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

U.S. Citizens Must Have the Mentality of a Marine

Slavery is evil.

All human beings intuitively know this. That knowledge is part of the innate Law of God that the Creator makes plain in every human conscience.  

Philosopher John Locke called this knowledge Natural Law, and argued that humans know by nature that it is wrong to kill, enslave, or steal. 

Therefore, according to Locke, every human being has Natural Rights guaranteed by Nature and Nature's God. They are "life, liberty, and property." The Founders of the United States changed Locke's concept of  "property" to  "the pursuit of happiness" in The Declaration of Independence. The Founders knew that citizens' freedom to pursue private property led to the general happiness of the population.

In today's civil anarchy, many citizens of the United States have made the mistake of believing that the problem our country faces is one of race. They say that black lives have been historically, institutionally, and culturally enslaved and that "white, Christian privilege" has been the heart of America's problem. 

A little history will expose the error in their thinking.

Robert Davis, Emeritus Professor of History at Ohio State University, writes in his book Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters: White Slavery in the Mediterranean, the Barbary Coast, and Italy, 1500-1800:
"From 1500 to 1650, when trans-Atlantic slaving was still in its infancy, more white Christian slaves were taken to Barbary (Northern Africa) than black African slaves to the Americas." 
That is an inconvenient truth for those who think "white privilege, Christianity, and the United States republic" should be destroyed and a new system of governance and leadership established. 

Slavery is not about race or religion. Slavery is about power.

Dr. Davis writes: 
"One of the things that both the public and many scholars have tended to take as given is that slavery was always racial in nature – that only blacks have been slaves. But that is not true. We cannot think of slavery as something that only white people did to black people.”

Evil people in power, regardless of color or creed, enslave others. 

The United States was built on the concept of moral political leaders ensuring individual citizen's freedoms. Freedom from tyranny. Freedom from oppression. Freedom from enslavement. 

America's problem is not about race.

America's problem is with people who don't understand that Natural Law and Natural Rights are the foundational principles upon which the United States of America are established.

There are some who wish to cause chaos in the United States in an attempt to tear down the system of government they say is built on "white, Christian privilege." 

The idea the United States is built on "white, Christian privilege" is pure ignorance. The United States was built on the immortal principle that "all men are created equal,"  and are guaranteed by the Creator "certain inalienable rights." Inalienable means they supersede any government law and cannot be removed since the Creator gives them.

Our clear and present danger in the United States is the increasing and absolute power of the state and the resulting enslavement of citizens state's dictates and a denial of the individual citizen's Natural Rights.

Those of us who know history are warning you.

The enslavement of people, regardless of their color or creed, occurs when absolute power is handed to evil leaders.  Evil leaders are those who deny Natural Law and Natural Rights and make mandates to which people must conform, soon enslaving those same people for resisting the state's power. 

Slavery has nothing to do with race and everything to do with immoral power.  

As we see citizens of the United States arrested while singing hymns in front of their court house, as we observe a woman getting tasered and arrested for not complying with a mask mandate at an outdoor football game for her children, as we see random United States citizens assaulted and robbed on the streets by anarchists, United States citizens have arrived at a momentous crossroads. 

We must make all make a decision as to what we are going to do to stop the impending enslavement.

In 1805, the Marines were sent by President Jefferson to rescue white slaves on the coast of North Africa (Tripoli) during the First Barbary War. We hear about their mission every time we hear the Marines' Hymn played

From the Halls of Montezuma
To the shores of Tripoli;
We fight our country’s battles
On the land as on the sea;
First to fight for right and freedom
And to keep our honor clean;
We are proud to claim the title
Of United States Marine.

It's time for every American take the mentality of a Marine.  

The Social Dilemma, Francis Bacon, Jesus & Truth

Last week, my wife Rachelle and I watched the documentary The Social Dilemma.

The film examines the rise of social media and the damage it causes society. It features interviews with Tristan Harris, a former Google design ethicist who quit Google and founded The Center for Humane Technology

Our youngest son told us that after he watched The Social Dilemma, he did away with all his social media accounts, including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

In essence, the documentary's premise is that hatred, division, and the extreme polarization in our politics and culture are due to one fundamental problem. Tristan Harris states the problem succinctly:
"You look around and it seems as if the world is going crazy. Is this normal? Have we all fallen under some kind of spell? I want people to understand that the problem happening in social media doesn’t have a name, but it has to do with one source, with one fundamental problem.

If we don’t agree on what is true, or that there is such a thing as truth, our country is toast. This is the problem beneath other problems because if we can’t agree on what’s true, then we can’t navigate out of any of our problems.”
Scientists, venture capitalists, tech industry leaders, and others agreed with Tristan's belief that America's fundamental problem is the inability to know and agree on the truth.

Cathy O'Neil, Ph.D., a data scientist and author of Weapons of Math Destruction, echoes what Tristan Harris believes about America's trouble with the truth.
“People talk about Artificial Intelligence as if it will know truth. AI is not going to solve the problem of fake news. Google doesn’t have the option of saying 'Is this conspiracy? Is this truth?' Because they don’t know what truth is." 
Roger McNamee, a Facebook venture capitalist in Silicon Valley summarizes America's problems well:
“We need to have some shared understanding of truth. Otherwise, we aren’t a country.”
Jesus said, "I am the truth." (John 14:6). Standing on trial before a powerful Roman governor named Pilate, Jesus had the courage to say:
"The reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”

The God of this world is the God of truth.  

Francis Bacon and His Masterpiece Book "Of Truth"

Francis Bacon (1561-1626) is considered the father of the scientific method. He also has been called the father of empiricism. His works argued for the possibility of scientific knowledge based only upon inductive reasoning and careful observation of events in nature. Most importantly, Bacon argued science could be achieved by the use of a skeptical and methodical approach whereby scientists aim to avoid misleading themselves.

Bacon dealt with truth scientifically. He believed truth to be objective and quantifiable, with its source the Creator God. Bacon explained in his classic work Of Truth three main reasons human beings do not want to admit or agree that there is an objective truth that has its source in the God of truth.

Reason #1: Acquiring the truth is hard work.

When someone speaks of "my truth" or "your truth" or "their truth," then truth has become subjected to someone's feelings or way of thinking. Bacon vigorously argued that real truth comes from God, is objective and independent of human feelings, and must be discovered through hard work. To know God's Word, said Bacon, is to learn the who, what, when, and where facts of the Bible was written. The truth, like any precious object, can be discovered. But uncovering the truth requires hard work, and Bacon says people don't like to work hard for anything, especially God's truth. To read the Bible involves the study of ancient history, geography, languages, and a host of other disciplines. The reason there is no agreement on truth in America is that Americans would rather enjoy playing video games than endeavor in virtuous gains. Our delight in sports often poisons our devotion to Scriptures. Americans don't like to work for anything, especially the truth.

Reason #2: Blurring the truth is haughty wickedness.

God's truth as to how we ought to live and behave is discoverable, but the enemies of truth constantly say to us, "Has God REALLY said ...?" Francis Bacon calls God's truth "the bright sun at noonday," and writes that humans don't like what they see of themselves in a mirror illuminated by the noon-day sun. All of us look better, said Bacon, when we dim the lights. The word "sin" means "rebellion." There used to be a shared value of truth in America that adultery was immoral, homosexuality was opposed to God's standards, sexual immorality was something to be shunned and not celebrated. The 10 Commandments were viewed as God's commandments with a requirement for our compliance and not God's suggestions with a request for our consideration. But rather than see clearly what God has sad and condemn ourselves as rebels to God, we turn the lights down so that we don't have to see ourselves as we really are. America has blurred the truth.

Reason #3: Contravening the truth is the human way.

Francis Bacon says a strong motivating factor for human beings living contrary to the truth by outright contravening a direct command of the Creator, is because human beings in general believe that God's truth constricts their freedoms. "I want to do what I want to do, regardless of what God says." Freedom, it is said - real human freedom - means "throwing off the constrictions that come with the truth." Bacon says that the human being does not understand that the only real freedom that anyone will ever experience in this life is when he or she discovers God's truth, accepts His truth without varnishing or dimming it, and then lives it. Like a well-designed train that stays on its tracks, a human being submissive to the will of God moves forward with power and purpose. When one goes off the tracks, there is a crash and burn. Truth means freedom. 
"For you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free" (John 8:32). 
The social dilemma in America is indeed a lack of agreement and/or acceptance of the truth that comes from God.

An Isaiah 16 Targum on the Destruction of America

Fires in California in the year 2020
Most people don't read the Bible. 

When some do attempt it, the Hebrew Scriptures (the Old Testament) seem confusing if not impossible to comprehend.  

The lack of understanding of what the Bible reveals says more about our modern system of education than it does the readers. 

Just a little more than a century ago, it was not uncommon to find many five-year-old Americans who had been taught to read the classics in the original Greek, Latin, or English. 

I'm mentoring a 13-year-old young man who struggles "to believe the stories of the Bible." This young man will one day see that his struggle is actually a symptom of his lacking knowledge in ancient history, language, and geography.

A generation of people raised on video games has little patience for virtuous gains

An English Targum might help someone understand the Bible better.  A Targum is an oral or written translation of the Hebrew Scriptures using another language, updating geographical locations, language idioms, and ancient history into words easily understood by a generation unfamiliar with the originals. 

The power of an English Targum to transform English speaking people can be illustrated from Isaiah 16. 

Context of Isaiah 16

The Land of Moab (in Pink)
The Moabites were a people in Isaiah's day just like modern Americans. They were proud, self-
sufficient, and uninterested in YHWH, the God of Israel. They'd abandoned faith in God.

In 712 BC, the cities of Moab were "destroyed in one night" (Isaiah 15:1) by the mighty Assyrian army. Some Moabites fled from their country first to Selah (Petra), and then made plans to send emissaries to Zion (Jerusalem) to ask for refuge (Isaiah 16:1-4).

YHWH had compassion on the Moabites. The LORD instructed His people (the Jews) to shelter the Moabites in Zion: 
"Let the Moabite fugitives stay with you; be their refuge from the destroyer." (Isaiah 16:4).

The LORD is always compassionate and merciful to those who run to HIM for shelter. Ruth was a Moabitess. She is in the lineage of King David and the Messiah. God is merciful to those who run to Zion (the cross of Jesus Christ) for shelter. 

However, one of the major themes of the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, is that the LORD brings down the proud and the LORD exalts the humble.

"For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled by the LORD, and those who humble themselves will be exalted by the LORD." (Luke 14:11)

 "For exaltation comes...from God...for He brings down the poud and He exalts the humble." (Psalm 75:4-7)

 "God mocks the proud, but He gives favor to the humble" (Proverbs 3:34)

"Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud
but shows favor to the humble." (I Peter 5:5).

God still brings down the proud who resist Him. 

Isaiah 16:6-11 is the explanation from YHWH for why the Moab was destroyed in one night. YHWH brought devastation to a proud people. The LORD laid Moab low.  

An English Targum of Isaiah 16:6-11

To help you understand that the Bible is just as relevant and practical today as it was in Isaiah's day, I'm giving an English Targum of the rationale of YHWH for destroying Moab (America). 

We have heard of America's pride --
How great is her arrogance! --
of her conceit, pride, and insolence;
But America's boasts are empty.

Therefore the American people wail,
They wail together for their country.
They lament and grieve over farms,
For the fields of the Midwest wither, 
The vines of California are on fire.

Foreign nations have brought down
American industries from success.
They have forced businesses to close
from the far East Coast to the West.
Your once-thriving economy has been
shut down and the people have nothing.

I mourn the loss of Chicago's safety,
I weep over Minneapolis's destruction.
I find myself weeping over the events 
in Kenosha, Portland, and Louisville,
for the cries of the riots have overcome
your former wealth and prosperity.

Gladness is gone, for it is taken away.
Joy from your abundance is no more; 
for no one sings in cities of California.
Nor are there any shouts in the arenas.
There are no businesses making money.
I have made all the shouting for joy cease.
I feel the harp's mournful song for America.
And my inner being weeps for Washington.

America, there is REFUGE in running to Christ and living for Him as our King. 

A nation cannot forsake the LORD. A proud people will see themselves as their own gods. When that happens, the One true and merciful Creator will bring low those proud people. 

America is being made low.

A Tribute of Honor for Navy Veteran Claude Hicks

Col. Curt Castillo at Claude Hick's grave
Rachelle and I have some very special friends around the world whom we cherish.

Two of those friends live right here in Enid. Air Force Colonel Curt Castillo (ret.) and his wife Suzi are members of Emmanuel Enid. We've known them for two decades. Colonel Castillo has had a highly distinguished and decorated career in the United States Air Force, recently finishing his Air Force career as a commander at Vance Air Force Base in Enid, Oklahoma. He now flies for one of the United States' major commercial airlines, commuting from Enid.

Yesterday, Curt read my post entitled Covid and the Inhumanity of Isolating the Elderly. I lamented the fact that some of our elderly were dying alone, without family around them because of isolation.

Another friend of mine from Texas, Rex Ray, read the same post that Curt did.

Rex is an intelligent man and regularly tells some wonderful stories in his comments on my blog. Rachelle and I became close to Rex and his wife Judy after they joined us on a tour of Israel just a couple of years ago. 

After reading my post about the tragedy of the elderly dying alone because of COVID-19 isolation, Rex commented: 
"This is a heart-breaking story.

Our favorite cousin, Claude Hicks, was in the navy and scheduled to invade Japan. But two weeks before, the BOMB ended the war.

He was in a nursing home, and we were not allowed to visit.

When he died this May (2020), his wife was in a nursing home and wasn’t allowed to attend his funeral because of the virus. Claude Hicks was buried at Dallas Forth Worth National Cemetery that has 41,000 graves.

There were no “Taps”, no flag to be given to a loved one.
The number allowed to attend was six.
All we could see from 200 yards, was a backhoe digger, and men lowering a coffin."

Col. Curt Castillo read Rex's comment on my blog.

Col. Castillo and Rex do not know each other. 

Curt was so moved by Rex's comment, that today - on Curt's day off  - he drove to DFW National
Cemetery to pay his respects to Claude Hicks. Col. Curt Castillo took the time to locate Fireman First Class (F1) Claude Hicks (United States Navy) final resting place. At the grave, he paid his respects.

Col. Curt Castillo texted me just a few minutes ago: 

"As my parents age, I really appreciated your blog yesterday. However, Rex Ray's comment struck a nerve. Rex not being able to attend his cousin's funeral up close and personal is sad and unnecessary. I don't know Rex, nor do I know where Rex lives, but if you could tell him that I have visited his cousin's final resting place and paid my respects to a man who served his country with honor." 

Rex, I know that you and Judy will read this. Please share with Claude's wife that United States Colonel Curt Castillo (ret.) was so moved by his story of an isolated burial for a soldier of honor, that he traveled to pay his respects.

This is why I love America. Our country is filled with men and women with the character of the Castillos, the Rays, and the Hicks.

There is no stranger when it comes to sacrifice and honor. Thank you, Col. Castillo, for illustrating what makes America such a great country.

 It's people like you.

Covid and the Inhumanity of Isolating the Elderly

Susan's Father, March 2020
This is Susan's story.

Or more accurately, this is the story of Susan's father. 

Susan's father is pictured to the left in a photo from March 2020, just days before the government-mandated lockdowns of our elderly in nursing homes and living centers throughout the country, isolating them from their loved ones. Susan's father lives in a nursing center 25 miles south of Enid, Oklahoma. 

Susan shares her story and the pictures of her father to illustrate the inhumanity of isolating the elderly from their loved ones. After she shares her story (below), Susan asks that you pay close attention to the picture of her father that taken last week, the first week of September 2020. According to Susan,  the picture shows the effects that six months of isolation from loved ones have had on her father.

Susan reads my blog. I don't know Susan, but recently she wrote to me an email expressing her gratitude for writing so plainly about controversial issues during these Covid-19 times.

I'll not comment on Susan's story except for one caveat at the beginning, and a summary at the end. My caveat: Some of my best friends in this life own nursing homes and living centers. I pray for them daily. My job as a pastor is a breeze compared to their jobs in 2020. 

What is happening in nursing homes and living centers is not the fault of nursing home administrators. They are doing their best. They are under government mandates. They also face severe pressure from the public, from families, and from health departments.

But there comes a time when peoples' stories need to be heard. There are worse things than dying from Covid-19. One of those things is living isolated from loved ones. 

If the cure becomes worse than the disease, then living is worse than death. 

Here's Susan's story, unedited and reprinted with permission. 

"My Dad is in the nursing home. He has dementia, diabetes, and profound loss of hearing. The lockdown due to Covid-19 has been an extraordinary hardship for him. He has had no physical contact with his family for six months now. He is confused and does not understand why we have abandoned him. But he does know that he is alone and it has taken away his reason to want to live. I am writing this because we don’t know how much time has has left. He is skin and bones from not wanting to eat. We eat to live and if you are completely isolated from everyone who loves you, then what do you have to live for?

The staff comes and goes about their own lives normally as they should! Physical therapist, doctors, inspectors all coming and going in the nursing home. The only ones not allowed in are the families. My parents have been married for 56 years. And they can’t see each other face-to-face, can’t hold each other’s hand. This is having a terrible toll on my mother as well. This is breaking the spirit of them both!

Being deaf my father has to see your face to understand what you’re telling him, but with everybody with a mask on, It has just made him more isolated.

My dad got Covid-19 anyway as did most of the residents in his facility. He went to the hospital where he was in a blacked out room. Didn’t know if it was daytime or nighttime. Hadn’t had his teeth brushed, Not allowed to go have a shower as Covid-19 patients aren’t allowed in the shower room. He was in there for 10 days! He physically recovered but emotionally he has not recovered, and will not recover until he can have contact with the only thing he cares about, his family. He is depressed, confused, and very alone. 

This has gone on far too long! They can’t even get their haircut, or sit together in the dining room, left laying in a bed, no fresh air, no sunshine. they are isolated to their bedroom and they have been for far too long. The families are suffering heartbreak and anger as well knowing their loved ones are dying alone, without being able to say goodbye, they will never get over this. 

So again I am begging, reunite the families with their loved ones in the nursing home. I am attaching two pictures of my father one was taken in May during lockdown but allowed out of their rooms and the second one taken when I picked him up from the hospital and returned him to the nursing home, you can see how much ground he has lost in just a few short months. 

This is inhumane and cruel for the end of their life to be locked up alone afraid and confused. We do not have much time left. 

This is urgent! Please allow us to be together." 

Susan's Father, September 2020

The old Hans Christian Anderson fable called The Emperor's New Clothes tells the story of an emperor in an ancient country that hired two weavers to make the king some new clothes. The weavers, unknown to the king, were professional swindlers. They took the king's money with no intention of making the king new clothes. A succession of court officials, and then the emperor himself, visited the weavers' shop to check on their progress. They all saw that the looms were empty, but having heard the weavers were allegedly the best in the world, the king and his court each pretended to see fine clothes being woven lest others think them foolish.  Soon, the king rides in procession before the entire city in the new clothes purchased from the weavers. The king is naked. But the people are too uncomfortable to declare the truth. They're afraid of the king. They're concerned they may be the only ones saying something is wrong. They are afraid of a backlash from others. That is, until a little boy cries out, "The king has no clothes!"

The government has come to the conclusion in 2020 that it is better for the elderly to isolate, shelter-in-place, and keep away from loved ones from fear of "catching Covid-19" than to allow families to live their lives making choices that are best for their loved ones. The people have complied. The individual liberty of American families has been overrun by forced compliance to the American government.

Susan is like that little boy in Hans Christian Anderson's story. She wants it known that something is wrong with the present situation in our country and she's willing to speak up and let her voice be heard.

It's better to live life loving the elderly under the threat of imminent death than to live life isolating the elderly in the hope of extended life. 

Jesus and Christian Involvement in 2020 Politics

Pilate and Jesus
Recently some sincere followers of Jesus have gone on social media and bemoaned the fact that Christians are seemingly more political than gospel oriented in 2020, as if the gospel of Jesus Christ and politics have nothing in common or should be completely separate. 

However, the idea that Christians should not be involved in politics or not vocal about politics is at best naïve and at worst anti-Christian.

Politics are at the core of the Good News message that Jesus Christ gave us.

Jesus was a controversial political figure in His day, and His followers should expect no less controversy in our day.

In fact, Jesus died as the result of a political execution. He died in the manner He did because the Roman government established death by means of crucifixion for everyone who rejected imperial Roman politics. 

Christians would do well to remember that the cross of Jesus was a Roman political cross, and that Jesus died on the cross because He was vocal in His politics.

Jesus led the common people of Israel to stop trusting in the Roman government and to start trusting in the Supreme God. As long as the Roman government ruled the people, the kingdom of God would never rule the world. 

Jesus repeatedly told his hearers  about “the coming of the kingdom of God.” This message of "kingdom" represented the theme of His ministry. That's important to remember because of the significance of the word "kingdom."

In the days of Jesus, "kingdom” was a political word. There was the kingdom of Herod in Israel, and the kingdom of Rome throughout the world, including in the nation of Israel where Herod served as Rome's vassal king of the Jews. Jesus told the people that the kingdom of God for the earth was far better than Roman or Herodian politics. 

Jesus prayed to the Father, "Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven," in what we call The Lord's Prayer. The kingdom of God, according to Jesus, would be a far better political system than the kingdoms with which his hearers had been familiar. 

Jesus taught the people that politics mattered. 

Jesus called what matters the kingdom of God on earth. He could have called it the “family” of God. He could have used other words, like "gathering" or "community" or simply "the people of God." Instead, Jesus used the political word "kingdom." Using the kingdom of God as a description of what the world should become was a political statement by Jesus, a strike at the heart of Roman politics. 

In other words, Jesus was a political agitator in His day. 

Jesus taught that the kingdom of God would be a world of economic justice where everybody had the material basics for life's existence. The kingdom of God would bring the world into peace and nonviolence. Together, the political ideals of economic justice and world peace represented the twin icons of the kingdom of God on earth.

Jesus is our greatest example for why a Christian should be involved in politics and vocal about it. 

Jesus’ passion for God's kingdom among men created conflict with the Roman authorities. Jesus began his public ministry shortly after Roman authorities arrested John the Baptist (Mark 1:14).Throughout the gospel narratives of Jesus’ life, political conflict, disagreement with Roman authorities, and being labeled a political agitator dominate the Jesus story. 

Jesus entered Jerusalem the last week of His life on a donkey as "King" to symbolize that God's kingdom would bring peace and the abolition of war. During that last week of His life, Jesus cleansed the Temple and called it “a den of robbers” because the Temple had become the center of collaboration with Roman political rule and taxation (Matt 21:13, Mark 11:17, Luke 19:46).

Jesus died at the hands of Roman and Jewish political authorities because Jesus had passion for a transformed world and He said "No!" to the political powers that would end up killing Him. 

Of course, that's not the end of the story.

Jesus rose from the dead, conquering sin and death, and one day the kingdom of God on earth will be fully realized.

Until that time, Christians should follow the example of Jesus and never be afraid to speak out against an oppressive government that breeds injustice, violence, and oppression.

So next time you're tempted to say "Christians should stay out of politics," my rebuttal is a gentle disagreement contained in the words, "If your goal is to be like Christ, you must be involved in politics to ensure a world of freedom, justice, and peace."

Do You Know What Our Public Universities Teach?

The worst indictment on American culture in 2020 is that Americans pay more attention to football coaches and college championships than university professors and classroom curricula. 

We focus intently on what's happening on the football field and demand that coaches be a winner.  Yet we couldn't care less about what's happening in the college classroom and yawn as professors are given their tenure. 

It is in the university classroom that America is being destroyed, one student at a time. America used to be a melting pot of all cultures. Just a little over a generation ago, to be an American meant allegiance to the principle of individual liberties.  America was known worldwide for the capitalistic freedoms of individual thought, expression, and religion.  Conformity is the new normal.

Today, to be an "American" means you must adhere to the elitist's ideas. For the average American to express opinions different than those of the liberal cultural elites that rule the fields of education, medicine, and government is forbidden by the new socialists that are attempting to overtake American capitalism. The freedoms of individual thought, personal religion, and differing speech are now being ridiculed and punished via social shaming.

"Do you disagree with us?" We'll destroy you. "Do you have more than us?" We'll take it from you. "Do you live differently than I?" I'll shame you till you're just like me. 

Why has this change come over a new generation of Americans? I believe it's because the average American citizen has paid little attention to what public universities are teaching our children.

An example comes from my family's alma-mater, Oklahoma University, in Norman, Oklahoma. 

A Construction Science major at Oklahoma University recently told me that this fall (2020), he began taking a Resident Construction class, learning about the science of architecture in residential areas.  Construction Science is a blended program of science, engineering, business, architecture, and technology that provides a strong, broad background in construction management.

On the first day of class, the professor walked in wearing a 2020 Biden t-shirt. 

Then, the professor informed the class that a requirement for the class would be the mandatory reading of The Color of Law. Before I wrote this post, I purchased and read The Color of Law so I could comment on it. It is not about construction science. The author of the book is a socialist who believes more government control, more government intervention, and more government authority is needed to limit the freedoms of private developers. 

The author, Richard Rothstein, is a liberal academic historian. He knows nothing about residential construction.  Like all socialists,  Rothstein advocates that the government should rule over all American lives, using racial divisions as the excuse for more government. He believes in demanding the private developers be forced to conform to government mandates on housing. More government intervention, not less, is the solution to America's problems for every socialist. 

In the name of cultural diversity, university professors are mocking American liberty. In devout denials of the Creator God, educators are demanding that our young people give allegiance to an all-controlling government. Whereas freedom of thought, expression, and religion were once encouraged in the university classroom, professors now practice outright coercion, intimidation, and submission to government intervention. 

If you don't agree with the Construction Science professor at Oklahoma University, and if you disagree with the premise of The Color of Law, you'll not pass the class. That's the impression received by those who spoke with me privately in order to avoid any retribution. 

Americans shouldn't be surprised. Since the 1920s, communists have sought to destroy capitalism in the United States with little success. In the 1960s, the communists began changing their tactics. They settled on the more palatable word  "socialism," and sought to condition a new generation of Americans to give up their liberties in the name of progress. And now, our public university classrooms are filled with socialist professors that turn out students loose with the intent of destroying historic American values. 

We fell asleep while our universities were overrun. Take five minutes and watch this chilling video of a man who warned America in 1969 of what we are now seeing in 2020. 

It's time to wake up, America, and defend your liberties. 

Listen to the Creator When It Comes to Your Life

When Apollo 16 astronauts landed on the moon on Friday, April 21, 1972, they offloaded a lunar roving vehicle. These moon explorers were to traverse the surface of the moon for three days riding the moon mobile.

But the lunar rover ran into problems. After a day of exploring, the rover lost a rear fender and moon dust blanketed the vehicle's instruments. The astronauts were to explore the surface of the moon for 48 additional hours, so they could not afford the lunar rover to be broken down. 

The NASA Command Center in Houston, frantic to get the vehicle going again, was stumped with what to do to repair it. Finally, someone had the bright idea to contact the original engineer/creator of the lunar roving vehicle. 

His name is Ferenc Pavlics.  This Hungarian scientist who worked for NASA in the 1960s and 70s is now 92-years-old and living in California. 

NASA reached Ferenc at his home in Houston and brought him to Command Headquarters. After listening to the problem, the creator/designer of the lunar roving vehicle provided a solution. The astronauts on the moon repaired the vehicle following the instructions of its creator and fulfilled the mission of Apollo 16.

A recent survey from Facts and Trends reveals that less than 1/3 of professing evangelical Christians read the Bible on a daily basis. 

In the United States, where church attendance at mainline denominations is declining and the word "evangelical" is almost a curse in the cancel culture climate, Bible reading is at its lowest in the history of our great nation.

There's no need to wonder why our culture is broken down. 

Nobody is listening to the Creator.

Know the Bible. 

It's your only hope to fulfill the design of your mission on earth.

Save Our Children, Justice, and the Bold Journalist Who Shook the World and Died on the RMS Titanic

W.T. Stead (1849-1912) 
There is a child sex trafficking pandemic taking place in the United States in 2020.

The moral depravity of a culture more focused on preventing Covid-19 than putting an end to covert sexual trafficking of children or preventing the deaths of innocent and powerless children through abortion should turn the stomach of every American.

The words of a London policeman about child sex trafficking, words spoken while being interviewed by the subject of this blogpost in 1882, are just as appropriate today as they were a century and a half ago:

"Although it ought to raise hell, it does not even raise the neighbors."

Pedophilia and blatant disregard for the lives of children infect the backrooms of Congress, the boardrooms of Wall Street, and the back alleys of small-town America.

To grasp the moral courage it takes to shut down child sex trafficking and the evil practice of abortion in our country, one needs to look no further than the most famous man to die during the sinking of the RMS Titanic.

His name was William Thomas Stead (1849-1912). His friends called him W.T. Stead.

In 2012, one hundred years after his death, the first biography of Stead's remarkable life came to the public market. Famous in his day, Stead's name had faded from the collective conscience of British and American societies.

Stead's anonymity is unfortunate. Tristam Hunt, a member of Britain's House of Commons, wrote of W.T. Stead in the foreword of that 2012 biography:
"Imprisoned for abducting a child in the course of exposing the vicious sex trade that existed in Victorian London, Stead realized, as few before him had, that governments are powerless to resist the coordinated voice of the public – when harnessed by a newspaper – to help put an end to such evils."

Substitute the words "social media" for newspaper and the words of Tristam Hunt are an inspiration for every person who uses social media to drive out evil through social activism on behalf of the powerless and voiceless.

W.T. Stead Memorial at Central Park, New York

My cousin and his wife live on 5th Avenue in New York City. Across from their townhouse, set on the east wall that surrounds Central Park, there is a bronze statue of W.T. Stead. Thousands walk by every day and have no idea who this man is. 

To know him is to grasp the courage it takes to change a culture of complacency.

Born the son of a clergyman on July 5, 1849, in Embleton, England,  William Thomas Stead learned to read and write both English and Latin by the age of 5.

Thought by loved ones to eventually follow his father's footsteps in becoming a preacher, Stead instead took an interest in journalism and worked his way up the newspaper management ladder. He became the youngest newspaper editor in England at the age of 22. 

Deeply spiritual and well-versed in the Bible, the day before his 26th birthday, W.T. Stead records in his journal how God called him that year to use his gifts and talents for the good of society:
"The great event of this year has been... (through) reading Victor Hugo's The Man Who Laughs, a sense of my prophethood returned. I felt once more the sacredness of the power placed in my hands, to be used on behalf of the poor, the outcast and the oppressed. It was a gift of renewed faith. I clearly and decidedly grasped the idea that everything is given to one to be employed on behalf of those that have nothing, and that only by the patient laborious unselfish labor of the good can the bad be extinguished, and that my mission was to labor unceasingly, by all methods and in every season, to help on the social regeneration of the people of the world."

For the rest of his life, W.T. Stead laboriously worked for the good of those who had nothing. He became Britain's first investigative journalist

In 1885, Stead shocked the world with a series of articles he wrote on the seamy practice of child prostitution in London, England. W.T. Stead spent months investigating child trafficking before publishing the articles that stunned newspaper readers of Victorian London. W.T. Stead researcher Owen Mulpetre observes about Stead's articles:

"(He wrote) in graphic detail about the entrapment, abduction and 'sale' of young under-privileged girls to London brothels. Written in successive installments, Stead's "infernal narrative", as he called it, revealed to a respectable readership a criminal underworld of stinking brothels, fiendish procuresses, drugs and padded chambers, where upper-class pedophiles could revel 'in the cries of an immature child.'"

London prosecutors had Stead arrested for breaking "decency laws" (his articles) and for "kidnapping" a child (his research and activism) that Stead had rescued from a child sex trafficking house. In jail for three months awaiting trial, the jury acquitted Stead of any criminal behavior in the infamous Eliza Armstrong case.

The fame of W.T. Stead spread after his acquittal. It wasn't long until Americans knew Stead's name too.  

In 1894, Stead traveled to Chicago to attend the World’s Fair. He was horrified by the conditions that he observed in the streets around the glamour of the 1892 Columbian Exposition, called by the people, the World's Fair. He decided to thoroughly investigate for himself the streets of Chicago. 

Stead's Vice Map of Ward 1, Chicago (1894)

W.T. Stead went block by block in Ward 1 of Chicago (see map), noting and mapping the brawling bars, the brothels, and the barbaric human behaviors behind the World's Fair. 

His findings, published in If Christ Came to Chicago!: A Plea for the Union of All Who Love in the Service of All Who Suffer (1894), is recognized by the prestigious Britannica Encyclopedia as a model of journalistic research.

Every article Stead wrote had the goal of reforming a society held hostage by "the powers of darkness in high places." 

It sounds like 2020.

One of the prized possessions I have framed in my writing office at home is a handwritten postcard to W.T. Stead from Charles Spurgeon, the famous London preacher and contemporary of Stead. Spurgeon congratulates W.T. Stead for his written portraits or character sketches in a magazine, profiling men and women of courage and character who were making a difference in the world during the 1880s and 1890s. Stead called the magazine he founded, and the one to which Spurgeon subscribed,  The Review of Reviews.

For 40 years, W.T. Stead laboriously worked through his writings to bring justice, to practice mercy, and to live humbly in the corridors of power. 

W.T. Stead made a difference for good in the world of child sex-trafficking in his day. We need more men and women of courage, people like W.T. Stead, in 2020.

Biographer Sydney Robinson recounts how William Thomas Stead spent the last hours of his life: 
Shortly before midnight on Sunday 14 April 1912, a stout, prematurely aged gentleman with crystal-blue eyes and a shaggy grey beard appeared on the foredeck of the Titanic. ‘What do they say is the trouble?’ he innocently enquired. No one seemed to know. ‘Well, I guess it’s nothing serious; I’m going back to my cabin to read’. These were the last recorded words of William Thomas Stead, the famous investigative journalist who, thirty years previously, had shocked the world by purchasing a thirteen-year-old girl on the streets of Victorian London. Two hours later he would be plunged into the icy waters of the Atlantic Ocean, never to be seen again.
It was a bizarre end for a man who had made his name smiting ‘the powers of darkness in high places’ on behalf of the ‘disinherited and outcast of the world’. The magnificent ship, legendary in its vast scale, luxury and exclusivity, represented everything he had campaigned against during his long career... It was somehow apt that W. T. Stead had last been seen turning the pages of a penny Bible in the first-class reading room of the world’s most expensive cruise liner. (Sydney W. Robinson, Muckraker, Kindle Edition)

William Thomas Stead is an inspiration for any who wish to drive out evil by laboriously doing good. Jesus made it clear that when we care for the fatherless, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, speak for the voiceless, and stand for the powerless, we are actually serving Him (see Matthew 25:40).

"This life will soon be past and only what's done for Christ will last." 


My Covid-19 Story Intended As An Encouragement

I'm sitting here listening to the local news. It's all about Covid-19. Oklahoma University has 9 football players who have tested positive for Covid-19. One school district in OKC has had 19 kids and teachers test positive. The newscasters sound like their announcing the end of the world.  I would tell you about what I've heard on the national news, but I stopped it weeks ago. 

So after hearing all the negativity on local news, I decided to tell you of my positive experiences (plural) with Covid-19. 

First, let me say if you have loved ones who've been very sick with Covid-19 (and there are some), or if you are one of those rare individuals who has had a loved one die with Covid-19, you do not want to hear any "good news" about Covid-19 right now.  You've already experienced hell on earth. I understand your feelings. I really do. Were I in your shoes, I'd feel the same as you. Therefore, if you've suffered deeply, let me encourage you to either stop reading this post, or at a minimum, remind yourself that life is different for each person. In God's providence, your experience with Covid-19 is one that none of us would wish on anyone else. 

But my story is different. I tell it to encourage you. In the overwhelming number of cases, Covid-19 is nothing to fear.  I've had Covid-19 at least once, possibly twice. 

Back in April 2020 I gave blood.  The Oklahoma Blood Institute tested my blood and said I had antibodies for Covid-19. Since then, the OBI has asked me to give blood to those in the hospital with a Covid-19 diagnosis. The COVID-19 antibody test I received had been authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to indicate if the blood donor’s immune system had produced antibodies to the coronavirus, regardless of whether the donor (me) had developed symptoms. Donors who test positive for COVID-19 antibodies may have the unique opportunity to help patients fighting the disease.

Then, in late July I tested positive for Covid19. I had no fever. I had no nausea. I had what I thought were allergies, but otherwise,  I felt fine. The rapid test I took showed that I had Covid-19. I asked the clinician, "How can I get Covid-19 when I have antibodies?"

She responded, "Do you get the flu shot?" I said that I did. She asked, "Do you ever get the flu during the flu season even after getting the flu vaccine." I told her, "Yes. It's happened before." She said that it is the same with Covid-19. Antibodies are no guarantee that a person won't get Covid-19, just like a flu vaccine (or impending Covid-19 vaccine) will be no guarantee that a person will not get the flu (or Covid-19).

Of course, I kept my distance from people after my positive result. My wife, and three of my family members got Covid-19 as well. All five of us had no fever, and only symptoms similar to having allergies with mild fatigue. We isolated among ourselves, and after 12 days, went back to our lives as normal. 

I know at least 30 people in Enid who have been diagnosed with having Covid-19. I have a very close friend who is 90 and is doing great a month after his diagnosis. Most of those I know who received a positive diagnosis of Covid-19 are over 65. They are all recovering except for one, a 95-year-old long-time friend with Alzheimer's who died after being tested positive. 

My friend John Dwyer, writes movingly about his experience with Covid-19. John has battled heart disease and cancer, but he is doing quite well after his Covid-19 diagnosis.  I do have a couple of distant cousins who are in the hospital (on a vent), and their experiences with Covid-19 are traumatic, so I understand that John's story is different than others. 

We cannot shut down schools, churches, businesses, and cities because of Covid-19. The vast majority of people getting Covid-19 will be fine. People will die from Covid-19. But people die of the flu every year. People die from traffic accidents. People die from heart disease, cancer, and other illnesses. People die from suicide. More people will die shutting down the world to try to prevent people dying from Covid-19. The cure cannot be worse than the disease.

I offer five encouraging statements from my personal experience with Covid-19. 

1. Getting Covid-19 is not a death sentence.

Sure, you may get sick, but according to the World Data,  it is estimated that over 99% of those infected with Covid-19 (a different metric than known cases of Covid-19) will survive. Many people, like me and my family, will exhibit little or no symptoms of the illness.

2. We might delay spreading Covid-19, but we can't prevent it. 

No matter the precautions taken, Covid-19 is going to spread. No matter the precautions you take, you still might catch Covid-19. The question will be "sooner or later"? Covid-19 is going to be around for a long time. 

3. Developing your natural immunity through healthy living, good eating, and daily exercising is best. 

The big pharmacy companies would like you to believe that you need their medicine, or their vaccine, or their new drug, but God's given you a great ability to develop immunity yourself. 

4. Keeping people from seeing their loved ones who are sick, elderly, or vulnerable is a death sentence in itself. 

As National Public Radio reports, hospitals and nursing homes forced to keep loved ones away from  vulnerable or dying loved ones seems counter-productive. Restricting families from being near their sick and vulnerable loved ones out of fear of them catching Covid-19 is actually a death sentence in itself. Once you stop living, you've already died. 

5. Death is coming to all who live, but immortal life is a gift from God to some. 

Everyone is going to die. The Creator holds "the keys of life and death" (Revelation 1:18) and He alone determines the day, hour, and moment of your death (Psalm 139:16).  "But the gift of God is life eternal through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:23).  It's far better to trust Christ than to fear Covid-19. Loving Christ and following His instruction is evidence that God, by His grace and for His glory, has given you the gift of eternal life. 

But the wicked perish

Americans need to grasp that this life will soon be past, and only that life lived for Christ will last.