Friday, June 5, 2015

New Christian experiences

I have been meaning to write on this topic for some time now and then this morning, Faith Street came on my screen with this title, "5 most uncomfortable things new Christian experience" and I should have known.  We - Christians, new and old, tend to succumb to the opinions of those who are eager to have us be a "clone" of their thoughts and practices.  It took me nearly forty-five years to overcome such temptations to listen and then, try to apply such counsel to my own life.  I stopped on that day that our Lord actually smiled on me and welcomed me to His family.

I thought I had been a Christian for most of those years.  I was a very young boy when I started to go to church.  There were no other options.  My family - at that time, were in church every day that the doors were open.  The building was in the country and was served by a itinerant Pastor who had other flocks to feed.  The teachers did the best that they could and I learned a lot about how Jesus loved us, young and old, male and female, black and white, well not really.  Blacks were not a part of "our" family in those days, but I felt that I was a Christian based on my knowledge at that time.

Then, I attended high school in the city and would learn that Jesus had other families.  In our town, the most important segment was the Catholics, and there were also the scoffers - "You believe what..?" so it was difficult to defend my faith in Jesus.

A tour in the Air Force in Japan brought me in touch with Chaplains who appeared to know about Jesus, but mostly, they talked about His father, God, and His willingness to smite people who did go by His book.  I had never read His book.  I don't recall ever being encouraged to do so.  But I did meet the locals who explained that they were Shintos, but few cared to explain why. Finally, I met a Samurai warrior, a very important man, and he was eager for me to tell him about the experience of being a Christian.  I knew very little.  I realized then that I was merely a church attender.  But he was serious and I sat in his presence as he offered a detailed recitation of why he had become a warrior and how it was his responsibility to defend the poor and the "women" of his native land.  The friend who introduced me to this man, tried to defend his thoughts - that scared me at the time, but at least he did listen to my stories of Jesus and the children.

Back to the States, I almost hurried to tell a local Pastor about my experience, to ask him how I could be a Christian and believe like that warrior seemed to believe.  I wanted to defend my Mother and Grandmother from the bad people. whoever they might be.  As best I remember, that Pastor did not or could not relate Christianity to the story I had to share.  Along the way, I tried to discuss my feelings with others, but was always reminded to attend church and listen.  That was nice but at my age then, I attended church to meet "nice" girls.

I finally met a nice girl, we were married, had children, often attended church and now I tried to listen to what the Pastors had to say.  I met one who seemed to know a lot more abut Jesus, but when I tried to talk with him, he seemed more interested in hearing about my visit with the Samrai.  He was not much help to me, but I had finally meet a Pastor who seemed to hear whet I had to say, I was left with the impression that most Pastors were merely playing a role of a pious person on Sunday and an average guy for the rest of the week.  Of course, not many - if any, were like that, but I knew what I had experienced and such thoughts tended to guide my life and led me into the opinion that I was not far from going to Hell.  I felt very uncomfortable about going to church

I think that God knew about such thoughts all the while and knowing the end from the beginning, He knew far more about my future than I might have ever dared to believe.  Fear hovered about my life from the very beginning and He was about to change that situation.

I was headed to see a wise man about how I could improve on the life I had been leading and he lived in a distant city.  I was on a bus when I decided to open the Bible I had brought along and thought I could find the place where Jesus started His ministry.  I did, apparently, and when I read of what He was saying, "Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand" I realized I knew nothing about that word repent,  I asked the God I thought I knew, what did He mean, repent?  My counsel, don't ever ask God what Jesus meant unless you are prepared to hear His answer.  He made it obvious I knew nothing about that word as the life I had been living did not conform to the life he wants us to be living.  My "sins" became very apparent to me and I knew that I knew, I had to repent. To ask His blessing on what I really knew was a corrupted life, but in a moment I will cling to forever, I know that I know, He was accepting me as I was, pits and all.  My heart was pierced.  My mind was whirling.  I just knew, there and then, I was the fault of the problems I thought others had caused, but now, I had been changed.  I no longer had to be that man.

I was - and still am, determined to be the man God wants me to be.  I was going to start, believing that Jesus meant what He said with these words, "I will never leave you, nor forsake you" and forty years later, it is my testimony, He has not.  I even learned the words to an old song that I recalled from my childhood days, "He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives to day, He walks with me and He talks with me along life's narrow way, He lives, He lives, salvation to impart, you ask me how I know He lives, He lives within my heart."

So, there it is, my experience.  Now, I want to explain why there should be no "uncomfortable" things for new Christians, nor even older Christians, to experience.

You do not ever have to be ashamed of the life of Christ and the love of God.  It is your name that is written in His book.  All you need to do is live as He lived and not fear,you might even be "crucified" along the way, you will never have to die on cross.  He has done that for you and, for me!

So now, turn the page and learn of the fascination you will be beginning to experience along the way, along His way!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Essentials of the Good Life

After dealing with the more mundane aspects of life earlier today, I find myself even more interested in sharing what what I have learned over the years.  I have discovered that most folks are not as privileged to live 85+ years as I have been.  Prompted by an article I received from an old (but younger) friend of mine, Tom Reid.   He was talking about the "good" life and to me, that starts with a purpose for living.

It took me many years to reach that point, mainly because I thought I had been abandoned early in life.  My father died before I ever got to know him and my mother had another child to care for in the truly "great" Depression years, the early 30's.  I was fortunate however to have been sent to the farm, my grandparent's farm, near Yale MI.   I often brag that I am a Yale graduate and purposely avoid telling them it was Yale High School, not the University in Connecticut.

My grandfather was the "salt of the earth" kind of man, very conservative and very deliberate in all that he did.  He was born on that farm and died there and one might say, he did the very best that he could with what he had and never asked for more than that.  His devoted wife, my grandmother was the perfect mate for him.  She was devoted to her husband and delighted in the four children they raised together.  I was special to her and partially because they had had a still born son shortly before I came to live with them.   The only real "counselor" I would have in those years was a beloved grade school teacher and another from my high school years.

I was a good student and longed to go on to college, but there were no resources for that and I so I seized the opportunity to join the Army Air Corps in order to qualify for the WWII "GI Bill of Rights".  At seventeen years and twenty seven days, I left "home" (as it was) and never returned.  So what I have learned about life came about as I was "on the road" for many years.

The military taught me two important aspects of life.   Be loyal to your employer and those who were your superiors.  It paid off as I became a Tech Sergeant (E-6) faster than most of those who entered at the same time.  I was decorated for my competency and that fact set me back for many years.  I looked for it in others and seldom found it, for many years.  It may have been because I was always eager to get "ahead" and had a difficult time dealing with my superiors and my associates as well.

I left the Air Force to enter college and was disappointed with what I discovered, mainly because it was in the South and most of my instructors and fellow students seemed to be more interested in "getting along" rather than getting ahead which had become the primary motivation in my life.  While I did graduate from college, I failed in a marriage and also, in dealing with others.

Tom's thoughts deal first with productivity, but that apparently has never appealed to me as I never really learned to be a team leader, even though I held such positions several times in my life.  I learned to be a "teacher" but was never the inspiration one ought to be to teach or lead others.  He makes a good point of creating good friends.  Today, if you knew me well, you might think that I am a "master" in that area, but it never came from my vocational training. 

They are, however, high on my recommendations to live the good life.  In fact, as a counselor in the area of employable skills, you should start making friends as early as grade school and maintain contact with all that you can, given the fact that we live in a more mobile society than existed when I was a youngster.  I look back and realize how often I failed to see the potential of my younger friends and now am amazed by their success in life.  That fact also taught me to become an encourager*, wherever and whenever you meet with others.  *(The word may not be in the dictionary, but it should be.  The world needs more people who are skilled in encouraging others)

He lists culture as an important asset and while that is true, it means that we ought to become familiar with people who are - in a word, different.  It is not always easy as many of the "others" in life are often suspicious of becoming acquainted with people who are not the same race, nationality, sexual orientation, etc.  In my generation, we were more often taught to avoid them.

I am not an expert on family life as I am not proud of the fact that I have children and sadly, grand children who know literally nothing about me.  But I have discovered that being good friends with fellow workers, neighbors. church members, and others, can more than make up for that loss

And finally, he comes to the most critical aspect of my life and learning, that is, spirituality, you know, church or similar affiliations.  It took me nearly forty five years to come to the realization that we were not created, haphazardly, as I had thought for all of those "lost" years.  Religions teach that there is a God and there are some who teach that He is a figment of our imagination.  In my life, there is and there is no disputing of the fact there is a God, a creative being.  We were created so that God could have a family here on earth and over the centuries, He has taught us that such a relationship is a matter of our love for Him and for one another.  That is the so-called, bottom line.  His love for us demands reciprocation, but not if we are not interested.  That is where religion tends to confuse the matter as each of the several religious forces on earth seem to want to disagree with the others, negating God's commands that we love one another.

I have waded through that confusion in the past forty years and have finally found a home where love really matters to one another.  Just send me an e-mail at and I will provide you with a full exclamation of all that it means to me.

It has confirmed to me that there is a priority for our pathway through life and it involves the following factors for living life as it was meant to be.  They are, in order of importance:  Love others, no matter what might held you back; be true to yourself, your elders, family and be honest with all others; reach out; seek new horizons, we live in a dynamic world where change has become the norm; have fun, enjoy yourself and personal pursuits as long as they do not interfere with the needs of your immediate family, and finally, become the encouragement that is more often avoided in the stress of every day living.

Looking closer at my day...

Well, the more I thought about my earlier "whine" - my word for complaint, it seems to get quicker response than other words, the more I realized I am the source of the answers to my problem.

And my thoughts were activated by a response I made to the people at the Gallop news organization with a headline as follows:  "Majority in U.S. Still Say Moral Values Getting Worse"

To which I replied:  "It is my most humble opinion, the "problem" with the majority is that every time they read newspapers, listen to the TV, radio, etc., etc., ad infinitum, they hear such reports being reported over and over and over again.

Do you not realize, politicians make their living by mimicking such nonsense?  Put them to the task for which they were elected and we might even resolve the problem of the debt they constantly ignore

At 85+ years of age, I could spend hours telling you and all of others of FAR MORE "trying" times that I have experienced and PROFITED by..

One of my favorite words is - reflection.  Add that to your vocabulary and you might be able to see what I see, today.  Opportunity, unlike nothing this nation has ever seen."

Do I expect a response from the folks at Gallup?  I do not.

Do I expect that average people like my readers will be motivated to pitch in and help all of the rest of us to deal with problems such as suggested by Gallup's headline?  Again, I do not.

Why not, you ask.  Well, I have heard that less than a third of those eligible to vote in our nation will vote in the next election.  Do you think for a moment that such a statistic causes any of the candidates in the race o stop and be concerned about their chances for victory?   Few have a chance to win.  They are in the race to woo the money folks who underwrite our election process, by sounding good and they could use that money to win a forthcoming election.  Please, folks, if you want to play the games, understand the rules.  Money wins, the "people's choice" will not come close to winning.

Who should win, if we still believe in the government that has brought us to the point where we are today, they will win, we will lose.  And that is, "We, the people..." the folks who were cited in the Constitution and who the our founding fathers had bet on to make our country, ..."one nation under God".

We are - in a phrase, "...asleep at the switch".  It is not the politicians fault.  They play the game by the rules that are established and they merely smile as others re-write local laws to dictate who can vote.  They get into office when we decide who gets our votes.  It is like the proverbial story of the fox and the chickens.  He knows the name of the game; it is his dinner.  The innocents merely ignore his presence and by the time it is too late, they become his dinner.''  

We can change all of that by a simple two step process.  First, register to vote and on election day, go out and vote. Need a ride?   Tell others of your need and it will be provided.

Do you remember the question posed by the Gallup folks?   They were talking about moral values.  To some, that is church talk, but representation in government is not necessarily a moral question.  It is specifically a question of civic duty, an honor not freely offered to half of the world's population.  We are where we are today because our fathers and mothers and their children before them recognized the honor it was to be an American.  Do you think that we have problems?  Of course we do, but ask yourself why there are hordes of people from other nations eagerly seeking a passport that leads to the honor of becoming a citizen of our great nation.  Ask any of those folks who have even dared to violate our laws to come here, for the opportunity they will have to earn a living for their families?  Yes, some of them do take advantage of the opportunities we provide, but who was responsible for making certain our borders were secured?   You and I do not write the laws, the people we elected to office write the laws on our behalf have asleep for decades .

We need to be at the voting booth on election day, every day that they are opened.  The administration of government - at every level, is far too complex to be left to people who are purely political.  We need to have people of integrity in every elected office and it is our responsibility to see that they are the ones who win our elections.

If we were really concerned about our future and the future of our children and the grand children to follow, we would see that laws are written so that people assuming public office are people of integrity, not just people whose loyalty is a politically inspired organization that have few if any, legitimate concerns for the average citizen

This is your responsibility.  Do not listen to the friend or neighbor to tell you how to vote.  They are part of the problem.  Groups do not vote.  People vote and we all need to go to bed at night, assured that we have done all that we can to return our nation to the point where we actually can fulfill the promises that are found in our Constitution for you, your family, your friends and neighbors and for those who no long available to vote.

We have a little under a year and a half to work on the problem before us.  We must get out and register to vote now and to be there on election day.

Then and only then will we begin to see what America means to its people and why we have so many grave stones marking the silent voices of those who cared for our future.

What to do on a lousy day

I am no expert on this subject.  I seldom have a lousy day, but today appears to be one of those.  I typically am awake at 6AM and eager to get started.  Today, I was awake at 6AM, but back in bed after taking care of nature's necessities.  Up at 8AM, turned on TV to see if the world was working well, without me.  It must be, I fell asleep in my chair and it was 10AM before I started moving about.

I examined incoming e-mails and with the exception of the regular one from my beloved, there was little or nothing of importance - at least, according to the the New York Times, Washington Post and other "authorities" that visit my computer daily.  Even my "blogger" friends seemed to be primarily concerned with themselves, so here I am, whining as well.

Not really.  I just don't feel well and that is strange.  At 85+ years and moving ahead purposefully, I seldom have days like this.  If there was a last one, I can't seem to remember it.

Perhaps, if I reminded myself - as I have, I seldom pray in the morning.  Could it be that my Father is reminding me that I ought to.  Well, I do - if I am more sensitive to the needs of others, but I suppose it is because I wake up almost every day, eager to get started with His business.  I like it this way.  I try to have no life of my own, only time invested in His life being lived through me.

I know, that sounds a bit pious, but it is true.  When my wife passed away almost two years ago now, I had no further interest in living.  For the previous seven years, I had invested my time in an effort to make her life more compelling than I had discovered it to be when we first met.  Some people I know live their lives as servants.  My thoughts of her previous life was more like being a slave, no real life of her own, but bowing to the beck and call of others and as I got to know them, it seemed to me they were merely using her.  What a shame.  She had so much to offer.  I know that for a fact.  She blessed me, constantly with her wit and expressions of love for others.

The problem was, she only had a passing acquaintance with our Lord.  She was never a "church" person.  We tried to get started after we were married, but it seemed that the churches we visited made no earnest effort to welcome us, so we started to going to "church" in our living room, listening to a Pastor on TV that we both liked and then, afterwards, opening the Bible to have a closer examination to see what He had to say about the theme of the words we had heard.  Those times were among the most sacred I have ever experienced and in her heart of hearts, I believe that she felt the same.  I miss those times.

But she has gone on and I am eagerly awaiting His call to come home.

Enough of the "buts".... I have discovered that there is a life to be lived, even at my age.  Sunday, I met a little lady, only a few months older than I am, and she is confined to wheel chair and I would learn, that she was far more "poorly" a few months ago.  It was as if it was the Lord who called on me to greet her and in doing so, I knelt down to make sure I heard her every word.  What a blessing.  It seems she is surrounded by a loving family and I almost wept as I heard of how her family was making her life so much more that others might imagine.  I have often thought that God caused wheelchairs to be invented so we could kneel down and hear better, of the life being lived by its occupant.

Just the reminder of that experience has made my day so much better.  I hasten to remind myself that I seem to have offended a dear friend of mine and that burden lingers in my mind.  The fact is, he has offended me many times in the past with his interpretation of what the Bible has to say on some of the more sensitive issues of the day.  I chose to discuss them on these pages and out of respect for his thoughts, I sent copies to him.  I never expected such a response.

I live on the premise that it is my obligation to live a life worthy of my calling as a Christian and use my experiences to draw others closer to my Lord.  I constantly attempt to remind myself that my experiences are not the same as others, but that is not to be interpreted to mean, my thoughts are no less important than those expressed by others.  We "see" life through the eyes of those we have been provided with and measure our thoughts in relation to what we have learned.  Some pay more attention to what they hear than others, that is a fact of life.

But to be a Christian, in my - as some like to say, "never to be so humble opinion", means we live to love others.  We are all entitled to our opinions, but if they are to be accepted as well, they oughtto correspond to the established facts we read in the Bible and the love that we have learned of by the life of our Lord, the principle rule being, we are to love others.

That does not mean we are to accept everything others have to say; it does mean than what we hear should be interpreted by the love that are expected to have for all of God's creation.

And of course, there are those who would remind me, that is my opinion.  I guess it will remain that way until I am corrected by the ever present, higher authority.

Anyway, I feel much better - having put my thoughts to print. 

Friday, May 29, 2015

The Other Side of the Wall - redux

Oh my, look at what happens when I open my mouth or pick up my "pen", to express an opinion, my opinion.  First, two phone calls from folks who are not approving the fact I walked away from one church to join another and never thought to ask if I had made the move before offering my thoughts to the first.  The fact is, I did!

But much more importantly, my dear friend not only sent me copies of opinions from two of my friends, one from a close friend - a Pastor and the other, an important figure when it comes to interpreting the  Bible.  She also included a long discourse from an unknown author who had to have spent hours assembling his facts.  None of these knew of my premise, that the questions about the subject of sex belong at home and of course, open to interpretation by outsiders.  So, I headed for my Bible to consider the Biblical themes after first noting in the Topical Guide that accompanies the Bible I use for me own guidance, I discovered it does not have a section on sex, per se, but sections discussing seducers, seduction and sexual immorality.

I suspect that this fact is as important as all of the assembled material I have laying on my desk.  Sex is and asought to be, a personal matter.  We could spend hours discussing what the Bible says and does not say, but I still believe my premise is much more informative than all of the other material I read before starting this response.  The basic thought - perversion has now revealed a new side to the endless conversations about the lives of the those society have described as transgenders.  In my opinion, we will be "learning" much more than God ever meant us to know and those who are ignorant of the will of God for His creation, will become even more confused than they already are.

Yes, confused.  Let's be honest with one another, what most of us understand about what the Bible actually says - and what it does not say, comes from the opinions of others like my friends and since the others will probably never study the Bible for themselves, confusion will continue to reign.  I love the Bible, I try to live by the Bible as the knowledge to be contained therein has been far greater than what I have learned from other so-called "practical"sources in my 85+ years.  

I am also a father and I can look into the lives of my own children and discover how inadequate I was in their formative years.  Then, I examine the lives of parents I meet coming in and out of church and other gatherings and see what diligence they demonstrate in carrying out their Godly responsibilities is creating in the lives of their offspring.  It confirms my suspicions, the first step in defining the sexual proclivities of the child starts in his or her relationship with the parent or hopefully, the parents.

We can talk Bible until we have exhausted all of our energies and it avails nothing, if those who hear are not tuned to the same wave length or not listening at all and then, not caring out the responsibility of live by what they have actually learned.  Children are always eager to learn - from someone about something, and do not necessarily learn from what we have to say, but how it is we live in the midst of our daily responsibilities. That is my premise.  And whereas most of what I have observed over the years about sexual behavior indicates that most of us get involved in sex as naiveties (persons with naive approach to life).  Excuse me, I think I have just coined a word.

In my youth, we were all naive.  Now, most of our offspring are misinformed.

The basis of our understanding helps if we understand the Bible, but a couple of facts - not disclosed in the Bible, are well known.  That is, our brains are hot wired to our DNA.  That is, we differ from one another.  That creates the premise that we learn from one another and the first test of our knowledge starts with the fact that children need to be fed and thus, their first school masters are their mothers.  Then, the comedians might say, they need to be changed and thus, their second school master is the father.  Take either out of the equation (2 + 1 = family) and trouble rears its ugly head. 

Well, we know that half of our marriages fail, so is it any wonder that our children our raised in a vacuum.  Having grandparents help, but seldom are they in the home and thus many of our children grow up, "street" smart or totally ignorant of the human agenda that God meant in the beginning.

The church's emphasis on getting adults "saved" ignores the fact that religion has created classrooms filled with children who are in the perfect place to teach - right from wrong.  They do not have to teach about sex, they do need to teach about the rewards or perils of living a chaste life.

In my interest in learning more abut homosexuality, I have often visited what some term the "gay" church - as if they are teaching how to become "gay" or extending the "gay" reach.  What a shame.  I used to cringe when I heard the inevitable whispers that we had "those" people in our church, so it is no wonder "they" left "us" for a God that forbids an exercise of the desires.

Please don't tell me otherwise.  Read Leviticus 18:6.  My Bible states:  "You shall not lie with a man as one lies with a female, it is an abomination."

And so, people do what is an abomination to God.  You cannot revoke this commandment.

Deal with it.  Some among us are "wired" that way.  Remember, the DNA.  Can I explain it?  No, I cannot.

What we can do is invite them into our churches, love them and do the best we can to serve along side of them.  By and large, they are nice people.  Like all of us, they have needs and some of them may be foreign to others, but we are not called to necessarily understand.  We are on the other hand, called by God to love them as members of His creation.

Also, rebuke the temptation to call them names that come out of the darkness found in some old man's souls.  Stop referring to them as deficient in ways you do not understand.  Jesus expressed the "bottom line" in living in this 21st century.  In the gospel of John (17:20-21)  "I do not ask in behalf f these alone (His disciples), but for those who believe in me through their word that they all might be one even as Thou, Father, are in Me, and I in Thee, that they might be in Us, that the world may believe that Thou did's send Me." 

To me, that is the "bottom line" in this discussion.  God's word says it is their word.  Stop dragging out the older testaments writings as they were trying to create a society in which people loved one another.  Yes, it may have taken strange turns to us, five thousand years later, but I had a grandfather who told me that the Star car would outlast the Fords and the Chevrolets most of our neighbors drove. He didn't buy one.  Good thing.  They went out of business a couple of years after the expression of my grandfather's wisdom.

My point remains.  The "world" as we know it - today, is being over run with perversions and the troubles that perversion creates.  But rather than rave and rant, or stay tuned to the channels that promote them, let;s go back to the basics.

God is our Father in heaven, the Creator of all that has taken shape and He loves us.  Spread the word, go tell it on the mountains, over the hills and everywhere.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Other Side of the Wall

While most of us would prefer not to discuss the matter, I have been wrestling with it for several years.  You may not want to read on and that is your choice of course.  But I am here to suggest that sooner or later, the matter will matter - to you or others that are near and dear to you.

I was "encouraged" to pen my thoughts when an article appeared on my computer this morning.  The title informed its readers that -"Yes, transgender really is the New Black in Hollywood."  The author's name is Jennifer LeClaire and she is writing for Charisma News.

The headline provides the name of Laverne Cox who has been described as "the first breakthrough transgender star in Hollywood."  A year ago, she was on the cover of TIME magazine.  Those who make their living "in Hollywood" appear are ready and willing to promote this tragedy throughout the nation.

You probably already know that Bruce Jenner, the high acclaimed athlete from the Olympics is ready to convert himself to the woman, he claims to have hidden away for years.  ABC Family has a new program ready for broadcast entitled Becoming Us, the story of a boy "working" through his father's transition from male to female.  TLC has another such program in the works.

LeClaire goes on to suggest, "this is not just an issue in Hollywood, the agenda is creeping into other aspects of society."

I will never forget my introduction into such so-called "hidden" issues of life.  AS a Personnel Supervisor in the USAF, three senior Non-coms on our base came to me asking if I could keep a secret and revealed to me that they were practicing homosexuals.  They feared that if a certain officer whose office was next to mine in our headquarters, heard that they were, he could press charges and they would be immediately discharged and lose the benefits they had earned by their years of service. They had learned that the Colonel and I appeared to be friends and all they wanted was a "heads up" if he prepared to press charges.  That never happened, but the Sergeants and I became good friends and I never became aware of their deviant behavior.  What happened after they closed their doors was their affair and meant nothing to me.

Years later, I was a volunteer in the church I attended and was asked to attend a "confidential" meeting.  It concerned an assistant Pastor who had just married the daughter of important members. The bride came home from the honeymoon early claiming her husband was "gay".  What to do?  What to do?  The best we could recommend was endorse the Senior Pastor's recommendation to fire the man. I was the only minority voice in the decision.  So, they did.  A few month's later, the young man came to my office looking for a job.  We had an honest conversation about the other incident and I learned that he was not gay, but not as well "endowed" as the bride thought he might be.  Her frustration made matters worse.  I found him a job with a religious printing house and eventually was invited to dinner with his new bride and it was apparent to me, any problems in that area had been resolved.

That prompted me to research the question of homosexuality and discovered there were far more areas of confusion than I had ever imagined.  It gave me a sense of compassion for the others who had problems like my young friend.  The one advantage of being in the military is the fact we showered together and could talk about sexual topics without "beating around the bush" as some suggest.  And as the years passed, the general public became far more aware of similar topics.

Of course, the "Aids" problems arose and as a Christian, I became acquainted with many of those who had been infected.  In fact, a former employer was infected and would die and my "research" into the question of homosexuality became a matter of my belief system.  It was easy to recognize the facts that religion had begun to play an important tole in the debates.  I have heard more debates on the subject than I even care to discuss.

My conclusion is that those who profess to being "gay" are typically, those who fear the label of being a homosexual.  No one cares to be known by a derogatory title. The Bible does not send a mixed message.  The act is wrong.  The actor is loved by God - as are all others.

Not unlike the child who is reared in a household where poverty is not a word to be discussed, but a fact of life, and as he - or she, can see what the parent does to provide, is it any wonder that they visit the sins of those who came before them?   And if the parent is perceived to be inadequate to the task of feeding them, for example, is it any wonder that they follow in the footsteps of those who do provide.  I have - in my lifetime, interviewed probably hundreds of them and often became friends of youngsters who followed that pattern I just set forth.  All the while, they have been raised in a society where even the rich and powerful have a need to have a gun to protect themselves, their families and their property,  We really should begin to understand that such logic enables the poor and disenfranchised to make a similar claim - only, of course, once they use it for their need to provide, it is that much easier to extend it to provide their "wants" as well.

I did not digress, I was merely setting the stage for the logic to follow.  Do you deny that we live in a sex-crazed society?  Hopefully, you recognize that fact.  Now, lets go back to the home, any home and consider the youngsters and their parents.  I grew up in the 30's and you need to believe that - with few if any exceptions, we knew nothing about sex.  But as we grew up and attended high school, we began to hear more about it, but learn about it, no way.  There were no objective teachers.  I had heard about it, but my learning came in the midst of 1,700 other teenagers, all wearing a uniform and headed for overseas duty.  We had our first objective lesson when we reached our assignment and noticed a hole in the fence and a path leading to a nearby brothel.   We also had our first practical lesson on sex when the offers and senior non-coms had a "drop your pants and standby" drill.  (If you don't know what I mean, you don't need to know.)

That was then, this is now and we are reaping where we failed to sow decades ago.  Sin not a pleasure game where one gets satisfied and the other goes home.  Sexual relations were not designed to be a sporting event, but the most important spiritual lesson of all.  Babies were meant to be the result, but humans being humans, long ago discovered that the act did not need to be spiritual, it could be pleasurable as well.  And there it is in a nutshell.  

Enter perversion, if pleasure is the reasonable excuse for sex, what does it matter where we find a partner?  And the participants made homosexuality, the perfect alternative.

But that is a sin!  And so, since God is opposed to sinful behavior, the righteous among us began waging war on the sins of those others.  Never mind the obvious sins of the righteous.  Some called a halt to such a war and Satan and his legions have won victories upon victories by merely suggesting there is a hierarchy of sin.

Now, does anyone really wonder that evil would eventually discover the transgenders among us. There are, in fact, people who came into this world with sexual organs that do not conform to what we might suggest are normal.  It happens.  There are also many medical experts who have a solution, but again, if you happen to have it happen to you, pray that you were not born into poverty.

Now should we wonder that they are the Bruce Jenners who would have us believe, we are all born with a degree of abnormality, especially if you can make money displaying your own particular degree of abnormality.  Let's face facts, deviants tend to enjoy their deviancy.

All of which ignore the basic premise of the scriptures.  We are created beings, all of us, and among us are others who were not as fortunate as we have discovered ourselves to be.  What do we do for the poor and impoverished?  The very same as we should be doing for those who are not as privileged as we find ourselves to be in all areas of our lives.  Compassion is an act highly commended by God.

For certain, we must not allow ourselves to be intrigued by such matters, but wherever possible do what we can to portray the compassionate others whose first order of the day is to love one another as we have been loved.

Oh, you thought I might talk about same-sex marriage.  If you can find it in the Bible I am here to talk about it.  Otherwise, take your complaints to the politicians who showered the "legally" married folks with benefits not available to the rest of us.  Can you see the real problem?

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

What Does America Stand For?

That is the title of an article in the current edition of TIME magazine (June 1, 2015) and since I am a veteran of the United States Air Force (1946-53) including service in the Korean War, I am interested in what America does stand for today as I vividly recall what it stood for when I was a youngster.  I had hoped that the article might be a rebuttal to the suggestions floating around in Christian circles that our days are doomed.  I have never seen the likes of it.  At first, I thought what I was hearing came from the local churches as I know that many of them are upset with the thought that same-sex marriages are going to be made legal throughout the United States - as they have been in many States.

For awhile, it seemed to be the economy that was threatening us because of the un-employment figures, due to the recession that overwhelmed us in the wake of our futile wars in the Middle East. Then, slowly but surely those rates began to lessen as our economy picked up steam, but the fears and the fear mongers began to expand.  I scan the more popular Christian magazines and daily, it seems, the prophets of gloom and doom are the primary headline figures.

And of course, our President's "glamour" began to fade as those who obviously were not thrilled with the thought that a black man's hands were on the "ship of State".  I will readily admit, I probably am biased in favor of blacks, in general, as I had the experience of promoting their qualifications for employment at a time when many of the other agencies were "coding" their job applications.  Earlier, I was attending college in Georgia when the Brown vs. Board of Education decision was ruled on by the Supreme Court and was appalled by the reaction of many of my friends and most of my neighbors.

Things are different these days.  Slavery is no longer an issue.  We are not appalled by the sight of a black man holding hands with a white woman.  Mixed race children are everywhere apparent in our public schools.  We have come through the tough times.  Our military power is the pride on our nation and a definite threat to any other nation with thoughts of interfering with our right of passage on the high seas.  We have reason to be proud of our accomplishments as a people and as a nation.

But of course, we do have our problems.  My thought is that the "good" times have spoiled us.  Our Constitution is still our basis for law and it was constituted on the belief that it represented all of our citizens, with one caveat.  "We, the people..." have a definite responsibility.  We are supposed to vote for our Representatives in government at the local, State and Federal levels.  We are failing to take "care of our business".   It is MY business and it is YOURS!

So now that I have made my position clear, let me turn to the TIME article.

The writer - Joel Kline, and his subject is a new book, titled, Three Choices for America's Role in the World.  The author - President of the Eurasia Group, a political risk constituency. I had an impression that he wanted us to do less than we have been doing.   Kline opened his essay with a round about slap at the pending election cycle - 2016.  He wastes away the first page with his thoughts about the candidates, only one of whom will be nominated for President.  The thoughts that are expressed therein have little or nothing to do with the need for our nation to pay more attention to the circumstances at hand.  Listen to those candidates and you will hear that our challenges seem to be insurmountable.  That is utter nonsense, I was born in 1929, sixty days before the Stock Market crash.  Can you imagine what might happen tomorrow if the same thing happened? We still have problems with employment; but do they begin to compare with the tens of thousands who were thrown of their jobs in the truly Great Depression and wound up standing in the bitter cold, hoping, praying for a cup of gruel that was all that most cities had to offer?

The book gets down to business by declaring a possible goal - an independent America, freed of the thought that we must fix the world.  Stay tuned.   It makes a point that I wholehearted agree with. 

"We have no right to force those who disagree with us to see things our way."

The company was involved with a survey of 1,000 Americans about their foreign policy preferences and tabulated the results into three areas; those who chose the idea of an Indispensable America, the world needs our leadership (28%;) a Moneyball America, we can't do everything but we must defend our interests when they are threatened (36%); and the Independent America, we must rid ourselves of international burdens and focus on improving our country from within (36%).

What does America stand for?  From the results of the survey, it should tell us we are divided almost equally among the three options.  That ought to stimulate the candidates into meaningful debates, ridding them themselves of the "one up-man-ship" strategies of the past.  It is time to think seriously about our future without the time consuming tasks that amount to nothing more than the proverbial "blame games" of the past.

And perhaps, hopefully, it will inspire our people to get involved in the process, to register to vote and then, to actually vote.  In my Commercial class in high school - long ago, we were asked to type the following as an exercise to increase our skills - "Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country."  It still applies, only now women are asked to participate.  So I have to ask of all who read this, do you understand that "now" really means - right now?