Sunday, December 24, 2017



We are approaching the holiest of nights and what better topic to explore than Hope. Hope is what the Israelites had to have to escape bondage. Hope is what Andy Dufrain had in the classic movie "Shawshank Redemption" and hope is what we all have when what we aspire to attain alludes us our multiple attempts.

So it is my hope you find a phrase or word in this blog that inspires you again..where you regain hope.

So lets look at the definition first.
  1. 1.
    a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.

    "he looked through her belongings in the hope of coming across some information"
  2. 2.
    a feeling of trust.

I recently read a book by Henry Cloud called Boundaries in Dating. And the phrase that stood out to me was when hope and long suffering are married for a good end and when hope is simply futile given your multiple attempts with no progress to face a wrong. 

To be sure repentance does not mean that every time you will succeed in your quest to change an incorrect behavior but it does mean recognizing a wrong and willing it with God and other people's help to truly change the behavior. How many of us truly do this?

Sometimes it is fear that makes us stop cold turkey as when someone quits smoking and never returns to it when they discover a growth in their lung. Sometime I think fear is more powerful than almost anything to change behavior quickly and permanently. I think moral failings could be more easily conquered if the end result scared you straight.

But back to hope...I think this is the quandary..when someone repeatedly denies a wrong or has a rational lie for justifying one...that is a rational lie in their own mind. I think it is healthy to give up hope after some time for both people's sake. For reality always proves a wrong is a wrong as it leads you to pain and the removal of joy. That's the beauty of truth...reality simply can never sustain and grow when a objective wrong is embraced.

Before we invoke the Alpha and the Omega..I will surmise a Spanish saying.

If you lose money you have lost nothing
If you lose love you have lost something
But if you lose hope you have lost everything

So my answer this Christmas eve is that the author of all became incarnate and HE self sacrificed and saved us.

And so as we await baby Jesus...know that if we leave things in Gods hands..HE can do what our minds may deem impossible to hope.

Sunday, October 8, 2017


Redemption is What God Hopes for Us

Do you want to get to know someone? Observe how they are as a fan..or how they feel about fans. Something impressed me about Yankees fans. Despite being down 2 and 0 in the playoffs and their manager making a big mistake in game 2, and the fact they are not the best team in the league..their fans were all in. Perhaps its because they have and have had the wealth to acquire talent and they have had so many winning teams. Perhaps. 

I have a Boston Red Sox fan friend who threw his team under the bus because his team was not morally perfect and did not play with the passion he thought they should. Because his team looked bad in the first two games..he proceeded to tear my Cubs down.

I have another friend who thought baseball players made too much and it was not worth the money. He was a fan for his own enjoyment but in the end he was only a fan of himself.

Then their was a moral/spiritual acquaintance who thought he was the oracle of correct moral behavior and knew the mind of God and judged fans and sports figures as people who are irresponsible and plugged out of reality and distracting themselves out of correct behavior and the ladder as irrelevant and irreverent if their behavior did not agree with his view of correct behavior and reality.

And then of course their are Cub fans...who until last year always were pessimistic but knew logically one day that day of redemption would come. I don't know how I knew but I knew last year was it. Even in the most dire of circumstances..I just knew. That phrase just knowing is a religious experience I believe. I have heard people when they find the right person to marry..they say they just knew. It can be any circumstance...landing a big job or knowing something is wrong without recognizing the evidence immediately.

It could be the blink aspect ( Blink: The power of thinking with out thinking by Malcolm Gladwell) except of course when you have not seen anything. It is unusual to experience this and the reason I call it a religious experience is because it almost does seem like God has willed this particular outcome. Many times this does not happen...if it happened all the time then we would not learn from our choices I believe.

I as a fan observe and assess the pro and cons of each player, of the team synergy..of the managers quirks, strengths and failings. There are things that annoy me more than others, and I do see a very important component of a player or teams success as mental. I guess just like most of life is. It also has made me shake to the core to realize that I either facilitate or hinder my own success in my own personal endeavors. I have recognized that the deeper the dream..the more I fear.

Ironic that being a fan can enlighten me in this way. Its like baseball is a mirror for our spiritual war but the consequences are not as drastic. Their is no war where people die or behaviors that damage or destroy relationships.

So if you want to learn about yourself a bit more..reflect on what kind of a fan you are or how you feel about fans. In the end being a good fan and a good player in life is a gift that we can mature and grow into. And that redemption is certainly what God hopes for all of us.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017


Division's Spiritual Purpose

I can't recall an election nor an outcome that has stirred as many thoughts and emotions as this last one. The divisions were stark and they seem to be taking on new life.

Before I get into a view of the spiritual meaning behind unity and division, I wanted to explore what happened with me and where I am at. I am hoping that perhaps both you and I can be enlightened in the process.

As most know and can ascertain by reading my blog, I lean right. It is perhaps a combination of the way I was raised, how I was formed by the things I read and studied, my life experience and my temperament.  That being said, I found President Trump as a of the most distasteful people to ever run for office.  Ideology aside, I found his behavior and words in both business and in his personal life to be vile and self serving.

As things revealed became more outrageous, I lost patience with those that supported Trump as a means to stop Clinton or because he was pro-life or the supreme court justice get the picture.They were so strongly anchored that it really did permit him to do or say anything and people would still support him.

I found such irrationalness even in California. I tried to reason with people that despite how you may feel about Hillary's character and ideology..she was going to win California period. So why not vote for someone whose character is far better than Trump's and whose ideology you would also agree with. I suggested a conservative independent candidate, Evan McMullin.

No..they burrowed in irrationally that voting for an independent is a throw away vote. I tried to make them see that voting for Trump in California is a throw away vote...Hillary would win California and it would not be close. They critiqued the independent candidates policy as if Trump's policies were 100% in line with their viewpoints...they were not.

In the end, for me I could not support someone who supported him. It caused me to divide as I felt by respecting them their choice and freedom..I was enabling them. I felt that strongly about how immoral this choice was. And I joined the left and other moral right leaning friends in fighting against Trump. To be fair and purely for ideological reasons...I fought against Obama in 2008. How odd for me to voting against someone's character this time around.

Fast forward to election night, and I was shell shocked that Trump won. I literally felt it to be a voter rebellion against the status quo. They gave an immoral at best and near criminal in his business practices at worst
and his treatment of the weaker and women, a free pass to the presidency.

After the shock, my right leaning brain slowly but surely saw the potential benefits that could transpire with this election. With that mindset and also the respect for voter will even if it is against my own..I started making peace with the outcome. Though Trump's ideology was not consistently was more so than the last 8 years. 

I began to see positives in his character like his work ethic and the value and relationship he has with his family. To be fair the egotism and thin skinned character flaws did not disappear...but I took it in stride like dealing with a petulant child. As long as laws were not broken or past indiscretions revived..I would be ok with him as President. I gave him a clean slate..the office merited it.

I understand the fear people have...I had it too before the election and had it with President Obama. But I also saw really good changes despite many mistakes and ideological differences in Obama's presidency. I even wrote to him to reconsider some ideological view points. Whether it was he or a staffer that responded, I was heartened that he did. It was a political answer to be sure but it still felt good to be heard.

I wrote him with respect while admiring his passion for the poor and disadvantaged. I could and would rise beyond the disagreements. I am not quite there with President Trump because as much as he has already done ..he has not accomplished anything yet. But I am hoping for the best and will engage him if need be.

I guess this is the beauty of being an American and a Christian. You fight for what you feel is right, you sacrifice if need be but you also respect and engage the President. I do see the value in protest sometimes but to be honest...sometimes I see it is an infantilism. 

We don't always get what we want and rehashing the same thing when it is past and gone seems to cling to a reality that simply does not exist. 

Which brings me to division again. Spiritually, Jesus called us to united in vision and action in HIM. And yet he did bring division. He asked his disciples to give up family, job and a way of life and eventually their own life. It makes sense if HE is saving us from sin, death and bringing life, joy and healing. If HE is the author of life it seems and all humanity..not choosing HIM seems self destructive. And yet after that choice has been are to now be unified.

Perhaps it is too simplistic to say that when Christians were divided this election cycle..their allegiance was not Jesus but their view of what Christian principles dictate or what someone in authority said that convinced them they were in the right. I think it is a helpful exercise to examine and be honest about one's true allegiance. It looks like getting closer to God will reveal it as stated in Hebrews 4:12

Whatever our collective motivations are what we can agree on is that we are way more divisive than not. And what perhaps divides us is our fearful allegiance to our self, our family or group. We all feel comfortable with our viewpoint and value system and we see others as trying to rob us of that.

And perhaps if our allegiance was really Jesus and God then we would shake the dust off our shoes to those that shun our message and say peace be unto this person, family and group.

Division's spiritual purpose can be light or dark. The nice thing is the Victor has already shown us the way...divisions dark forces sometimes bring about the greatest light and example of love.