“Face it, Flounder!
You ___’ed up! You trusted us!”
Otter to Flounder in Animal House
Maybe it was memorizing the BSA motto as a Tenderfoot – “Be
Prepared!” – and getting a little blue NRA wallet certificate for rifle safety
as required for the merit badge…or maybe it was that scene in Animal House…or
maybe it was reading MLK, Jr.’s “A Tough Mind and a Tender Heart” in Strength
to Love after doing some exegesis on the “rod and staff” in Psalm 23
juxtaposed to Matthew 10 and John 10…or maybe it was that night about 30 years
ago at McD’s on Troost in KCMO when I didn’t do anything when I could have
stopped a stick-up by not playing pseudo-innocent bystander and continue to
have nightmares about the faces of those children filled with fear and dread
because no one stepped up to protect them from savages…or maybe it was…
Maybe it was Jimmy Carruthers. Jimmy was the toughest guy in Forty Fort High
School. He was a senior and I was in 8th
grade when he taught a lesson to me that remains a lot more valuable than those
French classes with Miss Pettibone though she was a real…
Let me explain.
from 7th through 12th grades were in the same building
back then before consolidating into Wyoming Valley West; and Jimmy kinda liked or
endured me because I delivered the morning papers to his family.
another senior, Don Houck, hated me for some reason. While you may some suggestions, I mean his
family wasn’t even on my paper route.
But he hated me; and one day as I just got on my bike to ride home, he
straddled my front tire and said he was going to beat the ___ out of me.
knew what hit him, Jimmy swept in, pulled him off my bike, and beat the ___ out
never bothered me after that.
he kinda ran away whenever he saw me.
back to the knockout, I’ll never forget Jimmy saying to me after he didn’t play
pseudo-innocent bystander, “I am going to teach you how to fight. So the next time, you’ll be able to take care
of yourself; and just like I did for you, you will help someone someday who is
getting picked on by some bigger ___.”
didn’t use the word “bully” back then; but I think that is what he meant.
he was telling me that I needed to learn how to fight not only to protect
myself but to protect the more vulnerable and weaker and afraid and naïve from
I don’t know what or who it was for sure – O.K., looking back and now
and into the future, I think it was God – I’ve never liked bullies.
never liked predators.
thought to conviction to passion to practice has evolved, I’ve taken on the
lion as my favorite symbol for caring for family, friends, and others. Coupling it with Psalm 23, Matthew 10, John
10, and everything that Jimmy Carruthers taught me back in 8th grade
along with other influences along the way, I’ve taken that BSA motto and built
upon it so I can not only pick up my rod and staff to guide and nurture gently
but also to beat away and, if necessary, beat down bullies and predators.
calling that keeps America safe.
calling that keeps the innocents and non-combatants and naïve and non-Biblical
pacifists and the oblivious-to-danger safe.
people can’t keep themselves safe.
somebody else to do it for them.
undershepherds to the Good Shepherd who are willing to
to pick up their rods and
staffs to guide, nurture, beat away and, if necessary, beat down bullies and
have that calling, this one’s for you.
you’ve heard His call to undershepherding.
you’ve followed His lead and made this decision: “I will give up my life voluntarily
to save the sheep from wolves.”
not your calling and it’s so obviously not for most people who cower
in the face of threat and wish it/them away and even recoil at those who pick
up the sword and shield and rod and staff and…to protect them as if the
undershepherds are as bad as the wolves, it’s important for you to know
about that calling because it’s necessary to protect and beat away and, if
necessary, beat down people who are so vulnerable to bullies and predators.
you’re not called to take on the wolves in this world, you’ve got to
acknowledge the need for undershepherds because, as Jesus warned as well
as counseled, bullies and predators are always hiding and hovering around to
pounce upon the sheep and “ravage” them.
it’s true: “Lead, follow, or get out of the way.”
called to be an undershepherd; and I think that’s been confirmed by me
doing it since ordained to it on May 8, 1977.
I’ve made a lot of mistakes and sinned a lot along the way and have never
hidden my humanity in need of His saving divinity, I’ve become more and more
and more convinced that the old BSA motto is increasingly important in these
days of increasing assaults by the wolves at their master’s command.
and 28, 2017 come to mind.
Belvidere Starbucks was robbed at gunpoint on March 6 at 9:49 p.m.
in hoodies just came in, pointed their handguns at the cashier and left with
cash mostly from the jar of tips.
I loathe bullies and predators.
that Buddhist from that renowned religion of pacifism who said shortly after
9/11 that he’d have no problem pulling the trigger on somebody like Osama bin
Bonhoeffer, that gentle Lutheran pastor and professor who conspired to
assassinate Hitler and hung for it, who said it’s not enough for Christians to
bandage the wounds of those victimized by a madman who’s gotten behind the
wheel of a motorcar but to do everything in their power to remove the
madman from the wheel of the motorcar.
wife and I go shopping – rather when she goes shopping and I stay in the car –
I often say I hope one of those demonic dirtbags who victimize old ladies and
men in parking lots come to our car while I’m waiting for her; not because I’m
looking for a fight but because I’d rather they take on me than someone who
isn’t prepared or inclined or called to beat away and beat
down wolves, bullies, and predators.
live to take on wolves.
was in that same Belvidere Starbucks on March 28.
about 8:00 p.m. because I had to pick up my wife at the airport around midnight
and I knew I needed some caffeine to make it.
came in after me.
then greeted each other because I’m one of their chaplains.
where I always do – where I can see everybody coming in and going out and
nobody can sneak in behind me.
cops sat in similar position in another part of the shop.
it’s not PC to profile, everybody does it along with lawyers who often
complain about it in lawsuits but do it shamelessly and intelligently and
necessarily when assembling a jury.
when was the last time that a Welsh Presbyterian committed a terrorist act
while yelling Allie-Akbie-Walleye-Illie-Weebie-Chili-Beebie something?
guy comes in who fits every profile of a miscreant.
around and cases the joint.
him at just under 60 seconds.
me and we lock eyes because I’m not afraid because I’m prepared and inclined
after walking around the whole place and seeing us, he asks one of the
cashiers, “Where’s the washroom?”
mean there’s a gas station and WalMart just around the corner where it’s a lot
easier to drop a load and move on.
that guy who didn’t look or act anything like Taylor Swift or Beyonce or their
gender counterparts must have the quickest metabolism in the world because he
went into and out of the washroom in less that 10 seconds and left while
looking at the cops and me.
were alert and ready.
I think I
was alert and ready.
else in the place was oblivious.
lots and lots and lots of sheep in the world…and wolves.
there are undershepherds who are willing to step up to the plate and bat
away the wolves before they ravage the sheep.
Eastwood’s American Sniper, a movie based on a book about legendary Navy
Seal sniper Chris Kyle, includes one of the best expositions – frankly, I’ve
never encountered anything better in any book or with any professor – of Psalm
23, Matthew 10, John 10 and related undershepherding texts; especially
in the lesson/warning/counsel of Wayne Kyle to his sons: “There are three types
of people in this world: sheep, wolves, and sheepdogs. Some people prefer to believe that evil
doesn’t exist in the world…they…[don’t]…know how to protect themselves. Those are the sheep…Then you’ve got the
predators who use violence to prey on the weak…wolves…and then there are those
blessed…with an overpowering need to protect the flock…who live to confront the
seven or eight years ago, I talked with a patriot in Sundance, Wyoming. We talked about those around the world and
even in America who would destroy us.
Then he said something to me that I will never forget about the need for
undershepherds to be prepared and inclined to fulfill His call
in their lives. While the actual figures
can be debated, he was persuasive: “Always remember that only 3% of the
Colonists were actively involved in the American Revolution.”
the Good Shepherd who guides and protects the flock.
called undershepherds to model their guiding and protecting after Him.
Undershepherds care more about the safety, health,
and welfare of others than themselves.
They get it from Him: “The good shepherd lays down his life
for the sheep. A hired hand will run when
he sees a wolf coming. He will leave the
sheep because they aren’t his and he isn’t their shepherd. And so the wolf attacks them and scatters the
flock. The hired hand runs away because
he is merely hired and has no real concern for the sheep…[but]…I lay down my
life for the sheep…I lay down my life voluntarily…I want to do it because my
Father has given this command to me.”
I guess it all comes down to this.
Sheep aka most people are oblivious.
There are bullies and predators and wolves in the world.
Undershepherds intercede by the call of God to
prevent the bad guys from bruising, beating, and butchering the good guys.
Thank God for those prepared, inclined, and called
to be obedient because, without them, the wolves run wild.
The only way to insure safety and security for sheep is for
those undershepherds to risk theirs.
“Must Jesus bear the cross alone and all the world go
free? No, there’s a cross for everyone
and there’s a cross for me!”
It’s an old hymn with a saving reminder from the Master:
“If anyone is going to follow Me, that person must deny self, pick up the
cross, and, then, follow Me.”