Monday, December 14, 2020

Is protest good, in and of itself?

Is protest good, in and of itself? You might think so from news reports in America. In recent months we have seen pictures on tv of protests in the name of just causes where people innocent of the wrongs being protested are unjustly injured or killed and protesters destroy uninvolved homes and businesses. If this is good, we should shudder and retch at the prospect of evil! Come on Americans!

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Look! A plane with no propeller!

Look! A plane with no propeller!

It was 1945. World War 2 had just ended. I was 6 years old. My friends and I were airplane nuts, collecting magazines with photos and facts about all kinds of combat airplanes. We had memorized all sorts of information about maximum speeds, service ceiling, rates of climb, and so forth.

We had seen lots of military planes over our neighborhood, making their low approaches to or takeoffs from nearby Dallas’ Love Field.

However, we had never seen an airplane fly without a propeller. Nor one that roared like a volcano.

One afternoon a neighbor across the street shouted something like, “Look! A Jap plane.”

Startled, I looked up and there it was: not a Japanese plane but a jet plane. A jet fighter plane passing low over our neighborhood with no propeller turning.

Investigating later, I learned we had seen the new P-80 “Lightning.”

The same sight would not startle kids today who have seen hundreds of prop-less jet planes pass over.

Still, when the neighbors and I saw our first jet plane we knew immediately we had entered into a new flying age. An exciting age that promised unimaginable new aircraft.

Buck Rogers was no longer just a comic strip!





Monday, August 31, 2020

The Deadly Grip of Pride

 Selfish pride imposes fantasy ethics on a real world.

Nationwide rioting followed publication of a video that shows a policeman kneeling on the neck of a man George Floyd who shortly died. The video recalled other instances of deadly misconduct by agents of law enforcement, and demonstrations arose in cities across America and continue.

A demand for just conduct by police has been one focus of the demonstrations; specifically that policemen must treat with justice and restraint prisoners and others they encounter in performance of duties. That is a demand that Americans can understand, organize to deal with, and bring about changes in the legal framework that governs police behavior. 


Hopefully a spirit of mutual respect between police and citizens will grow out of collaborative efforts to strengthen the flawed framework of discipline for rogue policemen.

Tragically, violence and visionary agendas for transforming society are filling the space for conversation about specific, reasonable and manageable reform. 

A psalm of David says: “O Lord, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and marvelous for me.” Psalm 31:1. This is the humble spirit I see in the grieving anger of people who have joined to peaceably seek change in the behavior that killed George Floyd. 


They are demanding do-able corrections to definable wrongs. I honor that spirit and join with them.

However, the spirit of people breaking, burning, assaulting and killing that occurs alongside gatherings of peaceable people is not the spirit to which King David referred. The violent people seem to use the heartbreak over George Floyd for a springboard to promote their conception of a new social order. Arrogance. Pride.


They are not striving to bring justice and restraint to law enforcement. Their hearts ARE lifted up; their eyes ARE raised too high: they DO occupy themselves with things too great and marvelous for them. 

The persisting violence has placed America at a crossroads: those who desire correction of rogue policemen must find a way of expressing their demands that does not provide a springboard for revolutionaries. For this to occur governors, mayors, and local leaders must honor their oaths of office and not stand on the sidelines. 


They must maintain order. 


Firmness with justice may not earn them any votes, but it may restore safety to their states, cities and neighborhoods. 


The other branch of the crossroads, standing aside as many are doing, leads to endless escalation of disorder and inconceivable harm to our citizens.


If black lives are to matter every time black people encounter police, it’s time to focus and insist on specific measurable reforms in policing. Prolonged demonstrations over nebulous issues that revolutionaries co-opt for their agendas only confuse the issue and dissipate hope.

Friday, May 29, 2020

Cool, Clear Water

When I was young, I would go fishing in the Trinity River in summer with Odell Henderson, a man who worked for my mom and dad.

These were North Texas summers with temperatures that began in the 90s in early morning. The river water was warm and muddy. The air was steamy and grew hotter as the day progressed. By midday thirst drove Odell and me to a nearby general store for drinks colder than the now-tepid water we had brought along.

The first time we bought drinks at the general store, I chose Coca Cola. It felt and tasted good, but left my thirst in place. A water fountain was attached to the soft-drink cooler so I bent over and drank my fill. The result was heavenly! A cold Coke couldn’t come close to this!

The same is true of Bible words contrasted with imaginative representations of Christ in fiction, videos and movies. Even good art lacks the invigorating power of Truth itself!

It is natural for Christians to want more information on the earthly lives of Jesus and his apostles. The gospels impart a powerful picture of their characters and purpose, but don’t offer biographies.

Before looking to fictional representations of the Lord and his disciples to obtain more richness, shouldn’t we ask ourselves whether God - who inspired the gospels - had a purpose for including facts while leaving others out?  

Popular historian Paul Johnson wrote a piece for The Spectator-UK in 2004 titled “It’s not what you put in but what you leave out that matters.” Mr. Johnson cites Jane Austen, T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound as writers gifted with knowing what to exclude and leave to the reader’s creative reflection. Christians can amplify their appreciation of gospel truth by reflecting on related portions of Old and New Testament scripture.

I enjoy fiction that incorporates Christ and other biblical personages, like the action-packed story Ben Hur.  I avoid reading or viewing stories that add or subtract to the character of Christ or the apostles represented in scripture. Why? I see a danger that enlarging on their character (even in “Christian fiction”) may be to offer “another gospel” made appealing by conjecture. I liken that to the way Coke enlivens plain water by adding a special formulation of sugar, caffeine, and carbonation.

In the heat of life, I prefer and need cool, clear, water.


Friday, April 17, 2020

Can America Hang Tight through Our Equivant of the Nazi “Blitz” on London?

The London “blitz” bombing by Nazi Germany began September 7, 1940 and continued through May 11, 1941, two hundred forty-seven days. Britons constantly had their lives interrupted, some permanently. Our American President’s Emergency Order was issued March 13, 2020, and today is April 17, 2020, thirty six days. Can Americans maintain discipline as long as the Brits, to safeguard thousands of lives from COVID 19?

Saturday, April 11, 2020

More Than a Platoon of Medics Will be Defending Your Health if You Sicken

April 11, 2020

In the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are praying for front line health professionals. Do we have a clear picture of the number and kinds of health professionals who merit our prayers and support?

Many of our leaders call this pandemic “a war.” I agree. How many individuals will be defending your life if you must be hospitalized?

Let’s compare with the U.S. military for a perspective on the number of our health defenders; people who are putting themselves at deadly risk.

According to the U.S. Department of Defense, a typical U.S. Marine platoon is 27 Marines.

Twenty-seven individuals.

A typical U.S. Army platoon is 36 soldiers.
In the healthcare system, practitioners say at least 33 teams are caring for emergency patients: beginning with the EMTs who take you to the hospital and (hopefully) concluding with the team at the skilled nursing facility/transitional care unit and the team at home care services. (Please be sure to read this link including comments.)

Multiple professionals serve you on most of these teams.

The healthcare people who serve you are no less at risk than a Marine or Army platoon.

Add to their number their families, roommates, and essential social contacts like grocers, and it is easy to appreciate the need to avoid needlessly introducing yourself into the healthcare system.

Two of my cousins and a niece are health professionals. Perhaps more if some have slipped my mind. May God guide them and protect them and their families.

My prayer is for those who serve, and for those of us who are able take precautions and avoid putting at greater risk them, their loved ones, and associates.

Saturday, April 4, 2020


The physical separation forced on us by the covid-19 pandemic may impress on us the special quality of human presence. Virtual worship is real worship, yet not the same as shoulder-to-shoulder worship in the same room. Virtual shopping works all right, but is not the same as interacting with flesh and blood store people and examining and touching goods we might purchase.

The present regimen of “stay home” and everywhere “keep a social distance” may teach us the very real value of being among other people, and NOT keeping our distance from the people we love most. If we learn these things, the satisfaction derived from human relationships will be greater than it was before covid-19.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

COVID-19: Should health measures be loosened due to economic toll?

“Lawrence Sum­mers, a Har­vard eco­nomics pro­fes­sor and for­mer U.S. Trea­sury Sec­re­tary, said much of this eco­nomic toll would be hit­ting the U.S. even with­out gov­ernment-man­dated re­stric­tions. Fears of con­ta­gion would likely be dri­ving peo­ple on their own to avoid restau­rants, air­planes and ball­parks, even with­out gov­ern­ment man­dates, such as man­dates in New York and Cal­i­for­nia that peo­ple stay home.

“A large part of the dis­lo­cation is caused by the coro­navirus and not by the pol­icy re­sponse caused by the coro­navirus,” Mr. Sum­mers said. “I don’t think we need to turn this into a dol­lars-ver­sus-lives thing at this stage.” He said the best choice was likely ad­dressing the health risk, treat­ing the eco­nomic dam­age, and then work­ing to pre­vent fu­ture pan­demics.”

“As Economic Toll Mounts, Nation Ponders Trade-Offs,” Wall Street Journal, March 24, 2020

Thursday, March 19, 2020

As the deer pants for streams of water ...

This morning I have read Psalm 42, and seen David’s words: “When shall I come and appear before God?”
After a couple of weeks absent from our congregation because of sickness, and now by emergency COVID-19 restrictions, I am better able to appreciate David’s longing.
Charles Spurgeon commented, “He who loves the Lord loves also the assemblies wherein his name is adored. Vain are all pretences to religion where the outward means of grace have no attraction. David was never so much at home as in the house of the Lord; he was not content with private worship; he did not forsake the place where saints assemble, as the manner of some is.”
I appreciate the opportunity of worshipping with the help of electronic means that so many churches including my own are providing, and thank God for them. Nonetheless it will be wonderful to worship again shoulder to shoulder with brothers and sisters in Christ.

March 19, 2020

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

How is Our World Doing?

Have you ever looked out on the world and wished you could do something to relieve its agony? I have. We’re not the only ones. Two millennia ago Jesus looked at the state of the world and saw that it was time to offer the sacrifice He and the Father had planned. He therefore humbled Himself and became one of us, to set in motion the atonement that would liberate all generations of His people and deliver them to eternal life with Him - and one another - in a new earth under new heavens. 1/

”For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.” 2/

1/ John 3:16-17; 2 Peter 3:13. New American Standard Bible, NASB
2/ Romans 5:6–11.NASB