Passion ~ With a “Bit” of Guidance

The thought of having to wait for a slushie to be made appears to have been just too much to endure recently, so a McDonald’s customer physically assaulted the fast food worker. In another culinary conflict, an employee started punching a customer who had allegedly thrown a milkshake on her. We’re living in a day when passions are running roughshod over reason, where tantrums erupt over trivia, and where thoughtful debate has been tossed aside in favor of blaring out intractable demands with bullhorns. It seems as though qualities like social courtesy have slipped into the category of whimsical nostalgia, joining the list of things we enjoyed back in the “good ole’ days.”

Overworked Emotions ~
With so many issues from politics to the plastic straw crisis pulling at our emotional apparatus, exploring how to deal with passion from God’s point of view is worthwhile, and some admonitions from the book of James are especially helpful. On the one hand, God offers positive approval for passion with James’ affirmation that the effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much (James 5:16, NKJV). But He also discourages yielding to Continue reading

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

Coordinated Coercion ~ A Terrorist Tactic

For decades now we have been warned about the danger of Islamic radicals who would use any means available to overthrow “infidels;” i.e., anyone who refused to convert to their religion and support their objective of world domination. We’ve seen bloody evidence again and again of their commitment to stop at nothing in their quest to subject the entire world to the bondage of their laws and their authoritarian control of every aspect of life. No wonder we’ve come to call their tactics terrorism.

Familiar Tactics ~
Terrorists seek to inflict as much immediate damage as possible with every attack. Beyond that, they want to extend their power and control over as many as possible who were not killed in the attack. For instance, if they Continue reading

Posted in Faith and Politics, Faith, Family, and Culture, In the News, Insights, Right Side Up, Wake Up Calls | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

A Rock to Stand On

I saw enough Tarzan and Jungle Jim movies as a kid to know that if you ever find yourself lost in a jungle, there’s a lot to worry about. Some dangers were obvious. There were binge-eating carnivores running around loose, and snakes the size of tree trunks that could swallow you alive. And if you managed to avoid getting stomped on by a rogue elephant, or gored to death by an antisocial rhinoceros, and then decided to celebrate by taking a dip in the river to cool off–well, don’t. The piranhas would reduce you to a meatless skeleton in about 13 seconds. But there was another danger in the jungle that wasn’t so obvious . . . Continue reading

Posted in Faith and Politics, In the News, Insights, Wake Up Calls | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

An Alternative to “Allegation Apoplexy”

There are some issues I’d rather not write about because they’ve reached the point where the level of volatility itself has become the story. When the fact of controversy overtakes the facts underlying the actual controversy, then reasonable discussion becomes more and more unlikely, and dealing with it begins to feel like an exercise in futility that isn’t worth the effort. I much prefer writing about light-hearted, funny stuff. I like exploring intriguing, off-the-beaten-path topics, and I like looking for interesting new perspectives on familiar issues. I like writing about those kinds of things for the same reason that I prefer pizza over an okra and eggplant smoothie. But God has taken care to remind me repeatedly that He didn’t send me into the world to Continue reading

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

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

Posted in Devotional, Faith, Family, and Culture, In the News, Insights, Right Side Up | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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

Posted in Faith, Family, and Culture, In the News, Insights | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments