Thursday, December 31, 2015

The year closes...

My year...52 Saturdays. .

I once said "my life is a testimony to the truth that God is good, and that the best is yet to come." I once again believe and am persuaded of that.

This year has seen one job change, one move, one layoff.

I survived two of the greater self-inflicted adversities of my life, sadder but wiser, and blessed to have learned my painful lessons so cheaply.

(This time between jobs is merely a lesser adversity.)

I have hope in a good God who has good things for me, and makes all things work together for good.
I am relearning faith...learning to trust God while desperately wanting to get my theology right, neither casting the Almighty as my personal genie nor "a God who didn't care / That lived away out there"
I love and know I am loved. As I heard on the radio dozens of times growing up...
You are loved with an everlasting love. That is what the Bible says, and underneath are the everlasting arms.

By His arm, by His Word, by the friends He has put into my life...I am persuaded that God cares for me.

Happy new year, friends.

Saturday, October 31, 2015


tl;dr Tired of emphasis on end times, tired of trying to sort wheat from chaff re end times, and I think I'm overreacting.


I concede that my view of the end times and current events is probably different than many of my fellow church members. And honestly, I may be the only one in this church who feels as I do.

God, in His own time and in His own way, will bring the world to its appropriate end. According to His promise, Jesus Christ will return personally and visibly in glory to the earth; the dead will be raised; and Christ will judge all men in righteousness. (Baptist Statement of Faith 2000)

This I believe. Have plenty of Scripture to back this up, and I'm rather convinced that at least with this much I am in full agreement with most of the body of Christ.

Like I say, we agree on the last page, not too sure whether we agree on the last chapter. The myriad of signs and symbols in Daniel and Revelation, from the 70 weeks, to the whore of Babylon, to the mark of the beast, to whether there is a separate rapture, to whether the book of Revelation prophesies a one world gov't, to the timing and nature of the Tribulation... These are things that I believe Christians can disagree on without saying that they've denied the faith.

But as I hear the prevailing talking heads discussing current events, prophecies which they believe are yet to be fulfilled, and how it fits into the end times... There are times I disagree.


In regards to the emphasis and the interpretation of end times and current events... I don't understand exactly why I get so bent out of shape about it.

Maybe it's pride. I think I'm right, I think they're wrong, and if they're right, that means I was wrong, I'm not the smartest, and I need to rethink my eschatology.

But I'm also worried about (in my estimation) continued cases of Christian prophet wanna be's making bold statements that don't come to pass and bringing unnecessary reproach on the church and the name of Christ. I knew you've heard of apocalyptic cults and their overreaction to the preacher's interpretation.

But if they're right...then it proves that I have neither the state of mind nor the openness of spirit to properly interpret Scripture, prophecy, and current events.

It's not a fear of their version of "Left Behind". It's a fear that I've got no clue.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Thoughts about Americans and guns

This one isn't the neatest, but I just have a lot of thoughts about this subject. I can't do the research that I would like to do to isolate the variable solve the equation to solve the world's problems with my mad mathematics skills. But I'm just tired of Facebook messaging relatives in the same state as a mass shooting.  (Over a hundred miles away, need to brush up on my geography)
I am bothered by not only the phenomenon of mass shootings, but the fact that in regards to violence, mass shootings are a minority of the crime, a minority of the victims, and yet these idiots who have obtained there 15 minutes of fame by shedding much blood in a short time, have skewed the conversation about violence in our country.
In general, the NRA voters treat the multitude of privately owned guns as a vaccine against tyranny and crime. But although we are willing to entertain conspiracy theory and bad statistics about physical vaccines (MMR HPV etc), the NRA voters consider the gun sacrosanct, and arm to be pushing against Perhaps my friend is right, In Guns We Trust.

If guns are the vaccine against tyranny, I feel it be appropriate to question whether the vaccine is doing any good, the way you hear innumerable complaints about government over reach. And I think it is fair to ask whether the near universal availability of guns in our country is fueling an increase in crime or a decrease in crime. Start with the statistics of more guns than people in this country, include the decrease in the crime rate in the last 20 years, and go draft Nate Silver and his stat heads.

Our nation is an outlier when you compare the per capita income and the homicide rate. Countries that are as rich as us have lower homicide rates...
Is it the poor parts of our country, is it the disintegration of families and morals, is it the...
Or, the other question, to what extent does the near universal access to firearms increase the success rate of suicide?

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Pedestal / letter to a role model

Damn you.
I thought you had it all together. I envied you. I wanted to be you. Even though we weren't in the same generation, I wanted to be like you when I grew up. You had it all, respect, family, the toys, the position in the church, you were a rockstar.
And you let it go. You traded it in. And everyone knows why. Some people saw it coming. I  didn't. I couldn't even imagine you doing anything like that. Not only because I thought that you were a better man than me, but because of the children.

 I had you on a pedestal. Even after the other disappointments.

You let me down. That's not important. You had responsibilities and turned your back on them. People counted on you, some more than others.

What have we learned today? That even the mighty fall, even the mighty are tempted, and if better men than me succumb, then I must be vigilant.

No man is an island, and your absence leaves some positions empty. Some can be filled. Some can't.

In the name of God repent! Come back. Humble yourself, humble yourself, listen to your elders.

This is what I would say to composite of people, certain people who I can picture in my mind, who I respected from a distance, who really disappointed me, and in their actions caused great harm to their family.

I wasn't close enough to be their Nathan.


Just for a moment I was back at school
And felt that old familiar pain...

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Political musings, a year out

Maybe I should've waited until a month before the Kansas caucus on March 5 '16...
But I went to , and put in my stances and relative weights and found out which candidate I'm closest to.

WHAT???  Are you kidding me?

In my estimation, I think the religious right is losing the p.r. battle badly... more and more, I'm hearing things which can be summed up as "how can you be a Christian and a republican", including questions about Trump, immigration, racial issues, healthcare, economics, war, etc.

In many areas, to question anything is so frowned upon, that you either become lockstep with the majority opinion, or you get bunched with the fringe.

And it's worth wondering how so many Christians can come up with so many different reasons why they vote as they do.

And, how do we as persons and how do we as the deciders of who governs us, how do we do our part to make "Thy Will Be Done, on earth as it is in heaven" ?

In regards to which entity will lead to more human flourishing...I don't trust the market, I don't trust the government. And that seems to make me a stranger to both sides of the political spectrum.

Saturday, September 19, 2015


Yeah, I missed a week (for the first time in four months.) I was busy.

I've known that the church is a large body, with a global presence and brothers and sisters who aren't all evangelical Bapti-costals. But it was important to me to rehear it, to hear it over and over that Jesus sees his church as a community, that we collectively are the saints, and that God has a plan for His church.

And it was good to hear the Word while sitting next to other eager listeners, including my wife. I needed that.

One church. One spirit. And the church is supposed to be the city on the hill.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Christian Nation: now what?

Last week I posted a blog about America as a Christian nation. I wrote about how in varying degrees Americans are not living up to the 10 Commandments, and by extension a life worthy of the name of Christ. Having put that on a blog and setting the timer for the post (like all my blogs do on Saturday 8:37 a.m.), I realized I had more to say.

My disclaimer. I am not a prophet I am not the son of a prophet. I claim no special insight into the Almighty and His ways. All I can say, if I want to say what I think God would say to the people of this country, is to go back to John the Baptist, Peter, and Jesus. They said the same thing, and I have to consider that their words, their sermons are as applicable to this nation in this generation, as to 1st century Judea. They said the same thing.

Repent. Repent, the kingdom of God is at hand, the kingdom of God is here. Jesus is come.  Jesus is here and this changes everything. We are now in the church age, the Spirit of God is here, and that is reason enough to no longer live like some of us have been living. The prophet of God does not have to threaten a judgment or a punishment on this earth, for the awesome and scary truth is that we have been already warned that we all give an account for what we have done.

We are called to put aside the sin and the weight which slows us down as we run the race, the writer of Hebrews says.

I have nothing new to say, all I can say is the same thing that we were told by our Master, our Saviour, the same things we were told by the Apostles...

God be merciful to me a sinner.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Is this a Christian nation?

When a prophet makes a call to repentance, generally, there are sins that the prophet is calling the hearer to forsake. And, as often happens in early May, there was often a call for my country to repent.

From what sins?

“You shall have no other gods before me."

Well, 70% of our nation self-identifies as Christian, so we're good on that, right?
Depends on whether we interpret that as which deity we call God or on who or what we Americans place our reliance.

“You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the
LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name."

As a nation, we claim to trust in God, but we don't. We trust in our guns, our economy, our rights, our traditions. And our churches and politicians are full of contradictory policies and prophecies, because that's what God said. But if it's God speaking,  wouldn't it be with one voice, telling the body one thing? Somebody has their own ego and dreams and philosophy mixed up with the Word of God...and somebody is misleading the flock.

"Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy."

Between commerce, entertainment, and sports, we've reached the point where Sunday is different - slightly - but not set apart. Various surveys tell us that only 35-40% of Americans attend church on any given Sunday...meaning that even half of us are ignoring the admonition to not forsake the assembling of the brethren. And this fall - like every fall, we'll spend two hours in church, and ten hours watching St. Drew, Brother Rodgers, and Brady's bunch.

“Honor your father and your mother"

Every generation claims that their children are the worst behaved brats to ever see daylight. I don't know on this one.
But just as Jesus told the woman at the well, "you spoke well that you have no husband", today's prophet would say "you have no father..." ...

“You shall not murder."

There is blood on our hands.
The blood of the unborn slaughtered in the name of convenience.
The blood of the refugees and collateral damage from our war on terror, slaughtered in the name of security.
The blood of the blacks from the slave ships to the plantations, from the victims of the Klan to Trayvon.
The blood of our murdered brothers in this country, gunned down at a far more lethal rate than the other rich nations (whether due to the violence of the culture, or the availability of guns, or the prevalence of drugs, or...)
The blood of the native Americans, slaughtered and repatriated in the name of Manifest Destiny.
And the list goes on...

"You shall not commit adultery."

In less than a century, we have redefined marriage from "until death do us part" to "as long as we avoid 'irreconcilable differences', immersed our culture in lust and porn so deep that Corinth would blush, and experimented with the sexual ethic of consenting adults ... with a harvest of confusion, fatherlessness, divorce, and disaster.  And Ashley Madison.

“You shall not steal."

Some of my friends would yell, "income inequality and corporations." Others would say "fiat money, inflation, and taxation".

“You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor."

The trolling. The bullying. The exclusion. The alienation. The gossip. And when it fits our team's worldview...We almost don't care if it's true or not, we post first, fact check later...if ever.

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

Our nation has built itself on an economy of out-doing the Jones es. Bigger tv's, bigger cars, bigger houses, newer phones...

Maybe we need to stop calling ourselves a Christian nation.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Kansas City and Winners, in the same sentence.

As 2012 came to a close there were a couple small highlights  in the Kansas City sports world.
 The Royals had hosted the Major League Baseball All Star Game and were looking like they're starting to get good, despite a finish below .500.  The Chiefs had a terrible season including almost half of season without having a play where they had the lead, but they were going to the first draft pick, as consolation for a 2-14 finish. Sporting Kansas City despite another playoff loss to there rivals Houston, had won the minor trophy, the Open Cup, and were set to host next years 2013 Major League Soccer all star game.

January of 2013 was the last time a major league team in Kansas City finished with losing record. Since then in 2013 and 2014 all three Kansas City teams finished above .500 each time. The Royals made it to the World Series, the Chiefs made the playoffs one of those two years and Sporting Kansas City won MLS Cup and had another playoff appearance. 2015 is looking pretty good the Royals and Sporting are both having dominant seasons, are shoo ins to finish above .500 again and compete in the playoffs, and the Chiefs are looking promising for a good run at this fall - although their regular season started yet.

Go Team!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Malachi's wager*

Once upon a time the preacher said that it is God's will for his people to prosper succeed and achieve. In the last 20 years I've observed various Christian groups with various emphasises on money.

Experiment. Imagine that Nate Silver - perhaps the nation's most famous statistician - had made a conclusion about faith in God, the prosperity gospel, and whether it actually worked.

Scenario 1. a rigorous peer review double-blind survey of a large group of people, believing God desires his people to gain wealth has absolutely no effect on the finance of the people in the survey.
What would happen? Based on Christians response to science, they would find every flaw imagined or real in the survey. They would say you have to you have to believe (true Scotsman, anyone?)  They would ignore it as persecution and discouragement.  Maybe one in a hundred preachers would go back to the Word to see where they went wrong, if there was something they missed.

Scenario 3. a rigorous peer review double-blind survey of a large group of people, believing God desires his people to gain wealth has a notable positive effect on the finance of the people in the survey.

If the survey came out in favor of the prosperity gospel, you would see some churches once again hammering their brothers in the face about the love of money about God's desire for people to use their wealth for building his kingdom for ministering to the poor for missionaries. The secular media would probably go bananas trying to get the more established prosperity gospel preachers on to the electric circuits on to the talk shows and not just on Christian television. And a third group of Christians would go to bed that night get down on the knees and pray dear God why did you let this happen? Why do you let our gospel get hijacked by those who just see it as about the blessings instead of the relationship with Christ.

Doesn't matter if faith works as advertised? Of course it does! If we preach a gospel that  does not match how we advertise if we over sell then we risk shipwrecking the face of those who wonder, if God doesn't do that in the tangible world how can we trust in the in tangible world with forgiveness of sins and eternal life.

Which brings us to the great dilemma of the faith preaching what happens when what you have believed for doesn't come about?  It's hard to believe in miracles when you're walking through the graveyard.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Who has the truth?

Logic is the refuge of those who don't know if they heard from God or not. And I have three words that have taunted me like Joseph's dreams for 14-19 years.
At a preacher's ordination, he stated that he expected to be there for my ordination.
Early in my Pentecostal days, I was given a word that I would be God's voice and His words.
And, after I graduated college, I realized that I had a father's heart and a heart for fathers.

Did I hear from God? I don't know anymore. And after decades of being told I'm something special, I've spent almost that long realizing I'm very ordinary, and in most ways, subpar. And it hurts.

Abraham had a word from God. He spent ten years waiting, then tried to make it happen himself. Disaster ensued. But when God revisited him, telling Abraham that within a year, Sarah would have a child...we have to conclude that at some point, Abraham and Sarah went into their tent and did that which, so many other times, was simply an expression of love (tinged with the frustration of the childless); but at some point in Abraham's 99th year, Isaac was conceived ...

Joseph had a word from God, a dream. And he waited 22 years as a slave, a prisoner, and a premier before seeing it come to pass.

I don't know anymore. And honestly, wading through both the words in my life and the contemporary prophets...I've given up on trying to figure out who's heard from God and who's mistaken pattern or politic for the word of the Almighty, and who needs to re-read the 3rd commandment.

Almost enough to make me a Baptist.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Truth in the crowd?

Is there a correlation between number of followers and the truthfulness of a preacher's interpretation of Scripture?

If there is, which mega church should I sign up for? Rick Warren? Mark Driscoll? David Cho? Brian Houston?  Joel Osteen?

And if I look to Pentecost, when Peter preached a sermon and called 3,000 to Paul preaching to his recently founded churches, preaching faith and the churches growing daily.

But...we're also told that the cross is offense. That narrow is the way that leads to salvation. And that in the last days...All that stuff about tickling ears (which frankly is used more to hammer disagreeing preachers than the perceived friendliness of the truth...)

So is church growth proof of anything besides the charisma of the preacher? I don't know anymore. Are people leaving because they don't like the Word as interpreted by the man of God that evidence of the truth?


quid est veritas

Saturday, July 25, 2015


I've had one song running through my head for days...wish I was still doing Monday Melodies. "This Is The Good Life"

Once upon a time, my blog wasn't Saturday only, and I posted something called "Monday Melody"

From Audio Adrenaline's best album ever (Underdog), "Good Life"

I've watched my dreams all fade away
And blister in the sun
Everything I've ever had is unraveled and undone
I've set upon a worthless stack
Of my ambitious plans
And the people that I've loved the most
Have turned their backs and ran
This is the good life
I've lost everything
I could ever want
And ever dream of
This is the good life
I found everything
I could ever need
Here in Your arms

Loneliness has left me searching
For someone to love
Poverty has changed my view
Of what true riches are
Sorrow's opened up my eyes
To see what real joy is
Pain has been the catalyst
To my heart's happiness

What good would it be
If you had everything
But you wouldn't have
The only thing you need

Saturday, July 18, 2015

The problem with prophets

So, we were talking about modern prophets. I, very diplomatically, said that Hagee (blood moons) and Cahn (shemitah / jubilee) have staked a lot on this September. And so, in six months, the church should either give them reverence for correctly hearing from God, or tell them that from here on out, they may do nothing but preach The Sermon on the Mount (just read Matt 5-7 , no commentary.)

Another recently deceased evangelist-prophet was mentioned in the same breath as Greece.

I googled him. Wow, that guy had a terrible batting average.  When he preaches the word, fine. When he predicts gloom and doom, schedule a picnic.

The only sign that I give credence to at this time is the restoration of a Jewish homeland in Israel. Everything else recently is screaming at mice when the rats weren't the harbinger of doom. Plague, famine, war, death are on the decline. Apostasy, love growing cold, etc... show me statistics over the centuries and not just anecdotes.

I think about what Christ told Peter in John 21. And if he (John) sees my return, so what...follow me.

I've given up mostly on sorting out a hundred freaked out fear peddling wanna be prophets.

It is time for the church to plan our estates and funerals, raise children and grandchildren (no, not me, not yet), and plant trees for our descendants to sit under.

I believe in God. I believe in Jesus and His return.

But the interpretations...I'm not convinced.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Irrational exuberance.

The failure to receive the full miracle leads to A Monday Morning Quarterback session. And for a person who believes that he has seen divine intervention in other points in his life and perhaps in other people's life its hard when a case screaming for divine intervention doesn't get it .

So everyone in the community suddenly goes into a defensive mode defending God defending interpretation of God defending their beliefs and how they can elicit miracles from the almighty even though this time it didn't work.

My friends know that a particular event in 2008 a friend dying young relatively was one of several simultaneous events that brought me into a deep depression in the beginning of what I've termed my personal tribulation.  Years of questioning my faith questioning everything and it brings me to a very simplistic and skeptical faith. I lost my innocence a long time ago. I have seen too many promises and declarations unfulfilled. And even as scary as it is...sometimes I still see this world as God's big ant farm.

So do these practices of faith believing God trusting God speaking faith... do they even tip the scales or even budge the scales? does it change any outcomes?

I know that we are told that "And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him."
But how does He reward?

I have a hard time believing for miracles while I stroll through the graveyard.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Because of the Brave

My grandfather wore the uniform of our country's army, served for almost three decades, was deployed worldwide, most notably Vietnam, and is buried beside his brothers-in-arms at Leavenworth, having lived long enough to see four of his great-grandchildren.  He loved his country and gave his best years in service.

My father wore the guard's uniform of our state's prisons, serving for almost 25 years, dealing with some of the worst people in the state, suffering two minor injuries at the hands of the inmates.  He lived long enough to see six of his grandchildren, and his ashes are scattered at his favorite vacation spot.

I am honored to see my heritage of service. And although I have questions about current military and correctional/prison policy...I have great respect for the men in uniform.

Sorry, if you're looking for fireworks, check your local listings for time and place.

America! America!
God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self control,
Thy liberty in law.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

No one knows...but what if we did?

Acts 2:16-17
No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:
“‘In the last days, God says,
    I will pour out my Spirit on all people...."

As a thought experiment, imagine two scenarios.

1) God has a conversation with Pope Francis, Billy Graham, the Egyptian Pope Tawadros, Brian Houston, and David Yonggi Cho. He tells them that Christ will return in ten years.

2) God has a conversation with Pope Francis, Billy Graham, the Egyptian Pope Tawadros, Brian Houston, and David Yonggi Cho. He tells them that Christ will return in five hundred years.

Assuming these five men of God, chosen in this experiment for fame and geographical diversity, proceed to sit down, digest what they've been told, and return to their flocks. How then would they guide the church?

A certain end time in the near future would lead to a stronger emphasis on evangelization. A stronger emphasis on career choices in ministry. Perhaps an admonition to postpone marriage and childbearing - all for souls, now! No point in spending more on church buildings. I am certain that I can research famous prophets who predicted a date and see how they led their adherents.

A certain end time in the distant future...changes everything. First, certain SUV-driving preachers would have to reconsider their statements. The church would have to look into affecting the entire culture, making the world a place where it would be possible for our grandchildren to be Christian and follow Christ. We would have to carefully create traditions and mold past tradition. We would need to pay great attention to our family ministry, sowing into the future of the church in the hands and feet of our children. We would build cathedrals and places for the worship of God. We would spend less time matching current events to prophecy and more time paying attention to discipleship.

But...We don't know when He's coming back.  And so we live in a tension.

Maranatha. Come quickly, Lord Jesus.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Best Selling doesn't mean Inspired Prophecy.

I once obliquely stated a reserved opinion about an end times interpretation. And in respect to someone who I respect greatly, I said I would reserve judgement until later.

The clock hasn't run out. But I'm going on a limb and saying that someone has their prophecy interpretation wrong.

Christianity has had many people who have taken the events of their times along with the prophecies of the Bible (including Daniel, Ezekiel, the Olivet discourse and Revelation) to conclude that we are in the really real end times. (As opposed to the last days that St. Peter said began at Pentecost)

Seeing as we are still in the church age obviously most of them have been wrong. Jesus still rules from heaven and we look forward to His second coming.

In my opinion, this Blood Moon phenomenon is an insult to prophecy, to statistics, mathematics, the intelligence of the Christian community, and the Prophet Joel.

The most prominent event perhaps was the blood moons in the fourteen nineties correlated with the eviction of the Jews from Portugal. but why would God give a sign after the event?

And where in the Word of God does God say that four equally spaced eclipses are a sign of anything?  With all due respect, if the heavens are God's billboard, all I see is dot-to-dot without numbers.

And why must they be corresponding with the feasts?  If God wants to make a sign, let Him do a true miracle, one against the mathematics of the astronomers.

And why do those get called the blood moons when other eclipses have caused a similar coloration of the moon from our point of view?

I've looked at both sides. And although I may be wrong, I'm willing to say that I think the Blood Moon phenomenon is not divinely inspired.  It's baking soda.

Another question since when does God wait an exact amount of time between judgments?  Has he ever done that? And why would the opening of the market would that be worse collapse in the attack on the towers? why is that day the day that marks the event?

I'm not convinced that next year is a jubilee year. There's to many theories about when you start counting, and whether the seventh jubilee was the super jubilee, or followed by one (50 years). I'm not convinced that God is holding America to Mosaic law in regards to these things.

Please don't get me wrong. America needs to repent. Americans need to repent. Christians need to repent. The whole world needs to repent. Repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand. And any preacher who calls people to repentance in the name of Jesus is doing the work of God.

But the call to repentance can stand on its own. We do not need signs from the sky and from the calendar which make us sound no more credible than the tabloids quoting Nostradamus.  Honestly that's how I feel when I hear these things.

But these men feel that there are watchmen seeing signs of danger. And they feel they must speak, they feel God has called them to speak. I cannot ask them to be silent I can't ask them to go against their conscience.

Saturday, June 13, 2015


" for, believe me, Hester, though he were to step down from a high place, and stand there beside thee, on thy pedestal of shame, yet better were it so, than to hide a guilty heart through life."

Another celebrity has had their  name dragged straight to mud after despicable actions in a prior decade.  And after their history as "family friendly", their image has been shattered.
Their friends are being questioned in whether they knew, whether they even want to be associated with the fellow.  Television shows are being pulled off the air, as if a damnatio memorae is the only option.

This isn't the first time. By my recollection, at least the third time in the last twelve months.

And, even in this decade...some lines may not be crossed without consequences.  Some sins are...

Living near a military base, I've had friends and colleagues who have discussed the process of getting a security clearance. And, over and over again, I hear them say that one of the things they look for, is if they have a secret they're unwilling to disclose, either to them or to their loved ones. The sort of skeleton in the closet that could be used to blackmail somebody.

For various reasons, including a deep reticence at having our past went over with a fine tooth comb, I don't expect to ever put my name on a ballot again.

And if anyone offers to put my family on a reality show...

Ape: George, remember everything I told you about Queensbury rules and fighting fair?
George: Uh-huh.
Ape: Well, now's a good time to forget it.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

The Robison paradox

"Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven."

People talk about the "will of God", as a path to be followed. Or a direction to be sought. Or the reason for something to happen.

But...I know that not everything that happens is the will of God. Because I cannot accept that God would have it to be His will that someone would disobey His law.

Cue the question storm.
* But was it God's will that Judas betray Jesus?
* Was it God's will that most of the apostles were martyred?
* Is it God's will who wins in a war?
* And is it God's will for a child to be conceived outside of marriage?

I suspect that many people look at the blessings that they have seen, the path that they have taken, the combination of roadblocks and open paths: and conclude that obviously everything that has happened brought them to a good place. And was therefore the will of a good God.
I can't look at my life like that.
Don't get me wrong. Romans 8:28 is all over my life, God taking circumstance, decisions, and even tragedy and making something good out of it, far better than I could've made.

But in a world of free will, God is doing an amazing job on cleanup.

Never mistake the will of the majority for the will of God. And never mistake history as the proof of the will of God.

Thy will be done.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Strike the shepherd

Once upon a time, I sat under a pastor. Listened to his teachings for ten years. And was shocked by his fall from grace, removed from his pulpit for multiple violations of his marriage vows.

And once upon a time, I followed the teachings of a (prominent-in-his-niche) Christian teacher. And, although I came to move away from parts of his emphasis, I readily admit the effect of his teaching in my life. And, I was shocked by his fall from grace and censure for terrible behavior towards young women in his ministry. And shocked by an announcement of inexcusable behavior in the family of his most famous follower.

And once upon a time, I listened to the songs of a famous singer. Inspired words of a prolific writer. I even quoted him at a family gathering. But I became aware a long time ago of a serious scandal involving adultery, conspiracy to murder, ... yeah, I'm talking about King David this time.

I've lost count of how many Christian leaders have led their flock for decades, and then have committed grievous the sin. The world has not lost count - they love to point at the hypocrite. Where are your morals you taught is that what being a Christian is about. I'm certain that is one of the reasons we are warned that the shepherds will face the greater judgment.

But my question is is the fault of the shepherd - the fall of the leader - is it reason to abandon their teaching?

I've had many opportunities to contemplate and I come to a conclusion. It doesn't matter whether the leader has fallen or not . In any case it is our duty as followers of Christ to weigh the teachings of all the pastors, to see if we can follow them as they follow Christ.

Pedestals are dangerous things.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Memorial day

My father worked for 25 years at Lansing Correctional Facility. He suffered two injuries in his first five-to-seven years there, a broken wrist and a slash near his eye.  But I was too young to remember much about those events.

May 22, 1993. A Saturday. Dad was off, and in the afternoon, he was probably at his parents' house. I heard the phone ring, and answered it. One of our church deacons asked if dad was at work. No... He'd heard that something had happened at the prison.

Two guards had been ambushed by a dozen inmates and attacked with sacks of barbell weights and pool balls.  Seriously injured.

On that day, like no other day in my life, I realized that my dad had a dangerous job...And there was always a chance (although a small one) that one day he might not come home.

Seven guards have died in the line of duty at Lansing. The last of them was Mark Avery, one of the guards attacked that afternoon. He died of his injuries the following day, 22 years ago today.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Expiration date

Psalm 90:12
Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

The folks at social security have a form online that gives you your life expectancy, based on age and gender.  And based on that, I'm running out of time.

Well, we all are.

I'm 34, and feeling un accomplished.  Father of four living a typical suburban life.  But I'm not famous, I'm not in politics (anymore), and no one asks my advice or seeks my leadership.

Shouldn't I be further along? Shouldn't I be somebody™ ?

I have spent the better part of two decades believing that I was meant to do great, world changing, awesome things. Like Daniel, "they that know their God shall be strong and do exploits." And Acts "these are the men who turned the world upside down."

But, here I am, in Kansas, not sure whether I'm making a difference, and seeing the sands in my personal hourglass with every gray hair.

I'm freaking out. What am I supposed to be doing? This world is full of problems, pain, suffering, confusion, and wicked stepfathers.

I have one project for the long term. The quiver. My four children.

And, quoting my pastor, the question is faithfulness. Being faithful in what I've been trusted with - not only the money, but the much more important, my children. My marriage.

Maybe there is that great destiny out there for me. Maybe that one fellow was right. (And if he is, I'm going to have to resist the urge to visit Cadiz aka Tarshish)

But that can sort itself out. If God has more for me to do, He knows my phone number. My wife needs me. My children need me.

And in case you're wondering, if the actuaries are right, I've got 48 years left.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Upcoming attractions

Let's just say I've got a lot on my mind...

  • God doesn't make mistakes
  • Another century of the church?
  • Blood moons and other prophecies...
  • Strike the shepherd and the sheep will scatter...
  • The sins of the nation.
  • Nate Silver meets Kenneth Copeland.
  • Ear tickling.
  • The American Christian.
  • ISIS among the persecutors of Christians.
  • Faith, truth, and church growth.
  • Expiration date...
  • Holy Trinity, Batman!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Fall down 7, stand up 8


Going back to the last seven years, I have to wonder how much of what I termed depression may have been less related to a chemical imbalance as opposed to straight-up stress (financial, legal, and other).  How much of it was related to the self-administered accusation that I was failing and had failed as a man.

Call back in a couple years.

But...I know that life sucks.  There's challenges and betrayals and failures and unrealized potential.  And sometimes when "that that is is not what it was supposed to be" just messes with you.

The phrase "cognitive dissonance" - when what you see just doesn't make sense with what you know. (Imagine seeing pink elephants. For real.)

We have dreams, goals, aspirations.  And sometimes, life happens.

One of the things I feel that I must teach my children is resilience.  I never want them to feel like I felt.  And although I despise cliches, "failure is never final."  And, with what I've went through, I know that I know that I want my kids to be able to roll with the punches.

To be resilient.  Maybe even...antifragile?

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Where's the badge for Tribulation survivor?

Nov 30, 2013  "In my moments of honesty I realize that I am weak.  Untested."
Response:  "You consider yourself untested? Dude! You've faced some serious trials. I would have never said you were untested. Or, weak. Humble? Yes."

My friends know my battles.  They know what I've fought through in the last seven years - in my tribulation.

And I have learned - "I am weak."

I have made it through, but with the help of a God who loves me, friends and family who have been great help to me, a wife who has stuck with me even when I didn't deserve it, and a stubborn tenacity that, "this too shall pass."

I've been through hell.  (Most of it a hell of my own making, based on a number of poor, wrong, ill-advised, and/or sinful choices over the last seven years.)

If you see me standing, it is because I have been brought back to my feet, although not by my strength.

If you see me kneeling, it is because I know Who has delivered me and Who I must lean upon.

And I have learned - "but He is strong."

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Can't we all just get along?

I once said, "I think our national news is too person-oriented."

Two years ago, a different case was in the news.  It got the attention, the rage (not quite the RAGE™), and the water-cooler talk.

And another one gone, and another one gone.  Another one bites the dust.'s went from "if it bleeds, it leads", to "if it's a black man killed by a white man, it leads."

And, thanks to the 24hour news cycle, I can't tell if things are better than they were 40 years ago.  I don't have the time or the access to well-formatted, peer-reviewed statistical information to figure out whether we've gone from bad to worse, or worse to bad (on television!)

My kids don't understand racism.  They're aware of it, but why someone would choose to have racist tendencies and beyond them.  My contemporaries at my job are the same way. 

I used to believe that we were closer to the point where "my four little children will grow up in a world where they are judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."  I still feel that we are closer, but...

I can't deny the pain and rage with every one of these injustices.
And I know that these injustices have to be named, shamed, and quashed.
And I know that I'm not qualified to speak on this subject - serious melanin shortage.


Can't we all just get along?

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Fill in the oval entirely

This municipal and school board election (Leavenworth, Kansas, April 2015), will be the most complicated April election I've dealt with since '05.

In '07, it was easy.  Vote for my friend for mayor, who would end up winning by three votes, put me on the council, and regret ever putting his own name on the ballot.  Small town politics were not friendly to him.

In '09, it was easy.  Vote for my friend for mayor, and vote for me for City Council.  Finished 5th in a two man race, but since five spots were open, I was on the Council.

In '11, it was easy.  Vote for my friend for mayor, and vote for me for City Council.  Finished 6th in a four man race, and since five spots were open, I was off the Council.

In '13, it was easy.  Vote for my other friend for mayor (the first friend would've declined, even if he'd been written in), and vote for me for City Council and School Board.  Even did a reddit **AMA**
Finished in distant fourth place for three seats on the school board, and a three way tie for fourth for City Council. Lost a tiebreaker draw.
This election, I know nobody on the ballot. So I'm actually voting in the character and the issues.

Wish me luck.

City Commission: six candidates for three seats.
School Board: five candidates for four seats.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Random blurb Saturday

With my change to day shift, my blogging will change. My afternoons are no longer spent alone or sleeping for the night; my nights are no longer alone or awake; my days are now being traded in the common barter of employment.

However, I hope to continue leaving my thoughts in this mostly forgotten corner of the internet.

Father of two teenagers? I'm getting old.

A petition supporting a bill that already has the governor's support and 5/8 of the upper house...seems to be a waste of ink.

The only question left is whether Thoreau's quiet desperation is still a common phenomenon or not.

The problem with the world is that everyone is convinced that they have THE TRUTH. The ignored set of facts or principles, or the particular way to read divine inspiration, that make everything make sense, and that the world would benefit from understanding. And they think every dissenting truth is bullshit, deception, and ignorance.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

End times thoughts ...

If we have been in "the end times since Christ's ascension, does that necessarily mean that Revelation chapters 4-19 are irrelevant to all but the last generation of Christians? Or was John given vision(s) applicable to Christian life in the church age sharing a planet with the world systems that run on pride, greed, and lust, looking to corrupt or conquer the church...

I believe Christ will return. I just think that certain "this means end is near" predictions lack a sense of history and global perspective.

But I also don't spend enough time in global newspapers or in fasting and prayer to even dream of saying that I'm sure I'm right. Or that I'm sure that anyone is wrong. 

Just the thoughts of a Christian who has read too many conflicting interpretations of Revelation and Daniel

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Filters and brewers

Filters, but not the ones that keep me quiet.
Brewers, but not the one named David.

Coffee.  The lifeblood of America.  The reason I have to figure out whether you mean 5 fl oz or 8 fl oz when you say "cup."  The favorite method of self-administration of caffeine.  (And Sporting fans should probably boycott Red Bull after New York Red Bull beat SKC in the playoffs this year.)

I tolerate the drink.  I don't like it.  (Sorry, Michael.)

There are those who swear by it, whether in the carafe, or with the green mermaid on the cup, or the place with the lighthouses.  Me, not so much.  It's bitter, I have trouble finding the right mix of creamer and sugar, and the coffeepot dribbles off the front of the lip.  Augh!

And, people have been arguing about coffee temperatures for at least 20 years (Liebeck vs Mc'D's, anyone?).

So, my current method of drinking coffee involves pouring it from the carafe (or whatever you call the pump-operated thermos...thing), filling my cup half full, then topping it off with cold water.  Repeat for total of 2 to 3 styro-cups (or 1 mug, stating "This IS my brilliant career!") for maximum effect.

I like my coffee like I like my boxing opponents: weak and near room temperature.
--Steven Wm. Pratt

Saturday, January 24, 2015


I want to say a lot more than I do say.  (I say that a lot.)

But, I start by thinking about everything I want to say.
Then I think about who *might* read it.  (If I thought about who actually does read it, I'd probably go unfiltered.)
Then I adjust.  I self-censor.  I condense, reduce.  I say less, I hint at less, and I cut entire paragraphs.

And, by the time I'm done, it's a few short paragraphs with dangling thoughts.  Things left unsaid.

Maybe it's a toothpaste thing.  (Easily said, impossible to unsay.)

Saturday, January 17, 2015

God be merciful...

And so I was going to write a post about some conversations.  Conversations in which my choices, my morals were discussed, contrasted with other people I know.   And I'd say that, by the grace of God and the good guidance of my mother, I was taught certain things.

And I was wondering how to phrase it without insulting my ... neighbors.

But, then I thought about how it would sound, and although I didn't know the reference (Luke 18), I knew what it would sound like - the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector.  It would sound like, "God, I thank You that I am not like other men", the opening line of the Pharisee's prayer.

But, I remembered how the parable ended, saying that the other man went home justified.

And so, with a dose of humility, I bite my tongue, try to remember that pride is the most dangerous and most insidious of all, and say,

"God, be merciful to me a sinner!"

Saturday, January 10, 2015


I'm getting angrier.  Frustrations mount in every direction.  And I'm so far down on the totem pole that I can't change a thing.  Just get my job done.  Just do as I'm told, with whatever tools I'm assigned.

I've reached a point where my smarts and my skills and my opinions don't matter a damn.  No one cares.  I'm tired of multiplying numbers as a parlor trick, except I can't tell him no.  I'm tired of looking over job descriptions and thinking, "I'd rather be shopping."  (And I hate shopping with every fiber of my being.)  I'm tired of being told to shut off my brain.  I'm tired of having every idea I suggest get shot down.  Rock Port.  Madison.  Bentonville.  The other one.

I'm tired of having so much to say, but by the time my filters kick in, it's "go sports team", "happy birthday", or "cute baby."  If you ever see me uncensored, you'll say like the friend on Mitchell, "quiet Steven wrote that?"

I'm tired of being so cynical.  I can poke a thousand holes, but I'd rather be building an ironclad boat.  If I ever had time.

I'm tired of fighting the bottom line.  There's a few tech luxuries I'd like.  A second vehicle would make my life easier.

Dominoes and Destiny

Like clockwork, at midnight and two and five in the morning.  The cashier at the south side of the table.  His uncle at the east.  Used to do maintenance, but got moved to frozen.  The other guy from frozen at the west side of the table.  And I had the north seat.
Double six dominoes, played very simply.  No points, just draw seven and try not to get stuck with a double in your hand.
We even had nicknames for each other.  The cashier was "blueberry", from the blue single dot for 1.  The frozen guy was "pineapple", because he once had 5 6's in his hand and managed to turn it into a winning hand. Blueberry's uncle was "dohch", which I assume means blank.  I speak no Spanish.  When we started playing dominoes a few months ago during break and lunch, he had a streak of getting the double-blank.  We even named the domino after him.  And I was cardboard.  The four dots were brown in a square, kinda like a cardboard box.  And, most often, my job these days involves collecting and crushing cardboard.

Saturday night.  No blueberry.  No dohch.

With various rumors going around, I finally found out around midshift that "dohch" had died.  He was only 42.

"It wasn't shocking.  Licking a nine-volt is shocking.  This was ... I have no words for it."
- cardboard to the overnight genius,
the night after we found out.

As is common after sudden deaths like this, we're left contemplating the nature of this brief life.  The usual cliches come to mind.  The questions as to whether we have a pre-set appointment with the Reaper.

"What's his name this time?  Grimulun?"  "No, just Grimm."
 - Jimmy Barclay and Nagel
- someone to watch over me, adventures in odyssey

There's enough free will and random events in the world, that I don't think we necessarily have an expiration date.  There's so much bacon, scotch, cigarettes, and recalled medication, that we are, to an unknown degree, tweaking our own appointment with St. Peter.

But, life is short.  And, #YOLO.

Of course, if I wanted to be depressed for the rest of the day, I'd just ask whether anyone would ...

Rest in peace, "dohch."