A Stormy Test of Faith

For as long as I can remember, I’ve found the mystery of what goes on inside or beneath the surface of mechanical devices incredibly compelling. I don’t know exactly when the mystery of how things work first began to captivate my attention, but I clearly recall an early incident when the stimulating effect of that curiosity was unmistakable. My grandfather had gone to see a friend about some kind of tool and decided to take me with him. The boredom of adult talk in the kitchen was broken by the need to go out to his workshop. Glad for the change of scenery, I was happy to tag along.

We opened the door to a building that by, today’s standards, would be about the size of a small garage. I was expecting to see an array of mechanical tools and farming stuff as I made my way inside behind the adults, but no such scene awaited. I was immediately stunned by Continue reading

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Kindness ~ A Virtue Worth Reviving

I was just a Southern country redneck in my early twenties when the company I worked for sent me up to New York City for some training. I spent much of my early life on a little family farm and didn’t even live on paved road until my late teens. I had never stayed in an actual “hotel” or seen a building that had nearly as many floors as my hometown had streets, and at that point, driving on a highway that had four lanes still felt like an accomplishment. To say the least, I was a bit intimidated.

Unfamiliar Territory ~
A naive country boy heading to the Big Apple with no prior exposure to “yankees” in their natural habitat could be problematic, so my buddies pooled their knowledge and gave me advance warning about what to expect. “Yankees,” they said, “dress funny; they don’t eat grits; they don’t know how to Continue reading

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Labor Day ~ “Workin’ on It?”

A scene in a movie done a few decades ago included a line that I find intriguing. The setting was one of those “wild west” towns that Hollywood is famous for creating, but while the original setting may belong in a dusty archive, elements of the scene continue to be played out in 2018 America.

Most Definitely “not” a Cinema Aficionado ~
But before continuing, let me throw out a disclaimer or two. First, you will not find “avid moviegoer” on any of my bio sketches or social media profiles. Movie theaters are challenging places for me. If the worn-out plots, sexual exhibitions, and ridiculous themes coupled with Hollywood’s characteristic spiritual and moral vacuum wouldn’t be enough to keep the ticket money in my wallet, not being able to have the popcorn would do the trick. Movie popcorn, along with things like pizza, assorted fried animal parts, and funnel cakes have been moved to the “no longer allowed” list. It isn’t just a nutritional issue. My wife, who takes care of our bookkeeping, says Continue reading

Posted in Admonitions for This Hour, Faith, Family, and Culture, Insights, Labor Day, Right Side Up, Wake Up Calls | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

God’s Plea Deal ~ Only Offered to the Guilty

For some time now, most of our mainstream newsrooms and media studios have looked like an ongoing “reality TV” series featuring daily episodes of anti-Trump convulsions. Lately, the guilty verdict in the trial of one of the President’s former associates and the plea-bargain based on an admission of guilt by another have added an almost gleeful quality to their tirades. The airwaves are reverberating with another coordinated effort to project their carefully scripted and dramatized reactions into every TV, laptop, tablet, and smartphone in the land. Welcome to another week in the “Propaganda vs. Truth” wars of 2018 America.

Since the issue of guilt is at the epicenter of the media’s current demonstration of the “art of manipulation by repetition,” and since so many are either salivating or agonizing over the impact of guilty verdicts, it seems appropriate to weigh in here as well. Multitudes are frantically Continue reading

Posted in Faith and Politics, Faith, Family, and Culture, Forgiveness, Insights, Right Side Up | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Spiritual Decline ~ Not Just a Catholic Crisis

My definition of “crisis” and my approach to crisis intervention changed as I moved from one developmental stage to another. New discoveries, expanded awareness, and exposure to new experiences changed my perspective of what’s important. For instance, the grass around our house wasn’t a problem issue when I was seven. It was just grass. Unless there was some weird bug crawling in it ugly enough to warrant catching it and putting it in a jar, I was barely aware that grass existed. I had real problems to worry about, like the danger of Continue reading

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Temptation’s Awful Offspring

I had a friend years ago whose brother was considerably older. Whenever questions arose about the difference in their ages, he would say that his mom always called him her “little surprise.” We hadn’t been exposed to a barrage of reproductive information back then like today’s kids are, but we knew what his mom meant. Creating another mouth to feed wasn’t the objective of their intimate moment, but in spite of that, life was initiated anyway. Multitudes of moms have echoed their stories of being “surprised” by the outcome of some romantic interlude. A shared element in every story is that Continue reading

Posted in Faith, Family, and Culture, Insights, Marriage and Family, Right Side Up, Wake Up Calls | Tagged , , | 5 Comments