Broken Memories

Not long ago, my parents were gone for the night and Susanna was in charge. If you don’t know who Susanna is, I can’t explain her to you. How could I? Susanna is like your best friend sometimes and is like your boss in other times. She’s great. We all like her. And she likes her phone, so on this particular day she was playing music on it.

I was doing dishes and wasn’t really paying attention to it, until I heard some very familiar words. “In my own little corner, in my own little chair, I can be whatever I want to be. On the wing of my fancy I will fly anywhere and the world will open its arms to me.” I stopped what I was doing to listen. I had heard that song before.

Years ago, when life was so simple, surrounded by friends and family, I was on stage in a choir concert. But this concert was different. Though I didn’t quite understand, something was shifting, changing. That something was Chealsea. She’s another one of those people I can’t quite describe. I haven’t seen her in so long…I hope her memory isn’t tarnished in my forgetful mind. She was taller than me, with dark curly hair. She seemed to be the very definition of beautiful. To me, a young girl who judged beauty in a flawed way, she could have been an angel(though I doubt her brother and sisters thought her as one). She was almost grown up to me, though if I’m honest she couldn’t have been much older than I am now.

She was too old. She was going away. It was as if Aslan had just told me that she could no longer return to Narnia. She couldn’t be in the children’s choir anymore, because she wasn’t a child. I couldn’t really fathom it. How could anyone go away from choir? It was amazing. Sure, there were those who came and went, but there were girls there that were always there, and I expected them to be. Gabby, for one, and her sister Madeline, and Chelsea and Colin and Lauren and Lindsay, and Carly, and others that my memory has failed on. We were a group, a unit. She had the sweetest high voice. She couldn’t be leaving.

But she wasn’t leaving all the way. At the end of the concert, she and Lauren, her closest sister, had a duet. “In my own little corner, in my own little chair, I can be whatever I want to be.” Their voices, one high, one lower, blended together so blissfully that in that cathedral-like church I thought I heard angel voices. It reminded me of when we would sing Latin songs that we could barely grasp the meaning, “Ubi Ceritas et amor, Ubi Ceritas et amor.” The sound would bounce off and I felt like I was no longer on earth. I miss that church. For all of its dust, it was beautiful.stain

I have held those voices in my head for all these years, and I can’t stand it when I hear the original version anymore. Who is this cockney girl, and why is she butchering the song? No, this song is now and will forever be a tribute to the love between these two sisters, at least to me. Angel voices, singing back to them, reminding us that we are not alone. Stained glass windows, and the harmony of children’s voices.

Years passed. We aged. One by one, we began to slip away. Soon I realized that there might not be a choir. Our magnificent instructor, Ms. Pickering, got married, and then she hurt her back. I waited for the news of when choir would start again, but it never came. Choir was over. Words cannot describe that feeling. I knew that my friends, with whom I had spent so many years and memories, were going to be isolated from me…maybe forever.

I saw Gabby not long ago. There had been facebook hints that she was changing. I suppose I was too. But I saw her at the PSAT, with her amazing black hair cropped short, and I was afraid. Suddenly it hit me that I didn’t know her anymore, and it scared me so much that I couldn’t speak to her. I lost my chance, and I’ve regretted it since. I wonder what she is doing, and Colin and Lauren, Lindsay and Chelsea, Carly…their names are in my mind, but if I ever saw them again I might be afraid again. I wonder if the world has opened its arms to Chelsea, and how she’s doing. She’s probably all grown up.

There is a light in one thing: Mrs. Pickering might have changed her name, but she didn’t change anything else. I saw her this year, and she looked exactly the same as she had when I left her…didn’t look different at all. It was refreshing, to be honest. So much else has changed. I wish I could have talked to her more, because I’m not who I was, even if she is the same. I’m an artist now, and a writer, and I’m no longer a follower…I’m a leader.

Memories are all that I have now, of people who have left my life for a time. Some have gone to a better place, like Grandma and Elsie Gene. Others have just gone their own way. One I have seen several times and I’m not sure what to say to her. She was once a close friend, but now I can’t think of anything we have in common. I miss the bliss of ignorance, of childhood. I’ve always been frightfully aware, but the realization that it was the end was almost too much. That last concert was a sign that the end was coming, and if I had known, I might have tried to remember more of it.

When I was a child, I spoke like a child. I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. But now that I am a man, I have put away childish things.

Things have died from my childhood. I’m severing the ties. But even now, I can hear twin voices in my head, of my old friend Lauren, singing with her older sister.

God Bless you all, old friends. May you find rest in this troubled world, and please don’t forget the wonderful broken memories we made in choir.

Choosing a Candidate, the Christian Way

Christians have a lot to keep in mind when considering a candidate.

Christians have a lot to keep in mind when considering a candidate.

“Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote that he is not making a present or a compliment to please an individual–or at least that he ought not so to do; but that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country,“ said Samuel Adams, signer of the Declaration of Independence and one of the most famous American founding fathers.

 

Adams’s sobering words should be a reminder that voting is not to be taken casually; it is a duty for which man will be accountable to God Himself. Yet voting remains a struggle for Christians around the world.

 

The question that faces believing voters most often is who in the world is “more” Christian? The lesser-of-the-two-evils answer is cliché at this point, and is a gross oversimplification of how and why Christ wants us to select leaders.

 

Before beginning this search with the author – and it most definitely is a search, not a series of answers – consider this carefully: Christians in politics will all too often become overtly attached to certain politicians, flawed though they might be; they will be loyal to the bitter end, even as scandals pop up or a better candidate appears. Civic duty is only one (a small) facet of the Christian life, and God is the ultimate leader of this world, no matter who is running for Congress or who controls the White House.

 

Once a voter has found his candidate, he should also be willing to give that candidate up. Admitting mistakes and repenting is the same in politics as it is in other aspects of life, and just like elsewhere, it is sometimes Biblically necessary to turn from a philosophy or a movement.

 

Despite the fact that many denominations, Christians, and church leaders debate the Biblical advisability of voting at all, once the question of whether to vote or to abstain from civic activities is decided – the correct answer is usually the former option, very rarely the latter – there is yet a more complicated question for Believers: who would Jesus vote for? Which party deserves the Christian vote? Is there a set “Biblical” political school of thought?

 

Most of all, how is the chaff separated from the wheat in politics – how is a candidate to be chosen?

 

The Wise Man vs. the Fool

The Bible lays out a clear picture of what a leader looks like, even from the very beginning – even in Genesis, the threads of a leadership theme can be traced (and should be traced).

 

Proverbs 1:7 says that “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

 

“The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that doeth good,” says Psalm 53:1.
The distinction between God-fearing and God-mocking is an important difference to search for in a political race; it is the difference between a wise man and a fool, a strong leader and a narcissist politician.

 

A leader, most of all, should fear God and try to serve Him – a true Christian leader will not keep faith a deep, dark secret or a casual title. If he does, with very few exceptions he is either too scared to defend it or not serious enough about God to mention it to the people he truly respects – his political superiors and the voters he woos.

 

Proverbs has much to say about the attributes of a wise man, and the New Testament mentions much about the fruits of the Spirit; these are the best measures of human character at a human’s disposal and should be used as such.

 

“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christs’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.” – Galatians 5:19-24

 

The Bible mentions more than once that wisdom is more than head knowledge or education, and rather it begins with the fear of the Lord.

 

“And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.” — Job 28:28

 

“Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold.” – Proverbs 3:13-14

 

“Wisdom strengtheneth the wise more than ten mighty men which are in the city.” – Ecclesiastes 7:19

 

Having a wise man in office can be a better advantage to a nation than having natural resources, a growing population, a strong economy, or a powerful military – for wisdom isn’t circumstantial, or brought by luck. It has no boom and bust cycle. It is a gift from God to those who ask for it and fear Him.

 

The blatant contrasts between the wise and the foolish are mentioned throughout scripture: the fool mocks sin, but the righteous are wise and have favor before God (Pro. 14:9); the wise cease from strife, but fools stir it up again (Pro. 20:3); fools trust merely in their own abilities, but the wise seek council and search for God (Pro. 28:26); the fool despises instruction, but the wise are eager to learn and are willing to admit mistakes (Pro. 15:5); the fool gossips and slanders, while the wise cling to the truth (Pro. 10:18). Most of all, the fool says there is no God.

 

Candidates that choose to lie and slander are not candidates to be trusted nor respected; men that refuse council and believe in no higher power than themselves are likewise to be avoided.

 

Look carefully for the wise man and the fool, search diligently for evidence of the works of the flesh and the fruits of the Spirit. This is the first key to choosing a Christian candidate.

 

Biblical Leaders and Their Attributes

 

Strong, righteous leaders mentioned in the Bible share many common traits: humility, a willingness to repent, a search for wise mentors and wise council, courage to stand up for God and His principles, and a desire to learn and improve.

 

A Godly leader is brave enough to act alone, but wise enough to seek council; willing to assert power when needed, but humble enough to know his bounds.

 

Humility is an essential aspect of an effective leader, and it is seen in Moses, Gideon, and King David, for just a few examples.

 

“Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt. And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?” – Exodus 3:11

 

“And the Lord looked upon him, and said, Go, in this thy might, and thou shalt save Israel from the hand of the Midianites: have not I sent thee? And he [Gideon] said unto Him, Oh my Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel? Behold, my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.” – Judges 6:15

 

“And David said unto Saul, Who am I? and what is my life, or my father’s family in Israel, that I should be son in law to the king?” – 1 Samuel 18:18

 

Moses had an anger problem, and David was a murderer and adulterer – it points us to another important part of leadership: repentance. Humans always make mistakes in this life, and leaders are no exception. What differentiates a righteous man and a lesser one is not whether they fail, but how they respond and repent of this failure.

 

Wise leaders seek wise council; they always look for a wise mentor. Look for pointers as to their role models, the people they trust, the people they want to become, and the people whom they ask for advice. Proverbs 27:17 speaks of how iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens the other. It’s important to identify the peers of a candidate.

 

Who has endorsed the candidate? Trusted organizations that line up with Christian ideals, or radically anti-God movements? Individuals themselves who you know either mock God or fear Him?

 

A true leader is also willing to stand up to evil, no matter if it is in high places and no matter how lowly the aforementioned leader may be.

 

Nathan reproved David for his affair with Bathsheba (2 Sam 12:7); Elijah and Micaiah fought Ahab (1 Kings 21:17-29; 22:13); Daniel opposed King Belshazzar and told him to repent (Daniel 5:22); John the Baptist correct Herod (Matthew 14:4); Peter and John stood up to the Sanhedrin (Acts 4:17-20); Stephen, even as he was about to be martyred, opposed the Council (Acts 7:51).

 

True leaders might not hold a governmental position; they may merely oppose the evil they see in rulers. Biblical leaders have shown that being courageous enough to oppose evil is the mark of a righteous man.

 

When examining a candidate, look at his record – if he has never before lifted a finger to fight the problems he claims to want to eradicate in office, it is unlikely he means a word he says. Who he is when he is a common man is who he will be in office (except he’ll have an office).

 

The Example of Church Leaders

 

While the Bible has nothing specifically addressing the proper characteristics of a governmental leader, it gives a solid picture of what church leaders must live up to.

 

1 Timothy 3 is perhaps the best example.

 

“A bishop [or any leader] then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre, but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

 

Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not guilty of filthy lucre … Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things. Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.”

 

This chapter emphasizes the importance of an upright personal life in church leaders, something that is nearly equally important in rulers.

 

The Calling

 

Leaders have a calling – maybe not a blatant summons to government leadership, with an audible voice from God or a clap of thunder, but at least a tug on their hearts that God has a plan for their life and leading is part of it.

 

Abraham (Gen. 12:1), Moses (Ex. 3:10), Gideon (Judges 6:14), Elisha (1 K. 19:19); Isaiah (Is. 6:8), and Paul (Acts 26:16) are all examples of God calling a person into a leadership role, or to do something for His kingdom.

 

Identifying the candidate with a calling seems like a foggy method, but it’s a method nonetheless, one to be used when others fail to find the difference.

 

The words and deeds, the professed motivation of a politician may be calculated and staged, but to some extent it’s possible to see through the façade.

The Application

How do wisdom, the fruits of the Spirit, excellent mentors, wise council, reliable companions, repentance, courage, and calling show up in the real world? How are they identified? In fact, what do they look like?

 

The application of Biblical principles to real-life problems like government debt, decaying roads, a terrorist attack, a drought, or gun control seems so much harder than applying them to, say, abortion, euthanasia, gay marriage, or religious freedom.

 

Yet there are applications nonetheless, and wise leaders will see them and demonstrate the correct positions on these issues. They may not line up with scripture entirely, but righteous men will at least seek to do right – and when they discover they are wrong, they will repent.

 

Looking at the qualities of a good leader may make it appear as if finding a decent politician is the hardest and most impossible thing mankind has done since putting a man on the moon – yet it should be noted that the moon landing was successful, and occasionally elections can turn out right too.

 

It’s impossible to list all of the “important” issues in an article, but a few of the most widespread and prominent controversies affecting the Christian faith in the United States can be mentioned.

 

One of the most tragic issues of our day is abortion, and Christians should be firmly against it – God certainly is. (Psalm 22:10-11; 127:3; 139: 13,15; Genesis 1:27; Exodus 20:13; Deuteronomy 5:17) Jeremiah 1:5 offers a glimpse of God’s view of life, “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.” God created man in His image – and He forbad murder because of this.

 

It’s also a delicate political issue that has hurt many people around the world, which is why calloused remarks about it do much, much more harm than good. If you’re faced with a decision to choose between a fiscally Biblical candidate and a socially Biblical candidate, choose the latter.

 

Gay marriage is possibly the most controversial issue of our time. Protests hit the streets, lawsuits are everywhere, and scarcely a day goes by without some significant news on the issue reaching the headlines – yet whether or no you believe government should ban it, God is against it. The movement is definitely not about “acceptance” or “tolerance,” it’s about demanding not even that a lifestyle should be accepted, but that it should be praised and catered to. (Jude 1:7; Romans 1:27; 1 Cor. 6:9)

 

What about fiscal issues? Social welfare? Taxes? Understanding what God wants for His creation is the way to achieve it, and reading the Bible is the best way to know that for sure.

 

Here is a short list of things to consider when you choose a candidate:

1. Where do they stand on the issues? How willing are they to defend their position?
2. What is their record? What is in their past – if it’s bad, do they justify it or have they repented of it?
3. Who are their supporters, both individuals and organizations? Do you agree with these endorsers?
4. What is their personal life like? Are they Christians themselves, and are they morally upright? How do they live up to the Biblical qualifications?
5. How are they compared to the other candidate?
6. Are they strong leaders? Have they had any experience before?

Delving into the basic requirements for a leader may have introduced more questions than answers. You know you’re supposed to find a humble man who keeps good company, wants to learn, has a teachable spirit, and respects life (among many other things) but keep in mind there is more, so much more. The only source with all the answers is God Himself (and the instructions He sent in his Word); that’s the best place to look, and always will be.

 

 

 

 

Happy Dog Returns!

Greetings again.

Greetings again.

 

Hi there, humans. I am the Happy Dog, and after a several-month vacation, I must breakmy silence. Though it pains me immensely, I have made peace with that traitorous cat, Fluffy  Fluffy Cattius, (Supreme Leader of the Dark Side of the Porch and of the backyard, and the only true tree-climber) who keeps writing ridiculous self-flattering fluffle  Impressive, Completely true Wonderfulness. Like I said, ridiculous self-flattering fluffle. But as it is, I have once again gotten control of the keyboard, ha, ha.

Sort of.

You’ve porbably…probably, that is, been wondering what has gone on with my crusade against Chickens and cats. Much has happened during my absence. First of all, the four baby chickens, Eowyn, Merry, Spot, and Stallion, have all grown up and are now laying lots of eggs. My assistant, Tanner, has a fondness for eggs. I say it’s all nonsense. Cheese and Chicken, that’s where it is, the two ‘ch’s. He has never been the same since he ate that egg that fell off the grill. He’s even started trying to eat brown rocks, because they look like eggs. The only upside to this is that he’s begun tunneling missions on his own accord, to get eggs. Hey, whatever works.

The four ‘bitties’ as Bekah and some of the other people call them, are the most spoiled chickens there are. Bekah herself takes them food, and they always go into spasms of joy. They jump up on the wooden door and stand there with adoring chickIMG_4060en eyes, waiting for her to open her hand and reward them with seeds. It makes me sick. Chickens are no pets, and that’s that. However, Bekah is attached to these little featherheads, even naming two of them, the yellow ones, after some of her favorite book characters.

Unfortunately, this gives the boldest, that little featherbrain Eowyn, the idea that she’s some sort of warrior princess or something, and she keeps yapping that if I come in she’s going to stick me with her sword, yelling “I am no Chicken!” Seriously? She loves to rub up against people, and Bekah rubs her head and back…it’s ridiculous, even for me. The funniest one is a red-and black mixed breed named Stallion. Stallion, for a hen? It’s complete nonsense.

Good news is that the unwanted tabby cat, Tabby, has run away. Her person recently died, and she went crazy with grief. Good riddance. She was cute and fun to chase when she was little, but she grew up to be snobby and overbearing, like all cats. Thankfully neither Dori or Fluffy liked her, so they didn’t try and make her stay. The people were upset, of course, and I felt sorry for them, but well…

Most dogs believe that cats are the root of all evil. Maybe they’re right. But no dog has ever been able to type, because of his large claws, and that’s something cats have figured out how to do. It’s strange, but it’s true, and truth is often stranger than friction.

I’ve learned to tolerate them.

Due to internal turmoil in the cages, Fort McChicken was proved uninhabitable. It was promptly scrapped. I mean, if the whole front end is smashed in, and the wire on the bottom looks like the waves on the Sea of Galilee, you have issues. I voted that the chickens be allowed to free-range, but of course I was shot down. Even Tanner voted against me, saying that chickens gave him allergies.

So some of the chickens were taken to that mystical place, Rosses-in-Jasper. I’ve never been to Jasper. I think it’s some sort of Utopia where dogs and cows and horses and chickens and pigs and people all live together in harmony. Sounds a little overrated to me. Why be at peace when you could eat them? Fluffy likes it, because apparently he has a cousin in Rosses-in-Jasper. (I believe his name is Smokey.)

The meanest, as I was saying, were sent to Utopia and our people built two new cages for them. The names are still being debated, but I believe the one made out of the old porch is called “condo” because it has two stories. What a condo is I have no idea. Maybe it’s a typeIMG_4061 of chicken sandwich. The humans have come up with this super-strong, almost impossible to get into design, called the a-frame, so called because it sort of looks like a capital A. It’s impossible to get on top of or around, because it’s a triangle. It’s only weakness is the floor, which is our target. We have two A-frames now, and the bitties are in one and the biggies are in the other. I hate them both.

And, unfortunately, frequent tunneling attempts have resulted in banishment to the doghouse perpetually. Thank goodness for laptop computers. Remember, they can imprison us, but it’s only for a little while. They usually come to their senses in the end.

Sincerely, the Happy Dog.

(P.S. from Fluffy Cattius: Don’t believe what she said about me not liking Tabby. She didn’t like me. I like everyone.)

Obama: “We don’t have a strategy yet”

we don't have a strategy yet

President Obama wore a light tan suit for the second time in recorded history last wednesday.

WASHINGTON – After the onset of nuclear war, an epidemic of a lethal airborne respiratory virus that slowly transforms humans into rabid flying squirrels, and the beginning of the end of the world, President Obama said at a Wednesday press conference that he does not have a strategy.

“I don’t want to put the cart before the horse,” he said, “We don’t have a strategy yet.”

He went on to explain, “We need to make sure that we’ve got clear plans, that we’re developing them. At that point, I will consult with Congress and make sure that their voices are heard … but there’s no point in me asking for action on the part of Congress before I know exactly what it is that is going to be required for us to get the job done.”

The President later stated that he will decide when and how to take action in a couple of weeks (assuming the earth is still in existence) after he consults with top political donors and politically correct celebrities, and after several days of intense golfing.

“I can’t rush my decision,” he continued, “Whatever strategy I develop needs to be the right one, for the American people and the world.”

President Obama made no further remarks on the doomsday situation on planet earth nor on his second wearing of a light suit, noting that “it’s five o’ clock and the day is over.”

Hodgkins: Why You Should Get a Human

It takes time, but you can train your human to do things like take pictures of you.

It takes time, but you can train your human to do things like take pictures of you.

Are you a cat thinking about obtaining a human?

As worthless as they might seem, they actually can serve useful purposes. They make splendid minions.

Food. Sometimes I am so disgusted with my humans’ laziness and tendencies to bring home canines that I feel like getting rid of them – but then I remind myself that these gullible creatures will provide me with free room and board indefinitely.

(If they forget once or twice, gently remind them to feed you by extending your claws and digging on their legs. Consistent training is key.)

Empire. Without human contacts, you will probably not be able to establish a very large empire. I am Supreme Emperor of the Universe, proving the importance of acknowledging the humans. But forget about establishing an empire unless you want to deal with me. Because I already own everything.

If you feel like adopting a human astronaut, I may permit you to be an imperial governor on Mars.

Independence. They are independent minions: this is a good thing. The best kind of humans are the kind that get lost for a few hours a day – but whatever you can afford. Surprisingly enough, they rarely require assistance.

The Supreme Emperor has spoken. Go forth, and find a human.

 

Supreme Emperor of the Universe;
Chief Executive Lizard-Slayer at Lizard Warrior Service;
Recipient of the Snowbell Peace Prize;
Coolest Monarch of the Century (Irrational Geographic);
Expert Tree-Conqueror;
And Your Humble Master.

Pressure

I’ve been through life now for sixteen years, and I am just as clueless as when I started. Admit it: even though teenagers always act like they have it all together, they don’t. I would like to propose that teenagers are the most confused people on the earth, right up there with toddlers. And that isn’t even calling to account Peer Pressure.

There’s all sorts of peer pressure in this world, and it doesn’t stop when you grow up. People just don’t have a name for it. But for kids, it’s easy. We call it peer pressure: where a group of kids pressure their peers to do things, either for good or bad. Unfortunately, it’s mostly bad. The devil is in the details, they used to say, though I’m not sure that people are allowed to say that anymore. Spiritual matters have been all but eradicated from our society. Though we might think that this makes their power less, it actually increases it.

But since I started this column on Pressure, I think I should go back to it. Peer Pressure, as it is called now, is a predominate part of our lives. It tails us in the schools, the groups, workplaces and many other places. Most of the time the pressure is directed against those who want to do good, or those who are reluctant to do what’s wrong. Yes, pressure is one of our enemy’s greatest weapons, I would say, and there are many, many examples of this. The grid that is placed on the shoulders of the students and business people in the name of “tolerance” or “diversity” is one of the worst types of pressure: the deadliest pressure that comes not just from your “peers” but from your “superiors” as well.

I almost wish that the “tolerance” people would be more…well, tolerant! It’s easy to foot the tune of equality when it gets you what you want, but when someone gets in your way, tolerance is conveniently put away or worse: brought out against the “intolerant ones.” I wonder if they ever think about what they are doing.

The littlest things stimulate my imagination. I wonder sometimes about the correlations between my thoughts and those of others. When this happens, I usually go to the lyrics of Christian Songwriters at this time, and search my mind for something that matches. I realize that most of the people reading this site would not be familiar with my brother’s favorite artist, TobyMac. But some of you might know Keith Green. Both of them wrote songs that were “letters” written to the devil. Odd, and slightly creepy, I know, but it gets interesting.

Though I don’t have the Keith Green lyrics memorized (or the TobyMac ones) one thing, the bridge, actually,  from the TobyMac song stood out in my mind. “You’re Beauty and the Beast, You’re the pressure never cease, You’re the strength of a sigh, and they say you never sleep…

I suppose our adversary being characterized by pressure is a good description. It isn’t an accident that pressure is almost always used negatively. There’s a reason, and that reason is there is someone who hates us and wants us to try to desert our faith. If we are cowered into doing something we know is wrong, or not doing what we know is right, he wins. So what can we do to stop him

First of all, pray. Second, if you are under pressure, remember that God is with us, and nothing is impossible with him. Third, if someone else is being pressured, don’t be afraid to stick up for them. Both sides know that there is strength in numbers, and even though making a stand will be uncomfortable, remember that those on the side of truth are seldom happy. I’m learning Hebrews 11:30-40 during my vacation, and it part of it goes like this.

35 Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. 36 Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated— 38 of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. 39 And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, 40 since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.

Be brave! Don’t be afraid to stick up for your Faith or your friends. Remember that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

Tragedy at Whitman Mission

If you live in or near Oregon, you may have heard of the Whitman Mission. It was a famous historical landmark near the Oregon trail which served as a grim reminder of what might have been. Years ago, several men, boys, and a woman were killed by Cayuse Indians, and all for a misunderstanding.

This land used to be the home of the Whitman Mission.

This land used to be the home of the Whitman Mission.

There have been many things said on either side. The Whitmans were missionaries, and the massacre set off a chain of killings and crimes against the Indians, justified by the deed to do that and worse. In these times, the side of the Cayuse is the one taken, the “politically correct method” I suppose. But in reality, both sides were wrong, and both sides caused the terrible tragedy that occurred at Whitman Mission.

To begin with, I must first tell you the story of the Whitmans, because you Texans have most likely never been to this place or heard of it. But don’t be embarrassed or insulted because before this vacation, neither did I. Marcus and Narcissa Whitman were missionaries who wanted to bring salvation to the natives. But instead of preaching love, mercy, grace and salvation, the Whitman preaching was all fire and sulfur. To the Cayuse, who came from a different mindset and culture, it seemed as if these people were cursing them. The Whitmans were half right, but they forgot to spread the good news of the gospel, and lost their audience.

In addition to this, the Whitmans weren’t exactly the most patient of people. They thought they were being kind and merciful, but to the people they were trying to convert, they were bossy and harsh. They tried to change who they were. The only link between the two “tribes” was Alice, the three-year-old daughter of the Whitmans, who spoke both English and Nez Perce, the language of the Cayuse. If she had lived, she would have been a peace-child between them, but she drowned, and the ties between the missionaries and the Cayuse were broken.

With both sides suspicious and unwilling to bend, trouble was bound to come, and it did. The Whitmans had some success teaching the Cayuse how to farm. But the Cayuse used that information and incorporated it into their normal lifestyle of constant rotation. This did not please the Whitmans. They knew that when the settlers began to come and to claim the land, the Indian land would shrink by the day, because of the roving nature of their culture. They knew that if the Cayuse continued to travel, they soon would have conflict with the settlers over land, and were hoping to save them trouble. But once again, their tact was…not well done.

When the settlers came pouring in, the Whitmans opened their mission to them as a wayhouse. They opened their doors to people, wagons, and deadly diseases. Because of these new diseases the untried Cayuse began dropping dead, and there was nothing Dr. Whitman could do to save them. They had no immunity. Soon the grieving Cayuse noticed that the emigrant children were living and theirs were dying. Could Dr. Whitman be poisoning them to get them off the land?

So that is what led to the Whitman massacre. Grieving Cayuse who wanted revenge for the deaths of their friends and family killed most of the men and held hostage over 50 pioneers. But there was no win in this battle. There was once a gread general named Phyrrhus who won a battle against Rome, but lost almost his whole army. We now call this kind of battle a Pyrrhic Victory. The tragedy was a Pyrrhic Victory to the Cayuse who suddenly realized that they had signed their own death warrants in the blood of Marcus and Narcissa Whitman.

There was little left of the Cayuse after the fighting and sickness cooled over, and even less of the mission that could no longer fulfill its purpose. Marcus and Narcissa had come to try to win them to God. But when they lost sight of the Image of God in every face, they became arrogant and suspicious, and turned their mission for the Cayuse into a church for settlers. The room they had once dreamed of filled with worshiping natives was now crowded so that no Cayuse could come if they wanted to. They had failed long before they were killed.

No one knows what might have happened if they had lived, or even if their daughter had lived, or if they had turned around, back to God, and back to the Cayuse. We’ll never know because Sin and Passion turned the grass red. Remember the Whitmans, and turn back to the one who called you.