I Had It All Wrong

I used to think of emotions, instincts, logic, reason, and other types of decision making as choices. I had it all wrong.

Now, I don’t know if there is a hierarchy, as in, “Reason is better than emotion,” for example. I don’t know if there is ultimate worth, as in, “At least I can say that reason guided my life.” I cannot say for sure that these traits are building blocks, as in, “Only after mastering emotion can you learn to reason.”

What I do know now, and know for certain, is that for those who do not act upon reason, it is not because they are avoiding reason. It is because they cannot reason. For these folks, using reason is as unavailable as flight is to a jack rabbit. Sure, they might end up “reasoning”, but they certainly didn’t flap their wings.

This is unfortunate.

But it is not the end of the story.

Life goes on. That’s the end of the story.

What shall be done in the time remaining? How should one communicate with those without reason? How should one live with them?

It calls to mind a line from Tolstoy. He wrote something like, “I could not follow any of the two women’s conversation. But I knew it had to be about something because it was unending.”

Next blog: What to do if your wife is happy everywhere but at home, and then invites her non-English speaking mother to stay at said home with no departure date?


Seeing A Bald Eagle From Above

After hurriedly grilling hamburgers for the fam and eating, I loaded them up in our Expedition, which sports a bald eagle license plate. My stepson, A-, had a “spring sing”, or some such nonsense, and as these events are rare, he wanted me to wear the t-shirt he had given me a few years back. The image on the shirt is George Washington flying on the back of a bald eagle.

Get the picture?

No, no you don’t. Because I haven’t told you the best part.

Earlier in the day—same day!—I had flown a training flight where we soared at higher altitudes than typical for a helicopter, I’m talking two and three thousand feet above the ground.

“Whoa!” I thought to myself as we maneuvered to miss a large feathered friend.

Then I saw white. Not at the front, but the tail feathers. Or I thought I did. It was turning away and down. So I kept looking.

Sure enough, white tail feathers. Then finally I saw the unmistakable white head with the yellow beak.

A bald eagle from above.

Have words been invented to describe the feeling?

“Unnatural” comes to mind. But that carries too much negativity.

There is nothing negative about soaring with bald eagles. I’ll keep thinking about it. We need a word to describe it.

And on the positive side, I finally heard one speak.

“Pete? I thought that was you.”

I guess for a pilot, the feeling is “natural.” It’s why pilots fly.

Two More Bald Eagle Encounters

The first one was nearly one month ago, but I haven’t found time to record it.

Here’s what I know. Of late I have been struggling with consistency. I know giving 100% really sets me apart, but I also have come to believe it is exhausting. So I don’t. I turn on and turn off at my choosing. I don’t know why I do this. It has been a long time since I have given 100% all day long and I think I have built up an unnatural fear that I will tire out. And I don’t like being tired.

But the bald eagle has got me rethinking my stance.

I saw this particular creature soaring over the roadway on a drive back from Wisconsin to Minnesota, as usual. But the singular thing I noticed this time was how, while riding the wind in what first appeared as a leisurely, effortless manner, the eagle’s neck was in fact strained forward and down as it hunted.

As a fellow rider of the wind, I have special insight into the three dimensional abilities of flight. The eagle and I can just descend a few inches and get a closer look, no neck strain. No effort. (If we wanted to.)

But no. This raptor isn’t looking for leisure. He was looking for food. And all creation knew it. Think of it. Neck strain instead of descending. Wow. What a lesson.

The second encounter was just last night. It had similar traits to one a few months back. Remember the headless eagle? Yep, that’s what happened again to me. I saw what looked like a brown box in the middle of the divided highway. With the new Metallica album blasting from the car speakers, I was already in a good mood.

\m/ Smile as it burnz to the grounnn-dah/The perfeck don’ wann chuu arounnn-dah! \m/

And then it happened. Surely before I would’ve suspected the blessed bird could’ve heard and singled out the music coming from my car stereo as I approached speedily, this apparent brown box’s head(!) popped up and look towards me. I say “looked towards me”, not “looked at me”. No, he wasn’t offering interest to me. He just recognized good music. The look in his eye as I passed was, “Rock on, Good Citizen.”

Metallica Is A Worthy Teacher

The most common reason I have given to any who will listen, as to why I don’t feel the need to attend church or really believe in church attendance since attending seminary is, “I need to either be learning or teaching, if I am involved with a group.”

Learning or teaching.

Listening to Metallica’s new album is learning from the experts. Learning proportion, learning dedication, learning timing, learning discernment, learning rock \m/, and learning love. There is also something subtle to note in their interviews. Metallica is probably the most qualified teacher on the topic of instinct. So add learning instinct to the list.

For this reason, listening to 72 Seasons is unlike listening to any other living band. Their catalog will be studied for eternity, like Handel, Mozart, and Beethoven. Their behind the scenes footage (of which there is no end) will also be scrutinized without end. And these studies will satisfy.

Want to hate Metallica? Easy. Just dig a hole, put your head in, and have a friend fill it.

Pay any other amount of attention to this musical sun and the result is adoration.

Metallica is a worthy teacher.

Fellow Christians: NewsFlash—He Wasn’t in the Tomb for 3 Nights

Any mind reads the passages foreshadowing the length of Jesus’ stay in the tomb and thinks, “Umm, that doesn’t match.”

Any modern mind is correct. It doesn’t “match”. The math doesn’t add up.

Additionally, there is a concept I see floating around as I peruse “reasonable” or “rational” Christianity defense websites which compares the calendar of Bible cultures with our calendar. This comparison is literally an exercise in futility. Don’t be duped, Believers. (Pro Tip: If a Christian pulls out a dry erase marker, white board, easel, or pad of paper and pen to explain their point, stop listening. Diagrams and visual aides are not necessary to understand Christian truths. Back to the timeline claim.)

Jesus compares the event to Jonah’s “three days and three nights”. And then every record of the resurrection (“Early! Early Sunday morning—He got up!!) has words which describe that he was only in the tomb for what may be best called two periods of night/dark. Not even the original Jonah account in the OT records the start and stop time of Jonah’s stay in the whale.

This is not a theological problem and I’ll prove it to you. The proof is contained in this tip when discussing with skeptics.

Next time the issue comes up, try this.

“Let me ask you this. Let’s skip to the end and pretend you’re satisfied with the answer to the ‘3 days’ problem. With me? Just imagine I said words and you found them sufficient. After this, how do you propose to handle the ‘heart of the earth’ problem?”

I’m serious. We have all these Christians and non-christians walking around debating how to count, and there is a mutual claim that the individual/being in question will be in the “heart of the earth” for the time period in question.

A practically uniform tenet of the faith is the explicit claim that a borrowed, above-ground tomb was used. Jesus definitely did not have any earth thrown atop his body.

Moreover, even if he would’ve been buried “six feet under”, and even with the analogical heart being located slightly to one side of the top half of the body, the “heart” of planet Earth is proportionally far deeper into the dirt more than a mere six feet.

In the end, the “solution” to both is the same.

And the LORD God Almighty owes you nothing more, by way of explanation, than you’ve had all along. Use your brain, Christians. Getting these moments with skeptics right is serious.

(Also, never forget that no skeptic has a problem with a Christian who honestly says, “Good question. I haven’t thought about that before. I don’t know.” Skeptics have a problem with BS and stupidity.)

Long Live X-Men!

I started Logan again the other day. I immediately felt abashed for ever suggesting it was normalizing violence against children. The first time I watched it, I apparently didn’t pay attention to the words/story.

Before I had a chance to finish Logan, I had an opportunity to watch X-Men Apocalypse and found it extremely entertaining. More so than the first viewing for sure.

Last night I finally had time to finish Logan and it did not disappoint.

Biographical note: I grew up on the cartoon and would fight my mom tooth and nail on Saturday mornings when it always happened to be time to clean right when the episode started. Did she really not know? The cartoon began at the same time every week. Just let a boy finish that one cartoon and he’ll clean his room just fine! But no, it was always as the opening of the show came on, “Peter! Time to clean your room. Enough tv for one Saturday!”

Batman will always be my favorite comic book character. But the X-Men are a close second, Wolverine leading the way.

Logan’s best scene, insofar as it relates to character development, is when the little girl mutant holds his hand in an effort to comfort him when Professor X dies and Logan rips his hand away in disgust. Rage right up to the end. That kind of consistency makes for compelling storytelling. Way to go, folks. Keep it up.


Yesterday’s post, which I used to criticize some mom’s BS claim that she was “praising God in every situation, good and bad” after the shooting, garnered a welcome two commenters. Today I wanted to publish my response to the second commenter because I like it. Enjoy!


My declaring that this person’s reaction wasn’t sincere is not only an accurate assessment, but necessary. I’ll prove it to you. 

Because I wrote this little blog, you related, “…because it’s a Christian school.”

Does any part of scripture ever suggest Christians or Christian institutions, or the People of God in general (Jews/Christians throughout scripture) are on this planet with any special protection? No, no it does not. Never.

Is this “no special protection even though we’re on the winning team” a problem? Nope. It’s good theology. (Literate theology.)

So some lady offers a BS/superficial response, I truthfully call it out. Now you truthfully respond. Let’s keep the truth coming.

Do you actually believe we should praise god that murder occurred? No, no you don’t. So just say it. “God, I love ya, but I’m not in the mood for praising you right now. Not when these kids are getting killed. Not when these freaks are killing kids. I’m confused. I thought a Christian school would be safe. Why won’t you protect even a Christian school? You have my attention Lord. Answer!”

Biblically Informed School Shooting Reaction

Apparently one mom who spoke to the news has said, “We praise God in all situations, good and bad.”

I get it. Believe me, I get it. Many evangelicals are told to use these moments to point people to God, to tell people about Jesus.

And then there is the whole worry, “I said something publicly—will I have sounded churchy enough??” that many Christians live with.

We also can’t deny the idea that many folks are genuinely dumbstruck when evil hits close to home—especially when all along they thought they were supernaturally protected, either.

And let us not forget that communication is hard. Some big hearts and repentant worms are genuinely befuddled when the microphone comes their way. So this mother of apparently healthy kids (just talking to investigators still) rattles off something as stupid and trite sounding as, “We praise God in all situations, good and bad.”

Finally, this is a news story, a story meant to provoke and add hype—no matter the situation. It has obviously worked on me because here I am typing away. So I concede it is possible this mom is a terrible sample of modern Christian reaction to school shootings.

However, she is actually right in line with what I have all be hearing and reading after mass shootings for the last several years even from folks I know. So I think we can count her reaction as typical.

Here’s the thing. It isn’t honest.

Pop! Pop! Pop pop pop!! Blood. Screams.

“We praise God in all situations, good and bad.”

Speak from the heart, people! Pray!!

David, in recorded scripture that you all cherish soooo much, said, “Look and answer me, O Yahweh my God; Give light to my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death…”

Now we can debate whether suicide is the threat (“Answer or I do it!”), or just plainly stating that the enemy is about to kill him (You gonna do something here?), but the point remains, David had no issue speaking from the heart.

That was Psalm 13. Psalm 94 has, “O Yahweh, God of vengeance, God of vengeance, shine forth!”

Or “Kill ‘em all!” as Metallica might phrase it.

I don’t mind sharing here that my “prayer” since Sandy Hook got my attention has pretty much been—with surprising consistency—“My god! Where is it safe for my kids?”

In 2012, I didn’t know “my god” by name. After conversion to Christianity, I now specifically call to mind the god of the Bible, whether Yahweh/Jesus as the antecedent to “my god”. But in every case, the sequence is 1. School shooting. 2. “My god! Where is it safe for my kids?”

And that’s enough. Enough for me. And enough for Him.

Praising God for a school shooting? Gimme a break. No one believes that shit.

Black “Sleepers”, A Review of Creed 3 by Michael B. Jordan

In “Sleepers” a few men who had been abused as boys in a group home years earlier get revenge in a skillful, tactful, and above board way.

In “Creed 3” two men who had been beat on as boys in a group home years earlier box each other, one of the men being Apollo Creed’s son.

“Creed 3” is not a Rocky movie.

As if that assertion isn’t damning enough, I will go one step further to make my point.

“Creed 3” is heartless. It is a body without soul. It fails Mark Twain’s marvelous rule for Romantic Literature that essentially requires, “that a tale shall accomplish something and arrive somewhere.” “Creed 3” accomplishes nothing and goes nowhere.

It should be clear now that I have essentially worshipped Rocky Balboa as a second-order deity since first viewing Rocky 3 as an impressionable, skinny boy who was good at pushups. More recently, my devotion manifest itself in the following remark I made to a new friend on the topic. I said that if I ever got a tattoo, I would get the sound of Clubber Lang’s grunts.

I’m not desiring to be a hater here. There are many powerful moments and good decisions in Michael B. Jordan’s film. To name two, the inclusion of Mexican boxing is notable and probably financially sound. And the presentation of fantasy black life is almost realistic.

But Mr. Jordan hijacked the Rocky franchise with his directorial debut.

And that’s disappointing. I really did like the first two spinoffs.