Thursday, September 28, 2006


Yesterday I read in the Wetumpka Herald about a Christian poetry contest. $1000 top prize, deadline 9/30--so I decided to enter. This morning this is what I wrote and submitted. I do not know if the contest is for real or a set-up to sell me a book of poetry but the exercise was fun anyway. I enjoy poetry (some types) and may start writing more.


The Sun this morning,
bathed in red glory
affirmed once again
the Genesis story.

Throughout each day
the mockingbirds sing.
Never grumpy nor blue,
but cheerful tunes bring.

Let him with ears, hear
and him with eyes, see.
The Creator of all
is speaking to me.

All around are rumors
of another world, unseen.
I can't pursue both worlds
and again must choose between.

There are other prizes besides the grand prize.

Friday, September 22, 2006

War Eagle! Roll Tide!

Yes that is an odd title for a post by a long-time Georgia Bulldog fan. But I want you to imagine a toddler shouting the battle cry for their parent's favorite football team. For most of us it is not difficult to imagine because we have seen it over and over. Please hear me clearly at this point......I am not condemning fanatical support of a football team nor passing that fanatism on to your children. BUT let's be fair enough to admit that this is exactly what we do. We teach our passions to our children and train them to adopt those as their own passions. It happens every day. Ford vs. Chevy, Auburn vs. Alabama, Republican vs. Democrat, Domestic vs. Import, Union vs. Management, and it extends often to foods, clothing styles, haircuts, and every facet of life. Usually, it doesn't matter much. You can cheer for any team, drive any brand, and vote for any party and still be a good person. Here is the problem; sometimes it does matter. It is easier if we look at the children of the Middle East and what their parents are teaching them. You probably have seen video of cute little girls with an innocent grin saying "I would like to kill George Bush. I would hold a gun to his head and pull the trigger." Obviously, these are not the thoughts nor words of a child any more than a toddler yelling Warrr Eagle. But the thoughts are already planted in the minds of these children that Western countries and those who call themselves Christians and Jews are the enemy of Allah and therefore should be destroyed at any cost. Dear Christian reader, allow me to be succinct; Islamist hate you because you are a Christian, not because you live in the USA. They want to kill you in the name of their religion. If you wish to be tolerant of all belief systems you are saying you intend to allow Islam to become THE religion of the world and anyone rejecting it will be killed brutally. The only reason that is not the condition of the world we live in today is that enough people refuse to allow politically correct tolerance to overide reason. The numerical balance may be shifting, however. The American people are so easily fooled that many today believe on the one hand that President Bush is dysfuntional and on the other hand that he somehow had his people to blow up the World Trade Center buildings and make it look like Middle Eastern terrorists did it. Many think it is absolutely reasonable to prevent any teaching or even mention of God in our schools. Many insist on teaching atheistic evolution to our children. Many believe we should focus first on our children's self-esteem to the point we don't correct mean or lazy behavior. The wise man Soloman said "The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom". We need to believe it, teach it to our kids, and not be afraid to stand up and say it to non-believers. Why are we afraid of hurting the feelings of someone who hates God and is going to be punished by God unless they change their thinking? Why would we allow the followers of a false prophet to display more faith and courage than the followers of the one true God and His Son who died so we can be forgiven? I do not care if the next president is Republican or Democrat. I don't care what team he cheers for nor where he received his (or her) education. I don't care too much what he thinks about taxes and immigration. I care most about whether he prays to the God of Abraham, David, and Roxy.

Forrest Gump Day

The last couple of days have been much cooler and yesterday morning (at 54 degrees) felt great. These are Forrest Gump days for me because after many weeks of near 100 degree days the coolness feels so great that you could just start walking and keep going on and on. You know, like Forrest--"One dayee eyeuh staarutted ruunin an eyeuh jus keyupt own ruunin". When he reached the ocean, he turned around and ran back, for no particular reason. That is why I want to keep walking--for no particular reason.

Monday, September 18, 2006

On the Road Again

Yesterday, Sunday, 9/17 Montgomery happily welcomed entertainment icon Willie Nelson at our lovely new amphitheater. He performed along with Ray Price and a rising local guitar player as well as others. The concert was tempting to me because 1) although I don't approve his outlaw ways, Willie is an original. He has truly blazed his own trail. 2) the tickets were reasonable 3) the amphitheater is a nice venue (up to a certain capacity). It was not difficult to pass, however, when I learned the concert was on Sunday and would require missing our small group Bible study. Call me square or legalistic but the choice was not that difficult. This morning I spoke to a lady who attended and she raved about how great it was (even though Willie's bus rolled in about 4 hours after the concert started). She said he played and sang nearly 1 1/2 hours.
Then this evening I read online where Willie"s bus was stopped for a routine commercial vehicle inspection in Lafayette, La. and the smell of marijuana was so strong that troopers searched the bus and confiscated 1 1/2 pounds of marijuana and .2 pounds of narcotic mushrooms.
Willie Nelson is 73. I doubt that he has ever been to a small group Bible study to discuss the book of Daniel. I wonder what he would think of Daniel refusing the king's delicacies in order to remain true to dietary restrictions given by God? I am guessing he wouldn't understand.

Will Ford marry General Motors?

The news today is that Ford and General Motors are discussing the possibility of some type of merger. You may recall that a few months ago GM was considering the possibility of merging with Renault of France and Nissan. That may actually make some sense. But Ford and GM? Would they make Ford-o-lets? Chords? It would be a General Mess. Both companies are drowning in overpaid blue-collar and white-collar employees. The unions have fought for and won significant concessions in additional benefits, especially health care. There is no way these companies can pay for lifetime benefits for that many employees and produce cars at a price we are willing to pay. In ten years will Ford and General Motors be subsidiaries of Toyota, Honda, and Nissan? Other companies will follow. Those who ignore foreign competition and the effects of an aging baby boom generation are doomed to fail. Twenty-five years ago Ford and Chevy loyalists would have fought you for just suggesting such a merger. Fifty years ago "Made in Japan" meant cheap, useless, tin toys. Now it means the highest quality automobiles and electronics. Probably in less than 25 years China will have passed us in quality and price--and there are lots of folks in China. Can we assume that USA will continue to be the economic leader of the world? What would it look like if several of our major employers were put out of business by foreign competition? What will the stock market and housing prices do when baby boomers are required to withdraw money from 401k accounts (read mutual funds)? Many of us have seen the economy, property values, stock prices, and net worth only go up all our lives, with the exception of short-term drops. How long could we endure steady declines? How would our values and priorities change?

Friday, September 15, 2006

As a Man Thinketh

I just finished reading an outstanding little book by James Allen titled "As a Man Thinketh". James Allen lived in England and died in 1912 at the age of 48. He had been writing for 9 years. One interesting habit of his was to rise before dawn and walk into the hills near his home to meditate and commune with God. This particular book was his second. It is written in a very concise style without any fluff or filler. I found it to be powerful. Here is an excerpt to whet your appetite;

"The thoughtless, the ignorant, and the indolent, seeing only the apparent effects of things and not the things themselves, talk of luck, of fortune, and chance. Seeing a man grow rich, they say, "How lucky he is!" Observing another become intellectual, they exclaim, "How highly favored he is!" And noting the saintly character and wide influence of another, they remark, "How chance aids him at every turn!" They do not see the trials and failures and struggles which these men have voluntarily encountered in order to gain their experience; have no knowledge of the sacrifices they have made, of the undaunted efforts they have put forth, of the faith they have exercised, that they might overcome the apparently insurmountable, and realize the Vision of their heart. They do not know the darkness and the heartaches; they only see the light and joy, and call it "luck"; do not see the long and arduous journey, but only behold the pleasant goal, and call it "good fortune"; do not understand the process but only perceive the result, and call it "chance."
In all human affairs there are efforts, and there are results, and the strength of the effort is the measure of the result. Chance is not. "Gifts," powers, material, intellectual, and spiritual possessions are the fruits of effort; they are thoughts completed, objects accomplished, visions realized.
The Vision that you glorify in your mind, the Ideal that you enthrone in your heart--this you will build your life by, this you will become."

I have ordered several copies of this book to give as gifts and to loan if you are interested.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Kenny Rodgers

Much has been said about Kenny Rodgers' new look. Rick and Bubba had a field day. I personally feel sorry for Kenny. Sure, he is still a gazillionaire and owns all of Georgia outside the Atlanta city limits but his life must have changed a lot since he has been "tightened and trimmed". Do you think he misses hearing people comment "You know, you look a lot like Roxy Wishum." Of course he does. As if that were not enough, they actually took his picture off the website . Yes there is such a website and Kenny now doesn't look enough like Kenny Rodgers to be included.

Thursday, September 07, 2006


This post, like most, is an attempt to sort some thought and focus my own thoughts more than to convince or educate others. While some of these will, no doubt, sound "preachy", my intent is to think out loud (so to speak) and attain some amount of clarity. That is especially needed now because I have been shifting between 3 new books that I want to read all at once. At the same time I am involved in three Bible studies involving Revelation, Psalms, and Islam. O.K., maybe Islam is not exactly a Bible study but rather a look at Islam and the Q'uran through the Truth as presented in the Bible. Yeah, that is three Bible studies. My problem is that I am a drifter. No I don't mean wandering from town to town holding up a sign asking for help. It is more like what everybody now calls ADD. When I read books like "Rumours of Another World" I read a little and sit and think a lot. That means two things; 1) it takes me a long time to finish a (good, thoughtful) book and 2) my mind develops "side trail thoughts" that need to be explored further but I feel that I must press on.

This is an attempt to go a little way down one of those side trails. It will be good for me even if nobody else reads or benefits from it. The thought originated while reading "Rumours" by Phillip Yancey. It is difficult for me to separate what I read of Yancey's words from what I thought as a result. My intention is not to ascribe my thought to him nor to pretend that what he has written are my own original thoughts. The reality is, for me, this line of thought was largely prompted by Yancey's book and now much of what he has shared blends with my own thoughts.

This particular side trail deals with idolatry or substituting anything for God in an attempt to fill the place only God can fill in our life. Yancey credits Annie Dillard with telling of an experiment by entomologists. "They enticed male butterflies with a painted cardboard replica that was larger and more enticing than the females of their species. Excited, the male butterfly mounts the piece of cardboard; again and again he mounts it. Nearby, the real, living female butterfly opens and closes her wings in vain." Now, some applications leap out at you. In our species the painted and airbrushed often distract from the real and genuine. Many can't even see this absurd event occurring every day in the visible world. Even more difficult to see than abandoning the blemished, but real, person to chase after the shiney and exciting person is our tendency to fail to see the Source of beauty, joy, and excitement. No doubt, God intends for us to enjoy an abundant life. But we chase the "thing" like a puppy chasing a remote controlled car, not realizing that the car is being controlled by someone else.
Here is the thought for today; is it possible that every addiction is an idol and every idol is an addition? Think about it, alcohol, drugs, sex, work, gambling, food, or whatever entices you has become the focus. We are created to worship and if we do not allow God a place in our minds, something must replace Him in that void. We chase it more and more like the butterflies chase the illusion when the real is available.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Alone Time

"Every man owes it to himself (and his friends) to get away entirely alone to an isolated shack every so often, if only to discover what bad company he is."

Robert Benchley

Monday, September 04, 2006


This just in...Steve Irwin, better known at the Crocodile Hunter was killed today off the coast of Australia. This blog is not where most of you will hear this news since the English-speaking population does not yet rush to my blog daily to see what witty, insightful thoughts have been posted. So by the time you read this you will have processed the news of his death and the odd cause of death, stingray stab to the heart. Steve was 44 and left an 8 year old daughter and 3 year old son in addition to his wife. You can read that and much more in any newspaper over the next couple of days. The larger questions for me are not about the survivors but rather about his choices. How do you feel about choosing to engage in dangerous activity with enthusiasm. Most folks enjoyed watching him act like an excited kid when spotting a fat rattlesnake--"Crikey, look at the size of that thing! What a beaut!" In fact, it is fun to be around someone who is genuinely excited much of the time regardless of the source of excitement. Some will debate in coming days whether we should take risks such as he often did when they can be avoided. You know people who take lots of risks and are always hurt or causing hurt. But you likely know some folks who are so afraid of any risk that they live in a cocoon all their life. Some people don't die until their 70's or 80's but it could be debated whether they ever really lived. How do YOU decide to balance an aversion for injury and early death with the desire to experience life. One current song says "feel the rain on your skin, no one can feel it for you". I am inclined to want to live this life for many years, but not to avoid life in order to just "clock in" year after year.
I am sorry Steve died so young and can't really say I am surprised. But his life really looked like fun and many days I envied the lifestyle he had crafted. He makes me wonder what is possible.