03 Nov: Protect, Don’t Judge

How do we distinguish between a criminal and a good person who makes poor choices? When someone hurts others in the church, there are two camps. One says we should not be too quick to shoot our wounded; the Circle the Wagons Group. Another says we should deal with them severely; the Grab the Millstone Group. The topic is super-charged when it comes to abusing children. Even then there is a sliding scale of law. A 19-year-old boy in love and going too far with a 16-year-old girl would be on one end of that scale; a 50-year-old man raping a 2-year-old boy at the other. I get it when the heavy millstone is grabbed for that 50-year-old reprobate. But when we say there is no cure for them, who is them?  Are we throwing that 19-year-old into the same depths as the 50-year-old? The letter of the law can. I…

27 Oct: POLICY PASSION; WITH REGARDS

Scriptural value was a way of life in my parent’s home. I grew up hearing them discuss politics, but never heard them argue politics (or anything else for that matter). I didn’t know until years after I left home; Dad was a democrat and Mom a republican. In 1996 my brother asked Dad if he was going to switch parties to vote for him in the republican primary for Sheriff. I said, “Dad is a republican.” They looked at me like I had three heads. Everyone knew but me. They valued all humanity; in the womb or in a union. Everything was measured first morally, then by other means. Sometimes, they voted for the same President (Carter and Reagan). Sometimes they voted different, but each President elected was their President and honored as such unless they failed. Both Kennedy and Nixon were failed leaders in their book. Our nation is entering…

20 Oct: Courage is Contagious

At 10:12 AM (MDT) on 10/12/19, I got the first of many news pings of a situation at a Pelham, NH church. News came in soon that the attack was at the New England Pentecostal Church. I knew that name. On 10/01/19 a pastor of that church (60-year-old Luis Garcia), had been killed by Brandon Castiglione, whom he had gone to see in the home of Brandon’s father, Mark Castiglione. The story started unfolding; Garcia was to have his memorial service at the church on 10/12/19. That morning (before the afternoon memorial), 60-year-old Mark Castiglione was getting married when a hooded guest stood up and started shooting. Castiglione’s bride and Bishop Stanley Choate (who was performing the wedding) were shot. Castiglione was hit over the head with the shooter’s .380 handgun. Deacon Othniel Archer had been watching from the balcony above. Within moments of the gunfire, Archer jumped from the…