NASCAR. . . always turning left. . .well, unless they are on a road course.  I grew up with stock car racing. My dad participated in the construction of the track at Bristol and, at 8 years old, I was at the very first race there.  From year to year, I spent a lot of time in the pits because dad knew a lot of the drivers and crews.  Pop took me to just about every track in the southeast as I was growing up.  The memories sure are good ones.  

I also remember living about two miles from Thunder Valley after I was married.  Our mobile home was just beyond the hills surrounding the Bristol property.  By then, I couldn’t attend races like I used to, but I didn’t need a sound system to hear the drivers going around the half-mile oval or the dragsters going down the 1/4 mile strip.  What a beautiful sound.  All that power concentrated under the hoods of cars going absolutely nowhere.

This weekend, I my find myself with a little “me” time so guess what I’m doing?  Watching NASCAR.  I marveled at the truck race last night in Atlanta, I’m watching Nationwide qualifying right now, and I’m quite sure I’ll sleep through the Sprint Cup race tomorrow after church.  They are still turning left and all weekend long, even after the 500-mile event on Sunday, the drivers will only cover an area of 1.54 miles.  Amazing.  And they’ll go nowhere at speeds over 150 miles per hour.

Most people I know live life like that.  They are racing in the same direction they were years ago and they are still not getting anywhere. Unlike the NASCAR stars, the average Joe just needs a change of direction.  Instead of going faster, you should slow down–smell the roses, they really are fragrant.  Instead of doing the same old thing the same old way, mix it up–look for something new in life–say Jesus, for example.

Going faster and working harder just to make more and do more can only result in flat tires and banged up bodies–kind of like the “big one” wrecks at Daytona and Talladega. Remember this, you weren’t created to be successful.  You were created to worship God.  Then you ARE successful.  Think about it.  Then, if you haven’t already, turn to Jesus.


Public Relations in today’s climate is all about convincing you to do something, to buy something, or maybe even to avoid something so that a person or an organization profits from your purchase, your avoidance or, especially, your vote.  Gentle persuasion is usually the means, but you can be assured that the one doing the persuading is trying to convince you to believe and/or act like themselves.  The most common means of PR aimed at you is the  commercial, be it radio, TV, or print ad.  You know, like the pile of newsprint ads you receive in your mailbox on Tuesday or Wednesday of each week trying to get you to buy a product you don’t need with a coupon you really don’t want to use.  But it’s there, so why not.

Please don’t misunderstand, PR is necessary, but many times it is simply not honest.  Almost everyone has an angle and they want to get you to lean to their angle.  The problem is truth. . .or the stretching of it.

A Personal Record, is the best you’ve ever done at something; I’m particularly thinking of runners because I am one.  When I was a teenager in high school my PR in most any event was a lot better than it is now. I don’t know that I was any better of a runner than than I am now, but I was younger (I didn’t weigh nearly as much) and I had a lot more time to train–I was more consistent with my training regimen.  I practiced and practiced and practiced.  I had special running shoes, I spent hours setting up in starting blocks and listening for the sound of the starter’s gun.  I tried different ways of coming out of the blocks to get the quickest start and I learned how to lean at the finish at full speed just in case someone was as fast as me.

I remember my track coach in high school.  He had been a sprinter, himself.  He developed a thyroid problem and his therapy caused his body to balloon; he couldn’t run anymore, but he sure could coach.  He made me run with the distance guys.  Hey coach, I run the 100 and 200, maybe the quarter mile, but not the 800 or the 10,000–nevertheless, I practiced with the cross country guys.  I admired them and I hated them all at the same time.  I could never keep up.  I didn’t know that my coach was just trying to teach me stamina.

PR can also stand for Personal Responsibility, something that, in this society, is largely ignored. This is especially true among politicians.  They say something today, justify it tomorrow, and deny it the next day even though their statement has been digitally recorded and played on all the news agencies.  The worst part is that the media PR people help them avoid PR.  And, this is equally true among people not looking for votes–just looking for an excuse.  “I didn’t mean to shoot him,” they will say.  And then they want to be excused for murder.  “I didn’t mean to run head on into that teenager’s car and kill her,” they’ll claim.  And then they don’t want to be found guilty of vehicular homicide even though they were high, out of control, and really don’t care about the life lost.

Personal Responsibility is not being learned because it is not being taught.  It is not being taught because it is not understood by the immediate past generations of the 80’s, 90’s, and 00’s.  And you can guess why.  The adults of the last 30 years were the kids of the previous 30 years when the peace sign, free love, and the antiestablishment movement gained a foothold on American culture.  Don’t blame me, they say, blame someone else.  Blame those who have money, blame those who don’t have money, blame those who have white skin, blame those who have black skin, blame the Hispanics, just don’t blame me ’cause it’s not my fault.  Oh yeah, look in the mirror and you will discover it is ALL your fault because you would not stand up for what is holy and right–so you fell for the lie of what is evil and easy.

I hope you are not one of those who never reaches for the stars and just settles for glitter.  How can you have a personal best when you don’t even have a personal good.  What is your PR?


Who would have thought that a culinary dish made famous for many Americans by an animated movie would be good for you?  Ratatouille (rat-a-too-we), a french dish, is nothing more than tomatoes, garlic, onions, courgette, aubergine, bell peppers, marjoram, basil, sometimes bay leaf, and thyme.  Of course, the secret to its flavor is how the ingredients are combined when cooked. It is good for you simply because it is not only low in fat and calories, but also high in nutrients.

In the movie of the same name, the main character, Remy, is one smart rat.  He knows how to cook, he can communicate with humans without ever saying a word, and he can rouse his friends when they are needed to carry out an impossible task.  Remy has a brother.  His name is Emile.  Unlike Remy, Emile is a bit rotund, not exactly observant to the world around him, and seems to live for his next meal, rotten or sweet.  Emile loves Remy, but he does not understand him.  Why would Remy want to be anything other than a rat in a pack?  Why would he want to improve his life?  Why would he want to leave the gutter for a life in the world of humanity?

Curiosity is one possibility.  Sometimes rats, and some people, stick their heads out of the proverbial hole in the wall because they hear, smell or see something attractive.  Curiosity may have killed the cat, but at least he didn’t just give up and die in the dark.

Fear could be another motivator for a scared rat.  When Remy first ventured out into the real world, he had to dodge a lot of cars, bicycles and people.  Where I live, we do a lot of dodging in traffic, yet we overcome the fear of getting run over and we go onto work anyway.

But Remy didn’t leave the security of his rat’s life because he was curious or afraid.  Remy’s problem was desire.  Problem, you say?  Yeah, problem.  In today’s world, it can be problematic if you have a desire to do much of anything beyond what you are already doing.  In school and at work, most people seem to just want to get by.  They don’t have much desire to improve their situation, to do better, to get up and go, or to change their life at all.

Getting by has become the New American Dream.  When the numbers of persons depending on government assistance for their livelihood gets close to the number of persons working for a living, the problem, at least in part, is obviously desire. . .the lack of it.  If this rationale is true, and I believe it is, a number of other questions arise but let me ask just the most obvious, Why?  Why don’t people have desire anymore?  Why don’t people want to get up and get out to find a job, create one, or at least take care of what they already have?

Two reasons come to mind: an unwillingness to come under authority, likely because the authority figure(s) in their lives don’t understand the concept themselves, and lack of personal responsibility, likely because they have never been taught or witnessed others who hold the idea in high regard.

We live in a dependent world that is characterized more and more by a laissez-faire attitude.  Leave me alone to choose to do whatever I want, whenever I want. . .and I choose to do nothing.

Thank God, I wasn’t raised that way.  Everyone of us has a choice.  We can choose to be like Remy and do whatever is necessary to get the job done or, we can be like Emile and sit on our tushes waiting for the next morsel to fall from the table.

Ratatouille. . .think I’ll go cook some.



This time of year, at 5:30 AM, it is still pretty dark where I live.  I roll out of bed around 4:00 AM, get my self good and awake, brew some fresh green tea, have a quiet time, climb in my Jeep, turn on all the lights, and take off.  This morning, when I came to the first stop sign, the one at the exit to my subdivision, I turned on my left signal, looked both ways, and saw headlights coming toward me.  I waited for the cars to pass so I could make my turn and enter traffic.

At about the time I thought the last car passing the intersection was going to move through, it started coming straight toward me.  My heart rate immediately went through the roof.  The car didn’t seem to be slowing and I thought this was going to be a t-bone kind of day (but not one you enjoy at a restaurant).  The car swerved making a right turn into the subdivision–without a signal.

By now, my heart wasn’t just racing, my blood was boiling. I really wanted to turn around, run down the little car, and say some things that I shouldn’t.  Man am I thankful that Holy Spirit is in my heart.

I made the left, proceeded south to Goodman Road where I made another left.  If you lived in North Mississippi, I probably wouldn’t have to say much more than–Goodman Road.  But for those of you who don’t, and for the sake of this blog, Let me explain.  Thirty years ago, Goodman Road [Mississippi Highway 302], was a two-lane road that crossed north Mississippi east to west just south of the Tennessee state line from Walls to a point west of Olive Branch.

When I first moved to this area, I could jump in my car, leave Walls, and arrive in downtown Olive Branch in less than twenty minutes passing hundreds of driveways and only a few businesses.  Then it hit–urban sprawl.  Now we have a 5-lane highway and from Walls to Olive Branch there are about 12,000 traffic lights, or so it seems.  Along the 5-lane route you’ll find every fast food joint, furniture store, and big box shopping center you can imagine.  And that doesn’t count a Walgreens and/or CVS drugstore and some sort of bank and gas station on every corner.  At night, it looks like Las Vegas with all the lighted signs.

During my trip this morning, I got “caught” by almost ever traffic signal.  I was doing more stopping than going.  I could hardly wait for the red light to turn green so I could zip down the road another quarter mile to stop at the next traffic signal.  People were running the lights and yes, plenty were turning without their turn signal activated.  BTW, if you turn in front of me without your signal on, look very close, I’m going to look at you in a way that will let you know I’m not pleased.

The place I was going this morning was about half way between Walls and Olive Branch.  It took me thirty minutes to get there.  Sometimes I wonder if it wouldn’t be better to have the old two-lane road.

Traffic signals, including all sorts of signs and the bright red, yellow, and green lights, are put along the roadways to give us guidance–and to keep us from running over each other.  The signs on the front of stores are there for a similar reason.  Companies place the brightly lit neon boxes on the front of their buildings to get our attention.  Recently, I was in another part of the country that obviously limits store signs and especially the signs that stand a hundred feet in the air or more.  I couldn’t find anything.  I thought to myself, I guess they just don’t want me to find the place I’m looking for today.  Without visual signals that are plainly marked, it can be tough getting around.

Take for example the little white rectangles along the side of the road with numbers on them. . .25, 35, 45, 55. . .and then just above the numbers, two words: speed limit.  Everyone driving a car knows what they mean, but most people ignore them; signals.

Living a dedicated God-life requires recognizing signals, too.  The biggest signal of all is kind of like the sun.  Everyday at sunrise, no one has to wonder what is going on.  When that big ball of fire crosses the horizon, you know daytime has arrived.  The biggest signal of all in the Bible is the Jesus event at Calvary.  It was so big it caused an earthquake and a storm.  The whole universe paused when Jesus died on the Cross.  The “green-light” part of that story is the Resurrection!  Jesus got up from the grave to complete His journey to “seek and to save that which was lost.”

For those of us who are believers, God-followers, Jesus-lovers, kingdom-heirs, on our way to heaven, there are a lot of signals that follow our decision to accept Christ.  We generally call the signals “marks of discipleship.”

If I tried to write them all down here, I’d never finish.  God has given us all the signals we need to move in and out of the traffic of life safely.  When to turn, went to go, when to stop. . .it’s all there. I just wonder if we are paying attention to the signals.

baggy pants and the gospel

Growing up in a small Southwest Virginia town in the 1950’s, growing up in a Navy man’s house, and spending most of my days on a 550+ acre farm, I learned how to work hard very, very early in life.

Slopping hogs, feeding chicken, gathering eggs, feeding cows, milking cows (200 head), cutting hay, raking hay, bailing hay, putting the hay in the top of the barn, planting tobacco, working tobacco, harvesting tobacco, grading tobacco. . .and on and on, will do one of two things to you–it will either make you a working man with a strong ethic, or, it will make you run!  I didn’t have enough sense to run, I guess.

I remember going to grade school at Stonewall Jackson Elementary.  We had good teachers, plenty of room to run wild during recess, and a cafeteria staff that knew how to feed a bunch of farm boys.  And boy, did I eat!  I remember going to Sears & Roebuck about two weeks before school every year to get my school clothes.  Five pairs of Roebucks (the darkest, stiffest denim you every saw), five short sleeved shirts, 5 long sleeved shirts, white Converse All-Stars (real Chuck Taylor’s) and almost always a brand new book bag.  My mom always told my dad to buy my jeans at least 5 inches too long in length and at least two inches too big in the waist.  You want to talk about baggy pants, I had ’em.

My pants had to be purchased too big in the waist because I was growing like a wild weed.  You might think they bought them too long because I was getting so tall.  Not so.  After age twelve, I was as tall as I am at 59.  The length was to patch the knees and the seat because when I wasn’t in school and wasn’t working on the farm, I was playing.

Do you remember playing? We played stick ball, baseball when we had a bat, football, basketball, hide-and-go-seek, rode bikes, flew down the hills on skateboards that actually had skates nailed or screwed to a board; we were members of every branch of the Armed Forces with make-believe machine guns and airplanes and, or course, bombs to scratch the enemy.

Sliding into home, falling of my bike, rolling down a grassy hill while escaping the enemy–that’s why I needed baggy pants.  And it’s a good thing; I had a strong belt because in my day you did not dare show your tighty-whitys in public.

When I was about nine years old, one of my best friends invited me to go to church with him.  It was his mother’s idea.  I went. . .I didn’t understand a thing, or so I thought.  From that day forward, I knew something was missing in my life.

My parents never took me to church.  The never went to church.  They were busy achieving the American Dream.  My dad worked hard and my mom was a stay-at-home mom.  The fed me well, dressed me well, and taught me good morals.  They had my teeth fixed when they broke and they sat with me when I had bone cancer.  They did everything they knew to do.  They didn’t KNOW God.  Sure, they knew ABOUT God–he was certainly for little children and old people.  But they didn’t have time.

So I grew up, bought my own not-so-baggy pants, started my own hard-working, somewhat morally-upright family, watched my wife give birth to our son, and went on my merry way without God in my life and with no real hope for the future.

Then, one night, on the verge of taking my own life, I ran head-on into Jesus.  My wife was a Christian and had me in church.  I heard the Gospel.  I knew that the Lord Jesus Christ was truly the Son of the Living God.  I knew that He came into this world to die for sin–we have all sinned.  I knew that He came back to life after laying graveyard dead in a tomb for three days.  And I knew that He did that for ME–Jesus died for me!  He defeated death for me!

Thirty-three years ago, I received Jesus as my Savior and Lord. There are still a lot of boys out there wearing baggy pants.

loud music

Sometimes, when I’m trying to focus, I need music. Some like a quiet place to find center; not me–I’m a noisy guy. Not only that, I grew up in the ’60’s & 70’s–well, “grew up” may be somewhat inaccurate; most people who know me very well swear I’m still a kid, albeit a 59 year old kid.

So I guess it is OK for this 20th century conservative preacher to say “I love rock & roll!”  Therein is the quandary.  I enjoy music.  These days K-Love is more my speed but sometimes I just need a good dose of Rock 103 [Memphis, TN].  Some days I find myself in a jazzy mood, other days it’s instrumental.  Sometimes I like straight-up country and western, you know, George Strait not Taylor Swift.  BTW, if you haven’t listened/watched Big & Rich’s That’s Why I Pray, do yourself a great big favor and watch/listen to it today.

Sometimes I like Southern Gospel; later in the day I might find myself listening to Grand Funk Railroad or the James Gang.  For me, music taste is like fresh-brewed green tea at five in the morning.  I never know which of 5 or 6 varieties I’m going to throw in the pot until I stumble into the kitchen eyes half open.  That doesn’t mean that Earl Green in any better than Jasmin Pearls.  It just means that my taste is different that day.

A few weeks ago, Debbie and I went to Florida to visit with our son, daughter-in-law, and grandchildren.  Recently, they moved near Ft. Lauderdale to serve in a really big church.  Chris, my son, gave me the 50 cent tour and I was truly amazed.  God has been working overtime in that place.  It appears they are a well-oiled machine when it comes to doing Kingdom work.  On the Sunday morning we were there with them in Coral Springs, we went to one of their four Sunday services–the one we attended was, I think, their “main” service.  Several thousand people gathered and, then. . .then it happened.  The theater like setting of the church went dark, the lights began to flash, the drummer let loose, the lead and back-up guitars began to twang, the bass player ripped a riff, the keyboard chimed in, and the praise team began to sing.  FLASHBACK.  Where was I?  Is this church or am I back in NYC or Baltimore or Philly at a rock concert.  The sound was almost deafening–and I’m a little deaf.

I could feel the amplified beat of the drums.  The stage presence of the worship leaders was precise and prepared.  Their spirits were free and their words were powerful.  And yet I almost found myself offended.  Surprised. . .so was I.  Hey, this is church, isn’t it?  Yeah, but not like we do it back in Mississippi.  I’m familiar with contemporary, but this is something else entirely.

I found myself having a real problem with this.  I looked down and my toe was tapping the concrete floor.  The more I listened, the more I smiled.  The more I heard, the better I liked it.  The people were telling the audience/congregation the great truth that Jesus Saves!  They weren’t doing it the way I’d do it,  but they were doing it, nonetheless.  Their last song was a bit sedate by comparison, but still powerful with a message that drew listeners in–and then the pastor took the stage.  I don’t think the walls are painted because if they were, he would have preached it off the walls.  Truth without any mixture of error.  Isn’t that how we’re supposed to preach?  That’s what HE did.

I left that place thinking I could never worship that way every week.  And the funny part is, while I was thinking that, I was rocking in my head to one of the worship songs they shared.  By now, you might be thinking, I’d sure like to know more about that church.  Look ’em up.  They are Church by the Glades in Coral Spring, FL.  Their services are on line, live.

For a moment, go somewhere else with me. About every month I get a newsletter from a local pastor warning me and all who read his letter about the dangers of the “contemporary” movement and about all the shortcomings (I’m being nice) of ministries led by men like Bill Hybels and Rick Warren.  He talks about the old days, old-time religion, and how purpose-driven ministry in not from God.

I have a question?  What IS the purpose of ministry?  I always thought it was about leading the lost to Christ.  Maybe I’m wrong (not really).  Do you get my drift (I’m going to try drifting one day)? My Presbyterian friends are mostly high-church both in music and practice.  My Church of God friends sway back and forth.  My Methodist friends put food in backpacks for kids who otherwise won’t get to eat after school on weekends.  None of them are wrong if they are preaching Jesus crucified and risen for the salvation of all men!

Sure, the practice is different, the methods vary; if they are kingdom building, I’m on their side.  I don’t have time to run down those who are different than me, whether it is the color of their skin, their ethnic origin, or their bad habits (I have some of those, myself).

One of my newest “preacher-boys” posted this on Facebook yesterday, “When it comes to the Church and us living out what we believe, I’d rather we be known as lunatics than hypocrites any day of the week.”  Young friend, Amen! I lost my mind a long time ago–I’m crazy about Jesus.

Guess what? I may never be a part of a dynamic church like CBG, but I like loud music.

shopping carts & bad habits

Did Americans get fat and then lazy, or was it the other way around?  Doesn’t matter. . .but it is very sad to see people struggle to get around and then see them not do things they should because of their size.  Don’t misunderstand, I’m no specimen of physical condition, but I admire those who are and I’m constantly working to be more like them.  I suppose what put this on my mind was watching the Summer Olympics for the past few days.  Michael Phelps. . .need I say more.  Like Tank said about Neo to Morpheus, “He’s a machine.” But I digress. . .a lot.

I’m going to tell a couple of stories to try and make my point.

When I finished my junior year in high school a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, my dad drove me to the driver’s license office to get my permit; passed the written test and the driver’s test, took Driver’s Ed., and was ready to drive.  One problem, I didn’t have a car.  I’d been driving farm trucks on my granddads farm since I was 10 and an old Willys for a couple of years near my home in town.  But now I was a fully licensed, legal driver. . .without a car.

My mom didn’t drive much so my dad gave me my mom’s 1964 & 1/2 midnight blue Ford Mustang (otherwise known as Twilight Turquoise).  Little did I know that I couldn’t afford gas, much less license plates and insurance.  So, it was time to get a job.  A job I really didn’t need because I’d been working on the aforementioned farm for a long time.  Herding and milking 200+ head of milk cows, mowing, raking, bailing, and stacking hay to take to the local co-op to be ground into feed for those cows, slopping hogs, gathering eggs, weeding the vegetable garden, and working tobacco was pretty much an everyday affair for me. But still, I was becoming a city slicker now, if that’s possible in a town of 20,000 people; and since I had a car at my disposal now, I needed a regular job.

Amazingly, I made really good grades in school so, for my senior year, I only had a couple of classes to take, got out of school early in the day, and went to work.  My first “real” job was at a supercenter before there was such a thing.  It was a giant discount store with a full grocery department.  Being in the hills of East Tennessee, it was on one of those hills with the parking lot angling down a hill away from the store.  We had LOTS of shopping carts. My job was batboy and cart pusher.  My dad and granddad had already instilled in me a good work ethic so I decided to be the best bagger and cart pusher in America.  Something went well; it wasn’t long until I was offered a full-time job and a big raise, all the way to $1.25/hour.  Hey, 50 bucks a week made me one rich car driver.

Seeing this as yet another opportunity to teach me about privilege and responsibility, my dad handed me the tag renewal on the Mustang as well as the insurance premium bill. I didn’t really like that arrangement, but I wasn’t about to give up the keys!  I started customizing the car’s interior and “souped up” the engine. As advancement after advancement took me farther up the company food chain, I made more money. . .but sometimes I still went out and pushed shopping carts up the hill.

A little aside. . .while working at that store, one day a beautiful brunette walked in looking for a job.  The store manager hired her and immediately she was under my supervision.  The day she hired in I went home and told my dad I was going to marry her; I didn’t even know her name.  We’ve been married for 40 years.

A few weeks ago I was in South Florida visiting my son (that’s code for going to see my four grandchildren). One evening Chris and I went to a local Publix grocery store to pick up some things.  The next day he asked me if I noticed something odd about the store’s parking lot.  I didn’t so he told me they don’t have shopping cart corrals.  They have shopping cart pushers on the job constantly.  The land down there is completely flat so they don’t really have to worry about them rolling into a car; nevertheless, they chase those things and bring them back into the store moment by moment.

When I got back home to North Mississippi, I went grocery shopping.  After gathering all my items and paying for them, I made my way out to my car, loaded my groceries, and looked for a cart corral.  One was located just a few feet from my car so I headed straight for it.  I had to wiggle around 5 or 6 empty carts sitting on the parking lot outside the corral–in fact, one was pushed up against the corral.  I thought to myself, we don’t need these things up here either; noone uses them anyway.

But it’s not just the local Kroger, Walmart, Target and every other store that has shopping carts suffer from the same ailment; lazy Americans. You see, people with a good work ethic who understand privilege and responsibility don’t leave their shopping cart sitting where they empty it, often pushed up against someone else’s vehicle.  Instead, they politely and gladly push their own cart to the closest corral because it’s the right thing to do.

Many don’t do it because they are in a hurry.  Some don’t do it because they just don’t feel like it; I’ve watched some of those folks.  It’s no wonder they don’t feel like it, they’re huge.  Some don’t do it just because they are lazy.  And, I’m convinced many don’t return their shopping cart to the corral because they are both–fat AND lazy.

Now, before you take up arms and decide to crucify me, let me tell you something; I understand as well as anyone that some folks cannot help the fact that they are large.  Some medical problems are just hard to overcome.  But also understand that of the 40+% of American adults who are overweight to the point of morbid obesity, more than 95% of them don’t have a disease, they’re just too lazy to car.  Apparently, either they were never taught about privilege and responsibility, or, they just don’t care.

I go with the later. . .bad habits spawn more bad habits and before long, life is overcome with those habits. If this offends you, prove me wrong.  If you agree with me, try to help someone overcome their bad habits. You’ll both be glad you did.

What should we expect?

Dugger, Indiana is a small town of about 1,000 people in middle America.  They are mostly white and apparently have a pretty strong Christian presence.  So strong, in fact, that they raised a 26-foot tall steel and cast iron cross anchored in 6 yards of concrete.  The cross says, “Jesus saves.”  The city put the cross up in 2010 after the town board approved a request by Faith Community Church.

What a story, huh?  Well, it sort of goes down hill from here.  Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, led by ultra-liberal United Church of Christ minister Barry Lynn, have declared the cross unconstitutional and have demanded that it be removed from public property because its presence is an unlawful government endorsement of Christianity.

Americans United, as they call themselves, are the ones who should be declared unconstitutional.  Why? They don’t have a legal leg to stand on.  Like all other Christ-hating, bible-denying, bleeding-heart liberal organizations, they continue to pull the wool over the eyes of the majority of Americans by suggesting, even declaring that the United States Constitution, in particular, the 1st Amendment, prohibits any government entity from recognizing or promoting in any form any particular religion or religious idea.  That is exactly what the first amendment DOES NOT do.  Read it. . .read Thomas Jefferson’s letter about the supposed “wall of separation.”  

Neither Jefferson nor the rest of the framers of our foundational documents had such a ridiculous idea in mind.  America was founded on Christian principles by Christian men who not only endorsed Christianity but required its practice by those participating in early town/city governments.  If they were opposed to Christian ideals in the public arena, why are there no extant written documents by their hands declaring such?  Why are almost all older federal buildings in Washington, DC adorned with Christian scripture and declarations?

I’ll tell you why?  The framers EXPECTED Christianity to guide our country to greatness.  And it did.  Now look what has happened.  A so-called Christian minister runs around the country trying to tear down Christianity in the public arena.  Lynn, the ACLU, MoveON, and the entire progressive movement are hell-bent on destroying the foundations upon which this country was built.

And well-meaning Americans are falling for it in the name of tolerance.  We, REAL Americans (those working and paying taxes) are supposed to tolerate every other religion in the world, especially Islamists who want to destroy us, and we are supposed to sit quietly in the corner not declaring our faith.

I have news for Lynn and his cohorts; they are wrong and I’ll tell anyone who will listen.  They have lots of money but I assure you they don’t have the blessing of nor the power of God.  When we stand up loud enough and long enough, they will have no choice but to sit down and shut up.

They talk about fairness and equality–but they are lying when they say that is what they want for everyone.  The only want to be fair to those who agree with them and they will offer their “equality’ to anyone except genuine Christians.

If you get the opportunity, find pastor Shawn Farris and Faith Community Church online and encourage them.


Did you shave today?

While having lunch with a friend a few days ago, he asked me, “Have you ever heard of Occam’s Razor?”  I replied, “No, I use Gillette.” He started explaining to me the principle attributed to a 14th century logician named William of Ockham.  Being a “science puke” (thats what Col. Quartich called the scientists in Avatar), I already knew what he was talking about, but I wanted to hear “which” version of the principle he was going to explain.  Simply put, Ockham stated, “Entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily.”  While Occam’s Razor has been adopted or adapted by many different scientists and thinkers, I believe one of the best ever presentations was in the 1997 movie, Contact, starring Jodie Foster and Matthew McConaughey; she played scientist Ellie Arroway who felt robbed when her dad died of a sudden heart attack when she was very young and he played Palmer Joss who, according to his own testimony in the movie was “a man of the cloth without the cloth.”

At one point in the movie they were discussing the nature of the universe and the question of faith with this exchange; Ellie Arroway, “All things being equal, the simplest explanation tends to be the right one. . .so what’s more likely, an all powerful mysterious God created the universe and then decided not to give any proof of his existence or, that he simply doesn’t exist at all, and that we created him so that we wouldn’t have to feel so small and alone.  Joss replied, “. . .I couldn’t imagine living in a world where God didn’t exist; no, I wouldn’t want to.  Ellie’s response, “How do you know you’re not deluding yourself. To me, I need proof.”  Joss, “Proof. . .Did you love your father?” Ellie, “Yes, very much.” Joss, “Prove it.”

Prove it. . .prove you faith. That’s what the unbelieving world wants us to do, isn’t it? They want us to show them God.  Guess what, that’s exactly what we should do. . .not by what we say, but by what we do.  Christian faith that is real is full of action.  It doesn’t sit on its hands, it’s not ever quiet, and it doesn’t let the world run all over it.

Real, fearless faith. . .the kind we’re all supposed to have is not overbearing but it is very plain and easy to understand.  Genuine, courageous faith. . .knows what it believes and is not afraid to tell others.

God has already proven himself to the world and he continues to do so everyday.  Is it easier to believe that everything that is came from a sudden blast of nothing, or that a loving God who has existed forever spoke and the universe appeared? The former requires a “blind leap of. . .faith,” the later just requires biblical faith that leads to eternal life.

I choose Jesus, how about you?

Readin’, writin’, & arithmetic; what went wrong?

My house in North Mississippi is only about 2 miles from the Tennessee state line and the city of Memphis.  Memphis can be a beautiful place.  The culture is diverse.  When I first moved to the area to attend seminary, I found myself for the very first time in my life in places where I was the only light-skinned person in a room.  When I went to work at night, the people of color knew that it was really uncomfortable for me–so they looked out for me; they taught me how to act a speak in their culture; they helped me appreciate different kinds of food–and best of all, they became my friends.

Lately, across the state line over there in Memphis, a lot of finger pointing has been going on over education–or the lack thereof.  Well-meaning, but misinformed community leaders, convinced the people of Shelby County that it would be best to combine city and county school systems–to save money–snicker, snicker.

The outlying municipalities in Shelby County didn’t want anything to do with it so they determined to separate themselves from the city/county system in an effort to establish there own school systems.  If the results of today’s vote (as it is being reported) is accurate, their desire is overwhelming, 80+% in favor.

In fairness, being a Mississippi resident, I need to point out that among the 50 states, MS consistently ranks dead last in most areas.  Thankfully, Desoto County, where I live, leads the state while being the largest of its districts. Many, many Shelby County/Memphis families have moved to Desoto County in recent years to escape the system that they perceive to be broken at best and corrupt at worst.

What is going on? Well, according to very recent national statistics, 70% of American 8th graders can’t read proficiently, and most will never catch up.  More than 1.2 million American high school students drop out of school every year.  44% of dropouts under age 24 are jobless and that ends in $300 billion in lost wages and lost productivity from the class of 2007 alone.  And it is only getting worse.

High School graduation for me came more than 40 years ago.  I can still remember many of my teachers and the profound effect they had on my desire to learn.  They taught me to love reading, to push myself academically, and to expect the best–from myself AND my classmates.  Even back then, I can remember community leaders saying we needed more money because American education trailed other countries.  In the 1980’s they were singing the same song, just like they did in the ’90’s, just like the did in the first decade of this century, and just like they are doing now. Give us more money, they say, so we can better educate your kids.

Readin’, writin’, and arithmetic; what went wrong?  I’ll be glad to tell you.  First, let me tell you it is NOT a lack of funding.  America, in total, out-funds all the other 25 highly developed nations.  Part of the problem is that our funding is the hands of government bureaucrats and the unions of the NEA; a top-heavy combination NOT interested in education but rather controlled by self-interest.  It doesn’t take much investigating to find out that far too many teachers in the US are under-qualified or unqualified to be teachers from primary all the way through the secondary system.  Additionally, union protection keeps the worst of the teachers either in the classroom or in a lounge somewhere on school grounds sitting all day, getting paid, but not teaching because they don’t know how!

But, let me tell you, that is not the REAL problem, as bad as that scenario is.  After the Great Depression and World War II, our parents and grandparents determined to make life “easier” for us.  They worked hard so we wouldn’t have to work hard.  They made excuses for many of us and that made it OK to not excel.  In the decades since, it has only gotten worse.

Now, teachers don’t have time to teach because they spend most of their day corralling unruly children. Those earlier generations of parents, in their desire to have bigger homes and better cars, began to ignore the importance of God in their lives.  I know this because you cannot pray in school these days, and in America it is easier to kill an unborn baby than it is to euthanize a dog.  BTW, I love dogs.

And that, my friends is the heart of the problem–no Christian God.  How has that cultural change affected our society.  AUTHORITY, DISCIPLINE, & PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY are ideas not understood by most of our children today.

Because American parents are not the final authority in the American home, they do not properly discipline their children and the kids do not know HOW to take responsibility.  Before I close this writing, let me say just a word about how I know this to be true.

I have taught at the graduate level, my son has taught in secondary schools, and my daughter-in-law has taught on the primary level.  I am personally involved with hundreds of the kids in my school district every day of the school year.  And I have four grandchildren, the oldest of which is seven.  Just last year, he sat in a 4th grade class and read to the students in that class.  You might want to argue that he is sharp because his mom & dad are professional educators.  I’ll give you that.  But, even if they weren’t, they love God, they love their kids, they lovingly discipline them, and I see in these children something very different from what I see in the lives of a lot of kids I work with everyday–self-discipline, respect for authority, and self-motivation.  Thank God.

The American public education system is top-heavy, liberal, and undependable–and parents have been fooled into believing they are not the most important ingredient in the successful education of their children.  That is what is wrong.