"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

A Simple Explanation of Natural Law and Why It's Vital that Every American Citizen Comprehends It

As a follower of Jesus Christ with a belief that the Bible is inspired by God and infallible in its character, I have many friends who tell me the solution to our politics in America is to "reclaim America for Christ." Though understanding their rationale, I fully disagree with their resolution. Politics is defined as "the art or science of governing," but if governments were to control the affairs of state in the manner Christ interacted with the world, then all prisoners would be released (Luke 4:18), foreign nations who attacked would receive no retaliation (Matthew 5:39), and the state would hand out everything requested and demand nothing in return (Luke 6:30). Jesus didn't come to govern states, He came to save sinners. Without question, were everyone to accept Jesus as Savior and Lord, there would be no need for human government, for all nations would love Him freely and other people fully (John 13:34-35). That's called heaven, or the eternal state.

Until then, human governments are necessary because nations, unlike heaven (Rev. 21:8), are full of evildoers. Governing authorities are "God's agents of wrath to bring punishment on the evildoer" (Romans 13:4). The difficulty in desiring to "reclaim America for Christ" is that God sent Christ to pardon and release the evildoer before God by paying for the sinner's crimes, whereas God establishes human governments to punish and retain the evildoer before man until the sinner redeems himself through payment for his crimes. See the difference? I too wish to "reclaim America for Christ," but this is done through proclamation of the Good News, not participation in the voting booth.

"A good government is an empire of laws" wrote John Adams, one of America's leading Founding Fathers. Early in Adam's political life, he wrote to his wife Abigail and explained why he must spend great time and energy in unfolding the "divine science of politics" for the American people. His letter contains one of my all-time favorite quotes as to why every American citizen should be involved in politics:
"The science of government is my duty to study, more than all other sciences... I must study politics and war, that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history and naval architecture, navigation, commerce, and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain." (Source: Adrienne Koch's, ed., The American Enlightenment, George Braziller, New York, 1965, p. 188).
The Founding Fathers, including Adams, were all experts in the writings of the ancient Greeks and Romans. When it came time for them to establish government in America, they chose a Republic built on Natural Law. Most Americans today are completely oblivious to Natural Law, and as a result are confused by the Founding Fathers frequent use of the terms Natural Law and Nature's God in America's founding documents. The primary person to whom the Founders turned for their understanding of Natural Law was an ancient Roman politician and political writer named Cicero.

Cicero (106-43 B.C.) held the highest political office of the state of Rome when he served as Roman Consul. In his two famous writings, The Republic and the The Laws, Cicero made an impassioned case for a state built on Natural Law which protects its citizens from the oppressive power of tyranny as well as the mass chaos of anarchy. Cicero's arguments for sound governance by Law were so persuasive to the Roman people and so threatening to the Roman military generals with tyrannical aspirations, that Romans soldiers executed Cicero as an "enemy of the state" and brought his severed head and hands to the Roman Forum. America's Founding Fathers revered Cicero because they understood by signing the Declaration of Independence, it was their heads the King of England would seek to sever. What's fascinating about Cicero's writings in the first century before Christ is that he predicted there would one day be a grand and promising nation which would arise with a government based on Natural Law. America's Founding Father's believed that America could become that grand and promising nation, so they pursued building their new government on Natural Law.

Cicero defined Natural Law as:
"...right reason in agreement with nature; it is of universal application, unchanging and everlasting, it summons to duty by its commands, and averts from wrongdoing by its prohibitions...It is a sin to try to alter this law, nor is it allowable to repeal any part of it, and it is impossible to abolish it entirely. We cannot be freed from its obligations by senate or people, and we need not look outside ourselves for an expounder or interpreter of it. And there will not be different laws at Rome and Athens, or different laws now and in the future, but one eternal and unchangeable law will be valid for all nations and all times, and there will be one master and ruler, that is God, over us all, for he is the author of this law, its promulgator, and its enforcing judge. Whoever is disobedient is fleeing from himself and denying his human nature, and by reason of this very fact will suffer the worst punishment." (Source: William Ebenstein, Great Political Thinkers, Hold, Rinehart and Winston, New York, 1963, Great Political Thinkers, p. 133). 
Remember, Cicero lived before Christ. He was a worshiper of "the gods," with his Supreme God being Jupiter, the Roman equivalent to the Greek Zeus. So when Cicero speaks of Natural Law or Divine Law, it meant to him a Law that is observable in Nature and felt by all mankind. It is common to all rational beings (Natural Law is sometimes called Common Law) created in the image of the gods.  To Cicero, building a society on Natural Law meant that citizens come to the conclusion that there exists a Supreme Creator God and this God has established Law by which mankind should live.

The Founding Fathers looked to Cicero and other ancient Greek and Roman political theorists to posit five tenets of Natural Law. These tenets were used in writing America's Founding Documents, and they became the basis upon which all other American laws would be written. These five tenets are summarized by American author and political theorist W. Cleon Skousen in his 1981 classic book The Five Thousand Year Leap: 
  1. There exists a Creator who made all things, and mankind should recognize and worship Him.
  2. The Creator has revealed a moral code of behavior for happy living which distinguishes right from wrong. 
  3. The Creator holds mankind responsible for the way they treat each other. 
  4. All mankind live beyond this life.
  5. In the next life mankind are judged for their conduct in this one.
Now the question is what "moral code" is held in common (e.g. Natural Law) with all rational people, regardless of their religion? Benjamin Franklin, consistent with his personal belief in Natural Law, wrote to Ezra Stiles, President of Yale University, and articulated the moral code of Natural Law (emphasis mine):
"Here is my creed: I believe in one God, the Creator of the universe. That he governs it by his providence. That he ought to be worshipped. That the most acceptable service we render to him is in doing good to his other children. That the soul of man is immortal, and will be treated with justice in another life respecting its conduct in this. These I take to be the fundamental points in all sound religion." (Source: Albert Henry Smyth, ed., The Writings of Benjamin Franklin, 10 vols., The Macmillan Company, New York, 1905-1907, 10:84)
Franklin's creed is a summary of how a person behaves under Natural Law. It is a lifestyle held in common with all true Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Taoists, Christians, and everyone else involved in "sound religion." I will sometime hear Christians say, "America is a Christian nation, because the 10 Commandments are written in stone above the heads of the Supreme Court Justices?" What many Christians don't understand is that the same Supreme Court Building has stone friezes of many religious lawgivers, including the Hebrew lawgiver Moses, the Babylonian lawgiver Hammurabi, the Muslim lawgiver Muhammad, as well as others. Wait, did I just say Muhammad? Indeed, the builders of the Supreme Court building understood that the Founding Fathers believed America had room for any virtuous person of any religion as long as they treated their fellow man well. The people the Founding Fathers feared were those with no moral compass or understanding of Natural Law. They considered them foolish and a danger to good government. Many Americans today are convinced Muhammad didn't adhere to Natural Law himself, but that's not my point. The Founding Fathers personally knew many practicing, virtuous Muslims who were coming to America and they were telling them (and others of various religions) that as long as they held to Nature's God and Natural Law, they were welcome.

Of course there were patriotic Founding Fathers who loved Jesus Christ deeply and were zealous that all Americans be Christian. Men like John Jay and Patrick Henry and others were vocal in their desires to convert all men (I am too!).  However, the Founding Documents of America do not one time contain the name of Jesus Christ. They speak of the Supreme Being, God, Nature, Nature's God, and the Laws of Nature (read them for yourself) - but never once Jesus Christ. It's not that our Founding Fathers were ashamed of Jesus. On the contrary, many of our Founding Fathers were professing believers and devout followers of Christ. They understood, however, as did Cicero, that a good government must be built on Natural Law to avoid religious and political tyranny or widespread and dangerous anarchy. Overtime, Americans stopped reading the Founding Documents, not to mention the Classics, and came to the false conclusion that to be "a good American, you must be a good Christian." Our Founding Fathers believed to be a good American citizen you must adhere to Natural Law and live a life of doing good to your fellow citizens by protecting their lives, guarding their liberties and respecting their pursuit of happiness. The Founding Fathers considered "the pursuit of happiness" as the unalienable right to private ownership of land and assets.

That's why radical, fundamental Muslims who kill in the name of Allah, or radical, fundamental Christians who kill in the name of Christ are not welcome as American citizens. That's why persons or groups of persons who desire to forcibly take away another person's wealth are not welcome as American citizens. That's why anyone who wishes  to take away the unalienable rights of all Americans, rights granted by Nature's God, are not welcome as American citizens. These actions violate Natural Law. Americans have historically been the most charitable people in the world, because charity is always voluntary and arises from hearts of virtue. However, tyranny involves the forcible redistribution of wealth, the taking of life for the advancement of personal power or pleasure, and the enslavement of others on the basis of race, religion or reward. Adherence to Natural Law is America's safeguard against evil tyranny.

So as a conservative Christian who believes that the only way to be liberated from sin before God and to be brought into full peace with Him is through the atonement of Jesus Christ, I say to those who disagree with my Christianity that there is room for you in America. Our Founding Fathers established our government on Natural Law, and if you will simply acknowledge you are bound by Divine Law to do good to your fellow man, then I welcome you as a fellow citizen of our great country. Furthermore, I challenge you to participate in the process of American politics to elect virtuous men and women who will adhere to Natural Law and vow to severely punish those evil doers among us who harm or injure others by stealing or destroying property, abusing or wrongly taking life, or seeking to establish either tyranny or anarchy within our great land. America is a Republic built on Natural Law, guaranteeing the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all her citizens.

I am a preacher of the gospel. I want the world to know Christ. But on the other hand, I think it's time we Christians who enjoy American citizenship stop obsessing over whether or not our government reflects Christian laws and realize that Natural Law is the foundation of good government. America is great because throughout America's history, our government has promoted liberty and resisted tyranny and anarchy. I've just returned from the continent of Africa where there are examples of state anarchy (Libya and Somalia) and state tyranny (Zimbabwe and Nigeria). Additional examples could be given from Africa and other continents. America has been great because America's government has been the model of Cicero's vision where a virtuous people respect the rights of others in obedience to Nature's God and Natural Law.


Dave Panzera said...

Wade, a most awesome piece.

I agree with you on how even a simple understanding of Natural Law is lost on nearly all Americans today. However, if you wish to undermine something then work to de-link it to its foundations and anchors. What we are dealing with now is multiple generations removed from their foundations. Many of them seek foundations and take false replacements instead because they; A. Do not know or B. Reject and refuse. Or C. are just ignorant to the truths of their own history.

One of the most important aspects of the founding of our country was its acknowledgment of the Lawgiver. There was not one among them that dissented from the fact that it was the God of all creation, the God of Christianity. Like you said, Wade, they had room for all who would practice good from their various faiths but had no problem striking down those which would harm. There were laws against religious practices that harm as they stood against the good of all. They, in essence, violated all natural law.

To further embed the truths of natural law the founders, as you rightly point out, were some of the most well versed and classically trained men of our history. I would offer that many of them were even more scientifically and philosophically educated and trained than many of the “experts” today. They, lawmakers and enforcers from the various courts, relied heavily on one man for sure…a man who had been dead since 1780 yet his impact on how our laws would be written and understood extended forward well over 100 years. Jefferson had this to say of those who followed Blackstone’s understanding of natural law:

----------“American lawyers used Blackstone's Commentaries with the same dedication and reverence that Muslims used the Koran.” (Thomas Jefferson, The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Albert Ellery Bergh, editor(Washington, D.C.: The Thomas Jefferson Memorial Association, 1904), Vol. III, p. 392, to Governor John Tyler on May 26, 1810

Interesting comparison used here, is it not? It was deeply reflective and purposeful moments like this one that drove Jefferson further when he said the following:

----------"On every question of construction, carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of text, or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed" [Thomas Jefferson, memoir, Correspondence and Miscellanies From the Papers of Thomas Jefferson. (Boston: Gray & Bowan, 1830)

Dave Panzera said...

Part 2

Jefferson was not at all alone either. Below are some quotes from founders including that of John Jay, our first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. His impact would be profound:

Samuel Adams
“In the supposed state of nature, all men are equally bound by the laws of nature, or to speak more properly, the laws of the Creator.” (Samuel Adams, The Writings of Samuel Adams, Harry Alonzo Cushing, editor (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1908), Vol. IV, p. 356, to the Legislature of Massachusetts on January 17, 1794)

John Quincy Adams
“[T]he laws of nature and of nature’s God...of course presupposes the existance of a God, the moral ruler of the universe, and a rule of right and wrong, of just and unjust, binding upon man, preceeding all institutions of human society and of government.” (John Quincy Adams, The Jubilee of the Constitution (New York: Published by Samuel Colman, 1839), pp. 13-14)

Alexander Hamilton
“[T]he law of nature, “which, being coeval with mankind and dictated by God Himself, is, of course, superior in obligation to any other. It is binding over all the globe, in all countries, and at all times. No human laws are of any validity, if contrary to this.” (Hamilton, Papers, Vol. I, p. 87, from “The Farmer Refuted,” February 23, 1775, quoting from Blackstone.)

Noah Webster
“[The] “Law of Nature” is a rule of conduct arising out of the natural relations of human beings established by the Creator and existing prior to any positive precept [human law] ... These...have been established by the Creator and are, with a peculiar felicity of expression, denominated in Scripture, ‘ordanances of heaven.” (Noah Webster, An American Dictionary of the English Language (New York: S. Converse, 1828) s.v. “law,” definition #3 and #6)

John Jay
“[The]...natural law was given by the Soverign of the Universe to all mankind.” (John Jay, The Life of John Jay, William Jay, editor( New York: J. & J. Harper, 1833), Vol. II, p.385, to John Murray on April 15, 1818)

Rufus King
“[T]he....law established by the Creator, which has existed from the begining, extends over the whole globe, is everywhere and at all times binding upon mankind...[This] is the law of God by which He makes His way known to man and is paramount to all human control.” (Rufus King, The Life and Correspondance of Rufus King, Charles R. King, editor(New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1900), Vol. VI, p. 276, to C. Gore on February 17, 1820)

James Wilson
“God...is the promulgator as well as the author of natural law.” (Wilson, Vol. I, p.64, “Of the General Principles of Law and Obligation.”)

ALL THAT BEING SAID….the job of a Christian is to first be a Christian as Christ demonstrated. When it came to governmental matters He did tell us to obey, submit, pay our taxes and such, but that would come naturally to one in submission to the God of nature, of all creation. It is my position that you do NOT make or increase the number of Christians by a top-down government action. If God wanted that He would have done so from the start with us. However, you DO make a Christian nation, powerful, strong, secure and at peace when it is full, at every level, of people who know Christ as their Savior. Proverbs 29:2 could not be more applicable.

Wade Burleson said...

Very well stated, Dave. Thank you.

David Wesley Whitlock said...


Christiane said...

the formal Vatican catechism of my Church speaks of the Natural Moral Law and quotes Cicero, this:

"1956 The natural law, present in the heart of each man and established by reason, is universal in its precepts and its authority extends to all men. It expresses the dignity of the person and determines the basis for his fundamental rights and duties:

'For there is a true law: right reason. It is in conformity with nature, is diffused among all men, and is immutable and eternal; its orders summon to duty; its prohibitions turn away from offense . . . . To replace it with a contrary law is a sacrilege; failure to apply even one of its provisions is forbidden; no one can abrogate it entirely.'9 " (Cicero)

Wade Burleson said...

Thank you Christiane. I did not know that fact about the Roman Catholic Church. Thank you for sharing.

Rex Ray said...

Jesus taught ‘natural law’: “How I wish today, that you of all people would understand the way to peace…” (Luke 19:42 NLT)

“As he came closer to Jerusalem…he began to weep.” (Verse 41)
I believe Jesus wept at Jerusalem because of their disbelief, but he wept for a different reason at the tomb of Lazarus.

It was not because people were weeping.
Suppose a group was weeping because they believed a loved one had drowned. Would a man weep if he told them he was safe?

Would Jesus weep if he was about to give them the greatest miracle they would ever see?

“…he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled.” (John 11:33 KJ)
“Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave.” John 11:38 KJ)

My father was confused and said to me; “You sure have a fine looking belt. If you give it to me, I could get out of this horse trough.”

“No daddy. This belt is holding my pants up and you’re in a hospital bed.”

With tears down his face: “I’ve done a lot for you.”

Without tears, he would have been angry, but tears showed he was hurt.

I believe Jesus felt more hurt than my father.

Needless to say, in a flash, my father had my belt in his hands and his tears turned to a smile. He said, “I love you” and I said the same. It was the last words we shared on earth.

My father’s preaching was good at getting off the subject. I’ll blame him. :)

Christiane said...

Beautiful, heart-breaking words of your father and your love for him, REX RAY. You have a gift for writing from the heart.

Rita Janzen said...

I finally "get it", Wade! Thank you!!

Rex Ray said...

Thanks Christiane

I knew if there was any reply, it would be you.

Niel Harris said...

What a great article Wade! It is instructive regarding what is natural law and the principle's origins. It also affirms what truly is the role of government and what should be the engagement of Christians vis-a-vis preaching the gospel in order through its power lives would be transformed. My only challenge would be your statement that America is a "model" for Cicero's vision. The founding fathers in writing the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution incorporated natural law as a component of each while stealing the land and killing the its native peoples, enslaving people from Africa and denying rights and mistreating women and others. Thankfully over the past 240 years ALL humans in America were eventually accorded and accepted as having equal inherent rights through constitutional amendments and other laws. There is still a way to go in actual conduct and behavior. America is a model setting the bar high of what SHOULD be and slowly transforming itself through law and even slower behavior consistent with the high bar of natural law and the Constitution. As Christians may we be like Christ and the God we serve by not being a "respecter of persons" and treating all the same.

Rex Ray said...

In the book, “How Do You Kill 11 Million People? By Andy Andrews is written:

The answer is: “Lie to them”; and tells of Hitler and Jews.

America is ruled by 1 President, 9 Supreme Court justices, 100 senators, and 435 members of the House of Representatives. That is 545 people that rule over 311 million Americans.

In the last 25 years only 10% of people of voting age voted in the presidential election.

If our government is ignorant, reckless, and corrupt, it’s because the people tolerate it.

Andrews quotes Lincoln: “Because power corrupts, humanity’s need for those in power to be of high character increases as the importance of the position of leadership increases.”

When we were kids, our dad taught us this:
“Let me tell you this before you make the start.
There’s more in being honest. Yes; twice more than being smart.”

Wade Burleson said...


Excellent point. I'm thinking through a better way to express that point. Appreciate the comment.


As always, your anecdotes are always entertaining and informative! :)

Rex Ray said...


The Bible teaches to confess our sins. It also means to confess our mistakes. I worked as a machinist ten years. The highest praise I ever received resulted by telling I had made a mistake.

I worked the ‘second shift’ at General Dynamics and realized the mistake when I woke up the next morning.

I was a “B class” at the time and the huge part was so important an “A class” was assigned to help me put it on the machine.

I called the shop and told them we had the material (one end had a curve but looked flat when bolted down) with the wrong side up. I said since “graveyard shift’ had cut on it, the part was ‘scraped’ and no need for the ‘day shift’ to work on it.

At work, I expected a ‘pink slip’, but the boss patted me on the back with much applauding. “Graveyard shift’ had only cut on the flat surface. My phone call had stopped “day shift” from cutting on the curved end. They had simply bent the part in the other direction.

Rex Ray said...

I put this on your father’s blog when he printed this post on his.


I think all the comments have been made on Wade’s post for this great statement.

“Natural Law” does not exist in Cuba is the reason our last 14 Presidents have NOT visited the country in 90 years.

Last year, 43,150 Cuban refugees entered America legally.
In 3 months this year the number is already 25,800.

So why did our President visit Cuban? Oh, I forgot; he bows to Muslim Kings."

Niel Harris said...


Are you a Christian or a political activist? Your recent post regarding US-Cuba relations as well as President Obama sounds like the typical political rhetoric of some rather than an honest assessment of real facts and looking at the entire situation with a biblical and Godly perspective of world affairs.

Natural Law exists in Cuba for those who support Castro as did Natural Law only existed in the US for more than 150 years for white males who owned land only. As I shared with Wade, some of the founders set out to write idealistic principles for our country yet did so many things contradictory to Natural Law. The US has moved closer to these principles over the past 240 years. US Presidents did not visit Cuba for 90 years for strictly political reasons and there was no economic advantage to do so. China's government is equally as vile towards their dissidents as Cuba and the US although nominally critical of the government as it relates to Natural Law has full relations with China. Primarily because it serves the capitalist and economic needs of US corporations.

The generation of Euro-cubans and their influence in this country is going away politically because many of the adults who came to this country 57 years ago are dying off. It is now time to treat Cuba as we do China and other nations who treat segments of their country in an horrible fashion.

President Obama does not "bow" to Muslim leaders. He as all of his predecessors maintain relationships with muslim leaders when it is to the advantage of US interests and keeps his distance when it does not.

As a Christian one must use the lens of the Scriptures and honesty when assessing the affairs of the world rather than repeating the political rhetoric of the pundits and others in political positions.

May we take God's view of this world and the Bible's view of this world including our country and make truthful honest assessments.

Rex Ray said...


I stand corrected saying “Kings” because this video shows him bowing only to the Muslim King of Saudi Arabia.

Teddy Roosevelt said, “Walk softly, but carry a big stick.” (Obama does the walking very well but carries a toothpick.)

Wade said, “…good government must be built on Natural Law to avoid religious and political tyranny or widespread and dangerous anarchy.”

Cuba’s government is tyranny.

You seem to enjoy saying Natural Law applied to supporters of Castro like it did in America 240 years ago.

Why do I get the feeling of being criticized for what our White ancestors did? (Asking me if I’m a Christian)

You said, “Cubans and their influence in this country is going away politically because many of the adults who came to this country 57 years ago are dying off.”

Duh…was the number of those dying adults more than the 43,000 Cubans that entered America in the last 3 months?

“May we take God's view of this world and the Bible's view…”

How do you get God and the Bible agreeing with your views? :)

Dave Panzera said...

Folks, let us not forget something...Natural law does not require man's acknowledgment or a specific time. Whether it has been recognized (or not) like we did starting in 1776 or whether it is disregarded by others makes zero difference as to it's existence. The primary problem of man and government is acknowledging it at first then acting upon it thereafter. Its one of the reasons we HAD to set our foundations on Christian principles. If it is all just man-made, then its all subject to the whims of fallible man and ends in ruin. This does not mean we will not do the same as it is easy to see by most measures we are abandoning many of our national principles which will be our undoing.

Bill said...


I don't mean to post a long list of questions for you to answer in detail. Hopefully short answers will suffice.

1. How do we find out what natural law is?
2. Do you believe God's law revealed in Scripture contradicts natural law?
3. If there are no contradictions, why wouldn't we just say government ought to operate under God's law which is most clearly revealed in Scripture?
4. Jesus said, "All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me..." (Matthew 28:18-20). Does Christ's authority include authority over government?
5. Jesus said, "Whoever is not with me is against me" (Matthew 12:30). If our government and constitution don't acknowledge the lordship of Christ, do you think they are for or against Christ?

When a Muslim government cuts off a thief's hand, is that just or unjust? When a Mexican sneaks across the border, would it be acceptable for the government to shoot him? The Bible speaks on these questions and ALL other questions of civil law and justice. If you reject God's law, all you have to go on is your opinion.

You might not like Muslims cutting of a thief's hand, but his arbitrary opinion is just as (in)valid as your arbitrary opinion. Go to a Trump rally and ask whether we should shoot illegal Mexicans crossing the border. (I've heard some of them say we should.) Are you going to respond by quoting Cicero and appealing to natural law? I would quote Leviticus 19:34, and say that anyone who shoots a Mexican "illegally"crossing the border will stand before God as a murderer on Judgment Day, whether they have the blessing of Congress or not.


Niel Harris said...


My observation about your President Obama statement has nothing to whether it was "Kings" or a "King" --- my reaction to your statement is the implied common rhetoric that the current President's behavior towards the leaders of Muslim nations is any different than previous Presidents and their administrations. I am not supportive of Mr Obama's policies regarding his many and sundry decisions regarding Islamic lead nations......just that as Christians we should be honest and recognize that the interactions of all administrations have been along the lines of the interests of the country at the time.

As a descendent of slaves, Jim Crow laws, lynching, legal housing and education discrimination laws, a current target of police abuse, my two Ivy League education sons who are consistently stopped and harassed by police and being un-welcomed at a number of white only churches - I take no joy in speaking about how my country has been and still is inconsistent with the lofty and righteous principles set forth in Natural law. To me this is also tyranny!!! To be judgmental of tyrannical governments like Cuba without and honest assessment of what exists in this great country is hypocritical and dishonest.

There is no question that Cuba is tyrannical!! So is China!! Yet the US has relations with them!

As a Christian what I mean about taking God's view and a biblical view is being honest and truthful with a balanced view and statement about the good and the evil.

Yes as Dave indicated the abandoning of many principles is leading to the undoing of this country. However, if there is the thinking that the undoing is because of the legal approval of same-sex marriage, the sickening legal allowance of abortion or the violence perpetuated by Islamic extremist (or not carrying a big stick with regard to Islamic killers)...we as Christians and this country have taken a shallow look at things.

My desire is that we as a country continue to live up to the principles established 240 years ago and honestly own our miserable failure to acknowledge their existence over these centuries while seeking wisdom and the right course for this present time.

Lastly, I asked if you were a Christian or a political activist in order to understand from what perspective you look at issues. If political then it is from a perspective of what is expedient and blind patriotism .......a Christian then principles that are unmovable and unchanging.

Rex Ray said...

What applies to your saying, “We are abandoning many of our national principles”?
I suppose “We” is referring to our government. Are you referring to abortions, ‘baby parts for sale’, gays accepted in the military etc.?

Good questions.
#1. Read Wade’s post.
#2. No.
#3. “…God’s law which is most clearly revealed in Scripture”
If it’s so clear, why are there so many religious denominations? Can women be pastors etc.?
#4. "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's.” Luke 20:25
#5. There are 545 people in our government…all different…some are Muslims; even our President (IMHO)
#6. I’d shoot anyone sneaking into America with a stun gun.

So, the video of him bowing to a Muslim King makes him no different from Teddy Roosevelt or other Presidents?

How about instead of flying the White House flag at half mast for what ISIS did in Brussels, he went to a ball game and a dance. (His partner had her dress slit almost to her waist and with her leg wrapped around him; it looked like she was trying to give him ideas.)

How can you say you don’t support Obama’s policies regarding Islamic lead nations; then conclude all administrations have been along the lines of the interests of the country at the time?

Did you LBJ would be facing criminal indictments for kickbacks from Bobby Baker, Billie Sol Estes, and General Dynamics if JFK had not been murdered?

For proof, read more that a half dozen books on the subject; especially “LBJ and the Kennedy Killing by James T. Tague. He was my friend that died four months after his book was published.

You complained about your sons being harassed by police. I don’t know where you live, but last year in the town of Chicago 2,987 people were killed and 90% of Blacks are killed by Blacks even thought they are five times fewer in America.

You indicate a Christian’s principles are unmovable and unchanging. Is that saying they’re always right? See Bill’s #3.

Rex Ray said...

Did you know LBJ...

Dave Panzera said...


I almost wonder where to begin when it comes to how much we, as a nation (as we the people are the government) have abandoned founding principles.

When our founding document, the Declaration of Independence specifically mention's the God of Christianity in it 4 times and we can't mention Him today in any public way we have strayed...

When our Constitution, a document of absolutes, is, today, treated as a "living" document instead of one that is rigid and fixed needing application only to many things not mentioned in it and the only vehicle to change it is the purposeful Amendment Process which has been subverted by judicial fiat in many ways and, we have strayed...

When we say to all that your religious liberty, your right of conscience and freedom of association are specifically delineated in our constitution and yet are trashed at the moment a gay person demands you abandon your faith in service to them, we have strayed...

We have ample example of the state, the federal and even the local government, grossly overstepping their bounds in ever increasing and painful ways yet fail to either reverse their evil decisions done against our will or curtail them by replacing the people, we have strayed.

You and I are not free much as we used to be, even as children to now (I am but 50 yet can see it in my lifetime)

Own private property? Fully? No mortgage? Okay, that is awesome...don't pay your taxes just one time and we will see how private that property really is. It’s not...it’s not even yours...you pay the king (Not George of course but the government that has since grown to replace him), something we abandoned in 1776, to live there. While I am not against taxes, I am against those taxes that deprive you of what is fully paid for and yours, held over you as a constant threat when that same tax money can be derived out of consumption and commerce...but alas...the tax code, as ridiculous as it is today is NOT for proper taxation NEARLY as much as it is for control...Control of behaviors, controlled of people, control of your condition and just how far the many people can ascend. I am in no way endorsing the anarchy or even the libertarian point of view in that sense as I believe the state has a direct interest in promotion of and adherence to morality...THAT is where we have abandoned the most. From definition of what marriage and family is to behaviors and other things we now legislate as protected over and above your actual God-given rights.

I could go on for hours here...I have realized one very important thing in the end of all my feelings on such things, and that is this;
I am in my 28th year of military service (Enlisted and officer) I joined for altruistic patriotic reasons and I love the United States of America...but it is NOT God. I am careful not to worship the USA, but it does not mean I do not stand for her. And even though all things America, to me, are NOT all things God I will say I would never abandon her. Many actions I could do against all the current day evil and bad changes to our nation would do NOTHING to change it back. It would be reactionary… just like Peter swinging a sword to cut off an ear...meaningless, and worthy of God's rebuke.

However, if I submit it all to God, fully, completely, with faith as the grain of a mustard seed, we could see America return to what she was at her beginning. Some would think that means a return to all things being done then...No, from the 3/5ths clause to the 630,000 American dead we had to go from the clause to the many dead to answer that slavery was wrong, against our American principles and more...Same for women's rights and for other civil rights...I think you get the idea of what I am saying by this.

We need Godly men and women to serve in government at ALL levels. Many have abandoned that call and it is evident.

Wade Burleson said...

1. How do we find out what natural law is? (According to Cicero in the first century B.C. "reason and rationale of one made in God's reveals Natural Law")
2. Do you believe God's law revealed in Scripture contradicts natural law? Christ's NEW Commandmant to "love one another as I have loved you" (John 13:35)? Is that the Law to which you refer? If so, then NO.
3. If there are no contradictions, why wouldn't we just say government ought to operate under God's law which is most clearly revealed in Scripture? Which Law, CHRIST'S LAW? If that's the Law which you intend, then re-read the first paragraph of the post. IF YOU MEAN THE MOSAIC LAW - then the only issue you have is "remembering the Sabbath" - "lying" (which the government of the United States has never outlawed except in case of treason) and a host of other problems (what's appropriate for the punishment of "adultery" for example - in the Mosaic Law it was stoning).
4. Jesus said, "All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me..." (Matthew 28:18-20). Does Christ's authority include authority over government? YES. God called the evil Baybloynian Empire ("my servant"), even though Babylon had nothing to do with Yahweh.
5. Jesus said, "Whoever is not with me is against me" (Matthew 12:30). If our government and constitution don't acknowledge the lordship of Christ, do you think they are for or against Christ? All governments, whether they 'acknowledge Christ or not' (America's Founding Documents make NO MENTION of Christ) are still "God's servants" to "punish the evil doer."

When a Muslim government cuts off a thief's hand, is that just or unjust? NO When a Mexican sneaks across the border, would it be acceptable for the government to shoot him? NO The Bible speaks on these questions and ALL other questions of civil law and justice. If you reject God's law, all you have to go on is your opinion.

Rex Ray said...


If you accept God’s law, all you have to go on is your opinion of God’s law.

Right? For instance, many believe God’s law permit more than one wife. Did God correct David or Solomon for more than one?

Rex Ray said...

Dave, (my father’s name)

From the Book “How Do You Kill 11 Million People: “If our government is ignorant, reckless, and corrupt, it’s because the people tolerate it.”

Years ago, hundreds of ‘country’ people met in our area to protest a Texas proposed law that we had to buy a water meter for our private water wells that we had paid for, so the State could charge a tax on how much water we used.

Their excuse was ‘studies’ showed this area of Texas had a low under ground water table and taxes would slow down the use of water.

Many spoke their opinions. I said they would loose money paying someone to read my meter as I only had one wife and one cat.

After three meetings, the ‘powers’ said it would not apply to us…only towns.

Why didn’t they tell us at the first meeting? I figured they saw the “hand writing on the wall”.

Another time, Obama planed to use federal funds to increase the ‘status’ of poor areas.

To find those areas we received a questioner to report the amount of land, buildings, etc. It went so far as to ask if you owned a tractor what sex was the driver. It stated there would be a fine if it was not answered.

Duh. Everyone I knew threw it in the trash. After a couple of years, it stopped.

Bill said...

Hi Wade,

You said, "Christ's NEW Commandment to "love one another as I have loved you" (John 13:35)? Is that the Law to which you refer? If so, then NO."

It sounds like you think there are contradictions between the law of Christ and the law of Moses. Of course the law of Moses is given by Yahweh. Jesus is Yahweh, which is Trinitarianism 101. When Jesus said, "Love your neighbor as yourself" He was quoting Leviticus 19:18. That is hardly a new (as in the something young definition) law that Jesus was instituting.

Furthermore, I don't think there is any contradiction between what Jesus said and the Old Testament. It's just that some of the laws are fulfilled by Christ. We obey some of them by trusting in Christ for salvation (ceremonial), and some of them are still binding (at least the moral law).

3. You said there's no contradiction between natural law and Christ's law. Then you said read the first paragraph to see the problem with operating under the law of Christ. So I'm confused.

Before Christ, Cicero said, "It is a sin to try to alter this law, nor is it allowable to repeal any part of it, and it is impossible to abolish it entirely." Yet you say there is a contradiction between Mosaic civil law and natural law. Are you saying the Mosaic civil law was unjust? Hebrews 2:2 says it is just. Or maybe natural law changed after Christ, and Cicero was just incorrect?

5. You didn't answer the question.

When a Muslim government cuts off a thief's hand, they're punishing evil, right? But how do you know what the proper punishment for theft is without looking into Scripture? Scripture provides the only absolute standard of justice. Natural law and reasoning are wholly inadequate for determining the proper punishment for thieves.

You said, "America's Founding Documents make NO MENTION of Christ". I'd be content with the Declaration of Independence reference to the Creator (assuming they were referring to the God of the Bible; I don't know whether they were or not). But the Constitution is antichrist and unbiblical in many ways. It has certainly not been successful in what it set out to accomplish as 55 million dead babies would attest.

Thanks for your responses.

Rex Ray said...

On the subject of opinion, the town’s plumber and I had an argument that he had dug a ditch too deep for my 60 foot sewer line. (The ditch was headed for China. It started at 2 feet and ended at 8 feet where it connected with the main sewer that was 12 feet deep.)

I argued the water was to float the ‘stuff’ away otherwise the water would leave so fast the ‘stuff’ would remain.

“I’ve plumbed every house in this town!” (small town) For ever 10 feet you go one foot deeper. Read this plumber’s book!”

It read; “For every ten feet go 1’’ deeper.”

I never saw a man’s face go from red to white so fast in my life when I asked: “Do you know the difference in a foot symbol and an inch symbol?”

Niel Harris said...


While I enjoy your stories and anecdotal commentary.....I think it wise that our discourse on this subject be suspended. Ignoring and diminishing the plight of myself and my sons by regurgitating distorted information that is freely propagated in certain media about the horrific murders in Chicago or the number of black people who kill black people is evidence for me that you are speaking as a political activist and not interested in an honest, truthful and balanced discourse about facts and truth. You totally ignoring and dismissive of the historic and systemic wrong this country tells me that you do not wish to have an honest, full and truthful discourse. And certainly from your responses you seem to hold in higher esteem the book of Andy Andrews over what is the biblical path and conduct for those who are professed Christians and what is in the Scriptures.

This is a country with many wonderful elements and much evil in its history and presence. Presidents have all lied to their citizens. Increasingly the Congress and SCOTUS are driven by what is politically expedient or today more than ever by what is paid for by big money. The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution imbedded with the Cicero principles set very high standards for its citizens and its leaders. As a people we have fallen from the very beginning of this country very short of these principles. We continue to fall short. When a country falls short morally of the standard and refuses to own that failure it just opens the door for increased and continuous moral failure. Falling short in the US did not begin when abortion was made law by SCOTUS in 1973, or when same-sex marriage was made legal by SCOTUS or when the Affordable Care Act came into place or the shift towards so-called big government for citizens and corporations or when the meddling of the US in the middle east that has gone on for more than 1/2 century has now grown into Islamic violent attacks on the US and other countries on most continents.

For me as a Christian it is only Christ and his return as King that will result in righteous rule and judgment in government on this earth. Until then wickedness in lesser and greater degrees will prevail in government. As a Christian in the US I would hope we would seek to lift and encourage people and government to live up to the righteous standards and principles that do exist and our personal conduct and church conduct be examples of Christ. Christ example and standards are far above Cicero (or his teachers Socrates and Plato) and that is where we should seek to be as Christians. (I am may be wrong but I believe that is the point of Wade) I am pretty sure Wade's intent was not to suggest the US government is the best and the rest of the world's governments are the worse. Nor was his intent to denigrate the current President and join a certain media sector in excoriating him for all the wrong that exists in this country.

As a Christian - Christ and his new Commandments are the standard....not the law of Moses or the law of men. Left to the vices of humans without Godly and Christ driven principles in every way leading them, evil will and does prevail. There will be tyranny on other humans in varied and sundry ways. As a Christian I am obligated to obey the law and if and when I think a law is against what Christ would have I obey Christ and be willing to suffer the consequences of that disobedience. This not a "Christian" country - never was - never intended to be (although influenced by those who may have been Christians) --- however.....it is the responsibility for the Christian to preach Christ in order that lives would be transformed and morally by example have a positive affect on our country.

Thanks for the exchange Rex.....but we are speaking it appears from two different points of view and your clearly are not interested in directly addressing the points I have written about.

Florence in KY said...

Thanks, Wade, for your article. Also, thank you, Niel, for your well thought-out comments.

Rex Ray said...


I’m 84 which puts me back in the time when our Courthouse had water fountains and restrooms labeled Colored or White. Being 10 years old, I didn’t understand but that’s the way it was.

I was told that a nearby small town had at one time a sign that said, “N----- don’t let the sun go down on your head in this town”
My wife (from Oklahoma) said there was a town that said the same thing but it said “Whitey”.

We grew up hardly ever seeing Blacks, but when I was a sophomore in high school, my parents taught school to American military kids in near Frankfurt, Germany and I had a crush on the prettiest girl in school…Maryann Decab was black. I was so bashful I don’t remember ever talking to her. Her father was transferred to Munich and it was over a year before I saw her again. Our school went to Munich for a track meet. She wave to me from the stands after I won the mile race, but I was too bashful to go meet her.

Well I said all that to say I’m not predigest against a Black President. In fact I believe if Obama was White, he would never be President. He reminds me of the shrewd manager in Luke 16.

Obama tries to make friends all over the world by apologizing for what America has done. Remember him saying, “We Christians should get off our high horse…”

1. Apology to France and Europe ("America Has Shown Arrogance")
2. Apology to the Muslim World ("We Have Not Been Perfect")
President Obama, interview with Al Arabiya, January 27, 2009
My job to the Muslim world is to communicate that the Americans are not your enemy. We sometimes make mistakes. We have not been perfect. There's no reason why we can't restore the same respect and partnership that America had with the Muslim world as recently as 20 or 30 years ago.
3. Apology to the Summit of the Americas ("At Times We Sought to Dictate Our Terms")
.4. Apology at the G-20 Summit of World Leaders ("Some Restoration of America's Standing in the World")
5. Apology for the War on Terror ("We Went off Course")
6. Apology for Guantanamo in France ("Sacrificing Your Values")
7. Apology before the Turkish Parliament ("Our Own Darker Periods in Our History")
8. Apology for U.S. Policy toward the Americas ("The United States Has Not Pursued and Sustained Engagement with Our Neighbors")
9. Apology for the Mistakes of the CIA ("Potentially We've Made Some Mistakes")
10. Apology for Guantanamo in Washington ("A Rallying Cry for Our Enemies")
On March 24, 2016, Obama told young people in Argentina the differences between communism and capitalism are intellectual rather than practical, and they should choose from either system whatever idea best suits the moment.

Duh…making friends with Communist just as the “Shrewd Manager”.

Niel Harris said...


Thank you for sharing your experience of 10 years of Jim Crow segregation in the South. Your anecdotal experiences are most of the time delightful to read. (Especially the teenage story of shyness and attraction) Quite frankly you shared only the innocuous elements of segregation (or maybe that is all you thought it was at age 10). It was not until you were 33 years old that segregation was outlawed in the south - and many years thereafter before much of the south complied with the law. I am about 21 years your junior and I can tell you that if you grew up in the south into adulthood you would know that segregation was far worse than marked off water fountains or calling a black person N......r. Segregation was a violent, cruel and unjust system that debilitated and devastated families economically, socially and structurally. In case you do not know the majority of black folks in Chicago that you referred to who are killing each other come primarily from Mississippi and Alabama where most of this devastation and destruction took place at the hand of segregationist in the south. They moved north to Chicago and experienced a different type of bias. The high level of violence in Chicago is not by accident. There is a history that has produced this behavior. Simply quoting numbers of people killed is irresponsible and does not expose the full truth and facts.

I do not know you Rex and did not assume or conclude that you had any personal prejudice towards President Obama because he happens to be a black man. Thus no need to affirm that you are not prejudiced for reason of skin color.

As I stated in an earlier posting I do believe that you are strongly influenced by a specific media sector as several of your responses have been the exact same thing as the coined rhetoric of most of them.

I am quite aware of the "apologies" you listed which were proffered by the President. Are you saying acknowledging that the US or that he was wrong is not something a President should do? Every president in my lifetime from Eisenhower to Obama all apologized for different things. Many probably should have apologized for much more than they did.

Lastly regarding your reference of what Mr Obama said regarding communism and capitalism. That line is only an excerpt of his entire speech in Buenos Aires and isolated by certain media out of context in order to continue their process of mocking the President and painting a distorted view of him.

Every president for the last 35 years have been making friends with the communists. The two strongest, largest and most brutal communist empires/regimes are so-called "friends" with the US. They are Russia and China!!! Mr Nixon and Mr. Reagan initiated that process and their successors have continued the relationships. Presidents are 'shrewd managers" - it is an essential characteristic of the role and job. President Obama follows in the same path.

This is why as I said in my last posting....as a Christian there is only one person I wait for -- Christ when he returns as King and he will rule with righteousness and justice - not as a communist or a capitalist but truth, light, peace and love

Until then......all governments and economies have its evil.....and leave much to be desired.

Dave Panzera said...


I appreciate your exchange with Rex and I am curious why you pose the question about apologies the way you do. My reason is this...it seems to be as if you wish to justify all President Obama's apologies (he did not list them all BTW) because he now has to answer as to whether it is right or wrong to apologize when wrong. It's a bit of an unfair set-up as it requires a yes answer thus President Obama was right to make them all...is that your intention here? Because, while you are correct in that Presidents have made such approaches to the world before never has one done so like this President and some for things we need not apologize for. Yes, it may well be a matter of opinion as to what or why but that sparked my curiosity.

On the Presidents remarks regarding Capitalism and Communism or Socialism (Communism lite) there is no mistaking it was a very much blown opportunity...I have seen the whole exchange. In a moment where someone like Reagan would have used it to speak to the whole of the world and let them know the evils of socialism and communism he chose to make them come off as equals when they are not. Its what people are very much upset about. Reagan was engaged with the Soviets, Nixon with China...not one time did we capitulate to them on the world stage and relent...Not once. President Clinton did so in backing away from the "Two China's" doctrine and here we have done far more by relinquishing nearly everything we have done regarding Cuba and now enable them and have done even worse with iran. Never once did we try to enable the Soviets or the Chinese Communists...here...we have. It may just be my opinion, but as a student of history and of our nations geopolitical and military involvement I do not see it as having been fruitful, especially for the people of Cuba who have now seen us legitimize their oppressors.

Niel Harris said...


Thank you for your comment and question. with regard to my question to Rex regarding the President's apology.....Let me be clear I do not justify nor am I in agreement with all of his apologies. My thoughts are that the motive and underlying reasons for a President's apology are not genuinely based on feeling sorry about a matter but politically crafted with great care to either distance themselves from an issue or to convey a "political message". I most times seriously question whether there is serious sorrow and repentance for a wrong done. President Obama if anything is a very astute politician. In my opinion this is what is most annoying to his political opponents. The President was able to skillfully get the ACA into law, get elected twice, and then influence significant social and culture change with regard to same-sex marriage. Most recently he was able to re-establish relationships with Cuba. In politics it is about shrewdness, timing and political skill. This is how Johnson enabled civil rights laws and the voting rights act, Nixon establishing relationships with China, Reagan influence the demise of the powerful USSR, Clinton enabling NAFTA and now Obama with his initiatives. These gentleman were shrewd politicians in the right time and circumstances.

President Obama apologized for certain things because it was politically advantageous/expedient and most likely aligned with his political agenda. I have not reviewed all of his apologies deep enough nor do I understand all the politics behind them to say I agree or disagree on some, all or none of his apologies. I do take issue with folks who make it sound as if he is the only President who apologized and that his apologies are the worst thing in the world or history. Actually the only ones that state this about his apologies are his political enemies who have no objectivity at all and seek to mock and blame the President at anytime they can. If you would like to me to casually look at the list of the President's apologies - I may not have agreed to some but understand from his political perspective why he did offer them.

Niel Harris said...


Personally as a Christian I have issues with and am in agreement with parts of socialism and capitalism. To state as a Christian that every part of socialism is evil and every part of capitalism is righteous is ridiculous. In following the political rhetoric of Mr Obama my sense is that he feels that an admixture of a little socialism and a little capitalism is the right economic, civic and social approach. My feeling this is what was behind his commentary and his conclusive statement to the those young people -- find something that works best.

Please expand on what you mean by Nixon, Reagan and Clinton not capitulating to China or Russia. I am not sure what you mean by that -- Or how Obama is capitulating to Cuba and Iran? What do you mean by legitimize their oppressors? Reagan took advantage of Russia's economic weakness and enable its weakness by funding Al Qaeda and Bin Ladin to beat the Russians. Now that came back to haunt the US in 2001 to present. As for China, the US by allowing US corporations to use slave labor in China to produce food and products has enabled communist regime in China. Help me understand what you are talking about.

The US government makes decisions that facilitate their political interests or military strategic interests or their country's corporate interests.....not because they are against tyrannical and oppressive leadership in other countries. There are many countries with tyrannical leaders that the US never intervenes or cares about.

When I challenge or question Rex it is not because I support Mr Obama.....it is because I want to force/encourage a honest discussion about all of these matters especially as Christians. For example I said to Wade that I appreciated his initial blog on Natural Law and the lofty standard it set for our country in the Constitution and Declaration of Independence. I told Wade the only question I raise is to suggest that the US was a model for the rest of the world about what the principles of natural law should look like. We in the US are a work in progress towards getting there not a model....given our wiping out, broken promises and putting on reservation of the native people of this land, 200+ years of slavery, non-equal rights for women and children, Jim Crow, unequal application of the law based on race, unequal education opportunities, unequal housing laws, etc. etc. ---- we are getting better but a long way to go.

I don't expect everyone to think critically....but I do expect Christians to do so....and will encourage us to not allow ur blind patriotism to not assess things from a biblical and Godly perspective.

Dave Panzera said...

"I don't expect everyone to think critically....but I do expect Christians to do so....and will encourage us to not allow our blind patriotism to not assess things from a biblical and Godly perspective."

Neil...I could not agree more with that statement. The greatest threat to our posterity is forgetting or de-linking us from our history. I see what liberal progressivism is doing to our nation by way of subversion of the many principles that were the bedrock on which our founders carved out the Declaration of Independence and the following Constitution ratified in 1789. When you raise generations of children apart from the discourse they had on liberty, when you teach them that their history is not worth remembering or worse, teach against it wholesale then you have an easily manipulated people. The statist mind LOVES that condition. It is starting to have its effect today when the very children of this Christian nation of prosperity and much goodness (not saying we are pure or have done no wrong as there is much to discuss there) have now come to the point where they demand what they have not worked for and command the society to call good evil and evil good then what I have described has had its INTENDED way.

As for my commentary on Reagan and Nixon and not capitulating to the Soviet Union or China…Each of them engaged with them. We had treaty, trade, many times we GAVE support (Wheat to Russia and some assistance to China) but, we NEVER once stopped calling them what they were (Soviet Union called the Evil Empire) and China called out for the communist oppressor of its people that it is still in many ways today though they need capitalism for their money (funny that!) In his dealings with Iran (Against the will of our congress and the people) he has unilaterally FUNDED their vicious tyrannical terrorism making government. That is not engaging, that is capitulating. In Going to Cuba (which I am not against) you take every opportunity to frame the debate and the conversation, not look like you are approving of their way of oppression there. Capitulation came in the form of relaxing restrictions thus enabling them. You cannot group hug people like Iran and Cuba into normalcy in the world. Castro for over 50 years has shown the level of resolve to continue his murderous ways and his brother is no slouch for the same job. Iran is now THRILLED it can get corporations to come in and 1. Make money, 2. Enable them to spread their doctrines of hate through their vicious brand worldwide.

I do not disagree with you about having a long way to go in so many things, but I am also not going to stand for any in the world suggesting that we are the epitome of wrong and evil as so many do. No nation is as willing to help (though clearly in some cases we have done nothing when we should have (Rwanda)) No nation has given, for instance, so much to battle AIDS. I lived and worked in South Africa for 2.5 years with my wife also working at the Embassy for the CDC whereby she crunched numbers for the over 600 million spent annually JUST in South Africa…That did not just dwarf all others, it multi dwarfed all others combined. Until recently (2009) it came without strings, well we saw the corruption and how it wasn’t working so we made benchmarks for the use of so many millions…we actually got protested. Of all the most ungrateful things I have witnessed in my life never had I seen so perfect a picture of abject arrogance. The best description of it that I can come up with is that of a child who has to crawl into his mothers lap so he can slap her in the face for refusing to allow him to harm himself.

Dave Panzera said...


Yes, we had slavery, but, thankfully, we had many founders who refused to allow the nation to found without a chink in that armor thus the 3/5ths clause. It later was the ground work for the tension that boiled over into a war that consumed over 630,000 American lives to finalize the answer to the question. We then witnessed evil as many made local and state laws to circumvent that answer and that finally, thankfully saw its death. We saw one of our nation’s political parties have the KKK as a literal wing of their party and thus had many in the various government subverting efforts to change us to the nation many of our founders intended us to be. I do agree that in some ways we have a long way to go but in many I am more than encouraged. So many of our founders knew the evils of their own way of life but also knew that the kind of upheaval like they would see in the later French Revolution would only lead to further death and destruction…thus, they, like gentlemen, set a course for the nation. In essence they stepped out in faith on it. The first Chief Justice of the United States was John Jay. He made very clear in 1778 “We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We’ve staked the future of all our political institutions upon our capacity…to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.” [1778 to the General Assembly of the State of Virginia] It could not have been more aptly put. The men KNEW they were sinners, KNEW they would devolve to tyranny without a well thought out and strict code empowering the governed and NOT the government…Oh how far we have strayed from that.

Dave Panzera said...

Finally...to your point of the Christian being first a Christian...I alluded to that very premise in a prior post...I am most certain we share that above all!

Rex Ray said...

Niel and Dave

I’ve enjoyed the comments you and Dave have made.

I heard a sermon once about all mankind had different ‘filters’ in their brain. That ‘filter’ was based on the experiences of each person. The same thing could happen to people but their thinking and actions could be extremely different.
For instance, babies that were held and nursed by their mothers felt loved more than those raised on a bottle.

I was named after my missionary uncle who was in China 30 years and Korea 8 years.
Obama did not have in his ‘filter’ an uncle where Communists held a gun to his head and stole his glasses thinking that gave him power over the American.

Obama didn’t know about three Christians lifted off the ground with wire fastened to their thumbs until they denied Jesus.
After denying Jesus, one was released. He came back and asked to be strung up again because he thought Jesus was punishing him when he broke out in a rash.
The Communists released the other two while saying, “Christians are crazy.”

Long before I was born, my oldest cousin died in China when she was five years old. She was told she was going to be with Jesus. Her last words were: “Mama, which one is our house?”

Many years after the ‘doors’ closed in China, the number of Christians had more than doubled.

Niel Harris said...


As I read through your responses I cannot help but recall King David's song "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!" - The more we have discoursed there is one single thing as you stated that trumps all -- we can agree that the most important point in all our deliberations and outlook is that being a Christian is first of all!! We do share this above all!!

The health of our country and its spiritual and moral recovery in my opinion (looking at it from a biblical perspective) is to fully and truthful lyown its history and its present - being grateful for the good and open confession for its evil. There is a sense in this country by many citizens as well as politicians that owning, confessing, apologizing and rectifying its evils is weakness (and some have called it liberalism). We as a country are excellent at exalting the good it has done....but are loath to own its evil. From a biblical perspective in my understanding of scripture this just leaves and open door for increased evil and decline. For me this is at the core of our country's difficulties.

Quite frankly this country has experienced erosion in almost every aspect of the core fabric of life both from conservatism and progressivism. You reference of what is being taught about history is a perfect example. Progressives tend to want to teach history with an heavy emphasis on the evils and failures of the country and finding radical ways to address them. Conservatism tend to want to speak of all the lofty ideals of our country's precious documents and the liberty and freedoms and not ever mention the horrors of the annihilation of the native peoples, slavery or Jim Crow and then the long practice of discrimination that exists until today. Matter of fact there is an explicit effort by conservatives to remove any negative history from school children's books. As I said earlier I do not as a Christian align myself singularly behind progressivism or conservatism because both are ripe full of principles and practices that go against my Christian and biblical understanding.

I agree with you that in words and public bravado and political blustering Presidents Nixon and Reagan were far more distinct in their language in condemning the regimes of China and Russia. President Obama has not used that approach at all. However at the end of the day what matters is explicit and clear action that cripples these regimes. Russia fell economically to its own devices by spending their entire budget on wars and weakening themselves (Of course the US helped by funding Russia's enemies like Bin Laden and Afghanistan who then and now have become our enemies) The US funded the Shah who abused and violated his people and then when he was overthrown Iran then became the enemy of the US. There are a lot of political shenanigans that happen to breed the mess we have in this world. I have no confidence (only history and time will tell) if President Obama's soft pedal approach will be better for the US. I know the loud blustering declarations of previous Presidents meant absolutely nothing in terms of real substantive reckoning or removal of China or Russia evil regimes.

Niel Harris said...

Dave - continued....

I agree there is no country as financially generous as my country. Every bit of generosity was not because of altruism but what is in the best short term and longterm interest of the US (example of Rwanda and many other countries that the US ignores the evil present there because there is no US interests to be gained) ----

It is interesting to me how you framed your 2.5 year experience in and outlook of South Africa. You drew and broad conclusion solely only taking into consideration of corruption by individuals of monies allocated for health and medicine and the behavior of ungratefulness and "abject arrogance" by a few people. I have generally a different vantage point as I have decades long friendships with both white and black South Africans. They have shared with me the hard, ugly and painful reality of South Africa past and present. These folks who you and your wife served for 2.5 years have survived generations of horrific violence and abuse at the hands of European people. For almost 200 years, the native people of these lands hand their lands stolen, their people murdered and then from 1913 were not allowed even to buy back their land and then were forced in 1948 to live under the law of Apartheid....while police and government allowed through dictatorship (not democracy - as you may certainly recall the minority ruled and harshly). This disgusting government (as evil as Cuba) was supported by the US. Ronald Reagan publicly supported the violent tyrannical rule of Apartheid. After the end of Apartheid these abused people are supposed be normal, be nice, be grateful because the US is giving some financial help? Everyone cannot have their family, their ancestors going through such horrific circumstances and all of a sudden by gracious and nice to a few nice folks who have come to serve and help. In addition I am sure everyone was not corrupt, ungrateful or arrogant.

My wonderful country is NOT the epitome of evil! That said my wonderful country is not the epitome of good. Much of the criticism my country receives is well deserved. The things we have done to its own citizens and continue to do deserve honest critique. The evil governments and economies my country has supported around the globe deserve critique. While saying this my country deserves accolades for its growth and transition to living up to its lofty principles and for help they have provided globally.

When I say Dave we as Christians should think critically in light of Godly and biblical principles.....it is about judging matters in our country and the world through a lens that is not guided by a political and economic party/philosophy or blind patriotism but what we are taught from the scriptures.

I appreciate you Dave and your sharing......and thank Wade for raising this topic

Dave Panzera said...


Thanks for the discourse. I do feel the need to speak to the point you make as to framing my time in South Africa...it wasn't meant to be a frame whatsoever, but an example of what happens when such massive generosity is given and abused by certain people. Its not at all an indictment of all of South Africa. Were it not for the fact that I had to return to a flying career with the USAF I would have remained there serving until retirement. I actually found that in many ways South Africa has dealt better with some things regarding race than we ever did. Oh yes, they have a distance to go too! But I tell you what, even though they had the crime and poverty that they did I would do it all over again and for a longer time. Where else can you take your 5 children to pet and play with lion and tiger cubs? Hike the Dragons Back (Drakkensberg) with family and friends (20 Kilometers at over 8000 feet!) and see the Garden Route to the Cape or, go on one of the most memorable hunts of a lifetime? No place on earth is like South Africa. I will also state this, my wife and I both were a bit worried how we would be received with the racial issue there. Worried in the sense that we might be drawn in to their issues and have to "choose sides." It didn't happen even one time. Neither black nor white ever made that distinction or looked at us through that lense. Each made it easy and enjoyable to live and work there. Oh there was the criminal element to look out for...head on a swivel type stuff, but I can tell you many a story of how well we were protected by the Lord and blessed immeasurably. Our church, Waterkloof Baptist, was spectacular...very involved in missions work all over the continent and for us missions work was mere hours to locations dear to us to this day. I am, even in the face of the corruption of many in their government (read the current news and such on Zuma and the ANC and the other parties there) very high on them doing great things. Many in the world have little knowledge as to just how much of a powerhouse South Africa is. I loved learning a little about Zulu, Xhosa, and the Ndebele peoples. Two will always be on our hearts, Nicholas and Charity. Two Zimbabweans who were living in the Mamelodi Township in a 9X9 shed. We had hired Nicholas to do work around our home many times and his then girlfriend, Charity to house keep with us. There was a xenophobic crime spree against the Zimbabweans there and in other townships where many were killed just for being there and "taking our jobs" as some South Africans put it. We moved them into our home into their own private quarters.

Dave Panzera said...


If you ever want perspective on how good you have it take but one look at the reaction of a man and woman who lived in a 9X9 shed in horrible conditions and see their faces as they move into a structure that is fitting for them! We went the step further for Nicholas. We did not want to leave and see him stay a gardener. He was smart and had drive. Two days a week he was to stop all work at 1100 for lunch and then continue inside with my wife for home schooling in math and other subjects. I taught him a bit on small engines and such. By the time we left he had progressed a lot. The man who replaced me happily took Nicholas on, continuing his ability to move up in this world. I am happy to say that he and Charity are out on their own with an Apartment. I can't change the world, only our Lord can do that, but I did ask to be used of God to whatever end. Several of our friends have come to the US and visited us...we consider that quite an honor. One of those families were our closest friends. They came for a month here to the US. He is a Doctor in South Africa, one of their best in Orthopedic Surgery. They showed us the Real South Africa by way of camping in many locations from Sodwanna Bay on the coast to a no-kidding real, and dangerous 10 day safari where you better not break down, run out of food or water. We trekked from the top of Botswana to the bottom seeing tens of thousands of animals and spending a full day on the Okavango Delta. To return such generosity we took them on an American Safari that took 30 days to do..Ohio, Denver, Estes Park, Yellowstone, Mt. Rushmore, Iowa, a Theme park in Ohio, Niagara Falls and then days trips to the mountains. They ended their time with a trip to see NY City and returned from there. That is the South Africa I know...and even that does not do it justice!!

Niel Harris said...

Thank you so much Dave for taking the time to clarify and expand on your time and experience in South Africa!!! What a wonderful testimony of service and shared fellowship with the folks and other believers there. What you have shared is very much in alignment with my experiences and of those who are my friends who were born and raised in South Africa. I appreciate you taking the time to share more fully your thoughts, experience and service in that wonderful country and in particular the family friendships you developed and shared reciprocating times of fellowship and travels. Massive generosity does not result in corruption......corrupt hearts are the ones who are corrupt! Whether the corruption is in the leaders of certain individuals in South Africa or in the many of the board rooms in corporations in the United States -- they both emanate from corrupt hearts that at the end of it all need the transforming power of the gospel concerning Jesus Christ in order that their actions might be aligned with Him.

Rex Ray said...

Niel and Dave,

I agree with Christ’s request that we love one another, and the Gospel is the way to change lives for heaven.

Since we’re telling backgrounds, I can’t remember how many mission trips I’ve gone to Mexico, but others I can. We went three times to babysit when our missionary son had babies in Jerusalem, and once to visit. It was that trip I swam alone across the Sea of Galilee when I was 65. Mountains can look close but what I thought was one mile turned out to be four miles. (The widest is nine miles.)

I went once with the First Baptist Church of Bonham, TX to Kyrgyzstan, and once with First Baptist Church of Grand Prairie, TX. to Japan for construction.

When it was known that I could “finish sheetrock”, the Southern Baptist Convention paid my way, board, and room for twelve more trips that lasted about a month each time. (Wages for a Japan carpenter was $300/day. Our first house rented for $5,000/month in 1994.)

OK, now I’m going out on a limb. I’m not a historian, but I found this on internet: http://historynewsnetwork.org/article/41431

“Tribe stalked tribe, and eventually more than 20 million Africans would be kidnapped in their own homeland.”

“Historians estimate that ten million of these abducted Africans “never even made it to the slave ships. Most died on the march to the sea”—still chained, yoked, and shackled by their African captors—before they ever laid eyes on a white slave trader.
The survivors were either purchased by European slave dealers or “instantly beheaded” by the African traders “in sight of the [slave ship] captain” if they could not be sold.”

Bottom line Niel, if your ancestors lived their lives in Africa, what do you think your life would be?

I’m afraid many young Blacks have a chip on their shoulder and think America owes them something.

That may be why one day I saw on the Dallas News that covered crime showed two Blacks robbing a store that had a camera. On another incident one Black was arrested, and at another store robbery, the camera showed two Blacks.

Is 5 for 5 just a coincidence?

Niel Harris said...


Thank you for sharing again. (Especially your service for the Lord to others) I would simply add a few points and raise a few questions. The gospel of Christ is for the transforming of lives to be a testimony on this earth (not only for heaven) as well as the way to heaven.. It is being a testimony of Christ in this earth that many of us who are Christians fail to do in every thing we do and say.

First of all I am very aware and knowledgable of the history you made reference of. Slavery wether done by the Arabs and Nigerians on the continent of Africa or by Europeans during the Atlantic slave trade is a ugly horrible thing! It at times feels like slavery that was carried out on the continent is mentioned as if to justify or to make the slavery for over 300 years in this country was OK. Slavery especially as it was perpetuated in this country was evil. This country needs to own this fact. Even more important Christians who participated in violence of slavery and subsequent violent Jim Crow should be humbled by such conduct.

I find your follow-up question regarding if my ancestors lived in Africa insulting and bereft of your knowledge of the countries in Africa. Despite how Europe robbed and stole the resources in many countries in Africa while murdering millions of others to steal the valuable resources on the continent, many natives in the continent have done quite well. Some how you seem to think that Africa contained a desolate, ignorant, poor set of people until Europe arrived on the scene and collaborated with local slave traders to send slaves to the Americas and the Caribbean. Since my history has been ripped away from me -- I have no clue who my ancestors are and were. So my life could have been wonderful or it could have been tragic -- I do not know.

Niel Harris said...

Continued to Rex,

I do know by God's grace my grandparents and their parents survived slavery. I know that in the midst of racial bias, segregation my parents were able to endure through it (many of their peers could not) and were able to achieve undergrad and graduate degrees. My mother and father were able to raise 4 children who all were college educated (a Phd) among them. And I by God's grace survived growing up in the 50s and 60s and 70s raised 3 children -- all who were excellent students and attended Ivy League schools as well as Ivy grad schools. If my ancestors were not brought into slavery I might have been among some of the best engineers, scientist, businessman or doctors in the world --- many who now live in numerous countries in Africa. Yes there is much poverty in many countries in Africa who still struggle to overcome the devastation that Europe left them in. They now fight among themselves because of the confusion left primarily by England, France, Belgium, Portugal, Germany and Holland

"Many blacks have a chip on their shoulder" ???? Since I have lived in both predominately white communities and predominately black communities.....I can attest to you in case you have not noticed....Many whites have a chip on their shoulder and think that America owes them something! I am not really sure what your comment is supposed to mean. Having a chip on your shoulder is not relegated to a person's skin color. Pardon me I do not want to be disrespectful to my elder....but your comment is totally ridiculous.

Killing and robbing also is not relegated to black people or "young blacks". Killing and robbing is usually the habit of those who are poor morally, spiritually, economically and educationally whether the individual is white, black, native american or hispanic. The news just happens to focus on the crimes committed by poor black young men in cities. Do black young men commit crime disproportionately to their census numbers --- of course they do. However, disproportionately they and their families have lived through Jim Crow, been the targets of racial bias, crumbling school structures, intentional economic disadvantages by government and others in power, unequal punishment by the legal system, deficit of spiritual and moral teaching and guidance.

Nothing is a coincidence!! There are real and complex reasons for the conduct you reference. What one needs to do is think deeply abut these issues and not simply parrot what is in the news or reported by slanted media outlets.

Dave Panzera said...


"...deficit of spiritual and moral teaching and guidance."

This is the nail on the head for all. It knows neither race nor creed not gender. From my perspective the hurt in the black community is just as much in the white community when it comes to broken families, broken hearts and wounded spirits. And while to each of their specific conditions there is not a one-size-fits-all answer (as government is usually a one-size-fails-most one) there is, however, a one God Who answers will satisfy all....if they would just trust Him.

Niel Harris said...

Yes Dave....regardless of race, creed or gender a life transformed through the gospel of Christ for salvation and living morally consistent with Christ and Scriptures is where recovery of communities begin.

Yes also the white and black community suffer from broken hearts, wounded spirits and broken families. What the poor black community (along with middle-class and wealthy black communities) suffers is institutionalized, systemic racial bias and treatment on all levels. To trivialize and minimize this additional burden as a major scourge and disruption in particular on the poor black communities is to ignore reality and facts. For most of my adult life I have lived in and raised my children in wealthy communities (Westchester County, NY and Scottsdale, AZ) and I am IT executive their Mom a Hospital Executive and I (we) have been the constant target and experience of the bias I speak of. My 3 children likewise (who are gradates of Yale/Harvard , Columbia and NYU/Juilliard) have been targets of the systemic racial prejudice in their community and this country. They just have the tools spiritually, academically and personally and the support of family who have the tools to survive through it without going off the rails as those who are made the subject of the news media are.

The claim that the "only thing" or "primary thing" that is needed in poor black communities is guidance spiritually and morally and all will be well is nonsense. There has to be a serious and honest discussion about the other major factors that has very deep impacts. It certainly is not stop government programs and fix yourself spiritually and morally!

Rex Ray said...


I deserved your rebuke for implying your life would not be as well if your ancestors never came to America.

I guess I’m tired of people running our country down like Obama’s pastor, Jeremiah Wright, saying, “God bless America? No! God d… America!”

Ed Klein wrote a book: ““The Amateur: Barack Obama in the White House”. He interviewed Jeremiah Wright here:

Klein said Wright was like a second father to Obama. Klein believed Obama was steeped in Islam but knew nothing about Christianity. So Klein asked Wright if he converted Obama from being a Muslim into a Christian.

Wright said, “I don’t know about that, but I can tell you that I made it easy for him to come to an understanding of who Jesus Christ is and not feel that he was turning his back on his Islamic friends and his Islamic traditions and his understanding of Islam.”

Wright married Obama and Machelle in 1992. His best man was his half-brother, Malik Obama, who lives in Kenya. http://celebritybrideguide.com/barack-obama-michelle-robinson-wedding/
Obama was Malik’s best man. Malik may have ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Neil, you’re right that the Gospel changes lives to live life on earth as Jesus would.
This is 100 questions that Jesus asked to make men think.

Rex Ray said...


For 20 years, we were members of “Volunteers for Christ”. Many churches chose to work a week from a list of projects somewhere in America. Our group covered from New York to Seattle. We tried to pick a location where most people wouldn’t want to go.

Also, we belonged to our church group “The Master’s Builders”. We went once a year with them, but on local projects there was no time limit. We spent a year on a Korean church that was 6 blocks from our house.

A small Black church had finished the outside of their new big church in South Oak Cliff Dallas, TX. I was in Japan when “The Master’s Builders” started to help finish the inside.

The pastor stopped them from having electric lines on the outside. He said the lines would be stolen and sold for copper. They never went back after the first day because someone was dodging around trees on the church yard while someone was shooting at him.

For 42 days, when I got off work, I’d be at this Black church from five till around 10. When the pastor learned I was not locking the doors, he was horrified saying, “Not long ago, a man was working alone and someone sneaked up behind him and put him in a ‘choke hold’. He woke up with his billfold gone.”

One of their young members was paid to help out. One day, I told him I couldn’t find my skill saw. He said he put it behind some sheetrock to keep someone from stealing it. He left shortly. After several hours the pastor came, and I told him. He called the man’s home and his mother said her son had come into some money and had gone out with his friends. That answered how their TV was stolen. His only punishment was being fired.

Once I talked with a very old member. He said, “We have to have Mexicans to work because Black men won’t. I can take you right now and show you 10 of our members and all they will be doing is sucking on a bottle.”

Scraped sheetrock was put in a pickup. Before the pastor took it to the city dump, I asked why was tree branches on top. “Oh, it doesn’t cost anything if it’s only tree limbs.”

He asked how much the ‘tape & bedding materials’ cost. I told him I was paying for it. “You don’t understand, another church promised to pay for it.” I told him, and he said, “That’s way too cheep, I’m going to double that.”

The longer I was around the pastor the more I believed he operated on “The end justifies the means”. A year later when the Baptist Standard reported his church had converted more to Christ than any Baptist church, I thought, ‘the rascal won again’. But maybe it was true because he probably had more lost sinners around.

Niel Harris said...


Thank you again for sharing testimony of the years of service in helping others and bringing the good news of Christ through the different ministries that you mentioned.

In reference to comments about Pastor Jeremiah Wright.......from what I have read Pastor Wright appears to be a professed Christian who had not yielded to the exhortation of the Apostle Paul to the Christians at Colosse "Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone." His anger, hurt and pain of evil laws, injuries and racial bias that he and many experience in America resulted in him venting and using denigrating language regarding what wrongs this country has done. One can express the truth of the many wrongs that America has done and its consequent pain without using pejorative language. Being critical of America is not "running the country down". It is an opportunity to sensitively listen to real pain and experience of many black folks in this country and have a spirit of empathy. Pastor Wright's lack of grace and absence of salt in his conversation obfuscates the truthful substance of what he is talking about.

As for Mr Ed Klein's books, who both he and I are alumnus of the same school, Colgate University, although decades apart....I seriously question the veracity of anything he writes. Mr Klein has been both been criticized and challenged regarding many factual errors in all of his books. This challenge has come from a wide swath of folks of all political stripes as well as several well respected journalists and papers. That being said -- I and neither do you or anyone really knows whether Mr Obama is a Christian as he professes to be. Only the Lord knows those who are truly His. The regular claim that the President is an "undercover" muslim believer comes from those who seek to score political points by denigrating him. I really don't have time to engage in all of that.

Lastly, in several notes to me you seem to insist on pointing out to me the weakness, failures, criminality and "attitude" of black males. I am not sure if you do not think I am aware that some black males are as you describe --- as I am also fully aware that there are white males, hispanic males and native american males who have the same characteristics. These negative characteristics and behaviors are not relegated to blacks males only. Is there a reason why it appears that you feel compelled to point these things out to me several times? Maybe I am misunderstanding you. Please clarify.

Rex Ray said...


You seem to look back in time as bad days, while I see it as the ‘good old days’. For instance, I hitch-hiked from Fairbanks, Alaska to Texas. Would anyone dare try it now?

I’ve been to Alaska seven times. Our second son was born there.
No one will dispute I have an ‘unusual twin brother. We had not been apart over three days until we were enrolling for our senior year at North Texas University. He said, “I’ve decided to go to the University of Alaska. Four hours later, he was gone.

This tells about his part in moving an abandon aircraft hanger that he named “The Big Dipper”. A sign says: “Hez Ray Sports Complex”. (Being the Fairbanks Recreational Director, he helped organize the Arctic Winter Games in 1968 that is still going on.)

This tells of the book he wrote which the ‘government of Alaska’ has ordered to be put in all Alaskan schools to teach students to “think outside the box”.

Neil, I’ve told all this to tell how he has been treated by police.
He is usually a deacon in churches that he is a member. In Colorado Springs, at a Newspaper office, he complained about the porno in their paper. Afterwards, the editor shook hands and said come back anytime.
In the waiting room: “Why are you still here?’
“I have an appointment to talk to the owner.”
“You’re not talking to my boss. Leave or I’ll call the police.”

He was not charged with resisting arrest but only loitering. But that wouldn’t explain why his hair was yanked out while laying handcuff on the floor, (Later someone put his hair in an envelope and mailed it to him.) or blooded his face from being knocked unconscious. This was done by city police.

They gave him to the county police. He said what they did made the city police brutality look like a picnic. Later, a doctor was amazed by the depth of many bruises had not broken any bones. A choke hold made him unconscious. He was unable to work for three months because a restraining device damaged his knees. It also choked him as he was made into a ‘ball’.

He never would answer when they asked, “Have you learned to keep your mouth shut?” After hours, a medic yelled, “You’ve got to release him; he’s almost dead.” He told me about it months later. I didn’t sleep for two days.

Neil, I know the Bible teaches not to judge, but Jesus said, “Just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions. (Matthew 7:20 NLT)

Yes, I know there are many bad Whites, Hispanic, and Native Americans, but none of them invited me to come with him to get a “free shoe shine”. I was walking at night on a main street in Dallas, and it was a Black that said his shoeshine box was in an alley.

Where the rubber meets the road is the number in prison compared to their population.
This states: .7% White, 1.8% Hispanic, and 4.7% Black

If the total population were the same for Whites and Blacks that would mean for every 10 Whites in prison there would be 67 Blacks.
Hey! Don’t doubt my math. :) I design the tool to fabricate the space shuttle nose cone. This shows the cone:
. https://search.yahoo.com/search;_ylc=X3oDMTFiN25laTRvBF9TAzIwMjM1MzgwNzUEaXRjAzEEc2VjA3NyY2hfcWEEc2xrA3NyY2h3ZWI-?p=Space+Shuttle+Nose+Cone&fr=yfp-t-572&fp=1&toggle=1&cop=mss&ei=UTF-8

Niel Harris said...

Rex my dear brother.....I think that you are missing several points that I am making. The fact of the matter is that as a white male born in 1932 you can afford to look back in the past and see them as the "good old days". A black male born in 1932 ran the risk of being lynched in many states in this country, could not be employed in most companies even if he had a graduate degree because of his skin color, was refused products and services because of his color, was referred to as "boy" even when he is a 40 year old man, married and with a family, could not marry who he wanted, could not go to certain restaurants and theaters, read daily of the random murders and killings of those who looked like him because of his color, went to schools that the county or state left in ill-repair and old text books, had to sit at the back of the bus and had to listen to his parents tell him how whites and the police burned down an entire city and neighborhoods in Oklahoma because they had become economically very successful and definitely could not freely as you did travel from Alaska to Texas (especially in Texas)......so a black male your age cannot sit back and talk about the good old days in the US.

I am very well aware that the police and the justice system in the US disproportionately arrest, convict and imprison black males in this country more than any other race of people thus producing the statistics that you mentioned. I am aware -- I am not sure that you are that white males commit the same crimes as black males but either do not pay for those crimes and when they do it is 3 time less than black males. If a young black male takes a car he is charged with felony grand theft auto while is a young white male takes a car it is a misdemeanor joy ride. I live in predominately white neighborhoods and see white young males commit crimes that never turn into felonies and imprisonment as it would for black males who live in predominately black neighborhoods.

Heroin use and possession for years in the predominately black neighborhoods were punishable by long felony imprisonments. Now that it has hit white middle-calls and upper middle class neighborhoods -- there is a clarion call to call it a disease, police are given med kits to help these children and they will not be arrested but treated medically.

There very stark differences in this country for different people.......

Telling me statistics does not honestly and truthfully assessment the whole story Rex! I try to encourage you and some of my white Christian brethren to think critically and not just take on the political and social rhetoric, jargon and statistics of media.

By the grace of God --- I look back at the past and thank Him for His protection, love and continue to ask that anger and resentment do not become my lot (as Pastor Wright) -- but that I can still patiently and lovingly treat others while providing a fuller picture of what is going on in the US while I and I hope all wait for the Lord Jesus to return who will rule in justice and righteousness. With my family and friends (of all backgrounds and ethnicities) I can look back at the past and remember those blessed times with them and rejoice. I can look back with thanksgiving for the Lord's open doors for service that he has given me in countries in Africa and South America and in the US over the decades. I cannot say that I can look at the history and experience I have had in several cities in my country, in several companies, in several neighborhoods, in schools, in white churches or that of my parents/grandparents and say "good old days".

Rex Ray said...


I’m going to a funeral, so I’ll write more later. As I’ve said before everyone’s brain has a ‘filter’ that influences their thinking.

Example: You’re greeting me as “my dear brother” would make most people feel good, but it reminded me of Acts 21:20 where Paul was greeted by “…dear brother…”

Doing what they wanted him to do, within a week he was imprisoned the rest of his life.

Did ‘his brothers’ do him wrong? None came to his trial to refute the charges. One word from “James the Just” and he would be free.

I believe after many years, with no visits of compassion from those who called him “brother, Paul figured it out:

“At my first answer no man stood with me…I pray God that it may not be laid to their change.” (2 Timothy 4:16 KJ)

Paul’s prayer was the same he heard Stephen pray. Had the same crime been done?

Niel Harris said...

Rex Let me extend condolences to you for the death of the one whose funeral you had to attend. I trust that the person knew the Lord as Savior and is in a far better place - "absent in the body present with the Lord". You are my dear brother because Scripture teaches we are bound together in brotherly relationship in Christ. I keep these Scriptures in mine in order that I can discourse with you in a fashion and manner consistent with you being my brother even if I may disagree with you or even if I feel hurt when I think that you may ignore, have no empathy for the genuine pain that I or my family has experienced while repeatedly telling me crime stories and statistics about some black males.

It is an interesting application of the verse in 2 Timothy 4:16 tied to Acts 21:20 that you make. Are you suggesting that you are as Paul, standing before Nero for preaching the gospel and declaring the name of Christ while I, like a number of the believers, during his trial abandoned him in cowardice and fear leaving him alone? And in his graciousness Paul prayed that their cowardice and fear of evil of Nero would not be held against them? Really?? These believers did hold Paul as a dear brother but their fear of death by the hand of Nero cause them to leave him alone. Similarly, the disciples in fear abandoned our dear Lord prior to His crucifixion. As Scripture says "the fear of man brings a snare". Fear of the retribution of evil doers has kept good people from doing the right thing then and today. This is very evident here in this country. Fear kept very good white folks in this country from taking a stand against the brutality and ugliness and evil of slavery, Jim Crow and even the injustice that exist to this present day.

The dear believers who left Paul alone to stand trial in front of Nero and the dear disciples who left Jesus alone to stand trial in front of Pilot and the Sanhedrin loved Paul and the Lord -- but fled in fear.

It takes boldness and operating in honesty and truth to stand up when evil is being perpetuated

Victorious said...

Niel, Just want to say how very blessed I've been reading your comments. I don't want to interrupt your conversation with Rex so I'll just say I can't imagine the pain that was imposed on African Americans years ago and genuinely hope those types of horrible treatment are a thing of the past.

About a year ago, the History Channel ran a 6-part series entitled "Many Rivers to Cross." http://www.pbs.org/black-culture/shows/list/african-american-history-many-rivers-to-cross/

I recorded all six to watch at a future time, but after watching only the first one, couldn't go any further as I was sooo sad and cried. I'm sorry to say that I couldn't bear to watch the rest of the series.

One of my very best friends in the whole world was black...she passed away several years ago. In Florida, we have an annual parade in remembrance of Thomas Edison. She refused to go with me. When I asked her why, she said "they" had their own parade since years ago they weren't allowed to attend the Thomas Edison parade. It is/was just all too sad for me.

Anyway, I just wanted to let you know how very sorry I am for the ugly, brutal, treatment many have endured and how much I appreciate your comments.

Mary Ann

Rex Ray said...


Thanks for your kind words for the funeral of my son-in-law’s sister. She was only 61 when she met Jesus Sunday on Recreation Day. She was a school teacher. There were 53 of her kinsmen, and hundreds in the church. The funny stories that were told made the service more of joy than tears.

This is how Paul lived under Nero: “For the next two years, Paul lived in Rome at his own expense. He welcomed all who visited him, boldly proclaiming the Kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ. And no one tried to stop him.” (Acts 28:30 NLT)

There was no fear for anyone to visit Paul. So why didn’t the ones that called him dear brother visit?

It’s been said the deepest hated in the world is religious hatred. For example ‘Muslim Islamic terrorists’ (Obama can’t say these words) kill themselves in order to kill others because of religious beliefs.

Even Paul said: “…If anyone preaches any other Good News than the one you welcomed, let that person be cursed.” (Galatians 1:9 NLT)

Would that include those who taught circumcision was necessary for salvation? You bet it would as shown in (Philippians 3:2 NLT: “Watch out for those dogs…who say you must be circumcised to be saved.”

This verse tells Paul was persecuted by Christians who were offended because his preaching was NOT “...zealous of the law” as written in (Acts 21:20 KJ).

“…if I were still preaching you must be circumcised…why am I still being PERSECUTED? If I were no longer preaching salvation through the cross of Christ, no one would be offended.” (Galatians 5:11 NLT)

Paul’s prayer for those who did not stand for him at his first trial was not before Nero, but before the High Council where “Instantly Ananias the high priest commanded those close to Paul to slap him on the mouth.” (Acts 23:2 NLT)

“…a group [40] of Jews got together and bound themselves with an oath not to eat or drink until they had killed Paul. (Acts 23:12 NLT)

Who were these men? Were they members of James’ church shown by: “The Jewish believers here in Jerusalem have been told [by who] that you are teaching all the Jews…to turn their backs on the laws of Moses. They’ve heard that you teach them not to circumcise their children…What should we do? They will certainly hear that you have come.” (Acts 21:21-22 NLT)

I believe Paul’s life was in danger because these Christians felt the Law of Moses was necessary: “…Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are ALL ZEALOUS of the LAW.” (Acts 21:20)

I believe that explains why there were no visits from those who called him “dear brother”.

Niel Harris said...

Good morning Mary Ann,

Thank you very much for your kind feed-back and remarks. Rex is a good man from what I can deduce from our written conversations. We just have different experiences and history. I try to articulate and give him an insight into my experiences and those in my family as well as those who happen to share my same pigmentation. I am not sure I am successful at doing so.

I appreciate you sharing your efforts at getting some insight into the past treatment that has occurred to AA in this country...much of it not happening any longer although the residual impact yet exists. The horrible treatment has morphed into a different form present day.

My hope and prayer has been that those who are Christians who happen to be White might "bear their brother's burdens" rather than adjoin themselves to rhetoric that is routinely spouted by media outlets who have an agenda not aligned with Christ.

Thank you for taking the time to send your kind note.

Niel Harris said...

Good morning Rex,

It is wonderful to hear that the service was one where it was evident that as believers we sorrow but not as those who have no hope! In the midst of grief...there can be rejoicing in hope of resurrection while sharing stories of God's sustaining grace and mercy of the life lived and now completed on this earth. Wonderful

Ahhhh....I think I understand how you are seeing the narrative of the relationships between Paul and James the Just and the early church in Jerusalem. I think I come away from reading Luke's account in Acts and Paul's account in Galations, Phillipians and 2 Timothy differently than you do.

There is no question that there was tension between the new believers in the church located in Jerusalem and their leaders Peter and James the Just regarding the amount of adherence to the law of Moses with regard to this newly revealed gospel of grace as well as the practices of the Gentiles that Paul had led to Christ. The tension from my understanding of reading the verse of the letters to the churches in Galatia and Phillipi did not at all disrupt the affection and love between these men and did not result in Paul fearing for his life from these men or the new believers in Jerusalem.

Paul's life being in danger was connected to and because of the ruling members of Jewish religious zealots (Pharisees and Sadducees) and their followers who felt threatened by the preaching of the gospel and the salvation of both Jews and Gentiles. This was an introduction of something new and an erosion of their power and influence. Paul then sought to appeal to this Jewish religious power structure by even laying claim to his former strict jewish religiosity (even calling them brothers meaning naturally so) but sharing with them how he was transformed on the road to Damascus. The power structure remained unrepentant as they did when Christ was on the earth and was will to collaborate with the government to cause Paul to be detained in prison.

Even though Paul spoke strongly against the mixing of Mosaic law rules into the newly revealed gospel he, Peter and James and the new Christians were affectionately loving each other in Christ. He had no reason in my understanding of all these writings to fear them as enemies. Nor did they view Paul as an enemy buy genuinely as a brother.

There are one of two bible scholars who do believe there was estrangement and anger between these leaders.....they determine this from other writings of historians of that day. I am not in agreement with their findings.

Rex Ray said...


It’s nice you replied so soon. I feel if we ever met we’d be friends.
I have studied the topic of this discussion for many years. In 1994, I wrote 32 pages and printed 1,000 copies. The front page had:
The Truth of Acts
Two Denominations
The Devils’ greatest victory was
Confusing his greatest defeat…

Two Denominations was caused by one group believing Jesus fulfilled the Law and believing in him brought salvation. The other added Jesus to back up the Law for salvation.

One was a religion of faith plus works. The other was faith plus nothing.

James and Paul have been described as soldiers fighting back to back; one against one enemy and the other against a different enemy.
I believe if they ever turned around, they’d shot each other. :)

James wrote five chapters. He mentions God 77 times and Jesus only nine. They are: (Some…I’ve paraphrased.)
#1. 1:1 James, a servant of God and Jesus.
#2. 2:1 Can’t belong to Jesus if you show favoritism.
#3. 2:7 Jesus has noble name.
#4. 2.8 Obey Christ’s command…love your neighbor.
#5. 2:9 You break Christ’s law by favoring the rich.
#6. 2:12 Be judged on what Christ wants you to do.
#7-#9. 5:7-9 Say Jesus is coming back.

How does any of that accomplish the ‘Great Commandment”?
James even wrote: “There will be no mercy for those who have not shown mercy to others. But if you have been merciful, God will be merciful when he judges you.”

Duh...did James not know “…All our righteous are as filthy rags…” (Isaiah 64:6 KJ)

James fancied himself as a teacher of religion: “…we teachers of religion…” (James 3:1 Living Bible) He did not know that Jesus said; “Beware of these teachers of religious law!” (Luke 20:46 NLT)

James didn’t know Jesus said, “It’s not what goes into your mouth that defiles you; you are defiled by the words that comes from your mouth.” (Matthew 15:10 NLT) or his “judgment” in Acts 15:20 would NOT have required Gentiles to obey three Jewish food laws.

Paul argued with James’s food laws: “Don’t let anyone condemn you for what you eat or drink…” (Colossians 2:18 NLT)

James based his reasoning on tradition: “For these laws of Moses have been preached in Jewish synagogues in every city on every Sabbath for many generations.” (Acts 15:21 NLT)

Jesus said, “…you cancel the word of God for the sake of your own traditions.” (Matthew 15:6 LT)

Paul told his source of knowledge: “I received my message…by direct revelation from Jesus Christ.” (Galatians 1:12 NLT)

That pretty much sums it up: James had tradition…Paul had Jesus.

BTW, In 1545 AD, tradition was granted equal authority by Catholics.

Rex Ray said...

Oops, tradition granted equal authority with the Bible

Rex Ray said...


One thing I’d like to clear up about my referring to “the good old days”. While I was growing up, there were hitchhikers all over the place because it was easy to get a ride. That was because there was no fear, but NOT any more! Nuff said.

Sometimes a murderer is caught by just one little bit of information. In the Bible, two men that were facing death prayed the same prayer.

With one, it’s easy to see who murdered him as he prayed: “Lord lay not this sin to their charge.” (Acts 7:60 KJ) But with the other it would be a challenge for “TV Cold Justice”.

It’s easy to see who was responsible for the death of Bathsheba’s husband. David sent Uriah to the front of the battle to be killed.

Paul knew he was about to die: “The time of my death is near.” (2 Timothy 4:6 NLT)
Paul prayed just as Stephen: “…I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.” (2 Timothy 4:16 KJ)

Was Paul praying for the Romans? No. He was praying for those he mentioned in the first part of that Scripture: “At my first answer no man stood with me…I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.”

Who did Paul expect to stand with him? He was charged with “…trying to desecrate the Temple when we arrested him.” (Acts 24:6 NLT)

The ones that called him “dear brother” sent him there so why didn’t they prove him innocent? I believe their absence was the same absence of David’s army to support Uriah and the same murder was plotted.

But the ‘plot’ almost didn’t happen because with his head shaved, the people including the high priest that wanted him killed did not recognize him. How did some strangers recognize him?

“The seven days were almost ended when some Jews from the province of Asia saw Paul in the Temple and roused a mob against him.” (Acts 21:27 NLT)

Did a little bird tell them? Or did someone hear "Identify Paul to some strangers so you won’t be recognized and traced to us."

Cold Justice would look for a motive.

The Jerusalem church was the large ‘mother church’ led by ‘James the Just’ the most important man in Israel. Christian Jews wanted Christian Gentiles to obey their laws. Paul was a thorn in their side teaching; “…He died to annul the whole system of Jewish laws...” (Ephesians 2:15 Living)

If Christian Jews killed Paul as hinted in Acts 21:20, the mother church would loose all control of the Christian Gentiles because they considered Paul their hero.

But HEY! “…some of the Jews plotted together to kill him. [Paul]” (Acts 9:23 NLT) Why not let the ‘lost’ Jews remove the ‘thorn’? They could brag Paul was taking Jewish vows. That’s two birds with one stone.

Neil, you may disagree, but can you prove it with Scripture?

Rex Ray said...

Neil or anyone that wants to jump in

Perhaps I’ve written too much too fast so I’ll start over on the subject of Paul’s persecution.
Paul lists what had been done to him in Second Corinthians 11:23-26
#1. In prison many times
#2. Whipped without number
#3. Faced death again and again
#4. Five times Jewish leaders gave me thirty-nine lashes
#5. Three times I was beaten with rods
#6. Once I was stoned [left for dead]
#7. Faced danger from robbers
#8. Face danger from my own people the Jews and Gentiles
#9. I have faced danger from men who clam to be BELIEVERS but are NOT

Again, Paul mentioned false Christians: “…some so-called Christians there—false ones really…They sneaked in to spy on us and take away our freedom we have in Christ Jesus. They wanted to enslave us and force us to follow their Jewish regulations.” (Galatians 2:4 NLT)

I believe the (NLT) footnote of this verse NAILED IT by saying the Greek “so-called Christians meant false brothers.” That’s just like elders and James saying, “…You know, DEAR BROTHER, how many THOUSANDS of Jews have also believed, and they ALL FOLLOW the LAW of Moses very SERIOUSLY.” (Acts 21:20 NLT)

So the question is: were the elders and James real brothers or false brothers? The answer is in what they did and what they didn’t do.

WHAT THEY DID: their suggestion to take a Jewish vow among his enemies put him in prison the rest of his life which ended probably by a Roman sword.

1. Give him a visit during his years of imprisonment.

2. “At my first trial NO ONE stood with me. I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.” (Same prayer he heard Stephen pray while being murdered.) One word from the elders and James and Paul would have been free.

“Jewish believers here in Jerusalem have been told that you are teaching…to turn their backs on the Laws of Moses. They’ve heard that you teach them not to circumcise their children… (Acts 21:21 NLT)

Neil, do you think these thousands like hearing? “If you are trying to make yourself right with God by keeping the Law, you have been cut off from Christ! You have fallen away from God’s grace.” (Galatians 5:4 NLT)

Question: who told James’s church what Paul was teaching? They had no newspapers, TV, or internet so they must have heard in church.

Question; how did the church find out?
“…Are we like OTHERS, who need to bring you letters of recommendations...” (2 Corinthians 3:1 NLT) [Were the letters from the ‘mother church’?]

“…THEY preach…a different kind of gospel than the one you believed. (2 Corinthians 11:4 NLT) “THESE people are false apostles. THEY are deceitful workers who disguise themselves as apostles of Christ.” (Verse 13)

THOSE false Christians who sneaked in to spy on Paul etc. in Galatians 2:4.

“…do not believe EVERYONE who claims to speak by the Spirit…for there are many false prophets…” (Peter 4:1)

Since Paul suffered eight persecutions listed above for preaching Jesus by non-believers, what did he mean when he wrote: “…if I were preaching you must be circumcised [to be saved by Jesus]…why am I still being PERSECUTED?” (Galatians 5:11)

I believe he meant: ‘he was being persecuted for NOT adding the Jewish Law as a requirement to be saved. Who would do that other than those ‘brothers’ who were zealous for the law?

Niel Harris said...

Hello Rex,

I apologize for dropping off for a moment.....I became a little busy with some business and personal things. I do understand your commentary regard the Apostle Paul and James (the Just). I simply disagree. It is very clear from the record in Scripture that Paul had strong differences between Peter, Barnabas and James. These 3 dear Apostles and brothers in Christ were still somewhat attached doctrinally to their Jewish (Mosaic) teaching and upbringing and sought to intertwine this newly revealed gospel of grace with the law. Paul to whom revelation was more fully given regarding grace with affection for these leaders sought ways to enlighten while at the same time strongly objecting to holding on to Mosaic law. While deliberating affectionately and strongly with these leaders, he also had to deal with false believers (ex. Simon Amagus), Jewish synagogue religious leaders (Pharisees etc), government rulers (Nero etc.) and some true but untaught Christians in Galatia.

Was there controversy? Yes Was their contention? Yes Were there false believer and Jewish religious zealots seeking to hold on to their power? Yes Did the government authorities fear this "new thing" eventually called Christianity where through their spiritual and moral power (not political) they were "turning the world upside down"? Yes Did the Apostle Paul acquiesce and do certain "Jewish" things in order to graciously persuade his brother leaders and the new Christians? Yes Did he write a strong letter to believers at Galatia to bring home his teaching ? Yes

Where you and I disagree is that James and other Christians conspired together to ensure that Paul was arrested and maintained in prison. Paul refers to James in his letter as the pillar of that local church. He would never have done so if he felt and knew that James did the evil you ascribe to him. Paul did not believe or think he was being persecuted by James or the true believers in the church at Jerusalem . Further, I do not agree that James' writing conflicts with Paul's writing or teaching. They are teaching and writing from different but complementary perspectives.

I do know that there are a few theologians and teachers who have reached the conclusion you have......teachers and theologians like Calvin, Darby, Ellicott, Meyers, Kelly, Gaebelein, Gill etc. have the conclusion that I have reached. Paul was a dear brother to James and the true believers and he viewed them as such.

And even though we disagree on a number of things because you profess faith in Jesus Christ and serve Him as you feel led and directed by Him, you are my dear brother. And yes we could very likely be friends

Rex Ray said...


In the last few days, I’ve spent more time writing to you than half my friends put together. On that basis I consider you a friend because you’ve been gracious

In a previous comment I wrote: “Neil, you may disagree, but can you prove it with Scripture?” But in your last comment, you did not reference one verse of Scripture to prove your opinions.

You’re like a lawyer defending his client with no facts or witnesses. The jury wants to here more than a lawyer’s opinion.

Example: you said, “It is very clear from the record in Scripture that Paul had strong differences between Peter, Barnabas and James.”

I think if you read Acts 15 and Acts 21 ten times, you would change your opinion.
Paul disagreed with Barnabas about taking John Mark but NOT about doctrine. I will back my OPINOIN with Scripture.

1. “Barnabas agreed and wanted to take John Mark. But Paul disagreed strongly…” (Acts 15:37, 38)
2. “…Unless you are circumcised…you cannot be saved. Paul and Barnabas disagreed with them, arguing vehemently….” (Acts 15:1, 2)

Paul disagreed with Peter’s actions and called him a hypocrite when he became afraid of the friends of James and stopped eating with Christian Gentiles. My opinion is backed up with Scripture:

“…when some friends of James came. Peter wouldn’t eat with the Gentiles anymore. He was afraid of criticism from these people who insisted on the necessity of circumcision. As a result, other Jewish Christians followed Peter’s hypocrisy…” (Galatians 2:12, 13 NLT)

BTW Niel, you’ve heard “Birds of a feather flock together” means they think alike. James thought the same as his friends just as he told Paul his congregation was “...all zealous of the law.” (Acts 21:20)

Wouldn’t the pastor believe the same as his congregation…he was probably the one that influenced their thinking. (That’s not based on Scripture but on the purpose of pastors.)

I believe the most important debate on how man obtains salvation is at the first Church Counsel in Acts 15.

“So the apostles and elders met together to resolve this issue.” (Acts 15:6 NLT) I think Peter and not Paul was the spokesman for this group because Peter was respected more.

Peter said, “So why are you now CHALLENGING God by burdening the Gentile believers with a yoke…we are all saved the same way by the undeserved grace of the Lord Jesus.” (Acts 15:10, 11 NLT)

Niel, you said, “Paul refers to James in his letter as the pillar of that local church.”

I think you imply that Paul respected James as a pillar, but the Scripture states: “…By the way, their reputation as great leaders made no difference to me, for God has no favorites.” (Galatians 2:6 NLT)

The Scripture you could have referenced was: “And when James, Peter, and John, who SEEMED to be pillars…” (Galatians 2:9 KJ)

Well, its late old friend…I’m going to bed.

Rex Ray said...


To know the truth of what is written in the Bible, the verse before and after a statement should be read. Sometimes it may take the whole chapter or other books of the Bible.

The question is: sometimes do GOOD men lie? Of course we think of Peter denying Jesus, and we know Moses lied to the people 3 times telling them more or less it was their fault he could not go to the Promise Land. (Deuteronomy 1:37, 3:26, and 4:21)
Moses lied because God told him 3 times the real reason (lack of faith): (Numbers 20:12, 24, and 27:12-14)

In other cases it’s not so easy; such as Paul telling: “The Romans tried me and wanted to release me…But when the Jewish leaders protested, I felt it necessary to appeal to Caesar...” (Acts 28:18-19)

The lie in this verse is Paul appealed to Cesar back in (Acts 25: 11 “…I appeal to Caesar!”) BEFORE his appeal to Agrippa when there were no Jews present in Acts 26.

The last sentence in that chapter said: “And Agrippa said to Festus, “He could be set free if he hadn’t appealed to Caesar!” (Acts 26:32)

Wonder how many times Paul grieved that he had appealed to Caesar because if he had not done so he would have been free. Just as Moses blamed the people, Paul put the blame of him appealing to Caesar on the Jews.

Niel, how did Peter lie to the ones that were raking him over the coals by him saying? “He [Cornelius] told us how an angel had appeared to him in his home and had told him…He [Peter] will tell you how you and everyone in your household can be saved.” (Acts 11:13-14 NLT)

Hint: (Acts 10:5-6, 10:22, 10:32)

Niel Harris said...

Good morning Rex,

I trust you are well. You have written persuasively delineating how the different apostles and servants of the Lord Jesus had failure and sin as part of their behavior. (Even laying out these failings in your thesis by quoting varied scriptures) Quite frankly I have not spent much time compiling the sins and failures of these servants although each failure has been recorded I am sure for the instruction of each Christian. For me if anything the failures recorded of each of God's servants from Genesis through the books in the NT serve to remind that there was only one perfect man, the Lord Jesus, who the Apostle Peter so eloquently says, "To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in His steps. He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth. When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. (I Peter 2:21-23)

All other servants....men fail. ----- this includes Peter, James and Barnabas -- Paul makes reference to these three who at one point during their establishment and leadership of the Jerusalem church intertwined the law with the gospel of grace. This is clearly laid out in his letter Galations 1 and 2. Paul strongly stood against their error as regard the law of Moses as it relates to this new revelation of salvation by grace while according these leaders respect.

Did Paul, Peter, James and Barnabas have failures...I am sure they did. It is through these vessels of clay that the gospel concerning Christ was revealed to Jew and Gentile. The teaching about the Church and the oneness of relationship that is formed by the HS so that regardless of skin color, cultural origins, religious origin, social and economic origin -- every Christian is ONE in Christ. I so wish, returning back to my earlier points, that Christians in my country understood this today as well as over the 240 years of its history. It is sad that Christians today still don't see this or speak or practice this but align themselves more strongly with their natural kind and their political parties.

Oh that Christians today might take the example of Christ for themselves

Have a great day.

Rex Ray said...

Good afternoon to you, Niel

I agree with you 100% about Jesus. He was and always will be the only perfect man. I believe he had to learn to talk and never stopped learning as shown on the day of his death. “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

The question was not a fake. He even told his disciples “…the time is coming…when you will be scattered…leaving me alone. Yet I am not alone because the Father is with me. (John 16:32 NLT)

I believe the tears of his Father was the only answer and learning he was dying alone burst his physical heart. I think of the song: “He could have called ten thousand angels…but he died alone for you and me”.

You said, “…men fail…includes Peter, James, and Barnabas …intertwined the law with the gospel of grace…as laid out in Galatians 1 and 2.”

What do you mean by “intertwined the law”? Did Peter and Barnabas start believing the law had to be obeyed in Galatians 1 and 2? That would be the opposite of what Peter believed in Acts 15: “…we are all saved the same way, by the undeserved grace of the Lord Jesus.”

Did Peter stop believing in Jesus when he denied knowing him? No. Peter’s ACTION was because of fear

Fear and not Peter and Barnabas’ belief influenced their ACTIONS in (Galatians 2:12-13 NLT) “…He [Peter] ate with the Gentile Christians, who were not circumcised. But afterward, when some friends of James came, Peter wouldn’t eat with the Gentiles anymore. He was AFRAID of criticism from these people who insisted on the necessity of circumcision. As a result, other Jewish Christians followed Peter’s hypocrisy, and even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy.”

You’re right that James “intertwined the law” in Galatians 1:2 as his friends ‘preached’ circumcision just as James said of his congregation: “…thousands…all follow the law of Moses…: (Acts 21:20 NLT)

Enjoyed your comment.

Rex Ray said...


I’d like to add my opinion of why James told Paul “…thousands…all follow the law of Moses…” Do you think James was bragging or complaining? You know what I think.

I believe he was telling Paul he was outnumbered and he might as well give up on preaching the Law was not necessary for salvation.

I’d like to add how James “intertwined” the law with grace as he twisted the Jewish laws into the gospel.

Peter said, “…why are you now challenging God by BURDENING the Gentile believers…” (Acts 15:10 NLT)

Wonder if James thought if Peter could ‘get’ God on ‘his side’, he could ‘get’ the Holy Ghost on his as he said, “It seemed good to the Holy Ghost and to us, to lay upon you no greater BURDENEN than these necessary things. (Acts 15:28 KJ)

James had said, “And so MY JUDGEMENT [who made him the judge?] is that we should not make it difficult [obeying all Jewish laws] for the Gentiles who are turning to God.” (Acts 15:19 NLT)

Looks like James made it easy on Christian Gentiles, but it was still “difficult” for Christian Jews to obey the Law of Moses which had circumcision on top of the list. After all, God had confronted Moses and was about to kill him because he had not circumcised his son. (Exodus 4:24)

In a cowboy move the bad guys were on their horses being hung. No one would make the horse run of the last man because he was their friend. The friend spurred his horse. They said, “He didn’t live right but he died good.”

That’s the way I feel about James…his theology was wrong but he died good praising Jesus. (History)

Rex Ray said...


You probably saw the recent news about the 17 year old ‘runaway’ that murdered a college girl. The girl lived in my granddaughter’s dorm.

It got me to thinking and I read this link from the FBI that averaged rapes from 2003-2008. I did not understand it saying the numbers did not represent actual numbers.

White on Black 0 [I suppose this is because not many whites date blacks.]
Black on white 22,538
Black on Black 24,730

Other links said Whites committed the most rapes. (Higher population)

This link: https://aloftyexistence.wordpress.com/2010/11/18/interracial-marriage-and-divorce-the-study/

“Black male/white female couples had the highest likelihood of divorce of all white/non-white marriages.”

I think of Obama as an example.

Niel Harris said...

Greetings Rex,

Yes I read about the vile and brutal murder of the young woman who was a freshman at U of T. I pray that the family will experience comfort and peace during this horrible time...also that the young women in that dorm will be able to regain some sense of safety and security. I do hope that the accused 17 year old if prosecuted and found guilty will be punished to the fullest extent of the law.

I am also aware of the statistics you shared in your comments regarding "interracial rape". I am not quite sure why you find it necessary to share these data points with me. I have limited confidence in these type of statistics and even less confidence when they are promoted by so-called conservative media outlets. Particularly when it comes to rape historically and presently these statistics demonstrate that white males just do not have their rape incidents reported, prosecuted or punished as other males do. White males get away rape at very high numbers. On college campuses like U of T and many others white males commit rapes in very high numbers and they go unreported and thus not prosecuted or punished.

I don't buy into the "conservative" media and white supremacist nonsense that sin is committed by and relegated to skin color. I accept Scripture that clearly states that ALL have sinned and come short of God's glory. In this country laws have been and are unequally enforced, unequally prosecuted and unequally punished. To suggest to me as you seem to do that black males commit more crimes than anyone else is nonsense. Sin is sin and it manifest itself in people of every skin color! In case you may have missed this little piece of American history...the reason why black people in this country for over 200 years are so many different hues is because of white males raping black women. The ugliness and violence of rape and murder is committed by men of all skin colors. I do not buy into the myth that these evils are committed more by black males than any other skin color of male. I will repeat ALL have sinned. ALL are sinners.

Regarding your statistics about interracial couples.......I am a licensed marriage officer in NY and VA and experience has taught me that happy strong long lasting marriages are achieved through family support, community support, the family background the family grew up in, financial/economic stability, housing stability and communication. One of the most destructive situations in this country is what happens when black men marry a white woman. In a large percentage of these marriages the woman in particular is abandoned by her family and community and left to rely solely on her husband for ALL emotional and personal support. The legacy of miscegenation laws still is acted out every day. Further inter-racial couples have difficulty finding housing because of racism and frequently verbally abused in public places. There are so many factors that mitigate against the success of inter-racial couples (especially when it is a black male and white woman) in this country that divorce is not at all a surprising outcome. Regurgitating statistics to me without any type of thoughtful understanding of the reasons why the stats are what they are is to be intentionally blind, shallow and unwilling to be very thorough.

I know nothing of President Obama's parents marital situation (I doubt that you do either).....However, I can bet that the factors I mentioned were contributing factors to its failure. In wikipedia it does record that the President's parents very short marriage was opposed by both of their families.....so it was off to a bad start.....

If your mission is to, as is done by conservative media, to demonstrate that sin is more manifest based on the color of your skin...and that in the US sin is more manifest in male persons who have black skin.......you have lost me in such a myth.

Rex Ray said...


Good to hear from you.

I didn’t know Obama’s parents’ marriage was opposed to by both families.
You said, “so it was off to a bad start.” Do you indicate it was their parents’ fault that their marriage failed?

I think their parents were smarter than their kids. I know (2 Corinthians 6:14 KJ) says “Be ye not unequally yoked…” applies to saved vs. lost people, but it’s true in other circumstances such as not pulling a wagon with a horse and calf. I also believe it applies to Black and White marriage.

Speaking of Obama, how did he become a Senator?

“Best Answer: Lucked into it. The original Republican nominee, Jack Ryan (ex-husband of actress Jeri Ryan) had to leave the Senate race because of a sex scandal, and his last minute replacement was not a very credible candidate. Obama won pretty much by default.”

Neil, hard question: Do you think Obama would be elected President if he had been White?

I believe White people bent over backwards to prove they were not prejudice.
You said, “To suggest to me as you seem to do that black males commit more crimes than anyone else is nonsense.”

How do you get that out of my statement: “Other links said Whites committed the most rapes. (Higher population)


“An analysis of ‘single offender victimization figures’ from the FBI for 2007 finds blacks committed 433,934 crimes against whites, eight times the 55,685 whites committed against blacks”

What makes it worse is Blacks are only 13.2% of the population.

The big question is why? Could it be they believe it’s ‘payback for history’ and have a chip on their shoulder as your comments seem to indicate like: “In this country, laws have been and are unequally enforced, unequally prosecuted, and unequally punished.”

Niel Harris said...


As I said in my previous comments...I know (and neither do you) much of anything about the President's parents marriage. On the public record all that is known is that it was a very short one and that both of their parent's were very strongly against both of them marrying. Marriages do not fail over a single matter.....There were most likely many factors that contributed to its failure. Only the late parents of the president and few close to them at the time know all the reasons.

There is certainly no Christian or biblical teaching that even comes close to speaking about black and white marriages. The matter of black and white is a construction that was designed in this country to support the practice of white supremacy, slavery, Jim and continued racial biasses. When the first settlers arrived in the US in the 1600s no one called each other black or white. As indentured servitude evolved into slavery -- there was a need to justify by constructing a delineation of skin color superiority to justify the racial construction. What has aways saddened my heart is that Christians strongly supported this system and joined in this horrific and unGodly belief system even practicing it within the walls of the church!!

Timing, circumstances and the Illinois democratic political machine decided that Mr Obama would make the right candidate for Senator....he ran and won.

Yes I believe the wreck that the republican President GW Bush and his cabinet left this country in economically and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan resulted in any Democratic presidential candidate being able to win whether it would be Mr Obama or a white candidate. Mr Obama became president because he had the skills of a great orator, attracted the votes of a large percentage of young people who did not want a war that was designed to line the pockets of the oil men instead of getting revenge for 9/11, new voters and those whose personal fortunes were lost through the banking and economic policies of the Bush administration. When an administration performs as badly as President GW Bush the opposite party always gets in. That is how Governor Jimmy Carter, a very decent man, but weak leader was able to become President after the President Nixon watergate scandal, VP Agnew scandal and a host of other things etc. (and Gerald Ford standing in for that mess)

Niel Harris said...


Your statement about white people bending over backwards to how lack of prejudice has no evidence in the election statistics. Mr Obama did not receive an over-whelming amount of white votes!! Matter of fact since wining both of his elections there has been more racist vitriolic comments from both radio and TV hosts, more white separatist and KKK groups forming, more disrespect from congressmen and Senators and disgusting racial imagery about he and the first lady. White people have not bent over backwards to prove they are not prejudice. Quite the opposite.....the statistics that you like to propagate has become the coded language and rhetoric and contortion of facts to prove that black people and especially black males are horrible citizens in this country. (Interestingly Trump is smarter he decided to target Mexicans and Islamic folks as all bad - and skillfully avoiding the baiting of Bill O'Reilly who tried to get him to condemn blacks as bad people like other GOP politicians and pundits have done)

What the statistics show for me is that black males in particular and black folks in general, followed by hispanics and native americans are disproportionately accused, arrested, prosecuted and imprisoned more than white males for exactly the same crimes. I have never doubted that! So the statistics that you provide only proves this to be the case. I do not believe that white males commit less crimes than black males or any other ethnic set of males. White males just get away with more crime disproportionately.

I have lived in both in predominately black communities and predominately white communities. The same crimes occur in both -- the difference is the deficit of public accusations, arrests, prosecutions and imprisonments. A kid in a black neighborhood takes a car he is charged with felony grand auto theft...a kid in a white neighborhood gets his wrist slapped and it is called a joyride. I have seen this with my own eyes. In the news recently a young hispanic male runs down and kills 3 persons with his car he is charged and convicted with homicide...a white young man got off with suspension and his same act for killing 4 people is called "affluenza".

Niel Harris said...

Rex - I wish you would STOP reading and repeating verbatim the right-wing conservative media rhetoric. No I do not believe it is "pay back for history" or "chip on their shoulder" -- the constant refrain of these wingnuts!!! There is nothing that can be done from a crime or violence perspective that the system of white supremacy and all its associated evils that have been done and still is being done in the US to "pay back"! That is pure nonsense! And no there is no chip on their shoulder!

These young males that you refer to are spiritually, morally, economically and personally broken from the impacts and effects of the evil past and present of the system in this country that has systematically destroyed families for generations. This system has disproportionately black families and black males....and thus these same ones are disproportionately represented in behavior and crimes in this country. The answer as to why is very clear if one desires to find them. Most do not want to find the answer because the answers make one have to face some very ugly facts in this otherwise great country of ours.

If there was any desire to find answers and address and provide solutions other than the nonsensical response of forget the past, fix your own community and pull yourself up by your boot straps..... the answers would be found.

An example of finding answer......now that heroin has impacted white communities....there is a big push to decriminalize use and possession and get medical help.......these same people who are saying this now because it impacts white young people were the same ones advocating and pushing for and writing legislation to give black, hispanic and native american young people long harsh sentences for the past almost 40 years. We have a generation of black people in prison for drug use!!! Now the same drug is in white communities we can't have a generation of them in prison so there is a cry to change the law and its enforcement.

if you want to see -- if you want answers you can get them. If you want to have a political answer repeat the nonsense on the radio and TV or one-sided blogs. White communities would never tolerate the harassment and treatment in their schools, streets, universities by police --- nor the prosecution and imprisonment that goes on in black communities. I know this because I live in them. The police are expected to treat them nicely and they do.

Rex Ray said...


Off the subject to start: Years ago, Wade’s father (Paul) held a revival at our church where we became friends. He has a blog at: http://vtmbottomline.blogspot.com/

His post is about anger. He wrote: “Anger in a person is not caused by the actions of other people.” “You are never a victim of someone else’s behavior.”

The ratio of those making comments in favor is 3 to 1. A long time ago, one of the majority made a famous statement: “It’s the bit dog that hollers.” You can tell I’m in pain. :)

I’m wondering if you’d like to join the group as this comment was made: “The community of commenters will have to decide for themselves on which side of the disagreement they fall."

I’m going to reply to your last 3 comments when I get a little more time, but maybe I won’t have to if you agree with Paul Burleson. :)

Rex Ray said...


Sorry for the time I’ve taken to respond to your replies. I will respond to your first comment’s paragraphs in order.

In general you said that no one knows why Obama’s parents’ short marriage failed except them. That would be correct, but if I was guessing if his father was like most rich Muslims, his wife revolted at the though of going to his country and living with all his other wives. To add to the problem more than likely his other wives would be black and she would fit in as much if it was the other way around.

You say there is no biblical teaching the even comes close to black and white marriages. I think you would agree that black and white marriages have ‘two strikes’ against them to start…not to mention their children may not fit in with ether group. With that thought in mind consider the scripture that says, be not unequally yoked.

You swept “Timing, circumstances” under the rug how Obama became a Senator and conclude “he ran and won.”

Was GW Bush responsible for the bad decision of war to stop “weapons of mass destruction”, or was the FALSE information given to him responsible?

I’m glad you said Jimmy Carter was a decent man, and if you read his book, “An hour before daylight” you might get a different opinion how whites treated blacks.

You mentioned the Watergate scandal, the VP Agnew scandal, but omitted the worst: the murder of JFK that caused Americans to loose their unwavering faith it their government.

If you read my friend, James Tague’s book, LBJ and the Kennedy Killing that proved Oswald was innocent, you will never feel the same.

Tague’s proven injury by a bullet made the Warren Commission invent the “magic bullet”.

Or see the movie film “I killed JFK” by confessed killer and “hit man for the Mafia” James Files who was still in prison the last I heard.

My address is 7075 W FM 898…Bonham TX. 75418. If you write me, I’ll send Tague’s book that I’ve reduced to 8 pages.

Well, that’s about all the time I have for now. Will reply more later.

Niel B. Harris said...

Hey Rex....no need to apologize....I know that for both of us there are many things going on in our lives and we cannot instantly respond to each other. I read Paul Burleson's statement and I fully agree. When it comes to anger scripture teaches of the outcome that can result from uncontrolled habitual anger.....and also encourages us when angry to not sin as well as not allow the anger to be sustained. Our anger should also be more aligned with a godly one rather then simply feeling offended by a hurt done to one. No one can "make" us angry. We indeed choose to be angry. Thank you for sharing it.

My choice is not to guess or speculate about the President's parent's marriage. It serves no good purpose at all.

Because of the ungodly practice of white supremacy (much of it even seeps in among Christians) in this country, it does make it very difficult for black and white couples and their off-spring to live happily and peacefully. These couples have dozens of strikes against them......however to wrongly apply the verse regarding "unequally yoked" to this race-based evil in this country is not something I can do. I do know of a couple - Jake who is black and Mary who is white who survived all types of wickedness from family, neighbors and former friends (so-called Christians amongst them) and have been happily married for 65 years. Matter of fact Mary's parents disowned her. Thankfully Jake's parents embraced her and them. In was through their deep faith and trust in God along with some genuine Christian family and friends that they have weathered the storms.

I did read Jimmy Carter's book. It was a great read. What opinion do you think I have about whites treating blacks?

How or in what manner did I sweep timing and circumstances under the rug regarding Mr Obama winning the Senate race?

My point of mentioning Nixon and Agnew was to illustrate the point that typically the party of the incumbent president usually loses when the incumbent is perceived to have been a poor president whether economically or from a scandal/corruption perspective. President GW Bush's presidency was not perceived to be poor because of the wars only! I don't buy into the notion that he decided to go to war because he was given bad intelligence. There are way too many ancillary things going on around these two wars to accept such a simplistic excuse. The war and the collapsing economy among several other issues removed any chance for another republican to replace President GWB.

With regard to JFK's assassination. I never have or will never believe what we all have been told that it was a single bullet from Oswald. Both of Mr Tague's books and many other books helped to form that conclusion.

Niel B. Harris said...


I attempted to respond but was unable to by the moderator


Rex Ray said...


You’re right that NOW tensions between black and white are far worse than when Obama took office. Why did it happen on his “watch”? I believe his actions caused a lot of it by ‘condemning’ America every chance he got.

You’re right that there have been more negative comments about Obama from many sources. That’s because he’s done so many dumb things like making the Military accept gays. It seems he is trying to get impeached by doing what only Congress is allowed etc.

In his book, he said the most beautiful sound on earth was the Muslim call to prayer. (Duh) At one time while representing America he bowed very low before a Muslim king.

Niel, if you and I met and one of us sat like a bump on a log, while the other extended their hand for a handshake, which one would portray being friends and letting bygones be bygones? Well, that’s what happened this week between a Muslim king and Obama. Have you seen it on TV?

My statement of “white people bending over backwards to show they were not prejudice was only true BEFORE Obama was elected. I personally did not vote for him as a lot of older whites did not. It was not because he was black but because I believe older people knew more about him than the younger generation. One grandson pleaded with me to vote for him.

I only speak with the ‘filter’ in my head.
That’s right FILTER. One sermon I’ll never forget is the experiences each of us have will shape our opinions because of our past.

That means people hearing the same evidence may have different conclusions. That’s proven as so many times it takes a long time for a jury to reach a decision or may even become deadlocked.

You mentioned black and white kids are treated differently for taking a car. White gets wrist slap…black charged with auto theft.

Maybe it was proven in court the white ‘swapped” cars for a little while and did not intend to keep the car.

My filter remembers a cop shooting his gun and yelling “Stop him!” Our softball team caught the black as he ran across our ball field. The kid had stripped a car for parts and had wrecked it trying to outrun the police. No wonder he lost control as the front seat was missing.

You said, “a young Hispanic male runs down and kills 3 persons with his car. He is charged and convicted with homicide…a white young man got off with suspension and his same act for killing 4 people is called “affluenza”.

I’ll admit sometimes cases are won by the ‘smartest’ lawyer. Example: On the internet, type OJ. Why didn’t you pick him for your example of blacks being treated unfairly?

Back to your example: Since you omitted the facts of the case, maybe it was proven in court the black was not drunk, knew what he was doing and had murder in his heart.

The white kid that killed 4 people with his car did not intend to hurt anyone but was drunk. Drinking and driving is a serious crime; even though thousands do it everyday and get away with it.

You said the white got off with suspension, but in the long run he has a 2 year jail term and may get that added for each person he killed.

I would summarize your second comment as playing the ‘race card’.

Rex Ray said...


My last comment posted April 19 where I accuse you of “playing the race card” would not have been made if I’d seen your comment posted April 18. I was replying to your April 13 comment. Sorry.

You said you agree with Paul Burleson’s about “No one can make us angry.”

I made the last comment to his post that has not been replied to in the last week.
Would you reply? This is it.

“Paul said:
1. “Anger in a person is not caused by the actions of other people,”
2. “You are never a victim of someone else’s behavior.”

IMHO, these two stories will show his two comments won’t hold water.

Before I was born, my father made a small baby bed. When a brother came with me, he added more space. One day, I was crying because my twin had reached through the bars and had ALL the toys behind him.

My brother-in-law was a principle at a junior high school. A big boy in kindergarten had hit a small boy. After receiving one lick for punishment, he told the principle it was the only way he could get the small boy to stop bothering him.

The little boy was called to the principle’s office.
“Did you pester the boy that hit you?”
“Do you think you should get one lick the same as him?”
“Bend over and grab you ankles.”
The 5 year old said, “When are you going to put me to sleep?”

[The big boy was made angry by the actions of the little boy.]”

harris nielb said...


Let me suggest that maybe you should change the "filter" in your head. Your filter seems to prize statistics that paint young black males in a negative light, your filter seems to ignore the realities that exist in this country and the Christian community white supremacy and its impact on a wide range of issues, your filter receives and regurgitates verbatim the rhetoric of the single side of media that lies and exaggerates to elicit fear and ager in people (yielding the political activism seen in the Trump excitement), your filter lacks any kind of sympathy or kindness to the tons of statistical of the evil in the country done to poor and black people in this country, your filter is clouded you decided to change the hispanic driver to a "black driver" I did not omit any details) and then manufactured an intent and motive that was developed in your imagination rather than the facts of what happened. Lastly your filter quickly summarizes what I shared and what are well documented facts and statistics as the same aforementioned media people and accused me of "playing the race card".

You being a man of more the 4 score years who professes to be a Christian and enjoys the public ministry of both Burlesons -- I am disturbed that your "filter" in your head is not more impacted by the Scripture, by Christ and influenced by an honest and truthful assessment of the history and present affairs in the world we live than what you read and hear on "wingnut" radio, TV and websites.

As a young man in my teens, twenties and thirties my "filter" growing up in the 50s-70s, in my head was filled with pain, fear hurt and anger as I experienced the legal bias and treatment because of the color of my skin. It was informed by not being able to attend the white church was that part of my same denomination, it was informed as you could use the same bathrooms water fountains or could not vote. It was informed by white boys beating me up for fun. It was informed by my mother's experience in the 40s who possessed a degree in biology - graduating summa cum laude attempting to get employment at Eastman Kodak was told she could only work for the custodial staff. My "filter" as young person was informed that white men who served in WWII could get loans to buy homes while my Dad and black men could not get the same loan.

But thank God as left being young and also grew in Christ and study the Scripture more deeply....my "filter" changed. Many of my real life experiences also changed my filter. I learned that evil and sin reigns in all people who have not been transformed by the gospel and then have their thinking and behavior corrected by learning the heart and mind of Christ.

I enjoy our discourse on Scripture and other issues. Once you begin to use language and phrases and quote the rhetoric verbatim of wingnut media that are entirely biased and targets black males - I become very distressed.

Rex Ray said...


I think we both need a T-shirt that was given to my brother that said, “I’m not arguing with you; I’m explaining why I’m right.” :)

I think we should agree on the definition of “filter”. To me, it is what has happened to you. It’s history and cannot be changed.

I’m not saying a person cannot change their mind or act in a different manner under the same circumstance.

For instance, you will always remember being beat up by white boys and all the other bad experiences you mentioned that I believe was very shameful.

Last week, my daughter and I visited my sister-in-law who has altinezer’s. Their black woman ‘caretaker’ asked how my wife was and we exchanged hugs. She attended our church wedding seven months ago. (I had lost my wife of 55 years to dementia four years ago and had married a college sweetheart…I’d asked her to marry 60 years ago.)

Niel, you’ll have to read between the lines to get my point.

You said, “your filter is clouded you decided to change the hispanic driver to a “black driver”.”

No, it was not my filter that changed hispanic to black but my memory. You see, the best thing I’m improving on is my ‘forgetter’. The sentence before you said, “A kid in a black neighborhood takes a car…”

You said, “I did not omit any details and then manufactured an intent and motive that was developed in your imagination rather than the facts of what happened.”

Here are the facts your wrote: “In the news recently a young Hispanic male runs down and kills 3 persons with his car he is charged and convicted with homicide.”

End of story! You told no facts, but left it to my imagination which I thought was pretty good. Did your imagination convict him because he was not white?

You said that I enjoyed the ministry of both Burlesons.

That’s true, but we do not always agree. Years ago Wade said he was glad I wasn’t a member of his church.

On another comment, you said you agreed with Paul’s post that said “No one can “make” us angry.”

Why don’t you tell him that and increase the comments more than 17?

Gordon said...

Nelson Mandela said : "As I walked out the door....to my freedom, I knew if I didn't leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I'd still be in prison". Still a slave to others.

May we all follow Niel's example and put on the new "filters" of grace and love, and keep them on, because it does none of us any good to wallow in the hurts of past traumatic experiences.

Ramesh said...

I knew this particular post was going to be heated and thus I stayed away. This link does not address the blog post but comments. I had posted this before in this blog.

Noam Chomsky on the Roots of American Racism

From my own experience living in Philly, the city of brotherly love, is that racism is innate in American psyche and it is not just whites but also leavens others too. At least that has been my experience.

Victorious said...

Past painful, hurtful, traumatic experiences will most likely never be forgotten but that doesn't mean one is wallowing in the memories. They are realities that shape(d) who we are and we learn from them. They teach us many things about human nature; about the evil that exists in the world; about how we reacted to them; the effect they had on us; and last but not least...we learn to never treat others the way we were treated during those painful incidents and we learn to forgive.

They can be the very things that enable us to sympathize and empathize with others who are hurting and extend grace and offer our services during their time of need.

Paul recalled his tribulations... afflictions, hardships, distresses, beatings, in imprisonments, sleeplessness, hunger, etc. (2 Cor.6) but said they produce endurance and proven character. (Rom. 5:3) He also reminded the Hebrews of the said experiences of many in the OT....experienced mockings and scourgings, yes, also chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated. Heb. 11

Our filters are unique to each individual and we should appreciate the differences as they make up the beauty and diversity of the body of Christ.

Good word, Gordon....new filters of grace and love.