"So," they say, "nobody's perfect!"
But the Vinedresser won't buy that.
Given the opportunity, He will trim the unproductive suckers and shape the branches so each one will bask in Sonlight.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Where's my flack jacket?

Yes, I'm going to pick up some flack on that one. Dave Long is presenting a number of entries he received for a short story contest on his blog, Faith in Fiction. Unable to quell my candidness, I left a comment for a story by Laura Alice Eakes that agreed with all the glowing assessments left by others, while suggesting in the nicest way I could that the story needed some basic editing. Laura Alice, if you read this I want you to know that while I don't go in for arbitrary criticism, I believe an honest balance is best when commenting on others' work. As writers, we daren't allow ourselves the luxury of thin skin, but strive to learn what we can from each other.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005


Joelle crossed the room again, passing her door for what, the fiftieth, hundredth, thousandth time that afternoon? Her dirt floor was beginning to rut where she paced from one wall, three cubits to the door, and three cubits to the other wall. Finally she had to admit the light passing through the window-slit was waning, and the bit of grain and roots in her larder were all her children would eat for the Sabbath meal. James had assured her that the rations would be delivered before sunset, but Sabbath had arrived, the law was the law, and there would be no food delivery that day. As usual, she would make do, and survive with the Lord's help.
"James my brother," Alkaios stood before the apostle, his eyes shining with desperation, his voice earnest, "the Greek widows are still starving in their dwellings. Most of the brothers see to their own widows, and the Greeks are ignored. They too must feed their children and nurse their babies, and even if they could find a little work, they must first care for the little ones. Pray to the Lord for His word in this." James was crestfallen. He had been assured that the widows were well provided for. Now this. The elder apostle was ashamed of the Hebrew Brethren; his prayers for Messiah's love to flow through them seemed to remain unanswered. His blank stare searched for a solution in each crack of the synagog's ancient, stone walls. Why did he not have direction? "Brother Alkaios," said James, eyes moist, "The Lord has not spoken to me on this matter, even after much prayer. Yet, as you say, the widows must eat. "Seek out, please, Nathan the Tsadik. He prays without ceasing, and will know The Lord's will in this."
Nathan the man of prayer stood on Stephen's stone stoop and tapped on the door's rough boards. "Brother Stephen." He spoke into a crack between the boards. Again he tapped politely, hoping not to wake the neighbors at this pre-dawn hour of the Sabbath morning. Some conservative Jews would accuse him of breaking the Sabbath by trying to raise someone from his bed. "Brother Stephen, I would speak with you for only a moment."
Stephen disliked his Greek name, yet he always humbled himself and refused to object when the brethren used it, especially a devout man such as Nathan. Stephen simply meant crown, while his Hebrew name, Katriel, meant God is my crown. But the quiet tapping and calling continued, so Stephen once again swallowed his pride and rose from his pallet to answer the door. The stone floor was cold against Stephen's bare feet, but he hoped the sound of flesh against the floor would be quieter than the leather of his sandals. He approached his door with shushing sounds, trying to quiet his visitor. The iron door-latch made its usual rumbling noise despite Stephen's attempt to quiet it. So with the door finally cracked open a few spans, he gazed into Nathan's uncharacteristally urgent expression. "Stephen," Nathan whispered, "the Twelve has sent me to inquire of you." "And ..." "Yes, they have a work for you, involving food distribution." "Please, step inside before a neighbor hears you." When Nathan obliged and Stephen closed the door, he continued, "Now, please tell me of this work." "Brother Stephen, there is an urgent need amongst the Grecian widows. Many are being overlooked in the daily food deliveries and they are going hungry. Will you consider overseeing those deliveries? The elders know you see no difference between the Greek and the Hebrew brethren." Stephen's black eyes studied his friend from under furrowed brows. "Brother Nathan, there must be some mistake. I am nobody, the least of the brothers. Perhaps you would return to the Twelve for confirmation." Stephen knew of no higher position he could hold than servant of Messiah's people. "This call is straight from James. Listen my brother; are you the only one who does not see what The Lord has done within you? Accept the commission. We need you to see that our community serves everyone equally." Stephen gazed into the distance, desperately trying to envision his place of service. "If they see me in this work, who am I to quibble? "Tell them, please, that I will come for instruction on the first day of the week."
"Your duties are crucial to properly distributing food among the widows." Though the force of Peter's hands on Stephen's shoulders nearly pushed him to his knees, Stephen knew the apostle refused to be knelt to. "All the brethren honor your fairness. There will be no more questioning of how we distribute the food. Do the work, my son. You are the man." As the Twelve laid their hands on him, a prickling flush crept through Stephen's body and perspiration dripped from his face. He desperately hoped and prayed they weren't making a mistake. But he would not question the Holy Spirit's decision.
"Is this the home of Shomer son of Nathan?" Marti cocked her head, examining the young man at their door. She had seen Stephen entering the assembly, and heard of his unpretentious service, but she had never met him personally. "My husband is in prayer and will not be disturbed. You will please return later." "Please excuse my urgency. There must be some place to wait for him out of your family's way." The woman sighed, but nodded as she stood back and allowed Stephen to enter. "Eitan our son will show you where to wait." The tall, stocky boy emerged from behind the front door. His face shown neither welcome nor suspicion as he silently led Stephen further into the home. When they reached the formal receiving room he gestured for Stephen to sit on a stone bench. Then he stood nearby, watching their visitor. Feeling self conscious, Stephen smiled and spoke to the boy. "You are named well, Eitan ... so strong and not yet a man. You favor your father." The boy gave no acknowledgment of Stephen's small talk. "You are old enough to join the brothers' assembly, yet I have not seen you." That observation elicited a subtile darkening of his expression. Stephen decided not to probe further, but to quietly await Shomer's arrival. "Brother Stephen," Shomer's booming voice was a welcome change from the tense silence. "I was not expecting your visit. How can I help you?" "Brother Shomer ..." Stephen reached out his right hand to greet him, but the big man drew him into a tight hug. When he could finally breathe, Stephen continued, "The Twelve has asked me to oversee food distribution, so the Greek widows will no longer be skipped. You have a reputation for fairness, Brother Shomer. Will you please assist me with the food service?" "It will be my honor, Brother Stephen. I will help, and my son Eitan. Please share my humble dinner so we might discuss this thing." Despite Shomer's warmth, Stephen still felt uncomfortable from Eitan's manner. "Brother Shomer, I must go to--" "Katriel ..." His use of Stephen's Hebrew name silenced his objections. "My brother, you will please honor my home by eating with me and my family. Stephen forced a smile and nodded his assent. Glancing at Eitan, he saw that his face remained impassive, but for the tightening of his jaw muscles.
"Yes, and then he commands them to stand up from their pallets, and their limbs are restored." Gimel the commander of the temple guard cut in. "Eitan son of Shomer, tell us how you account for these 'miracles' this Stephen performs." "He is a magician, who does these things by the name of the Nazarene." A low rumbling of comment passed through the room. Its occupants had assembled in the large room off the Court of the Gentiles in response to the rumor of a rare, night-time inquiry. The priests who united in their hatred the Nazarine Sect stood scattered among the rabble. "How does he speak about the Law and the Temple? Does he speak of destroying the Holy Temple and rebuilding it?" "I ... well, he spoke of Raban Yeshua--" "Has he mentioned the Temple, boy?" "Yes, I believe--" Gimel smirked toward the crowd as he continued. "Does he directly give the God of Israel credit for what he does?" "Well, not in so many--" Gimel turned triumphantly to face the crowd. "There you have it! Eitan son of Shomer, an eye witness, confirms the testimony of other witnesses. The Law says by the testimony of two witnesses shall guilt be declared." The guard commander spun around to address the boy. "Eitan son of Shomer, you will immediately lead a detachment of the Temple Guard to take Stephen into custody and deliver him to this place for trial." The boy smiled.
Levi the beggar pointed his bony finger at Stephen. "And I too heard that man say the Nazarene will destroy this place, and the Law of Moses and the holy customs handed down to us." The emaciated, unkempt man nodded quickly in affirmation of his testimony, then glanced hungrily at Gimel as a ripple of low voices moved about the chamber. The Temple Guard Commander gave the beggar an assuring smile and stepped forward. "Brothers and fathers, we have heard the witnesses. Is there need for further testimony in this matter?" The high priest stood, his clothing conspicuous in not reflecting his office. He faced the prisoner, who was bracketed by guards. "Stephen, you may answer these charges, keeping in mind the overwhelming weight of these men's testimony." Eitan sat uncomfortably with the line of witnesses, having already given his testimony to the hight priest. The other witnesses had shown no more conviction of truth in what they said than he had. Perhaps further investigation was needed before giving judgment. "Well, Stephen, are these things so?" The high priest spat the words as if he were made unclean simply by speaking to the man. Stephen stood, his piercing gaze slowly passing from face to face, causing the stares of many, including that of Eitan, to falter. When the boy dared look up again, he saw a sort of radiance emanating from Stephen's face. "Hear me brothers and fathers ..." With the assurance of a rabbi, Stephen began to perfectly recount the history of the people of Israel. Without omitting any of the rebellions and grumblings faithfully recorded in the Torah, he held the entire chamber rapt for the better part of an hour. Finally, he ended his history with this commentary, "You men who are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears are always rebelling against the Holy Spirit, just as your fathers did." The chamber rumbled with the assembly's angry muttering and hard stares. "Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute?" Stephen's passionate words shook Eitan with truth. His studies in preparation for his mitzvah tumbled into his mind, including many stories of persecuted prophets. "They killed the prophets who heralded the Righteous One's coming. The same One you betrayed and murdered, you who received the Law ordained by angels, and did not keep it." Stephen's words cut the crowd to the quick and they rushed forward to take hold of him. Eitan stood to avoid being run over, and was pushed ever closer to the condemned man until he was almost nose-to-nose with him. The boy saw Stephen's eyes staring beyond the chamber's ceiling, his face radiating with what must surely be God's reflected glory. Stephen's lips moved with one word, over and over, "Master, Master, Master ..." Then amidst the jostling and grabbing he said with a loud voice, "Look, I see the heavens parted, and the Son of Man standing at God's Right Hand!" The crowd plugged their ears and screamed curses at Stephen, and with one accord they seized him, shouldering the boy aside until he fell and was trampled by scores of sandals. As the crowd shoved and dragged Stephen outside the temple, Eitan struggled to his feet and limped after the mob. Once out of the city, and not even waiting until they reached the pit, nearly everyone picked up stones and began flinging them at Stephen, clouting him horribly on every part of his body. The boy approached a young Pharisee who guarded some of the priest's garments. Conscious of the boy's arrival, Saul spoke down to him, "Watch, and learn, Eitan son of Shomer, what happens to heretics and blasphemers." Eitan indeed watched, rapt with the violence of hundreds of stones and more hundreds of curses flying at the condemned man. Yet, when he thought the man should be dead, he heard a voice rise above the crowd. "Lord Yeshua, receive my spirit." Then the blood-thirsty crowd's din rose even higher as Eitan heard some saying, "He's down!" But Stephen's voice came through the crowd, more quietly this time, as if spoken for none other than the boy. "Lord, do not hold this sin against them." And Eitan knew Stephen's words had been uttered in his behalf. A sense of unspeakable loss engulfed him, and as if completely alone in the crowd, the boy began weeping. No one but God noticed. Between convulsive sobs, Eitan screamed, "What have I done? What have I done? Forgive me Stephen ... God ... Lord Yeshua. All he said ... it was true. It is all true ..."

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Ain't Broke? Don't Fix It!

Those of us who claim to be in Christ often find things in our lives that need fixing, and we set about working our magic--independent of God's council. Maybe a church fellowship doesn't feed her. Maybe a job doesn't stimulate him. Maybe her family deserves a nicer house or a better neighborhood. Maybe a marriage fails to satisfy him. Maybe after years of praying for God to fix ourselves, our families or our situations, He's remained mute and inactive. Time's running out! We're not getting any younger! It's time for action! Our prayer changes to, "God, I don't know what You want, so to save you the trouble--You're obviously too busy to fix it--I'm prepared to work on the problem." Then we piously add, "Open the doors that need opening, and close the doors that need closing." Next, we march into our own fix-it shop, grab the crowbar and sledge hammer, and get to work. Suddenly, God has answered our prayer by opening all the necessary doors to give us what we want. We can always clean up the wood splinters later. Days, months, years pass, and we wonder why God is so remote. The new church is hypocritical. The new job is frustrating. The new wife is a nag. How could God deal me such a hand? "It's time for a change, God, and if you're not paying attention to my needs, I will! "Now, where's that crowbar?"

Friday, December 16, 2005

A good read

I've been reading a kid's book that doesn't talk down to kids. In fact, it might be good for the reader to have a dictionary fairly close by. It's not filled with six-bit words for laughs, but it's a great way for young people to tweak their vocabularies. LANDON SNOW AND THE AUCTOR'S RIDDLE is a world-class fantasy by R. K. Mortenson. And the best thing about it is it points straight to God.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Narnia and Middle Earth

Robin Parish made an observation about the popular fantasy of Tolkein and Lewis that I hadn't considered before. Both authors wrote of other lands that don't conform to conventional reality. In the same way, the spiritual laws and truths of God don't conform to our customary concepts of reality. The weak are strong, the humble exalted, the poor rich, the invisible real, the unimpressive beautiful. In God's economy, all our worldly values are turned around. By worldly standards, Christians are evil, occultic monsters are fun, dishonesty is clever and infidelity is innovative. Praise God we don't have to enter such a magic land through an enchanted gateway as did the Pevensie children when they entered Narnia. All we have to do is enter God's kingdom through Jesus, the Door and the Way. Once someone from this natural world begins to appreciate God's laws, the natural no longer makes much sense.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Self-pity, the seductive sin.

... for whatsoever is not of faith is sin. (Romans 14:23b KJV) When I sulk or otherwise feel sorry for myself, I demonstrate that I don't trust God's work in my life--my reaction is without faith in His sovereign love for me. The simplest scriptural connection imaginable leads to Romans 14:23, and its conclusion is inescapable. Self-pity is ingratitude. Unthankfulness, the King James word for ingratitude, is listed prominently among the attitudinal sins of 2 Timothy 3:2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, ... Vs. 2 is part of a larger indictment of "church sin." Vss. 5-7 place these sinners within the church by inference: 2 Timothy 3:5-7 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. (6) For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, (7) Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. The nominally religious have a form of godliness, and we can find them in virtually every congregation, from the most liberal, main-line denominations to the non-denominational, evangelical congregations. "Creeping into houses" suggests drawing "silly women" aside from the recognized leadership. Women aren't the only ones who are easily drawn into illicit, splinter loyalties. This speaks of any partisan spirit within the church body. Vs. 7 speaks of "Bible-study junkies," who take great pride in their Bible knowledge, yet resist the Holy Spirit's conviction about their prideful attitude. Is there a more accepted sin within the church than self-pity? An accepted sin is the most lethal kind, because no one comes against it. The opposite of self-pity is contentment. 1 Timothy 6:6... but it is great gain--the piety with contentment ... Contentment is a principle of godliness, and the analog of gratitude.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Shod With The Good News of Peace

I have to thank Mark Knowles for his observations on God's armor. The foundation for all other armor is the footwear that protects the warrior's feet and gives him perfect stability for the quick, agile moves necessary for survival in battle. Praise God for His perfect footwear, custom tailored for me ... and you.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

The Best There Is

Graphic and literary art isn't necessarily more aesthetically beautiful than music is consonant. Art of any kind is nothing more than the artist's expression, whether of beauty or ugliness, substance or emptiness. Each art consumer should discriminate as carefully as consumers of any other commodity. Trouble is, most of us are indiscriminate in our choices of foods, amusements, status symbols and most anything else we buy. That failure to discriminate based on our needs, and the quality of those things pushed at us to meet them, includes the church--a painful indictment, considering we personally know The Best There Is.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

New Book recommendation

I just learned of a "new" author, meaning he's been writing most of his life but recently published his first novel. For years, Creston Mapes has written feature articles for both Christian and secular magazines, but finally his latent creativity drove him to try his hand at fiction. And what a hand he has. DARK STAR, a chapter of which I read on his web site, chronicles a heavy-metal rock star's decline into indiscriminate drugs, sex and the occult. Tell ya what, I'll let Creston explain the book in his own words. Everett Lester and his band, DeathStroke, ride the crest of a wave to superstardom. But the deeper they become immersed in fame, wealth, and power, the more likely they are to be swallowed alive by the drugs, alcohol, and discontentment that have become their only friends. Discontent and dabbling in the psychic realm, Everett is headed down a perilous road of no apparent return when he's charged with the murder of his personal psychic. The only hope he can cling to comes from Topeka, Kansas, and the letters written by a prayerful young lady who lives there. Consistent and persistent, the notes cut straight to Everett's empty heart, offering a fulfillment he's never grasped before. But what if he's found guilty of murder? Will he recognize the spiritual battle raging for his soul?

Thursday, October 13, 2005

The Birth of B. J. Daily

I awoke this morning at 4:30, ostensibly to void my bladder. By the time I expectantly stood before the concave throne my mind became unruly. Rediculous thoughts, amusing in their absurdity, played like brats before my consciousness. Crawling back into bed, I began feeling distraught. But a thought came to me. From God. "The Word will wash them away." A new comfort displaced my disquiet, and I snuggled in, joyfully took my Bible and opened it to Psalm 76 where I had been reading days ago when I laid it down. That fact likely explains a lot. By the time I read both Psalm 76 and 77 I felt another need to void. This time, my soul. Just after having become cozy-warm I threw back the covers, swung my legs over the side, stood and grabbed my jeans and robe. Maddy's collar jingled when I opened my door, but she didn't come to investigate. Down the two-step hallway to my right and through the door lay my dormant computer. A flick of the lamp switch for light, and a finger on the tower's power button brought my Gateway grudgingly to life. First, came the registry checker, one of those diminutive digital details that expects to be executed before work can be done. Then for KeyNote, the tricky little text editor that lends itself perfectly to daily journals and such. Maximize the window and confusion ensues. I've never actually used the little application. Investigation needs to be accomplished before work can be done. By 5:20 nothing remains before me but a blank window, welcoming, and not intimidating. Then without a worldly care, I began recording my early-morning miracle. God is indeed faithful, providing my needs because of His boundless love, and forgiving the unfruitful ravings of an undisciplined mind.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Paul's Aleged Errors

To my millions of faithful readers, I apologize for my weeks of absence from these hallowed, virtual pages. I guess that's about deep enough for one B.S. session, so what follows is something I found in scripture. Saul of Tarsus had his critics when he was alive, and he still has them. From feminists to fundamentalists, carpers pick apart his New Testament writings hoping to discredit them so their own pet doctrines will hold water. Most of his critics, however, are Christians who proclaim their belief in the balance of New Testament Scripture. "Saint" Peter, however, had his own conclusions about Paul's veracity: 2 Peter 3:15-16 (Analytical-Literal Translation) (15) And consider the patience of our Lord [to be] salvation, just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom having been given to him, wrote to you*, (16) as also in all his letters, speaking in them concerning these [things], in which are some [things] difficult to be understood, which the untaught and unstable twist [fig., distort] to their own destruction, as [they do] also the rest of [the] Scriptures. Obviously, Peter held Paul in high esteem as his brother in the faith, fully qualified to teach others, even to the point that his writings were to be considered Scripture. Where, then, does that place Paul's Christian critics? Perhaps out on a very fragile limb?

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Awareness Attack

In '97, when I experienced a heart attack, my doctor diagnosed my clinical depression and prescribed medication to help with the symptoms. After a few misses, we hit upon one that seemed to minimize the black cloud that perpetually darkened my world. Claiming to be a clinically depressed Christian seems like an oxymoron, but it is in fact a unique experience. God's unspeakable joy fuses with depression's unspeakable sorrow, producing a sweetened vinegar emotional state. The depression seems to intensify life's experiences, producing something akin to drama's joyful tragedy on one side, and tragic comedy on the other. A statement I heard a few years ago places all this in perspective: "God doesn't make junk." But He also doesn't make mistakes. God has allowed me to experience clinical depression, and the pharmaceutical remedy, for His perfect purpose. Perhaps He did it to give me a basis for empathizing with those who are depressed. Many pastors can't seem to relate to clinical depression because their vocation quickly kills or burns out those who suffer from it, leaving mostly those who see the world through rose-colored spectacles. Anyone trying to council the depressed without the personal experience of being depressed is more likely to exacerbate the problem with such sage council as, "Just get over it," or "Try a little thankfulness." Such advice is like pouring alcohol on a gaping wound. The best "advice" a counselor can give one who is clinically depressed is no advice at all. He can help far more simply by convincing the depressed individual that such feelings are not evil in themselves, but they are the enemy's flaming arrows, intended to penetrate our personal, spiritual and emotional armor. Once depressed Christians fully realize the folly of trying to shake off such attacks without the advantage of wearing God's armor, they can begin the healing process. The depressing, flaming arrows will continue coming, and with more intensity and frequency, but God's armor will protect the spirit and the will, enabling the one under attack to shrug them off and walk on to victory. Praise God for His Armorer!

Saturday, September 03, 2005

The Damnible Peeve

The peeve is a prickly beast, and to hold one as a pet can be uncomfortable or even hazardous. Still, at times one must gingerly hold it up for examination. Postmodern believers like to eschew formal, religious jargon as The Language of the Pious. To the user, jargon doesn't have to be understood, just admired. The difference between Christianese and other jargon-infused language is the eternal stakes. Colossians 4:5 enjoins us to use wisdom when dealing with outsiders. If by inflicting Christianese on the unchurched we throw a stumbling block in their way to the Lord, will we not be judged for our disobedience? Wouldn't it be awful to be judged for witnessing foolishly? How does the Father view street preachers who shout Christianese at their audience? Does He reward that pious preacher for the one in a hundred souls who repents and comes to Jesus? Or does He punish that zealot because of the other ninety-nine who perish because they become gospel hardened? We might have to take our responsibility more seriously if judgment were at stake.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005


Centuries of critics have accused God of unfairly judging His enemies after having hardened their hearts. Is God guilty-as-charged? God repeatedly hardened His Old Testament enemies' hearts and then judged them with annihilation. He hardened Pharaoh's heart so that self-proclaimed god would chase the Hebrews into the wilderness, and die in the process. God hardened Judas' heart so that he, in his greed, would betray Jesus, and end his own life. That sounds unfair for good reason: we know only half the story--the superficial, human half. What is hardening of the heart? Does it mean those whose hearts God has hardened have no free will? The inhabitants of the Promised Land worshiped gods to whom they attributed lust for sex and children's blood. The people happily "obeyed" the inert idols and practiced the most fowl forms of debauchery and human sacrifice. Their sensuous religion was a cancer that, if not excised, would infect God's people. Pharaoh was a proud man who enslaved an entire race of people for his fun and profit. He and his people also worshiped lustful gods, also practiced depraved religion. His lust for power, if not ended, would enslave not only the Jews, but any people weaker than Egypt. Judas was greedy, worshiping and lusting after money and power. His spirit of greed, if not quelled, would spread throughout the church. When he discovered that his betrayal would cost Jesus' life, his pride made him commit suicide to end his dishonor. God didn't make these people depraved idolaters or prideful profiteers. Their sin was their own choice. In hardening their hearts, God simply prevented their poison from spreading and allowed them to reap the harvest of their sin. Hardening their hearts kept them from becoming fearful and changing their minds for the wrong reason. Fear of God's punishment doesn't bring repentance. It brings rationalizations, excuses and attempted evasion of sin's consequences. Repentance comes from the reverential fear of God's holiness. Were those people whose hearts God hardened likely to repent of their evil and devote themselves to obeying God? No mere human could answer that question, but God knows each person's intentions perfectly. If He hadn't hardened their hearts God knew they would have continued in their rebellious, cruel lifestyles, plaguing His people until the end of time. God simply allowed their evil intentions to kill them, without escaping through caution or fear. As from the beginning, sin enslaves those who give themselves to it. God only hardens hearts that have already surrendered completely to depravity. Everyone who has sinned in any way has already sold themselves into bondage to the lowest bidder. That includes all of humanity because all have sinned. Jesus died and rose from the grave for one purpose: He was the price God paid to buy back our sinful lives. Only those who have accepted the opportunity Jesus bought for us, and turned away from their self interest and self gratification, have a choice of whether or not they will sin. Now we know the answer to the centuries-old question. God was NOT unfair in hardening His enemies' hearts--or in any dealings with His creation.

Friday, August 19, 2005

"Sometimes evil must be fought"

Robin Parrish of Infusemag.com presented a challenging question in his latest newsletter. While considering the statement, "Sometimes evil must be fought," for use in a novel, he pondered the apparent conflict between Yeshua's command to turn the other cheek and the Old Covenant battle cry, "The battle belongs to the LORD." Robin wrote, "We can't help but cheer for the hero who stands his ground before the wicked and fights the good fight ... There's something very noble-sounding about the good and decent people of the world standing up against the dastardly villains ... So if I were to stop an act of brutality against an innocent, it may not exactly be turning the other cheek, but it's hard to see such an action as a bad thing." Finally he asked, "So was Jesus sending mixed signals? Was he telling us to do good only when harming the wicked can be avoided?" Well, that got me to thinking. I love to watch the Yeshua of my imagination outraged by the religious leaders' presumption and verbally nailing them to the temple wall, or throwing the shysters out of the temple courtyard. He never attacked them personally, either with sarcasm or with physical violence, but he attacked their corruption. He never attacked them for his own sake, whether getting even for an insult or responding to a personal injustice. His mission was to redeem us from our slavery to sin, not to defend Himself. By observing His life and following His example we can avoid the apparent conundrums Robin's editorial presented. There is in fact no conflict at all, as I'm sure he believes. In the gospel accounts we saw Yeshua "turn the other cheek," and we saw Him attack the evildoers. While He refused to defend Himself, He defended the temple with His entire strength. It's not hard to see the consistency in His motives for both: all He did, He did for us, and never for Himself. Yeshua lived the ultimate example of a godly life through both grace and judgment. We can safely emulate His grace, but we must be cautious emulating His judgment. Yeshua had none of our false motives. He judged from righteousness. Could we ever claim the same basis for judgment? Knowing us better than we know ourselves, He told us not to judge others. Now let's see ... by my primitive math, 2 - 1 = 1. So if we're to follow Yeshua's example without violating His clear command, that one response we're allowed is grace.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Domestic Abuse: Sickness or Cure?

Horror stories abound, both involving people abusing other people of all sizes and vulnerabilities, and society's attempts at preventing it. Domestic abuse is as old as humanity and will continue until God pulls the plug. Child abuse is just one manifestation of the problem, but it is the most heart-breaking. Enter The Authorities. Government, with the best of intentions, undertakes remedies guided by all the best and brightest theoreticians academia can muster, locks their sparkling-new modalities in place with the power of administrative fiat, then institutionalizes their infallible solutions as if enacted by the Voice of God. Enforcement is another issue. Thousands of bureaucrats join the government dole, each one dedicated to their job security. Most of them believe to their very marrow that society will survive only when all parental rights are subjugated to their inerrant judgment. God help us all.

Sunday, August 14, 2005


Few authors can do justice to period romances. Most engage in maudlin sentimentality, trying to wrench tears from their readers as gracefully as a dentist yanking molers. In A BRIDE MOST BEGRUDGING, Deanne Gist pulls the heartstrings with humor and vividly drawn characters. The Christian Booksellers' Association ranked BRIDE number fifteen on its June bestsellers list, and Christian Book Distributers ranked it number one. If you enjoy a great romance once in a while, don't miss this one.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005


(Psalms 60:11) O give us help against the adversary, For deliverance by man is in vain. The Big Brother household members always react with outrage when their little alliances collapse; they seem genuinely amazed that a fellow contestant could betray them. Mutual reliance breeds teamwork, and combines individuals' strengths with synergistic efficiency to overcome unthinkable obstacles and achieve unimaginable results. Nevertheless, even the most ideal of partnerships hold plenty of potential for conflict and failure. King David of Israel frequently rediscovered the potential for friendships to sour and alliances to fail. He learned through bitter experience that God is the only friend who sticks closer than a brother, the only ally who would never turn against him. While God is the only perfectly reliable source of help, we still find it occasionally necessary to seek human assistance. When that happens, we can insulate ourselves somewhat against human betrayal by remaining constantly dependent upon God as our primary friend, ally and advisor. And if we maintain that relationship throughout all of life's trials, when someone inevitably fails us, though we may be hurt, we will not be devastated. Instead, we will recover quickly and proceed through life with hardly a hitch in our stride. If their alliances held that well, BIG BROTHER's viewer ratings would crash like the fool's gold dirigibles they are.

Type O

Blood keeps us alive by carrying oxygen and nutrition to all the cells of our bodies. But it also carries away those cells' waste products. It's our bodies' transport system. When, for any reason, we loose more blood than our bodies can quickly replace, we die ... if we don't get a transfusion. "That shouldn't be hard," one might answer, "everyone can spare some blood." Yes, but that's only half the truth. While everyone has extra blood they can give, most people's blood can kill anyone else because it's incompatible. The only blood type that is safely transfusable to anyone is type O, because it is universally compatible with other blood types. Suffering personal loss leaves holes in our lives, and more often than not we try to fill them in with stuff that feels familiar or comfortable. But like transfusing incompatible blood, filling the holes in our lives with incompatible content can kill us spiritually and even personally. Coincidentally, the one Person who can safely fill that gap in our lives calls Himself the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. He is the beginning of our faith and the end of our longing. Filling our lives with Jesus doesn't come naturally, or even easily. Only when our hearts crave His presence and we refuse any substitute will he come in and make us whole again.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

I'm Getting Seasick

In my youth I worked for the Navy Civil(Silly) Service in a job that had me ride a forty-foot, diesel work boat. Getting to our work station was kinda fun, pounding as we did through the swells off San Clemente Island. When we reached our work station, however, they throttled the diesel engines back to an idle so the pilot could hold her against the current. Very quickly the boat began pitching and rolling in a peculiar, dizzying fashion. If that had been all I had to tolerate, I would have had a bit of seasickness and been able to work through it. But it wasn't. Shortly after we hove to, the wind began coming over the transom, along with the most obnoxious, black diesel smoke. Of course there was no staying out of its way, since two exhaust ports came through the transom, spreading the smoke in a perfectly even pall over the whole boat. I must have been grayer than the diesel smoke, since the other workers just let me puke my guts over the side, rather than trying to make me hold my own on the team. But I've always had a hard time with motion sickness. Even now, if I try to read a map while riding shotgun, I turn various shades of green and quit having fun right away. One might reasonably wonder how this ties in with James 1:5-8. It's in the waves that the wind blows at will. While I believe better than this, when I pray I can't help feeling that if it were anyone else praying, the answer would already be in the wind. But because I am a man of wavering faith, the wind just blows me around like the waves. Part of my self-concept places me in that select group of people who can't expect answers to prayer, with the mass murderers and cereal rapists. Why do I believe that, despite Jesus' gracious love, I don't qualify for answers to my prayers? As I said, I know better, but I don't feel what I know. I'm always the first one to council others about not buying into emotion's shifting sands and blowing waves. I completely believe everything the Bible says about God, and what He did through Jesus. Yet, when it comes to myself that wonderful advice just doesn't seem to apply. I continually pray that God will pick up the challenge of my wavering faith and drive a spike through it, into Jesus' cross. But whether or not that ever happens I will still praise Him with all of my being, and serve Him as best I can.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Emergent? Postmodern?

There is a lot of buzz about the emergent, postmodern church. All the "cool" Christians identify with the ill-defined concept. The emerging church is composed of people who seem to say, "Out with the old program, in with the new." Every denomination was begun by such dissatisfied saints. They flowed out of the rock mountain as an "emerging" movement of red-hot, molten spirituality. Without exception, they cooled and became just another rigid layer of the institutional mountain. Can we break the cycle?

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Why Bother?

I often wonder why I can't seem to build enough cognitive momentum on my own to drag words out of my brain and plaster them on paper or computer monitor. Maybe I'll never have an answer, but for now I'll just enjoy the stimulation others provide. A case-in-point is Dave Long's Faith*in*Fiction blog. His discussion dealing with why people read migrated to questioning why people write. In quoting Shirley Brice Heath's analysis of readers' motivations, he suggested the possibility that literary readers tend to be social isolates, retreating into the depths of their characters' worlds in preference to their own. Those same "misfits" tend to become writers, both because of the mentoring they get from their reading and because writing is cathartic. They deal with life's baffling questions through their complex characters' varying points of view and eclectic choices. All that confusion and seeking produce some brilliant fiction. But what about Christian authors, whose cosmic conundrums are answered in the person of and through a relationship with the Eternal, Self-existent One. Now that's a mouthful, but it begs an interesting question: "Since Christians have answers to all the "whys" of the universe, what's left to write about other than telling others our answers?" And in doing so our work is in danger of becoming formulaic, or worse, didactic. So, what's a happy writer to do? For one thing, even happy writers struggle with blind spots and weak areas in their lives. And as wonderful as it is to know the Author and Finisher of our faith, those of us who are honest must admit to not being privy to all the strata of His motives. While those who live by faith aren't worried about God's perfect, unique way for them, denying that they have questions about it would be a boldfaced lie. It is those persistent, niggling questions that can best provide grist for the Christian's fiction mill.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Good Grief

Charlie Brown only wants to be understood. Is that asking too much? Trouble is, most of the people in his cartoon life just don't get him, and despite his frustration, his response doesn't get any rougher than, "Good Grief!" Everyone is misunderstood. Everyone experiences frustration from it. Grief happens when we are separated from something we believe is essential to our well-being. It might be a loved-one's death, a relationship's dissolution or the discovery of a deeply held belief's fallacy. Grief can cause a unique, excruciating pain that stabs to the depths of our souls, that can make us wonder if we will survive it, or if we want to survive it. Even such extreme grief can become good if we allow it to change our lives and make us emotionally, mentally and spiritually stronger. Maybe Charles Schultz never meant for us to analyze Charlie Brown's frustrated exclamation, but even the most unlikely subjects often yield deeper meanings when closely examined. "Good grief" suggests the best grief of all: the life-changing grief that occurs when God first opens our sin-blinded eyes for a glimpse of His holiness. At least four kinds of traumatic separation occur in that moment of divine revelation: first, our prized illusion of personal goodness dies. Second, the relationship with our world that we've built upon that illusion dies. Third, the deeply held belief that God loves us because we're not so bad dies. And once we accept those three deaths, our long list of prized excuses dies. Schultz's Charlie Brown always seemed aware of his imperfections. If he were real, I can just hear his exclamation when God made His infinite love known to the poor, bald-headed kid, "Good grief, it was there all the time."

Forgiving Solomon Long

Some people I respect raved about Chris Well's FORGIVING SOLOMON LONG. In response, I risked a few short minutes by reading the excerpt on his web site. It was good. I might have started such a book differently, but this was good ... good enough that I intend to read the book.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Chain of Command

Peter, the "stone" of Jesus' disciples, at times seemed as useful to his Master as a pebble in His sandal. Yet, the "stone" humbly subjected himself to his Master's discipline and learned to love his place among Christ's body. So well did the bombastic fisherman fall into line that Jesus inspired him to write letters to believers that became part of our guide for life. The man who denied Jesus three times at His point of greatest need became a chief officer in Jesus' chain of command. Leadership is both a high privilege and a grave responsibility. Has any one of us, in his most secret thoughts, not wondered how someone else was assigned some church office while we weren't even considered for the job? We wouldn't call it envy; far from it. But the thought was there. Before any of us consider him or herself qualified for some high-profile position, whether in the church, at work, or with the government, let us examine our performance in our existing sphere of influence. Every one of us, for example, has the responsibility to govern his own mind, to keep it focused on whatsoever things are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and of good report. If we can't control our own brains, how can take in charge of anyone else? Each of us has charge of our own eyes, to view only what is profitable for godly living. If we can't control our own eyes, well ... Each of us has charge of our own hands, to possess only what is rightly ours, working honestly for our daily bread. If we can't control our own hands, well ... Each of us has charge of our own feet, to follow the righteous path God has prepared for us. If we can't control our own feet, well ... Most of us rank-and-file Christians have no aspirations toward church leadership and cannot imagine ourselves in charge of anything. But the most lowly of us are already high up in a chain of command. God has commissioned us with the responsibility for controlling ourselves. Let us fulfill that most basic of commands before taking on broader responsibilities.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Every life is a story. Every story deserves to be told. Every told story conveys a message. Every message offers answers to life's conundrums, be they superficial, trivial and erroneous, or deep, profound and truthful. The story-teller's job is to distill a life's grist, or just a handful of that substance, into a powerful, flavorful, satisfying brew. Since not everyone can tell a story, those few who possess that gift hold a mandate to share their insights with a world thirsty for meaning. Jesus' Great Commission of Mark 16:15-18 imposed on his followers the obligation to proclaim His good news to all creation. Then He revealed the signs that would establish their authority. While Luke's gospel doesn't relate the same sermon, he gave a more general, implied commission: "And ye are the witnesses of these things." Each little Christ must therefore, as a sworn witness, spend his or her gifts toward testifying of God's good news. If those gifts happen to include sensitivity to the messages in peoples' lives, and translating those messages into compelling stories, then that little Christ is a "baker," chosen by God to supply His Bread of Life, in styles and flavors to meet each need, to a starving world.

Friday, July 08, 2005

What Happens?

What happens when God gives a young Catholic boy complete confidence in His word? What happens when that confidence rejects theologians' interpretations, traditional teachings or encyclical declarations? What happens when that kid becomes a man who tries to live for the catechistic God about whom he learned as a young Catholic? What happens is a huge, life-long growth opportunity, punctuated by periods of doubt, failure to fulfill his own religious expectations and panicky quests for spiritual experiences. What happens is God's loving hand reaching out to him in a dream wherein he experiences just a glimmer of God's love, but enough to finally apply that supernatural love to himself, personally. What happens is a life turned from low self-esteem to high God-esteem.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Yes, it's a spade ...

I received this as a forwarded e-mail and was skeptical.  But according to http://urbanlegends.about.com/library/bl_pastor_joe_wright.htm it's authentic.  You might find this plain-talk prayer interesting, even prophetic, since Pastor Wright delivered it before the Kansas State Senate in 1996.

Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask your forgiveness and seek your direction and guidance.

We know your Word says, "Woe to those who call evil good," but that's exactly what we've done.

We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and inverted our values.

We confess that we have ridiculed the absolute truth of your Word and called it moral pluralism.

We have worshipped other gods and called it multiculturalism.

We have endorsed perversion and called it an alternative lifestyle.

We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery.

We have neglected the needy and called it self-preservation.

We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare.

We have killed our unborn and called it choice.

We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable.

We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building esteem.

We have abused power and called it political savvy.

We have coveted our neighbors' possessions and called it ambition.

We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression.

We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment.

Search us O God and know our hearts today; try us and see if there be some wicked way in us; cleanse us from every sin and set us free.

Guide and bless these men and women who have been sent here by the people of Kansas, and who have been ordained by you, to govern this great state.

Grant them your wisdom to rule and may their decisions direct us to the center of your will. I ask it in the name of your son, the living savior, Jesus Christ.



"Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he isn't.
A sense of humor was provided to console him for what he is."
   --Horace Walpole

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Bottom Line

I've heard there are two things everybody has: First, is an opinion ... In fact, thinking people have opinions on nearly every conceivable subject. But many opinionated people lack a rationale for their opinions. Many, in fact, hold their unfounded opinions with the tenacity of conviction. Just try sharing your faith with a few people. Some will listen and then dismiss you with a weak statement to the effect that they have their own beliefs and don't need yours. Others will tell you to stuffit where the sun don't shine. Still others will suck you into philosophical debate. But a few will feel their beliefs threatened and become defensive, even offended. I guess that's why conventional wisdom tells us to avoid discussing politics and religion in social situations. Among such sensitive people we will find Christians who jealously grasp their sectarian beliefs with a kind of white-knuckled desperation. If someone challenges their beliefs, their defense is an emotion laden, raised voice rather than a carefully reasoned, systematic explanation. Since God knows His creation better than we know ourselves, He dealt with this issue through His apostle Peter. 1 Peter 3:13-17 teaches us to know why we hold our beliefs: Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God's will, than for doing evil. The last couple of sentences touch on the key to defending our faith: No matter what we say in defense of our faith in Christ, our attitude in saying it speaks louder than our words. A godly attitude characterized by meekness and love shows the fruit of our belief system which is, in fact, the fruit of God's Spirit. Jesus' apostle Paul sumarized the influence of godly love in 1 Corinthians 13: If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love Our critics may argue with our theology, but they can't argue with God's fruit in our lives. That is our faith's bottom line.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Hey Dad, What's This Father's Day Thing All About?

This might be yer day, dad, but don't ya ... ... work yer tail off fer the wife 'n kids more'n just once a year? ... fix stuff fer 'em more'n just once a year? ... Take out their garbage more'n just once a year? ... referee the kids more'n just once a year? ... discipline 'em more'n just once a year? ... patch 'em up when they're hure more'n just once a year? ... praise their efforts (and not only for the kids!) more'n just once a year? ... encourage 'em (mom too!) when they're down more'n just once a year? ... go ta bat fer 'em more'n just once a year? ... put 'em before yer personal gratification more'n just once a year? ... sacrifice yer toys fer their needs more'n just once a year? ... sacrifice yer ambitions b'cause ya love 'em more'n your own life every single day?
If ya don't, ya got no right callin' yerself FATHER! But if'n yer a father every day, EVERY DAY IS FATHER'S DAY. ENJOY IT!

Saturday, June 18, 2005

The Test

This is a test! It is only a test. For the next seventy-five years, give or take a couple of dozen, you will be gratified and irritated by every conceivable experience: some blessings and some trials. If you are in Christ Jesus you have already passed the final. The only way you can fail to graduate is by quitting. In school we feel like our teachers are trying to fail us with trick test questions. While some teachers may indeed be that sadistic, God is not. He desperately wants us to pass this test of life. He wants it so badly that he gave us all the answers ahead of time, and He doesn't even call it cheating. If we only study His Answer Book and apply its wisdom to our lives, no test will defeat us, and we'll pass this course with flying colors. And the graduation banquet will be out of this world!

Thursday, June 16, 2005

The American Dream

Bankers promise the American Dream if you borrow enough. Then, about the time collectors start snarling at your door, your bankers are enjoying their own American dream. My day job requires pitching the company credit card, promising "ten-percent off on approval." Then, the very first time you're late making a payment, the interest rate climbs and they slap you with a penalty. Their strategy is simple: Most people will space off a payment at some time. When they do, the card issuing bank recovers far more than any signup premium they allowed. You know that, and I know that. Why, then, do we have to keep playing our silly credit game? Because retailers are no longer satisfied with the legimate profit of merchandise markup. To compete, they must rip-off the gullible public with promises of "free lunch". But before we get all righteously indignant about the evils of capitalism, let's analyze where the foundational fault finally falls. Human nature demands the promise of a free lunch. We fallen beings are as discriminating as fish, always ready to grab the bait-covered hook. But rather than fighting the fishing line, we grouse and moan about the dirty trick while being reeled in to bankrputcy. How does that make the banks' stockholders any richer?

Monday, May 30, 2005

Real Life?

Who would characterize "the other six days" as real life, encapsulating Sunday and church as something other than real? One possibility would be those who devour celebrity gossip rags or pulp romance novels. But let's be balanced! Another possibility is those who live for spectator sports, or their "hunt'n trips" each fall. Neither of those are categories of anonymous faces. They are individuals who happen to be fans of their particular interest niches. But what about the people who constantly feed on popular music, spending mega-bucks on ear-piercing car stereos and mp3 players, and those who spend every waking moment trying to outwit computer games. All of these, and more, are individuals for whom church attendance might be a part of their lives--the religious part of their lives. Popular wisdom admonishes us to avoid extremism, especially with regard to things religious. When asked to explain what "religion" is, most would give some answer involving church, or some formal theistic belief system. Essentially, however, religion is a far more basic human need than these ritualistic exercises. To practice or observe something religiously is to give it far more than lip service. It is to accept that something as a major, if not the top, priority of life. It is to bend ones life in conformity to that something. And yes, it is to seek out kindred spirits with which to share that something. Any number of somethings meet those criteria, with "church" being only one example. Fraternal organizations, trade unions, political parties and academic societies are but a few other examples of somethings eliciting religious devotion. And their devotees never denigrate them as something other than "real life." Why, then, do so many churchgoers separate the religious part of their lives from the real part? What does that distinction reveal about their attitudes, their commitment? God knows, and will judge accordingly, no matter what profession of faith they utter. But are you willing to know, O vain man, that faith apart from works is dead? (James 2:20)

Friday, May 27, 2005

Jesus Knocking

Was Jesus' physical form really tall, dark and handsome? According to Isaiah 53:2b, He was remarkably unremarkable in appearance: "He has no form nor magnificence that we should see Him; nor form that we should desire Him."

By contrast, 2 Corinthians 11:14 says, "And did not Satan marvelously transform himself into an angel of light?" C. S. Lewis had it right: The most physically beautiful of Narnia's creatures was evil personified.

If I had the talent to paint such a picture, Jesus would appear as a ragamuffin, "for we walk by faith, not by sight." (2 Corinthians 5:7) Any graphic depiction of Jesus tends to limit our appreciation to what we see, rather than opening it to His full revelation. Perhaps the Old Testament law against making "graven images" was intended to circumvent just this human response.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005


A man I met the other day, who stopped for just a chat, Had nothing in his look or style to make me doff my hat.

But when he held me in his gaze, those eyes! oh yes those eyes Displayed a world of deepest love that took me by surprise.

And in them I saw agony, of scope I cannot fathom. Pain there was in cosmic scale from voluntary passion.

How could he have smiled such a smile of joy contagious, A smile of perfect openness that, from man, seemed outrageous.

I tried to ask him who he was, the words stuck in my throat. His whole face beamed with glory bright, and laughter without gloat.

He turned as if to go his way but I said, “Sir, please wait.” He turned his head to take me in, and said, “Can you set bait?”

He saw my puzzled face gaze back, and then he smiled again. “A fisherman are you my friend, come, and you’ll fish men.”

This man of love and pain and joy, whose smile intoxicated; Could it be this was for me the work I’d long awaited?

“Sir, I need more time, you see, my family’s still living.” His fading smile broke my heart, for mean excuses giving.

“You must want to turn away from human loyalties’ binding, For your future lies with me, and sinners we’ll be finding.”

What could I say to this man who would love me to the death? I said, “Yes, Lord, I’ll follow you, fishing men till my last breath.”

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

More Than a Dream

      There's no dentist's office on the north west side of Kalispell. That in itself should have tipped me off that I was dreaming. Dreams aren't often realistic in every objective detail, but at times they reflect a reality of a far different kind.
      My dream dentist's office was in a massive, four story, cubical building. On en­ter­ing I faced a large, open area, like an arboretum, with flowers, trees and fountains. The professional offices were arranged along balconies that ran around three sides of the building. The fourth, northern side, was glass.
      I climbed the stairs to my dentist's waiting area, found a very comfortable easy chair, and sat down to read while awaiting my turn. This was an unusual waiting room, not only because of the comfortable chair, but also because a glass partition split it into an enclosed inner area, in which I sat, and an open outer area.
      My boring magazine allowed my eyes to wander, and I noticed a young man who was seated on a bed in the outer part of the room. He was neatly dressed in a dark suit, reading a large, gold edged book that I took to be a Bible. (My dreaming mind never thought to wonder why a bed was part of the waiting room furniture.)
      I concluded he was a fellow Christian, so I heaved myself out of the easy chair to walk over and introduce myself. "Do you mind if I join you?"
      "Please, sit down," the young man welcomed me.
      As we exchanged pleasantries I noticed the title on the cover of his book. It told me volumes about his religious affiliation. "I see you're reading from the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures," I ventured, "are you a Jehovah's Witness?"
      "Why yes." He seemed mildly surprised. "Do you know about the Witnesses?"
      "I know a little about your Bible translation, and that God can use any translation of His Word to work his will our lives."
      My memory of the rest of our dialogue is vague. Knowing I was a Christian, the young man began trying to challenge my beliefs by asking a few of Brooklyn's copyrighted, tough questions. I responded by sharing what my Father had been doing in my life, and how my relationship with Him had changed me. I told him of God's love, how much it meant to me, and how it inspired me to love not only God, my family and friends, but others as well.
      At some point in the conversation I awoke. It would have been only an interesting dream, if not for its aftereffect on me. I was immediately grabbed by my vivid memory of the dream and my lingering feeling of the love for the young man. It was a love beyond friendship, or even kinship. It was a love I've never felt for anyone except my own children, but it wasn't simply a father's love. It was the kind of love or concern I might feel if I thought one of my own children was at risk.
      As I lay awake wondering about the significance of the dream, it struck me: God had allowed me to experience an infinitesimal part of the love he demonstrated by sending his Son to save me. Sure, I had long given intellectual assent to His love, but I couldn't understand how it could cause Him to subject His one and only Son to such a disgraceful death, just so I could live with Him forever. Then I realized that Jesus, being the divine Son of God, was the only one who could survive the judgment that would have caused me to be separated from Him for eternity. His love provided my only way to receive forgiveness of my sin.
      Because of that God-given dream, I now know the truth. He loves me, not because it's in His best interests, not because it's in His job description, and not even because He has to as part of his nature. God loves me simply because He WANTS to. He loves me, PERSONALLY! He is genuinely fond of me. He enjoys my company when I go to Him in prayer, and He loves to hear the praises pour out of my love for Him.
      That truth has transformed my life's attitude from grudging acceptance of circumstances to heartfelt thanks for everything that comes my way. I now know that my loving Father allows the trials in my life only because they will ultimately benefit me. Like a loving parent who allows his or her children to suffer the minor consequences of their stubborn, disobedient behavior, God allows me to suffer, but He hates my pain almost as much as He hates the sin that caused it.
      God's love, which now means so much more to me, is for anyone who is willing to accept it. My response to His loving sacrifice was to reach out to him, to accept the gift of His only Son Jesus. His gift is life more abundant here on Earth than I ever thought possible. But that is less than a snowflake on the tip of the iceberg of eternity. Jesus submitted to the horrible death on the cross to exchange His holiness for my/our sin, earning for me/us the perfect holiness required to spend eternity with our loving Father God in heaven.
      That sounds almost too simple, like a four year old's Sunday school lesson. But God purposely made it simple so we spiritual morons could respond to Him.
      It's as simple and profound as this: The Bible says you have only two choices once you realize you have no goodness of your own to offer our perfectly holy God. You can accept Jesus' gift of His own divine holiness, or you can continue in your own way and suffer the consequences now, and for eternity.

Either way, that too will be more than a dream.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Divine Singularity

Speculating about God's nature is as useful as wings on a buffalo--get it? Buffalo wings? Such theorizing may taste great and seem satisfying, but in the end it just causes spiritual heartburn. Anyway, He's got to get a belly-laugh of infinite scale at all our edjumicated guesses about His nature. Rather than using His word, the Bible, as our foundational rock, we intellectual worms turn it into a trampoline from which we bounce to ever higher reaches of idiocy. A few years ago, some smart guys took their SciFi technological projections seriously and began calling themselves Futurists. They looked at the accelerating rate at which technology was advancing, did some calculations, and concluded that it was heading upward at an exponential rate. Well, anyone who's tried graphing an exponential curve realizes that a very short x-axis(timeline) produces a humungous y-axis(technology advance). In fact, with an open timeline, which we all hope to see for a while at least, the technology-curve quickly reaches a near-vertical climb. The "exponential" part means that for each specified unit of time, the curve rises by whatever "power" the math dictates. That means the curve gets closer to vertical with each tick of the clock. It doesn't take an Einstein to realize if that were true, the technological "explosion" would end civilization as we know it. They call the moment at which artificial intelligence surpasses human intelligence(SEED AI), the genesis of Technological Singularity, where technical advance becomes infinite.. If we take a hard look at recorded history, we'll see a cyclical pattern of advancement and decline, both technological and social. For each peak there's a resulting valley, and each cycle gains in amplitude. By itself, that cyclical amplification would seem to support the idea of the Technological Singularity. But clever beings that we are, we readjust our perceptive baseline with each cycle so the remarkable becomes mundane. All this speculation is our attempt at accounting for what we see. The idea of The Singularity scares materialists because they can't wrap their minds around it. The infinite--the eternal--is outside our finite and temporal frame of reference. But if The Singularity might exist in the cosmic, "over there," why couldn't an infinite, eternal Intelligence exist in the pre-material, "back there?" The concept of Divine Singularity isn't original. In fact, it's been popular among mystics of various stripes since cavemen first began contemplating their navels. It's been popular because mankind has always resisted the personal being who revealed Himself as I AM THAT I AM. The Spirit-Person called God occupies the known universe and beyond. He always has and He always will. Time and matter comprise only an instantaneous speck for the eternal, infinite I AM. The most fundamental physical laws say for every effect there must be a cause, and for every beginning there must be an ending. And when the material universe ends, all science, all philosophizing, all excuses will end with it. Everyone but the occasional incompromising naturalist admits a sense of something existing outside the material. Most of us know, though we don't know how, that when our bodies cease to exist, something of us will be left behind. That something is the human spirit God breathed into us, and when our corruptible bodies leave us, where will our spirits reside? We can know the answer, and receive the supernatural peace that knowledge can give. Whether we call the I AM God, or the Divine Singularity, we will most certainly answer to Him.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

And Days of Auld Lang Syne

As an Evangelical Christian, I shudder at being identified with the Roman church. And I think that reaction would be common with most Evangelicals. Yet, don't we cling tenaciously to the verses of Romans' chapter seven? This passage, at first glance, seems to excuse our wandering ways as being "sin living in me." So whenever we fall--or jump--into sin, we join The Church of What's Happening Now so we can paraphrase Flip Wilson's Geraldine by saying, "The Sin Within made me do it." Well, aren't we the nostalgic ones! We lounge comfortably on the Rock of our salvation, gazing fondly at the sin we cherished in the days of auld lang syne. We were so happy then, in our ignorance and depravity. But now we're upstanding saints of God, gazing at the memories of, longing for the sensual gratification of, the carefree days of old long ago. How much wallowing in nostalgia for the old life does it take for us to resurrect the Old Man of sin? Most of us could easily answer that question from our own experience. Yet, which one of us consistently shuns the things of our sinful past in order to faithfully walk in our new way? We flirt with the movies, the music, the literature, the substances that were part of that life, assuming our strength in Christ accounts for it, presuming that our liberty in Christ allows for it. And so it may. We must, however, ask ourselves one question as we enjoy our liberty in Christ Jesus: Are we giving Him who gave His all for us, less than our best in return? Different schools of Christian theology argue whether or not careless living will cost us our eternal salvation. But, what does that issue have to do with how we live our Earthly lives? The answer is, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! If we can't manage to live for Jesus in these few years we have left in the flesh, how can we expect to live for Him for eternity?

Friday, May 06, 2005

This Little Light of MINE

Julie Anne Fidler reminisced about her fandom and acquaintance with Amy Grant back in the last century in article worth reading. I too remember Amy, from her early days as an up-and-coming kid performer, to her Christian/secular crossover, and finally to the "Christian" media blackout days. Then, and now, I stand in awe, not at the rare, Christ-like grace of Popular Christianity, but at the evangelical church's phobia over maintaining an E.C.(Evangelically Correct) appearance. If we didn't pretend to be perfect, maybe the lost could see Jesus' light through us, rather than all the artificial light we feel obliged to radiate. Is it any wonder we're branded hypocrites when we fall face-first into sin? Christ haters don't have to slander us to discredit us. We do a perfectly creditable job of supplying them with more ammunition than they can ever use. I'm afraid Yeshua's way has become just another religion, rather than inspiring religious zeal for following Him and finishing the job of turning the world upside down.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Spiral or Circle?

When we say we're spiraling we usually mean we're falling out of control. Like an airplane that's become unstable, only with deft flight control manipulation will the pilot correct the plummeting spiral to keep his ship and himself from augering into the earth. Circling, on the other hand, is a carefully controlled maneuver. Usually reserved for maintaining position, the pilot holds the circle's center directly above his destination. In which situation is the pilot working productively? In which situation is the pilot thrashing the controls uselessly? In which situation will knowledge of and acquiescence to the laws of physics save the pilot's physical life? Physical life, and the physical laws we must obey to preserve it, seem important. But most of us innately sense another realm of life, one for which this temporal life is nothing more than a preface. We have the sense of something else, something more enduring, something that makes this life of clocks and calendars seem as significant as a swirl of dust blown over the edge of the Grand Canyon. Through Psalm 95, the God Who Is gives us a sense of that eternal scope and the awe-full reverence with which we must approach it. He has reserved His rest, His eternal Sabbath, for those few who look beyond the swirl of dust to the Savior who bought us with His blood. He revealed the eternal, spiritual law by which we might pull out of our spiral unto death, to circle Him, praising for eternity.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

The Catholic Treasure Chest

Click on that link at your own risk. Obviously, since I included the link I must see some value in it. The site's author is a genius at Catholic apologetics, making the arguments for Catholic dogma seem compelling when they are, in fact, tentative at best. He cites history as one of the best sources of affirmation for the Roman sect, while it is its greatest indictment. We humans love a mystery. Why, then, should we be amazed at our attraction to mystical religion? And what more reason could we have for mystifying God's truths? I'm not saying that God should conform to our brand of reason so we will understand Him. He doesn't owe us that, or anything else. I'm saying we must accept His works--including the spiritual and physical laws He's established--without complicating them with our own speculations. Jesus called the little children to Himself, and inasmuch as our faith is childlike, that call includes us. Our confusion of childlikeness and childishness is both natural and tragic. Because they are exact opposites and coexist within every human being, they form the great dichotomy of human nature.

Friday, April 08, 2005


Bigger is better when you're writing commercial fiction. You have an idea. You have a worldview. Your idea reflects your worldview, so why not make your idea as big as your worldview? I have an opportunity to break the cycle of mediocrity that has held me captive, to embark on a journey that could dramatically change my life and my sphere of influence. That opportunity presents a choice: Will rise to the challenge? Or will I remain in my mediocre comfort zone? If I possess even the smallest spark of greatness, I know what the answer must be. But in that sentence, I placed the if at the wrong clause. It should read: If I choose the right answer, my nearly dormant spark of greatness will set me aflame. I know what the answer must be. Father, make me great in revealing Your greatness.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Death of and Icon

The worldwide pro-family movement suffers a devastating loss with the death of the Roman Pontiff, John Paul II. The morally conservative leader allowed no confusion about his stand on politically hot issues such as abortion, "free love," abstinence as the only effective means for controlling STDs and unplanned pregnancy, and many others. He was a true follower of Jesus, loving, and devoting his life to his Savior. John Paul II never seemed to worry about ruffling liberal political leaders' feathers, refusing to back down from his Biblical positions when faced with political and popular pressure. Religious and national leaders around the world praise his strength of conviction and moderating influence in world affairs. I've heard the Roman church may be pushing for a more "conciliatory" pope this time. If so, that would be exactly the wrong move in the currently shrinking, volatile global environment. With international, religious terrorism on one side, and media-driven, moral degeneration on the other, we need a potent moderating influence such as his now, more than ever.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Love Prayer

And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins. (1 Peter 4:8) It's hard to establish a priority higher than "above all things." Yet, God's Holy Spirit moved His Rock to set that priority on the hardest thing for us flawed humans to give. For years I've known to ask God's intervention in my life so I might love others perfectly, as He does. Yet, honoring Him with my obedience has always been a problem. Recently He showed me that loving others perfectly, as He does, requires that I love Him perfectly. But such love is beyond me. One consistency throughout my flawed, human experience is God's faithfulness in granting my requests to love others beyond my personal ability. It works! When I pray for love to give, it's there. But I still had trouble loving God enough to obey Him in all things. What frustration! But the answer to my quandary was right in front of me all along. If God grants my petitions for greater "horizontal" love, wouldn't He happily give me greater love for Himself when I request it? He would, and He does! Now my responsibility is just to keep bugging Him about it with consistent prayer. This is the hugest "DUH" in the world, a total no-brainer. Then why is it so hard to do? My flesh fights my prayer life, as one would expect. Now, God is gracious and forgiving, isn't He? He, more than anyone, understands our human weaknesses, doesn't He? Surely He doesn't expect us to toe the holiness line, does He? Aren't those thoughts comforting, though? Unfortunately for the rationalist in me, His word expressly tells us to be holy as He is holy. So that inner conflict,so typical of us flawed humans, in no way diminishes my responsibility to walk in the light He has provided. In view of His righteous command, my response must be, "Enough B.S. excuses! Just do it!" And by His grace, I will.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Tempest in a Washbowl

Biologists teach the idea that Homo Sapiens evolved it's characteristic, prehensile thumbs so it could grasp things, like the shanks of clubs, for the purpose of bashing neighboring possessors of less flexible digits and inferior brains. Thus, through the law of Survival of the Fittest, it became the dominant primate on Earth. But any critical thinker knows that doctrine is untrue. Homo Sapiens--or humanity, for the uninitiated--evolved its prehensile thumbs in order to more ably point the condemning index finger at the hapless victims of its withering accusations. And humanity's unique faculty of speech? Why, its highest purpose is obviously castigating those at whom the index finger unerringly points. Many ignorant commentators assert the dubious belief that Man is the religious animal because he is unique in his pursuit of the Supreme Being and an afterlife. Of course, while man is obviously the religious animal, his reason for being so must conform to the above stated evolutionary law. Thus: Man is the religious animal because his prehensile thumb-enabled index finger and his faculty of speech enable his religious mandate of verbally raping other faiths. Ralph Waldo Emerson's relationship with the Unitarian church is a case-in-point. Emerson, the humanist's humanist, as well as a Unitarian clergyman, threw a verbal rock into that denomination's ecclesiastical hornets nest when he delivered his "Harvard Divinity School Address." In it, he derided the traditional Christian teachings of Jesus' divinity and his miracles. Why, the more "conservative" Unitarians were outraged, and for two years engaged Emerson in a battle of religious mud-slinging. The Unitarians, who were liberal in comparison to the Evangelical church, found themselves in the unenviable position of defending Christian teachings in which they, themselves, held little confidence. Of course, everyone knows the post script of this story. After all that bickering about doctrine, the Unitarian church's teaching evolved to exactly the sort of thing Emerson was castigated for proclaiming. All this proves one thing: Religion, when practiced for its own sake, is vain. It serves little use but to provide small men a venue for exercising what petty power they can usurp from other small men. It also, by rashly claiming to speak for God, dashes sinners hopes for finding forgiveness, discourages them with useless rules and disillusions them with the hypocrisy of thinly rationalized, ungodly behavior. The problem with such a broad indictment of worldly religion is every religion accuses every other religion of ungodliness. So how can one sort it all out? The answer involves hard work, but since it leads to God, the process is worth the effort. The seeker must first devote himself to defining, understanding and cleansing his motives, clearly understanding the true "why" before the "how" of discovering God. He must realize that spiritual principles consistently counter worldly principles, and judge the worldly by the spiritual rather than the more natural opposite. He must open his eyes to the historical context of each religion he studies and the fruit it has born. But he must also recognize that studying a religion's proclaimed history and teachings leads only to a superficial knowledge of its public image. And every human religion tries to project the most positive image it can get away with. God, however, is not in the religion business. He has nothing to hide behind history's short memory. That fact narrows the search, as God's way has no arcane, "inner" doctrines, secret orders or privileged knowledge. He only requires that the seeker humbly go directly to the Source, fall on his face and pray for reconciliation to Himself. Such a prayer is the only one a sinner can expect to be answered.

Monday, March 07, 2005

An Unavoidable Comparison

On Orwell's ANIMAL FARM, the pigs were a little more equal than the other animals. With SB 199 and other measures, civil rights elitists of Montana's Animal Farm are pushing to establish another minority's preferential treatment under law. It seems hate crimes, as reprehensible as they are, become even more heinous when directed against members of that minority. That being the case, we must assume that an actual weakness or disability justifies such privileged legal protection ... perhaps something on the order of, dare I say it, limp wrists? Of course all sensitive, open minded readers have by now summarily pronounced judgment on my offensive, "homophobic" rant. As their righteous judgment is final, I may as well accept my sentence and join the white supremacists on that putrid, dung heap of hate. Perhaps, however, they will hold off their mortal shower of stones until they decide which of their number is innocent of stereotyping and otherwise making light of those with whom they disagree. But before my execution, I wish to claim my right to a last wish, if not a last meal of barbecued pork. I wish that both sides of the legislative aisle would, rather than constantly bashing the opposition for stonewalling based on political and ideological bias, open their eyes and confess their own sin of arbitrary stubbornness. Then, with the soul-cleansing complete, perhaps they would actually try listening to and understanding "those people." Stranger things have happened--or not.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Primitive Pete's Life Lessons

My favorite time in eighth-grade wood shop was watching the educational films--the best of which was The ABC of Hand Tools, starring the inimitable, Primitive Pete. That young fella couldn't understand why everything he did in his shop went wrong, because he did everything right. No one could convince him otherwise. Pete's specialty was multipurpose tools, which included all tools. His favorite was the claw hammer. It was designed to work with screwdrivers, files or virtually any other tool. In fact, claw hammers would do anything but drive nails. For that he used a monkey wrench. Primitive Pete has millions of kindred spirits in today's culture. For instance, there's Primitive Pia, whose definition of physical attractiveness includes a deep, tawny skin tone. The obvious best choice for that outcome is the infrared tanning bed, or in mid-summer, the sun. Skin cancer? That's for wimps and old folks. If you were to tell her that regular tanning multiplies her likelihood of getting melanoma, she'd just look at you vacantly, check her cell phone and run off for her next tanning appointment. Does she know that melanoma is one of the hardest cancers to eradicate? Does she know that melanoma has to be cut out of the flesh, leaving massive scars in her toasted skin? Poor, prematurely aged Primitive Pia won't find that one bit attractive. Then there's Primitive Perry, whose hormones force him to pursue sexual contact with anything that breathes. Hugh Hefner is his idle, and the Playboy bunny is his icon. Multiple partners are cool, 'cause variety is the spice of life. But Perry doesn't notice that the more he indulges his hormones, the less control he has over his life. He becomes as two-dimenstional and shallow as the porn he's addicted to, and each "conquest" gives him less satisfaction. Ultimate frustration awaits poor, emotionally repressed Primitive Perry, driven by his drive to avoid it. Primitive Pricilla's singular passion is to look like Hollywood's skeletal starlets who grace gossip magazines' covers. If she can't reach that ideal, she believes she will surely die. Trouble is, no matter how hard she exercises and diets, no matter how thin she gets, she always sees thirty pounds of fat flabbing back at her from the mirror. And though she believes she will die if she doesn't reach her ideal look, poor, emaciated Primitive Pricilla will most surely die if she keeps trying. Primitive Preston simply must reach the crest of corporate success. That materialistic mania consumes his every waking moment--every dream. Hard work, endless hours and cut corners are the rule of his life. Relationships? No time for that. Family? It can wait. What won't wait is the heart attack lurking in poor, rich, powerful Primitive Preston's not-so-distant future. Success is a fickle lover. Primitive Pieper won't feel complete without a dominant male in her life. The more dominant the better. His belittlement and beatings aren't fun, but she loves him, and he always says he's sorry. If she gives him a chance he's bound to change. Hopefully it will happen before he completely looses control, and as so many women have done before her, poor, battered, unworthy Primitive Pieper dies at her lover's hand. Perhaps the most pitiful of all is Primitive Porfirieo, who recognizes his spiritual component and spends his life pursuing spiritual fulfillment. Porfirieo intimately knows all of history's philosophers, enlightened ones and holy men, having studied each exhaustively. He's frustrated, though, because none of them have it quite right. To remedy their individual philosophies' shortcomings, Porfirieo creates his own enlightenment based on the best of all the others. He may even manage to attract a few disciples ... and their money, but he always remains "teachable," open to the best of what's new in spiritual enlightenment. Porfirieo loves Jesus, Mohammad, Buddha, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and even Yogi Bear. But following just one of them because He said He was the only way to the Father is out of the question. Porfirieo knows it can't be that easy. You have to figure it all out and come to an enlightened state of existence by your own works. Poor prideful, Primitive Porfirieo. God hasn't a chance against his personal wisdom.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

60 Minutes II comment

"Geepers?" Gimme a break. Steve Hartman's "pushing the limits of indecency" pushed the limits of credibility. Yes, I understand all journalists' revulsion toward censorship. The cure is, in fact, far worse than the disease. Our societal mores, however, are fast auguring in to the Pop Culture cesspool, a putrefying latrine that our entertainment media fills daily. And we, the people, are so used to the stench that it seems perfectly normal.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Idiots Savant

Before you click on the link in this post, I must offer a disclaimer: PLIM.org proclaims some ... shall we say ... unique doctrine relating to a special, "divine revelation," supposedly received by a Dr. H. C. Kinley back in the 80s. The problem is some of it sounds reasonable. But remember this: All convincing lies wear the cloak of truth. An article by Lee Warren, of PLIM.org treated the subject of "idiots savant" in a fascinating way, but ignored one possible explanation as to where they get the knowledge that enables their narrow-but-deep range of ability. I've observed developmentally disabled people trying to grasp information and concepts. While learning is as complex as any other human ability, some aspects seem fairly consistent across the board. One is what I might call "the light bulb factor": given enough information, the cognitive light bulb blinks on. Compared to a genius, I'm a decidedly dim bulb, and idiots are about that dim when compared to me. When I see or otherwise sense something, my neural, sensory-receptor system converts the stimulus to electrochemical patterns. My brain automatically tries to match those patterns with others already residing in memory. If no match occurs, I experience confusion and disorientation. When even an approximate match occurs, my mind drags all the related data out of hiding for comparison with the new information. Those comparisons are then stored for future comparisons, and so on. Sensory input, however, isn't the only source of neural stimulation. The mind also creates a cognitive database, corresponding to the sensory one, of conceptual interpretations of outside thoughts, ideas and concepts that run parallel with sensory stimulation analyses. What we call creative thought is simply oblique sequences of relational database hits, processed to become "new" ideas. In fact, nothing is really new, but simply fresh interactions of old information, rather like a cow chewing her cud. Everything we sense or think contributes to that bi-polar, relational database. In some people, however, the process of analyzing what they sense is skewed. Due to an organic inability to correctly assign stimuli to the corresponding faculties, the broad range of sensory information is processed in terms of the one receptive faculty, giving the affected person the appearance of genius in that one area. Most of us have looked through color filtering material to see that filtering effect in action. A red filter makes all red objects in the field of view look white, due to our visual cortex automatically adjusting to the filter's overall color cast. The red-tinted picture with the white stop sign seems perfectly normal. That is analogous to the skewed perceptions mentioned above. Because its only frame of reference is itself, the perceptually-challenged mind seems, to itself, perfectly normal. The idiot savant is an extreme example of the "normal" skewing within each mind's conceptual structure. We all have "blind spots" in our thought process, just as we have blind spots in our visual field. Our marvelous brains, the creation of our infinitely MORE marvelous Savior, accommodate to missing or skewed information so they can continue functioning with minimal disruption. Part of the social adjustment process called maturing is realizing that we have such blind spots in our frames of reference. And once we reach that realization, we must seek a source of objective, unskewed information--or maybe I should say, the only Source of objective Truth: the self-existent, eternal One.