Friday, July 30, 2010



Recently, a deputy I was riding with responded to a suicide in the community. I ended up manning the tape barrier, separating the warring sides of the family. For three and a half hours I listened to wild accusations from the front lawn and wails of anguish from inside. After the coroner sanitized the situation, I prayed over the deceased with the family.
This is what I call a “normal” night. I don’t mean to appear callous when I say I went home and right to sleep. It was sad and pointless, yes, but something I’ve had enough experience with to handle, as a Pastor and a Chaplain.
However, I did have another day that challenged my commitment as a Chaplain. One event shook me beyond expectation. It may seem much more trivial than suicide, but that’s my point. An event that challenges one might go unnoticed by another.
Deputy S. and I caught the tag for a robbery. A twelve year old girl had tried to rob a nine year old boy for shopping money. Watching the cuffs placed on that little girl and locking her in the back seat was hard for me. As Deputy S. administered the Gladys R. competency test, he asked, “Where did you learn to do this?”
“My brother,” she answered.
At the station, the Watch Commander ordered Deputy S. to keep her out of lock-up. “...and no way am I sending this kid to Juvie tonight. Call her parents to come get her.”
While the Deputy attempted to contact the parents, I spoke with the girl in the report room. She sat handcuffed, crying in this bad, scary place. Good, I thought, she needs to be scared. “Remember this, I said. “You never want to come here again.”
Meanwhile, Deputy S. got the father on the phone. But Daddy didn't want to come to the station because he had outstanding warrants. Deputy S. said, “Sir, I will write you new warrants, come get your little girl.”
He did come to the station; FOUR HOURS LATER. By this time, the girl seemed no-longer scared. She was bored; which was infinitely worse.
The hard thing, the thing that challenged my commitment, was despair. Twelve years old, I thought. She has a brother who’s taught her to steal and a father with warrants for God-knows-what. She has no chance to make it in society. Why am I spending my time for people like this? I should go back to my cozy, suburban congregation and stay there.
Later that night, in conversation with a new deputy, I heard, “We should just lock them all up. We’re getting nowhere.” He was dealing with the same flood of despair as the Chaplain. Hmm... I found this hard, the deputies struggled with it, and my wife, a teacher, expressed the same frustrations, when I told her about it.
So what are we supposed to do? How do we escape the torrent of desperation?
First, I think frustration is not a sign of weakness. The fact that these events bother one shows there's still hope. Second, I know of two people who by God's grace escaped similar situations. One grew up in South Central, in the exact same circumstances. She's now serving a church in the Valley. The other case is a seminary buddy who worked with inner city kids in San Francisco. One boy in particular caused my friend to despair. Years later, my friend returned to find this problem child leading the youth ministry.
At times, the battle may seem lost, but that's not completely true. There are way more decent people out there than otherwise. Even people who appear hopeless may find hope. If you deputies don't do this often thankless job, who will?

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. ” 2 Corinthians 4:9



After three years as a Sheriff volunteer, I have come to some conclusions. Hollywood and the general public seem to view law enforcement as some secret, clannish cult. Oh, sure, procedures and nomenclature are unfathomable to the uninitiated, but the same is true of my specialty: theology. To the contrary, I have found the LE community to be ruled by honesty and practicality. That’s why I can say, everything I need to know I learned from deputies.

Keep Your Hands in Plain Sight

Hands can be trouble, that’s why deputies always watch them. A dark vehicle and hidden hands shout possible danger. Keeping our hands in plain sight is a good metaphor for life. Life’s relationships are best founded on honesty and openness.

Show Me Some ID
We all carry identification, whether it’s a card in my wallet, or the badge on your chest. In the field, establishing identity is primary to officer safety. These days, it’s not enough to wave a card or badge, for false identity is a growing problem. In life, it’s important not just to proclaim an identity, but to be who we say we are. Navigating life’s choices gets much easier when we are true to ourselves.

Put On Your Game Face
Teachers have an aphorism: don’t smile before Thanksgiving. Like deputies, they know the importance of command presence. Without it, a classroom quickly degenerates into chaos. Inside the station, deputies can rival the highest paid comedians. Once in the field, however, deputies put on the game face. Public safety and confidence demand your command of every situation. Fun is fun and some situations call for a touch of humor to deal with the tension. Conversely, there are times where firm, no-nonsense, determination is the appropriate response to the problem.

Why Am I Here?
This is not a philosophical question with deputies; they make it a commandingly factual one. Deputies often deal with chaotic situations. I’ve heard rambling, pointless narrations with little relevance to the situation. At those times, deputies always ask something like: “Why am I here? What do you expect me to do?” I’ve picked up on this, and ask myself the same question when confronted with confusion in my own life.

Proverbs 3:21-24 says, “My son, preserve sound judgment and discernment, do not let them out of your sight; they will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck. Then you will go on your way in safety, and your foot will not stumble; when you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.” Life can be tricky. Thankfully, there are simple, honest, guidelines out there that can help us find our way.

Monday, July 19, 2010


If you are reading my blog, I invite you to check out the lists on the right for "Don's Favorites." These are posts I think of as significant thinking, not just snide humor. The humor is a very real side of me. My favorite posts show that I am capable of actual thought.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Los Angeles Peace Officer's Memorial

Rabbi Kravitz is praying. I'm the guy in the suit.

I was asked to bring the benediction for this year's Peace Officer's Memorial at STARS Center in Whittier, California. I mostly pray extemporaneously, so writing a prayer was work. Here is my text.

Peace Officers Memorial, May 26, 2010


Almighty God, we stand today to honor the memory of Deputy Marshal Samuel Blundell. May we always be faithful in remembering those who have fallen in defense of our lives and liberty.

May the passing of years never blunt the remembrance of sacrifices made, that no officer ever fall alone and forgotten. May their memories live forever as those who gave that “last, full measure of devotion,” as we recall the words of scripture; “greater love has no-one than to lay down their life for their friends.”

We also give thanks for those Peace Officers who daily stand their watches on our behalf. We pray for their safety, and strength. Lift up their heads in courage, confidence, and commitment to stand firm. Give them cool heads, stout hearts, wise judgment, and compassion for the innocent.

We pray for protection from physical, mental and spiritual harm. May they be courageous, yet not reckless in carrying out their duties. Grant them the loyalty of their partners and fellow officers as they, in return, are swift to come to their aid.

We pray in the name of He who promises to one-day wipe away every tear; AMEN.

Thursday, May 6, 2010


The doctrine of the trinity is not some later creation of Constantine or the Catholic Church. It is based on scriptural revelation and interpretation. The New Testament clearly teaches the triune nature of God, (Jesus was not called “Son of God” for nothing). However, in the first years of the Church, believers were focused on extending the work and surviving Roman persecution. It was common to refer to Father, Son and Spirit as divine, but apparently nobody really thought about the implications. It was not until the second and third century that thinkers had leisure to begin connecting the dots. That is why the official pronouncements of the doctrine appear relatively late. Clearly, even if you reject the authority of scripture, you can see that the triune nature of God is a well-established New Testament concept.


1. In the creation account, God reveals himself as plural: “Let us make man in our image.” When God created “man,” it took two—male and female—to image God. From the beginning God is seen not just as a plurality, but as community.
2. The Hebrew word for Spirit—Ruach—is female, and the Spirit of God is shown doing distinctly feminine things: “And the Spirit of God brooded on the surface of the waters.” Genesis 1:2. The word brooded is the same as for a bird on its nest. “God breathed into his nostrils the breath (Ruach) of life and man became a living creature.” Genesis 2:7. The Spirit gives life, nurtures and comforts.
3. In the Jewish creed, found in Deuteronomy 6:4, God’s unity is proclaimed. “Hear o Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one.” (Out of reverence, the word Lord is substituted for the name of God which is actually found in the text.)
4. In the New Testament, God’s unity is proclaimed. The NT also reveals that the God we know from the Old Testament has chosen to reveal himself as a TRI-unity: Three-in-one. Not three beings, but one God as a community of Father, Son and Spirit.
5. The questions are, does the New Testament call Father, Son and Spirit God? Does the New Testament proclaim that there is one God? AND is the New Testament systematic and consistent in these usages, or confused and inconsistent?
IF there are three persons in the Bible, each called God;
& IF there is only One God according to the Bible;
& IF the Bible is God’s infallible word; ____________
Therefore: The three persons are the one God.
A. One God: 1 Timothy 2:5 (revealed at Horeb)
B. Father: 2 Peter 1:17 (revealed at Haran)
C. Son: Hebrews 1:6-8 (revealed at Bethlehem)
D. Spirit: Acts 5:1-4 (revealed at Pentecost)
6. A few New Testament claims of Jesus’ divinity:
Matthew 1:23 the name Immanuel means “God with us.”
John 1:1 “In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God.”
Colossians 1:15-16 He is the image of the invisible God and creator of all things.
Colossians 2:9 “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form.”
Hebrews 1:3 “The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being.”
Hebrews 1:6 “when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says, "Let all God's angels worship him.”” (This is relevant because; “Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only."” Matthew 4:10)
Hebrews 1:8 “But about the Son he says, "Your throne, O God, will last forever and ever.”
Revelation 1:8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”
Revelation 22:12-16 "Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. … 16 "I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star."
7. One of Jesus’ own claims of divinity:
In John 8:56-58 Jesus is in conflict with some Jewish leaders. They ask his authority. He tells them, “before Abraham was born, I am,” using the divine title from Exodus three. That got them mad and they were going to stone him. Later, in chapter 10:33, Jesus asked why they wanted to stone him. They answered, “…for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.” Jesus, a good Jew, did not deny this. They understood him perfectly well.
8. The Holy Spirit is recognized as God: In Acts chapters four and five you have two events; at the end of chapter four, a man sells some property and gives the proceeds for the support of the Jerusalem congregation. In chapter five, a couple decides to do the same thing. However, this couple keeps some of the proceeds but make a show of giving it all to the congregation. Peter confronts the couple saying; “Why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit? You have not lied to men, but to God.”

Again, clearly, even if you reject the authority of scripture, you can see that the triune nature of God is a well-established New Testament concept.

Theological Concepts:

That the New Testament reveals the triune concept is one thing, what it means, and how to explain it is another. I think the Bible spends very little time EXPALNING the HOW of spiritual concepts. I pretty much stick with the obvious: God has chosen to reveal himself to us as Father, Son and Spirit. That may be all there is to know, or there may be more that God has chosen not to reveal. The Bible tells us what God wants us to know, not what we need to satisfy our curiosity.

There have been several historical pictures given to explain how God can be three in one:

Saint Patrick used the shamrock’s three leaves as a picture.

Some people like the picture of a pie, cut into three pieces. One, semi-liquid, pie–filling on the inside, three visible pieces on the outside.

Personally, I like the picture of the triple point of water; water at its triple point exists as vapor, liquid, and ice at the same time and space.

The important thing to remember is that these are pictures, mere similes, not the reality. If they do not help, they do no harm. Bottom line for me is two-fold: 1. That’s what I find in scripture, and 2. Why should I expect to grasp the nature of a being great enough to create the universe? If I could understand him, he wouldn’t be much of a God.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


Walter Williams, formerly chair of Economics at George Mason University says: "John Coleman, founder of the Weather Channel, in an hour-long television documentary titled "Global Warming: The Other Side," presents evidence that our National Climatic Data Center has been manipulating weather data just as the now disgraced and under investigation British University of East Anglia Climate Research Unit. The NCDC is a division of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Its manipulated climate data is used by the Goddard Institute of Space Studies, which is a division of the National Aeronautical and Space Administration. John Coleman's blockbuster five-part series can be seen here."

"What would all the beneficiaries of the global warming hype do if it becomes widely known and accepted that mankind's activities have very little to do with the Earth's temperature? I don't know but a lot of people would feel and look like idiots. But I bet that even if the permafrost returned as far south as New Jersey, as it once did, the warmers and their congressional stooges would still call for measures to fight global warming."

Monday, February 1, 2010


Generational switchbacks can be humorous. I was shocked when my teenage son began listening to Grunge rock and Curt Cobain's angst-ridden music. I mean, c'mon. I do like my oldies but I'm also an inaugural Maranatha-Children of the Day-Daniel Amos-Love Song-Don Franscisco Christian music guy. Grunge rock? Yeckh.

The other night we went to dinner with my son and his family. Across the table, my grandaughter piped up and asked, "Grampa, would you get a Taylor Swift CD for me?"

Yeah, Taylor Swift. Cap'n Grungy won't buy his daughter a Country Western CD. That kind of music is just unacceptable. I thought of the time I complained to my dad about my mouthy teenage son. My dad laughed in my face. "You deserve it," he said.

Generational switchbacks can be humorous.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


My church is involved in a couple of health related activities this New Year. First, we are running a "Biggest Baptist Loser" to help raise money for Missions. Second, in aid of the Loser thing, several of us have embarked on a "Couch-to-5k" program. The goal is to go from being a couch potato to running a 5k race in 10 weeks.

We've been using our church property as the starting point, but because of this weeks extensive rain and the fact the the church is surrounded by either construction or dirt roads, we chose a different location today. We met at my house and walk-ran around the safe, quiet suburban streets of my neighborhood.

Good time. I actually managed to get out three times this week. That and a day of weights make me sound much more manly than is actually the case. Need to keep it up.

Friday, January 22, 2010


In the publishing world, they say if you are not embarrassed by your publicity you're doing it wrong. So, here we go again...

"Torpedo in the Water!"

The Colombian government has confiscated a half-built Russian submarine from the drug cartel, expanding the Colombian submarine force by a third. There's just one problem, the cartel built a second submarine, and the Russians want it back.

U.S. Navy Public Affairs Officer, Bud Wilson is aboard the nuclear submarine Hawkbill with civilian video journalist Marsha Colton, to film a series of live-fire torpedo exercises.

When the cartel's pirate submarine begins sinking shipping in the Atlantic, Hawkbill and her on-board SEAL squad is the nearest U.S. asset to call. Bud and Marsha are swept along on a quest to find and destroy the Kilo before it can attack again.

Colombian Kilo is now available. To purchase a copy email me at $19.00 per copy.

OR get it as a download from for a mere $5.00

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


Got this idea from my friend, Alton Gansky. I put it in diagram form. When you read the descriptions from the four gospels of the tomb of Christ after the resurrection an interesting picture emerges. Not only does each gospel take your progressively further into the tomb, but the harmony of the descriptions paints a picture of the Holy Place and Holy of Holies.

I do not see this as a deliberate attempt by the gospel writers or ancient editors: no ancient writer points this out, that I know of. I believe this is solid evidence of the Inspiration of God's Holy Spirit.

Saturday, January 2, 2010


My dad is a car guy. Not your average, garden variety aficionado either. This man is a drag racing, street rod, custom car, do-it-yourself-or-die car guy. When I was 12, his 1931 Model A Ford took first place at the Los Angeles Sports Arena over 2,000 other show cars. His Model A has been on the covers of Car Craft and Hot Rod magazines. He’s been voted Street Rodder of the Year. He does everything. Engine rebuilds and upgrades, bodywork, fiberglass and paint jobs. I stand amazed at his skill and innovative thinking. Retired now, he gets to devote all his time to the craft he loves.