Days ago, on Rest in Hope, I posted “Grain Resisters.” It got lengthier than I’d anticipated so I decided to do a Part Two. Huge admiration extends to honorable folks who make choices to reasonably challenge the status quo. People who aren’t necessarily whistleblowers, but are considered misfits by “popular vote members.” Jesus readily comes to mind. Throughout the gospels, descriptions abound about the nonconformist character of loving and compassionate Jesus. Definitely, he was unapologetically a grain resister who consistently grated on the nerves of the self-righteous folks and others who weren’t enlightened to the message that Jesus taught and lived. Yes, Jesus was largely dismissed, misunderstood and opposed yet he never relaxed his mission even in the face of and subsequent “death.” John the Baptist, too, was a nonconformist. His convictions, actions, demeanor, attire and diet were noted. Definitely, John went against the grain — AND he confronted the king about his indecent relationship with Herodias, his brother’s wife. John lost his head, literally, for his solidly nonconformist posture.Continue reading »

Sitting under the open sky, I marvel at the changes that occur in its coloring and cloud formations. The blue sky is a canvas for the birds in flight. They fly in symmetry, flapping their wings, and soaring rhythmically in the air. Playfully, the birds frolic in contentment as they thrive in what God so generously provides. Ah! What captivating beauty on display. I embrace the pleasure of the views. There come moments that teach me as I watch and breathe in the awe of creation. One morning, I noticed that a dirty cup was floating in the water where ducks were swimming. They nonchalantly swam by the cup as if they didn’t even notice it. Right after, two birds flew over the dirty cup — unbothered by its presence. God used those observances to reinforce to me that the “dirty cups” in my life shouldn’t cause me to forsake the rhythm of my journey. Truly, I sat there in appreciation for that deeply meaningful lesson learned from ducks andContinue reading »

Oh, the plights of whistleblowers. Yes, indeed, they go against the grain in their actions. The motives for blowing whistles vary with reasons that range from selfish, vengeful, courageous, honorable and loving. Disgruntled employees are in the mix of whistleblowers as are folks who are genuinely grieved by what set them on courses to expose destructive and criminal activities. Below are two famous examples of whistleblowers. Karen Silkwood was a chemical technician and labor union activist. She worked for Kerr-McGee. Karen reported and testified about concerns relative to unsafe conditions in her workplace. In route to meet a journalist and a union official — mysteriously, Karen was killed in a car accident. A 1983 Academy Award nominated film, Silkwood, was made about her case. Did Karen lose her life for being a grain resister — a woman who refused to be silent upon discovery of vitally unsafe conditions in her workplace? It’s highly likely that that’s precisely what occurred. Marie Ragghianti, chairwoman of Tennessee’s Board of Pardons and Paroles wasContinue reading »

“Blessed be the fruit of your womb” – Deuteronomy 28:4 To follow the Word of God and to follow his instructions is to bring success and life. Moses set before the people of Israel “a blessing and a curse”. Obedience to the Lord and His Word, a dynamic and living entity, brings about numerous blessings in this life and beyond. However, Moses speaks of a promised “curse” upon those who “turn aside” from the words of God. Politicians, who would aspire to run the United States, are trying to pull Christians aside from the Word of God. They pit their authority of this age, fleeting at best, against the eternal power of the Word of God by promising and pandering to those who only want success in this life and have little regard for the Kingdom of God. Politicians are campaigning on pro-abortion platforms, often hidden under the rhetorical title of “reproductive healthcare”. They are offering Christians a dangerous choice and a formidable challenge. Christianity has denounced abortion since theContinue reading »

“Don’t you know that 70,000 girls ages 15-19 die each year from pregnancy and childbirth?” I was discussing God with a young woman and she had discovered I was opposed to abortion. She couldn’t believe I would be against something that to her was so obviously right. She looked at me with a dark frown and sneered, “You know, babies that do survive have a 60% higher chance of dying.” Survive what? Surviving the pregnancy? She examined my face for a moment, probably in the hopes that I would see the light and I’d agree with her, but since I didn’t respond she shrugged her shoulders and shouted, “Abortion is needed. It’s the only sane solution for these poor girls.” Then she took off in a huff, no longer willing to discuss the issue with such an ignorant and uninformed creature like myself. There was much I could have said, like, ‘how come we live in a society where it is normal that thousands upon thousands of immature, young teensContinue reading »

“It’s your body,” sighed the nurse in the abortion clinic while she shook her head. “You don’t have to let a fetus boss you around.” She rolled her angry eyes at Esther who had come in for counsel as she was contemplating having an abortion, but was battling with conflicting emotions. It seemed everyone knew what to do, except her. Her husband didn’t want the baby, the clinic didn’t think it was a big deal and plenty of well-meaning friends had told her it would be over before she knew it. Still… Her husband was particularly concerned about the finances. “A child,” he had yelled, “costs tens of thousands of dollars. First you have to birth that baby and then you need to raise it, educate it and take care of it. We would have to get another job.” His angry face had scared her and when he had told her to go make an appointment in the abortion clinic she had dutifully complied. Still… She looked around at theContinue reading »

You may or may not have heard the story of the blind men and the elephant. It is a funny little story that is often being used by the relativist to claim that nobody can really know the truth, and therefore nobody should tell other people what to do. This comes in especially handy as an argument against Christianity. The fable goes that a bunch of blind men stumbled upon an elephant and were asked to describe what an elephant is like. Since these poor fellows had no sight, they had to rely on their sense of touch. The first blind man managed to touch the elephant’s leg and boldly claimed that the elephant was like a strong and mighty tree. The next blind man however only got hold of the elephant’s trunk and claimed with conviction, “No, an elephant is not at all like a tree. An elephant resembles a huge rubber cable.” Another blind man felt the elephant’s tail and insisted that an elephant was like a tinyContinue reading »

Today, decide who you will serve – Joshua 24:15 With these words, Joshua challenges the people of Israel to choose who will be the one that they serve, God or the idols of their time. These words resonate today, as never before has the foundations of our Christian faith been challenged by the petty figures which inhabit the political landscape. The words of such politicians are easy to hear and incite our feelings, but are empty of lasting value and filled with the confidence brought about the power of this world. Even the great Philosopher, Aristotle had little to say of the rhetoricians, who pander to crowds with orchestrated speeches. He stated that these speakers care little about the essential messages but rather arouse emotions as a means to appeal to listeners. Aristotle lamented, as did Joshua before him and Jesus after him, that people follow the words of these speakers- often to their detriment. The words of these politicians give false hope, empty promises, and a false sense ofContinue reading »

This week I read two heart stirring reports. The first one was about an elderly, critically ill (cancer) veteran, Clarence Blackmon, who called 911 because he was hungry. He didn’t have any food in his place and wasn’t able to get his frail frame out to obtain any. The 911 dispatcher personally answered his need and others responded, as well. It was a relief to learn that now Blackmon will have a nurse to visit him twice a week to do checks on his well being. I wonder the percentage of folks who check on their elderly, and infirm family members and neighbors. In our fast paced society, so many folks use the excuse about how busy they are while others are in selfish mode on the regular . . . It saddens me to know of the “busy” folks who neglect their family members. The neglected hear that their loved ones are so busy. People shouldn’t be otherwise engaged to points of failing to show love and quality attentionContinue reading »

Love, honor and appreciation is extended to the mothers who pour into their children abundant love, care, discipline and diligence in child rearing. The same extends to those non-mothers who generously administer tender loving care as relatives and guardians. My mother passed away when I was a teenager. My dearly beloved aunt Margie stepped in to care for me and my sister. Aunt Margie had two children of her own, but she chose to “mother” us, as well. Through the years, Aunt Margie has done the same for other relatives. Indeed, she’s a jewel in the ways in which she so consistently exhibits love and care. I adored my mother, Helen. As her youngest child, yes, I was spoiled. She was a treasure of a mother. Certainly, we knew that we were loved by the constant evidence presented by Mama. “Recovering” from her absence was a huge challenge. Rebellion was one way that I acted out my profound grief. Coming to grips with my motherless status was immensely difficult. FolksContinue reading »

1 Corinthians 9:25 – KJV And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things . . . Ah, that word temperate. How challenging is it to contain ourselves to consistently exercise temperance? Surely, it’s the wise and reasonable thing to do but how often do we miss the marks in that regard? What readily comes to mind is religious fanaticism. As a child, growing up in church, among other things, we were instructed not to watch TV, and not to go to the movies. Women church members were discouraged from wearing pants and jewelry. Temperance sure wasn’t on board in that restrictive environment. We didn’t know that then — rather we believed that to abstain from such was holy conduct. A good number of churches have relaxed their unreasonable “policies.” Religious fanaticism isn’t constructive or healthy for our spirits, minds or bodies. God encourages purity with balanced lifestyles. How many of us know of “super spiritual” folks who frequently pepper their conversations with “Thank you, Jesus,”Continue reading »