A Baptist, a Charismatic, and a Baby Walk Into a Bar…

…actually it was just a walk around the neighborhood. But picture it with me, because the setting is important. It’s a small town, about an hour from the major metropolitan city center. It could be any number of these type of towns. Mostly rural, but that doesn’t mean folks don’t have all the markings of city life, from fancy cars to fancy ideas.

My wife likes the local charismatic church, as does my step-son. (I choose the word “like” over others intentionally, as any Baptist should. So mark that.) It’s hard not to like the church. On Wednesday nights the foyer is lit like a nightclub, and the parking is full like a bowling alley’s on league play.

I had just arrived after ducking out of the Baptist church’s Wednesday night programming early, that is, when the games started. Baptists have recently switched from AWANA to “Kid’s For Truth” and this particular Baptist church was on its first effort with the new program. Suffice it to say, the night did not go well. Lots of scrambling, lots of evidence of lack of preparation. Lots of scapegoating that it was the “new programs” fault that things were not running smoothly.

This morning then—starting last night really—my wife and I chatted about the different experiences I had as we continue to seek out a church home. I love these types of conversations and discussions, and my wife enjoys them enough to indulge me.

Without walking you through the hour long chat moment-by-moment, though that was an eye-opening experience itself, I want to give you an analogy which captures the result, or where we landed.

The mystery of the modern protestant church is best likened to two engineering schools that teach from one specific written curriculum how to build one specific item—boats.

Now imagine that one of the schools is packed with students and that the professors all believe they are teaching how to build boats. Moreover, all the students really feel like they are learning how to build boats—the professor’s all agree—and they talk all the time about boats and their design and construction.

But they never build boats.

Mind you, no one needs any boats. It’s not like there are customers calling to ask, “Where’s my boat?” That’s just not happening. What is happening, to repeat, is there is a school which uses one specific written curriculum to teach how to build boats, there are professors teaching how to build boats, and there are paying students believing that they know how to build boats. All this, but no actual boats.

This is the first school.

The second school, using the exact same curriculum, has trouble finding professors—often resorting to retired professors and temporary professors—but they teach the curriculum to the letter. A person could build a very good boat based on their teaching. Regarding students, there are only non-traditional (25+ year olds) who actually are just auditing the course. Every once in a while, a real student shows up and pays to learn, but they often quit attending and ultimately (and quietly) stop submitting assignments. The older auditing students happily provide the materials for the boats—often one-upping each other in quality of supplies—but the students just seem to need other students around and so they keep quitting when they realize that they are the only one in the school.

So again, like the first school, there are no boats being built.

And like the other school, the written curriculum is there. There are capable, if not likeable and consistent, professors. Different than the first school, at this school there are even all the necessary supplies and tools, to build the boats, but the trouble is there are no students—and so no boats.

Now enters the problem. In what everyone sees retrospectively as a “should’ve known” moment, a bizarrely miraculous but terrible event occurs. Everybody, all people—not just students of those two aforementioned schools—fall into their own personal sink hole of varying sizes that contains themself and everything they have ever built. If one man built a lego set, it’s in their sink hole. If another built a paper airplane, it’s there. Many individuals have many items. Some have none. If someone built their house, the house is in the sink-hole. If a person built a boat, they have their boat. If a baby built nothing, there is a rather small hole with just a baby (probably crying). You get the picture.

There is no way out of these sink holes. No ladder can reach the top. No one is above who can throw down a rope. No flying machine has fuel. Everyone is stuck by themselves with whatever they built.

Then it starts to rain with no sign of stopping.

As this rather precarious and new, if not oddly predictable, situation continues to unfold, suddenly, the entire planet, and all its occupants, all its plants, everything instantly burns up. Nothing is left.

Finally, everyone gains awareness that they are still alive. Some are amongst a trash fire, unaware, and never becoming aware, that any change to their misery is possible. Others find themselves in what words cannot quite describe, but when pressed maybe something like blissful communion with what feels like an old friend and mentor, communion that has an odd mixture of familiarity and constant newness and overall is simply awe-inspiring.

That’s it. That’s the analogy.

****

In short, for my dad and readers like him who feel they want to understand but aren’t there yet, I’m saying the problem with church-shopping is that the church doesn’t direct where we end up after the fire.

My Second Anniversary

Nearly two years ago I posted, while on my honeymoon, an update to the classic children’s tale “Henny Penny”. You know the one. It’s where the chicken gets a whole line of animals to follow it as it claims the sky is falling—that is, until Foxy Woxy comes along and takes over as leader and slaughters them one by one. Remember?

It’s on my mind tonight again for two reasons. Firstly, because I chatted with a policemen at the HyVee where I was picking flowers and a card (and candle) for the occasion. This then reminded me that, secondly, last week Peggy Noonan wrote a Henny Penny-esque column that I had meant to respond to here.

Mrs. Noonan is a force, that’s for sure. She won’t stand the test of time, but she is compelling for today. It’s not that she writes poorly that’s the problem. It’s that she writes in a way that seems to indicate she really understands the word on the street. Her “M.O.” seems to be pinpointing the word on “main street” and then giving it context. But like most folks, since Trump, she’s lost the pulse.

The specific point of hers that I’m referring to, in her “Lost Thread” column, is the part about how police used to be respected and how now there is no respect. Instead, she points out, there are actual calls to defund them etc.

Before joining the Air Force, I had entertained the notion of being a policeman. And this, despite having seen “Wayne’s World” and laughing with the jokes, “[sniff sniff] Definitely a pork product.” Can you believe it?

You see, Peggy Noonan is no different than the other hype-sters. How could she be? The sky is not falling. And yet she says it is. She says the very men who have sworn to protect and serve are today under a newer and stronger attack than ever before.

It’s all hype. They are not. Police have never been popular.

Hear me clearly. When I say, “Police have never been popular,” I am not wrong. Nor am I able to be persuaded away from my position. This is because I am not basing my position on facts, I am basing it on belief.

The police are only now under attack? Give me a break. Never in human history have people wanted to submit their actions to judgement or consequence. This law of nature is behind how police barely exist in history. Who would even want to get in a criminals way? It’s a nearly unreasonable profession.

Mrs. Noonan has it all wrong. The police have never been popular. And there isn’t enough data in the universe for her or anyone to use which would prove otherwise. Sorry, Ms. Penny. The sky isn’t falling.

The right perspective is that life is hard—if you’re hellbent on living as a man and not an animal.

Just In A Bad Mood

I only caught a glimpse of my step-son through the front-window this morning, coming up from the basement as I did, a minute too late to see him off to the bus stop. I immediately thought, “What a moron.”

The window was mostly covered by the drapes, but they were poorly closed and so a large enough crack to see through was present. The eleven year old boy was wearing his mask like all morons do, over his ears and around the bottom of his chin, like a chin strap. The sides were around his ears, the mask itself, pulled down off his face. You get the picture.

What bothers me is that the atheists that don’t have children never, and I mean never, talk about one specific topic in this mess called life. They’re so smart, they know oh so much, they want to teach us all, but they never mention the singular sight that I saw.

Because of the efforts of atheists, today’s children are figuring out how to make masks fit their personality, how to make masks look cool. Like pinch rolled jeans, or Jordans, or braided belts, masks are being adopted by children as part of their external personality. Why? Because they’re morons. Children as a group are morons. They blindly follow anything the adults say.

Now, the atheist, as a rule, won’t have children and if they do, then they don’t raise them as children. They treat them like small adults. “Babies are delivered through the vagina,” they tell inquisitive kindergartners, proud to not fill a child’s head with stories of large-beaked birds wearing funny hats.

Atheists, the godless and the childless, and I don’t mean the ignorant ones—I mean the ones who want to fight, who think they have made a proper study of the topic and are sure they are right (Freud, Nietzsche, Marx and the like)—never satisfactorily explain how they stopped being a moron. Despite this content void in their curriculum, they proceed to place all their efforts towards the obviously impossible task of teaching all children (current and former) the importance of human mask-wearing.

Trying to implement mask-mandates still? The only failure of my life that took me more than a year and a half to notice was my first marriage. How long until these morons admit that positive legislation (telling us what we must do), if not backed by a spirit of support, fails?

Atheists are children grown older. I’ll never forget that getting divorced, admitting failure, was the first time I felt like an adult. I was a father, a pilot, a veteran of combat. None of those things felt grown-up to me. Admitting I failed? That was my ticket to the real world. That was my ticket to Jesus Christ.

My moron step-son? There’s hope. Lord willing, there’s hope.

This Post Is Not About Trump

Unlike every other composition of contemporary writing, I want to be clear up front that this post is not about Trump.

My grandpa died a short while ago, after a long life. Like Billy Crystal’s character in City Slickers, I have to admit that this one death calls to mind other deaths—and death in general. Keep in mind, this post is not about Trump.

Since this post is not about Trump, I want to use it to talk about and I need to work out three deaths that have happened in the course of my life.

The first death is that of the exclusively male Air Force flying squadron. I proudly state here that I was a member of the last flying squadron in the United States Air Force that required the aircrew members to be male. The squadron, or I should say, that iteration of the squadron exists no more. Now females can take part in every aspect of aerial combat, at least in the USAF.

The second death, chronologically, is that of the Boy Scouts. I’m talking Shakespeare here. There is something in a name. Or in this case, there is something in two names. I am an Eagle Scout, the highest achievement the Boy Scouts of America offered. And when I grew up there were Girl Scouts. The best organization the females in the country could develop was the Girl Scouts—a bad facsimile of excellence training for boys. That the Scouts now lets in girls does not change history (whether meaning the past facts or the introduction of some new mode of living): where on earth do women have a club that men want to join or wish they had thought of? The new name just admits that the Boy Scouts have died. Like my flying squadron.

Lastly, the Baptists have died. Sure, sure, sure. The Baptists are still meeting every Sunday. And they collect money and they publish Sunday School materials and run some seminaries. But it’s over. What makes me so sure? I just spoke with a new-ish Baptist pastor this morning who confessed that in five years he has not had one non-believer attend, convert, and join his church. Five years. Five years? Five years!

Remember this post is not about Trump.

I spent nearly every Monday from 4th grade to 12th grade in Boy Scout meetings. I spent nearly every Sunday and Wednesday in the Baptist church. And I worked my tail darn near off to get into the last male only flying squadron the United States Air Force had.

What will America be like without Men, Boys Scouts, and Baptists?

That’s an easy answer that you already feel in your bones.

Feminine, fatherless, and godless. In other words, absolutely unremarkable.

Pointedly: uninteresting.

Tragically: unsafe.

And most frustratingly: undesirable.

Remember, this post is not about Trump.

Luckily for you, I am still alive and happy to call your attention to what has died. Why? Because I was a Boy Scout, I was in the last exclusively male flying squadron of the USAF, and I was a Baptist. In short, because I am not afraid of you.

(This post is not about Trump.)

The World Does Not Need More Children’s Books By Minority Authors

I saw a headline the other day about LatinX and other minority authors. It went on about how, while they are publishing some children’s books, there is still a great deficit and a need for more. Let me be clear: that’s simply not true. The world does not need more children’s books by minority authors.

I’ve mentioned on this blog before, more than once, that I attended an evangelical seminary for three years. It was a fairly robust graduate program, so far as I could tell—though I did not decide to obtain a master’s degree. Why not? Because I’m a man of action. And my professor and advisor could not answer the following question satisfactorily: “I’m a pilot. I wasn’t born a pilot; I had to learn how to fly. Likewise, I want to know what skill I will have by working so hard to get the degree. What skill, that I don’t already possess, will I have?”

He couldn’t answer it. I remember he tried; I remember he talked a lot in the space that naturally followed my question. But I also remember that he seemed to almost be speaking gibberish. There was some kind of mental block or other in that interaction.

Over a year later or so, I finally figured out “the academy”. So I emailed the advisor (I was no longer a student) and told him as much. In short, I said, “Higher education is all about writing the primer for the field. In this case, it’s the Bible. You all want to get on the translation committee of the best-selling Bible. In other fields it’s the History 101 text or the Biology 101 text that is taught at Harvard or wherever is most elite.”

My advisor replied, “So are you ready to come back and finish your degree?”

This is why I maintain and declare that the world does not need more children’s books written by minority authors. It just doesn’t. As always, minority authors have nothing to say. And if they did, they certainly wouldn’t need support from the majority. And if the majority, people like me and my old advisor, get them to quit writing, that means they certainly have nothing to say.

I haven’t gone back to finish my degree and I won’t. Like I said, I’m a man of action. I can already do everything those folks can do. But I do not care to write the primer for any field. Except maybe “Bravery”. Yeah. Maybe I’d like to write a book on Bravery.

Here’s my Bravery primer: If you really have something to write, then I wouldn’t be able to stop you no matter how hard I tried.

Imitation Is The Sincerest Form of Flattery Part 2

Whatever the malady that drove Mayor Pete and Chasten to the hospital (Get Well Soon!), I had quite the adorable little experience with my 13 month old daughter the other day. It definitely was a sign of the times.

Like most fathers, in the true sense of the word, I found myself feeling weary from spending several hours in all manner of mind-numbing activities with my daughter. And like most fathers, again, fathers, not homosexual men who visit hospitals for photo ops, being tired, I began to consider poor decisions as viable options and thought, “I can just lay down on the floor, right here, smack dab in the middle of the family room. Nothing unsafe can happen without me hearing it. I just need to rest my eyes.”

Here I must confess that there is also a certain thrill when your own flesh-and-blood, your very seed—as they used to say in Bible times—believes they have free reign to climb around, on, and over you.

As most of you know, this daughter is not the only continuation of my bloodline which I have helped deliver unto the world, which I only mention here to relate that I have experienced this climbing scene before.

So, little “A-” (let’s call her) starts to crawl on top of me until she gets right up onto my chest.

Oh, sorry to interrupt, but you should know that for whatever reason A- has developed a habit of leaning her head forward when she wants a kiss. (Or at least that’s how we interpret and respond to the signal.)

So, as I can tell that her head is near my head, I next feel her head, face really, lower down to my head. This was not, to my thinking, very well aimed, if affection was her goal; her face landed nowhere in particular, it seemed. All I’m trying to describe is that her face was now awkwardly touching mine.

As you’re probably thinking, I thought, “Oh! How sweet!”

Then (my eyes are closed all the while) I feel a slightly uncomfortable, open-infant-palm go: “Smack!” And right on the button, too!

As you know, I’m tough as nails, being a hero pilot and all, so don’t read into this recounting anything more than that it startled me.

And then it hit me! No, not her hand, but what she was doing.

While laying there I remembered that we have on the shelf these old 1950s era children’s encyclopedias and that back in the 50s and before, the physicians used to have a less precise approach to CPR. Taken together (context drives meaning, folks) with the fact that, these days, especially with the pandemic going on for her entire life, everyone knows that first responders are the priestly class, if not gods themselves, and she was communicating to me—the little savant—that she, too, like her maker, wants to be a first responder.

Do you see it? In that face-to-face move, she wasn’t giving me affection. She thought I was dead, or unconscious at the least, and she was at the “look, listen, and feel” step of assessing her patient.

As far as the whack on the nose, it was a forgivable targeting error—she is only 1 after all. She had merely—incorrectly I might add (some performance improvement is upcoming)—assessed that I was in cardiac arrest and had begun old-style compressions.

My daughter! Following in the footsteps of her ol’ man. Can you believe it? It was a beautiful sight to behold, even if there was no professional cameraman nearby.

Imitation Is The Sincerest Form Of Flattery

Did Mayor Pete and Chasten both contract COVID-19? Does anyone know?

I’m only asking because I just saw a pic of them in the hospital. They didn’t look sick, but it’s possible they only have it mildly.

Then again, they were holding babies and I think it is illegal for people with COVID-19 to hold babies.

Hmm. Must be some other reason for their visit. Anyone know?

This Ever Happen To You?

I just had this terrible experience.

I’m finally at the point in my morning where it’s time to shower. Know what I mean? I’ve exercised, taken the kiddo to school, had my regularly scheduled one-on-one phone call with my boss (he was away from his computer so we did just a “phone call” instead of Teams video chat), sent some emails, fielded some calls, and saw the flooding in NY.

Following?

I’m not saying it was an ideal morning or the ideal time to shower, but I was there.

Now, there is nothing on this side of heaven so wonderful as a hot cup of coffee after a shower. Am I right? So I head over to the machine and see where it’s at. I’m married, you know, so lots of possibilities await my inspection.

The machine, I discover, is on in the “stay warm” setting. I think, “Oh, how nice. My wife already made a pot.”

Then I squint and see that, no, no she did not. That’s not it at all. I was fully wrong.

The right answer is that she rewarmed the leftovers from yesterday. Kinda gross, but, hey, we’ve all been there. Am I wrong?

So now this is where the panic sets in. What’s the proper process for the situation? I know, instinctively, that rapid temperature changes are recipes for disaster when it comes to physical objects. Luckily, our Ninja Coffee Maker has a removable container that is filled with the new water, so I don’t have to refill the hot pot and risk catastrophe in that sense. But what about the pipes? Where should I pour the warmed coffee?

Can you understand my anguish?

I WAS READY FOR A SHOWER AND NOW THE PHYSICAL UNIVERSE IS ABOUT TO BE ALTERED!!

Being a natural hero, I poured out the coffee directly into the kitchen sink drain, only then running some cold water down the pipes to offset the coming darkness.

But before showering I just had to ask, “Has this ever happened to you?“

I Enjoy the Topic, That’s Why

I didn’t write anything at length yet about Afghanistan etc. I never went there. My helicopter was there for a bit before I was officially qualified on it, but it kept crashing or having expensive mechanical issues due to the combination of its gross weight and mountain operations. Therefore, it was relegated to Iraq. That said, I was an officer in the United States Air Force, during the main time that we were in Afghanistan and I joined for the main reason that we were in Afghanistan—revenge.

I want to talk about today’s Kabul attack more than Afghanistan in general, but I want to get this out there before the moment has passed. Daily I am more convinced than ever that the minute 9/11 happened, if not sooner, the United States should’ve declared war on Islam.

I don’t think this war would be blood-free, but it doesn’t have to have any killing. My aim is not killing people, but killing lies, killing Allah, and killing the Koran. All the other false gods of human history, at least in the West, went the way of the dodo, for very complicated reasons. Allah still holds his own because of lies.

Islam is a totalitarian system, not a religion.

By way of example, I wore sweat pants and a sweat shirt every day in college. It was my burka, of sorts. Additionally, I went to the weight room every Monday-Friday, like it was a mosque. That behavior, while religious, didn’t qualify me for sainthood. Anyone who knows anything knows this.

Don’t give me that “most muslims are peaceful”. The supposed “peaceful muslims” are owed an end to Islam as much as everyone else.

No one in human history has ever eradicated Islam, despite many other world-views being trounced, so it must be difficult. Enter the United States.

Now. To today’s attack. Here’s my initial gut reaction. This is said in the same vein as the one during the heated rhetoric of last election, where many of my veteran pals and I had some sort of instinct telling us to make sure our weapons were in working order. This was, of course, to no avail, and ultimately brought a healthy feeling of foolishness. But right now today, my gut is telling me the place to avoid is DC. And that’s my negative way of saying my gut is telling me the place that is going to suffer is DC.

Remember my post on “alignment”? The one where I said we need alignment, not “justice”? Well, the bad guys are being bad guys. The bad guys are aligned. It’s the United States that isn’t aligned. We’re the good guys. And we all know it. We feel it in our bones, no matter how many lies are trending right now.

I am a fairly normal, if at times recluse and eccentric, citizen. Heck, my wife just became a citizen today. Imagine that! I almost forgot about it already. This morning I stood among a lobby full of newly sworn-in Americans who were holding new American flags, who were asking each other to take pictures, and who were genuinely smiling. But there are other Americans making the news daily who seem to me to have my vision, but, unlike me, they seem to have nothing to lose.

If these other citizens get the itch to take action, I don’t think Kabul is accepting inbound flights right now. But I’m pretty sure American roads are wide open.

Again, this is just a feeling. My meaning is figurative and my aim is posterity. Except the war on Islam, bit. That needs to be declared immediately. (Consider your own loathing of the idea. I didn’t know you were an Islamic apologist, did you? It’s not a religion in any meaningful sense of the word. That’s its first lie. There is no constitutional protection for totalitarianism. After clearing that hurdle, the path to victory is clear.)