THE BIRTH of a LEGACY

The Birth of a Legacy

LEGACY – Defined by one on-line dictionary as:

[ˈleɡəsē]

noun

legacies

(plural noun)

  1. an amount of money or property left to someone in a will.

Most of us can relate to legacy in a context other than money. We think of speeches we have heard about great people leaving a legacy of honor, a heritage to those who knew them which inspired them to become a better person. Woe to us if the only legacy we might ever know is a financial one. Sure, a financial windfall is great; but the treasure found when someone has poured themselves into your life and provided you tools to become even more than you are already, that is the most valuable legacy.

What is a Living Legacy?

Dan Fogelberg wrote in ‘The Leader of the Band” how the singer had become “just a living legacy to the leader of the band”. What the Leader had created then was not only a student musician who was gifted a legacy to that student; but the Leader’s investment in the student would pay dividends as the student, as a living legacy would invest in the lives of others creating an endowment of sorts, paying ahead. The number of people blessed by such philanthropy of the heart grows exponentially. Fogelberg said in an interview, “If I could have written only one song in my life, it would have been Leader of the Band. What that meant to my father and me, there is no way to quantify that or even explain it.”[i]

Such is the case with the new 501c3, Legacy of Honor (LoH) created by Daniel Riggs and operating out of Louisville, Ohio. Driven by a desire to reach out to people he knew that are veterans, first responders and their families who are hurting, struggling to get through another day, and feel unable to reach out. One, a great ‘battle-buddy’ to Daniel, took his own life as the stress to succeed in a high-profile military assignment became more than he could bear.

Legacy of Honor is created to serve people at all stages of life whether active duty military, veterans, currently working as first responders or retired and for their families.

What is it that Legacy of Honor can do to help?

The possibilities are endless, but some examples are mentioned here. For a wife, who cares for her children and is the home-care provider for her disabled first responder, it might be an afternoon of staying with the first responder while the wife goes out for a spa day with her friends! It might be clearing fall leaves from gutters or building a wheelchair ramp. Light construction projects or many types of work that might have been started but never completed. Driving someone to their doctor appointment, waiting for a veteran or public safety responder when in therapy or needing tests done. Taking them out for a simple meal to share in companionship. The list can go on if the imagination is in operation!

For Daniel, his grandfather’s and father’s military service which preceded his own is a Legacy of Honor. His heart’s desire now is to live out his Christian faith by creating this 501c3 designed to pay forward the gracious gifts of his legacy to those to whom all Americans owe a debt of gratitude.

What can you do to help Legacy of Honor?

First, is to bring to our attention the needs of family or neighbors so contact can be made. This opens the door for much needed conversation to address those needs and help create a plan to best fulfill the need. Please communicate with us through our email.

Second, and probably the most pressing need of LoH, is financial support from individuals, community businesses, and philanthropic agencies who see our vision and want to help further that vison. Please help financially with this 501c3 mission. Any financial support can be made know through our email.

Third, are volunteers who have special skills needed to help complete projects, volunteers to be available to help with needs that have been brought forth, and volunteers to help with labor to complete projects.  Sometimes is just needing a driver. Everyone who has a desire to help can aide in many areas of need.  Open your hearts and help!

Lastly, prayers are needed for our organization to be successful. We know that God is in the driver’s seat and we are just His warriors to help fulfil those directives. Please pray for us, and the mission of our organization.

Thank you in advance for all that you can do to help. 

Mission Statement:

Legacy of Honor’s mission is to reach out to veterans, first responders and their families to serve those who have served us.

Legacy of Honor can be contacted through driggs@honorthelegacy.org. or by mail at Legacy of Honor 229 E. Main Street Suite C Louisville, Ohio 44641


[i] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lDByv7HoAyg

When the First is Best it Makes Better the Rest

The title, a bit cryptic, is more than just to pique your interest in reading this article! It lays a foundation for a belief system for today’s world that holds the design for how one should respond to the challenges of the day. King Solomon wrote there is nothing new under the sun. What I am about to describe is not new, in fact it is millennia old. As old as man in the Garden of Eden.

The concept came to me through a conversation over sandwiches and soup on the most typical of summer days. No blinding light from the heavens or whispering voice in a whirlwind, but a simple statement by a pastor friend of mine. When the discussion came to the current disruptions of private lives with COVID-19, political warfare, riots in the streets, concern over China trade, border security and a devastating force from an explosion in Beirut; my friend said, to the effect, when I consider all of this, I must be a pastor first. Everything else, as far as his response to those issues, comes through the filter of his God-given calling FIRST.

What would be the result if every born-again believer in Christ responded to all the events in their lives as a Christ-follower FIRST? Would that change the way in which the Christian sees the world? Would it change the way the world sees Christians?

‘Wait just one doggone minute!’ you say, ‘What about the believer’s responsibilities to their spouses, their families, their work?’ Are you ready? Here cometh the epiphany!

When the first is best, it makes better the rest! Of course, it’s simple! How do you think I was able to get it?  

If my priorities are such that my response to every part of my life is defined by the primary one, then every other priority in my life will be made better, enhanced, lifted to the place it should rightfully hold. By the same token, parts of my life which I assumed to be priorities may be re-defined and no longer classified as a priority. Even in being reclassified as less important, those will benefit, I will benefit and others in my circles will benefit when those things take their right place in my life.

Reader, you look puzzled, a little confused, perhaps even tsemisht! Maybe an example or two will help.

My marriage. If my primary, or first, priority is living my life as a Christ-follower, then the priority of my marriage will benefit. I will honor my wife more nobly, love her more deeply and cherish her most appropriately.

On the opposite side of the spectrum could be my prioritizing of continuously tending to the news alerts of the day and worrying, commenting on, or even being consumed with such issues as politics, COVID or world crises. When I view all those things through a biblical grid or, more simply, as a Christ-follower first viewpoint, then each of those will be reduced to the level of proper importance and not paramount importance in my life. An ulcer or two might even begin to heal!

Let’s go a step further. Just recently word has come down about a court injunction in California banning worship in a local church due to COVID concerns. The court is allowing the ‘church’ to conduct meals for people, training, all kinds of activities, just NO worship! As I consider this issue as a Christ-follower first, I may consider becoming involved, communicating opinion, and offering monetary support for legal fees because the priority I give such an issue is high even through the view of Christian first. I would ask myself, ‘If I were the pastor or in the congregation, (all are included in the injunction), would I risk being arrested and jailed to defy an injustice?’ Where is my line, based on the Christian first principle?

I recently wrote an article about the patriots who descended on Gettysburg this past July to protect the monuments and sacred ground from being destroyed by malcontents bent on demolishing America’s history. When I reconsider my response based on the Christ-follower first principle, I still come down on the side of being willing to stand side-by-side with these patriots who sought only to protect, not hurt, or destroy.

Benjamin Franklin wrote, “Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” This quote is very pertinent in this day of continual incursions on our individual liberties under the guise of safety from a virus. Even if many in government are well-meaning and believe what they profess will save lives, this is America and individual freedoms align with individual responsibilities. Choose to mask or not to mask, that is the question only the individual should be required to ask of themselves. If you own a private business and want to cater only to mask wearers, that is your option, not the governments’.

To send your child to school or not is the decision of the parent. The government has the obligation to provide the teaching in a safe environment but that does not include masking kindergarten children and hiding behind plexiglass. Those who choose to teach openly should have children in their classrooms sent willingly by parents who agree. For those who choose not to take part in an open education, there are home-schooling options. As a Christ-follower, I can make the welfare of the children a priority and I don’t have to drink the COVID Kool-Aid to do so.

By prioritizing our lives based on our relationship with Christ, we free ourselves from the worry of endless newscasts of detriment and destruction. We remember God is in control and we can say like Habakkuk, “I will look to see what God says.”

THE TRIBE – It’s a Full Count, Bases Loaded, Bottom of the 9th Indians Down by 3

A Partial List of Native American Tribes Northwest Territory

Chippewa, Piankashaw, Sauk, Fox, Kickapoo, Ottawa, Delaware, Wyandotte, Pottawatomie, Michigamea, Moingwena, Miami, Kaskaskia, Illinoi, Peoria, Wea, Tamaroa, Cahokai, Shawnee, Erie, Iroquois (earliest known)

BACKGROUND

‘American’ frontiersmen in the NW territory could not have been successful in developing their own routes of travel, use of the waterways, trapping and fur trading routes, even in their ultimate survival if not for the help of many of the tribal people living in what was called, in the late 1700’s, by Americans and Europeans the Northwest Territory. Frontiersmen and later homesteaders depended upon the good relations with much of the tribes in the area for survival.

The British, eager to retake as much of the ‘New World’ colonies as possible, were effective at stirring up animosity between American frontiersmen and settlers and the Native Americans. By supplying arms and ammunition and inciting them to violence, the British brought violence and war to the region. They always saw this land, which now includes Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, as a natural extension of their eastern colonies. The French had needed it, particularly the Mississippi River, to connect their inland French provinces in what is now Canada to the sea. During the 1700’s numerous clashes between the French and British erupted over this area. The Treaty of Paris which ended the Revolutionary War awarded the entire area to the new country of America. In 1789 Congress officially adopted the boundaries of the Northwest Territory covering 260,000 square miles.

Just four years before the official boundaries were set, the British stirred a small confederation of tribes to fight the Americans for control of the NW Territory. It continued off and on regardless of Washington’s attempts to quell it until the Battle of Fallen Timbers in 1794 and the subsequent Treaty of Greenville in 1795.

Kathy Weiser Alexander writes, “In July 1800, the territory was reduced with the formation of the Indiana Territory and ceased to exist when the southeastern portion of the territory was admitted to the union (1803) as the state of Ohio. By this time, there were dozens of towns and settlements, a few with thousands of settlers, mostly in Ohio and around the Great Lakes.”[i]

I share the above information in hopes of helping to explain a nonissue that has become an issue in an era of over-the-top political correctness. It has again reared it’s head in the well-meaning attempts by the owners of the Cleveland Indians baseball franchise to be sensitive to the concerns of those who believe the ‘Indians’ is an offensive name for a baseball team. I understand there are some who call themselves Native Americans who make the complaint and others without any native blood come along in support.

MAKING A CASE for THE TRIBE

I do not intimate that I speak for anyone other than myself, a lifelong Ohio resident and a lifelong ‘Tribe’ fan. I included the information on tribes living in the Northwest Territory from where Ohio was born to show how inexorably linked, we are, the ‘Indians’ and non-Indian residents of Ohio. Ohio itself is from the word O-Y-O meaning Great River to the Iroquois who were settled here in about 1690. The Iroquois also had a word meaning ‘crooked river’ – Cuyahoga. The influence of Indian culture is everywhere.

WHAT’s IN A NAME?

Let’s take a quick look at the word Indian versus Native American. Columbus, meaning no disrespect, obviously, since he was expecting to land in the Far East, not some land mass between Spain and there, first called the native people Indians. We must realize, he first sees darker skinned people, native to the new place he believes to be India so, for him at that moment, he is seeing Indians, as in Eastern Indians. Yes, he was off on that calculation. That is what happens without MapQuest. Regardless, Indians was a term that stuck over hundreds of years and was utilized even by these American Indians when they began using English terminology. It was not a disparaging term, just an identifier. Did some use it disparagingly? Every generation has its morons.

Oh, but the politically correct say we must call them Native Americans, just like some want to be called German Americans, Polish Americans, African Americans… the list goes on and on. But if the issue is Columbus’ misunderstanding where he was initially and the name, he used for these native people was acceptable for hundreds of years, what makes Native American better?

Is being named after an Italian explorer, Amerigo Vespucci, better in some way than being called an Indian? I believe that among native tribes you will find widely differing opinions. Most, I expect, and this is just an uneducated guess, would prefer one of two titles. The first being their tribal identity. They are Iroquois or Erie, etc. My second expectation is there would be a large group who simply consider themselves, Americans. If there is a true consensus among all the hundreds of tribes in the U.S., I would be shocked.

THE ISSUES

The key issues are two when it comes to the Cleveland’s baseball team name. The first issue is the incredible amount of Indian and settler cooperation which made Ohio become what it is today. The settlers could not have survived without the tribal peoples coming alongside them. That is a huge part of Ohio heritage and I believe the Cleveland Indians are honoring that heritage. Yes, it is likely in the era of baseball around the turn of the 20th century was not at all respectful of an Indian playing pro-ball. Keeping the name now, as a matter of respect, would reverse that prejudice.

That brings me to the second issue. Motive. Is the motive of the Cleveland franchise to slander and disparage the American Indian? Absolutely not. They are using a term which has been recognized for over five-hundred years by both ‘colonists’ and Indians alike. The owner of the team in 1948, Bill Veeck commissioned and approved the original Chief Wahoo. Baseball historians agree to disagree often, but most are convinced that the ‘Tribe’ became the ‘Tribe’ because in 1897 it’s starting lineup included Louis Sockalexis, a Penobscot Indian from New Brunswick, Canada. The team became known off-handedly as Tebeau’s Indians, after the owner Patsy Tebeau.[ii]

Because of pressure, the team has already removed Chief Wahoo because it was considered disparaging. I believe the Indian whose features are modeled after, would object if he were here today. Kind of like Aunt Jemima’s grandson being appropriately upset at the food company’s sweeping removal of his grandmother’s picture from their label and marketing. It was, after all, her recipe that got them where they are today. But I digress.

Take a quick look at the photo of the first ‘Native American’ to play professional baseball, our own Louis Sockalexis and yes, it was with the Cleveland franchise as noted above and then glance at Chief Wahoo. If you do not see a resemblance, then one of us needs glasses!

MY LAST WORD

To kowtow to political correctness because of the voices who scream the loudest, although they often do not represent the most, would be a true disservice to the foundation the American Indians, the tribes of the Northwest Territory built for our state. It would be giving up an opportunity to properly acknowledge Louis Sockalexis as the first Indian to play professional ball and it would be a very sad moment for every Tribe fan across the globe.


[i] https://www.legendsofamerica.com/old-northwest-territory/

[ii] https://ftw.usatoday.com/2018/02/chief-wahoo-cleveland-indians-racist-mascot-nickname-louis-sockalexis-mlb

MAKING AMERICA GREAT

July 4th is just a couple of days away. In this year, 2020, insurgents are threatening to disrupt public celebrations of our Independence Day with violence and destruction of property, claiming an end to America as we know it. It comes on the heals of months of sequestering of our people by authorities in response to a pandemic. History will judge whether their actions were positive or negative for our overall health. I expect it will lean toward the latter.

Many are moaning and wringing their hands about how this current craziness will be the end of America. Some say, “Our grandchildren will never know the America we knew but will live in a near 3rd world socialist state.” Maybe they will. God is still in control. But why the handwringing and what are we imagining is bringing America to destruction?

Many point to the growing number of liberal politicians who are no longer wearing American flag pins and are screaming about the crimes of our white generations against not all of the millions of immigrant cultures to our nation, only to the African-American, or as some require for political correctness, Blacks. Honestly, in all my 63 years, I have never seen a black man or woman. I have seen some very dark brown ones and all of those who are called white, have you ever really seen a white person who is not Albino, that is, missing the color pigmentation in their skin? We all have color pigmentation and it is all on a spectrum of browns so it is time to put away even the children’s Jesus song about how He loves His little children, red and yellow, black and white…. If you see any red children running around or yellow ones for that matter, be sure and let someone in the health services know because that cannot be healthy! We are all precious in God’s sight, all of us matter, every shade of brown. But I digress, why are we thinking suddenly America is coming to an end? I bet this is not the first time in our history we thought the same thing!

When the British burned our Capitol and the White House in 1812, Americans must have said, “This is it! This is the end of the American experiment!”

When the South seceded from the Union and Civil War broke out across our nation. Brother against brother, the hatred ran rampant! Many must have said, “This is it! This is the end of the American experiment!”

When World War I erupted and the world was tossed into a melee such as has never been known to the world some must have said, “This is it! This is the end of the world as we know it!”

When the Great Depression brought soup kitchens and bread lines, Dust Bowls and starvation, record unemployment and a list of social welfare programs second only to Communist Russia, someone must have said, “This is it! This is the end of the world as we know it!”

The Civil Rights battles in the 60’s and 70’s in America with riots in every major city, the Vietnam war protests, a President assassinated, a Senator running for president assassinated, a Civil Rights leader assassinated, and the military quelling riots on college campuses, someone must have said, “This is it! This is the end of the world as we know it!”

This is just a brief sketch of some of the things the American experiment has endured. In three days, there is supposed to be a major confrontation on the fields of Gettysburg. It won’t be the first time that has happened. The first time too, it was Americans versus Americans.  We need to remember President Lincoln’s words on the occasion of remembering the first battles there.

“Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated… (referring to a nation “conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”) …can long endure. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

Did you catch the President’s words? He saw coming from the hate and carnage of the Civil War, a new birth of freedom! He was either the greatest optimist who ever lived, and based on the story of his life, I don’t think that is the case, or he saw with a depth few men can see. He saw past the moment, past the darkness to a time of light and rebirth. Maybe we should catch a little of Lincoln’s hope and vision for the future!

As Americans in 2020, we must fight for the cause of liberty and freedom which is America and is part of what makes her great. If we do not fight, if we knuckle under like Germany in the 1930’s when Hitler used identical tactics to those of the Left and Antifa today, then all who have given their last full measure of devotion have died in vain. (Does anyone else find it odd that ‘Antifa’ supposedly anti-fascist are using the same tactics as Hitler’s Brown Shirts?)

Here is something we must understand to prevent any further ‘oh woe is us’ mentality. Today, I was told that a well-known and (in some circles) respected NFL veteran said that Colin Kaepernick is as much a patriot as Pat Tilman. Obviously, that is not only untrue it is disparaging to Pat Tilman’s memory, his service, and his family; but the important point is… Who cares what Bret Farve says? He is just a former football player. His opinion is no better than mine or yours or anyone else’s. Just because he says it, doesn’t make it true. The only thing it does is show Farve’s lack of understanding of patriotism. A quote I read, “If you have never been handed a folded American flag, you can never understand its meaning.” (That does NOT count for the flag Pelosi gave to the family of convicted felon and child abuser George Floyd.)

We are inundated with 24-hour news that makes anything and everything seem like it is of the direst importance. Hollywood rich and noted people from sports or politics make a statement and it seems to rock some people’s worlds. They are one human being who has made a statement. YOUR opinion matters just as much, maybe MORE than theirs! You honor America when you stand-up for YOUR belief in her. It matters not what someone else thinks! The vast majority of AMERICAS believe in AMERICA! I believe that! If you do not think so… imagine this… even with the dent in recruiting due to Covid, statistics indicate that ANNUALLY just about 200,000 young Americans COMPLETE military basic training. That does not count the large number of those who volunteer to join but do not make the grade. It also does not count the thousands that come through ROTC programs and the U.S. military academies. This is just young men and women who VOLUNTARILY choose to take an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States against ALL enemies, foreign and domestic! If you have not witnessed a graduation exercise from military basic training, you need to do so. It will reignite your faith in America! If you added up all those who have rioted, protested, and broken the law in the name of anarchy, you wouldn’t be anywhere near just one year’s number of total recruits. I venture to guess you would not even come close to the 68,000 plus who enlist specifically into the U.S. Army each year!

Individual citizens are key ingredients to making America great. Never forget YOU COUNT. Your opinion counts. Every time you do something to help another, it COUNTS! This is America, neighbors helping neighbors. Local cops and firefighters who attend church with their neighbors and go out at night to keep evil away are what makes AMERICA GREAT!

The single most important, and in the final result, the ONE thing that can make and keep America great is God’s grace toward us as a nation. The Bible tells us that God raises up nations and tears them down. We must, as a nation, turn our hearts toward Him and seek His grace. Those who try to strike God from our government should, themselves be stricken from our government. America is One Nation Under God, Indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for All. Those are not just words; they are a commitment, a Pledge of Allegiance. One this author takes seriously.

HOOT OWL TRAIL REVISITED

Ridin’ the hoot owl trail, one paperback cowboy describes it as riding’ always looking over your shoulder. He warned the younger men to quit the gunslinger life while they could. He said, ‘look at me, 59 I think, and still draggin’ iron…’

Gunslingers late 1800’s

The words come off the page as a melancholy warning or a wistful wish for a life which had not been wasted. The glory American westerns use to portray for the life of the gunfighter, the bank robber and the devil-may-care attitude of those who lived for themselves, traveling and sleeping under the stars waiting for their next big score, stealing from those who had money or gold do not seem to echo true in this account.

True West Magazine describes the ‘hoot owl trail’ or sometimes called the ‘owlhoot trail’ as referring to a man who had left the straight and narrow to become an outlaw… (He) claimed the name came from the Indians in the area using owl hoots to signal danger or someone’s approach.

A snippet from the book by Harry E. Chrisman reads, “The old cowman spent fifty-six of his eighty-three years riding “The Owl Hoot Trail.” He was a cowboy, sheriff and deputy United States marshal, fugitive from law…”

 In my book, “Stretching the Thin Blue Line: Policing America in Times of Heightened Threat” I observed that many ‘old west’ sheriffs and lawmen were also on the other side of the law at times. An example was Wyatt Earp who was at one time wanted for rustling cattle and robbery.

Those who seem destined to ride the Hoot Owl trail often never intended to end up there, regretted having arrived there and lamented not being able to leave there.

It is easy to sit back now and armchair quarterback those who lived over 150 years ago in the United States’ western frontiers which are totally foreign to our way of life today. It is easy to quickly judge such men, shaming them for they should have known better or seeking their downfall as lessor men for their failures.

Today there are dozens of places which have taken the name Owl Hoot Trail and are part of a scenic tourist attraction for a place of solitude and nature hikes or a place for riding ATV’s and off-road competitions. Both are a large leap from the meaning in the 19th century!

What, if anything, should the old west’s understanding of the Hoot Owl Trail mean for us in 2020? Are there any connections from us today to those days when the west was brand new and only inhabited by vast numbers of native tribes and thousands of buffalo? The west was wild in so many ways and now a century and a half later, we claim to be an advanced culture of sophisticated education and the best understanding of mankind since creation. The past few months in U.S. major cities would certainly be a great argument in dispute of such nonsense! If anything, the rampant violence and completely morbid lack of any understanding of history by those who purport to represent an entire race of people in America proves that we are certainly not as evolved, or woke as we think we are and the heart of what made the Hoot Owl Trail so ominous is missing from today’s justice system. ( Although I use the word woke as it is part of the modern parlance, I regard it is simply an example of the left’s ackamarackus verbosity.)

What made the Hoot Owl Trail intolerable and led those who lived it to find it reprehensible and spirit breaking is that one always expected, at any moment, the law, the good-guys, the white hats, the sound of the U.S. Cavalry bugle would ring out and bring them to justice. There seems to be no such sound today. Those who run roughshod over our cities and the citizens within them stroll casually through City Halls and walk a vast red carpet of supposed civic leaders who want to bow and shine their shoes while performing a nearly physically impossible feat of kissing and polishing at the same time. You can’t learn that in yoga class!  

I believe I am like many law-abiding Americans in wishing that an entire squadron of owls or better yet Black Hawks would swoop down on those traitors to America. The hawks could immediately neutralize the threat of those who incite insurrection and demand the overthrow of our government and they would deal out the justice each so deserves. Perhaps then, America can begin to start back on the road to being great again.

Until we eliminate those who overturn our cities, and we expel from Congress and halls of government those who deny that America is a Judeo-Christian nation and we place God back into the heart of everything America stands for, then God will not bless us. He cannot and He should not.

Wake up Mr. President, wake up Mr. and Mrs. America – it is time we re-take that which has been illegally and wrongfully taken from us. No longer can we stand idly by and watch this ruin continue.

In 1867, John Stuart Mill said, “All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” Currently, in America, many good men are doing nothing. As for me, I refuse to continue to do nothing. It is not enough for those like me to stand at the ready to guard our homes when these evil people arrive at our doorstep. We must meet them where they seek to do their next vile acts and stop them before they begin. If we continue to find that our federal government will not utilize the tools at their disposal to eliminate this threat to the American way of life, then the people must act.

I am pleased at the President’s most recent action to assign the U.S. Marshal’s to be the ones developing a strategy to stop the insurrection, specifically against government buildings and historical monuments. I created an acronym for them: F.I.E.R.C.E. Federal Immediate Extremist Radical CHOP Elimination Team.

This team must act and act now. If the threats against Gettysburg are carried out this July 4th without a substantial show of force by the federal government, then the ball has been thrown into the court of the people. Honestly, I have no idea what that will mean or how that will play out, but there must be a line in the sand and that line cannot be erased.

The ancient kings of Israel sought the will of God before meeting an enemy in battle. Often, God was making certain the Israelites, or the nation of Judah, understood who it was that brought the victory; so, they did not become puffed up with pride and lose what God had prepared for them. In the current era, the Church Age as it is known in theological terms, we can take our lessons directly from the teachings of the Apostles. Paul in writing to the church at Rome declared the following:  

“Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil. Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience’ sake.” (Romans 13:1-5)

Standing for the Constitution of the United States against enemies of the United States is the sworn duty of every American citizen. Those who incite insurrection and the defunding of police to promote anarchy are enemies of the United States. I believe that God will honor those whose hearts are right with Him, who seek His peace about any actions they might take and that all our actions and all our leaders should be covered in prayer. God knows our hearts, our motivations. It is true that Christians are citizens of His kingdom and political patriotism is second to that citizenship However, Jesus has also clearly been recorded as saying, Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the sons of God. (Matthew 5:9) Peace makers, peace officers, sometimes must use legitimate force to bring about peace and to sustain it.

Matthew 5:9

May God bless America. May America bless God!

TRUST ME

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. (Psalm 19:1) (1)

Can anyone look upon such a morning sky and not utter a simple exclamation at its beauty?  The photo was taken by a friend of mine at his fishing cabin in up-state New York on 22 June 2020.

 God’s word tells us how He loves his creation and takes great joy in sharing it with we who are also part of His creation.

Recently my grandchildren, accompanied by their mother and others were marveling at the vast number of toads and frogs which had inundated our pond. The first, the toads who remain in the woods come to the pond one time a year for the frenzy of procreation. Just about a week later the frogs who spend most of their lives on or in the pond have their turn to invade the shallow areas of the pond and take their turn at the creation cavalcade! Thousands of tiny amphibious critters were everywhere! I couldn’t help but think of what it must have been like in Egypt so many years ago! During the week, I removed the cushion off an outside chair before the rain came and found a tiny toad sleeping peacefully between the two sections of fabric. A few days later, after the rain, I unrolled my hammock planning for a mid-day nap. Rolled up inside was an adult size toad, also enjoying a mid-day nap! I’ll be the first to admit that the beauty of the sky pictured here is thousands of times more beautiful than either of those toads or any of the hundreds my grandchildren found!

However, the complexity of their instinct: when to leave the woods, where to go, what to do and then the ‘babies’ left to fend for themselves are to find their way back to the woods at the right time and at the right place. Intelligent design? A better descriptor is Divine Creator God.

The disciples were under a great deal of pressure and Jesus was working on preparing them for their ministry. He said to them in a passage recorded by Matthew, “Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.”(2) Jesus went on to say, “But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.”(3) For some of us that is a more daunting task than others, especially given the ravages of time!

Two sparrows sold for a cent

What Jesus was trying to get them to understand was how very deeply God, the divine Creator of the universe, loves us so much. He counts every star. He has named each one of them. (4) Can we even begin to grasp how many stars there are?

Hubble Telescope view of stars

Is it likely or is it even possible that all of the stress and the hard times you may be going through now, have gone through in the past, or are yet to go through are outside God’s caring reach and His love for you?

I know what some may be thinking. If He loves me so much or cares about my need for a job, my heartache over a failed relationship, my struggle with money that runs out before the month does, my children who are struggling so hard with life or about those little ones fighting cancer and seem to be all alone, why doesn’t He just fix it?

I’m in my sixties. I’ve had a full life with lots of experiences and I’ve seen things both in police work and in ministry that I simply cannot explain outside the divine nature, the miracles of God. I hold both a Master of Ministry degree and a Doctor of Ministry degree, that’s a lot of study and, with all that, I can now share with you the best theological answer I can offer. I don’t know.

That wasn’t a lot of help, was it?

Let me share with you what God said to Job when he asked God a similar question. Job was, I suspect, dealing with more bovine bullion than probably any person in history. Not only that, according to God’s Word, Job was a righteous man. He did what God expected of him and still everything, and I mean everything, came crashing down around him. Job’s wife was so hurt, she came at Job one day and here is what the Bible reports she said. “Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die!” (5) That is a bit intense. But finally, it all got the best of Job and he let fly with his questions.

Here is what God said to Job. Let me set the stage because, I don’t know about all of you but, having God, the all-powerful, all knowing, eternal Master of the Universe speak to me one on one would be, on the average day, more than a little bit of tense! This was in what we call the Old Testament days, or the days before the Holy Spirit indwelt believers. We have much more the ability to confer with God daily as we talk to Him in prayer. No one I know, however, has had God answer back in a voice to be heard. So, what is the first thing that Job hears from God?

“Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?“Now gird up your loins like a man, and I will ask you, and you instruct Me! (6)

If Job was not previously fearful in hearing directly from God, these first two sentences should have put Job in, uh-oh mode! The question and statement by God in these verses put me in mind of being in military basic training and you mess up very badly! Suddenly the DI who strangely looks exactly like R. Lee Ermey is standing over you about to do the things to you he promised he would do on Day 1 if you messed up this bad.

R. Lee Ermey – http://www.theguardian.com

“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you [a]have understanding, “Or who enclosed the sea with doors when, bursting forth, it went out from the womb; “Have you [c]ever in your life commanded the morning, And caused the dawn to know its place, “Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades, Or loose the cords of Orion?” (7)

All of these are designed to get Job to realize he really did not understand or have any power to control anything in his life and God is the only one in control. It was not to put it in Job’s face how small he was or how little control he had. God was trying to convince Job to trust Him. Job would eventually have so many wonderful things in his life. Those new things would not replace the family he lost or erase the pain of their deaths, but still God was in control and had great things in store for Job.

God tells us in one of my favorite verses, Jeremiah 29:11

“For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.”(8)

The next time you see something truly amazing in God’s creation, know that it is God whispering to you, Trust Me.

(1) Psalm 119:1 (NASB)

[2] Matthew 12:29 (NASB)

[3] Matthew 12:30 (NASB)

[4] Psalm 147:4 (NASB)

(5) Job 2:9 (NASB)

[6] Job 38:2 (NASB)

(7) Job 38:31 (NASB)

[8] Jeremiah 29:11 (NASB)

FENCES

This is the story of three men and a chicken. All four are in somewhat similar circumstances and, it appears, only the chicken understands it. Just to be fair, the chicken is probably the best suited to clearly grasp the nature of their dilemma and she’ll be the one who will help the others understand. The chicken’s name is Ginger. The names of the other three should probably best be pseudonyms to protect their identity. Out of respect to the three men, and deference to their stations in life, we shall name them Larry, Curly and Moe with appropriate apologies to others of the same name who are iconic figures in American history. Ginger does not mind us using her real name as she has been quite vocal about what she sees as a trap to which all too many have succumbed. Particularly now, the trap looms ever larger.

CHICKEN RUN

In the movie, Chicken Run, Mel Gibson plays the part of a lone-range rooster accidentally fallen into a large chicken farm whose grounds and the plot are purposely reminiscent of The Great Escape staring a dozen plus iconic actors including Steve McQueen, Richard Attenborough and Charles Bronson. In Chicken Run, Ginger is voiced by English actress Julia Sawalha.

The numerous escape attempts of the chickens are continually thwarted by the hostile farmer and his wife, the primary nemesis who desires to profit by turning all the chickens into pot pies rather than egg producers. When frustration reaches its peak, one chicken proposes that the one thing they haven’t tried is not trying to escape. Ginger responds, ‘so laying eggs all your life and when you can’t lay anymore being plucked, tucked and roasted is good enough for you?’ She tries to explain to them that the fences which keep them incarcerated until their demise is not the wire surrounding the farm but the fences holding them in are in their minds. They are captive of their own inability to see anything beyond their circumstance.

Obviously, Larry, Curly and Moe are not sitting out their lives in a chicken farm, having their egg production tracked each day awaiting their turn for the frying pan and they don’t need worry about being stuffed into a chicken pot pie. What is on their horizon? When we understand their lot in life, the options of a fryer or a pot pie might be more positive. At least from a human perspective.

Larry has had a good life. He is blessed with a forbearing wife, two grown and well-adjusted children, a home that is warm in the winter and cool enough in the summer with enough food on the table to satisfy his daily needs. It is not certain which way things happened, either he hit 70 or 70 hit him. By the decade that was his sixties, medical issues and complications made him barely able to move, having difficulty breathing and more physical maladies the result of his own lifelong bad habits. Then came the dementia. A body that barely works anyway and now a mind that won’t allow him to remember what he did the hour before. The things he enjoyed the most, cars particularly, classics and unique ones were a passion. Now, he probably couldn’t tell you a Ford F-350 Diesel from a Prius. His fences are high, and he is about as trapped as one can be on this mortal plain.

Moe is… well, if there is a sadder case than Larry, it’s Moe. A young man, just in his forties, is truly surrounded by fences. Tall, steel, razor wire, and electrified with cameras, alarm systems and an abundance of armed guards always within reach. He is where he is because of his own bad choices. Another word for bad choices is crimes and still another, sin. One can certainly argue the physical abuse Larry put his body through with his predilection to cigars, cigarettes… nicotine of all sorts can be sin when it is purposely, knowingly inflicting damage to the body which, for a Christian is to be the temple of the Holy Spirit, the residing place of the third person of the Trinity. There remains, however, in human terms a definite line between such sins and those which bring a person before a trial judge and to have themselves remanded to custody for, in Moe’s case, 15 years. Moe can most readily adapt himself to Ginger’s philosophy of fences and restrictions. Although locked up physically, Moe is free to learn, to think, communicate, to grow as a person. Larry has lost that, minus some small glimpses of reality which appear for a moment or two and then disappear into that fog which seems to envelope every waking minute. Although he has had his setbacks, Moe has done well at seeking to grow, to learn and although he has lost every relationship which meant anything to him outside those fences, he has found ways to build on his relationship with Christ.

And then there is Curly. Curly had an adult life that could best be described as turbulent. If anyone is a victim of their own bad choices and moments of brainless action it’s him. He has a heart of gold, callused over time to the point it is brittle, if not broken. Curly is a guy who is incredibly bright and well-liked, admired by some professionally, despised by those who saw his skills as a threat to their own plans. Devoted to serving his community, wherever he was residing, he stood in harm’s way many times to make a difference, often for people who couldn’t care less. But there he stood. Time and despair seemed to walk together with him. Eventually his only real connection to anything was through his wife who was, at best, reclusive and numb to emotion, mostly due to her own long and difficult journey. Fate dealt their hands almost simultaneously, both experiencing debilitating strokes leading them to share a room in a nursing home. There was to be no retrieval for her of any life outside long-term palliative care though Curly could have worked through difficult rehab and gained a modicum of functionality. If he did, though, it would mean leaving her side; so, he refused. Soon enough, death took her but Curly’s non-compliance with therapy left him bed-ridden and his fences were in place. A mind that works, a body that doesn’t. Curly would tell you he would make the same choice again and so, now, minus any unforeseen physical issue, he passes each year, now into his mid-seventies, waiting for his turn to slip the surly bonds of earth. His fence is partially self-built but the height of it depends on how he chooses to use, or not use, each new day with which he is gifted.

The Apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the church at Corinth when everything else in this world is stripped away, three things remain, faith, hope, and love.[i]

Larry is so blessed to still have those who love him surrounding him. He, long ago declared his faith in Christ and laid there the foundation for his hope. I have no doubt where Larry will be when he passes from this earth to the eternity beyond. There, his health will be whole, his mind will be free, and his salty skepticism will be put away in the amazing and wondrous presence of the Savior he loves. They story of Larry reminds me that we never know when suddenly there will be fences encircling us. Thankfully, Larry was prepared long before the fences went up, so it is clear where his hope lies. A good reminder for all of us to not go into even the next day of our lives unprepared for the eternity that is absolutely 100 percent certain to come.

Moe has one thing that so many of us outside his type of fences do not have. Moe has a deep, life-changing, totally inspiring understanding of God’s grace and forgiveness. He has found ways to break the shackles that chained him, long before he ever wore his first set of handcuffs. Those shackles of sin and despair are swallowed up by the grace Moe sees as real every day of his life. He has had countless opportunities to do what Peter admonished the believers in the first century and still for followers of Christ today to do. He wrote, “be ready always to give an answer to every man who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you.”[ii] Moe can only begin to anticipate what kind of fences will try to encircle him when his time for release finally comes, but he can carry with him the strength he has gained while growing strong in the Lord during his time behind the current fences he faces. Eventually, Moe will have the joy of meeting in heaven all those to whom he made a difference by sharing his reason for hope. I expect the line will be a long one.

Ives, the Mole, Piglet

Finally, Curly. In the movie, The Great Escape, one Scottish officer named Ives, a small man they lovingly called, Piglet, also nick-named the Mole, went wire-happy. He was on the brink of a breakdown clearly before news came of a huge setback in the escape plan as the Nazi’s found their primary escape tunnel. Unable to bear it, Piglet, played by Angus Lennie, ran straight for the wire fence and began to climb; the armed guards did what everyone knew they would and Piglet ended his time as a prisoner of war the only way he knew how. The opposite of becoming wire happy is to resign yourself to your circumstance and lay down your cards, choosing to fold rather than to play at all. This is perhaps the saddest of the three. There are so many things which could be part of Curly’s days. Though bed fast, he has the ability to read and write, to share stories, to send greetings, to take to heart the condition of others much worse off than he in the nursing home and send notes and cards and, more importantly, be a prayer warrior for them. But resigned to watching the hours go by through the flickering of a TV screen, lost in the vast emptiness of a near non-existence, that truly reflects the thinking of the hen named Bunty, voiced by Imelda Staunton, who pointed out that they hadn’t tried not trying to escape. (Bunty is pictured in the Chicken Run picture, wearing the blue bead necklace with her hand in the air. You didn’t know chickens have hands? You have much to learn from this movie!)

Our prayers continue to be with Curly that a fire will reignite and he and those around him will be warmed by its glow.

Ginger

That brings us back around to Ginger. Shortly after her fences speech, she confidently walked out of the coop and then, when alone began to cry. It was then, at her lowest point with the loss of support of friends, the sadness of trying to shoulder the whole responsibility for getting all the chickens to freedom that help came and hope was reignited. Ginger then made a common mistake. She placed all her hope in another person, or in this case, another chicken – a rooster. Humans, just like Rocky the Rooster, voiced by Mel Gibson, will disappoint us, betray us even. There is only One with whom we can place our hope and that is Jesus Christ. He said, “I will never leave you or forsake you.”[iii] In Him is true hope for today, tomorrow and for eternity. He’s not a magic genie, you rub the lamp and get your three wishes. He said there will be hard times but those are the times when you can sense His presence the best. Focus your eyes on what He wants for you and you will never be disappointed. Eventually Ginger and her entire bevy of chickens, with Rocky and Fowler, an old rooster, military veteran – poultry division –voiced by Benjamin Withrow were able to succeed, but the group had to become inspired again, recommit to the plan. It was in the mud, the mess of despair where a glimmer of hope was shining.

Fowler

Do you know a Larry, a Moe or a Curly? Maybe you know a Ginger who tries to carry all the load herself. What can you do, right now, today, to encourage them? You have the option of reading this and to say, Yep, I should do something, then go on about your day, oblivious to the Larry, Moe, Curly and Gingers all around you. It isn’t your job to fix all of them; but you can encourage the ones with whom you are familiar. King Solomon, the wisest man ever born wrote:

Two are better than one,
    because they have a good return for their labor:
10 If either of them falls down,
    one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
    and has no one to help them up.
11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
    But how can one keep warm alone?
12 Though one may be overpowered,
    two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.[iv]

The last line, a deviation from the two’s of the verse seems oddly placed. However, two friends, working together and following Christ’s plan for their lives, is a cord of three strands. Such a cord is strong enough to carry you through.

Three Stooges, 1937 L to R Larry, Curly, Moe

The chickens under Ginger’s care were unable to focus on anything but their trapped circumstances. They needed to stop looking around at the fences and start looking up to the hope that was within reach. Be an encourager for the stooges God brings across your path, and I say that with the greatest admiration for Larry Fein, Moe and Curly Howard.

May God richly bless you as you reach out to those around you trapped behind a fence.


[i] 1 Corinthians 13:13

[ii] 1 Peter 3:15

[iii] Hebrews 13:5

[iv] Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

REALITY CHECK

THE ANSWER KEY to the REALITY CHECK:

ANSWER KEY:  1. a  2. c  3. d  4. TRUE  5. TRUE

Source: Carlson, Tucker “Is America Being Torn Apart by a Total, but Complete Provable Lie? Fox News – STATISTICS: Washington POST

The following is a copy of an article by Tucker Carlson – Fox News Tucker Carlson Monologue June 4 2020. The statistics are from the Washington POST.

Of the 802 shootings in which the race of the police officer and the suspect was noted, 371 of those killed were white, 236 were black. The vast majority of those killed were not, in fact, unarmedthe vast majority were armed. And African-American suspects were significantly more likely to have a deadly weapon than white suspects, yet more white suspects were killed.

Overall, there were a total of precisely 10 cases in the United States last year, according to The Washington Post, in which unarmed African- Americans were fatally shot by the police. There were nine men and one woman.

Now, as we said, a lot is at stake. The country is at stake. So we want to take the time now to go through these case by case, into the specifics.

The first was a man called Channara Pheap. He was killed by a Knoxville police officer called Dylan Williams. According to Williams, Pheap attacked him, choked him and then used a taser on him — the suspect on the police officer before the officer shot him. Five eyewitnesses corroborated the officer’s claim, and the officer was not charged.

The second case concerns a man called Marcus McVeigh. He was by any description a career criminal from San Angelo, Texas. He had been convicted of aggravated assault, assault on a public servant and organized criminal activity. At the time he was killed, he was wanted on drug dealing charges. The Texas State trooper pulled him over. McVeigh fled in his car, then he fled on foot into the woods. There he fought with the trooper and was shot and killed. The officer was not charged in that case.

Marzua Scott assaulted a shop employee. When a female police officer arrived and ordered the suspect toward her car, he instead charged her and knocked her to the ground. At that point, she shot and killed him. The entire incident was caught on body camera. The officer was not charged.

Ryan Twyman was being approached by two LA County deputies when he backed into one of them with his vehicle. The deputy was caught in the car door. He and his partner opened fire. The deputies were not charged in that case.

Melvin Watkins of East Baton Rouge, La. shot by a deputy after he allegedly drove his car toward the deputy at high speed. The deputy was not charged.

Isaiah Lewis, meanwhile, wasn’t just unarmed, he was completely naked. Williams broke into a house and then attacked a police officer. The police tased Williams, but he kept coming at them and attacking. The officer shot him. They were not charged.

Atatiana Jefferson was shot by a Fort Worth deputy called Aaron Dean. A neighbor had called a non-emergency number after seeing Jefferson’s door open, thinking something might be wrong. Police arrived. Jefferson saw them approach from a window and was holding a gun at the time.

According to body camera footage, the officer shot Jefferson within seconds. That officer has been charged with homicide.

Christopher Whitfield was shot and killed in a place called Ethel, La. He had robbed a gas station. Deputy Glenn Sims said his gun discharged accidentally while grappling with Whitfield. Sims, who is black himself, was not charged in that killing.

Kevin Mason was shot by police during a multi-hour standoff. Well, Mason turned out not to have a gun. Mason claimed to have a gun, claimed to be armed and vowed to kill police with it. They believed him. Mason had been in a shootout with police years before.

And finally, the tenth case concerns Gregory Griffin. He was shot during a car chase. An officer called Giovanni Crespo claimed he saw someone pointing a gun at him. Later, a gun was in fact found inside the vehicle, and yet Officer Crespo was charged anyway with aggravated manslaughter.

Those are the facts. That is the entire list from 2019, last year — 10 deaths. In five deaths, an officer was attacked just before the shooting occurred. That is not disputed.

One allegedly was an accident. That leaves a total of four deaths during a pursuit or in a standoff. So out of four, in two of those cases — and fully half — the officer was criminally charged. Is it possible that more of these officers should have been charged? Of course, it’s possible. Justice is not always served, that’s for sure.

Video

But either way, this is a very small number in a country of 325 million people. This is not genocide. It’s not even close to genocide. It is laughable to suggest it is.

In fact, the number of police killings is dropping. In 2015, during Barack Obama’s presidency, 38 unarmed black Americans and 32 whites were slain by police. Overall totals have fallen since then, and they have fallen far more dramatically for African-American men.

Last year was the safest year for unarmed suspects since The Washington Post begin tracking police shootings. It was the safest year for both white and black suspects.

At the same time, this country remains a dangerous place for police officers. Forty-eight of them were murdered in 2019 according to FBI data. That’s more than the number of unarmed suspects killed of all races.

NORMAL

Alfred E. Newman MAD Magazine courtesy USA Today

A social media pass-along that was popular about four years ago is making its rounds again. I want to gratefully acknowledge the work of the original author and add my own perspective to it. The piece explains how the fake news and social media worlds have tried to redefine me. (That would be the corporate ‘me’ – all of us white, American, over-60 types.) 

I will tell you up front I reject the new definitions and if you read to the end I’ll explain why. I still enjoy what he wrote because it is poignant and thought provoking.  I’ll send a note of regrets to the author of the original monograph if I ever learn who it is because what he wrote is well done. I just think I need to add some qualifiers of my own.  So here goes. My additions are italicized. 

I Used to Be A Normal Person and I think I still am mostly normal, except when I make a joke and my young grandchildren just shake their heads or roll their eyes!  

As a man, I used to think I was pretty much just a regular person, but I was born white, into a two-parent household which now, whether I like it or not, some define me as “Privileged”, a racist & responsible for slavery. Some say tax dollars should be taken from those who never owned slaves to pay reparations to those who never were slaves. The logic in that escapes me. 

I am a fiscal & moral conservative, which by today’s standards, has folks try to define me a fascist because I plan, budget & support myself. I assume that has to do with fascism’s strict regimentation of society and the economy, but the rest of the connection escapes me completely. 

Advantages of church as family

I went to High School, paid my way thru college, earned a degree, & have always held a job. But I now find out that these same folks try to tell me I’m not here because I earned it, but because I was “advantaged.” I suppose I was advantaged that I lived in a country that permitted me to get an education if I chose to continue, even if I had to pay for it after the government gave me 12 or 13 years of ‘free education’. I was advantaged because I had parents who taught me to earn what I desired and not expect it  be given to me and I saw my parents scrimp and save, sometimes ‘borrowing’ from our allowance in our piggy banks to buy milk a few days before their own pay day even when they were both working long hours to make ‘ends meet’. I always saw them pay back that which they ‘borrowed’ from us, too. I was advantaged because I had parents who loved me enough to go with me to church, often three times a week, regardless of the weather. So, to those who claim I was ‘advantaged’ – you are sort of correct but not in the way you think.  

I am heterosexual, which according to some “gay” folks, now makes me a homophobe. In inserted the word ‘some’ because to say here, that all gay persons would think of me as a homophobe because I am heterosexual is as prejudiced and demeaning to all gays as it is to all non-gays. We may not always think and act as individuals, but we are responsible for what we think and do as an individual and should not be cast into any mass definition no matter what side of the issue one finds themselves 

I am not a Muslim, which now labels me as an infidel. If the actual definition of infidel is one who does not believe in the god of Mohammad, then I accept that moniker gladly. Does it mean I hate those who define themselves as Muslims? No, absolutely not! I absolutely adore and love some who profess the Muslim faith, or have it as their heritage, with whom I shared many life experiences. I long to see them again and I pray for them very frequently. Some of them are among the finest people I have known. 

I believe in the 2nd Amendment, which pushes others to label me a Defacto member of the “vast NRA gun lobby” For many reasons I am a member of the NRA but I fight against and speak strongly against some of the things I disagree with in the organization. The NRA does much good; but they do not speak for me, nor does anyone else speak for me, excepting, the representatives who have been elected by majority vote to do so. Still, to those I regularly make my singular opinions known. My voice is my own, and if I do not choose to use it, the fault is mine not the systems’.  

I am older than 60, who some would say makes me a useless person who doesn’t understand Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. That, to quote a television personality of the 1970’s, is ‘straight off the stable floor’. (Col. Potter, M*A*S*H played by Henry Morgan) 

Harry Morgan as Col. Sherman Potter, MASH 4077

I think & I reason, and I doubt much of what the “mainstream” media tells me, which makes me a “Right-wing conspiracy nut” according to people whose opinions mean nothing to me. 

I am proud of my heritage & our inclusive American culture, making me a xenophobe. Having spent over fifteen years ministering across Central and Eastern Europe, the Mediterranean, the Balkans, and the Near East while also having an ‘adopted’ Filipino daughter and her family, also numbered in my grandchildren, that too is buffalo bagels.  

I believe in hard work, fair play, & fair compensation according to each individual’s merits, which today some say makes me an anti-socialist. I am against socialism as a political platform alongside Communism. I am also against socialism as an economic theory. I am for the caring for those who are least able to care for themselves, particularly widows, orphans and the infirm. It is the responsibility of individuals, families and the universal church, however, to provide for their care and not the ‘government’ I.e. taxpayer. If family members would meet their responsibilities to the best of their abilities and the local churches would heed the command of Christ to care for those, particularly those of the household of faith, rather than expecting the government to provide the safety net for all things; then the high prices of prescriptions and health care could be driven by the economic forces responsive to a capitalist structure rather than a no-price-is-too-high welfare system. 

I believe our system guarantees freedom of effort – not freedom of outcome or subsidies which must make me according to some a borderline sociopath. Those who truly know me, know I am not ‘borderline’ anything. I am either all in or not at all. If I were truly a sociopath, there would be no question!  

I believe in the defense & protection of America for & by all citizens, now causing me to be defined as a militant. Former President Obama  became infamous for saying about those of us in the mid-west, “They get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.” Thus, we become either considered militant or just plain bitter. I saw an interesting quote recently concerning gun control. It said, to the effect of, “There are 393 million gun-owners in America. If we were the problem, you’d know it.” Bitter Militants would be a force with which a left-wing socialist dare not reckon.  

Redefining Patriot?

I am proud of our flag, what it stands for and the many who died to let it fly, so I stand & salute during our National Anthem – so I must be a racist according to this myth woven by the ignorant unknown mass of society.  

Here the original author wrote using sarcasm to make his point:  

Please help me come to terms with the new me because I’m just not sure who I am anymore! 

Of course, that isn’t true, or it wouldn’t be sarcasm. But in all honesty, I know exactly who I am and my sixty plus years so far have helped me to be more certain of it than ever. (This is the part I promised at the beginning). 

I am a child of the One true God, creator of heaven and earth, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The triune God who exists from eternity past and was not created but is Creator who exists as One God in three persons, God the Father, God the Son-Jesus Christ who came as Messiah and lived a sinless life, was crucified, buried and resurrected completing payment for the sins of all mankind giving grace for forgiveness to all who believe and repent, who reigns on high for evermore, and God the Holy Spirit who indwells every born-again believer sanctifying them as they grow in their Christian walk and calls the unredeemed allowing those who are dead in their sins to know their sin condition and leads them to repentance. I am not perfect but am being made complete. I am positionally already in heaven so I need never doubt or question what will become of me when I die.  

The original author wrote: 

It all took place over the last 8 years of Socialist Democratic political control; (I believe he is referring to the Obama administration) it’s time to finally get rid of these fools. (He is referring to the quantifying of persons by some obtuse methods as he lists above. I’d prefer to be more specific on who to ‘get rid of’ and if he wants to use the term fool, I’ll let him, but I might have another term I’d use!)  

He concludes in great sarcastic form 

If all this nonsense wasn’t enough to deal with, now I don’t even know which restroom to use… and I gotta go more FREQUENTLY! 

FAITH FAMILY LEGACY

FAITH FAMILY LEGACY

Not long ago, I came across photos of my son Daniel’s swearing-in ceremony as a police officer for the City of Louisville, Ohio, the same department from which I retired in 1998. Among the photos was one with my elder brother, Rodney who also spent decades working as a law enforcement officer. It was through spending time with Rod I knew I would love to spend my life, if God would allow, as a cop. Such choices are the things from which legacies are born. However, there are legacies beyond those of career paths. Such legacies are much deeper, stronger, and more life anchoring for when the harsh winds of reality blow and seek to crush your spirit.

Officer Daniel and Chief Ross Riggs

Before we venture to those which best sustain us, let’s first look at another major legacy for many, military service. Daniel is creating a 501c3. It began with his vision to help other veterans who, either through service-related injuries or the ravages of time, can no longer completely do for themselves. As a veteran with a service disability, he knows what it means to work through the therapy and be able to pursue your life’s work regardless of the injuries. Permanently scarred and with partial hearing loss, he was still able to qualify for his law enforcement officer commission. Though serving his community through the police department, he felt called to serve outside law enforcement in ways he could continue to serve others. He chose to specifically serve veterans which expanded into serving any first responders. Eventually the vision included anyone no longer capable of doing some of the basic things in life for themselves whether it is cleaning gutters, building a wheelchair ramp, installing furnace filters or just being with them during tough times. Daniel named the company Legacy of Honor stemming from the service of my father in the U.S. Navy in WWII, my USAFR service beginning in the Vietnam era and extending toward the ‘end’ of the Cold War and then his own service with the U.S. Army 82nd Airborne. Each was marked by a specific event.

My father’s ship, PC1261, was the first ship sunk on D-Day during the Normandy landings. Not, typically the kind of distinction any shipmate wanted to have. A third of the ship’s crew was lost to the cold water of the English Channel. The day I took the oath of enlistment was the day Saigon fell, again not the most auspicious of occasions. The day Daniel was taking the oath, the entire recruiting center stopped mid-ceremony to listen to the news that Osama Bin Laden had been taken out by U.S. special forces. The place erupted in cheers. Such events are a part of legacies. But still there is something much deeper and certainly less commonly noted, on the other side of the coin with family legacies.

There was a poem about a father handing his son his family name, unsoiled from the previous generations now his to carry and keep for his own son someday. It makes for a great poem but anyone who believes there are perfect families, unspoiled legacies, and fairytale endings of happily ever after either ignores reality or seeks to rewrite it. The title of this piece is Faith Family Legacy and it is written with a specific order in mind.

My father shared his faith in Christ with his sons the only way he knew how. Not open for heartfelt talks, my dad shared things by his actions. His love of Christ was evident and even stories I heard as a kid when we would attend a PC1261 survivors’ reunions reinforced the Christian walk our dad professed.

As a dad, I shared my faith in Christ with my children and even though they saw first-hand an imperfect man who failed them at times, leaving each their own scars; they saw someone who was carried by God’s grace many more times than once. Each of our children have professed faith in Christ and the glory in such a wondrous chain of events affirms the Holy Spirit acting in their lives and I praise God for His work in them. Now our prayers are for the Holy Spirit to continue to work in the lives of the next generation. Already three of our twelve grandchildren have committed to ask Christ to save them and to lead them throughout their life journey. Passing along faith, as in accepting Christ as Savior and depending on God for every day, knowing that nothing is out of His control is a faith legacy.

It has taken decades, over six of them to be exact, to begin to learn that family legacies are not about perfect families, noble deeds done in view of the world or what your job title is. The more families I get to know deeply, the more obvious it is there is no perfect family. Every individual has their own warts and every family has struggles and victories, painful times, and joy. Life is a mixed bag. Forest Gump is quoted as saying, ‘Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get.’ Some families’ boxes have more nuts in them than others!

Courtesy RSNhope.org, Amanda Ratz

A movie my wife and I watched the other day reminded me that life is never guaranteed. One day we will exit it, that is the one certain thing. What legacy will any of us leave behind? As much as I appreciate what Daniel is doing for veterans and the military and police legacies, each of my children are creating legacies of their own in the professional world. Allow me to list them. The work Heidi is doing as a nurse and in the medical management world, all that Sarah is doing in helping individuals prepare for their financial futures,  the career Suzanne has in traffic safety and more, and Cyd as an amazing care-giver, teacher and advocate where her love shines through in everything she does, each is a legacy of its own. Every opportunity through which we help someone else can make an impact for Christ’s kingdom. I am so proud of each of them. Every job or role we have in life can be, and should be, a ministry for Christ.

The legacy which begins with a gift to every parent is the one we have for our children and grandchildren in helping them develop their own faith in Christ. The Bible makes it clear that each child belongs to God. They are His and He has entrusted them to us for a season to raise them ‘in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.’ The Bible records Christ’s own childhood as He grew in wisdom and stature and favor with God and man.  

Faith is what God also gifts to us and He will provide it in as much an abundance as we need. Perhaps you may remember the story of the widow who came to Elisha because she had only a little oil left and was about to starve. (2 Kings 4) He instructed her to get as many pots as she could find, borrow pots from other and just bring every pot she could. Then, she was to begin pouring what oil she had left into one of the posts. She kept pouring and pouring and the oil just kept flowing. When her last pot was full, the oil stopped. Had she gotten more pots; she would have received more. We can have as much faith as we will take. God is willing to give us faith with which we can move mountains, but we must believe! Belief is also a gift from God. In fact, there is nothing we can possibly have in this world which is not gifted to us by God. Your next breath would not come if God said, ‘No more.’

Paul wrote, “These three remain, Faith, Hope and Love, the greatest of these is love.” Faith without love is not faith. Hope without faith and love is hopeless.

Recently, I walked past a young man, probably in his twenties. He was wearing a leather jacket emblazoned on the back were these words encircling a satanic star. “I pledge allegiance to me” “I am the master of my fate” “I am god” and several more. At this point, my best option is to pray for that young man, though I do not know his name, God does. This man would tell you he has faith; but that faith is in himself. If he has a family, this man is creating a legacy which leads to destruction. What a horrific thought and how it compels me to pray not just for him but for his children, if he has any.  

The legacy we leave when it is our turn to slip the surly bonds of earth, as John G. Magee Jr. wrote, what remains behind whether for good or bad, will be our legacy. Having worked many funerals as part of a previous employment, it was easy to see through the service and those who attended, and even the feel of the service what kind of legacy was left behind.

Take the time today to consider your legacy. It isn’t about having the perfect family, the best job, the most money. It is about those around you having been shown through your life, the love of Christ. No, we aren’t perfect. and we will screw things up. Yes, we all have baggage from the past we really need to shed before moving on. We do not know when our ability to keep writing on our legacy will come to an end. Let us commit to making sure the draft copy is worth publishing when we can revise it no more.