Thought Provoking Piece from Ryan McMaken

Authored by Ryan McMaken via The Mises Institute, Patrick Buchanan is an informative and interesting writer. On foreign policy, especially, he’s long been one of the most reasonable voices among high-level American pundits. When it comes to cultural matters, however, Buchanan has long held to a peculiar and empirically questionable version of American history in […]

via The US Is Not “One Nation” – And It Never Was — peoples trust toronto

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THE MAGICAL, MORONIC, MANUFACTURED CELEBRATION OF LOVE

I despise Valentine’s Day. How did we get from the celebration of a Roman festival to the madness of today? A manufactured, merchandize driven celebration of love…or the realization of being quite alone. At least if you are depressed there is plenty of chocolate to raise your spirits and increase your waistline. The Valentine’s candy and cards at Wally World has been displayed since the day after Christmas.

A bit of history. One historical version suggests THE FESTIVAL began as the honoring of the Goddess Juno during the Roman Feast of Lupercalia. Young men and women drew names from a jar, pairing themselves for the duration of the feast and sometimes for the year. This was before the use of car or room keys in a fishbowl I guess. Yes, some would fall in love and sometimes even marry. Ain’t that romantic…or moronic?

Farther down the road known as history, the festival was discontinued because it was deemed un-Christian but as we all know you can’t keep a good celebration down. It was just refigured and given another name. According to one popular legend, a Roman priest would give the celebration its name. Valentine, the priest, defied the emperor, Claudius II, when said emperor decided allowing people to marry or become engaged impeded his ability to raise an army to fight the many unpopular military campaigns of the time. He banned marriage and engagements. Valentine, along with another priest, Marius, secretly married couples in Rome until their treachery was discovered resulting in the brutal beating death of Valentine. I think Marius got the better end of the deal even if a celebration is named after Valentine. Both were elevated to sainthood but Marius escaped execution.

Not romantic enough? Try this version. Valentine was helping Christians escape from prison until he himself was ratted out and jailed. While awaiting execution, as the romantic story goes, Valentine and the jailer’s daughter fell in love. On the night before his execution, Valentine penned a letter to his beloved and signed it “From Your Valentine.” Now why does “from your valentine” sound vaguely familiar?

If those unsubstantiated legends aren’t enough, early Roman-Christians believed birds mated in mid-February. It doesn’t matter. I HATE VALENTINE’S DAY! I have hated Valentine’s Day for thirty years or more. I’d rather be beaten ala Valentine or machine gunned ala Al Capone’s The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. Flowers wilt and chocolate is fattening, plus the object of my romantic inclinations shouldn’t eat chocolate for health reasons. FOR THIRTY YEARS, I HAVE TRIED TO DO SOMETHING UNIQUE FOR THE UNIQUE PERSON WHO IS LINDA GAIL! Moreover, for thirty years I have failed. Even the rose bushes I bought with so much care, planted and fertilized so carefully, watered and talked to…died. Can you really kill something with love? YES! … YOU! … CAN!

One year, the worst, I reserved a romantic meal at a nearby inn on a mountain above us. IT SNOWED! Determined to be romantic or machine gunned, we went anyway. A phone call told us they were open but with no electricity. “Come on, the meal will be served by candlelight.” How much more romantic could it get? Just shoot me. JUST FREAKING SHOOT ME! A twenty-minute trip turned into an hour as we dodged downed powerlines and fallen limbs but we made it. It was romantic. Candles and little mini-lanterns. The meal served in courses by waitresses in the cutest little uniforms. A three-digit meal before we got to the tip…but it was going to be worth it! A good meal, romantic small talk, footsy under the table, a short drive home and if I played my cards right…acte d’amour. Not on your life. On the side of the road she upchucked A FREAKING THREE-DIGIT MEAL. l’acte de vomir was all I got.

Am I trying too hard. Is it too much to want to do something special and unique for a special and unique person for goodness sakes? I have been dreading St. Valentine’s Day since the last one and have been trying to come up with something special…maybe I’ll just prepare the meal. A quiet dinner with a French motif. A small table with a checked tablecloth featuring one of those candles in a wine glass with melted wax dripping down the side. I’ve got a bottle of wine somewhere…it’s full. I guess I should start drinking it if I’m going to get a candle holder ready by this evening…and if I’m going to survive it.

Uniquely Southern, uniquely insightful, books by Don Miller can be bought or downloaded at http://goo.gl/lomuQf

I CHOOSE CIVILITY

“formal politeness and courtesy in behavior or speech:
synonyms: courtesy · courteousness · politeness · good manners ·
graciousness · consideration · respect · comity”

I defined civility simply because I am unsure how many of my “social media” friends actually know what it means or if they do, they have decided that using it is just too “PC”. Two threads I started, (with what I thought was a simple comment about violent crime rates and another about the protests taking place during the National Anthem), crumbled into something else entirely. We raged far afield from the original posts and disintegrated into a playground melee stopping just short of someone yelling “yo’ momma!” Another former teaching friend lamented being verbally attacked over a position he took on one of his own treads. That would be former teacher not former friend. The word of the day, week or year seems to be ‘ATTACK’ which is why I am trying to choose civility instead of trying to shout someone down. Yes, kill them with kindness…ha…ha…ha.

I continue to hear people state “We are too PC” so I have also looked up a definition and provided it: “to criticize language, actions, or policies seen as being excessively calculated to not offend or disadvantage any particular group of people in society.” There was a time when I was taught that “NOT OFFENDING” was a good thing and why would you want to disadvantage anyone…ohhhhhh, you mean a perceived enemy, I get it now. ITS OKAY TO OFFEND OUR ENEMIES! The people we or you are fighting with. People we are at war with. You know, people that are trying to shoot us, blow us up, are of a different religion than us, people with a different sexual preference who might want to get married, people with different ideas about race, people who decide to protest against things we hold near and dear, or people who think that beer “TASTES GREAT!” rather than is “LESS FILLING!” FUCK…THEM…ALL! JUST LEAVE IF YOU DON’T LIKE WHAT I AM SPOUTING! WE DON’T WANT YOU HERE! YOU ARE NOT OUR KIND…Oh I forgot to include the guy down the road that has decorated his road front with Trump-Pence campaign signs! JUST LEAVE THE COUNTRY WE DON’T WANT YOU! Actually I just said the last one because my wall is so conservative, I mean I live in South Carolina. What do you expect, I just wanted to put a burr under my conservative friends’ BVDs and all. You know all in good fun, don’t want to offend you…come on smile a little.

You see, I believe “not being too PC” is simply an invitation to cross the line and be a bully. It’s an easy thing to be a bully hiding behind the keys of a computer after all. The keys are not likely to rise up and punch you in the eye. When a friend or my brother takes me to task on my liberal social leanings I try to pay attention because they normally provide insight and logical reasons…or at the least reasons. When an asshole provides, “I wish all liberals would die!” well, I GET PISSED and that is almost where my tread went. Also I realize somewhere there is a liberal asshole writing “I wish all conservatives would die!” I just don’t see a lot of those because my wall is so…right…I mean so conservative.

“Sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me” is a damn lie invented by a gray-haired grandmother to take the pain away caused by the sting of the spoken or printed word. “But I was just speaking my mind” in many cases crosses the line between speaking your mind and verbally slapping someone across the chops. That is why I am choosing civility…that and my normal peace keeping tendencies. I will weigh my words carefully. Why use a nuclear bomb when a ruler across the palm of the hand is enough? Oh wait, you don’t believe in corporal punishment…Sorry, I didn’t mean to offend you.

For more of Don Miller’s unique views of life and humor try http://goo.gl/lomuQf

THE END IS NEAR

“We are in the end of times!” “We are in the days of Revelations!” So much doom and gloom. I am reminded of the street preachers on Bourbon Street when Linda Gail and I visited New Orleans, the “Sin City with Southern Charm.” We were on our honeymoon and later on our anniversary. Those preachers were shouting the same thing from every corner. “Your time is near! Repent your sins.” Irreverently, I am also reminded of the children’s story about a chicken running around yelling, “The sky is falling, the sky is falling!”

I don’t deny that MY time is near and the sands are running out of MY hourglass. I don’t know of anyone who is going to get out of this life alive anyway, but as a person who believes…hopes he is a Christian, I really don’t know what we are to do if it truly is… (gothic organ music) … “The End of Times.” Are we to sit patiently in prayer waiting? Should we put on our “sackcloth and ashes?” “So I gave my attention to the Lord God to seek Him by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth and ashes.” Are we to do nothing? I cannot NOT be proactive even if proactive is just going on with life “for its own sake.” I am a retired coach and I cannot NOT compete even if it is for my last breath.

My problem or one of my problems is, if this is the “end of times” it’s because we as humans have fallen down on the job. We have failed ourselves and God. Whether it is global climate change or loving thy neighbor, I am seeing fewer and fewer people attempting to make this world better and are opting to say “Prepare…we are nearing the days of Judgement.” That may be true but should we not be attempting to correct issues and make our world a better place. Throwing up our hands is throwing in the towel. Have we forgotten “God helps those who help themselves?” I know that is really not in the Bible but it probably should be. Had I written the Bible I would have put it in there.

My second problem is “What if it is not the end of times?” According to Matthew in the King James Bible, “And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.” Do we not owe it to ourselves as good humans to act a little more “Christ like?” even if you are not a Christian. Jesus exemplified characteristics such as faith, hope, charity, patience, humility, purity, diligence, and obedience, characteristics seemingly to be in short supply recently on our little blue ball and characteristics that should be shared by all religions.

Do what you want. I am going to choose to be proactive. I am going to choose to fight and I don’t mean go out and dig a bunker to survive Armageddon in. I am not only going to try to be good, I’m going to TRY AND DO good. You know the “Love thy Neighbor”, be good to the poor, try to be uplifting kind of good that was taught by Jesus of Nazareth and modelled by Jimmy Carter. I want to be THAT role model for my daughter and grandchildren. If it is truly “The End of Days,” I would just a soon be surprised anyway.

For more of Don Miller’s unique views of life and humor try http://goo.gl/lomuQf

EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON?

WITH CREDIT TO BLAIR (THE SHAMEFUL SHEEP)

Blair’s blog post struck a nerve. No, not really a nerve, it was just worrisome…and I agreed with her blog post. If you like blogs, you should look her up. I don’t think it was her intention but her post made me think about God as I walked and ran early this Sunday morning. I talk to God a lot when I run but usually it is to request something like, “Please God help me get up this hill” or “Oh God, ANOTHER HUNDRED YARDS?” The conversation this morning was not “that kind” of conversation and I continued to carry the heavy, mental conversation I was having with myself and God into church and I don’t really remember what my preacher talked about. Sorry but a least I didn’t fall asleep and it was “sorta” a spiritual conversation.

It was Blair’s opening remarks that got me to thinking, and I quote her, “You know when you’re down on your luck, going through a terrible time, and all you want to do is drown yourself in a vat of melted chocolate? Then, you lean on your loved one for support and they say, ‘don’t worry, everything happens for a reason.’ Really? Am I the only one who gets stabby over this saying? My dog got run over for a reason? How comforting.” Exactly what does “stabby” mean? Oh, slang for angry.

I don’t think I’ve ever used the word stabby or used “Everything happens for a reason,” but it got me to thinking anyway. First I thought about Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 or if you are not familiar with the scripture, the old Byrd’s song “Turn, Turn, Turn.” Not familiar with either? You have enough information to Google it. “Seek and ye shall find” and I would probably YouTube the song. For the Cliff Note people, the verse explains there is a time for everything and by my own logic, a reason for everything that happens. It was after my “logic” that things went a bit contrary.

During my short run and walk my thinking went “right” off the tracks. I should have been happy just to be running again but you see, twenty-five years ago I lost my college ring. I’ll let that sink in. Twenty-five years ago I lost my college ring. “Everything happens for a reason?” What possible plan could God have for my college ring? Why did losing my ring happen for a reason? To teach me a lesson about taking better care of my possessions? I WAS being careful. I was on my way out to do yard work and did not want to ding the ring on something and damage it or worse, hang the ring, still on my finger, ala Cecil Upshaw.

Gee whiz I really feel old explaining who Cecil Upshaw was. Cecil was a major league pitcher who, on a bet, jumped up to touch an awning, hung his ring and tore the ligaments in his finger. He was never an effective pitcher again. So I WAS being careful. I might still have a major league career. I reached to put the ring on a shelf and “clumsily” dropped it causing the ring to bounce and disappear down a hole on our old back porch. I looked, and I looked and I looked. Even when we tore down the kitchen and back porch to renovate the old farm house I looked in every nook and cranny and in every brick or cement block that was carried out. No ring. Every time I am under the house I pause and ask God where the ring might be hiding. Silence. I am sure a long dead pack rat took it to her nest to help keep the kiddies captivated.

A lesson on clumsiness? And God said, “YOU MUST BE LESS CLUMSY, I AM GOING TO TEACH YOU A LESSON!” I can hear the thunder rumbling behind his comment now. God, you made me in YOUR image. How many times have you knocked over a glass or tripped over your own shadow? I know, NEVER, but IT IS a valid question. If everything happens for a reason, what was the reason? Other than pissing me off it doesn’t seem to have accomplished anything but EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON!

I know many of you wonder if I am flirting with a lightning strike. I don’t think so because my God is the loving God of the New Testament and knows my heart. He knows I AM NOT committing blasphemy. He is also a humorous God. God made me which is really a knee slapper if you think about it. I have conversations like this with God all of the time. On a bad allergy day not long ago, I asked him why he decided to put my nose, upside down over my mouth allowing it to drain into my mustache. Then it started to rain and I knew. Evolution? I think not AND THERE ARE MUCH WORSE PLACES MY NOSE COULD BE!

It’s now late in the evening and I have had this conversation going on all day. God has provided no divine clarification but it could be my liquid libation. WAIT! Maybe he has. 1st. Corinthians 4:5 says, “Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God.” Well, I don’t know about the motives in men’s hearts or the praise, but I can tell you the first question I’m going to ask him. Finis.

Blair The Shameful Sheep can be read at https://bhharned.wordpress.com/

Don’t forget to visit my author page at http://www.amazon.com/Don-Miller/e/B018IT38GM

DEJA VU….

Am I the only person who sees similarities between the political division and social protest we are experiencing today and the protest and division related to the Sixties? There was unrest as African-Americans oh so slowly gained SOME Civil Rights and social justice. Protests became violent as civil rights marchers were opposed by fire hoses, police dogs and batons. Inflammatory rhetoric was spoken on all sides – the far reactionary right and radical left…AND BY PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES. Both the KKK or Black Panthers resorted to bombs, bank robberies, riots and assassinations in an attempt to slow down or speed up the process depending upon their particular world view. Riots in major cities were sparked by MLK’s assassination. I am sure no one of my age can forget the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago. Young people violently protested the Vietnam War along with other social issues. They burned draft cards or American Flags while facing down policemen in riot gear and Mayor Daily’s political machine. The drug culture of the Sixties with the “Make love not war” Hippy movement gave our parents pause to shake their heads in dismay. Appalled conservatives believed we had a real problem of lacking respect for authority and law and order.

The names of the wars have changed as have the names of the politicians who wage them and the names of the young people who are dying in their stead. Today we are not fighting over political dogmas but rather over religious beliefs…supposedly. The only people winning are those who are paid off to promote war and those who actually sell the weapons of death. It was the same in the Sixties as it is today- war mongers and arms dealers rake in the cash. Even though the weapons have become more efficiently destructive, death certainly has not changed nor has the sorrow or cost in life and devastation caused by those weapons.

We still do not have a religious, political or economic system inclusive to all. The extremists are either still battling to move things along more quickly or to insure that they move back to the way they were. Even the motion picture industry is under fire with protests and a call to boycott the Oscars over the issue of diversity. I hear the same arguments that highlighted the Civil Rights movement in the Sixties reverberating from both sides. These arguments now include lesbians and gays or Christians and Muslims or gun control. Instead of being about societal concerns, student protests seem to be more “me” oriented. I both hope and fear that my perception is one that has been packaged and perpetuated by the media “trolls” on both sides for a deeper, more ominous reason, perhaps for increasing ratings or possibly to create more unrest. With recent police-involved shootings and the “Black Lives Matter” reactions to them, I can hear the distant cries about “police brutality” and to “barbeque a pig” echoing through the fog of time. Our own population seems to be hell-bent on self-destruction …just as it seemed to be in the Sixties and for many of the same reasons.

The ’68 Presidential election experienced some of the same disunity we see in debates for the upcoming 2016 election. The leading Democratic candidate Bobby Kennedy was assassinated by a Jordanian Arab, Sirhan Sirhan, over Kennedy’s pro-Israel position. The left anti-communist, pro-civil rights liberal Democratic candidate Hubert Humphrey attempted to unify a party divided over a “civil rights plank” in the party’s platform and failed to do so. Pro-segregationist and state’s rights candidate George Wallace took five Southern states in the election and many other votes away from Humphrey and helped hand “Tricky Dick” Nixon the presidency. Nixon even had his own “Southern Strategy” to pull Southern Democrats into the Republican fold, expediting the Democratic Party’s “liberalization” that began with Truman’s desegregation of the Army in the early Fifties and which gained momentum after Johnson’s signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Earlier there was a “liberal” court ruling overthrowing Plessy v Ferguson for Brown v Board in 1954 that wasn’t fully implemented until the late Sixties and early Seventies. It is both interesting and disconcerting that during the past fifty years, we still haven’t moved past division caused by sectionalism, race, executive orders, liberal courts and the Middle East.

I once stood in front of a US History class and remarked that it was my belief that 1968 was the most polarizing and divisive year since the Civil War. Assassinations, Tet, riots over Civil Rights and the war all boiled over and did not conclude during the Democratic Convention. Later the massacre at Mai Lai would come to light and create more discord over the war…justified I would guess. I also remarked that, as I look back in retrospect, I am surprised we were able to survive it as a country. I don’t know if I could make the same statement today about 1968. With things as turbulent as they are right now, I can only hope that we survive until 2018 to celebrate the fifty years since 1968. The scary thought is that conditions may get worse before they get better.

As the Watergate scandal was still a few years down the road after 1968, what do we have looming in our present day world? Will we be faced with a confrontation with Iran or with Russia or with more race riots? Let us learn from history that names may change but the same thing will continue to happen again unless we have a spiritual revolution… Maybe what we really we need is another Woodstock, world-wide, to finally get people to whole-heartedly desire love and peace and harmony!

DECISIONS, DECISIONS…ALREADY?

It’s the third day of the new year, 2016, and I am already facing a decision. Not an earth shattering one…unless it is. Just a slight adjustment but one I hate to make…despite my New Year’s Resolution #1 that included the admonishment to “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff!” It is a concession to age and oh how I despise making a concession to MY AGE! For over a year now I have battled my arthritic and injured knee and my running. Over the same year I have mulled over my orthopedic surgeon’s prognosis, “There is a knee replacement sometime in your future.” He said other things but for some reason I didn’t hear much after the “knee replacement” part. I probably ought to get some clarification. I did make the decision to put it off as long as possible…which brings me to the decision to discontinue—GASP—running.

Running has been a constant companion since April 9, 2006. I had been a “hit or miss” kind of runner the decade previous…make it more miss than hit, but in 2006 I made the decision that I needed to make a lifestyle change. A heart attack will cause you to contemplate such modifications and, when it occurs on your birthday, remembering the anniversary of your heart attack is that much easier. I really don’t have a problem recalling the feeling of an elephant sitting on my chest and the fear that went with it. Because of that fear I made major alterations that included exercise and a new diet that allowed me to drop sixty-plus pounds. One of those alterations was twice a day bouts of walking and running. Mostly walking but some forty or fifty mile weeks of running thrown in for good measure. Since my injury my bouts are once a day and focus much more on walking than running.

My problem is not with the exercise. I can replace my running with more cycling and fitness walking. I really need to be more consistent with strength training. Maybe a rowing machine or a membership to the Y. Yeah I can do that…but what about my head? I should mention I once suffered from clinical depression…but not since I began running consistently. That’s the small stuff I am sweating. I’m not sure I can out walk my ghosts or the grim reaper. I just know if I don’t stop running I may not be able to out walk anything.

So the decision is made…right? As I walked into church this morning I picked up a bulletin and immediately noticed a runner on the front in starting blocks along with a Bible verse from Hebrews, “Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus.” Okay…looks like their maybe a bit of prayer before my decision is fully made.

Don Miller is a retired teacher and coach who, in addition to his Blog, has written three books that have drawn heavily from his childhood and years in teaching. They may be downloaded or purchased in paperback at the following links:
“WINNING WAS NEVER THE ONLY THING…” goo.gl/dO1hcX
“FLOPPY PARTS” http://goo.gl/Ot0KIu
“PATHWAYS” http://goo.gl/v7SdkH

THE TRAP THAT IS RELIGION

“As Christians we do a better job of promoting what we are against than what we are for.” This was a quote from my minister this past Sunday as he presented his sermon and for once I was paying attention. The title of his message could have been, but wasn’t, “THE TRAP THAT IS RELIGION.” He referred to this “trap” a couple of times and both of these quotes provided a feast as in “food for thought.”

All week long I thought about the “trappings” of religion. Not the trappings my minister was talking about. I was thinking about rituals; my church is bigger than your church kind of things. Fancy eye-catching robes, repeated liturgy in unison, long, long, long alter calls, public displays, you get the idea. My grandmother turned her back on the “trappings” and lived a “religiously” pious God-loving life without going to church. Ninety-eight years’ worth.

I really have problems with public displays of faith. I don’t mean modeling it, I mean chest thumping. I would guess you are thinking, “Isn’t this public.” The answer is not really. Except for people who know me, I am hiding behind the anonymity of my computer. It is still hard for me to “bare” my feelings and put myself out there. My religious beliefs are private to me and hard for me to talk about. I know some Christians believe that public displays are part of the trappings. I ask God and Christ to make me more “public” but as yet they haven’t eased my struggle. They are probably busy elsewhere. I don’t blame them and yet still believe in their teachings.

When I thought about the “trap that is religion” I could not help but remember the lines from the Buffett song “Fruitcakes.” The lyrics went like this, “Where’s the church, who took the steeple? Religion is in the hands of some crazy-ass people. Television preachers with bad hair and dimples. The god’s honest truth is it’s not that simple. It’s the Buddhist in you, it’s the Pagan in me. It’s the Muslim in him, she’s Catholic ain’t she? It’s the born again look, it’s the WASP and the Jew. Tell me what’s goin on, I ain’t gotta clue.”

The line about religion being in the hands of some crazy ass people is what gives me most pause. I think ISIS along with any other Jihadist group or individual would qualify as would a Christian reactionary killing (fill in the blank) for Christ. But I am concerned most about followers of non-reactionary American Christian Religions who their piety allows for racism and bigotry. John Pavlovitz, a pastor and writer, published these assertions in his blog, STUFF THAT NEEDS TO BE SAID. I am reproducing them verbatim from his post MY EMANCIPATION FROM AMERICAN CHRISTIANITY. These are his words, not mine, but I found them to be quite profound along with the rest of his post. I invite you to read it in its entirety.

http://johnpavlovitz.com/2015/12/01/my-emancipation-from-american-christianity/

“I am not losing my mind.
I’m not losing my faith.
I’m not failing or falling or backsliding.
I have simply outgrown American Christianity.
I’ve outgrown the furrowed-browed warnings of a sky that is perpetually falling.
I’ve outgrown the snarling brimstone preaching that brokers in damnation.
I’ve outgrown the vile war rhetoric that continually demands an encroaching enemy.
I’ve outgrown the expectation that my faith is the sole property of a political party.
I’ve outgrown violent bigotry and xenophobia disguised as Biblical obedience.
I’ve outgrown God wrapped in a flag and soaked in rabid nationalism.
I’ve outgrown the incessant attacks on the Gay, Muslim and Atheist communities.
I’ve outgrown theology as a hammer always looking for a nail.
I’ve outgrown the cramped, creaky, rusting box that God never belonged in anyway.
Most of all though, I’ve outgrown something that simply no longer feels like love, something I no longer see much of Jesus in.”

This past Friday morning I felt alone as my blog post “Silence” should have reflected. Later, my Baha’i cousin, quoting scripture, and a friend quoting…well herself, lifted me up, something my musings had not done. This morning I opened my computer blog and found John Pavolovitz and realized I’m not the only “wrong” thinking person in my country…or at least my social media account. If enough of us become “wrong” thinkers maybe, we can actually make a difference in our world. I invite you to join the Evolutionary New Testament Church of Jesus Christ’s Love and Grace. We are not on TV and I don’t have any hair or dimples. I’m not going to give up my Church membership because they seem to be “wrong” thinkers to. My Christ is loving…toward all our neighbors.

“RIGHT MEN”

I sat in a large lecture room during the summer of 1993 listening to the guest speaker during our annual state association athletic clinic in Columbia, S.C. Fresh off of a perfect season and national championship, Alabama head coach Gene Stallings was the speaker. I was impressed at the somewhat quiet, yet solid, demeanor of the Crimson Tide coach. His speech was a low Texas drawl I was sure could turn into a loud growl if necessary. Something in me believes it was rarely necessary. I was amused at a story he told about being embarrassed. In front of millions of viewers, a camera perfectly framed a reaction to a play that included an “F-bomb” expletive perfectly formed on his lips. One of those viewers was his youngest daughter, Martha Kate, who took him to task over the language he used.

You just knew Gene Stallings was a good man and there is nothing in his Bio today suggesting otherwise. One could not be hard-hearted enough not to tear up when Coach Stallings spoke about his son, John Mark. Coach Stallings teared up, I teared up and about a thousand others did to. John Mark was born with Down syndrome and was the light of his father’s life…along with his wife and four daughters. As you can tell, Coach Stallings spoke more about life than he did about football.

I never had the opportunity to sit down and hear Mark Richt speak in person. From clips, comments and sport’s stories I have read and viewed, I would say there is a lot of Gene Stallings in Mark Richt…except for the National Championship thing…but then again I am speaking about life. Richt, the former Georgia coach, now Miami coach, could have been bitter about his firing at Georgia despite two SEC championships, six SEC East championships to go with one hundred and forty-five victories to just fifty-one losses over a fourteen year career. Unfortunately college football is a “what have you done for me lately” profession. It’s about championships I guess.

Richt could have been bitter but made a profound “life” statement instead, “Life is about people, not rings. Rings collect dust.” While not the coach Georgia needs now, they think they need the rings, he is a man the world needs. Richt walks the “Christian Walk,” and has been a positive role model both on and off of the field. Along with his wife, the Richt’s have adopted two Ukrainian orphans, one with proteus syndrome, to go with their own two kids. This is something most people are very unlikely to know, Mark Richt plays everything close to the vest. One thing that he can’t keep close to his vest is the fact that he is a good man.

I wrote a book entitled “Winning Was Never the Only Thing…” It was about kids, peers, family and fans, along with memories of teaching and sports, all more important than victories, championships or passing test. I wish I had come to their lesson sooner. Is it more important to win championships or to produce up-standing, disciplined players? I know you can do both but which is more important? Good luck Mark Richt, I will be pulling for Miami to win championships when Clemson doesn’t. Interestingly, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney played football at Alabama. His mentor and head coach…Gene Stallings. He too is one of the “Right Men.” Theirs’s are legacies that are far more important than sports.

If you are interested in reading more by Don Miller his books may be purchased on Amazon or downloaded on Kindle at the following links
“Winning Was Never the Only Thing…” goo.gl/dO1hcX
“Floppy Parts” http://goo.gl/0Lt0O8
“Pathways” http://goo.gl/6yB5Ei

SILENCE

I worry. Worry for family, country and friends. Friends of all races, creeds and colors. I pray. There is no answer, nothing but silence.

I wonder. Wonder at how the world has come to this. I pray. There is no answer, nothing but silence.

I rage. Rage at Christians, Muslims, Atheist, Liberals, and Republicans. I pray. Again, there is no succor, only silence.

I hate. Mostly I hate myself for hating. I pray for the hatred to be taken away. It does not relent. The silence swells in my mind.

I ask for enlightenment. Understanding, Wisdom, Awareness and Insight. Why do we do nothing but debate? I pray. There is nothing but deep, dark silence.

My grandmother instructed me to “lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.” I pray but the silence has become a deafening roar in my ears.

I must keep looking unto the hills. I must keep praying…hoping God will take the silence away.