Wednesday, March 10, 2021

IS IT TIME TO WEIGH THE EFFECTS OF LOCKDOWNS AGAINST THE EFFECTS OF COVID?

 https://www.propublica.org/article/the-lost-year-what-the-pandemic-cost-teenagers

I'll be doing a youtube video on the subject in the next couple of days, but I encourage you all to read the above article, and know that the impact this pandemic (more on the response to the pandemic, not the actual virus) continues to have on our society and especially our kids...

Thursday, February 25, 2021

LOSS, AND THE PERSPECTIVE IT BRINGS

 Denise Hobbs was the leader of my church's prayer ministry, a grandmother raising her granddaughter, and a great human.  But these words cannot possibly be enough to describe who she was to our church, and to humanity.  She was blessed with an incredible gift of intercession, a Divine connection to God via prayer.  When Denise prayed for you or with you, it was as though God had dropped down from Heaven and sat there with you.  She was truly filled with the Holy Spirit, and used her gift to bless others at every opportunity.  Her faith and her personality, and her love for Jesus made her a huge presence at church and in the world...

On February 18th, on a dark and snowy night, in the middle of nowhere, Denise pulled over on a treacherous stretch of two-lane blacktop to render assistance to a stranded motorist.  A stranger.  All logic and common sense would dictate that a grandmother should NOT do such a thing, the risks are many.  Maybe the motorist is a psycho killer.  The roads are terrible, what if something happens?  But Denise probably never even considered those things, as another person was potentially in trouble, and she was compelled to offer help, as that's what her faith looked like to her.  Selfless, unconditional love for her fellow man.  The details of what happened next are incomplete, but we don't need them anyway.  Denise was struck and killed by another vehicle.

The impact of her loss will ripple across uncountable numbers of people throughout the community she lived in and the people she touched.  A granddaughter who attempted CPR on Denise along that dark stretch of highway, begging God not to take her.  A husband who must now navigate a world without his partner.  A church that counted Denise among the foundational pillars of it's very existence.  Friends, strangers, family, surely the number of people suffering in this terrible loss is in the hundreds, if not thousands...

Across the country, Clint, a man I have never met, but who is a member of my fleet in an online game, lost his two year-old son, Cole, to cancer a couple of days ago.  He shared with me the Caring Bridge link, where the agony of a child's fight against a monster was documented in heart-breaking detail by parents who also happen to be strong Christians.  This family never stopped believing that God could heal little Cole, and yet when Cole went home to be with Jesus, they did not waver in their faith.  They accepted that we do not, and cannot, possibly understand God's plan, or how such suffering is part of His plan for us.  And they leaned even harder into their faith and their love for Him.  Reading this story from the day of diagnoses to the day Cole got his wings brought me to tears...

In the same couple of days as finding out about the loss Clint and his family had suffered, another member of my fleet lost his 25 year-old  younger brother.  I know nothing further about the details of that loss, nor do I know whether or not they have faith to lean on in this time.  But yet another gone too soon.

The cherry on top of this crappy cake?  Yesterday would have been my own little brother's 46th birthday, but he too was taken by God on February 12th, 2006.  It's a loss I still carry with me, and if I'm being honest here, it's something I haven't fully recovered from.  So where am I going with this litany of heartbreaks and sad stories?  Every day is about perspective, my friends:

It's easy to get caught up in the miseries of our day to day life in a fallen world.  To find plenty of reason to complain or be angry, bitter about the perceived injustices and unfairness of life.  Your job sucks.  Your wife isn't affirming you the way you want.  Your kids don't appreciate your efforts to parent them.  Your car is a piece of crap.  Your bum knee hurts all the time.  Your guy didn't get elected as President.  You're sick and tired of COVID and these stupid masks.  You can't eat Cinnabon anymore, as you're overweight and trying to get healthy.  They fired Gina Carano.  When we lose perspective, it's super easy to develop offense, to be angry or depressed about all of these things that don't meet our expectations.  In fact, the reality is, life rarely actually meets our expectations, and it often takes something that truly sucks to remind us that our expectations are mostly worldly, ego or emotion driven things that don't actually benefit or improve our lives.  As a matter of fact, lack of perspective is a poison that contaminates every facet of our lives.  

In the Bible, we are shown over and over again, that the only real peace and contentment we can rely upon is found in our faith.  From Abraham nearly sacrificing his only son, not understanding why God would ask such a thing but fully faithful that God's will was just and Holy.  And Abraham's pure faith was rewarded, just as God had promised.  Job suffered countless indignities and terrible losses, and while he was clearly angry and hurt by all of this, even angry AT God, his faith in God was unwavering and eventually his prayers were answered.  So I'll end with this, the important part, PERSPECTIVE:

Romans 8:38-39 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present of the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all of creation, can separate us from the love of God

God will NEVER cease pursuing your heart.  You can run as fast and as hard as you want, but He will be right behind you, keeping up, waiting for you to stop running.  We often don't even realize when we are running away, maybe because we don't fell like we're running, maybe we've just gotten off The Path a little, and are just kind of walking along all wrapped up in our worldly desires and problems, and haven't made time to talk to God or seek His Word.  Even then, He is literally right behind you, patiently waiting for you to turn around and come back...  We will all suffer the terrible emotional burden of losing loved ones, we will all suffer the indignities of unmet expectations, and we will all wander off The Path now and then, suffering the worldly consequences.  But we find incredible clarity in our perspective when we keep our eyes on Jesus, as we are reminded that He suffered the ultimate indignities to ensure our place in Heaven.  Our time here in this world, on average, without any hiccups, averages around 75 years.  I'll eat my shoe if you can tell me what percent of eternity 75 years is.  While pain, suffering, trials and tribulations are sure to come in one's life, it is sooooooo important to process it all through a lens based in our Faith, because that lens will provide you with the perspective you need.

I would humbly ask that all who read this blog please lift up Denise's family and friends, Cole's family, and all who we know to be hurting or wrestling with things we cannot know or understand, that you all keep these people in your prayers and that each of us might seek Spirit-led opportunities to improve our own perspective.

Heavenly Father, thank you for keeping your promise to love and protect me, despite all of the countless times in my life that I have wandered away from you, or consciously turned my back on you.  Thank you for sending people like Denise into this world, and for the love you have shown through people like Cole's family.  I pray that you would lay your protective and comforting hand upon the hearts of all who have suffered so much lately.  Please give us all the wisdom and discernment to recognize when you are providing a perspective adjustment, and the courage to use it to glorify You and strengthen our faith.  In your Son's Holiest Name, Amen.     


Tuesday, January 12, 2021

The State of The Union - Knuckle's View

 My apologies for the sparse content since the election, it's been a busy few weeks digging out the backyard to construct a bunker, and scouring the interwebz for information on how to freeze dry my wife's green chili chicken enchiladas for long-term storage in the event that the apocalypse arrives sans Rapture...

I won't ramble too much, as the attached video is where the important stuff is, but here's the deal.  I hereby renounce or deny my identity as a member of "The Right" or even as a Republican.  I am a Constitutional Conservative with a strong Libertarian leaning with a dash of Christian social responsibility thrown in just to keep the haters hating...  While the idiots who stormed the Capitol last week are no more representative of Conservatism than ANTIFA is representative of your garden-variety Democrat, the fact is that they are no better than ANTIFA.

We, as a Nation, are being lied to, manipulated and swindled by our government, on both sides of the aisle.  In collusion with Big Tech, Big Business, Big Pharma, the Military Industrial Complex and countless other "Bigs", our leaders actively seek to divide us via identity politics.  On the "right", the riots and chaos created by BLM and ANTIFA in 2020 played right into their hands, a super visible, high shock value display of the destructive and lawless nature of the left.  On the left, Trump's refusal to accept the election results provided ample proof that he is a corrupt, arrogant leader who threatens the very fabric of this country's laws and processes, and his supporters storming the Capitol proved how dangerous the right really is.

At least that's the message you are being sold...  The FACTS are much less exciting.  A great majority of voting Democrats do NOT support the anarchy and violent rioting, looting and rhetoric that fueled the BLM/ANTIFA show last year.  But the narrative provided to them by their "leadership" (Orange Man Bad, Black Genocide via Law Enforcement, etc) and their various legacy and digital media platforms ensured that plenty of these folks see the right as dangerous, power-mad, racist bible-hugging lunatics.  A great majority of voting Republicans are disgusted with what happened at the Capitol, and strongly oppose racism and all of the other isms they are so commonly accused of.  But the narrative provided to them by their leadership ensures that plenty of them see the left as straight-up morally bankrupt, criminal apologists who are trying to steal their money, ruin their neighborhoods and sell America down the socialist river.

Here's the real deal:  The left does indeed want to change some things within the Constitutional foundation, the bedrock of our Nation.  They have engaged in plenty of shady behavior and back-room deals to pull off stuff like Obamacare and are currently outright bragging about how they intend to stack the Supreme Court, to gut the 2nd Amendment while encouraging media platforms to interfere with the 1st Amendment.  But let's not leave the right out of this.  The right has always bragged about how they support Big Business, often with little regard for how that might impact the average man on the street, the environment or the best interests of the United States.  Both sides use the demonization o0f the opposition as a way to divert attention from their own efforts to tighten their grip on power and control...

So while I do indeed strongly oppose progressive ideology in general, and firmly believe that it is in direct conflict with the Judeo-Christian values and morality that this Nation was founded upon, that it intentionally and vocally attacks and weakens the Constitutional framework that has provided us with nearly 250 years of freedom, growth and success, the reality is that much of the conservative ideology has been twisted and manipulated to the point that the good things that come from the middle ground are unattainable due to an arrogant belief that biblical truth, patriotism and strength are only found on the right.  So I will take my Constitutional Conservative belief system, my faith in The Lord and Savior, and my love for my fellow man, and stand outside of the box our leaders have tried to put me in.  I will welcome discussion and understanding with ANY person who I do not see eye to eye with, and I will do everything I can to let my actions and my heart be unmistakably Christian.  Please check out my Youtube channel for a video about what pursuing your identity and how letting the world around you define it is a HUGE mistake.

Hang in there friends, we serve an Almighty God, and He is a much bigger deal than Donald Trump and Joe Biden...  I assure you He is neither Republican or Democrat.

https://youtu.be/jGDB19OgN4s [youtu.be]


Wednesday, October 28, 2020

ELECTION DAY? 2020 MIGHT NOT BE DONE WITH US YET... ARE YOU READY?

 As election day approaches, this country is awash in tension and emotions are running high.  I will not be making any sort of political statements or taking a stand on any of the issues that are behind all of this, as none of that really matters (not as far as the intent of this particular post, anyway).  This is not a prediction, as I don't honestly think anybody can accurately predict or imagine what things will look like  between now and Christmas.  It's just an educated guess, followed by some suggestions on what folks may need to consider...

There is a high probability that the widespread chaos and violence we have seen over the last few months will intensify as the election draws near. No matter who actually wins the elections, we will likely see an explosion of violence once a winner is declared.  Extremists on both sides of the spectrum have been dreaming of this day forever, and I'm relatively sure they will not let this opportunity go to waste...  So what does that mean for my friends and family who are neither extremists, nor stupid?

 Your emergency responders will most likely not be responding your call for help.  Cops will be busy quelling the violence, or defending themselves as they will assuredly be targeted.  Fire and EMS will probably limit responses, travelling only with a police or National Guard escort.  If you need help, I suggest your prepare to be your own first responder.  Make sure you have prescriptions refilled, have first-aid supplies on-hand, check your fire extinguishers, have a garden hose hooked up, etc.  With police response times almost guaranteed to be substantially impacted, nobody is going to show up to stop a crime in-progress.  They'll get there in time to write up a report and head to the next one.  Make sure your doors and windows all function and lock correctly, make sure your firearms are clean, loaded and accessible.  Talk to your neighbors about keeping an eye out for each other and who is available and willing to assist with anything that comes up.

When the chaos ramps up, local, state and federal governments will institute lockdowns and curfews.  This could mean you can't get to the grocery store, gas stations or anywhere else for that matter.  It would be a good idea to make sure you have AT LEAST two weeks worth of food, toiletries, etc.  Between now and Election day, don't let your vehicle's fuel tanks get below 3/4 tank, and make sure you fill up ON election day.  Grab a couple extra propane tanks. If you have a safe place to store extra fuel, do so...

Lastly, just a bit of applicable life advice:  Be aware of your surroundings!  Protests and riots, potentially terrorism, they can all sprout up or occur almost instantly.  With social media used to coordinate, many protests just sprout up when the word goes out to those who engage in this stuff.  Right-wing militias, ANTIFA, BLM, they all maintain a robust and effective communications capability.  They have also spent the last six months developing and implementing strategies and tactics in places like Portland, Kenosha, Seattle, etc.  These events, should they occur, will be well-organized, well-equipped, and dangerous.

How do you handle this stuff?  If you're out and about, keep an eye out for large groups of people.  Watch for unmarked school busses, multiple vans, or a large police presence.  If you see that sort of stuff, probably time to head home or change course.  Follow your local law enforcement agency's twitter and social media feeds.  Obviously, the best way to keep safe when Election Day actually gets here?  Maybe stay home.  If you vote in person, be hyper-vigilant, and for the love of God, DO NOT travel to and from the polling venue in a vehicle slathered in your pro-Trump or pro-Biden stickers, wearing your Back the Blue or F*** the Police t-shirts.  Do everything you can to blend in, to be what they call "grey".  The time for flying your flag and being unafraid of "those idiots who don't think like me" is over.  Nobody is going to be swayed into voting for your guy on Election Day by your awesome shirt or big ol' flag.

Maybe this is all bluster.  Maybe we haven't given our fellow Americans enough credit as human beings.  I'm hoping, sincerely, that my wife and my friends and those who follow this blog, will poke fun at me for the rest of my life for being such a drama queen about this whole dang thing.  But the smart move today is to take some basic precautions and be ready in case I'm right.  And while we navigate this whole debacle, I would, as always, encourage you to join me in praying for our friends and neighbors, strangers, the opposing parties, our first responders, our country and our leaders.  2020 has been an incredible demonstration of the fact that wordly things and events are surely and completely out of our control.  Placing our identity in pro-mask vs anti-mask, Red vs Blue, Pro-cop vs anti-cop, whatever you stake your claim on?  Galations 2:20 reminds us that we are now identified in Christ, that we need no other claim of identity to be whole. And that looking to the world around us for hope or peace?  That, my friends, is a losing proposition.  The only true peace we can be guaranteed is found in the Grace and love of Jesus Christ.

Anyway, I'm rambling.  Keep your ammo dry, your eyes open, your bourbon neat, and we'll put the whole thing in God's hands.


 


Tuesday, October 27, 2020

THE FECES ARE ABOUT TO HIT THE OSCILLATING VENTILATION DEVICE...

 

The 2020 Presidential Election is just a few days away.  Our country is more divided, more tribal, than any other time in my 47 years as a citizen.  Extremism and anger rule the day, and fill the airwaves.  There is much to be concerned about.  Whichever way the election goes, you can bet that there will be chaos and civil unrest that will make the events of the last six months seem absolutely quaint.  Armed insurrection, mob violence, potential disruption of the supply chain, basic services, you name it.  The relative comfort we have enjoyed all our lives has a significant chance of being ruthlessly stripped almost overnight.  I happen to one of those people who has always known this time would come, and have advocated for years that folks undertake at least some minimal steps to be prepared.  I pray that I am wrong, and I pray that if I am right, that God will protect us all and show us a righteous path out of these dark times.  It is definitely unnerving though, as I am sure it is for most people.  Which is why I’m writing this today…

 

It doesn’t matter who wins the election, because God is still on His throne, Jesus is still (and always will be) the King.  So when fear, anger, sadness, anxiety or any other negativity starts eating away at you in these troubled times, remember that this is exactly what the Enemy wants.  Satan does not seek to corrupt the strong, or the True Believer, for he is powerless in the face of our Faith.  He whispers in the ear of those who are vulnerable, emotional, afraid.  He tries to tell us, lying like he has always done,  that we should fear, hate or cast out those who do not see the same worldview or political stance as us.  He encourages us to let fear become anger, and anger to become hatred, dividing us as friends, neighbors, family and humans, knowing that this is where his lies and deceit are most easily accepted.  DO NOT FALL FOR HIS CRAP!

 

While I will always suggest that being competently and proficiently armed, and well-stocked, are two of the most important things a man can do for his family and friends, these are worldly preparations for worldly problems.  Defending and providing for your family are non-negotiable duties you volunteered for when you took on your gig as a husband, wife and parent.  It is my opinion that on the weeks and months to come after the election, there is a strong chance that we will see some very dark days in this country, events that may permanently alter what the world looks like to us.  But if we don’t fall for Satan’s lies and attempts to steer us into sin, there is a solution that will provide both Spiritual and practical peace for all of us…

 

Ephesians 6:11-18

Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

 

Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.  In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.  Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

 

 Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.

 

I would ask all of you to join me in praying for our nation, and our fellow Americans.  Pray for our leaders, from BOTH parties.  Pray for wisdom and discernment in those who are tasked with finding a way out of this chaotic, tumultuous time we live in.  Pray for our God to lay His hands upon the hearts of all men, that they would be restored and strong in their Faith, and in their love for their fellow man.  We ALL need to put on the full armor of God, and step onto the battlefield…  While there may indeed be an actual battlefield in the coming weeks, the battlefield we have chosen to take a stand on is a spiritual one, upon which we deny Satan’s influence and reach out to those who would otherwise never understand the love and Grave of Jesus Christ.  God Bless you all, and hang on tight, this ride is about to get a little hectic!

Monday, September 28, 2020

THE CONFLICT BETWEEN YOUR WORLDVIEW AND YOUR HEARTVIEW

 I'll be 47 years old here in a couple of days.  In those 47 years, I have seen and experienced things that have shaped my worldview.  My worldview and my heart are not the same, although both things can definitely impact the other.  It's important to talk about this, as I think that many people, even those closest to me, seem to think that I have issues of the heart because of my worldview.  I'm hoping to do a better job of defining both the separation between the two and how they can inter-mingle without becoming one.

The Worldview:

My worldview is not based on some hyped up bullcrap fed to me by my social media feed or the television.  My life experience, the things I have seen and done with my own eyes and hands shape my opinions, which are always shored up with FACTS.  This country has been being lied to by the left and the media for decades but when you tell the same lie a thousand times, it will take hold in the minds of those who suckle at the teat producing the lie.  So here's the facts:

According to DOJ statistics, American law enforcement had 53.5 million "contacts" in 2015 (the last year I could find data for).  8 million of those were officer initiated (traffic stops, traffic accidents,crime in progress, welfare checks, suspicious parties, etc).  The remainder were public initiated (911 calls, flagging an officer down, walking into the police station, etc).  Let's do some math here:

53.5 million contacts divided by 12 months equals roughly 4.46 million contacts with the public every month.  In the same year, police officers fatally shot 987 people.  How many of those people were unarmed black men?  Two percent.  That's twenty.  Now out of that twenty, lets talk about what "unarmed" means.  It does NOT mean, innocently sitting at the library reading The Caine Mutiny.  It simple means they did not have a weapon.  Let's be clear here:  I could beat a grown man or woman to death with my bare hands.  I could knock a grown man unconscious with one or two well-placed punches.  So if I was fighting a cop, he would rightly be concerned that I might access his gun and kill him or others.  So if he was losing that fight, he would be completely justified in shooting me.  If I was a suspect in a shooting or other violent crime, and ignoring his commands, and suddenly pointed my wallet or phone at him, he would be justified in shooting me because of my actions.  So now that THE FACTS are out there...

Lets say, generously, I might add, that 50% of the unarmed black men who were killed by police were truly bad shoots.  Like the cop really messed up, or was just a bad cop.  So that knocks the number down to ten unarmed black men killed by police that year.  Again, statistics do not lie, they clarify. here's the truth:  Statistically, that number doesn't even register.  You have a better chance of winning the lottery AND getting struck by lighting at the same time, than being an unarmed black man and getting killed by the police.  What is the truth?  The truth is that American law enforcement is not out there assassinating black people.  There is no genocide.  There is no war against black people.

Some people would say that I haven't addressed police brutality.  True.  And I'm sure it occurs. But the statistics on that are similar, in that most police brutality complaints are found to be a direct result of resisting arrest...  NOBODY deserves to be beaten, NOBODY deserves to be shot and/or killed, but there are a lot of bad decisions made on the part of the offender.  As my old man used to tell me when I was a young criminal myself, "Play stupid games, win stupid prizes", which was a hard truth.  He also told me, LOTS OF TIMES, "If you don't hang out in high crime areas, don't hang out with criminals, and generally behave, you have a much better chance of not having to talk to a cop".

So to sum it up, that's my worldview on the matter at hand.  Statistically speaking, the American police force is damn near perfect in their correct and righteous application of force, whether lethal or non-lethal.  It angers me that the narrative is some sort of targeted assassination, a racist genocide of black men by racist cops.


Now for my "heart view":

The economic inequality in this country is directly responsible for the culture of crime and discord within the black community.  Black men are nearly ten times as likely to be arrested by the age of 21 as a white man.  55% of all violent crimes are committed by black men, which consist of less than 7% of the US population.  Is this because black people are pre-disposed to crime and violence?  Because they are savages, animals, somehow "less than"?  NO.  EMPHATICALLY, NO.

When you grow up in poverty, in a failed educational system, surrounded by despair and hopelessness, you wish nothing more than to find a way out.  How many of us who grew up in a safe suburb, both parents around and working, nothing to worry about, really, can say we understand that life and it's effects on a young man?

You know who doesn't worry in the poorest neighborhoods, about where their next meal is coming from, or whether or not they'll be confronted with violence?  The guy all these lost young men see every day.  The gangster, the dope dealer, the criminals.  "Self-made", driving a badass car, rolling with a posse of dudes for mutual protection, carrying guns, wearing fancy clothes, flashing stacks of cash, etc.  Black or white, you take a kid who has never had a damn thing, and let him watch this lifestyle everyday, he's going to choose at some point.  Getting paid $50 to run a sack of dope to the guy down the street, or to be a lookout on the corner, that can be a life-changing event.  Suddenly, this 14 year-old kid has money.  Him and his siblings might have real food tonight instead of no food or crummy food bank food.  This kid who's dad was never around and hasn't been taught about how to earn respect, suddenly knows what respect feels like when the gangsters keep him around.

Eventually, in this culture, born in poverty and broken homes, the young man becomes the men his friends and family respected, and feared.  The glorification of the gangster, the respect paid to a young man for not being a snitch, getting arrested, committing crimes, it becomes the only thing he has to hold on to.  Suddenly, dealing with the cops looks completely different for this kid, than it did for you and I.  I always respected cops, and was afraid when I got busted for stuff, because I was a soft kid from the suburbs who didn't want to go to jail.  This other kid, he ain't afraid of jail, he knows plenty of dudes from his neighbor hood who are already there, or have been there plenty of times and have prepared him.  That first arrest may even be seen as a badge of honor, a rite of passage.

This entire issue isn't about black or white, or criminal versus non-criminal.  It's about poverty, and the culture it breeds when openly ignored by the educational and social systems.  It's about the way the liberals in this country continue to tell poor people that this is a class war issue, or that they are poor because the "others" aren't doing enough to help them.  So they pour money into a welfare system designed to keep people on the dole, as it guarantees votes, and keeps perpetuating the class war the left so desires.  And as an added bonus for the left, the violence and unrest generated when their class war breaks out as a black and white, rich and poor, law-abiding versus law-breaking conflict plays right into their desire to see this country divided permanently.

So the heart view SHOULD be, what am I doing, to help bring change and real hope to the poorest in this country?  What can I do to be a face of compassion, a benefactor, a comrade in the fight to make real change for those who so desperately need somebody to believe in them and stand beside them?  How often did Jesus' own disciples question why He spent so much time with the outcasts, the downtrodden, the "criminals", the sinners?  His answer was always the same, although I paraphrase here:  "The healthy do not need a doctor, it is the sick who require healing".  Those who are most broken, those who have lost all human dignity in the eyes of their society, those are exactly who needs us the most.  So maybe stop harping on how bad this behavior we see on the news every night is, maybe stop looking at the other side as animals or traitors, and look at them through the eyes of Jesus.  There's a lot of reasons to be angry, I myself am angry.  But anger has never solved anything.  We have to find it in our hearts to show empathy, sympathy and compassion to those who need it so much, despite our differing socio-political views and beliefs.

Mark 2:17

When Jesus heard this, he told them, "Healthy people don't need a doctor, sick people do.  I have to come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners"

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

FAITH VERSUS THE WORLD AROUND YOU

 I posted something on Facebook a couple of days ago, standard Johnny Knuckles stuff, drawing lines in the sand, being angry, etc.  And three of my friends from my extended church family basically, in a very loving, Christian manner, called me out on it.  These times that we are living in, an era of national turmoil, they engender an enormous amount of emotional weight in anybody who is paying attention.  No matter what side you choose, no matter what you think about it all, the weight remains, and can significantly impact your ability to manage the way you interact with friends, family, strangers, etc.

There is a solution to this emotional turmoil, though.  In Matthew 11:29-30, Jesus tells us, "Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."  When we choose to seek solace and pursue the Holy Kingdom, we throw off the weight of the worldly chaos and sinful nature of this life, leaving only the Grace of our Father to carry.

So I decided to give Facebook a not-so-fond farewell.  I find that I am easily sucked into the divisiveness, the anger, and all of the other completely negative garbage that I find there.  I have friends who mean the absolute world to me, brothers and sisters in Christ, that were quite obviously hurt or disappointed by my drawing lines in the sand and demanding that people choose a side.  I need to remember that I am expected to walk in the footsteps of Jesus Christ, and that means that even those who choose to call me their enemy are still God's children.

Now, all of that said, I still hold strong beliefs about right and wrong, and about what is going on in this country.  No matter how my Faith guides me or colors my view of the world, the fact remains that the same people who are cheering the rioters, looters and cop-killers on as they attempt to bring about the destruction of the American Way, are the same people who have hate in their hearts for those who follow Christ.  It is my responsibility, as a Christian, to love and pray for my enemies.  But let us not forget that there was a time when God instructed His People to fight those who wished for their destruction.  In fact, God sent us King David, the warrior king, and other warrior leaders throughout the Old Testament, who met our enemies on the battlefield with the power and might of God on their side...

Today, we are surrounded by modern day Phillistines, an army of zealots focused on erasing Christianity and replacing it with a morality system more like Sodom and Gomorrah.  The only question is do we fight?  How hard do we fight?  Who will lead us in that fight?  So all we can do is prepare, and pray.  "Therefore, let him who desires peace make ready for war"...

I will pray for our enemies, pray for our country, and pray that God provides us with the wisdom and courage to navigate the dark days ahead.  In the meantime, I will continue to use this blog as a platform to both spread the Word of God, and to provide fact-based, historically supported, Johnny Knuckles observations and suggestions on how to see clearly, make ready, and be at peace with all of it.

My God bless us all, and protect those who call him Father, and may he provide the Grace for us to love our enemies in the face of evil...