angels could revolt and follow Satan as we are told.  The Bible gives the impression they are long lived but nowhere that I can recall does it specifically indicate they are eternal, though I think we all assume that.  Nowhere does it clearly indicate what normal form they may have, and nothing indicates wings and a halo if you are thinking that!  There is no clear indication that they have special powers, but Paul certainly gives us the statement that we battle principalities in the heavenlies (i.e. Demons and thus Angels are involved as well?)  They apparently have the power to influence events and actually appear to mankind according to a small number of Biblical accounts.  Their appearance is most typically as messengers it seems and not much more.

It would seem that God had a felt need to create mankind for some reason that Angels did not fulfill as his earlier creation…or perhaps they were created contemporaneously with mankind?  Either way we are left with a lot of unanswered questions.  I am certainly no expert on the subject, but I find it really tantalizing to wonder about.  

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Ebola - The Unknown Threat

When our government starts making blanket statements like "Oh, there's no way this Ebola thing can possibly get out of hand in America, our health system is to good" that's exactly when I begin to worry Big Time!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Things Not To Do With Online Dating Profiles

21 ways Online Dating Profiles Go Terribly Wrong


1     1. Your main profile picture is of your dog…we immediately think he looks better than you
2    2. Your main profile picture is taken of you 30 years ago before you moved into the nursing home
3    3. Your pictures show you 30 pounds lighter than you actually are
4    4. Your profile pictures show you naked or nearly so…disagree all you want guys, it’s still tacky
5    5. Your profile pictures show you with your favorite chainsaw or fish catch (& you are still naked)
6    6. Your profile has 23 shots of the sunset, your dog, the Grand Canyon, your favorite fish and your car…but none of you.
7    7. Your profile just says you are a great guy, handsome, hardworking and brave…of course you are...
8    8. Your profile just says you are a great gal, beautiful, sensual, etc.  …of course you are...
9    9. Your only profile picture is one of three incredibly good looking people and one person that actually hurts to view…but there’s no indication which one is you.
1   10. Your profile is actually one that is hacked or created by a criminal who is intent on stealing from unsuspecting fools.
1   11. Every picture of you shows you with a hat and sunglasses...why not just wear a bag over your head?
1   12.  Your profile picture is of your grandson or granddaughter
1   13.  Your pictures are so fuzzy and poor quality that it’s difficult to tell if it’s you…or a wild boar coming through a fog bank.
1   14.   You have no pictures on your profile…I call this the “white Elephant gift” approach
1   15.   Your photo is mounted upside down or sideways…if you can’t figure this out, wow?!
1   16.   Your pictures are taken from so far away we feel you were afraid you’d break the camera
1   17.   You have great pictures and have written nothing in your profile…do it and use spell check
1   18.   You make a point to indicate you are only interested in rich dates who want to travel the world and you have booze in both hands in every picture...and you aren't a cocktail waitress.
1   19.   You are obviously angry and sarcastic in your profile narrative.
2   20.   You don’t smile in any picture
2   21.   Your wedding ring is clearly visible in the pictures even though you say you are “single”

Sunday, October 5, 2014

When The Boss Gets Ticked

In Luke Chapter 16 Jesus tells a parable that has always fascinated me.  On its surface it is an admonition not to get absorbed in the “love of money.”  You can’t serve both God and Money.  What fascinates me about the narrative is that Jesus describes how when confronted with wasting (or embezzling depending on which translation you read) his boss’ money, the accountant goes to his employer’s creditors and discounts their loans so they will take care of him after he’s fired.  That’s not the weird part.  What I don’t get is how his employer is quoted as saying that he “admired the rascal for being so shrewd.”  Jesus didn’t say that his employer grabbed him by the shirt collar and threw him out on his butt.  Didn’t say even that he carried through with firing the guy.  The story we have is that this fellow was “admired” by his boss as being “shrewd.”  Why was there no punishment related in the telling of the story?  My assumption is that it wasn’t Jesus intent to have the boss man do the punishing.  Jesus wanted to show how corrupted you can become by the desire for wealth and earthly comforts, but in the end if it corrupts your relationship with God, you have lost everything of value and will see punishment far more eternal in nature than just having to find another job or your next meal and a place to sleep.

Why do you think it doesn’t say his boss fired him?

Top Traits That Really Mean Something

I got to thinking the other day about words.  Not surprising for a writer, but these words were special ones.  They just don’t go out of style!  I thought about which words mean the most to me when I see and evaluate people.


You’ll notice that perfection doesn’t show up…at all

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Handwriting In The Sand

I often wonder about the scenario where Jesus is presented with a woman caught in the very act of adultery.  It is obvious from the setting that the Pharisees were using this as a test to trip Jesus up.  Their “culturally” based rules said she was to be killed for what she did.  Jesus had other ideas.
He took some time with this one, and I’ve always wondered why.  He kneeled down and began writing in the sand.  I’m sure everyone there was wondering, “What the heck are you doing?”  I doubt that Jesus needed time to think about his answer, so I’m left believing that he wanted the crowd to simmer and to think of the reality of what they might be about to do.

Then he says, “He of you who is without sin can cast the first stone.”  (I’ve heard some scholars suggest that it actually reads ‘he of you who is without this sin’)  Regardless of the exact translation, it puts all the bystanders in an embarrassing position…they need to publically declare themselves perfect in order to kill this woman.  Declaring themselves perfect would be blasphemy and would put their own lives at risk and at the very least be embarrassingly arrogant…especially to all those who knew each other’s sins, shortcomings, and dirty little secrets (after all, it is a small town!)

And through all this, Jesus just sits doodling in the sand with his finger.  What was he writing?  I’ve burned with the desire to know the answer to that question for years.  I can see the members of the crowd watching Him.  Some were craning their necks to read what he was writing.  The anticipation must have been enormous.  And then they saw what he wrote and it had to be unnerving to them because they all walked away.

I’ve decided that He was writing each one of the crowd members names in the sand…
Now we are left with just Jesus and the woman. “Where are your accusers?”

Jesus could have condemned her.  He was the only one there without sin, and yet he said “I don’t accuse you either, go and sin no more.”  Now most people would say that Jesus was sinless and had the right to stone her to death and simply chose not to.  I have a slightly different take on it.  I think Jesus knew sin intimately well from the times we are told he was tempted by Satan.  I think he resisted Satan every time, but in his mind he had the same temptations as any man did.  That was part of the reason he was sent as our salvation.  God said that He would come and experience all of mankind’s trials and temptations and even death itself in order to take on our sins and provide the forgiveness needed for all of us.  I sometimes wonder if becoming human was a revelation for God about how difficult the human condition is and how susceptible we are to selfishness and Satan’s temptations.  Jesus felt all we can feel, and through that we have his eternal offer of forgiveness.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Let's Get Physical !!

There is no doubt in my mind that in spite of the wave of youth oriented extreme sports, we are in decline physically in our country.  Our biggest offender, obviously, is the rise of the automobile in the world as a whole and our country more than any other.  When I was a kid, we had a car and it lived in the garage.  Now, if you pass almost any house in America, there are two cars in the garage (if you can fit them in around all the other possessions, tools, toys and knick knacks.)  In the driveway itself is another car or two, and off to the side there is likely an RV.  Along the street are the kids’ cars.  So the average household goes from one vehicle to four or more.

Do you get the picture?  NO ONE WALKS ANYWHERE!  You have to schedule your walk along with whatever other physical activity you might desire.  Unfortunately, fewer people desire physical activity at all.  I know one person who requires that we drive around the mall to find the closest spot to one store, and then drives the car to nearest spot to the next store two doors down so that we don't have to walk.)  And when was the last time you saw a kid walk a mile to and from school every day?

We are too busy eating sugar that inflames and progressively narrows blood vessels and adds pounds to the body.  Type 2 diabetes used to be an old person’s disease…now we see it in 12-year-olds.  And of course, as soon as you gain extra pounds it becomes exhausting to haul that body around yourself, so you don't do it.

We have an epidemic of depression in America.  Why is that?  I’ll advance a theory of my own…we aren’t physical.  Doctors are delighted to give you happy pills and send you on your way and ultimately, that has its downsides, too.  Most of you who know me are aware that I am an exercise junkie, so yeah, I am biased.  But still, I firmly believe God made us to be very active, and unfortunately we are approaching the day when we will ultimately “meld” with our techno devices and our muscles will atrophy into non-existence.  Frankly, I’m not interested in that kind of life.*

*We’ve even decided that you can’t be physical in any way with punishing your child either (I’m not advocating abusive beatings at all!)  Unfortunately, young children don’t learn well in a lasting manner the immediate consequence of bad behavior by having a time out (which is usually poorly enforced because we are too busy on our Iphone) or not getting their sugar cookie…sorry, but it’s true.  

Thursday, September 11, 2014

It Must Be God's Will

Ever hear someone put on their sad face and tell you, “it’s God’s will” for something that happens? It’s used from a range of matters from illness and death, to political elections and the outcome of war. And it’s one of the silliest things I can think of hearing, too.  The first time I finished writing this essay, my computer crashed the file.  Was it God’s will that I not write and publish this?  Or was it God’s will that the auto recovery function was able to save it for me?  Pretty silly stuff, don’t you think?

The “God’s Will” statement is at war with the very essence of what the relationship between God and mankind has been from the very beginning of creation.  God created humankind and said you can do anything here you want, have at it…but, oh by the way, stay away from that one tree.  Whether you consider it a factual story or a parable to explain our state in life, the fundamental fact is we were given ‘free will’. Free will guarantees that whatever someone else does affects everyone else, and whatever you do affects more than just yourself.  It’s a giant pot of bubbling interactions.

Now you can make a lot of decisions that will tend to insulate yourself or others from decisions that get made, and sometimes that works pretty well. You can go live in the middle of the wilderness, but it’s possible that decisions that a mountain lion or a bear will make may affect you, too. Life becomes a free will crucible for us all.

So what happens if you don’t take the fatalistic view that God is a giant puppet master imposing his will? (Which is absolutely not Biblical as I’ve said.)  How do you explain the parts of the Bible in which God intervenes directly in human affairs, like providing manna and quail in the wilderness or making the sun stop in the sky so a battle could fought longer and be won?  Or most importantly, bringing Jesus back to life after the crucifixion.  To me it is obvious that God retains the right in the creation he made to insert himself and his decisions at will. 

Jesus said “ask and you shall receive.”  We are told to continually pray for God to do things by the very same fatalistic religious leaders who will say “it must be God’s will that your husband got cancer and died.”  Doesn’t that seem bit inconsistent?  I think the more logical view is that God set mankind down in the middle of creation as a test for each of us who we would serve…our self-centered selves or God and our fellow kind.  That test goes on every moment of every day for every person, yet God also expects relationship and communication and responds upon request.  That response may be the answer you seek or it may be “no” or it maybe “not now.”  Many of those actions come through the hands and feet of a united group of believers who are seeking that very action from God.  In their uniting they surprisingly wind up making the changes they seek.  Other times (predictably, much more rarely it seems) things happen through no real effort from us other than the asking for God to intervene.

The other way the phrase is used is equally frustrating..."What is God's Will for me to do."   Should I be a dentist or a bartender?  To me God's Will is pretty simple...live your life in keeping with the principles He has outlined and the rest all falls into place.  Be the Christian He has asked you to be in whatever setting you find yourself and want to pick for yourself with that free will He deliberately gave you.

OK, this time the document saved and posted properly.  Was it the will of God that this happened so I could make the few changes I inevitably make when given the chance…LOL.  The end result of all this thinking is He’s God, he gets to do what He wants.  Most of the time it seems He sticks to the rule of Free Will for mankind…and just maybe that’s because we ask too infrequently!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Axis Of Evil

I’m wondering just how our country could have let things get out of hand as bad as we have.  Russian government officials are threatening us with nuclear annihilation, radical Muslims are once again on the move and succeeding militarily in subjugating and decimating others, and Al Gore still has everyone focused on climate.

I’m particularly perplexed at the President of the United States.  Everyone on the liberal side of the street mocked George Bush for everything from the way he talked to the things he said and did.  One thing in particular that I remember was the liberal antagonism to his statements about certain individuals, organizations and countries in the Middle East being “The Axis of Evil.”  Unfortunately, he was right, and I think current events bear that out.  What I don’t understand is our current president watches American Citizens get beheaded by these terribly evil people and yet seems more concerned about his golf game and sending his top staff to investigate the circumstances around a black thug who robbed a store and was subsequently shot after beating on a police officer.  He sends numerous people to the thug’s memorial service and not one to the memorial for James Foley’s death at the hands of ISIS.

We should be dropping thousands of soldiers and equipment into Iraq and Syria immediately.  Neville Chamberlain made the same mistake of delay and appeasement, and it almost lost Britain to Hitler.  If Hitler had beaten us to the creation of the A-Bomb, and he nearly did, evil would have triumphed completely.  As far as Russia goes, we are too late.  We blew that one when this President failed to step up to a bigger missile defense shield for Europe when Russia objected.

When is America going to stand up and be the leader for freedom and justice once again?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Adversity - Bring It On!

Albert Einstein once said, “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”  We are living in what I think may well be the toughest times in world history.  We have growing environmental issues to face, we have wars bent on world domination, and we have cultural and faith deterioration and a dependence on materialism and technology that is truly alarming.

And yet, we have the opportunity to make the decisions to resolve each and every one of those problems.  Solutions abound, some better than others, but implementation often lacks.  We have the opportunity to end hunger and stabilized populations without resorting to war and disease to do the work for us.  We have the opportunity to live in a world of tolerance and love and one that models God’s love for us.  Yes, it may be difficult.  Jesus changed the world as a human in the most difficult way possible.  He put his life on the line and gave it up.  The world has not been the same ever since.

Albert Schweitzer observed that "one who gains strength by overcoming obstacles possesses the only strength which can overcome adversity."   If we practice overcoming obstacles in our lives and in the world as a whole, we can grow in our strength.  It does not matter what the obstacle is!  Do you have an obstacle to living a life that you want or to providing help that someone else may live the life they seek.  We gain strength when we take the steps forward.  It’s just like the weight lifter learns:  “Lift until you feel you can’t lift again…your muscle cells will grow as a result and tomorrow you will be stronger and you can lift even more.”  Adversity is hard, but it builds strength if you recognize the opportunity and don’t give up.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

I Want Facebook To Complete Me!

The entire concept of dating has changed since I was in high school.  Now, it concentrates on meetups through Facebook, dating sites, Craigslist and a myriad of other encounters at the corner of Cyberlane Ave. and Digital Blvd.  The Things people write in their ads and profiles are a wondrous collection of attempts to portray who they are and what they want.  Some write little or nothing, most write a litany of similar platitudes and descriptions, post two grainy pictures taken of them 20 years earlier and 20 pounds lighter, and then fill out the rest with pictures of their cat, their hunting rifle, their favorite flower, the big trout they snagged.  But amid all that something really stood out to me in the profiles that women write, and honestly, I think it applies to men as well.

I’ve read on website dating profiles by women that they “don’t want a man to complete them” that they aren’t looking for “someone to fix their loneliness” or “take care of them” etc.  They use words like “independent” and “successful” to describe themselves.  I don’t disagree that there is some value in those thoughts, yet isn’t that really what all of the “search” is about?  I can go all day and be with people who I do things with.  It can be fun and social…but it isn’t special or connected in the way a relationship with someone who is uniquely committed and compatible with you is.  In the end there is that small hollowness inside that says “I want more.”

It seems to me that that is the way God made us…to in fact be “completed” by a person.  There is something so ultimately fulfilling in the daily experience of life with that one unique person you trust and are attracted to and compatible with, that the sharing of those experiences together becomes so much larger than it would be with just “anyone.” 

I mean, really, you can have work associates and even all the friends in the world.  You can even go out and rent companions -- river guides, home care workers, tour guides, personal trainers, maids, escorts or prostitutes for that matter.  You can join clubs and Meetups for friends.  It works to some degree, but it’s not good enough.  You can watch movies and have all the nice dinners in the world, and it won’t be enough. 

It’s not at all like walking into the movie theater holding hands or dancing together to the music in the grocery aisle.   It’s not like knowing they’ll be there beside you when you go to sleep at night, and still be there in the morning.  There IS some kind of “completeness” in finding that person.

One friend once told me, “There are two different mindsets. The first would be a person who is very accomplished and perhaps has been hurt deeply in some way and who has put up walls so as not to appear vulnerable or needy.  (They may "want" but don't "need)  They want someone to know they can take care of themselves in every way.  The second, is the person who wants but also needs them (I use the term "need" loosely.) They want a person in their life, one to join with in living each day to the fullest, to worship together, pray together, eat together and love together.  They want the completeness that comes from fully knowing their partner--their wants, dreams, fears and then to support each other so they can become all God has for us to be for Him and for each other. They "need" another because without them, they cannot experience the depth and sweetness of love that God intended --that "oneness" that comes from complete trust and loving fully with an open heart.  God made man and woman for each other, that we should not be alone.  A right relationship completes that love.”

As another friend once put it to me, “when you are really in love, independence and completeness don't matter....you just love unconditionally and it all feels good.” 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Get The Whip!

A few days ago I wrote about Jesus’ first miracle at the wedding in Cana.  Immediately afterward, he goes back home with his mother, brothers, and disciples and shortly thereafter goes to Jerusalem to attend Passover.  While there his next act is to pull out a whip and chase out all the tacky sales booth guys and corrupt money changers from the temple.  This makes the Pharisees irate and they demand “by what authority do you do this, show us a miracle to prove your authority” (my phrasing) to which Jesus says:  “Destroy this sanctuary and I will rebuild it in three days.”

What I think is so significant is that he sets out his eventual crucifixion (destroying his body sanctuary of God and coming back to life in three days) at his very first public encounter with the authorities and the community…and that they demand miracles for proof.  He spends the next three years giving them exactly what they demanded…miracles by the boatload including his resurrection…and they still won’t accept his authority.  

I find all that very significant.

Watch Out New York!

The rise of ISIS in the Middle East is convincing me that we are rapidly approaching a critical point.  Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is the leader of the movement to establish a worldwide Caliphate.  He has already said his plan is to take Spain and Rome next.  The threat to Europe is real and immediate.  Radical Islamists have found their successor to Al-Queda.  More violent and committed than any prior organization and ideology, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi said, when we released him from captivity in 2009, “I’ll see you in New York!”  I don’t think he meant to attend an Obama fundraiser or watch a Broadway play.  Jihadist groups are on the rise, and militants abound under the ISIS flag in Indonesia and across North Africa as well.

Failure to convert to Islam under an ISIS Caliphate will result in your death.  Ladies, get ready to die or enjoy the fact that women will be denied education and relegated to scrubbing the kitchen floor and wearing their burkas.  They will be hung if they are raped by a man.  Is this really what you want?

Wake up America, the enemy is almost at the door.  Neville Chamberlain made the same mistake against Hitler that Obama is making against ISIS.  Evil nearly overtook the world then, so don’t make the mistake of thinking it can’t happen again.  Those who fail to study history are condemned to repeat its mistakes.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Jewish Mothers

I just finished reading the story of Jesus’ first miracle again today.  Weddings were a big event in the Jewish culture, and from the sound of this one that Jesus was at it was no different.  The wine flowed freely and everyone was in high spirits.  Then, somebody notices “whoops, were out of booze!”  The danger here being that the party animals would leave and things would be a big flop.

Then along comes Mary (hmm…sounds like a good song title!)  Now, I don’t know if you’ve had a lot of experience with Jewish mothers or not, but I have.*  They can be pretty firm with their kids when they want to be…which is most of the time!  Mary’s kid was Jesus…doesn’t matter that he was 30 or so years old at the time, he still was subject to her wishes.  She apparently was keenly interested in the wine not running out and told Jesus to do something about it.  It is odd how Jesus answered her “it is not time for me to show who I am.”  What is not odd is that he took care of the problem anyway…you don’t disobey a Jewish mother!  He takes two huge stone pots filled with water and turns them into wine (do you think this was overkill maybe…I’ll show you mom, you want wine, here it comes as a gusher!)

Why do I say it was odd for Jesus to say what he did?  Because it implies some sort of timetable -- and that I find the biggest unanswerable mystery, and it also implies through the whole scenario that Jesus apparently had been doing miracles that at least his mother knew about all along (and yes, I know, you can’t keep a secret from a Jewish mother…they figure out everything!)  Now maybe he just mowed the lawn with a wave of his hand, cleaned his room with a word, or cured her bursitis with a touch, but apparently his ability to do miracles was no secret to Mary!

Apparently the “vintner gig” remained a secret because no one at the party had a clue about what Jesus did (except maybe the guys who served the wine out of the water pots, and apparently they didn’t tell anybody from what we read in the texts.)  The master of ceremonies (think Bob Barker here) just gushed over how good the wine was, not how miraculous it was that Jesus took dishwater and turned it into Pino Grigio. 

But, I still want to know why Jesus said “It is not time yet….”   That one really makes me ponder.

*Ladies, I truly mean no offense.  You love your kids and you work hard to make them turn out well.  Besides, I’m kinda teasing and stereotyping here.  Forgive my taking those liberties.

The Tramp On The Street

Today was interesting.  I had a gig I was supposed to play and sing down by the river.  I got there and the event had been canceled.  I was bummed, so I pulled out my guitar and just sat along the Durango Riverwalk and worked on some songs.  After a bit, three of our local indigenous vagrants happened along and sat down with me.  I thought they were going to try to get money, but instead they asked me to sing something.  I figured, what the heck.  I did Marshall Tucker Band’s “Bob Away My Blues.”  They were so appreciative and all gave me kudos and knuckle bumps as they shuffled off to Wagon Wheel Liquors…and you know, I’ve rarely had such an attentive and appreciative audience!  Makes you think.  It also makes me wonder what could I have said that would have made a difference in their lives?  Anything?  I suspect I will run into them again in time.

Then today a lady came up to me in Church and asked me for money and also would I buy her groceries, give her a ride home and pay for her motel room.  She was in her 70s and was a “homeless traveler.”  Her expectation of me was that I was a Christian and therefore was supposed to support her life choices financially (turns out she is on Social Security.)  She appeared well fed and was very particular about what I should buy her at the grocery store.  Though I got her a couple nights in the motel and another friend gave her money for groceries, I can’t help but feel that she was rather arrogantly taking advantage of people when she had other options in her past and current life choices.  Perhaps mental derangement is part of her problem, but she seemed to like her lifestyle.  Most of my other friends in church just walked away from her or ignored her, largely because of her arrogance and ungrateful attitude.  She kept repeating “no one is going to tell me what to do” any time someone offered a helpful suggestion.  I am conflicted.  How much does the one in needs’ personal responsibility weigh in to another’s decision to help them. 

So, two different scenarios in two days.  I have four adopted children overseas, where do I draw the line on my offers to help?  When does my help not solve a problem, but rather facilitate a dysfunctional lifestyle?  How do I know they are in need at all?  I know a guy who dresses “ratty” homeless (though he’s not) sings on the sidewalk and basically uses it to beg for money from passersby.  He told me he makes more at that than he does at his job. 

What would Jesus do?  What would you do?

Monday, August 11, 2014

Happy Days

I am often fond of saying that the “Golden Age” of America has passed and that the “Happy Days” of the 1950s was the real peak of our glory in this country.  I think it’s important to note that sometimes I’m not totally right (yeah, I know, big shocker right!). 

Take these facts below as an example. I thought these were interesting statements that give some perspective to our lives.  It points out that media coverage and one’s own personal reality is often more formative of opinion and feelings than actual reality. 

  • In 1949 a computer filled an entire 20’ x20’ room. An iPad today weighs 0.73 pounds.
  • U.S. life expectancy at birth has increased from 39 years in 1800 to 79 years today.
  • The average American retires at age 62. One hundred years ago, the average American died at age 51.
  • Despite a surge in airline travel, half as many people died in plane accidents in 2012 as in 1960.
  • In 1952, 38,000 people contracted polio in the U.S. In 2012, there were fewer than 300 cases in the entire world.
  • Median household income adjusted for inflation is nearly double what it was in the 1950s.
  • Crime has fallen dramatically from 1991 to 2010. Rape is down by a third, robbery is down more than half, and there were nearly four million fewer property crimes in 2010 than in 1991. All this while the U.S. population grew by 60 million during this period.
  • Almost no homes had a refrigerator in 1900. Today you can get one in a car.
  • The average new home now has more bathrooms than occupants.
  • High school graduation rates are at a 40-year high.
  • The average American work week has declined from 66 hours in 1850, to 51 hours in 1909, to 34.8 today.
  • Relative to wages, the price of food has dropped 90 percent since the 19th century.
  • In 1965, more than 40 percent of American adults smoked; in 2011, 19 percent did.
  • The number of Americans with a college degree or higher has risen from five percent in 1940 to more than 30 percent in 2012.
  • From 1920 to 1980, an average of 395 people per 100,000 died from famine worldwide each decade. During the 2000s, that number fell to three per 100,000.
  • A three-minute phone call from New York City to San Francisco cost $341 in 1915. Today many providers allow you to make such a call for free.  (In 1950, nearly 40 percent of Americans didn't have a telephone. Today there are 500 million Internet-connected devices in the U.S., averaging 5.7 per household.)

We’ve got a long way to go in this world to have our behaviors and the love we show our God and our fellow man match the amazing strides we’ve made in the areas mentioned above…but when you think about it, even they are reflective of that in many ways.  Sure, there is a profit and wealth motivation in there, but that’s not all that has taken us through these centuries of progress.

Go Team!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Any Faith Is OK? Then I'll Take Faith Hill !


I had an interesting encounter with a couple of people the other day that set me thinking.  You see, they both believed that any path you found to God was acceptable and you would be in heaven when you died.  Any religion that led you to your faith was OK.

What made the encounter so interesting was that these people were both prominent Christians. 

I upset them, I suspect, when I pointed out that that was in direct contradiction to what Jesus himself said when he pointed out that “no man comes to the Father but by me.”  Believing in the death and resurrection he experienced was why he was born.  No other faith was acceptable, otherwise, the Jewish belief would have been just fine and in keeping with the beliefs of these two people I chatted with.  There would have been no need for Jesus to be born.

You see, if you accept the kind of theology that says any religion is good enough, then you have to accept that Romans who believed in many Gods was an acceptable path.  You have to believe that ancient civilizations that sacrificed babies and young virgins to their Gods was acceptable.  You have to believe that those who worship crystals or radishes or whatever are acceptable.  If you don’t, then you are faced with the dilemma of determining which religion or belief system is acceptable.

You then have become God.  You then also start deciding what is good enough to get you to God in any particular religion.  That gets sticky and pretty soon you start throwing out certain ones you find objectionable.  So, the ones that kill babies and virgins go first.  Next maybe the radical Muslims who advocate killing anyone who doesn’t believe as they do get tossed.  Then you get stuck being picky, and you realize that if you get to choose what religion is good enough, you’ve violated your basic belief that any path is good enough to get you to God and salvation.

I know these people I was talking with were coming from a viewpoint that was tainted by the fact that they had loved ones who were not Christian believers.  To that I say, I am not God and that God can decide whatever he wants to.  I certainly think that those who have never heard of Christ may get different treatment from God.  If he wants to let non-Christians who have heard about Jesus into heaven but aren’t Christians, that’s up to him.  I figure it’s best if I let God speak for himself.  But for me, I figure it is best to go with God’s own choice that was foretold in the Old Testament and that was confirmed by Christ’s miracles, his own words and his death and resurrection.  If you knowingly step off that path, you sink in the mud and murk of salvation by “works” and “goodness,” and then you get into how good is good enough...and, well, you just don’t want to go there in that discussion.  

Faith in Faith is no faith.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

His Name Is John

I am struck by the account in the Bible in the first chapter of both Luke and Matthew where Zacharias is made speechless by the Angel Gabriel for doubting that his aging and “barren” wife Elizabeth could be having his child.  Later on it mentions that when the child is born, everyone is arguing about Elizabeth telling them his name will be John.  Nobody in the family is named John and so they turn to Zacharias and ask him what the name should be by ‘making gestures and signs.’

Now the first thing that comes to mind is why are they making gestures and signs?  Why didn’t they just ask him?  He’s not deaf, he is without the ability to speak.  Now I suppose Gabriel maybe overdosed him a bit when he zapped him and took out his hearing ability as well, but I’m more inclined to think that it’s something else.  Some of these people at the circumcision were possibly not locals or even relatives who had been around him for the last few months.  They have a guy who can’t speak, and since most deaf people don’t learn to speak (or speak clearly) they talk and ‘hear’ with gestures.  I have a lot of experience with this since I have several deaf friends and my daughter is a deaf sign interpreter.  Most deaf people don’t speak out loud a lot.  So many people would be used to a person who couldn’t speak ‘talking with gestures’ and would fall into the trap of communicating with him that way.  It’s also possible that the signs and gestures were after he was asked out loud, and he was trying to communicate the name to them with gestures, and they wound up gesturing back until Zack finally gets frustrated and asks for a piece of paper to write on.

It’s just one of the more interesting ‘inconsistencies’ that non-believers like to point out when they are discounting the truth of the Bible.  One of the things I learned as a police officer is that testimony is often inconsistent in little ways when it’s perfectly true…it’s actually one of the things that immediately made me suspect it was truth.  When things are identical it is often because they are rehearsed fabrications by a group to sell a lie.  Now, I’m not saying that gross inconsistency is a sign of truth.  However, little inconsistencies can often be explained by circumstance, culture, point and time of viewing and hearing an interaction, and so forth.

So take those curious little things in the Bible for what they are…more proof that the account is accurate.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Will Rogers - Wise and Funny

Will Rogers was one of America's most venerated homespun humorists.  The modern generation of millenials and whatever the rest of the flood of young humanity is in this country is called by people who dream up these names, has never heard of Will Rogers.  I think that is sad.  So many of his throw-away lines were far deeper than the surface humor the offered up and had application to many of life's problems.  So today I offer a few of my favorite quotes from him:

"Never miss a good chance to shut up"

"Always drink upstream from the herd"

"Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance"

"Why not go out on a limb?  That's where the fruit is!"

"When you find yourself in a hole, quit digging!"

                         And my all time personal favorite:

“There are three kinds of men. The ones that learn by readin’. The few who learn by observation.   The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.” 

Friday, August 1, 2014

An Apple A Day Keeps The Doctor Away (signed Eve)

I think Adam and Eve kept eating the apples.  In so doing they kept the Great Physician out of their lives.  Literally and figuratively all the generations of humankind have eaten the apples and struggled and served the god of this world since the fall of Eve and Adam.  We now live in a time when people ask “are we on the brink of the end.”  Changes in technology, warfare, and increasing moral relativism are affecting the world in ways never before imagined.

I recently read an article by a “futurist” of some credibility that said within 20 years we will be having robots that do virtually everything and people will find it hard to even get a job.  While I find the argument has holes in it that you could drive a battleship through, it does have limited validity in that we will have ever greater technology to rely on (and yes, inevitably robots will be a part of that in some way as they already are.)  How that will change mankind remains to be seen, but what I am sure of is that it won’t make us closer to the God who created us.

Many think we are on the brink of World War III now that Russia is committed to retaking Ukraine.  There are many arguments in favor of that, considering that Eastern Ukraine is and always has been predominantly Russian speaking inhabitants.  Russia has changed enormously since the fall of Communism in that country.  The Russian Orthodox Church has been resurrected and 90% of Russians identify themselves as Christians…though like the U.S. only about 10% actually attend services.  Plus, other surveys show that 30% of Russians identify themselves as atheists.  Conflicting statistics, but still indicating a change from the days of Lenin and Stalin.  But I’m begging the question…will we fall into chaos in the middle-east and nearby Ukraine as the civil wars in that area bloom as they appear to be doing?   I don’t think it’s inevitable.

So what is God’s will in all of this.  So many Christians look at God’s will in such strange ways.  They almost seems to sit and wonder “should I eat breakfast or go for a walk?” “which one is God’s will for me.”  Or more commonly we see “which job should I take, I wonder what God wants” and this kind of silliness abounds in Christian thinking more than most would like to admit.  God gave us free will and desires and dreams.  He wanted to see us follow those desires, but to do it in keeping with his “Will” meaning living a life of commitment to the principles of living outlined by Christ.   You are called to do that in whatever life role you find yourself or that you choose for yourself.  People keep trying to make faith more complicated than it is…from the Pharisees on down to the everyday person of our time.

So why ramble on about God’s will?  Because what we are to do in this rapidly changing world is exercise those principles outlined by Christ in our interactions in the world as a whole.  Who is carrying out the Christian Biblical principles in the world today?   Certainly not the radical Muslims or the government in China.  They revel in killing Christians.  So it would seem that God’s will would be that we seek to somehow change their influence in the world.  Does that mean through warfare?  I suppose it could come to that, but I’d prefer to use prayer and actions that win over believers from among them.  With more Muslims and Chinese becoming Christians today than ever before in world history, we may succeed without war.  Did you know that Red China actually has more Christians than any other country in the world already?  Did you know that more Muslims are converting to Christianity than ever before in the history of the world?  Of course with a billion residents in China and probably an equal number in Muslim countries, it is still a drop in the bucket for them.  Still, it engenders hope in me that loving your neighbor and loving God will become a reality in the world as a whole someday.

The same thinking applies to my initial comments about allowing robots to take over the world.  We need to exercise moral and ethical principles in the development of such technology that it doesn’t somehow engender a moral relativism that erodes our values as Christians or destroy the economics of our civilization.

Futurist Joel Barker once said “vision without action is merely a dream.  Action without vision just passes the time.  Vision with action can change the world.” 

What are you doing to change the world for better today?

Monday, July 14, 2014

What's Important?

OK, someone please explain to me how the U.S. Government can ask to spend 3.7 billion dollars to keep 80,000 new illegal immigrants fed and housed and kept in this country with the already 12 million other illegal immigrants from south of the border, and yet only ask for 8 million dollars to study why the bee population has died off to half of what it was a couple years ago.  Albert Einstein felt that if all the bees died off, all of mankind would be dead in less than four years, since the bees pollinate the plants we depend on to eat, and the plants the meat we eat depends on to live.

Do you get it?  I don't.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Doubt It?

Ever have doubts?  I have doubts about a lot of things.  Did I remember to pay that important bill?  Does a certain person really care about me?  Did I lock the door when I left?  

Doubts.  One day it hits you, how could Christianity be true.  Virgin birth, a wandering preacher talking about loving your neighbor and loving God, raising dead people back to life and himself rising from the dead.  Lots of people think it’s preposterous!  I doubt there is a Christian in the land that hasn’t had those thoughts.

John the Baptist was Jesus’ cousin and even once baptized him remarking that he was unworthy to do so.  Yet John even questioned Jesus when he was in Herod’s prison asking “are you the one? ”  What was he thinking?  Was he afraid and defeated in prison?  Was he looking for a political and military leader in Jesus like the rest of the Jews were?  Or was he just experiencing those pesky doubts?

Thomas traveled with Jesus and saw him heal people and even raise the dead.  Yet he said, I don’t believe Jesus is alive after the crucifixion, and “I won’t believe it until I put my fingers in the nail holes in his hands.” How could he of all people doubt that?  Yet he did until Jesus himself showed himself to him.  Jesus said you have seen these things and believed…blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.  

We have an amazingly detailed account of Jesus’ life and actions.  We actually have far more and older original material on him than Julius Caesar or any other character in history from that time.  When was the last time you heard someone doubt Julius Caesar or Cleopatra?  Twelve men who were eye witnesses died for their beliefs and their refusal to renounce this man Jesus after his resurrection.  People don’t die for a lie that they know is a lie. 

Put your doubts aside when they come...but double check that the door is locked. 

Mexican Due Process

I find it interesting that the U.S. Marine who has been held so long in a Mexican jail for reportedly on accident getting in the wrong lane with his truck and thus entering Mexico with weapons in his possession, and still he has not had any intervention by the U.S. government on his behalf.  His mother garnered 100,000 signatures and petitioned our President, and still no response.  I wonder what would have happened, considering our President's past interventions on individuals' behalf,  had this U.S. Marine been black instead of white?

Now I do recognize rule of law and due process in the Mexican government, but this really seems a little overdrawn.  The guy had a seven hour hearing after weeks of waiting, and he's still in jail.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Not To Worry, We Can Take A Pill Or Supplement For It !!

I just saw that there is a new development in health.  Previgen is made from jellyfish of all things (Yuck! Still, I have to keep an open mind here after all, since penicillin was made from mold.)  So here is what I propose: let’s make it mandatory that all politicians take it every day.

You see, Previgen is supposed to support and enhance brain function and brain health, and boy to do we need that in Congress and the White House.  Not just for elected officials, but for all the staffers and appointees.  In fact I think it should be mandated for all government workers like we did making them get their immunizations in school.

Yeah, I know.  Ridiculous idea, and like most “supplements” it is likely to be worthless hype.  But you get my point.  We have a crisis in our country where we can’t seem to elect or employ government leaders and high level functionaries that are able to do an adequate job at anything (except making themselves millionaires by the time they leave their overly long time in public service.)  We are looking at collapse in the middle-east, the IRS covering up their illegal activities, border control being non-existent, the VA being a death trap, the EPA being allowed to levy fines of thousands of dollars a day without any court action, and the list goes on and on.  No one solves any problems, and in fact seem intent on creating new ones.

Where is common sense these days?  And more importantly, where is the voice and common sense of the American people when it is needed.  I heard a presentation the other day in which the speaker pointed out that in Germany in WWII most of the people were not anti-semitic and didn’t want Hitler’s death camps, most of the folks in Russia were peaceful and didn’t agree that 20 million dissidents should be murdered by Stalin…etc, etc. around the world throughout time…but those good people were silent and irrelevant and evil prevailed.  As Churchill once said, “all that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing.”  Nothing is what we " the people" seem to be doing to solve our problems and we need to put our brains in gear and start solving these problems and making the changes necessary to enable that.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Are We In For Some Discipline?

I have mentioned before that I was always troubled by the Old Testament references to God telling the Jews to exterminate everyone in battle, including women and children of the towns and regions they conquered.  The best explanation I ever got for it was that this kind of brutal warfare was all that people understood in that day and age, plus if you left people alive they would carry the grudge and re-form an uprising later on and also they might corrupt the Jewish society with their pagan beliefs and activities.  I know that many of those civilizations practiced many things that we would find abhorrent, like sexual perversions and even child sacrifice…oh wait a minute…maybe we wouldn’t find them abhorrent since we encourage most sexual immorality and perversion and we sacrifice thousands of children every year through abortion. 

Hmmm….maybe we are in for some real discipline throughout our world, too.  That’s a scary thought and one I sincerely hope we can avoid.  I think repentance may be in order.  Do you think it will happen?

Baby, Blow That Horn??

Jesus tells us in Matthew that the Pharisees used to go around doing good deeds and when they did, they had a bunch of trumpeters make a racket and call attention to whatever it was they did.  I can just see the spectacle now…imagine it looking like what happens when the magician on stage makes the person he just cut in half become whole again.  Whoopee, look how great I am!

It’s pretty warped how they turned a good thing into a self-serving and prideful act.  In contrast, Jesus healed lepers, raised the dead, etc. and frequently told people to shush!  Don’t tell anyone I did this.  I think a bit of humility was there, even from the Son of God who had no reason to need to be humble.  It never did much good to tell people to be quiet about it.  Actually, he needed his miraculous healings to be known to attest to his credibility as being from God.  There was very little he could do to silence those who witnessed those miracles.  He didn’t need a brass band to play.

So what’s the take away message for that for us today?  We definitely are called to service as Christians, and there are many things we can do without making it widely known.  Some things, however, beg to be made known as examples to be imitated.  Compassion, International, World Vision and the like are good examples.  The collective power of these organizations has resulted in help to children in need the world over.  Without advertisement of those deeds you and I would never know we can support such an endeavor.  That makes sense, but what doesn’t make sense is when I see people bragging about all the organizations they support.  It’s a fine line to cross, making things known without aggrandizing your personal contribution.

Saturday, July 5, 2014


Are these the end times?  Is the middle-east our Armageddon?  Is Global Warming a reality that signals the end of life as we know it?  Are self-replicating robots going to take over the human race? (OK, I’m kinda joking about that one…maybe!?)

You laugh at some of this I’m sure.  My more conservative friends are probably commenting right now that it’s been changed to “Climate Change” rather than Global Warming.  The more nebulous politically correct term fits the geologic record more indisputably and gets more political traction as a result.  That both terms are meaningless in many ways from a geological time perspective is the real issue.  It has been the way of the planet from the beginning of its life.

What is not so meaningless is the rise of terrorism and war in the middle-east.  This is where the Bible says Armageddon will be.  This is where three centuries of mindless hate (over the same God) continues to spew out devastation.  This is where nuclear bombs are being built.  When a terrorist group like ISIS is too violent for Al-Qaeda to maintain ties with (remember, THEY had no trouble killing 3000 civilians in the World Trade Center) then I’m really concerned.

Radical Jihadists now control more territory than ever before.  Israel is in more danger of disappearing off the face of the earth than ever before.  Radicalization of Americans on our own soil and those who go to join the fight with the Jihadists in the middle-east is growing in number as never before.  Our ability to successfully counter these attacks is seriously compromised.

If we and other countries are to experience another 9-11 or worse, what will America’s response be?  If nuclear weapons are unleashed on Israel, what will America’s response be?  The Old Testament has always bothered me when God clearly told the Jews to wipe out everyone in the country.  Men, women and children all slaughtered.  Certainly many were innocents.  I’m not sure if we (or other countries) haven’t arrived at the same point in world history and will eventually take that same horrific step.  We did it to Japan in World War II, I wonder what the American, European, Pakistani, Indian or even Russian or Chinese conscience will do this time as radical Jihadists continue their terrorist attacks across the globe.