Warring With Our Souls

Over the last couple weeks, COVID-19 has all but disappeared from front page news spreads having suddenly been supplanted by protests, rioting and looting. Yes, George Floyd’s murder was a despicable act of first-degree hate. There should be no debate, nor the excuse of possible extenuating circumstances.

Having said that, it is impossible for me to reconcile the understandable grief with senseless acts of barbarism and destruction which have been perpetrated as payback for this man’s death. If you think that’s a cruel or heartless thing to assert, you should probably go follow a different blog. (I’ll be equally direct in the paragraphs below.) Continue reading “Warring With Our Souls”

Asleep In Jesus

Though it seems nearly a thousand years ago, back in early January (when the world seemed relatively calm) my Beloved bid adieu to his younger brother. This was before Covid-19 had rocked everyone’s world, but the expectation was that my brother-in-law’s days on this planet were ending. He moved out of state to live with his son.

We were privileged in recent years to have him living near us. Initially, he lived in our home, moved out, temporarily moved out of state and eventually returned to the area. An irrepressible individual, his stories never ceased to entertain and his bottomless reservoir of energy made him well-loved by all.

But cancer’s destruction would not be abated, rendering him a wisp of the man he once was. Bidding him adieu entailed numerous phone calls through January and February, until he was too weak to hold a phone. He passed into Eternity on March 4th at the age of 66.

Everyday, my Beloved feels this huge void from the loss of his brother. They talked daily including a regular Bible study time every morning by phone. Saying goodbye was sorrowful, but my Beloved knows the assurance of seeing his sibling again … such a blessed hope! Continue reading “Asleep In Jesus”

One to Tell the Tale

Beginning in the Fall of 2014, I commenced a serious personal study of The Book of Job. This ancient biblical account relates the gripping story of Job. Today, we’d say he was highly-privileged and experienced the perks of life few of his contemporaries may have enjoyed.

The book begins with an unremarkable statement: “There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job.” The next sentence tells us Job was “blameless, upright, fearing God and turning away from evil.” But within just a couple paragraphs, the situation turns bad — really bad — for Job.

Thus begins an ages-old dialogue probing the goodness (or monstrous cruelty) of Almighty God. The question begs to be answered: why must a righteous man endure suffering? If a man is indeed “blameless, upright and God-fearing” (as the narrative proclaims Job was), then doesn’t he have every right to be exempt from humanity’s pain and affliction?

Continue reading “One to Tell the Tale”

Random Vicissitudes

Most people understand – at least in a theoretical sense – how quickly life can change. In the two months since I last posted, the silence hasn’t come about due to a lack of blogging material. No, no, no. Furthermore, every single day without a post brought a deeper sense of unease … the pattern of my life seeming slightly upended! Red-Pencil

But the respite from my daily pattern was necessary and welcome … necessary because life demanded I attend other matters and welcome because it freed me (somewhat) from my irrational obsession to slavishly maintain daily posts – no matter what! With each day that passed, my figurative pencil grew more insistent and red-faced. Much to my surprise, people continued to drop by and read previous posts. (I am gratefully humbled by your interest.) Continue reading “Random Vicissitudes”

Service To A Cruel God

Today’s news that the convicted Boston Marathon bomber had been formally sentenced to death didn’t surprise me. That awful atrocity from April 2013 cut short the lives of three people (one was an eight-year-old boy) and left 260 others injured, some maimed. They gunned down a fourth victim during the manhunt that followed the bombing.Boston-MarathonThese were despicable acts perpetrated by two radicalized Islamic individuals. (No, I have no intention of using either of their names.) Today’s proceedings in a Massachusetts courtroom included three hours of statements from victims and families of the victims before the convicted bomber broke his two-year silence. Continue reading “Service To A Cruel God”

Job Rests His Case

Whether defense or prosecution, when a trial attorney comes to the conclusion of a trial, it’s time for summation. At this point, the jury will hear a summary of all pertinent facts and evidence before they reach their decision. The attorney wants to deliver a strong summation in order to sway the jury toward a particular outcome. The same can be said of Job as we arrive at chapter 31. Job and his comforters have jousted back and forth for thirty chapters. Now it’s time for Job’s summation.

FROM:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Blake
FROM: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Blake

This chapter is a long passage – forty verses – and the flow revolves around a repetitious theme … IF. Job makes his case with a series of hypothetical statements. If I have done thisIf I have done that. He addresses the accusations of his friends in summary fashion and answers each accusation by declaring what punishment he would deserve if he was guilty. Continue reading “Job Rests His Case”

Better To Have A Millstone

In other countries around the world, “marriage” often looks remarkably different than the celebrations we have in America. In recent days, reports from the Middle East (specifically countries where ISIS continues to gain more ground) have revealed even prepubescent girls are being married off to adult men. Other girls are being sold into sexual slavery. Either way, the situation is dire.6.00658986000024

According to Zainab Bangura, a special representative to the UN general secretary, facts on the ground reveal the disturbing and inhumane treatment of young girls who are stripped naked, exposed to “virginity tests,” and many of them are sent to “slave auctions” after their villages have been attacked, and they’ve been subjected to the “killing their husbands, fathers and brothers.” Bangura speaks of one girl who was traded off 22 times to different men. Other girls are exposed to repeated rapes and subsequent surgeries to “restore” their virginity. Continue reading “Better To Have A Millstone”

Adieu, Tormented Poet

Thinking this week about the death of 2004 Pulitzer Prize winning poet Franz Wright, I couldn’t help but wonder about the ways in which he was depicted through numerous obituaries. He was “troubled,” he endured many “dark years,” a man who was “celebrated and tormented,” he suffered “clinical depression” and eventually “became addicted to drugs and alcohol.” These descriptions don’t paint an encouraging picture!Franz Wright

Wright holds a unique position in the world of poetry. He was the son of another poet who also won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry! Not surprisingly, the elder Wright (James) has also been described as a tormented individual. James was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in poetry in 1972. Continue reading “Adieu, Tormented Poet”

In Chains For Christ

Two months ago, I posted about the plight of Pastor Saeed Abedini, a Christian man who has been detained in an Iranian prison while his wife and two children continue to plead for his release. When I last posted about this situation, Abedini’s wife and young son had spoken directly with President Obama, in hopes Abedini could be home in time to celebrate the boy’s birthday. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.Saeed 1

This week, the United States Senate took up the banner, calling for the immediate release of American detainees including Pastor Abedini. The 90-0 Senate vote reflected a firm resolve to keep this matter in the forefront during nuclear negotiations with Iran. Continue reading “In Chains For Christ”