KDs are designed/developed/inspired/mused/auto-suggested/indigested to make folks think; an especially uncommon experience among Democrats, Republicans, and jingoistic mainline denominationalists who continue to discourage dissent with their ever-threatening thought police.
Despite the best efforts
of VMTC to exorcise demons from some memories, I've still got a few bad ones.
I'll never forget
Grandma Thelma saying this after I hid a pack of her smokes in a vase, uh, filled
with water in 8th grade, "You'll never amount to anything in your
I really loved
her; but that kinda bothered me when I hurt my arm and pitching for the Yankees
Moretheless, I've spent a
lot of my life living down to her expectations.
Then there was
the bishop who said, "You may not regret it now; but someday..."
While I've tried
to confess and repent and reconcile in a way that would cause Luther's
confessor to think he was a piker over the past 13 years for sins in the
preceding..., the psalmist was on to something in 120:6-7.
And as someone
who, I confess, still loves the PCUSA and America in a nostalgic kinda way and
has rededicated emotions/energies/intercessions to their revival/renewal/regeneration/rebirth
- I'm as double-minded as anyone on what's really needed despite knowing Who's
needed - I'm really, really, really haunted by Billy's wife's conclusion of
years ago, "If God doesn't bring judgment on America soon, He will have to
apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah."
Help us, Jesus!
KDers know I'm not voting for the incumbent or insurgent in
November because I can't bring myself to vote for the lesser of two evils (go to the right
column and click on "Voting for the Lesser of...").
I can't vote for
a Joey Smith fan who can't relate to...
I can't vote for
a secularist who can't relate to...
About the former,
I can't vote for someone on the hunch that he may be a Mormon about as much as too many
pewsitters/pulpiteers in mainline denominations are Christians as personified
in Jesus and prescribed in Holy Scripture.
About the latter,
I can't vote for someone on the hunch that he means well and doesn't know what he's doing.
I wouldn't have
been much help to the allies in WW2 'cause I would have fought against Hitler and Stalin; knowing the
lesser of two evils is/remains evil.
wife's conclusion keeps ringing in my...
And did you catch
the incumbent's, uh, confession/commitment to outgoing Russian President Dmitri
Medvedev that he was looking forward to after
the November election so he'd have more flexibility in negotiating
our missile defense capabilities?
To the text.
all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved
but it's important for him...[viz., Putin the KGB guy]...to give me
"Yeah, I understand. I understand your message about space.
Space for you..."
"This is my last election. After my election, I have more
understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir...[Putin]."
Well, I guess
we're in Lent when we recall other betrayals.
Not, uh, really.
You know what I
mean; and if you don't,
you've come under his spell just like...
Help us, Jesus!
Stan Bell just
went home to Jesus.
I got the call
He was related to
Billy's wife's family.
We often quoted
together what I quoted from her above.
He loved Jesus;
and told me that/He wouldn't allow him to vote for the incumbent or insurgent.
Stan was a very
simple man who loved Jesus and prayed/tried to love like Him to prove His love
Because he wasn't
your typical "Young Life" or "Willow Creek" or
"Heartland" kinda youth director if
you know what I mean and you know what I mean if you knew him, I
had to convince three search committees to let him work avec moi.
None of 'em
regretted it; because his unyieldingly consistently passionate practice as a
youth professional was to esteem Jesus and the eternal as well as existential
significance of knowing Him as personal Lord and Savior.
Some of his
seminary classmates and some of my peers viewed him as Grandma Thelma viewed
me; but he shocked 'em all by leading more young and old people to Jesus than
most mainline pulpiteers and pewsitters that I've ever known.
Except for my
home pastor The Rev. Harold F. Mante, Stan was without peer when it came to
never fudging on Christocentric faith rooted in Biblical revelation and
forgiving everyone who had ever hurt him because he just believed that's a big
part of authentic Christianity.
My only regret is
not insisting some of my peers spend time with him.
He could have
cured their as he tried
to cure my posing Christianity.
He could have
been His best antidote for the Sodom and Gomorrah in...
Stan and I shared
the same love for Jesus.
it/Him better than me.
We also shared a
Thank you, Jesus,
for helping Stan so he can now intercede for us in a heavenly way.
the Teutonic forests of Germany, my life is rather predictable aka anal.
90% of the time, I
get up sometime between 4:00 - 4:30 a.m.
Rarely later and
only later if Jack helped ease the aches and pains of...during the late news
Again, see the
last word of the first sentence.
Got it from Helen
Kopp (DNA) - my grandmother who started her days at 3:30 a.m.
Anyway, I hook up
Kopper and he takes me for a mile walk.
Then I do some push-ups,
some sit-ups, and some free weights; not enough to be buff but enough not to
Then I plug in my contacts
and shave (not much), sit on the toilet and read the Bible (depends if you know what I mean in
both cases), shower (as much as possible), and head off to...
75% of the time,
immediately after arriving at church, I get with Him for...
don't care about quiet time
I recall a
cartoon with a secretary opening the pastor's study door, observing him in
prayer, and then signaling to someone, "No, it's O.K. He can see you
right now. He's not doing anything important."
Then it's on to...
Same old same...
the word "fulfilling" comes to mind.
Buuuuuuut then there are
those times when He breaks through the routine for fresh revelation.
The time spent
with Him is inextricably related to the frequency and intensity of those
If you know
anything about the desert fathers, you know what I mean.
Just the other
day, I had another one of those times.
I was sitting on
the toilet and doing my/His thing when I saw an ant crossing right in front of
My first instinct
was to end its journey.
Buuuuuuut just as I was
about to crush the life out of it, I thought, "Why should I end this bug's
life? What has it done to me? What right do I have to...?
What does it mean to take away the life of...?"
It was a Francis
moment: "If you have men who will exclude any of God's creatures from the
shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with
their fellow men."
That boy in
I wasn't even
If you're like
too many people, you be the judge.
Yeah, I read
about us as, you know, imago
Dei and all of that.
But maybe some of
us as imago Dei should
give a tad more attention to Dei
mean domination if you know
what I mean.
Only an inflated
sense of self could cause one to think she/he has the right to take life
I thought about
that while on the toilet.
I realized anyone
who thinks about taking life from something/someone else is sooooooo full of...
The race to the
White House is down to two, uh, horses.
The incumbent is
a secularist whose values are imperceptible apart from the gospel according to
role model is Joey Smith.
Think about it.
are hoping the incumbent doesn't
know what he's doing.
Christians are hoping the insurgent is a Mormon about as much as most
pulpiteers/pewsitters in mainline denominations are Christians after the
pattern of Jesus and prescriptions of Holy Scripture.
Think about it.
confessed, "Well, I guess I'll just have to vote for the lesser of two
evils in November."
As the last
words, uh, fell from
her lips, it/He hit me.
if you're comfortable, you be the judge if what follows was
Think about it.
Don't be like
most mindless Democrats and Republicans who would vote for Satan itself if it
were their party's nominee.
Anyway, I thought
via inspiration/indigestion, "If I vote for the lesser of two evils, that
means I'm still gonna be voting for someone who is, gulp,..."
WW2 came to mind.
cigar-inhaling PM of our greatest ally - since, you know, the late 18th and
early 19th centuries - convinced us to ally ourselves with the devil to beat
He meant Stalin.
Our enemy Hitler
was evil and slaughtered millions.
Our ally Stalin
was evil and slaughtered millions.
In other words,
the lesser of two evils was/remains evil.
Think about it.
Do we really have
to vote for either of 'em?
ourselves to the lesser of two evils, let's think
about what that means.
I wonder how He
feels about us saying, "I'm gonna vote for the lesser of two evils."
Maybe He'd say,
"How about voting for the one who is trying to honor Me the most?
I'll take care of the rest."
I don't know.
suggesting anyone in particular.
I've written over
and over and over again that I don't like anybody who's running.
But I think there's gotta be
someone left in America who...
Like part of the,
Where's that book
by Rabbi Cahn?
Tim wrote this
morning: "I heard last night the Cubs went all out to get Albert.
They offered more than anyone else and a promise that he'd never have to play
comes to mind.
guy who's supposed to do for the Cubs what he did for the Red Sox.
Think about it.
Really, the curse
of Babe Ruth seems much tougher than a billy goat.
Well, Epstein was
asked how he expects to win after a century of losing.
"There's a universal recognition here that we need to try a different
way. The 103 years...I basically ignore it."
funerals, come without consulting our calendars or comfort zones.
If we're not prepared
before disasters come, we won't be, uh, prepared to respond immediately.
People who are
suffering from disasters need help immediately.
respect our penchant for procrastination; and people suffer more as we meet,
study, consult, and take sooooooo
much time to verbalize concern about their suffering.
Talk is cheap in
the immediate aftermath
why an old missionary once said, "A life lived for Jesus speaks louder than
any verbal testimony."
I know some folks
have problems with James' insistence on deeds proving creeds; but reading those
red letters in the Bible more than reading about 'em compels righteousness
confirmed by works.
The calls of
Abraham and those first century disciples of Jesus come to mind.
said to Abraham, 'Leave your country, your people and your father's household
and go to the land I will show you'...So
Abraham left as the Lord told him."
follow Me,' Jesus said, 'and I will make you fishers of men.'...And immediately they left their nets
and followed Him."
God called; and they left immediately.
conferences, or workshops.
And His story aka history
shows they were blessed for blessing Him by blessing His.
Tony told me
about taking his son Bart to Haiti on a mission trip and warned, "If any
of the children ask you for money, don't give any to them; or they'll just keep
asking you for more and more and more and..."
With a puzzled
look on his face, Bart said more than asked, "So?"
Tony heard a
distant echo increasing in volume, "As you do it for them, you do it
Tony also told me
that churches involved in mission have fewer relational problems.
They're so busy
being blessed for blessing Him by blessing His that they don't have time for
religion's incidentals, irregulars, irascibles, and irreconcilables.
evening "Deeper Discipleship" folks have been
reading/studying/digesting Francis Chan's Forgotten
God: Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of The Holy Spirit.
He has helped us
understand why it's now
for some churches: "I think a lot of us need to forget about...[figuring
out]...God's will for my
life. God cares more about our response to His Spirit's
"It is easy to use the phrase...['Before I get involved, I've got to
figure out']...'God's will for my life' as an excuse for inaction or even
disobedience. It's much less demanding to think about God's will for your
future than it is to ask Him what He wants you to do in the next ten minutes.
It's safer to commit to following Him someday
instead of this
"My hope is that instead of searching for 'God's will for my life,' each
of us would learn to seek hard after 'the Spirit's leading in my life
Take a look at
Ever hear of big
Lots of 'em in
pulpits like me and in pews like...
Talk without walk
is the real disaster.
The eternal is
confirmed by the existential now
I've never been
happier in life and ministry than I am right now.
Please don't tell
the people on 7734 Bel-Mar Drive or the corner of Lincoln and Main in
Belvidere, Illinois because I don't want to lose my prophetic edge as a
While every day
isn't a hot fudge sundae, shedding anthropomorphic temptations, "He walks
with me and He talks with me and He tells me..."
Hanging out more
and more and more with Him has more benefits than...
While I'm just
scratching the surface of my relationship with Jesus, I am scratching the
"I wish for
you, my friend, this happiness that..."
What a privilege
for us who know Him to make Him known to spread gospel.
Of course, there
are lots of miserable people in the world and, uh, gulp, church.
I'm not talking
about our family of faith at First Presbyterian Church in Belvidere,
While we've got
our challenges/sadnesses/disappointments/whatevers like most other churches,
most of the miserable people who wanted everybody else to be as miserable as
them have left and new miserable people who come are converted/healed or leave
and we're becoming increasingly known as a pretty heaven happy beacon for Jesus
and safe haven for everybody/anybody.
Getting back to miserable
people who are always trying to get us back to life without Him/His, I think of
the sad sack who said, "I hate that guy! He's always so positive and
hopeful and happy. He's always slapping me on the back and saying how
great life is with Jesus. But I'll fix him. I'm going to tie a
stick of dynamite to my back; so the next time he slaps me on the back,
BOOM! His hand will be blown off."
There was a guy
in "his" church about 30 years ago who had served in the army
of Nazi Germany who came to me after a sermon in which I used Nazis as an
indescribably horrid example of evil in our world and Dietrich
Bonhoeffer as a pret' near perfect illustration of combating it and said,
"I think we can stop talking about Nazis now. That's been over for a
long time and we need to forget about that and move on."
a line, I said people who fail to repent from history's glaringly awful
moments often repeat them.
It's like sins.
Anyway, all of
that came to mind while walking Kopper the other night.
I'd just come
home from a long meeting.
from separation anxieties, Kopper greeted me with tail-wagging-body-moving
contortions of affection.
dog shrinks will often say dogs like people best who feed, walk, and play with
That's me in our
In other words,
dogs can still be willful/selfish and ticked off like the higher species when
not getting their way.
obvious with Kopper when he hunts down something, has it in his mouth, and I
try to take it away from him.
He will growl,
bark, and even bite the hand that feeds him in a battle of wills/ways.
I can growl,
bark, and even bite back; but that always makes him angrier and more dangerous.
It brings out the
animal in him.
But if I'm
patient and speak to him in calm, strong, endearing, and enduring tones, he
usually comes back around to whatever kinda true affection is in him pour
Lying, one of the
big ten, breaks all of 'em if
you know what I mean.
Think about it.
Anyway, my buddy
Paul told a group of Cub Scouts back on 2/3/80 in Woodstown, New Jersey:
"That means lying is out. Little lies, half-truths, and pretend
stories are out. They will not make you happy, because God does not like
them. No matter how much it hurts, God likes the truth best."
Moody to a mom
who asked how to stop her children from fibbing: "Start calling them
Today not much
different from yesterday, we lie about everything from why gas prices have gone
up nearly 90% in the last three years to the origins/intentions of Islam to why
we are sooooooo addicted
to shows like Dancing with
the Stars, American Idol, Breaking Bad, Sons of Anarchy, and...
breaks trust when exposed; and lying to ourselves retards emotional,
intellectual, and spiritual improvement because it insults the truly, truly,
truly thrice holiness of God which cannot, uh, co-exist with lies.
increasing intimacy with Him produces increasing integrity in us; or as C.S.
Lewis said, "Prayer doesn't change God; it changes me."
My wife does not
lie. She is the most honest person that I've ever met; which is why some
people like me are afraid to talk to her about themselves/myself. While
they're/I'm addicted to lying because it makes them/me feel better about,
uh, lying, she knows only truth liberates in a Biblical kinda way. Of
course, some people like me prefer to remain sick. Truly.
Be that as she is, I lie.
Someone says my
last sermon sucked; and I say, "Thank you for sharing that."
People ask how
I'm doing; and I say, "Fine." How can I admit how I'm really
doing when most of my days are dominated by "ministering" to
people who are busy licking their wounds or doing their worst to inflict wounds
I prefer a lean pony and don't really like fairings for missionary
journeys; but I'm only rationalizing the lack of Ks to...
"She/he meant well." But, deep down, having discerned demonic oppressions/possessions,
I know I'm just pacifying the fantasies and postponing the inevitabilities
Spending so much
time on the lusts of others, I lie about my own; though I know OC's counsel is
right: "Yield for one second to anything in the nature of lust...'I must
have it at once'...and you are a bondslave to that thing. There is no
release in human power...Yielding to Jesus will break every form of slavery in
any human life."
I know that.
But, like Paul
(see Romans 7:7ff.), I know Stanley is right: "We fluctuate between two
mind-sets - that of the Spirit leading toward God and that of the flesh leading
away from Him."
Atwood was right:
"No matter how good we become, we're never good enough not to need Jesus
to save us from our lusts tearing us away from Him."
I don't want to
lie; but I do because it makes me feel sooooooo
much better than...
This is about the true
origin/nature of schism.
I had a dream on
I dreamed I was
charged with a horrible crime.
Though I knew I
was innocent of that particular crime, the jury said I was guilty and had to be
The judge asked
if I had any last words before sentencing.
I said, "I
did not do it."
The judge said,
"I know; but you have committed many other crimes for which you were not
charged or convicted. How can I show mercy to you if you insist on your
execution, He appeared.
Yeah, I know this
sounds scripted and hardly novel; but read on.
While freeing me,
He said, "Stop lying."
I asked sooooooo stupidly and
"Liars have another father not Me."
Then I began
confessing my life's lies to Him.
He stopped me and
said, "I know; and as long as you know, we can move on."
I'm still trying
to figure out what all of that means for...
But I have
figured out lying really, really, really separates me from Him, His, and...me.
I guess only a dream
could capture/focus my attention on that.
A friend wrote to
me about a church that is fighting with its higher judicatory to leave its
denomination for another denomination.
"This is why those who need Jesus outside of His Church laugh at
the church and are repulsed from Jesus by those who claim to be so close
It reminded me of
a friend who has been abandoned by a friend because he wouldn't join
him to leave one stinking denomination for another stinking denomination.
Then I prayed and
prayed and prayed and found no comfort or consolation or any of OC's strong
calm sanity for him or me until I was led to Proverbs 18:1.
I read it in
Hebrew; taking a long time because my Hebrew sucks as much as some of my
I read it in over
a dozen different translations/paraphrases.
has been around for nearly 90 years.
He's always been positive
about America's future; until recently when he lamented, "If we're stupid
enough to elect ___ as President, then we deserve to go to hell."
he asked who'll get my vote.
"Well, Ralph, we haven't even finished winter yet; so I'm not real psyched
about passing spring, summer, and most of fall just to vote for anybody among
this sorry list of candidates."
"Booooooob," he persisted, "I asked who you're voting
know," I continued, "I just can't believe the greatest empire in
world history can't come up with better candidates than a secularist, Joe Smith
fan, serial liar, counter-reformer, and nutball."
Booooooob," he persisted in a way that proves where my wife got it,
"I asked who you're voting for."
"I'd like to vote for the Latino Senator in Florida or Indiana's Governor
or Evan's son who quit the Senate because it's gotten so bad or..."
telling me," he almost scolded, "that you're not gonna vote?"
gonna vote," I replied, "I just don't wanna vote for anybody who's
running right now. I keep hoping the Democrats and Republicans will stop
thinking party over country and jettison 'em all for someone with some of the
values that made America so great. Maybe now is a good time for a third
party. I don't know. I just don't trust the incumbent or any of the
insurgents. It almost makes me long for the days of..."
Then we talked
about important stuff; like who'll sign Peyton.
It's that bad.
BTW, that's why I
haven't written that much
about Election 2012.
I can't imagine
another four with the incumbent or a first four with any of those insurgents.
Of course, no
matter how badly the incumbent has, uh, performed,
I haven't backed off my prediction of his re-election by a
bigger margin than last time; which is a staggering commentary on how really,
really, really awful the fab four are on the other side.
in the last election held true to form; except women who voted overwhelmingly
The latest polls
show him garnering even more of that gender this time around.
Now I'm probably
gonna get into trouble for suggesting this - What
a shock! - but I think it's part of America's femininization.
like "manly" men anymore.
I'm not talking
about MCPs but rather decisive, principled, wise as a serpent and gentle as a
dove, tough-minded and tender-hearted, and honest-to-God men.
sensitive rappers who don't really believe in anything too much; especially if
it offends people who don't care about offending the values at the core of
America's birth and growth.
Nah, we like the
We like soft and
cuddly "leaders" who say what our itching ears want to hear - sounds familiar - and
prove Orwell was off by about three decades.
"leaders" who sound like wimps in public but act like wolves when
we're not looking.
As long as they
say what we want to hear, we'll let 'em get away with hell behind closed doors.
father-in-law was onto something.
It seems like
we've been that or more stupid
God help us.
He will if we...
street preacher who's really into eschatological stuff insisted I read Jonathan
Cahn's The Harbinger: The
Ancient Mystery that Holds the Secret of America's Future.
satisfied with Mark 13, Matthew 24, and related passages when it comes to that;
and I'm not really afraid of the eschaton
because I figure it's gonna happen sooner or later and He'll take care of us in
a John 3:16-21 kinda way anyway.
I've just never
gotten into any of that late-great-planet-earth hysteria.
My soul is still
couldn't put down the book once I started reading; and if I weren't
pimping another book right now...
Cahn is a
Messianic Rabbi in Wayne, New Jersey who sees 9/11/01 as a harbinger or initial
warning of things getting a lot worse for America if it doesn't get its act
together with God.
Essentially, he sees 9/11 as God
using today's religious sickos to capture our attention like He used the
Assyrians and other bad guys to capture Israel's attention over 2K years
He juxtaposes all
of this to Isaiah 9:10-11 with some startling parallels of what's happening
right now in America and what will happen if we don't, uh, get our act together
with God in a 2 Chronicles 7:14 kinda way.
Again, I'm not
into any of those end time calculations for two reasons: (1) Jesus said only
God knows when and I figure Jesus knows that because He is una substantia et tres personae and
I've got OC's strong calm sanity through increasing intimacy with Him no matter
what/who/where/when/why; and (2) I don't trust anyone who predicts something in
the future while taking Visa for their materials if you catch my drift.
But this book is really
compelling/convincing in weaving events since 9/11/01 with an eye to what's
coming in the context of Isaiah 9:10-11.
for Election 2012 cause me to pause, ponder, and pray; and then participate in
Check it out.
While I can't
stand who's running for President, I am engaged in prayer for His best for the
understand people who are not engaged. They remind me of the player
confronted by his coach: "Son, I don't understand it with you. Is it
ignorance or apathy?" The player answers, "Coach, I don't know
and I don't care."
stakes, it seems better to be informed and involved.
That was one of
the lessons of the Reformation.
It's a lesson
worth recalling for our country as well as church with slight word changes: ecclesia reformata semper reformanda secundum verbum Dei.