Category Archives: Best Posts

RIP Tommy

We had to put down our Tommy cat today. He was nineteen years old.

Tommy was born in our house. His mother, Isabel, was my daughter’s cat. My teen and  my youngest adult kid don’t remember when he wasn’t part of the household.

He’s been through a lot, Tommy. Someone swung him around by the tail once, breaking and paralyzing his tail. He lost the use of his bowels for awhile and my husband had to squeeze him just right so that he could urinate.

Then he was mauled by an unknown animal. The wounds healed quickly. But since we did not know what mauled him, and since there is a strain of rabies which can lie dormant for six months, Tommy had to be quarantined in a cage for six months. My husband made him vet-recommended eggs and fed him.

While transporting Tommy to the vet one time during that six months, Tommy started biting at the box we were carrying him in, and he connected with my husband’s arm. Since we didn’t know yet whether Tommy had rabies…my husband had to have a series of rabies shots.

Tommy did not have rabies.

He always bounced back as though he didn’t even remember the troubles. We think that was because he didn’t. We all knew Tommy wasn’t the sharpest animal in the drawer, but that was OK. He was clueless and it was endearingly funny. Until old age caught up with him, he always acted just like he was still a kitten.

He was a good mouser though! Mice who wandered into our house didn’t have a chance, and many moles on our property were found headless. We said he was trying to get smarter by eating all those brains. It didn’t work.

I say he loved to hunt, but he was otherwise the most passive male animal I’ve ever seen. Other cats felt free to wander our property, stopping first to challenge Tommy, freezing in their scary pose and staring with their low-throated long growl. He was oblivious; he would lie there and look into the distance. “Oh hi. Whatever.”

Cho-Cho lived with us for awhile, a semi-feral cat who’d been owned then abandoned. He was street, and dominated Tommy totally. I’d find Tommy underneath a cozy Cho-Cho, serving as mattress. Tommy was OK with it.

When he lost his hearing, he would go off to the cellar and moan. There would come a loud, resonant Wow-wow-woooowwwww…Wow-wow–woooowwww. He couldn’t hear himself anymore and that’s how a cat sounds when he’s stone deaf.

Deaf, almost blind, arthritic.  Today he seized and we thought he was dying right in front of us. After awhile he seemed to rally, though he still looked bad. We took him to the vet who diagnosed dehydration caused by kidney failure. As he lay on the table, he became very still and unresponsive. He was going into shock.

We put him down. It was very quick and he was comforted til the end.

Tommy lived to eat, nap, hunt, and go through doors. If there was a door, he had to go through it, even if he’d just gone through the other way one minute ago. In and out, all day. He had a long, full life.



That woman should only be given plastic spoons to eat with

Kudos to insanitybytes for this idea. All of the hysterical criticism in one place.

Oh, she’s stark raving nuts, i know. Literally, that woman should only be given plastic spoons to eat with.

Oh, dear. I just looked through your blog, madblog. It screams, “FUNDIE!”
Conversation stopper for me.

…strikes me as the product of a somewhat delusional or maybe even borderline psychotic personality.

…human ignorance and gullibility, which…you epitomize.

…people like you promote Yahweh and the bible as truth and the millenia of abuse and human misery has resulted in situations such as ISIS etc. and the crap we are currently seeing with the ZIKA virus.

…why people like Madblog make me sick to my stomach with their disgusting hypocritical morality.

The… cognitive dissonance boggles the mind.

Why not sit down to a nice roast puppy this evening? You could even put a juicy apple in its mouth to make it fun!

…the vitriolic, self-righteous method in which people like Madblog pursue it will gain nothing but alienation.

…milch cow… (my personal favorite)

I knew a lady like Madblog once…

…you cannot ‘argue’ (dispute, discuss, rationalise) with a mad dog.

 …this particular Christian’s case she feels compelled to hammer the issue that morality can only derive from the Christian deity, Yahweh, while carefully avoiding any mention whatsoever of said deity or the goat herders to whom this morality was dictated to.

When a person demonstrates that type of willful ignorance, that willingness to lie, then there’s really not much you can do with such a person but contain them so they do not infect society at large.

What Madblog has given us here is a stunning view of the Christian mind in action when it comes to inconvenient facts. We should thank her.

And the winner, this vein-popper from one blogger on one comment thread:

Like the rest of the pious banning cabal, Madblog states her beliefs and accusations as if facts and, when challenged or corrected by facts, refuses to alter them. If one continues to try, then she becomes even more strident but adds the spice of dismissiveness into the mix with more moderation. Any further corrective responses are interpreted by Madblog to be examples of unsolicited rudeness and meanness and vindictiveness, resulting in what she interprets to be her unfair persecution… especially if they come from some godless baby killing heathen, but a burdensome cost that is the result of her piousness and one she bears with a sense of victimhood. She is never wrong, just a sinful yet meek Seeker of Truth (TM)… a truth from divine insight into all her claims, of course, but also granted to like-minded believers who share her piety and ever-so-humble self-righteousness…

Oh, poor wittow you… so misunderstood (we understand just fine), so picked on (yes, brute facts are so… well… brutish), so victimized (imagine, the gall of other people actually caring about what’s true rather than go along with your deceitful beliefs repackaged as if immune from reality’s facts).

Yes, Madblog, once again you are the victim. But what you won’t wrap your head around is the fact that you are deserving of contemptuous treatment because you treat facts with such blatant contempt and dismissal. You cannot seem to summon forth the intestinal fortitude to admit that you were wrong, that you claims were factually wrong, as if the sky will fall and the world will shatter should you ‘lower’ yourself to the same standards of respecting what’s true that so many others submit to willingly.

But not you. No way. You’re too special a snowflake (what with God Himself whispering insight into your selected ears… [But I’m not worthy, Lord! Look how humble I am!). Everyone else should treat you and your diversionary comments (meant to avoid the issue of you getting your facts confused with your incorrect beliefs) with respect and just go along with your exemption… because you deserve it, of course. I mean, God Himself selected you – humble as you are – so hey, we should too and presume your disregard for facts is perfectly reasonable and quite acceptable.

Umm… no.

The problem here, Madblog, is not with others. It is entirely with and on you.

By all means let’s have an adult conversation, but that involves you giving up your demand for special privileging from facts. Without accepting that ground rule, your comments are without truth value. AT ALL. They are devoid of any intellectual integrity and lack any respect for what is the case; rather, they just become bullhorn pronouncements of your beliefs imposed on a reality we share accompanied by a demand by you that we treat them with equivalent respect to what’s actually the case. Ain’t gunna happen, ever, except by mewling apologists who are willing to forego their own respect for reality and grant to you the privilege you demand….

…And this goes to the heart of my criticism of Madblog’s commentary methodology shared by her cabal: she brooks no criticism from reality. It’s not a question of ‘framing’; it’s a question of integrity and honesty. Without those, I do offer contempt to a commentator who says she desires respect for her contribution but is unwilling to offer it to commentary saddled by inconvenient facts and troubling questions…

According to Madblog who says she’s no advocate for the gun lobby (there a Red Flag), his point is a fiction, is a product of buying into propaganda, of falling for the media’s intention to deceive. Not Madblog, of course…. she can see through the Left Wing media fog and get at The Truth (TM). Her argument revolves around the point she thinks has not been reported in the media that the bill failed because it goes against the principle of having the right to a well armed militia (interpreted by non-Wild West Americans Supreme Court Justices to be the right for individuals – including suspected terrorists and terrorist sympathizers – to arm themselves however they see fit). She then claims that the perception of a ‘Wild West’ mentality by Americans to justify this massive gun ownership by the civilian population of the United States determined to avoid any reasonable restrictions on firearms and ammunition available to the general public designed for maximum kill potential over the shortest time possible is actually a Left Wing media fiction.

Now, this goes far beyond how an issue is framed. It delves into making claims that are factually incorrect and offers no counterbalance to the points raised by X. Madbolog, as she does on her own blog when challenged by compelling contrary evidence, simply declares that this mountain of evidence is nonsense and waves it away. Challenging that assertion leads her into claiming victimhood. She’s right on script. And so on.

There is no means to have a reasonable and rational discussion with such a person who uses this methodology to protect her beliefs – no matter what they are, no matter how they are framed – from honest inquiry…

…You’re so dishonest recognizing when your beliefs do not mesh with compelling evidence from reality that you can’t even do that much. That’s why you earn allies like X who suffer from the same faith-fueled colossal arrogance and intellectual hypocrisy. This method you think armors you against making factual mistakes makes you in fact foolish….


Why Do You Champion Genocide?

As a nation, we support the legal execution of a category of human beings.

They are not distinguished by their ethnicity or their political tribe. They are, however, one group of human beings set apart from the rest and destined for extinction. They are distinguished by their age and helplessness.

In the case of each of these people, there is another person who has total prerogative over his life or death. We recognize the rights of the person who has prerogative and erase the rights of the other.

Are my hands clean? Are yours?

As a nation, we share the responsibility. We elect legislators who carry out our will and those legislators have made unilateral, unassailable choice the law of the land. Then for 40 years we as a nation made legal abortion into an institution, a cornerstone, a way of life. It is so interwoven into the fabric of our lives, to remove it would require the most delicate surgery.

We have bestowed upon every woman of childbearing age an unquestionable right to end the lives of her own children without consequence. I do not know how any human being could be more privileged or more powerful. We women have won authority over life and death. We need to stop complaining about our victimhood.

In some future time, when cultural context has shifted, our descendants may see us just as we do those who happily operated the camps in 1940’s Germany. Please, where is the difference?

Maybe this: our victims are more innocent, more defenseless, and our reasons are more subjective.

If you champion politicians and candidates who are still fighting for your right to participate in genocide…think about what they are actually advocating. Think hard.

And in the future, just don’t say you didn’t know. No one will believe you.

What Will a Citizen Give in Exchange for His Country?

I couldn’t add a word. You must read!

Glass Planet

This election is not about immigration. It’s not about the economy, climate change, foreign policy or national defense. It’s not about abortion or same-sex marriage or race relations.

This election is about whether we will turn around and start the long, difficult journey back to being a constitutional republic or continue the headlong rush into free-floating, unprincipled tyranny. It really is that simple.

What do President Obama’s supporters really appreciate about him? They love the fact that he uses his mighty pen and phone to give them what they want, namely validation of their own petty resentments, tribal identity and the conviction of their own moral superiority. No pesky checks and balances for him when “doing the right thing” is at stake! Checks and balances are fine when they work in your favor but if they work against you, out upon them and good riddance! Tribe über alles. The…

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The Primal Creation

What makes a marriage a marriage? We need to define it before we re-define it.  What is distinct about it?  What makes marriage…marriage?

I think we misunderstand it, and that is pure tragedy.

Man and woman were made in the image of God. They were created beings who were able to relate to God; sentient and self-aware; in His image because they possessed spirits. Out of all that God created, man is the only being who is able to commune with God.

God called this creation something special. Together they were His joy, His most cherished creation. We were created for this relationship with God, and cultivating this relationship with God is man’s responsibility and his privilege.

God created man. Then woman was made from man. Note that she was not created a separate being or species.  They are two manifestations of the same created being.  She was made from him. So intrinsically was she created to be the one who completed him. They are inseparable.

Genesis 2: 23-25:

The man said,

         “This is now bone of my bones,

         And flesh of my flesh;

         She shall be called Woman,

         Because she was taken out of Man.”

For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.


The fundamental creation was the man and the woman in exclusive, intimate relationship. We call that marriage. Marriage is primal in two ways in terms of human societal significance: it was first or primary; and it was the original creation from which all else followed.

In sexual intimacy between a man and wife, that which was once complete in one being, then separated into two, joins again into one. One flesh, one union.

Either marriage is created by God, or it’s a human construct. Either the church is created by God, or it’s a human construct. Either the nation is created by God, or it’s a human construct.  As such, either God is sovereign over them, or there is no authority over them except whoever exerts and maintains power over them.

The Breaking of It

Marriage has been understood everywhere, by everyone, at all times. Heterosexual marriage is what has been understood as marriage. Even where other sexual relationships are tolerated, monogamous marriage is the standard to which all other relationships are compared, and no society in human history has ever defined non-heterosexual unions as marriage.

Marriage growing from the root of the special sexual relationship is more primal than any law; its violation more basic, fundamental and outrageous. Cultures everywhere know this without regard to their knowledge of Judeo- Christian culture.

Socially and historically, its violation is often perceived as more egregious than murder.

When comparing codes of law across world civilizations, there are very few laws which are truly universal. The one law which is common to every culture is a man’s exclusive relationship with his woman.

In some cultures, this is understood as the man’s ownership of his woman. It is not an egalitarian rule: a man may have multiple women, wives or concubines but the women are regarded as in exclusive relationship with the one man. I’m not defending; only explaining.

And in some primitive societies, it is lawful to kill in order to protect this relationship, and it is lawful to avenge its violation by killing. Murder then is considered a virtue under the circumstance of protection of one’s woman—one’s exclusive “ownership” of the relationship with one’s woman. That relationship is understood to be the foundation upon which that man’s family or clan is built. If he loses her, he loses all.

Everyone everywhere always understood the meaning and importance of marriage. Til the enlightened new age, now.

But What Is It?

We often say that the family is the structure supporting civilization. And it’s so, but let’s look deeper.

God designed marriage first. It was the first human society or institution.  It is before and underlying all codes of law ever invented.  It is fundamental to everything else. This is God’s design.

Not only is the family the tiny society upon which all other social structures are built (such as communities, clans, and governing bodies small and large);

…and that the husband and wife couple are at the foundation of, and are the beginning of that family;

…but that the exclusive sexual relationship which is the signal defining feature of that relationship is the foundation of ALL of it.

There are many kinds of human relationships. Many of them can be intense, close and beneficial.  But there is only one human relationship in which two people become immersed in one another, intertwined, and complementary to one another.  In this relationship, two people become one. This is the male-female marriage relationship created by God.

And this union is strong enough to create other people, socialize them, and teach them to create more families, thus continuing a civilization, with its culture and heritage.

The male-female exclusive faithful sexual relationship lies below the foundation of every culture and society. It is utterly unique.

What makes that relationship so special? That our society has begun to seriously question its specialness is foreboding.

There is only one valid physical way that two people attain that complementarity, that intertwining, that immersion, that real union. It is the “one flesh” union which confirms and consummates that unique union. One male and one female in the physical act made obvious by our complementary anatomies. It is an utterly unique sexual relationship, this “becoming one flesh”.  It is only that specific physical union which signifies marriage in the eyes of God and those who honor Him.

Jesus is quoted in Mark 10: 6-9: But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife,  and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one.  Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”

Two singular people combine and become not a union of two, but a union of one which is greater than the combination of two. One becomes greater than two.

There is only one sexual act which causes two to become one. In the wedded heterosexual union, there is a union which is not only physical; it is emotional, spiritual, and volitional. Two hearts find expression of affection and intimacy which is so intense it defies description. Two wills choose to give selves entirely to the other in mutual trust. And, in the case of two people who understand that their relationship is created in the mind of God, and express their joy in each other and Him, there is spiritual union.

What is Sex?

Our modern world has come to believe that the essence of sexual union is the orgasm. We define sex as the achievement of orgasm, and the person we are committed to experiencing that orgasm is…me, the self.

Any variety of relationship can unite in a variety of sexual acts where each one reaches satisfaction. Several different anatomical configurations are on the menu, and sometimes inanimate objects are needed.  All loving sexual practices are equal, right?

There are problems with this belief. Orgasm can be achieved in many ways with any assortment of partners or alone. (Can one achieve oneness by himself?) One may achieve an orgasm for oneself without any care for the partner, at the expense of the partner, or by using another human being. Sex can be a cold, selfish, sterile act, and often is.

And a loving heterosexual couple may enjoy their oneness without both of them reaching orgasm.

And one may legitimately question whether some sexual practices can be selfless and loving.

So can orgasm be what sex is?

Isn’t sex supposed to be intrinsically meaningful? Is it not an expression of the joy of unique relationship? Then we must look for its meaning elsewhere than the orgasm.

Sexual intimacy as the result of a covenant between a man, a woman and God in a permanent relationship intended to (at least potentially) create family and continue a heritage, sexual intimacy which validates and gives to the other selflessly, sexual intimacy as a powerful expression of emotional, spiritual and volitional oneness, sexual intimacy as physically designed by our Creator…is an entirely unique thing.

Song of Songs 2:16: My beloved is mine and I am his…

For the best testimony on behalf of the unique experience of marital love, read The Song Of Solomon.  It has never been surpassed.

We seek after the sublime and transcendent sexual experience. But it is not a result of the orgasm. The oneness is achieved in the will and finds expression in the act.

This is what happens in married sex: the two shall be one flesh. God knew what he was talking about when he described the relationship this way.  Jesus, confirming Genesis, said:

“But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother, and the two shall be one flesh; so they are no longer two, but one flesh. “What therefore God has joined together let no man separate.” Mark 10: 6-8.

The power of a faithful, committed, selfless, affectionate sexual relationship to create a transcendent and meaningful bond between two people of opposite sex is a mystery, a miracle. Those who are privileged to experience it know that they are blessed.  But our world does not understand it, and that is a wide-ranging tragedy.


Marriage is consummated by sex; sex , as designed by its Creator, defines marriage. Marriage is the context God has designed for that relationship.

Our world, across societies and cultures, across the centuries, everywhere and always, is created with the committed heterosexual union woven intrinsically and seamlessly into its fiber. It is in our world’s DNA.


Hebrews 13: 4: Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.

No matter what you call other unions, they aren’t marriage. They do not consummate the union. They aren’t even having sex.

I am saying that any other arrangement is not legitimately marriage because they cannot consummate their union. Just as heterosexual marriage is not equivalent to any other grouping which calls itself marriage, heterosexual married sex is not equivalent to any other sexual practice.

We have already un-defined sex. When we UN-define marriage, we are at the point of the dissolution of everything. It’s in the fabric of the universe. If we deem other relationships  equivalent to marriage, we are reaching the point of the dissolution of everything.

The Real Forgotten?

Understand that no matter what our society prefers or legislates, real marriage as God created it is untouched; marriage will not be altered by our attempts to ape it, abuse it or to alter it cafeteria-style to suit ourselves.

But society’s perception of marriage matters because if it is undefined, its enormous grace and helpfulness, the variety of familial special relationships it creates…disappear. Future generations will be unable to reap the benefits of an institution of which they know nothing.

The Erasing of It

Gay marriage is a watershed issue. It is dividing the population in terms of public opinion. It is dividing the church between the faithful and the preferential-cultural.

To judge by the rhetoric surrounding the conservation of traditional marriage, even the evangelical church does not understand the true value of marriage. Redefining marriage is absurd and disastrous, but its defenders do not seem to understand why.

We must base our persuasion solely on God’s truth, whether it is believed or not, whether it is deemed offensive or not. Arguments from practicality and from behaviorism may be valid, but they do not convince, and they aren’t the real reasons.

As Christians, we must talk about what marriage is, what sex is, and what they mean. Because no one else knows.

The people of the world don’t really have a chance of understanding the significance of sex, or even of the sexual experience. They are blind and unconnected to its spiritual attributes, and hardly able to comprehend its true meaning and power. They talk about it as though it’s merely a physical rush accompanied by a transient emotional high.

And that’s how we find ourselves fighting the belief that all kinds of sex are equal, that all kinds of “marriages” are equal.

When we forget what marriage is and what it means, as we clearly have, we misunderstand the differences between male and female. We lose the distinction between men and women. And the family disappears.

We lose everything.

Because everything is built upon the male-female distinction and relationship.

We lose marriage completely when we define it out of existence.

We lose the concept of family, and we lose all family relationships.

We lose the significance and the enjoyment of sex.

The Disappearance of It

When marriage by definition is the recognition by God and society of the permanent exclusive commitment between a man and a woman consummated by sexual union as designed and sanctioned by God;

and we re-define it to mean:

the state’s recognition of a semi-exclusive (relative) commitment between any two people of any sexes, defined by non-normative sexual practice,

yet unconsummated by God’s design for sexual union;

when both and all cases are recognized as having equal validity as marriage; we lose marriage.

There is no more marriage. There are only couples of any variety seeking temporary approval and validity from the state.

The logical, inevitable outcome of the legal re-definition of marriage to include gay marriage is that the state is now sanctioning a contractual relationship based on the self-report of an intense emotional state of a couple. Once that is the case, there is no reason why those criteria cannot be applied to any relationship involving any number of any types of persons.

And then that which is sanctioned by the state and society has become a legal contract between any number of persons who wish to enter into that contract for any reasons of their own.

Do you see how we are moving, step-by-step, away from a religious commitment based on a faith promise recognized legally by the state? The state then is in the business of recognizing legal relationship contracts…the state is the solemnizer, the legitimizer, the approver… because the method for solemnizing and (making official) is now only legal.

The state will then cease to recognize religiously solemnized marriages. Recognizing faith based marriage will be outside of the state’s scope.

The real effect, and perhaps the real purpose, of the marriage equality movement is to separate any connection of a religious nature from the societal and state sanctioned approval of marriage.

Thus making religious marriages second class, unsanctioned and “illegal.”  Am I cynical enough to believe that was the plan in some activists’ minds from the start?  You bet I am.


Marriage, irrelevant and superfluous, dries up and scatters in the wind. It is forgotten. What happens then?  Imagine a bit into the future, when all the change agents have had their way with our society and taught us their lessons.  What will their utopia look like?

When we knock out the frame of the house, the structure soon collapses. What happens to the family when it only exists as a copy of an outmoded form which has lost its purpose?  Then family no longer means husband-wife-and their children.

We lose family relationships. Everyone becomes an individual arbitrarily connected to people of his choice. Familial roles like fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, aunts become more tenuous and arbitrary.

We lose the concept of permanent commitment.

We lose any understanding of what sex is, what it means, what it is for, how to enjoy it. It loses its significance and becomes a recreational activity. And disconnected from meaning, it becomes dull and pointless, merely a pressure valve to let off steam.

Ironically to some, it might be the seriously religious, the fundamentalist Christian monogamous married couples, who keep the treasure of authentic sexual intimacy safe for a waiting future, while the hordes sweep civilization’s memory of it away and replace it with a crass caricature. Like a handful of Irish monks who kept safe the secrets of literacy, culture and faith for the revival of western civilization.

This is a re-post which I intend to keep current.

The New Dignity: Gnostic, Elitist, Self-Destructive Will-to-Power

In a world with no clear origin, no purposeful end, and no intrinsic meaning, human dignity is founded on nothing more than a self-creating will to power that is, in the last analysis, self-destructive.

Source: The New Dignity: Gnostic, Elitist, Self-Destructive Will-to-Power

Scaredy Cats

This subject is a sizeable book in my drafts everywhere but the pervasive topic is a challenge to organize (for me.) However, it is entirely appropriate that he goes first, and best.
Take it like a man.

Glass Planet

I don’t know a diplomatic way to say this so I’ll just say it. 21st century western Christian men are scaredy cats. Guess what they’re sacred of?


You know, those newly minted bearers of God’s image. The fruit in God’s first words to humanity, the command to “Be fruitful and multiply.” The “arrows in the hand of a warrior” who contend with “foes at the city gate” described in Psalm 127. The “godly offspring” God seeks according to Malachi. Those pesky little urchins the disciples wanted to shoo away from Jesus. Those things.

What’s so scary about kids?

It’s not hard to understand why our unchurched contemporaries are afraid to let the familial ranks swell to unmanageable proportions. Children are people, after all and people are expensive, messy and uncontrollable. The more people you’re connected to the more variables are introduced into your calculations for a neat…

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The Mockingbird at Halloween

Classic Japanese samurai film meets great Southern novel. Universal themes, some more obvious than others, beg comparison. To Kill a Mockingbird (novel) and Samurai Rebellion (1967).

A mockingbird sings in the tree one night and a little girl finds out that the ghosts and haints aren’t anything to fear after all, but that some real men are murderous monsters. The boogeyman of her childhood “comes out” and the Grey Ghost reveals himself to be her guardian angel. And this epiphany happens on Halloween night.

Abuse of power destroys the most innocent and vulnerable among us. To kill a mockingbird is to destroy something which is harmless and helpless, to pervert something righteous, or to abuse someone weaker who looks to you for protection.

Says Scout Finch’s father: “’As you grow older, you’ll see white men cheat black men every day of your life, but let me tell you something and don’t you forget it—whenever a white man does that to a black man, no matter who he is, how rich he is, or how fine a family he comes from, that white man is trash.’ Atticus was speaking so quietly his last word crashed on our ears. I looked up, and his face was vehement.”

Finally we see vehemence from Atticus Finch, this unflappable, even-tempered man. His passion is a shock to his children but they cannot be surprised at his disgust. By now, they have seen enough of real life and real people in Maycomb to understand.

There are many mockingbirds. Crippled men of a less-favored class; young children; the daughter of the indolent bitter drunk, crushed under the weight at the bottom of the bottom of all classes.

In Kobayashi’s film Samurai Rebellion, the peerless Toshiro Mifune as Isaburo is a samurai during the Tokugawa dynasty.  He is an even-tempered, pleasant man, a faithful vassal to his daimyo lord.

Twenty years of service and political imposition borne with a smile are not a stretch for Isaburo. His married life has been unpleasant. “If only she changed a bit all would be well. The world never seems to go right,” he says, but he guffaws good-naturedly.

Isaburo’s friend and fellow swordsman Tatewaki (the also matchless Tatsya Nakadai) suspects that, for all his appearance as a henpecked milquetoast, Isaburo is not a man to be pushed far. He knows Isaburo to be a man of longsuffering patience, but never a man to lose a fight. Tatewaki alone expects Isaburo’s unbreakable will; even Isaburo does not suspect it of himself. But this is speculation in this era of unbroken peace.

Theirs is a highly ordered society. Throughout the film, rigid architectural structures contain or proscribe the action of the characters. But as characters begin to defy their societal structure, they begin to transgress footpaths and even dismantle wall screens.

A concubine has been discarded by the daimyo for “losing her head” and striking him. Isaburo’s son Yogoro is commanded to marry her. Isaburo’s family reluctantly accepts the marriage as commanded. But demure Ichi surprises them all as she humbly cultivates a happy home for her new family.

Imposition turns to outrage. After two years of faithful marriage and the birth of a daughter, all the world insists that Ichi return to the unfaithful, unprincipled daimyo who had thrown her away. She is expected to exchange her respectable marriage for mistresshood and to abandon her legitmate child. Then Ichi is kidnapped to be returned to the lord and Yagoro is commanded to ask permission to send her back.

Power abused by the powerful. Power discovered by the weak in the face of evil. Isaburo, Ichi, and Yagoro take a stand upon the only solid ground in their world, their own righteous integrity.

“Ichi” means “one.” Ichi’s unwavering virtue inspires the sublime quality of her marriage to Yogoro. An ember of righteous outrage is fanned in Isaburo. The testimony of  Yagoro and Ichi’s lovingly faithful marriage speaks volumes to his heart and strengthens his undiscovered steel will.  He tells Ichi: “You’re worth ruining our family for.”

Each one, in his own time, experiences a personal realization that his or her stand for principle will be a fight to the death. It is a shocking epiphany to Yagoro in this time of peace. And in this time of peace, Isaburo’s reputation as the best swordsman in the clan has been all but forgotten.

In both stories, good people have tasks thrust upon them which are doomed to failure, and they know it before they begin to fight. They nearly defy fate but in the end fail. “I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do,” says Atticus.

Atticus loses the case and his client dies. Finally, he does not recognize the real danger and fails to protect his children.

Isaburo and his son persist though their rebellion is hopeless. His final goal to expose the clan’s tyranny teeters on the edge of oblivion. The clan intends to bury the matter with the bodies of their challengers. Their causes are taken up by the invisible, the unseen hand which rescues righteous causes and succeeds.

A song in the tree of presence, of triumph. A mockingbird will soon destroy the murderer. It is the invisible, Boo Radley, who saves the children’s lives and restores real justice.

Like the mockingbird in the tree, all mockingbirds sing of their presence in the world: Dill’s dreamy tales woven for the children to play-act, Mayella Ewell’s row of beautiful geraniums in the trash dump, Tom Robinson’s selfless acts of compassion, Arthur Radley’s secret treasure cache in the hole of a tree. But like the bird song we tune out, these signs of existence are overlooked and invisible.

In both stories, the deaths of the murderers are hidden from the world. Scout’s murderer fails to accomplish his will; her invisible protector intervenes but the Invisible which sets things right does not call attention to itself. Even his noble act remains hidden to the world.

In the end, the arrogant tyranny of the clan will not be hidden. The invisible, the forgotten wet-nurse, who has secretly followed Isaburo, picks up the baby, clasps her affectionately and heads to the capital to fulfill the goal of Isaburo.

She will tell the girl of her mother and father’s self-sacrifice to justice and love, and her grandfather’s last command: to be a woman just like her mother, and to marry a man like her father.

Years later, Scout will tell the story.

Someone in My Place

A thousand miles of pain I’m sure
Led you to the threshold
Of my heart’s screen door
To tell me what it is I’m dying for
Gravity comes
Like a cold cold rain
To lead me to the rope again
But someone is standing in my place…

These words are a stanza from John Mark McMillan’s Carbon Ribs. More famously the author of the Christian culture standard How He Loves, JMM writes lyrics which hold their own as poetry. (Look up Ten Thousand sometime.) His lyrics are so good they don’t need the music, but the music is just about sublime sometimes. The words punch me in the gut and bring tears to my eyes; the music puts me in another place.

I experienced actual worship through music for the first time, almost the only time, at a JMM concert. We were outdoors on the lawn of a church.  It was June, and all around us the sky was full of darkening clouds and distant lightning.  But there was literally a circle of clear sky over our heads. The storm never reached us.

As JMM sang praise and love to his Savior. What allowed me to worship wasn’t the weather, but the music shared together in praise of Someone else. For once the music was not just for my listening pleasure.

I want to think about someone standing in my place.

It’s all about love. Jesus said:

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. John 13:34

This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15: 12, 13

Not luck and lollipops, not a panacea, not a magic gesture which makes everyone happy in the chick flick or the Disney.  Not fair-weather love. Love which I can know is genuine because it costs.

Love is love when it costs the lover to love. What can the cost be? It can be self-determination, self-interest, turf…my time, my schedule, my priorities…my things, my personal space, my comfort…my goals, my dreams, my plans…my self-esteem, my truth, my pride…my safety. My life.

Jesus gave up every one of these things. He gave up all self-interest in a way no one else ever has. He never, not one time in his life, made a choice because it was what He wanted, because it made him comfortable, or because he preferred it.  He always chose what His Father wanted, every time, every minute of his life.

It is the literal truth that He went to his death in my place, and in yours. He rejected the credit, the adulation and the power, all he had every right to claim. He truly deserves all the glory, honor, love and obedience that there is. Instead he chose loneliness, ridicule, rejection, humiliation, torture, and excruciating death.

That humiliation is what I have earned. That death I deserve.. I must let this sink in and really believe it, or I let it become a catchphrase with no real meaning. I deserve the grotesque punishment he received. Me.

Cause I’m a dead man now
With a ghost who lives
Within the confines of
These carbon ribs

Remember facing something overwhelming. That awful thing looms over your every minute and you can’t forget it. You want with all your might to go back to your careless mundane everyday life; you’ll be so thankful if you can ever be there again. Or you’re going to have major surgery and you’re imagining all possible ways that something could go wrong.  You’re imagining dying. You can’t forget your anxiety til it’s over.

Then someone knocks on your door.  You open it and it’s an acquaintance you haven’t thought much about for weeks.  He tells you that he will undergo the surgery in your place.  In fact, he’ll take your cancer from you and put in in his own body, and then he’ll have the surgery for you. And he’ll make certain you never have cancer again. He can do all this.

Imagine your reaction.

Imagine you’ve committed terrible crimes. You’re repulsed by what you’ve done to fellow human beings. You’re horrified that what you’ve done can’t be undone. Your guilt is real; any hopes for your future, all your comfort with yourself, all gone. You are tried, convicted and sentenced. The sentence is death, right now, and you deserve it. You’re led up the stairs to face the noose.

Then someone knocks on the door. The door is opened and it’s that acquaintance again.  He walks decidedly to the stairs and climbs up to the platform.  He looks you in the eyes, gently but firmly pushes you aside and stands in your place.  He puts the rope around his neck and falls through the trap. He is executed.

Yes, he can do this too, though He has committed no crime; because He has committed no offense. Your crime is recompensed. Justice is satisfied. You are redeemed to live free and without guilt.

All of these hypotheticals are true; I am guilty enough to die. I have callously offended God and his invaluable human creations. Self-cancer is eating away at me. I cannot save myself in either case. But that Someone is able to do all the rescuing, and He did.

And one day when I’m free
I will sit

A cripple at your table

And I sit beside you


I Am Officially Against Genocide

Is there a way to say it with less hyperbole?  I don’t think we can afford to be diplomatic anymore.

There is no difference between a community which ignores the concentration camps in its backyard and the community which ignores the Planned Parenthood offices on its Main Street.

Many people believed that the German people were complicit in the genocide of millions of Jews and other “undesirables” because they knew about the camps in their own countryside but did nothing, said nothing in protest. They rationalized it away, they put it out of their minds.

We all know what they do at Planned Parenthood. There is a genocide being carried out every single day there. It’s the extermination of a race of human beings.  The “race” is not of an ethnic type; the victims are identified by their age and their weakness. They have no power to defend themselves and no protectors are permitted there.

We all know they’re babies. We all know they are living human beings. That debate is long over.

Normally, we all agree that killing other human beings is wrong and is properly against the law. We all condemn the powerful oppressing the weak and the rich taking advantage of the poor. We all are outraged at the torture and abuse of the defenseless. Yet that is precisely what is going on at abortion clinics everywhere.

We also all know that they are helpless. That’s what allows us to kill them so easily.

And well…we do know they’re human but in reality, some adult people are so victimized by the culture that they need their rights protected but other tiny defenseless people don’t have legally recognizable rights. It’s alright to kill some human beings, and our reasons can be totally subjective, personal, and never exposed to legal scrutiny.

So they go to their deaths, every day, with the approval of our laws and of our society. We have rationalized their deaths in order to believe we are good people while we approve of their murders. Our society has no excuse. We have abandoned lawfulness in order to reach the ends we want.

How do I separate myself from the guilt?

I want to distance myself from guilt in this horror, but I’m not sure I really can. Without my permission, my tax dollars fund Planned Parenthood in my community and across the U.S.. My tax dollars fund the exploitation of women around the world under the guise of the promotion of “family planning” to poor women in third world nations. When we impose our first-world upper class vision of family health on cultures we do not care to understand, when we offer them desperately needed money in return for their agreement to commit their own genocides upon their own people, my money supports that effort.

Now we learn that there is no horror that fine, first-world Progressive women and men will not accomplish. It’s no real surprise that Planned Parenthood sells the body parts of the innocent dead for profit.

A woman who can business-lunch on salad and wine at a nice restaurant while coolly brokering a professional arrangement which is dead baby parts in exchange for money is one whose humanity is in question. This is a person without conscience or soul. And she is the face, now, of a multi-billion dollar industry which receives my money and yours in order to operate.

I do not want to be mistaken for someone who supports this in any way whatsoever. I believe that what I have done, and failed to do, will be subject to scrutiny by the true Judge one day. My motivations will be transparent and accountable.

Here are some of the ways I am able to be innocent.

I am not a Democrat and I do not support or vote for candidates belonging to the party which names the unqualified right to baby slaughter among the main planks in its platform. They protect this right to selectively kill us and convince us that they are our champions of justice and public safety, defenders of the rights of the oppressed. I am sorry to be undiplomatic but I do not understand how any person with a conscience can be associated with this party anymore.

This may be harsh, but here goes. In order to support this party, at least one of three things has to be impaired: willingness to engage the issues, moral compass, or critical thinking skills.

I have no illusions about the other party, but at least its party platform includes a pro-life plank. What “pro-life” means has been diluted over time but the official stance allows those public officials who have engaged with this issue to act on their convictions within the law. Any small steps we can make with pro-life legislation can actually save actual lives.

However, the number of party movers who see the pro-life stance as anything more than a tool to be used then discarded when inconvenient, (which is also how they see pro-life voters) has dwindled.  I must choose the Republican party because any other alternative is worse, even though the party establishment is embarrassed by me. And no. It’s a two-party system and no third party will ever get anywhere near being elected in a national race.

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves…” says Proverbs 31: 8. I am newly declaring that I grieve over the killing of over 50 million children by my countrymen. I will look for ways to persuade others that we cannot call ours a civilized society while we endorse the commission of these outrageous atrocities. Consider this notification that I’m going to be one of those people.

I think we may be more culpable than Germans of the 30’s and 40’s because we have arrived at this place totally by our own choice, with our free speech, free exercise of religion, free press, and freedom to vote our consciences intact.

I do believe that God will hold us accountable for our actions and attitudes. I do not want to be accountable for this. Did I put the killing of millions of innocents on the back burner while I focused on my own small concerns? Did I get lazy and jaded about speaking out on behalf of those who could not protest their deaths? Did I play down that hackneyed old issue because I was tired of the media battles? Or because I didn’t want to be identified as one of those Christians?

Most importantly, what did I do about it?

Now is a moment.  We are all being given an opportunity to see clearly, be appalled, and detach ourselves from an utter abomination. No matter what your political affections have been, no matter what you think about the plight of women in our society, you are being given an opportunity to run from the slaughterhouse and escape implication.  Take the offer.