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Showing posts from May, 2008

Sisters and Visitors

My sister is coming to visit from California. The economic outlook for people in California isn't pretty. It's downright scary. I am hoping that my sister will come to Kentucky, relax and see that she can make a life here in Kentucky. However wonderful that thought is, my first hope would be that she would come to understand the truth and her need of the gospel. She thinks she is a good person and I am a religious nut. She comes by that assessment of me honestly. I was pretty zealous about what I thought the gospel was and pretty ignorant of what it truly means to be saved. The two are a poor combination.

Theology matters and what you win them with is what you win them to. These are both things I have learned from my friend, James White. I have learned a great deal from him. I wish I had learned it earlier. I might not have botched up the relationship I have with my sister. For many years she avoided me and I in my pride, I thought it was because my righteous life ma…


I had a conversation with a friend and brother in the Lord about kindness. We talked about it in terms of what it is and did we find people, God's people, being kind. I think we fail at kindness. I think there should be a gentility about God's people that should be more apparent. Gentility isn't a word that is often used so I looked it up here:

Thesaurus:gentilitynounWell-mannered behavior toward others: civility, courteousness, courtesy, genteelness, mannerliness, politeness, politesse. Seecourtesy/discourtesy.People of the highest social level: aristocracy, blue blood, crème de la crème, elite, flower, gentry, nobility, patriciate, quality, society, upper class, who's who. Informalupper crust. Seeover/under.
Could it be that because we don't care for the second set of synonyms we have abandoned the term and employing its meaning, carelessly discarding the first set?

When I was giving seminars to college students, one of the t…

Memorial Day

While pursuing my history degree, one of my professors asked me if I would consider interviewing a primary source instead of writing a traditional paper. He told me to interview the matriarch of my family as they are most often the keepers of family history. I jumped at the opportunity. My professor enjoyed the paper so much that he said he wanted me to do it again. I asked if I could interview my father, who had served in World War II. The professor agreed and I am grateful. It was the one time that my father and I connected. It changed our relationship completely.

My father suffered from what would be called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and as a result he seldom slept. When his body betrayed him and allowed sleep to overtake him, you didn't want to be the one who woke him up. He never spoke of his experiences in the war. Two things happened that allowed him to finally talk about his service time. One was a bit of jealousy that I had interviewed my aunt and the other …

The Compulsion to Worship

You and I are both slaves to something or someone. Despite the way autonomy, independence and individuality are pressed into the fabric of our being, it is a delusion. You, me, the guy next door, all of us without exception are enslaved. Whether we be bond servants of Christ or enslaved to our own desires and passions...we are enslaved.

I know why some Christians try to introduce people to the gospel of Christ by saying we all have a God-sized hole that only Jesus can fill. I understand why the analogy is attractive to them, but I find it really ridiculous. It would be more accurate to say we created for worship and therefore, we will worship something. We are compelled or driven to worship. Left to our own and without divine intervention, we will worship ourselves by pursuing anything that provides us temporal relief and enjoyment. Temporal relief from what you ask? The compulsion to worship.

The next step in my plan toward discipline is to reread several books. Elyse Fitzpatric…

Mixed Bag

I am exhausted. I got so little sleep last night. I don't trust myself to take on a topic... so here are some observations. I saw senator John McCain on Ellen Degeneres' talk show. Ellen was kind and complimentary toward the senator while they discussed what she called the elephant in the room. They had a respectful disagreement regarding California's recent reversal on gay marriage. Ellen made an argument that equated not allowing gay marriage to saying "you can sit here, but not here." The intimation of course being the horrible way our country treated people of color is comparable to not recognizing same sex marriage. That argument isn't valid of course because marriage is a covenant before God.. but I have to give her credit for articulating her objections respectfully. Senator McCain was equally pleasant while holding his ground...but never quite articulating why. It's going to be an interesting election. I'd say we were doomed but as a …

The Whole Truth

The problem with general revelation is that every fool has an opinion on what it means and trust me, this world is not suffering for want of fools.

The other day I confessed to being a fool because I lack discipline. Being foolish isn't difficult, it is admitting you are a fool that is problematic. When you prize intellect you conversely despise foolishness. Despite the commonly held belief that most of us suffer from low self-esteem, I haven't met a person yet that truly hates him or herself. I am no exception. I don't know about you, but when I hate someone I am secretly glad when something unpleasant happens to them. I have yet to be truly happy about unpleasantness in my life. Sure, I have talked myself into not reacting externally the way I feel internally about my misfortune. I have even seen God's wisdom and mercy is the midst of whatever no good, miserable awful thing that is transpiring. However, to say I was actually happy about the darned thing would be to pe…

Homing In

There is something about aging that causes you to reflect on things differently. I was telling a friend the other day that there was tremendous freedom in being fat, over fifty and having gray hair. It eliminates the game playing of being young, beautiful and single when you're single, 'fluffy' and look your age. I get to say what's on my mind with the freedom of just being me and have acquired the wisdom of knowing when to shut up (most of the time).

My birthday was fun. My sabbath day has been both encouraging and convicting. I have hopes for tomorrow being spent in the garden. I want to subdue a small piece of earth in my backyard. The last two years horrible squash bugs have decimated my zucchini. This year, we are at war. I am planting nasty smelling flowers that bugs don't like all around my vegetables. I am ready with my soapy water and if that doesn't work..... I'll wage chemical war on them. So what if I glow in the dark after consuming my Swiss …

It's all part of growing up

Today is my birthday. I am 51. I have officially lived longer than my mother. I have survived several major earthquakes, three fires, five floods, uterine cancer, having my infant body burned by percolating coffee and a childhood from hell. I have been stalked by a madman, been asked to be interviewed for the Australian version of 60 Minutes, received a bronze medal and helped foil a kidnap attempt of a celebrity. In my short 51 years, I have had an incredible life.

I was asked by a former student what advice I would give a 30 year old that I have come to value now that I am in my 50s. The list of things that I value now that I didn't value then and vice versa is huge. Since my current topic is discipline, I would have to say that I wish I had cultivated discipline at an earlier age. Much earlier than my 30s. I wish I had learned the difference between need and want sooner. I have tried too hard to fulfill wants as if they were needs. The want vacuum just moves, it doesn&#…


This Dividing Line is something you should listen to. It is something you should think about. It is something you should be in prayer over. If you read this post of mine- in the Dividing Line, James White takes a more in depth look at the house of cards we have built in the US by allowing feelings and minority agendas to drive legislation based on perceived rights.

Discipline, Conviction and Guilt Glands

I am a fool. I have it on good authority. I am a fool because I hate discipline. Proverbs 25:28 says {Like} a city that is broken into {and} without walls is a man who has no control over his spirit. In fact, the Bible has a lot to say about those of us who try to make it through life without discipline. I am not talking about the sort of discipline that is a consequence given to us, I am talking about the self-control, setting up good habits type of discipline.

I really enjoy reading the Proverbs. They convict me, but somehow it hurts so good to see what a wretch I am. Probably because they don't just leave you there in your wretchedness. They tell you the alternative. This caught my attention tonight. Proverbs 23:12 Apply your heart to discipline, and your ears to words of knowledge. I decided to look for other verses in Proverbs that go with that. I ended up picking these and then topped off my conviction tank with some words from James.

Proverbs 2:2-6
2 Make your ear a…

The Wizard of Odd....

I like Dr. Mehmet Oz. He has done some specials on health and nutrition that I find fascinating. I have, until now, thought he was brilliant. Actually, I still think he is brilliant, but confess I am re-evaluating that in light of what I saw today. He is a regular on Oprah and the only reason I will willingly watch Oprah is when he's on. Today, Oprah spoiled that for me.

I haven't always been anti-Oprah. I am not one of those Christians who only listens to other professing Christians. I appreciate intelligence and people who try to make a positive difference. I really enjoyed her at first. I liked that she left the seedy and scintillating stories of life at its basest depravity behind. I respected that she was trying to make a difference in the world with her benevolence. And then she got all pseudo-spiritual and upside down mystic on us and I lost all interest. The more she has focused her show on universalist metaphysical mumbo-jumbo, the more I pity her. For all the…

The Gospel not Rights

I was driving through town a few days ago and hit the scan feature on my radio. It's always a surprise to me what will come up. Country? Rock? Christian Pop? This time the radio locked on NPR. A young woman, a polygamist, was making a statement about clinging to her faith even in the wake of the current controversy in Texas. There was a comment from someone about how polygamists choose the suffering when they choose the lifestyle. Before I could stop it, the radio was on another channel and I had driven far enough that I could not get reception when I tried to return to listen to the rest of the program. I wanted to know what was said next and the context of the show.

I have, what will seem by many Christians, some controversial ideas about things like polygamy. I absolutely believe that marriage is a covenant before God and is best made between one man and one woman. I do not see specific condemnation of polygamy in the bible. It is in many ways inferred and shown to be u…

Guilt Free Opinions

I decided that I am not going to California, I am going to Hawaii instead. My step-dad lives in Hawaii and I want to see him. He's 80 years old and I don't want to regret not getting to see him where he's the happiest, at home on Molokai. If I go to California now, there will be no chance of going to Hawaii later, but if I wait, there may be a chance to stop over in California on my way to or from Hawaii. I will really have to do something spectacular like get a job before I will be able to afford that, but that's OK. I am praying that God will give me the opportunity to go and make the way for it to happen. I would rather be disappointed now than feel guilty for not trying to see my Pop.

I had the erroneous thought that when I grew up I would like making decisions for myself. Aging is full of choices that are the right thing to do but not necessarily the thing you want to do. You just give in more readily when you're older. Some call it wisdom, I call it weake…

Quirks, Decisions and Dairy Queen

So, I have to make a decision and I am all in knots about it. My kids are in California. My sister has to go to California to take care of some business. She is tempting me to go with her. I could see my grandson and my kidlets. I could see my friend before she has a big milestone birthday. I could have coffee with my buddy Vicki and her birthday is coming up too. I could taste real Chinese food and real Mexican food. I could eat real San Francisco sourdough bread. Sounds good.... but of course there is a catch. Not only is airfare an expense, but renting a car and parking at the airport and stuff.... and then... here's the big one... I would have to be my dear ol' buddy Chet the Wonder Dog in the kennel for a week. That's almost two whole months in dog time. He's approaching 12 years old, he's slowing down and my guilt glands are swelling just at the thought of it.

Now, ain't it funny that a woman who made life and death decisions for years is having…

Real Sportsmanship

Today my sister Karen and I were talking about things that make us cry. For all my 'cut to the chase and give me the bottom line, command presence- rock solid in an emergency' persona - I am easily brought to tears. My kids used to watch me instead of watching whatever movie we were watching and bet on when I would cry.

A favorite moment with my older sister, Laurie, happened while we watched Madame X, an old Lana Tuner and John Forsythe movie from the 60s. It was an overcast summer day. We were in our early 20s and both at home for the day. Our mom was out shopping and left to our own devices we got involved in watching old movies. Several hours later when Mom came home, she found the two of us, curled up with our arms around each other and sobbing, our mascara running in big streams of black down our faces. The sight might have alarmed anyone that didn't know us but our mom just laughed. Shortly after the movie was over, we had the swollen red eyes and stuffy no…

Black Theology is Racism

James White addressed the heresy of black theology and Jeremiah Wright on today's Dividing Line. James, ever the scholar, bought the books that Wright was touting and read them. He takes the audience step by step through the book and exposes the heresy and racism for what it is. It is well worth the listen.

Obama can distance himself from Wright all he wants to, he still sat in the church and listened to this for twenty years. It is no more moral to perpetuate hostility between races than slavery was. Christianity cannot be reconciled with racism.

Random Catsup

Ketchup, Catsup... which way did you learn to spell it? I grew up with catsup and it was a real treat when I was able to use some. My father had a thing about control. One of the many strange things he controlled was my use of catsup. I was not allowed to read comic books nor sleep with pillows. All this is beside the point. What I am trying to do is catch up on some blogging and thought the title 'random catsup' was fun even though most folks don't know catsup, they know ketchup.

I have had some topics bubbling around in my brain. So, there is no theme or reason to this. It's just stuff that I need to type to get it out of my head.

I watch 'This Week with George Stephanopolous' on Sunday mornings as I get ready to go to church. This week he had Senator Hillary Clinton on in a town hall type of discussion. I am not a Clinton supporter. She's not completely wrong about all things, but wrong enough that she won't get my vote. However, I am ticke…