Like a lot of Americans, I have been intrigued with justice the last two years – especially racial justice.  Not the first time, but more intently than in a long time.  Then, of course, the two infamous “self-defense” trials for Kyle Rittenhouse and the killing of Ahmaud Arbery.  And like a lot of Americans, I am not fully satisfied with the justice had.

Let me acknowledge here at the start that my opinion expressed here is not only my own and no one else’s, it has little value, I think, and probably isn’t worth your time to read.  My understanding of the law is limited, for one thing, and not my main thrust, on the other.  So, I encourage you to click off now.  However, I still feel compelled to process my thoughts and feelings, and if you want to indulge that, you are welcome to stay.

It so happens, there is a “self-defense” case brewing in Lubbock right now which is teasing national headlines, but since the killing occurred in a conflict between two white men, it may not prove to be as big as the others.  Still, it is a shooting caught on video, very disturbing, and complicated since one of the participants is a close relative to a sitting judge.

So, what is it I want to say?

I am thinking about JUSTICE as it is had with regard to these recent cases through a lens of Christian faith, personal feelings, and maybe even a little “common sense” – if there is such a thing.

First off, whether talking about Rittenhouse or McMichael/Bryan, not only am I dissatisfied with the outcome (at least in part), but I didn’t see an option available to the courts and juries where I could have been satisfied.

I really chafed at the verdict for Rittenhouse especially.  I have sat on a jury in a “self-defense” case before, one where that jury also acquitted the defendant because when we interpreted the law (the previously agreed upon rules for the “game of life”) he acted within its limits.  His actions in killing were not in any other way justifiable.  Not even a little!  That dumb law gave so much latitude that his “self-defense” looked for all the world like one man hunting down another after knocking off his cowboy hat!

I have long chafed at that verdict too, but I did come to a consensus with the other jurors regarding it.  So, I “understand.”  

But did that make our community better?  Was that really justice?  How about in the eyes of God???

But then Rittenhouse, as the jury decided, fired on people who physically and verbally threatened him.  It was caught on video, and at those points where the camera rolled, sure enough, he fired in “self-defense.”  He had no business carrying that gun into that situation, of course – already a legal problem for a 17-year-old.  Already a stupid idea for the wise.  Already a matter of vanity, as the court showed since he bought that particular weapon so he could look cool.  I am not satisfied that these observations didn’t lead to the death of two and the severe injury of another.

But on the other side of the coin, I also don’t see life in prison (the option the jury was asked to consider) of a young man full of youthful indiscretion as a fitting alternative to the justice we got.  This wasn’t premeditated murder!  It was a stupid kid having a stupid moment.  Costly!  Yes, but something we can all grow from too.

He also was, for those on the scene that night, an active shooter who someone needed to stop!  Even if you disagree with this observation, you really should consider how close Rittenhouse comes to that.  So close in fact that his case fairly raises red flags about future active shooter events.  After this verdict, it appears that if I am out in public and shots are fired, I need to run up to the nearest armed gunman and consult with him whether he is a “good guy with a gun” or the bad guy, AND probably need to take his word for it rather than try to disarm him.  Perhaps we need a law that says you can’t be the “good guy” in an active shooter situation unless you wear a white hat!

Ever heard of the “fog of war”?  If everyone at the protest is armed when one of these guns goes off, and if they all respond with “shoot first and ask questions later,” half the post office will die from friendly fire in a “self-defense”!

Look.  I grew up around guns, and I don’t have some liberal agenda to disarm everyone willy-nilly, but when I was a kid there used to be such a thing as “common sense.”

Surely, Rittenhouse is guilty of something.  The cost of human life for his stupidity begs to be held to account.  Not life in prison, in my view, but some sort of creative community service and maybe at least some jail time.  And anyway, those were some intense tears he squeezed out in his testimony, which begs for me to question where his sorrow is.  I am glad he found an alternative to life in prison, I really am, but now that he is free of legal guilt, surely, he needs to make amends for his stupidity guilt!  He really could go on a campaign to reach out to those he hurt and their families with gestures of sorrow and peace.  THAT would begin to look like God’s justice and mercy in my view.  And there is nothing stopping him from doing that now.

Moving to the Arbery case, I likewise don’t believe the McMichael family or Mr. Bryan were hardboiled racists setting out to kill a black man.  For one thing, the crime was too opportunistic and too home-defense for a man-hunt killing.  That man-hunt is in fact what they did, in the end, and did so at such egregious levels (what with “trapping him like a rat,” chasing him with guns, and showing callous disregard in their language and their lack of CPR or any kind of First Aid), I am not convinced they meant the harm they caused. 

Hear me carefully here.  I think they were guilty and deserve prison, alright, but I really want to iron out some of these wrinkles because I think until we do, we haven’t achieved real justice that pleases God or makes our communities better.  I look at the defendants in this case and see my family and friends in them, people motivated ostensibly by protection of life and property (something I appreciate) and only latent racism.

It’s that “latent racism,” as I call it (a personalized level of systemic racism), which needs to be addressed and so far is not.  These men don’t see their own racism!  They meet black people at the post office and might even hold the door open for a black lady and her kids on a Tuesday morning only to shoot an unarmed black jogger Sunday afternoon!  How does THAT happen?  And how can we address it?

I don’t think we address it by painting these men as haters.  They don’t see themselves that way, and though I will challenge it, I see where they don’t see it.  I am a white man dealing with my own latent racism, challenging myself.  (I think the defendants should have been doing what I do, and challenge themselves, but there is no law requiring it, and most white people are slow to this.)

But, I pointed out in a post on this blog many months ago that whereas the liberals in California could not get an appropriate verdict in the Rodney King case, the simple country folx of Jasper, Texas (people who surely remind me of my friends and family) did deliver justice for James Byrd Jr.  And if you go watch the documentaries on Jasper surrounding that case, you will see white people in sore need of reevaluation of their ideas about justice!  Very ironic!

I watch that video of Arbery, and I see a young man who could have conducted himself more prudently given the world we actually live in, but he did NOTHING deserving of the treatment he got.  Not even close.  I agree with the prosecution that if Arbery had been white, this would not have happened.  I agree that makes it extremely unfair and prejudicial.  But, I think that as long as we overly demonize the white men, they will not come to their senses about it.  And white people remaining defensive about this will not serve justice; it will set up yet another Treyvon Martin, another Rodney King, another George Floyd, another Ahmaud Arbery.  SAY THEIR NAMES!

McMichael’s and Bryan are taken out of circulation now, and that is good.  I think their behavior warrants a stiff sentence, but I wonder if the total loss of the rest of their lives is truly justice.  It may well be, but I have enough sensitivity to wonder about creative justice.  I wondered the same about The Manson Family.  Those girls who actually committed those heinous crimes were very young, very dumb, very influenced by an evil genius who kept his own hands clean!  I really think Manson needed to remain behind bars for life, but not those girls.

Those girls lost their whole lives over those stupid crimes.  I personally began to wonder after about 20-25 years if they shouldn’t be paroled.  These women were back to their right minds, though Charlie never was.  If they had been ordered to visit high schools telling their stories for the rest of their lives, I didn’t see where they posed a continued threat to anyone.  And though I don’t see a lecture circuit deterring kids from using drugs as all that highly valuable, I think it is of higher value than their continued incarceration.

I wonder if we can’t put the McMichael’s and Bryan to something similar – even if only after two decades of prison.  Maybe they could be forced to visit churches and legion halls with their story, and coming from them, they might really reach people who need the message.

Are these defendants a continued danger to society now?

Yes, probably they are – and so is Rittenhouse.  But I figure we have their attention at a level now we didn’t have before.  We have an opportunity with that latent racism right now that we didn’t have before they killed Arbery.  And while we have these idiots trapped like rats in jail now, we are doing nothing to stem their families or their supporters from glorifying them and treating them as martyrs of WOKE. 

Am I making sense to anyone besides myself here?

I don’t mean to present a clear set of conclusions on these matters, but to raise new sets of questions.  

I am a white man born into a racist world back when racism was still cool.  Somehow, I managed never to be a hater, but I grew up stewing in latent and systemic racism.  I find myself challenged afresh with every new case to make the news.  I challenge myself to look deeper into my heart and into black lives as I process myself into better sensitivity.  Those protesters in Kenosha who Rittenhouse shot felt rightly impassioned that a cop shooting a black man in the back 7 times and getting off was not justice too.  Rittenhouse’s gun may not have been overtly racist in that mix, but I sure smell the latent racism in it.

I remember how shocking it was that video could not convict those cops of beating Rodney King too.  There may have been some overt racism involved in that too, but it was a society full of latent and systemic racism that allowed it to happen.  And so, all these years later we come to George Floyd and do it again!  Only this time we finally got that cop in jail!

Well, yay!

But wouldn’t it be a far better justice if that cop had addressed his own racism (latent or overt) back when Rodney King begged us to all just get along?  Wouldn’t the ending of systemic and latent racism be a better legacy for Quez than a life sentence for his killers?  One of these justices provides for vindication and accountability of a few, alright, and that is powerful, but the other creates a fair and just society.  I prefer the latter.

As important as the conviction in the Arbery case is for setting precedent and all that, challenging and changing latent racism so that homeowners seeing people trespass construction sites in their neighborhood confront them about it peacefully, and certainly refrain from chasing unarmed black men jogging while heavily armed means addressing people’s hearts.  It was a series of little things that set these white boys up for their “driveway decisions” long before they trapped Arbery “like a rat.”  Even now, as far as I can see it, those white boys and their defenders, though sorry the thing happened (and I believe that) still don’t see how their latent racism set them up for this horrible driveway decision.  And neither do almost any of my family and friends who might well find themselves in that same decision-making driveway.

Surely my pastor, at least, could address these expressions of justice with the love of Christ, and develop a fresh “dialog” in the church.  It would be a great way for the church to be relevant in today’s world!



Can I challenge this idea?

I want to be careful not to offend you with this, but I really want to challenge the notion that it is “hard to know how to help.”

It’s not my first time to hear this phraseology, but I ran across it on a recent, well-meaning blog that hopes to give insight into how to help the homeless as winter is coming.  And I don’t deny there are complexities and peripheral concerns to consider.  That is true, and we should talk about those things too.

Yet, I can’t help but notice this phrase segues into a helping industrial complex that thrives off you not knowing how to help, when basically you do know.

If you drive past a homeless person shivering in the cold, especially if this is somehow routine for you (as in you see the same person on the same corner frequently), saying “it’s hard to know what to do” sticks in my craw.  To my ears, it sounds like permission to bog down in paralysis of analysis.  It sounds like you give yourself permission to leave this problem to the professionals.

I mean, if you saw the homeless person shivering there in the cold was your own spouse, child, or parent, it would be the simplest thing in the world to “know what to do” or “how to help.”  (Exceptions for alcoholics granted here, but even then, I only give a little slack.)

Let’s be honest.

The part that is “hard” in “knowing how to help” is the part where your life changes, not the part about knowing how you help.  It’s the sacrifice you are called to make that is hard, not the knowing part.

The fact is that you don’t want to change.  You would rather the hired hands tend to the sheep than the Good Shepherd.  You want to be the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow – if not greedier and more comfortable.  

If you see someone without a home, shivering in the snow and wind and wet, and if you really want to help, you quite simply take that person indoors.  It’s not hard to know this.  Your problem is that the only “indoors” you have control over are at your place.  And if you take this person indoors at your place, EVERYTHING is going to change, and change fast.

If you want to help, you need to get this person indoors (for a start), probably at your place, but if you belong to a church where Jesus is honored by everyone else too, then that church building bearing his name is also a good place to open some doors.  And besides, you really should get help from others willing to sacrifice too.

And once you get a guest in your door, you pretty much know what to do already. 

Let’s not blow a lot of smoke up our proverbial skirt here.

You serve coffee, maybe a meal too.  That is almost automatic.  Not hard to know.  If it were your kid, it would be too simple.  It’s when this person is a stranger that you must make serious changes in your own life that is hard.  If you want to get biblical about it, you should preach the good news to the poor, the good news of Jubilee, where debt is forgiven, slaves set free, and we all reset our financial circusmstances around the grace of God!

Pretty easy to KNOW what to do.  Isn’t it?

Let’s talk.

Who is Their Jesus?

When the atheists preach more Jesusly than your church, then something is really messed up. Those who read my blog regularly will instantly see why I resonate with this post. But as an insider pointing out to the other lobsters that it’s getting warm in here, I nonetheless feel convicted too.

From Fundie to Atheist

I have watched American Protestant Xtians for many decades. I saw racism, misogyny, judgment, cancel culture, fear of science, communism, and any type of change, as well as the beginnings of a new grab for political power in the rise of the Moral Majority. I really shouldn’t have been shocked when, in 2016, they endorsed a politician who was a poster-boy for greed, theft, mendacity, white supremacy, misogyny, homophobia, xenophobia, narcissism and immorality. He was going to give them their political supremacy back, and that was the ONLY thing that mattered. But now with QAnon and Covid on top of Trump-ism, I find myself wondering, once again: WHO is their Jesus?

They claim to love Jesus. They claim it using bullhorns, waving signs and flags, while trying to overthrow democracy. They claim it while declaring Jesus is their religious exemption to wearing masks. They claim that their god who insisted…

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I’m an odd nut, and I already know that. But “society” is cracking up and ain’t what it’s cracked up to be lately. (I think most would agree.) And we employ some super-talented, highly educated, extremely competent people to “run things,” and it turns out they ain’t doing so hot. None of the super-talented, highly educated, extremely competent king’s men seem to be able to get Humpty back together again.

So, maybe some professionally blogged opinion and insights ain’t really what we need anymore.


Probably some mysterious “Q” only adds gas to the fire.


At any rate, so I come to the world with my own view of it, and I freely admit that on most subjects I am not the expert. I might have some important missing piece to your worldview puzzles, but I almost certainly am not single-handedly the go-to guy for all your answers. But, stick around a moment, see if you don’t find some value.

I have come to an arrangement with my worldview lens in recent times. I have decided to look at history or current events with an eye toward the atomic bomb(s) the US dropped on Japan in WWII. No doubt there is much value in doing something like this with 9/11 from now on too, but even comparing it to Pearl Harbor, while right and good to an extent, too easily overlooks the important differences. When Pearl Harbor was attacked, the average American had to ask where Pearl Harbor was! People didn’t watch the video until they saw newsreels at the movies – sometimes weeks later. After Pearl Harbor, we made America great; after 9/11, not so much. And on and on….

Even more than all that, I think about Jesus, about where his church is in whatever part of history or “issues” we are talking about. And while I don’t see the two (Jesus and church) as completely synonymous, I see them as so close they could be synonymous a lot of the time.

For those well initiated, my filter runs my world through a lens of “empire” and “kingdom” – or “empire” vs. “kingdom.”

I’ve been looking at the American church afresh in recent months, and I see far more wrong with us than right. Perhaps I am just cynical, hateful, and mean, and that might be accurate. But, church, lemme tell ya, as one who has slept on your doorstep in the cold, wind, and rain with the homeless you shunned, any truth there is in that is overwhelmed by how well you do at hiding your own cynicism, hate, and contempt.

But, that’s not my point either, frankly.

I said all of that so I could say that I think we struggle to be “relevant.” Increasingly and especially since the US dropped those bombs on Japan, the church’s relevance in the empire has waned more and more until you have to be desperately deep in denial to not see this elephant in the room.

When the Americans dropped the A-bomb on the world, there was a new world order, and everyone the world over respected it. What real need did the world have of the church then? Especially since the church was already in bed with that bomb?

Speaking of “elephant” in the room, I mean Republican Party politics.

The church has become the Party’s cheap whore. Monica Lewinski (I hate to trash talk her since she was so young, and Bill should have been a shepherd to that misguided lamb) isn’t the only girl with mysterious stains on her dress! And sadly, the church is just about as useful and influential as Lewinski on the reigns of power.

Bill certainly didn’t ask her opinion on Somalia or Kosovo when he “hid the cigar.” No. On the contrary, the moment the press got around to asking him about her, he denied all the affection he had shown her and threw her under the bus! I think all those smart people “running things” today, know the church has positioned herself with power about like that young, misguided girl with the suspicious stain on her dress. And the only option to remain there is denial, which only buys a little time, not power.

I have a LOT of thoughts along this line lately. As I watch the American church just whore herself soooooo cheaply for a chance to be relevant in Washington. And I too find plenty to be weary of with the “Woke” crowd, but where’s Jesus? And where’s his bride? What are they doing differently???

When did homeless ministry become a business?

But several years ago, a fellow street minister asked me, “When did serving the homeless become a business?” And it had! And we were suddenly paying homeless outreach (parachurch) organizations MILLIONS of dollars to serve the homeless.

You would think with all that money we would end homelessness about a month. But in ten years we still have not.

But the ministry got a new office almost immediately. They got a new van, a new car, new paid staff, expanded services, went on vacation, and the original staff got a raise, they built some houses and more offices AND put all of this “progress” on TV anytime a news organization wanted to do an interview.

And out of all that, some good stuff really did happen. It did. I don’t lie about that.

But as I look back on it, especially through the lenses I am apt to use, I see a lot of vain effort and expense gone to our own narcissist vanity – an effort to “be relevant.”

And I don’t mean relevant where it really counts, but relevant as in some good press!

Oh… and this doesn’t pertain strictly to the homeless outreach either by any stretch! I went to a Christian University that sold me an education in ministry (Did Jesus charge tuition?), where among the other things they taught me about Jesus, they also trained me to look, talk, and act professional. And sure enough, turn on your TV Sunday morning and count all the churches you find on there with their little “hour of power” programing.

When did church become a business?

I’m thinking that when the US dropped the bomb, the empire no longer had to try to be relevant, but ever since, the church has been in a scramble thinking she needs to be, which is a shame, really, since that is not her calling. As long as she attends to Christ, she is relevant and needs not seek relevance for her sake at all.

We were supposed to orient our relevance to a Roman cross, not an American A-bomb.


(Disclaimer: This is not porn.  If you were searching for porn, my apologies, this post is about Jesus.  But then perhaps it’s no mistake, really, that you found this site.  Consider staying awhile.  Thanx.)

Stranger Love – what a concept?  I feel like I should preach a series of sermons, maybe six lessons in Stranger Love (or maybe eight).  Why not an even ten?  But honestly, I don’t know where to quit.

My thoughts are born out of research into Heaven’s Hospitality.  I am finding, even still, there is so much there to look into which has never come across my radar before.  The LOVE is strange.  God is the Stranger.  I am the stranger.  The Stranger needs loved.  Strange things happen when the stranger is loved.  Strange people love strangers easier and better than those who aren’t strange.  Surely, we don’t want to endorse or encourage strangeness (at least not all forms of strangeness) with our love.

And on and on and on.

Where do I start?  How many sermons in this series?  Why are we not already talking about this stuff?  And if we are, how have I missed it?

You do realize, don’t you, Rehab the WHORE of Jericho welcomes Israel’s spies into her, her, her place, right?

Don’t that raise all kinds of questions for you?  Needly little questions?


Just think: If all of Jericho had welcomed Israel, there would not have been conflict.  Everyone could have been saved.  As it was, only this one whore and her family were saved.  (What do you think tracking them down involved?)  Good thing she was welcoming.

Good whores generally are.

Stranger love.

Salvation packed up in that, y’all.

Love like that sorta gives me an itch.

How about you?  Does it give you an itch?

It gives me an itch to talk about it, to explore it.  If you have that whore’s itch too, let me know.  I just might preach a series after all.


Well, here it is Christmas time again.  2021 and hopefully (at least a strong wishfully) we are “getting back to normal.”

“Back to normal.”

Hmmm…  We could do a whole series of posts on just those three words and not run out of things to say all day.  Am I right?

Somebody, give the man an “amen.”

So, back to “normal”….  That surely means back to struggling to decide what gift to give that certain someone on your list who already has everything.  

Yeah.  That normal.

Are we there yet?

We probably won’t know if we are really there until mid-January (or later).  But that is the normal we all turn back missing like Lot’s wife. (Or was she happy that all the men in town kept her husband’s paws busy elsewhere?)

Wow!  That’s a level of cynicism even I rarely indulge.

Anyway, back to “normal.”  That old normal which we all know deep down was deserving of divine judgement, but which none of us have the moxie or stomach to proclaim.  That normal we all miss down in our bones even though we feel guilty for it.


If (and I mean IF) I can jump in at just the right moment and head off our “getting back” at the pass, I want to change the back-to-normal question from above and start the “new normal.”

Can I do that?

Let me pose instead that we ask: For Christmas this year, what do I get for the person who has NOTHING?


That is a daunting question too.  Don’t you think?

Let me invite you, both my readers, to offer your idea.  What do you get the person who has NOTHING?

Socks?  (Hey.  Don’t knock it.  Word on the street is those things are deeply valued and appreciated!)


IF you are so bold as to leave a comment here participating in the post with your sincere ideas about what to get the person with NOTHING for Christmas, I want to warn you now.  I will post again on this thought later with some of my own ideas.  They might just hit you in the back of the head like a boomerang.  So, please feel free to “think outside the box” – as we sometimes say.

Or, of course, better yet…  Don’t comment.


Mrs. Agent X and I, after launching 4 kids from the nest (the last one to leave just about a year ago), started taking in foster kids these last 6 years.  Right off the top of my head, I can’t tell you how many homeless urchins have passed through our crash pad, but I think it’s about a dozen.  Most of them came to us newly born or close to it.

Right now, we have 5!  Even the one no longer in diapers requires assistance with … well, with stuff.

Pooping in our house resembles an assembly line at the Ford Motor Company!  We change more diapers before 8 am than most parents do all day!

I have time to really reflect on things there at the changer table most days.  It occurs to me that I should share.  I “need therapy,” but that’s impractical.  So, I talk to you.

Like Marla Singer says, “It’s cheaper than a movie and there’s coffee.”

So, below is a list of my thoughts:

  • Wow!  Who knew you could make soft-serve in your pants?
  • It’s like a mountain, not Heartbreak Ridge, but maybe Butt Crack Ridge!
  • That is a LOT of guacamole!
  • The smell could stop a clock.
  • There’s more poop in this diaper than kid!
  • Oh look!  Marbles!
  • It’s like chocolate chips with electrostatic charge.
  • How can a human poop pixie dust?
  • My hat’s off to those engineers down at knock-off Pampers.  I can’t believe a little cotton and fabric can hold all that!

And finally… (insert drumroll)

  • Your turn!  Not it!  (Where’s the hazmat suits?)

Hey, if you have any poop changer thoughts you’d like to share, please leave me some.


As an American, I have familiarity with the word “unalienable,” and I am sure I have used it in a sentence or two.  But I have only ever used the word in the context of the Declaration of Independence.  There the Founding Fathers of the Constitution who declared independence foundationally spoke of “unalienable rights.”  The word “unalienable” is practically one of the pillars of American culture.

“Unalienable” does not work alone.  However, the other key words are not nearly as unique and instantly recognizable for the same context.  The Declaration of Independence tells us our rights are “self-evident … truths” and are “endowed by their Creator.”

The “Creator” there is not named, though there has been little or no dispute who is meant.  However, one of these “truths” is that “all men are created equal,” and that phrase, it turns out, was not nailed down quite so tightly as it might have ceremoniously seemed at first.  In fact, the words were put there from the beginning, but they did not in fact really mean what they said.  Efforts have been made to correct that, of course, but my point is to show how shaky this/these pillars were/are despite our cultural acceptance as being foundational.

The Declaration of Independence sets out to establish in generic and broad terms three of these rights (“life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”), leaving the Constitution to iron out the specifics later.  The Constitution, of course, was/is written, not by “the Creator,” but by men (and women) who establish them through writing them down and putting them to a vote.

As a Bible-believing Christian and American, I am keenly aware that one of the founding principles upon which our independent government was established is “religious freedom” – which certainly tickles the ears!  Who doesn’t want liberty?  Who doesn’t want religious freedom?

It’s hard to imagine a circumstance where any human would question or oppose that!

But as one who actually reads the Bible and searches God’s word for God’s will, all of this becomes even more complicated when you realize none of it is covered there.  In fact, on the contrary, there are strong indications that when put in these kinds of terms, “religious freedom” and nearly any freedom of any kind, is neither necessary nor sufficient to honor God.  Even more, it appears that the constraint of religious freedom has a way of driving devotion all the deeper.

And that’s just from searching Scriptures.

The converse appears to be born out abundantly in American culture over time.  Religious freedom has not made America more fervently devoted over time, but less!  Americans overall, with exceptions to be sure, are less biblically literate, more openly immoral, selfish and greedy now than ever before.  And even among those who uphold Christian virtue and morality, we find time and again their private lives get exposed and reveal astounding corruption.

I speak in broad brush strokes on this because there are exceptions at every turn.  But they are exceptions on the one hand, and, on the other, there is (and has been for a long time) a deep feeling pervading many throughout our culture that Christian influence is failing.

There are many devils in the details to blame for this, and I in no way think I can address them all.  But I can point out that “unalienable rights,” and the associated ideas, and the documents in which they are found were never fully honest.  While they certainly never were utter darkness either, there is plenty of darkness in them, darkness mixed with the enlightenment they attempt to provide.

American Christians would do well to get honest about this.  Jesus brings with him the kingdom of God which is not now, and never was, a “democracy,” a “republic,” or a matter of majority rule.  In fact, it never was about freedom, power, or greatness except in the deeply ironic way love transforms those things.

“Unalienable rights.”

If you believe that God is the Judge who sends those he deems unworthy into eternal destruction, then “unalienable rights” is surely a strange concept.  Adam, Joseph, Daniel, Paul, nor Stephen (or any others for that matter) from the Bible make no claims to such “self-evident truth.”  And you would think some of them would, if those rights really are “unalienable” and “self-evidently true.”  But instead, the biblical heroes – Jesus, chief among them – cling for all they are worth to YHWH, the Creator they make no dishonest claims about.

They don’t want to be alienated from him.

What if “rights” alienate?  Or even play a role in alienation?  What of “unalienable” then?


Thanxgiving Day is winding down.  The Christmas (shopping) season is heating up.  And I am tired.  Wiped out.

I didn’t travel for the holiday.  I didn’t even cook anything.  But still, I’m tired.

I’m tired of greeting cousins, distant relatives.  Nice people, okay… so I am not tired of them in some cruel way.  But tired of delicately dancing around social and political landmines, tired of talking about the weather.  Tired of chasing kids or just giving up chasing kids and watching them destroy the place.

Oh…  I have all these foster/adopted kids.  They are very young.  Energetic.  Did I say energetic?  Hmmm… That’s understating it.

I remember a few years ago, before we took in children, Mrs. Agent X and I volunteered to help celebrate the Thanxgiving holiday with the street homeless ministry.  That was tiring too, but I was younger then.

But I remember several homeless people who came into the dining hall and slept on sofas or in chairs at their tables.  I thought it was odd at the time.  A big social event, but so many people chose to spend our time together completely unconscious.  I wondered if, and to what extent, they were on booze or drugs.

That may have played some part in it.

But I think the staff was tired too, and the old hands – those who suffered chronic homelessness for years on end and thus had attended this event before – might have known what us newcomers didn’t.  The executive director might just fold up the operation about half an hour after the TV news people left, and this might be your best chance to get some warm, dry, shut-eye for the coming of freezing night.

Sure enough, at half-time during the ball game, leadership announced that we would not be keeping people through the night.  The party would bust up soon.

Thanxgiving can be tiring.  All that thanx gets exhausting, I guess.

And I am wiped out now too.  My kids are all acting cranky, and I wish they would settle down, get quiet and still for about five minutes.  I bet this leader could shut down operations a little early if they did.

I don’t think I get that gig.

Perhaps I should write a holiday poem.

Twas the night after Thanxgiving dinner, and all through the house

Dishes were piled up, mess for the mouse

And what to my surprise, but I got too sleepy to wash them or to write anymore poetry.

Happy Turkey, Y’all

And to all a good night!