Wednesday, November 30, 2011


One of my biggest frustrations as a pastor is helplessness. I often get asked to do something, when whatever I do gets ignored or rebuffed. Sometimes I haven't a clue what to do. Other times words fail me. I don't think of myself as a do-gooder. I have no illusions about my personal righteousness or wisdom. I don't go about, as the Aussies say, "Sticky-Beaking" others business. I usually only step in when asked. Still, it's hardest when your helping hand gets snapped at.

The medical profession has a firm rule: DO NO HARM. One of my grad-school professors suggested that would make a fine motto for the ministry, as well. If I can't do anything for another, the least I can do is refrain from making the situation worse. Even better, perhaps I might leave a bit of good will for the next helping hand that comes along.

At times like these, when I can do nothing else I can pray. I can ask for wisdom for myself. I can ask for truly wise words. I can ask for compassion in dealing with an unlovable person. I must also seek that persons good. Prayer for another need not be filled with specifics; I trust God to know their needs better than I. I even practice retroactive prayer--praying for a bad event after it's happened. Who knows that in eternity we may find God changed time. It's worth a prayer.

I know prayer has changed my hard, cold heart. I believe prayer can change the circumstances and hearts of others, as well.


In interpreting the Word of God, the reader must recognize a divine tension. There must be a balance between the historical and theological perspectives.

1.The established TEXT. You must use what is there.
2.Awareness of the CONTEXT of the writer & recipients.
3.There is a MULTIPLEX of insights which often seem to support several viewpoints.
4.The reader must recognize that everything you decide the text says is an INTERPRETATION; you CAN make it say what you want it to say: Beware.

1.DIVINE INSPIRATION: what is in the text is what God wants to say.
2.RELEVANT: both to the past and the present.
3.REDEMPTIVE: it does not bog down in details, but majors on the relational.
4.EFFECTIVE: It accomplishes what God wants it to accomplish.

Monday, November 28, 2011


The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is so foundational, that without it there would BE no Christianity.  If Jesus Christ did not rise from the dead on the third day after his death, then Christianity is a lie.

If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised.  And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.”
                        1 Corinthians 15:13-14

Without the resurrection, Christianity is just another unfulfilled, hoped for religion.  Christ’s resurrection is God’s seal of approval on Jesus’ life and work.  It demonstrates that Jesus is God in the flesh, not just a good man. Besides all that, if the resurrection is untrue, Christians are wasting their time.  After all, why live a life of sacrifice and self-giving for nothing?

If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.”
                        Romans 15:19

The Christian’s hope lies not just in Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross but in his life-giving resurrection from the dead.

But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.  For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.”
                        Romans 15:20-22

Sunday, November 27, 2011


Many people don't bother asking what the Star in the East was that led the Wise Men from the East to Bethlehem. They assume it was a either an exploding star--a super nova--or simply a miraculous event. In fact, God tends to use His creation in interacting with mankind. With the exception of the last, the ten plagues on Egypt were "natural" occurrences. The miraculous element is that they began and ended on command and their specific order caused a cascade of disasters.

So if the star was a natural, as opposed to a now-you-see-it-now-you-don't miracle, what was it? You might be surprised to find that there are several possible candidates.

At that B.C./A.D. conjunction, the whole Eastern and Roman world was expecting the next great ruler to arise. The Jews had been in Babylon for 500 years at this point, waiting for the Messiah. Jewish concepts were well established in the East. As Astrologers, the Babylonian Magi equated the star with that expected king.

So, was the star;
a)  Halley’s Comet, which passed in 11 BC...
b)  The conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter which occurred three times in 7 BC...
c)  Sirius the Dog star which, from the years 5 to 2 BC, rose brightly at sunrise on the first day of the month called Mesori “Birth of a Prince..."
d)  Or, a super nova unrecorded by ancient astrologers.
Remember, the Magi were Astrologers who looked for fixed signs in the heavens, therefore the answer is "C." To the Babylonians, the star Sirius represented Israel. That, connected to the month Mesori compelled the Magi to travel to Bethlehem.

One final point. The Magi continued on even when there was no visible star to follow. This fits with both the 7 BC conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter (3 occurrences) and the 5-2 BC rise of Sirius the Dog star at sunrise on the first day of the month called Mesori. Both are plausible, but I vote for Sirius.

Friday, November 25, 2011


From all my lame defeats and oh!  Much more
From all the victories that I seemed to score;
From cleverness shot forth on Thy behalf
At which, while angels weep,
the audience laugh;
From all my proofs of Thy divinity,
Thou, who wouldst give no sign, deliver me.

Thoughts are but coins.  Let me not trust instead
Of Thee, their thin-worn image of Thy head.
From all my thoughts,
even from my thoughts of Thee,
O thou fair silence, fall, and set me free.
Lord of the narrow gate and the needle’s eye,
Take from me all my trumpery lest I die.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


The Pilgrims came pretty close to not ever having a Thanksgiving celebration. They were almost starved out of their toehold in North America. You see, the contract they had entered into in London was an early experiment in Communism. That is, the Pilgrims agreed, "everything they produced to go into a common store, and each member of the community was entitled to one common share. All of the land they cleared and the houses they built belonged to the community as well. They were going to distribute it equally. Nobody owned anything."

The ambitious plan was a dismal flop. They barely survived the first winter, losing half their number, including Governor Bradford's wife, to death. Problem is, though their communal ideas were noble they did not take human nature into account. Working for the common good gave no incentive to work hard. Does that sound bad? That is human nature. Ignoring it is as reckless as ignoring your auto's need for oil.

Bradford came to the conclusion that, "young men that were most able and fit for labor and service did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men's wives and children without any recompense, that was thought injustice."

Finally, the Pilgrims decided to work each his own land and market his own crops and products. With the help of the local Indians, who taught them some farming techniques, the pilgrims brought in enough to face a comfortable winter. This sparked the first Thanksgiving celebration that we remember today. It was personal freedom that brought prosperity to the new world. We ought to celebrate that as we give thanks today.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Beware of false additions to faith.  Through the ages people have proposed that other things beside faith are required for salvation.  They say that these are not works, but since they then turn around and require that one must do these things to gain salvation they are obviously a work which produces or earns salvation.

1. Surrender.  Christ must be perfectly followed as lord in order for salvation to be real.  Christ is Lord,  but His lordship over the believer in this life is imperfect. Christians make a linguistic mistake with the word Lord. We understand it in the European sense of "king." The Bible uses it of Jesus in the Jewish meaning of a synonym for God. Jesus is God whether you obey or not.
2. Baptism.  Baptism is visible obedience to Christ, but requiring it as a precondition to salvation makes it a work.  (Mark 16:16 is not in the most reliable texts).
3. Repentance.  If understood as a synonym for faith yes; if understood as cleaning up your life, and THEN believing, no.
4. Confession. Believers are called to confess their sins to one another(James 5:16) but nowhere is confession (usually in the sense of EVERY sin ever committed) demanded as a precondition to salvation.

The Thief on the cross is the salvation test case.  He didn’t,
clean up his life,
walk the aisle,
pray at an alter,
get baptized,
join a church, or
give any money.
He simply asked Jesus for salvation.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


The Jesus Movement of the late sixties, early seventies, specifically Jesus Hippy Music, made a significant impact on American youth. I became a Christian during that time. I was aware of the movement, but not really a part of it. There is one point at which the movement and I made direct contact. This song, "I Wish We'd All Been Ready" by Larry Norman, is the first witness that made me think. There were many Christian influences around me, friends, Vacation Bible School, and Backyard Bible Clubs. Those things must have influenced me, but I never really thought about them.

In the summer of 1971 my friend, Doug Wall, brought an album over and played this song for me. Hard to imagine lugging vinyl albums around in this mp3 age. I didn't understand the imagery or message of the song, but it stuck in my head. This did not spark my decision to seek God. I had been doing that for some time on my own. It stands out in my memory as a sign post for the knowledge that others were interested in spiritual things apart from the rigid structure of church.

"I Wish We'd All Been Ready" got loads of play in youth meetings. By 1972 it would probably have been the #1 Jesus Hippy song on MTV (Maranatha Television) had there been such a thing. This song was as ubiquitous as the One Way sign. Sadly, both have slid into the shady, half-remembered past.

Standard practice in those days was to ask everyone in the youth meeting to bow their heads and close their eyes in an attitude of prayer. Then the musician would strum a guitar and croon the words. At the end, for effect, the musician would abruptly cut the last line and go absolutely silent. The feeling was supposed to be that the Rapture had occurred in the middle of the song and you'd been left behind.

Monday, November 21, 2011


The Hacky Award is presented annually for Ridiculous, Redundant and/or simply Horrid Advertisement Copy Writing in the areas of radio, print and television commercials.

Today's nominee is:

In the category of radio, the nominee is Green Light for their redundant line;

"Act now, before this historic offer is history."

Sunday, November 20, 2011


Once there lived an ant and a grasshopper in a grassy meadow.

All day long the ant would work hard, collecting grains of wheat from the farmer's field far away. She would hurry to the field every morning, as soon as it was light enough to see by, and toil back with a heavy grain of wheat balanced on her head. She would put the grain of wheat carefully away in her larder, and then hurry back to the field for another one. All day long she would work, without stop or rest, scurrying back and forth from the field, collecting the grains of wheat and storing them carefully in her larder.

The grasshopper would look at her and laugh. 'Why do you work so hard, dear ant?' he would say. 'Come, rest awhile, listen to my song. Summer is here, the days are long and bright. Why waste the sunshine in labor and toil?'

The ant would ignore him, and head bent, would just hurry to the field a little faster. This would make the grasshopper laugh even louder. 'What a silly little ant you are!' he would call after her. 'Come, come and dance with me! Forget about work! Enjoy the summer! Live a little!' And the grasshopper would hop away across the meadow, singing and dancing merrily.

Summer faded into autumn, and autumn turned into winter. The sun was hardly seen, and the days were short and gray, the nights long and dark. It became freezing cold, and snow began to fall.

The grasshopper didn't feel like singing any more. He was cold and hungry. He had nowhere to shelter from the snow, and nothing to eat. The meadow and the farmer's field were covered in snow, and there was no food to be had. 'Oh what shall I do? Where shall I go?' wailed the grasshopper. Suddenly he remembered the ant. 'Ah - I shall go to the ant and ask her for food and shelter!' declared the grasshopper, perking up. So off he went to the ant's house and knocked at her door. 'Hello ant!' he cried cheerfully. 'Here I am, to sing for you, as I warm myself by your fire, while you get me some food from that larder of yours!'

The ant looked at the grasshopper and said, 'All summer long I worked hard while you made fun of me, and sang and danced. You should have thought of winter then! Find somewhere else to sing, grasshopper! There is no warmth or food for you here!' And the ant shut the door in the grasshopper's face.

It is wise to worry about tomorrow today.

Except today the ant would be vilified for being a greedy capitalist and not giving back to the community.

Saturday, November 19, 2011


Here At Last, Dude!

Aren't you tired of the old translations of the Bible that make reading God's Holy Word so tedious? Are you frustrated with racking your brain over the archaic wording of the Living Bible?

Well suffer no more! Relief is here Dude!

Developed by actual graduate language students, between wave sets, the CALIFORNIA BIBLE has removed the awkward syntax and medieval language of older, more structured paraphrases.

Check it out!

8  So the sailors asked Jonah, "Yo, Dude! whats bring'in  this bad karma down on us, y'know?   
9  He answered,  "Take a chill pill Bill!  I'm like a Hebrew an' these gnarley waves were made by the Big Dude upstairs, y'know?
10  this terrified them and they asked,  "Woah! are you mental dude? (They knew he was splittin' from the Big Dude upstairs because he had already clued them).
11  The sea was getting gnarlier and gnarlier.  So they asked him, "Dude, like what should we do now?"
12  "Surfs up! These waves are mine!"  He replied... Then they picked him up and threw him overboard.    Jonah 1:8-15
"Like, totally gnarly! y'know?"
Johnny McArthur III

Friday, November 18, 2011


As a sometime carpenter, I can’t help wondering how Jesus must have felt when he went into his shop and found that someone had “borrowed” a tool without asking. Oh sure, being God in the flesh he was probably above such petty annoyances. I wonder if his reaction would have been different had he known that a Priest or Rabbi had removed the implement in question? 
In seminary, I walked into class one day to hear sad news. Our professor informed us that a book reserved for our class had disappeared from the library. Afterward, He simply prayed and dismissed class saying that no grade was worth the price of our integrity. The next day the book "miraculously" appeared on the library front steps. Over coffee, several of us reflected on the necessity for absolute honesty in our personal lives, not to mention our ministries. Later that semester the book disappeared from the library for good.

How would you feel about preparing a message on the Sermon on the Mount or the Ten Commandments using a hot commentary? Someone is.

Thursday, November 17, 2011


A Special Weekend begins today. Our granddaughter, grandpa's June Bug, is coming for the next four days. I'll pick her up this afternoon and take her to dance. Grandma will join us after she finishes at school. Then more dance. Then Girl Scouts. Whew! It's going to be a busy weekend. In-between engagements we get to spend time with our vivacious granddaughter. If I sound wrapped-around-her-finger giddy its because I am. I am the oldest of five sons. I have two sons. The family is chock-full of boys. We would have made a great line of kings.

Junie is my grandDAUGHTER. And for that I am blessed, thrilled and eternally bemused. Instead of G.I. Joes and Transformers I learn about cutsie girlie stuff. Not that I enjoy it or anything. No. Not a manly guy like me.

I am grateful for the blessing this little girl, my princess, has brought to our lives.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


The book of Genesis spends much of its coverage of Abraham on the promise of a son. Yet, when you get right down to it, we really don't know a lot about Isaac, son of the promise. He is eclipsed by his great father and sadly, his son Jacob.

Charles Hadden Spurgeon was perhaps the greatest Preacher of the 19th century. More than a hundred years later most evangelical Christians are at least familiar with the name. Did you know he had two sons who were preachers, too? Never heard of them? Yeah, they emigrated to Australia to get out from under the shadow of their father's reputation.

It's tough being the son of a great man. I should know, I am such a son. No, my dad is not a thundering preacher, nor the patriarch of a new nation. Though, with five sons, nine grandsons, one granddaughter, and uncountable great grandchildren He could be accused of being the founder of a mighty clan. His greatness lies in his family who love him. Annnnnd the fact that he is an automotive artist without parallel.

Self-taught--he never graduated from high school--he makes those custom car guys on television look pathetic. I always laugh when the people on those shows whine about how hard it is to build a car or motorcycle using only the Cincinatti Milacron machine tools used to manufacture nuclear weapons. My dad uses a welder, a hand grinder and his artist's eye. The cars he turns out makes those other guys look sick.

I will forever be in his shadow yet I feel nothing but pride. I am not an automotive artist but I am my father's son.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


I figured out the other day where I am. That is, I made a line graph. I put all the theological fringe types, as I see them, on the extreme Left and Right and boy howdy, if I didn’t end up smack in the middle. The criteria which demonstrated that I should be in the middle is the obvious fact that I don’t think I’m weird. No, really, I’m a great guy; ask my mom. The problem is there are very few of us who take relish in proclaiming that we are off-center. Perhaps you've seen a graph like the one described above. They are almost always self-serving devices used to label and demean those who do not possess the hallowed--read ‘arbitrary’--middle ground.

It is obvious that people are different. For convenience sake we tend to use the labels Left and Right. Because of this, if you just have to stand everyone on some sort of graduated line, some would be to the right and others to the left; those are your Fringies. I suppose there’s nothing demonically wrong with a graph like this. It’s the usage that distorts it’s usefulness. The unspoken argument from graphs like this seems to run this way; Left and Right are extreme. The Middle is the best. Christ is the best. Therefore, to be in the middle is to be closest to Christ.

Now I admit, measuring fringe types against ourselves is fun and easy. Too bad that’s not the way God does it. The divine standard is Jesus Christ. How can identifying with a political or theological label qualify us for that goal? Groups can’t measure up to the stature of Christ, that is a job for individuals. Perhaps a clearer way of graphing this is to put everyone on a baseline without reference to Left or Right; the operative direction is up. In this way individual Fundamentalists, Liberals, Conservatives, Moderates, Neo-Orthodox and Evangelicals must strive for the goal at the top; Jesus Christ. Sure, there are differences between us but the one that really counts is the difference between me and Christ.

Monday, November 14, 2011


I am a volunteer Chaplain with the LA County Sheriff's Department. Chaplain duties include counseling, patrolling in black & whites with the deputies, and simple presence. Today I will work one of my collateral duties. I am a Range Master for one of our mobile shooting ranges. I sought this out, went through training and love doing it. Okay, I do get some looks. A Chaplain in the shooting range?! Yeah. My Granddad was a deputy. I learned to shoot when I was a kid. and it is one sport where my normal terminal awkwardness is absent.

Amazing though it sounds, the range is a great fit for me as a Chaplain. I'm supposed to minister to the deputies, their families and department personnel. Traditionally, that's accomplished by ride-a-longs and station presence. I've done a lot of ride-a-longs. You spend eight hours in a car with a deputy, responding to calls and simply patrolling the streets. I enjoy it. It's an intense eight hour session. One deputy at a time. At first the deputies look at me like: why is this person in my car, is he reporting on me for the brass? I always start a first ride with a deputy saying, Good news and bad news. Good news; I'm not Internal Affairs. Bad news; I'm a preacher.

Thing is, I meet more deputies in a more comfortable setting when I work the range. The conversation is less formal. The deputies see me out of my high, priestly environment; Why, the Chaplain might actually be a human, like me.

I'm off. Looking forward to my day.

Sunday, November 13, 2011


"Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,"  1 Peter 3:15

When sharing your faith, the person listening to you does not have to agree with you or even receive your message. You are not validated by their response. You are simply sharing what you know. Frustration or anger at rejection is an indication that you might not be so sure about your faith yourself. Be clear about what you believe and why.

What IS mandatory is to make your position clear, logical and internally consistent. I might be wrong but at the very least I try to be consistent. This means you don't bother trying to build a detailed, academic argument if you are not academically trained. Be a witness. Tell what you know, not what some clever person told you.

Don't claim to be an authority, you are setting yourself up for a fall. Even if you ARE an authority it is a mistake. Show some humility. You are sharing your faith with another. It is not necessary to build an airtight legal case. In the "Scopes Monkey Trial" of 1925, William Jennings-Bryan claimed to be a Biblical authority. He was not, and lawyer Clarence Darrow made a monkey out of him over national radio.

Be honest about who you are, what you know and what you don't know. Hypocrisy is the unpardonable sin as far as unbelievers are concerned.

Marx is to communism what Christianity was to the Rulers of the Holy Roman Empire; convenient as a banner, irrelevant as a guide.”
                    Richard M. Nixon--The Real War

Friday, November 11, 2011


Honoring those warriors who never made it home.
Welcoming back their comrades who did.

Day is done.
Gone the sun.
From the lakes,
From the hills,
From the sky.
All is well,
Safely rest.
God is nigh.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


The Edmund Fitzgerald was lost with her entire crew of 29 men on Lake Superior November 10, 1975, 17 miles north-northwest of Whitefish Point, Michigan.

Sailor’s, rest your oars.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Today I worked on my non-fiction book proposal. The non-sample chapter part is almost done. (Is there another name for the non-sample chapter part?) I still have to figure "Other Possible Books in this Series" and "Ideas for OTHER Other books that interest me."

The Introduction and Chapter One are already written. I still need to write at least one more chapter. Finally, I will have to edit my work looking for all the amateur phrases and mis-spellings I am famous for.


I am a member of High Desert Christian Writers. We meet once a month for encouragement, advice and to critique one another's work. You don't have to be a Christian to be part of our group. You don't have to write exclusively Christian content, either. We are simply Christians who write and meet to help each other improve in their craft.

I wrote my first novel--Precipice--before I discovered the existence of such a thing as a critique group. I had a lot of fun writing on my own. The writing at the end of the book is much better than at the beginning. I taught myself how to sit down and write. Something I did not teach myself: industry standards. I had no clue that there were such things. I figured you sat down, pounded out a best-seller and everyone would want it. Silly boy.

After I finished my book I looked around for someone to tell me how to publish my best-seller. That's when I found my critique group. They helped me by showing me everything that was wrong with it. That is a bit daunting, but in fact, a writer who is not willing to take a "thick-skinned" critique will never make it out of the hot house. I tell people now, if my first novel were a car it would be in the garage, up on blocks with greasy engine parts strewn all over.

I tried for years to edit that novel to perfection. I finally gave it up. It was more of a patchwork quilt than a flowing literary masterpiece. Instead, I wrote a second novel, Colombian Kilo. Though I ended up self-publishing that, I am much happier with the over-all writing. I have found, as writers are fond of saying, my voice. I know my style and can execute it on demand. I learned that through the patient, knowledgeable writers in my critique group. I owe them a debt for praising my writing where it deserved it, and wading in with machete's when it didn't.

The High Desert Christian Writers holds an annual writers conference each May. 2012's conference will be on May 4-5. Learn more at Antelope Valley Christian Writers Conference.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


For some reason this blog is becomming popular in what is normally considered the Slavic states: people from Russia and Romania account for the bulk of my non-USA followers. They are closely followed by Latvia-which I believe prefers the term "Baltic State."

If I have misunderstood your heritage or mis-labeled you, please correct me. I want to learn better manners.

I am currently reading Dr. John Julius Norwich's three volume history of the Byzantine Empire. For an American it is quite an eye-opener to learn of the changing people and politics of your part of the world.

I included this photo of Hagia Sophia, in what is now Istanbul, because I believe it must be the most beautiful Christian Church ever built.


Monday, November 7, 2011


I came across this unique ministry a few years ago. The Hot Rod Church For Sinners meets at Santora's Hot Wings in Mission Viejo, California.

Two things strike me about these Christians. First, they remind me of the excitement and sense of fun I had as a new believer. Anyone who is willing to drive around in a rat rod with "Hot Rod Church for Sinners" painted on the door is having FUN. There is a myth among unbelievers that you must be a sourpuss in order to be a Christian. I disagree. And these believers are certainly the antidote to that notion.

Second, the Gospel of Jesus the Christ has NO BORDERS. Whosoever Will and Just As I Am are alive and well in this fallen world. These folks are living for Christ and giving glory to Father God just by showing up. In case you're not familiar with the culture, this is Rockabilly, with a continuous nod to the Fun Fifties.

Another great thing about their church, and in particular their web site, is the free music downloads. The Pioneers are the official band of the Hot Rod Church. Their albums are featured on the web site and available for free. I have several myself. So, since you're here, that means you are wasting time surfing the web anyway. Why not click the link and visit their page. You just might be blessed.

If you find yourself in Mission Viejo of a Sunday morning you should go worship with them. I plan to.

Saturday, November 5, 2011



I'm sure you've been there; some Big-Cheese tells you how super-important you are to them. Then you find yourself blown off by the same honcho, sometimes within minutes. It might have been a corporate phone tree message or an employee meeting. It doesn't really matter. At one such meeting the CEO himself made that statement to us employees, then asked for input. Someone took what they heard at face value and responded with a criticism. The CEO's answer: "Perhaps you're not right for this organization."

I sat in one of those meetings again, today. Not employees this time, but volunteers for a large government entity. We heard the same assurances from the CEO; we are valuable, necessary, almost indispensable to the organization's mission.

YAWN. Been there, heard that. ...Not today.

Let me fill in the back story. The meeting took place in Los Angeles; a ninety-mile drive from my house. Since I am an important, valuable, irreplaceable asset, I got to drive a company vehicle--burning company gas--to the meeting. As they say in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, "I chose... poorly." The car I drove had a slight electrical problem. When I started the tank registered FULL. However, ninety miles later it still read FULL. Worse; after the meeting it read EMPTY.

I swallowed my pride and went back inside to ask if there was a company gas pump at this company meeting place. "Yes, there is," said the NUMBER-FIVE PERSON in this organization of over 4000. Then, "It's locked, let me take you to it." That person spent the next thirty minutes tracking down the gate combination and using his ID to fill my car. Need I complete the moral? That is practicing what you preach.

Friday, November 4, 2011


Whew. fifty-three hits in thirty minutes. I guess I'm not the only Don Francisco fan.


I've never had a chance to meet Don Francisco. I've loved his music since the '70's. We do have some significant connections. His father, Clyde Francisco, the John R. Sampey Professor of Old Testament Interpretation at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky is one by proxy. Clyde wrote several of the text books I studied in graduate school. That is not surprising, because of my other point of contact. My friend Bob Cate, who was Dean and OT professor at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary. Bob was Clyde's student assistant at Southern. He told me this once when I brought up my love for Don Francisco's music. One of his collateral duties, he confided, was watching after a young Donny. (not me)

This song, "He's Alive" is the first of Don's I ever heard. I woke up to in one morning in 1979 as the radio alarm came on. It is forever iconic and my favorite of all Francisco's music.


My twelfth grade civics teacher had the following illustration on the wall in his classroom. Still makes sense today.

COMMUNISM: You have two cows. The government takes both, makes you milk them and gives you some of the milk.

NAZISM: You have two cows. The government takes both, labels you sub-human and shoots you.

GREAT SOCIETYISM: You have two cows. The government takes both, shoots one, milks the other and throws the milk away.

CAPITALISM: You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


This is a compilation of the send-up of "Hollywood Cop Movie" scenes from "So I Married An Axe Murderer."


The Captain asked me to assemble a team to conduct an official "visit" of our local Sheriff station. The idea was to have citizens from the community observe and report on the situation and practices they saw. At first, I thought this was some sort of public relations deal. If you watch the news you'll know that LA County has been under assault from the Without-A CLU people for the past month. Made sense to me.

However, when I got the files via email I discovered that this is a much bigger deal. It isn't merely a county or state PR attempt. No, this is a world-wide undertaking. For a two week period, citizens around the world will make similar inspection tours of their local police facilities. And, at least as far as our local station is concerned, the cops love the idea.

The concept is pretty amazing when you think of it. I mean, there are many places in this world where avoiding a police station would be at the top of my To-Do list. I can imagine myself checking the box for "No Thumb Screws In Evidence." CHECK. But here the police were eager to introduce citizens to the workings of the station. The tour itself was thorough. We went to every place in the station that I knew about and a few places I hadn't known previously. The consensus of the group was that real cops aren't much like what you see in movies. (Unless you've seen the wickedly funny send-up of "Cop Movies" in SO I MARRIED AN AXE MURDERER) See Above.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


While I enjoy hiking, getting there is nine tenths of the battle. Once my feet hit the trail I am focused on the hike. I push up hills, I enjoy the views, I try to find new trails to follow. Its the whole get up-get dressed-get moving thing that usually kills my hike aborning.

Not today. Well, that's putting it in a positive light. I still fought the urge to go back to bed. Today I overcame my genetic predisposition to sloth and got out of the house and into the car for the climb up the hill. In the photo you can see a bridge crossing the California Aqueduct. The white dot to the left of the bridge is my car. My house is in the line of trees visible in the lowlands to the middle-upper right of the shot.

Sometimes I walk or ride my bike from my house to the aqueduct. Other times, like today, I drive to the bridge then hike the hills above, from whence the photo was taken. I know it looks horribly end-of-season-dead in the photos. Up close and in person the reality isn't that parched.

I like to hike the Joshua Ranch Trail. There are miles of tracks I still haven't taken. Yet the whole hilly site is contained in a six-square-mile spot bounded by roads. Easy to get to. Challenging to hike. Easy to get out of in case of emergency; like running out of trail mix.

Joshua Ranch is "scheduled for termination" as they say in the Death Star detention chambers. Several years ago developers began building roads and clearing lots for high end domiciles. The housing bust of 2008 stopped that. The roads and lots are slowly returning to nature, like ancient Mayan ruins.

Have no fear though. As soon as the economy is back on track I have no doubt that this arid park-land will soon become another conquest of nature. I don't mean to sound cynical. Well... Yes I do. I like hiking there and will be sad to see it go.

Today I hiked for two hours. I figure I did a total of five miles. One of my favorite spots is a shade shelter near the highest point. You can see most of the Antelope Valley from there. If you happen to get there at noon (I never seem to) you might even find shade under the shelter.

The point of the post's Title: "Bodily Exercise Profiteth Little" is that though I exercise and work to lose weight, its really a losing battle. At my age I'm not really improving my body, merely staving off the eventual decay. I don't really feel young again. But I do feel like moving. And that's a good thing.