“…And the rush of crashing water surrounds me with its sound. Striking out to reach you. I can’t get through to the other side, When you’re racing in the rapids, there’s only one way, that’s to ride. Taken down, taken down by the undertow…”(1974) “In The Rapids” Recorded By: GenesisComposers:Anthony Banks, Michael Rutherford, Peter Gabriel, Phil Collins, SteveHackett
Earlier in June, I wrote of my experiences while attending my daughter’s wedding in Buffalo, NY. My other daughters, D’Anna and Tabitha, and Tabitha’s daughter, Skylar, as well as, D’Anna’s fiance, Nik, all made the journey from Texas to be at the incredible occasion.
Being former citizens of the Buffalo area, naturally the family wanted to check out old stomping grounds, our old house, and iconic places of the area. Nik, on the other hand, had never been there. D’Anna was on a tear to get Nik to Niagara Falls. Before you can say, “Drip-drip”, the family hightailed it over the Grand Island Bridge to see one of the Seven Wonders of The World. I have never gotten tired of visiting and revisiting this magnificent awestruck creation.
Once there, the kids did what they had time for. They visited The Cave of The Winds behind the falls. They explored the panoramic view from the foot of the falls, while on the deck of the Maid of The Mist touring boat, where you can feel the churning rumble beneath your feet. And of course, what’s a summer day if you miss getting sprayed really nicely climbing the wooden staircase next to the American side of the falls. They were immediately reminded the water is always cold in every season.
For me, the drive just outside the falls, in itself, is something to behold. Before you arrive at the falls, you travel a road which stretches alongside the upper Niagara as it speeds toward the falls. The closer you get to the falls, the more turbulent the river becomes. Some 100 yards, or so, before reaching the rim of the falls, the upper rapids churn and toss the waters filling the misty air with the roar of its rage. I have written before about the ominous, “point of no return” warnings set for boaters, which may be about a mile upstream. By the time you see the rapids racing to the brink, the force of the poundage of the water could violently toss the Empire State Building over the edge. It’s massive. It’s powerful. It’s unforgiving. It’s stirring to walk alongside the rapids as you feel its unmatched strength.
Nik and D’Anna did just that.
At some point, Nik noticed something that caught his eye. Most wouldn’t even notice, or even think about how it happens, but someone with a observant mind would take note. It was this…
There, just a few yards from the brink of the falls, a stubborn tree in the middle of the roaring deadly rapids. They noticed it didn’t budge, sway, or even wobble. There was no detection if the tree was rooted beneath the torrent on the riverbed, or if it was an uprooted tree from upstream which found a stabilizing foothold in the boulders beneath the surface. Nik was amazed at the tree’s resilience as the crushing flood crashed into its trunk, pushing, tugging, and grappling through the might of the raging undertow. So astonished by what he saw, he took the picture with his cell phone. My theory? I believe it to be a driftwood tree carried downstream which jammed one of its limbs in a crevice of a boulder, or two, anchoring it in place, forcing the rapids over, or around it. From what they observed, unless authorities remove it somehow, that tree might never see the edge of the falls.
Flying back to Dallas, Texas, while on my layover in the Baltimore airport, as I waited to change planes I took out the phone to catch myself up on the news of the week. I had been so busy while in Buffalo, I hadn’t seen any news reports Of course, as I began to scroll through the headlines, I regretted stepping out of oblivion.
So much anger, rage, and social idolatry has become the norm in such a short time. Hatred, deception, chaos, Marxism, and crime are on the rampage. Oh, and did I mention hatred?
The one giant elephant in the room parents discovered over the pandemic, as their kids were going to school online, was they actually got to see what their children were being taught. One of which, is CRT (Critical Race Theory), birthed out of the BLM movement. If not familiar with the CRT protocols, its statements, and its goals, you should look it up for yourself. In a nutshell, in very seductive undertows, it pits one race against another. The focus demonizes the white race, teaching all white people are born oppressors. How blatant is that? The focus is to shame the white race with the false idea that if born to white parents, you are unable to rid yourself of being an oppressor, a white supremacist, or a flat-out racist. Even our own president has said as much at his podium.
This twisted, deranged lie indicates a white person can, and will, never shed the haughty attitude of automatically degrading, from the very soul, other ethnic categories of color, especially anyone of African decent. According to CRT, this happens in infancy.
This is all where the phrase, “Systemic Racism” is developed. If you are one of my readers who has brown, or black skin, this places you in a cultural psychological pit in which you do not belong. CRT, if it has its way, has a dangerous, venomous seedling to be planted in your mind. The seedling will root itself in the crevice of your brain, programming you to believe that today, tomorrow, and always, you will be an “oppressed victim”. No matter how much income you deposit in your bank, no matter what level of education, no matter what position you take in the marketplace of careers, you will always have this root growing its limbs and branches, wrapping its warped ideology around and around your mind like a grapevine, or like a vicious cancer. In the end, you will never displace its roots once they have taken the foothold within. The result will not have you moving forward in our culture, but backward to the 1860’s after America’s war to abolish slavery. Instead of what Dr. Martin Luther King spoke about, judging by the character of a person, and not by the color of their skin, you and your children, and their children, will be indoctrinated to adapt the lie of being beneath all whites at birth. That is not a free person. That is not the truth. That is not God’s hand.
CRT divides us into tribes, into mental masters and slaves, and how one race will always be evil. It is also designed to create stigmas of hate within the family unit itself. Ironically, unlike what CRT teaches, so many families are made up of various representatives of races. At American restaurants tonight, many tables will be full of loved ones dining together, who happen to be white and black, Hispanic and white, Asian and black, etc. Not to be missed, there are those wonderful families who have adopted children of various races. I have several white friends who have adopted, or fostered, black children, as well as, kids from other colors of God’s rainbow. CRT targets the family unit at its very DNA strand, which feeds discord. It’s clever, it breeds racism, and it’s deadly.
Is this what we want? Is this leading to a healthy culture, and respectful society? Is it not true that we are all created equal? In the biblical aspect, yes, we ARE created equally. In Jesus, we are no longer these categories: slave and free, women and men, Greek or Jew. (Galatians 3:28 Paul’s writing.) If someone comes along in history with another teaching, they are not of the doctrine of the God of Creation.
Some corporations have adopted the ideology into their HR requirements, especially for leadership positions. The fight to keep it out of our military is a current debate on Capitol Hill as I type this. Now, where various school boards have adopted the indoctrination of CRT into the curriculum, out of social fear or political pressure, some parents are beginning to vigorously speak out at public board meetings. That’s what it will take, patriots who love this nation to stand up for truth, justice, and the rule of law against the rage of a few who wish to see America crumble.
As for me, I hope that tree, in the middle of the rapids in the Niagara, holds tight to its stabling rock. I sure would hate to see it let go due to the sheer weight of the rushing torrent against it, only to see it go over the edge into…oblivion.
A solid rock in midstream was introduced from ancient days in fuel for the race.
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, And whose trust is the LORD. For he will be like a tree planted by the water That extends its roots by a stream, And does not fear when the heat comes; But its leaves will be green, And it will not be anxious in a year of drought, Nor cease to yield fruit.” – Jeremiah 17:7-8 (NAS)
“We are strong. No one can tell us we’re wrong. Searching our hearts for so long, both of us knowing, love is a battlefield.” (1983) “Love Is A Battlefield” Recorded By: Pat Benatar Composers: Holly Knight & Mike Chapman
“These, ‘so-called’ Christians, like to attack whenever they don’t agree with someone else!”
“I’m DONE with my old high school friends who claim they’re Christians!”
“I’m not surprised anymore by what Christians say. They are all haters and ‘Trumpers’!”
“I’m not surprised either. In fact, I expect it from them (Christians).”
“Yep, most of them (Christians) are uneducated !…#@&*!”
Offended yet? If you are not of the faith, you’ll find it doesn’t necessarily bother you. Or should it? Keep reading.
Let me back up a bit to explain the above.
A “friend” of mine, going back to my high school days, launched a very negative attack on her Facebook post after she read another angry person’s comment on a private group posting memorials of deceased alumni, or teaching staff from my old high school. It’s a very nice service to have, especially when you’re an alumni who cares for old friends and teachers from yesteryear. I have been able to honor former classmates by attending their funeral services due to the fact I was briefed by the memorial page. Yet, all of the harsh words written above about “Christians” were in reaction to the cover photo of the memorial page. Here’s what launched those scathing words thrown at “Christians”. A simple photo.
Yep! That’s right, the cross. I guess this gang of vipers would break out in physical convulsions at Arlington Cemetery. It all began with one individual who responded to an obit of a departed alumni. The string of replies were the common condolences, well wishes, prayers for the family, etc, Then came this one who didn’t write anything about the deceased person, but instead questioned the use of the cross as the cover photo. In his complaint, TO THIS PRIVATE GROUP PAGE, he mentioned there were so many classmates and teachers who were not Christians. Stupidly, and yes, I used that word just now, for his assault on the cross, mentioned how the high school is a public school on school district land, therefore religious symbols should stay out of it. Of course, the school, or school district, didn’t put up the memorial page…a “private group” did so on the Facebook platform.
Back to my old high school atheistic chum. She notated on her page a description of what she saw on the memorial page, and how it should be taken down, in the recent flavor of cancel culture. Of course, she wanted to stir the stew, and she certainly did. Most of her friends on her list are far left edge, godless people, who talk about how tolerant they are, but only selectively tolerant. Tolerance for me, but not for thee. So, as one might imagine, a slew of her Christian-hating friends poured it on with a hot liquid steel spew about followers of Jesus. I only shared a short snapshot of what I read. The string of comments went on and on. It wasn’t long until one of the attacking clan aligned all Christians with Donald Trump and overall conservative political supporters. A few foolishly targeted Jesus Himself in their ramblings with despicable adjectives I cannot repeat here.
One of the complaints my old pal had, surrounded the fact that there were some people who responded badly to the man who questioned using the cross as a memorial symbol. Some were defending the cross vigorously from a faith-based point of view, others were chewing on the guy from a civics perspective. However, many replied to him in a loving way. In all cases, everyone was lumped into the “Christian” pile, a pile to burned, or eaten by lions. Been there, done that. Yet, frankly, many did not answer him with an attitude of love, but more on the scale of scrapping with an enemy. The baby hits the ground with the bathwater. Some lambs do roar. Other lambs are just so tired of being attacked by popular culture who thinks a person of faith is a Neanderthal. One vomiting up, “Most of them are uneducated!” (They should remember that whenever they pass by a Presbyterian Hospital, Methodist Hospital, Baptist Hospital, etc.) Otherwise, if Christians stay silent, inactive, and keep their teachings only inside four walls on a Sunday, then all will be right with the world. But a city on a hill can’t be hidden, can it? Salt and light alters things. The Cornerstone continues to cause many to stumble on their dark paths. The spewing haters don’t realize it, but they are indeed proving the scripture to be so accurate.
You might say, “Hey, Alan, wake up and smell the coffee. Are you new to today’s world?”
I spent most of the 1980’s on a job where I was mocked for my faith daily. I’m no stranger to this at all. My reply to such a question lies with another question. What if you take out the word “Christians” from the hateful circle of vile, and replace it with…Jews…Hindus…Muslims…Agnostics…Atheists…LGBTQ…Vets…Mexicans…The Disabled…Blue-eyed people…Bald people… Well, you get my point. The ones shouting, “RACISM!” are usually the most guilty of the sin. Take any of those titles and replace the word “Christians” and the Woke squadron would be all over you like ugly on Sasquatch. Am I right? Are you nodding your head?
I’m not biblically illiterate. Scripture states, humanity ran from God. We still do. We don’t want to be reminded there is a code for living, set by an ultimate Authority. Those who are still running from God’s arms want to make their own codes, their own roads, their own laws. After all, we have to validate whatever we do in action, word, or deed. Am I right? It’s very much like the crowd who shouts in the streets to defund the cops, or delete the police all together. It is why Jesus said if we follow Him, expect haters, expect stones to be thrown, flaming darts released, missiles to be launched. The bottom line here, it’s all part of an ancient Holy war. Israel understands that all too well.
You might be asking yourself if I “Unfriended” my old high school screamer. No, I can’t bring myself to do that. However, for my sanity, I did take a “Break” from her.
Loving others can truly be a battlefield.
The highway of faith is a gauntlet, yet overcome by fuel for the race.
“Blessed are you whenever they revile you and persecute you and they say every evil word against you for my sake, in falsehood. Then rejoice and triumph, because your reward is great in Heaven, for just so they persecuted The Prophets who were before you.” – Jesus – Matthew 5:11-12 (Aramaic Bible In Plain English)
“You don’t know me but I’m your brother. I was raised here in this living hell. You don’t know my kind in your world. Fairly soon the time will tell. You – Telling me the things you’re gonna do for me. I ain’t blind and I don’t like what I think I see. (Takin’ it to the streets) Takin’ it to the streets…” (1976) “Takin’ It To The Streets” Recorded by: The Doobie Brothers Composer: Michael McDonald
Oh, but blindness is a secret ingredient in our sour bread today.
A text dinged my phone late Friday night. It was my daughter, Megan. She lives in downtown Buffalo, NY. She informed me about a rioting mob coming down her street and how she was on her way to move her curb-parked car before the mob arrived. Although she found a safer place to park her car, other properties around her didn’t do so well in the wake of the raging rioters. The following morning she explained how the smashing of storefront windows, in concert with the screaming and yelling, kept her awake all night long. In the light of day she left her apartment to find shops, restaurants, and car windows smashed, along with burned-out vehicles from arsonists. Her heart was broken over the businesses she frequents. Many of the owners are her friends. Megan attacked the broken glass on the walkways with a broom to aid in the aftermath. She’s a great gal, if I do say so myself.
Of course, this all helped her to understand just how to honor the family of the late, George Floyd, mercilessly killed at the hands of Minneapolis police officers on Memorial Day. I’m certain she will now want to destroy the lives around her the very next time a rogue city employee invokes a racist action. After all, isn’t that what is in vogue currently? Shouldn’t we burn down the local drug store where your son, grandmother, or dad purchases insulin? If you hear one racial slur, or just hear about it second hand, no doubt you will break the windows of a mom & pop clothing store, and loot everything you can grab. While you’re at it, take selfies of yourself holding up the stolen goods so it can be stored in the cloud to find you guilty in a future court of law. In fact, whatever out-of-state wrongdoing we hear about, let’s just drive to the next town over to throw firebombs at the closest law enforcement officer standing on any given street corner. (You know, the officer who has a spouse and three kids waiting at home.) In this way, after accomplishment, we can proudly say, “There! That will teach the *#@%!! wrongdoer I heard about from a state on the other side of the *#@%!! nation!”
It was heart-ripping to watch the brutality which ended in the murder of George Floyd of Minneapolis. Like most, I felt the boil in my belly as shock and dismay were overcome by raw anger. The action of the criminal cops was nothing short of outrageous, evil, and abominable. If the lady who holds up the scales in the courthouse is awake, I am certain justice will be served.
As I write this, there is a planned protest underway at our local police station here in our northern suburb of Dallas, Tx. America’s freedoms allow such peaceful protests. It is the way of our constitutional rights to do so, to speak openly and freely, without fear of governmental reprisals, or any other citizen who may have another viewpoint. It was written long ago in the infancy of our nation to freely assemble, to freely speak, even in “peaceful” protest of our government, local or federal. Our founders believed these rights were given to us by God, nature’s God. This indicates that no person, nor a person’s government, nor king, gave us these rights. We (humanity) inherited them from our Creator from the beginning. If the “peaceful” protesters, a couple miles from me, keep that in mind, maybe my house will not be burned down tonight.
This would be the same God who also put in writing that it is a sin to steal, kill, and destroy your neighbor. In other words, when we review this carefully we can see that if we have these rights given by God, then we certainly can say this God is firmly against viciously raping the rights of a neighbor while stealing, killing, and destroying. Lawlessness has a heavy price tag. It’s important to note in our day and culture the following…
GOD IS NOT SCHIZOPHRENIC!
Check my archives. Many times I have written about the scourge of racism. What we witnessed in Minneapolis was a hate crime, in my opinion. Of course, the courts will have to decide this based on the evidence at hand. However, what we have faced in recent days in our country has ZERO to do with racism, or even the tragic slaughter of George Floyd. I know, there will be some who say it has everything to do with it. But I dare you to be honest in a bout of reconsideration. Follow me on this.
Martin Luther King, Jr knew and exercised peaceful protests. An incredible man following God’s heart for the people of this nation under God. Efforts to “take down” America, using a scorched earth method in our streets, is not the protest MLK approved of. In fact, if you read his writings, listen to his sermons, you will find it would grieve him greatly.
Our peaceful protests have been hijacked by anarchists who have a vision of the destruction of America. And don’t be fooled. Our enemies are circling like birds of prey to see if self-engineered anarchy can leave this nation in ruin, especially so quickly after the COVID-19 pandemic.
There is a great darkness over our land today. This is a spiritual problem. I watch these 20 year old hooded puppets of the anarchists, anarchists who cowardly hide behind a curtain, mindlessly hellbent on devouring America and my heart hurts. Most are teens and up to 30 years old or so. They are full of a rage they don’t even understand, although they are directed to believe they understand. So, like a master instrumentalist playing a flute, they teach the torching of the cafe and shoe store their grandparents helped to build. Most are drunk in the thrill of the flames, the shattered glass, the stolen property, along with bodily harm to the innocent. Not once do these young minds of mush think about what comes next if they succeed. Do you think that they really know? The reality is, they would find themselves enslaved to another form of government that deletes their rights, decays their open future for the better, and defies the God Who gave them such liberty of law for the pursuit of happiness. Endless poverty like they’ve never known. Tyrannic brutality beyond modern-day description. Not to mention, they will be forced to the front lines of a nuclear conflict to come in short order.
I watch them and see they have no fear of God. The fear of a Supreme One, who dictates the times, laws, and steps of nations, is not in these street puppets. The Minneapolis officers displayed no fear of God during the memorial Day murder of George Floyd. Once based on the Almighty, this country suffers from the willingness of ejecting the Great I Am of scripture for the role of a marionette.
A nation without the fear of its Creator is a spiraling one. It’s been proven over and over again. God, help us all.
Hard lessons are rolled up in the scrolls of fuel for the race.
“Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin condemns any people.” – Proverbs 14:34 (NIV)
“A child is black. A child is white. Together they grow to see the light, to see the light…” (1972) Black & White – Recorded by: Three Dog Night. Composers: David I. Arkin, Earl Robinson.
Appreciation note: A quick thank you to the very kind, Alicia from the blog, For His Purpose for nominating my blog for the Sunshine Blogger Award. I am greatly shocked and humbled. I do enjoy your everyday camera angles of life with the filter of truths.
This will not be a political post. This will not be a ranting post concerning those who play at politics, or the swift blinding blame of another. This will lack the spewing of hatred and emotional blathering of negativity currently blowing across the media. If that’s what feeds you, look elsewhere. However, if you are open-minded, wanting to hop off the meat wagon, serving up all kinds of dangerous rhetoric currently being wielded like a Gladius sword, you are welcome to read below.
Billy Boyd was my best friend in 7th grade. In those times that was our first year at Dillingham Jr. High School, before “middle school” was introduced. We lived in Sherman, Tx where the west side of town was mainly made up of white population. There was also the east side where the African American community settled, or was made to settle in post-Civil War days. Dillingham Jr. High was situated close to the border of the east and west sides of the medium market town. We met on our first day of the new school year.
When we left our elementary schools to enter 7th grade, it was a cultural shock for all of the student body. Obviously my elementary school consisted of mostly white kids. At Dillingham the heavy black and white mix was a first for all of us. Billy was African American from the east side of the tracks. He was my first black school friend ever. At the time I really thought nothing about it. In fact, I thought it was cool to have a black friend who was my age.
What I didn’t expect, nor every experienced before, was racial name-calling, slurs, racial riots on campus, gang violence, and violent ambushes. (Forgive me for giving too much info here, but I must write it.) As a white kid relieving himself at the urinal, I was kicked in the back from time to time. Once, I was slammed in the back of my head with a football helmet while standing there facing the wall. This was the environment I was introduced to. Billy didn’t have anything to do with the vicious tagging of white kids. I was on the sharp end of the above racial abuses in a big way simply because I was a white kid from the west side. There were attacks I received in the hallways, between buildings, after football practice, and after school on my way across campus to the bike rack. Some of these were 15 and 16 years old students who were still repeating 7th or 8th grades. I received threats concerning my dog and my mom. In that school year, I learned how to box and street fight the hard way. My uncle taught me how to box, and another friend trained me in Aikido that same year. Through it all, Billy and I remained friends. You might say we were the odd couple. After the school year slowly dropped me into the summer break, my mom relocated out of town, and just in time. Only God knows what might have been if I had spent another year in racial turmoil. However, the hatred and bigotry had a profound influence on me. But, I would experience it again.
When I was a toddler, 98 years after slavery ended in the U.S., I met my first African American. (I have written about him before, but it’s been a couple of years.) While visiting my grandparents in Greenville, Tx, every-other Saturday they had their lawn work done by an elderly black man named Mr. Amos. To this day I don’t know if that was a surname or his first name. No doubt he was the son of slaves, living in the far east side of Greenville in a sector notable for the African American neighborhood. I recall there being a side street which served as the border between whites and blacks, as it was set-up by the local government leaders in the late 1800’s.
From my toddler days, all the way to 11 years old or so, I LOVED old Mr. Amos. I saw him as an uncle from another grandmother. The neighborhood in those days would remind you of the street scenes from the movie, To Kill A Mockingbird. He would drag his lawn mower down the street cutting grass and hedges for a few dollars. To see him was like imagining Mr. Bojangles in various ways. He was ragged, skinny, and toughened by the years. His very dark skin was weathered and rough from a lifetime of working in the Texas sun, like leather from an old baseball glove. He always had an old rag, or bandanna hanging out his back pants pocket, along with old worn-out hard-soled leather lace-up shoes. The elderly man always did a wonderful job on the lawn and hedges. He had the talent. Whenever I was there, I would watch him out my grandparent’s front window as he worked his fingers to the bone with pride. I never saw anyone sweat as much as he did. When he finished the front lawn he began to pull his mower up the driveway toward the backyard. From the time I was 3, my grandmother would take an ice cold, frosted bottle of Dr. Pepper out of the fridge, pop open the cap with the bottle opener, which hung on her kitchen wall, hand it to me and say, “Alan, you go give this to poor Mr. Amos.” Wrapped around it was the money he earned. (They were very liberal with the payment.) I would grin from ear to ear as I ran outside before he reached the back. There in my Buster Browns I proudly said in my Mickey Mouse voice, “Here ya go, Mr. Amos!” No matter how often our encounters, he always acted surprised as he shook my hand and replied with his gruff voice, “Well, what’s this here? (chuckle) Why…thank ya, son!” When in my earlier age, I would look at the palm of my hand to see if the black color rubbed off his sweating hand. I kid you not, he never took his mouth off the bottle until it was turned upside-down and empty, without taking a breath. There’s no way I could do that. I would watch him drink in shear amazement. Handing the empty bottle back to me, he would exhale with a huge drawn-out gasp, like a swimmer coming up for air and say, “That’s my boy!” I always waited to hear him say those words. It made my day. He didn’t know it but just saying that to this fatherless lad made me feel warm inside. With his statement of gratitude, I ran back in to tell my grandmother once again, how he called me “son” and what’s more, I was “his boy”. I honored and respected him. Through the years of youth, I wondered why he always looked so poor.
I’m not certain what year it was, but I will say I was 13 (1973) when hatred came calling.
Mr. Amos was in my grandparent’s yard, doing his job one Saturday, when he was suddenly interrupted by his son and daughter-in-law who had pulled up in the driveway. The man was angry with his father for mowing the lawns of “Honkies”. (It’s a name I was familiar with from school. I didn’t believe Mr. Amos thought I was one of those.) Mr. Amos protested saying he was doing his purpose in that stage of his life. The voices got louder as they argued in the side yard. I pressed my ear to the nearest window to hear more clearly what was being said. The son of Mr. Amos spewed about how shameful it was to be “workin’ for the white man” and how embarrassed he was to see him on our lawn in the “white part of town”. My granddad came out to see what the issue was. After he was told, my granddad gently explained to Mr. Amos that it was okay if he needed to go and do what he thought was right. Sheepishly looking down at his tired scuffed shoes, Mr. Amos agreed he should load-up and go with his son. Hearing it my heart broke. My granddad paid him in full, even though the job wasn’t completed, then they drove away. I was highly disturbed. Tears rolled down my freckled cheeks at what I had witnessed. That was the last time I saw Mr. Amos after knowing him through 9-10 years of my childhood.
I had a friend like Billy, as well as a man of grit and heart like Mr. Amos for one reason. Early on my mom had coded within me, from the days of Mr. Amos, to love all people, regardless of their skin hues. As a little one, she read the words of Jesus to me at bedtime where He taught what she preached to me. What she didn’t teach at the time was the perspectives and inward struggles some possess, like the son of Mr. Amos.
Still, I came away from my experiences at Dillingham with a chip on my shoulder, combined with an unjustified angst against black people. In fact, the realities left me unwilling to trust African Americans for many years throughout much of the 1970’s until I got the chance to work and worship alongside African Americans from 1979 and onward.
In these days where racial slurs, alongside accusations of racism, are being tossed around like confetti, there’s a warning for us all. When young men soak up vile, filthy hatred from certain websites, or chat rooms brainwashing them to the point of mass murdering another race due to their ethnicity alone, we should take note. Words are like bullets. Enough of them, combined with a deadly spin, will and do rip open the hearts of our youth. Good parenting is so vital. Compassionate parenting is so vital. Informative parenting is so vital. So often these word-projectiles reverberate through the rooms of the home for little ears to plant in the fertile soil of their souls. Each and every community and culture should surgically remove attitudes of hate-filled, damning speech about our neighbors. If not, the next generation will see domestic death, domestic destruction and possibly war. There is a desensitizing which is slow, like marinating a pork loin. Sleeping with the pigs will make you muddy. And oh, how dark that mud can be.
If you dare, journey with me for a moment on the following hypothetical.
If one leans toward Darwinism, and sees another race as beneath their own DNA, then one must ask how it got to such a point. If we, collectively, all derived from an ancient amoeba, which washed up on a beach in ions past, then how can one defend a racial ideology? Maybe the ancient amoeba community rioted against other amoeba of a different thickness of cell wall. Then again, can an amoeba possess hate? Unfortunately, hate is branded in humankind exclusively. There’s a reason for that. Follow me on this.
As we continue to search for the “Missing Link” (still missing), there’s a newer, more popular theory.
If one leans toward the newer idea that humanity was placed here by ancient aliens from another planet, there’s even a bigger leap to make. I suppose it’s plausible ancient aliens also suffered from racism, implanting that curse on the earth as we were left here to populate the world. It would also seem plausible that such an advance interstellar civilization would’ve been cautious to populate the earth with beings like themselves, assuring racism wouldn’t be introduced. If the theory is accurate, then wouldn’t it make sense they would sprout beings which reflected a visual likeness? If so, why do have racial issues at all?
If you come from a biblical world view, as I do, then how can I ever hold to a twisted view of racial hatred? Since I am a creationist, I read and study the account where we were all created in the image of God, a likeness of the Divine. Therefore, how could I ever look at a black, brown, yellow, or red man or woman crying, “Moron!”, “Mistake!”“Mutant” or “Monstrosity!” Racism dictates that you have cheap blood and I do not. But, I’ll take your kidney, or a transfusion if I need one. Cheap? Really? For me, scripture reveals we all came from a set of flesh and blood ancient parents who had a multitude of offspring, and so on. Genesis has the genealogy listed covering about a two thousand year span complete with names, nations and seasons of geology. Even DNA experts have found the evidence which mirrors this view. Within the last few years DNA studies have shown we come from the same part of the world with ancestry funneling into a clan going back to the beginnings of life itself, matching the Genesis timeline. So, why do we, or why should we have this scent of racism?
Let’s be super honest here. I like to call balls and strikes as I see them.
Racism, at its core, is the belief in a lie. Yep, we’ve been snookered.
“…Mmm, no no Lyin’ to the races Help me, come on, come on Somebody, help me now (I’ll take you there)…” (1972) “I’ll Take You There” by: The Staple Singers
Moreover, racism is an ideology which dictates thoughts of I, me and myself am to reign over another due to my skin pigmentation. The lie woos one to beliefs like; if one is darker, or lighter skinned than I, then that person is to be subordinate to me, simply due to color. It even can get down to the shape of a skull, or the nose. Racism methodically massages the mind and heart of the pre-white supremacist, for example, who will claim God made a mistake by creating black, brown, yellow, and red skin. Unfortunately, even shades of skin tones are targets of racial darts. In addition, let’s not forget the racism within the color spectrum itself. English vs Celts, Anglo Gentiles vs Jews, African tribes vs other African tribes, the list goes on. Furthermore, it revels in the false idea which says a particular race was created to be supreme over all peoples, nations, societies and cultures. If one hears it enough, studies it enough, sniffs the belly of the dragon enough, the ideology is perceived as authentic. Just as evil thoughts grow and widen, hatred begins to fester like Multiple Myeloma which eats away at the bones. Racism eats away at the very soul of a person.
Are you still with me? Can I go a step further?
Let’s say you are one who believes in the afterlife. Maybe it’s a belief that the spirit, once separated from its body, roams the earth as a ghostly individual, for whatever purpose. If you were a racist in the flesh, how do you exercise racism in the spirit world? When there’s a failure to control the body in life, how then do we expect to control and navigate our spirits? Interesting thought. Are we suddenly stronger and wiser in spirit than we were when we had flesh? After death the skin, once proudly admired as a trophy in life, grows pale and decays, falling away from the skeleton, which is the same color as all skeletons. So now, in spirit form, how do you rant and rave over other spirits who have no skin color? In spirit form, racism is also dead. Suddenly, racist views are no longer so important. In the end, the 79 year old racist can look back on his/her earthly life and will see the damning foolishness of a faulty ideology.
Let’s say you have a biblical perspective of the afterlife. In the place described so well in scripture as heaven, there are a number of problems if racism is to continue. First, God says haters (which includes racist users) will not see the kingdom of heaven. Secondly, in this present age, there is the spiritual form left after the body fails. How, as an eternal racist, do you push back on another spirit residing in God’s Kingdom? Thirdly, the ancient text is clear on the following. There will come a time in eternity when the old earthly body will be recreated to reunite with the spirit in which it once belonged, much like the resurrection of Jesus. God does the recreation at His sovereign will. Colors or not, He will do what He plans. Whatever skin color, if any at all, is resurrected in God’s timeline. At that point, how could hatred of it exist? Fourthly, in heaven there is no spirit who will submit to another based on color of robe, earthly ethnicity, or thought. Jesus Himself said there’s only One Who reigns in heaven. All is made new in the afterlife, if with God. In Paul’s writings, he mentions that “in Christ” there is no difference in “Jew or Gentile”, “slave or free”, “male or female”, etc. THAT is God’s view of the color spectrum of the souls He created and saw it to be good. Racism is NOT eternal. What does that tell us about the perceived value and validation of racial disharmony in life today?
Racism will always be with us. The seed is there in this imperfect world. It was introduced by God’s adversary early in human history to distort the mind’s view of every created race. It is the management of it which must be priority. If the lion is not tamed, it will eat the foolish ringmaster.
The shooter in El Paso, Texas believed a racial lie. In his manifesto he wrote of multiple issues which pushed him over the edge like, plastic in the oceans, immigration flow, economics, eco-system, etc. But, in the end, his frustrations were decidedly poured out over helpless Hispanics with intention. The shooter in Dayton, OH and the shooter at the Garlic Festival in Gilroy, California were driven by hate, even though it appears not to be racially motivated. As a result, many were brutally murdered and maimed. It’s a seeded lie laced by the enemy of the human brotherhood of soul and spirit. Police in Gilroy reported the shooter there wore a clown mask. Appropriate, don’t you think?
Please accept this warning. Those who ricochet darts coming from the mouths of haters, is a very dangerous thing. Wars have been launched for far less. Unfortunately many like the shooters of El Paso, Dayton, and Gilroy are weak-minded, easily influenced, or simply mentally ill. They are like a weed bending to a dark wind from whichever direction. The result is, “I AM DOMINATE!” For some, all it will take is a spewing of hate-filled venom to cause the voices to ring violence in their minds. Once it takes hold, it is like the gravity of opium to the offender. If it’s not an assault rifle, it will be a bomb, a poison, a chemical, a blade, a flip of a rail switch, a van, a bus, a truck, a water bottle full of gasoline, etc.
Love, compassion, and understanding will always been the answer. In fact, love is the basis found in fuel for the race.
“You’re familiar with the command to the ancients, ‘Do not murder.’ I’m telling you that anyone who is so much as angry with a brother or sister is guilty of murder. Carelessly call a brother ‘idiot!’ and you just might find yourself hauled into court. Thoughtlessly yell ‘stupid!’ at a sister and you are on the brink of hellfire. The simple moral fact is that words kill. – Jesus – Matthew 5:21-22 (MSG Version)
“…Scattered pictures of the smiles we left behind. Smiles we gave to one another for the way we were…Can it be that it was all so simple then? Or has time rewritten every line?…” (1974) The Way We Were. Recorded by; Barbra Streisand. Composers: Alan Bergman, Marilyn Bergman, Marvin Hamlisch.
There’s much to learn from a simple photograph. I adore antique photos, always have. They are even more special when you find images depicting your own flesh and blood. If you love family history, then you and I could share some time over a few cups of java.
Check out the cover shot I placed above. This is a 1902 family reunion from my paternal side. No doubt it’s from the summer time in Texas, yet there’s all that clothing. Look at all stiff high collars, neckties and gowns that crawl up to the chin, along with the hats. Summers in Texas can reach 100+ degrees easily. How did they do it? In all honesty, the southern tradition was to have an event like this right after church on a Sunday afternoon. Maybe that’s why everybody is in their Sunday-go-to-meetin’-clothes. I see watermelon slices, cakes, pies, etc. And then there’s that guy on the back row, just right of center, swigging a big bottle of….well…uh…Okay, who knows. But remember, church was over. LOL
Being from the south, there is a depth of Confederate soldiers in the family.
Photo: Meet Great Uncle Alexander Ambrose Timmons (1865) Now THAT’S a knife!
Photo: Meet my Great Grandpa Lewis Pinkney Brooks (1866) After the war, he rode a mule from Georgia to west Texas to stay. He found himself to be a cattle drover, pioneer settler, homesteader, 2nd sheriff of Young County, Texas, stage coach inn owner, and Indian fighter.
Yes, sometimes inside family history one can find skeletons which may not be politically correct by today’s self-imposed standards. I’m not one to erase history. In fact, I gaze at it, study it, and recognize the truth of the way we were. We need to see how far we’ve come. We need to discover how and why issues in society arose. We are in need of understanding before we repeat some aspects of our history which may stain us as a culture. We also should value perspectives. One can title a person an “Indian fighter” but often neglects the realities of circumstance. As for my my great-grandfather Brooks, he dealt with the pains of pioneering. Tonkawa and Comanche often raided his barn overnight to steal horses, cattle, and mules. Another time, he and his cousin were building a three-foot herd wall, made of stone, when they were attacked unprovoked. Grave plots had to be topped in layers of large stone to discourage grave-robbing for clothes and jewelry. Outlaws are outlaws, no matter the culture. Yes, it was a lawless wild country in very different times. Only after years of fighting back in defense of his wife and children did peace began to rise.
Pioneer women were of a different breed. They were tough as brass doorknobs while growing and nurturing families in the harshest conditions.
Photo; Meet my Great Grandma Mary Lucinda “Cinnie” Moore-Brooks (1877). She was not a doctor, but performed medical aid for the citizens of the county when needed. There are stories of her alone on foot, in late night hours, traveling to attend to women in labor miles away. Once a young family in a covered wagon, headed for the western frontier, stopped at the homestead asking for medical aid. The couple had a baby who was ill. The family lodged in their house for a good couple of weeks as Mary Brooks tended to the infant. Sadly, the child couldn’t be saved. They buried the baby in our family cemetery on the land. Brokenhearted, the couple got back on the trail and was never heard from again. She was not only a woman of great courage, but a woman of heart.
Photo: Let me introduce you to my Great Aunt Alverse Brooks (1905ish). I don’t know much about Aunt Alverse, I just love her face. I do know she liked to swim in the Brazos River with her sisters. She lived as a single woman. (The men must have been pushed away, or simply stupid.)
Photo: Say hello to my Grandma Bessie Brooks-Brown, with her two sisters, swimming in the Brazos River just below the family homestead (1909ish). This lovely refreshed and digitized shot is nothing but a joy to look at. My grandma is on the left. Notice the swimwear where EVERYTHING is covered. How many layers do you think they were wearing? However, it didn’t keep that guy behind them from gawking in his ten gallon hat. Yes, times were different.
You might be asking yourself, “Why is Alan forcing all these family pics on us?” There’s a method to my madness.
Have you seen those DNA test commercials? How can you miss them? You know the ones where the actor says something like, “I thought my family came from Scotland, so I bought this kilt. Then I had my DNA tested and found out I’m actually German!” Recently I had been given a birthday gift card encouraging me to get my DNA tested. It’s something I always wanted to do. One of my thrills comes from reading family trees. This is a notch above the tree. So, I ordered a DNA kit.
Not long ago I was reviewing some of my medical lab work from a blood and urine sample. There was an indicator of a possible unknown ethnic bloodline hidden in my genes. I was shocked. I do know of some Native American on my maternal side, but I just assumed Anglo-Saxon was the balance of my strand, due to surnames. The DNA test will spell out the surprises. It will be nice to get to know the authentic “me”….or will it?
I find it funny how some of these DNA test ads speak of “…finding the real you”, or “I never knew I was this, or that.” One TV spot had an actor speaking a line similar to, “I ordered my kit because I wanted to know the true me.” Of course, I understand what the meaning is behind such scripted lines. I get it. My issue is the idea of “the true me”.
Lately I’ve been deeply diving into Larry McMurty’s novel series, Lonesome Dove. I guess I enjoy tales of the state from which I call home. Reading of its wilder, unsettled times is a blast. Frankly, it helps me to understand my family in our photos. One main character, a former Texas Ranger and drover from the Texas Republic years, lost a leg and an arm in a shootout with a Mexican train robber and serial killer. After he realized he would live as an amputee for the rest of his life, his bolt, staunch personality changed. He became more withdrawn. I guess you could say the heart of the man shrunk. His words often consisted of how “HE” was no longer who he was, or used to be. He saw his missing limbs as tools that identified his toughness, his persona, and his legacy. It’s not unusual for depression to invade an amputee’s psyche shortly after the vacuum of trauma. Yet, why look at an amputated limb on a table and think, “Hey, that’s me over there on the table?” It’s a terrible mistake that tends to haunt. A disabled vet can testify to this depression-fed mindset.
A leg, an arm, even a DNA strand does not say WHO you ARE. These things do not relabel the soul and spirit of the individual person. After a tragic plane crash, or the sinking of a ship, they do not report, “100 bodies were lost.” Traditionally it’s printed, “100 souls were lost.” One can be robbed of a limb, a featured look, or a physical profile, but the person inside has not been altered on the operating table…unless the individual cuts away at it by choice. Whether I am a burn victim, a man of extreme age, facially mutilated, newly unemployed, or an amputee, I know WHO I am deep inside where flesh doesn’t live, grow, or die. MY DNA doesn’t alter the ME which turns me to the right or the left. My genes have no power over the ME which molds behavior, or makes eternal decisions. No bloodline rules and reigns over the ME who chooses to love, serve, or share. No bloodline from my family tree can measure up to the ME I select in life. After all, flesh turns to dust in a future grave, or ashes spread by the winds atop a west Texas bluff.
Have you ever heard someone’s final words on their deathbed to be, “Oh, how I wish I had a Celtic slice in my DNA strand. I would have been a better person?”
We all have our choices, no matter the accent, skin color, cultural slants, or the soil of our birth. Even a surname doesn’t register the YOU inside your core. The heart is key. It’s what God said He evaluates, nothing else.
I look forward to the DNA reveal concerning the body I host. I know this because of the intake of fuel for the race.
“I don’t know why nobody told you how to unfold your love. I don’t know how someone controlled you. They bought and sold you. I look at the world and I notice it’s turning while my guitar gently weeps. With every mistake we must surely be learning. Still my guitar gently weeps…” While My Guitar Gently Weeps (1968). Recorded by: The Beatles. Composer: George Harrison
A friend of mine took the cover shot above for a Facebook post. Like her, I immediately saw the humor. For many who are against fast food, as it bashes decent dietary habits, this is the perfect photo to get on a soapbox and rage away. Once again I laughed thinking about an old friend of mine who never cleaned out his car. Whenever I hopped in his Triumph TR6, I first had to push over all the old fast food wrappers, along with the burger boxes, just to sit. Then, my feet found a place to rest on top of more take-out sacks and such. The trunk was even worse. There’s a somewhat faded memory of a cousin who would finish his burrito while driving his pick-up. After he finished, without a miss, he would toss the wrapper and sack in the bed of the truck behind him where it found company with dozens of other discarded items. Here, in the photo above, at least as you order from the outdoor menu, you could throw-away yesterday’s take-out trash at the same time. However, wherever you go, you’ll find garbage.
Trash in – trash out.
I needed a chuckle this week. Watching the news sank my spirit. How about you? I’ve been thinking about how you must be feeling.
God bless the citizens of Christchurch, New Zealand. Here we are, yet another senseless mass slaughter. Dozens of worshipers, men, women, and children, in two different mosques were killed and severely injured. As often the case, the evil-doer had posted a lengthy manifesto. It was filled with hatred for other races, and those practicing various religious faiths across the planet. If you’ve been living in a cave this week, you might be unaware that this corrupted heart, this darkened soul, found forethought to wear a body camera to live stream his ethnic cleansing event for the world to see on social media. Millions have seen the tragedy from his viewpoint. In the shredding of lives, he somehow survived, as if protected.
Oh, and should I mention the thousands of Christians in Nigeria which have been slaughtered by Muslim extremists all within the last year? It is still going on. Yes, it’s true. Interestingly enough, it is being reported the victims are mostly women and children in this case. Very much like a Nazi military doctrine, the idea is to eliminate reproduction of Christian families in that small nation. For some reason very few news outlets cover the genocide there. Millions of Christians and Muslims are in concentration camps in China right now. China calls them “Reeducation centers”. Honestly, I am barely touching the surface of the topic. There’s so much more to report concerning hatred on wheels.
Thousands of thoughts run through my mind as I write this. Frankly, the old man in me wants revenge for the bloodshed of the innocent ones taken from us. The heart is a tool of great unselfish love…and unthinkable evil destruction. Washing over me are the biblical words of God, “Vengeance is mine”.
Hearing how the evil one in New Zealand strapped on his camera, along with admiring other mass murderers of note, and his total disregard for life itself, with the exception of his own, I can only imagine one of his goals. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out other fools like him will follow suit. With the 17 minutes of squashing human life from his camera, looking very much like a violent video game, a huge population of sick kids will use it for their video gaming, with their faces pressed against computer screens. Already the video has been reproduced for sinister marketeers. God help us all.
The investigation into this 28 year old mass murderer is underway. When all the facts come out, no doubt there will be found violent gaming in his little darkened cave. Along with other vicious videos, there will also be tons of extreme violent movies, authentic death-lovers videos, and celebrated ghoulish websites. Oh, yeah. They exist.
Here’s what trash in the mind will do for you.
Photo: Huffington Post
When diving deep into the garbage evil sets up, soon one can discover entanglement with the refuse once admired from a distance. Once it sticks to the pursuer, as it wraps its claws around the mind, it actually distorts who the fantasizer was created to be. It disfigures the one pursuing. Truly an assault on the Creator Himself. Trash in – Trash out.
We are like trash receptacles. How we act-out all depends on what we toss into ourselves. We are what we consume.
Make no mistake about it. The process works like this. First there is a single thought. That thought is allowed, given permission, to enter the storage of the mind where fantasy breeds. The imagination of the mind is sparked by the thought, which came from outside of one’s self, and begins to choose to feed on the thought. A sense of pleasure hatches from the fantasy, and it is entertained if allowed to fester by lingering. Soon, the hatching is not a single hatch at all, but rather hatchlings, like infant snakes, or parasites. As they swim through the bloodstream of the heart and soul, only untried action is left to perform, as it hunts for an ascension to satisfy the urge implanted in the core of a pre-criminal. The seedling of a thought allowed to nestle ends up overwhelming the will. Hate is very much like a serpent crawling out of its shell. It can, and will, only grow. It is covert, camouflaged, and quick.
It’s times like these when people in the world, who feel intelligent when stating there is no “evil”, only bad decisions, need to reevaluate their belief system. My recommendation is Jesus, the Judge, the Destroyer of evil. In scripture, recording the life of Christ, agents of evil feared Him, even asking permission to escape from His immediate vicinity. I love reading those accounts.
Please, if you dabble in violent video gaming, or you have a child who does, RUN FROM IT! Soaking in it will distort the view of life, love, and our fellowman. Visuals are a tool to burn, to etch, to brand images in the mind where nothing can be reversed. One cannot “unsee” these images.
Think well on a passage from the writings of Catherine of Genoa from the late 1400’s.
“…I have given the keys of my house to Love with permission to do all that is necessary.” – From: Life and Teachings
Dregs in the tank can be burned away with fuel for the race.
“Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable – if there is any moral excellence and if there is anything praiseworthy – dwell on these things.” St. Paul, Philippians 4:8 (CSB)
“I guess happiness was Lubbock, Texas in my rearview mirror. But now happiness was Lubock, Texas growing nearer and dearer…” Texas In My Rearview Mirror, (1974). Written and recorded by: Mac Davis.
I left Texas once to chase a dream, building on my career. It’s true what they say about never being able to go back home again. I did come back. However, my town, Dallas/Ft Worth area, had grown and changed. Among the alterations, more glass, steel, and concrete. Nevertheless, I was glad to be back.
As I mentioned in last week’s post, “A Family Affair”, I had the joy of spending lots of time with my three daughters. It’s been a celebration of hearts as my middle daughter, Megan, was visiting from New York. She brought her boyfriend with her this time. He had never been to Texas and truly wanted to get a good taste of the culture. That’s not always easy to show, as the Metroplex has grown into an international community. In Dallas we tend to demolish the old and rebuild. Feeling what he really wanted was to experience our historical side, we pulled out all the stops. Of course, he wanted to visit the grassy knoll in downtown Dallas where JFK was assassinated. For Texans, in general, it’s a tourist spot we are not proud of.
Besides treating him to Texas style Mexican food (Tex-Mex), along with some of the best Texas BBQ available, we drove him out west, so to speak.
Photo: My Grandpa and Grandma Brooks.
We visited Graham, Texas, a couple of hours west of the city, where cowboys and oil fields are the norm. My dad’s family is there where we are part of the historical landscape. My great-grandfather, Lewis Pinkney Brooks, helped to found that part of Texas. In fact, he was the second sheriff of Young County, Texas. He built a home there in the mid 1870’s where one of my cousins resides to this day.
Photo; Brooks Homestead
The homestead is registered in the Texas Historical Society. He was a pioneer, decorated Confederate soldier, builder, and cattle drover. Individuals like, Doc Holliday, Wild Bill Hickok, and Wyatt Earp were contemporaries. After the Civil War, he left Georgia on a mule to settle in the Graham, Texas area where the Comanche and the Tonkawa native Americans ruled. There are hair-raising stories concerning gunfights, grave robbers, horse-thieves, and indian wars. The old homestead was also used as a stagecoach stop for weary travelers, as well as, frontier families in covered wagons heading west. His wife was a bit of the community doctor and midwife. She tended to many who needed physical and medical aid, no matter what race or skin color. Yet, the land was wild, rough, and untamed. The gun turrets he built in the attic walls helps to tell the tale. It’s a rich history and heritage I hold dear to my heart. It’s never a chore to drive out to spend time in the old homestead. Frankly, it’s like a museum, with a great deal of love sown into its lintels. We were honored to share it with our younger generation.
The following day, we drove our New York friend to the famous Ft Worth Stockyards before touring the red waters of the Brazos River, along with Ft. Belknap, just outside of Graham, Texas.
A wealth of Texas history feeds this area of Ft Worth. Just to the north of the modern downtown high-rises, the old west is almost unchanged. Throngs of tourists flood the Stockyard District of the city each year.
Photo: Our friend took this shot from his cell phone.
As early as the late 1850’s, cattle drovers drove their cattle up from many areas including, southern Texas and Mexico, then down Exchange Street to the Ft Worth corrals and railroad. There the herds were prepared for auctioning, or loading onto outbound cattle cars on trains headed north for places like, Kansas City, Chicago, and Denver. The unique Texas Longhorn breed was, and is, a high commodity. The top of their hips are almost six feet high. There’s no other sound exactly like hooves pounding the antique bricked streets.
Although the Stockyards are family friendly today, it wasn’t always that way. Just like in the movies, saloons, whiskey bottles, and skimpy-clad women eager to take your money were the order of a cowboy’s day. It was here where outlaws like, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Sam Bass, and the James brothers frequented the streets. Also, Bonnie and Clyde found a temporary refuge in the Stockyard Hotel, now a luxury hotel displaying a Texas historical marker. In fact, the infamous cowboy outlaw from Texas, John Wesley Hardin, didn’t do well in hotels in the late 1800’s. He once shot a cowboy through the hotel room wall. It seems the man was snoring too loudly.
Twice a day, cowboys drive Longhorns across the tracks, down Exchange Street, while onlookers gather with cameras in hand. It was a stampede of Texas history for our friend from New York.
Photo: Sarah Hetrick
May I get real and ask you some hard questions which might offend you? Either way, I’ll love you. Okay, here goes.
In an age when a selective younger generation feels empowered by destroying statues representing our history, whether good or bad, I can’t help but feel a mistake is being made. We saw ISIS doing the same thing to monuments, ancient ruins, and antiquities from the biblical days of Nineveh. Hear me out before you judge me too harshly.
Sure, one can ask if all of Texas history is good. Quickly I would be the first to answer in the negative. On the other hand, I would point out the overwhelming majority of Texas history is positive and inspiring. In order to appreciate where one lives, it should be understood where one comes from, warts and all. It’s all about what makes us who we are, and where we are going. After all, if we, as individuals, take it upon ourselves to burn all things we personally do not like, what does that make us? What does it say about us? In this scenario, I dare say, nothing would be left to remember, or observe. If we succeed in the attempt to erase history, where does that take us? How does that enrich us? How do we educate ourselves, or avoid repeating mistakes from the past? Better yet, how does that serve future generations? Do we truly want museums to be eradicated, along with the Library of Congress, free speech, free press, etc.? Something, somewhere will offend someone, somewhere. Only cows belong in cattle train-cars.
Ancient Egypt declared all historical characters and events were not to be recorded, if they put Egypt’s kingdom in a bad light. Even certain pharaohs, queens, and races of people were removed from their hieroglyphic records. If not for archaeological efforts, as well as, other historical documents, we would be unaware of much of Egypt’s history. It’s a shame. Their future generations were stiff-armed to learn more of their own culture.
One of the commands in the Bible, from Genesis and onward, is one simple word spoken by God. Numerous sentences begin with the word, “Remember…” The word erupts often in the scrolls, especially in the Torah. It is filled with God urging Israel to “Remember”, or to “Recall”where they had been, what they had gone through, and Who brought them out of harm and slavery, etc. He wanted them to remember not only the victories, but also the pain of racism, suffering, defeats, and famines. There’s value in documenting the sourness of our times. As we enter the Passover and Easter season, it’s a significant light bulb for us to recall how Jesus broke the bread, then poured the wine and said, (Paraphrased for modern emphasis) “Do this often to remember me and my sacrifice for you.” Remembering is an important element in the growth, the thanksgiving, and the psychology of a society.
It’s no wonder why in Texas battles for independence it was shouted, “Remember the Alamo!”
Dismantling the rearview mirror isn’t a wise thing. The road ahead is at stake.
Happy trails begins with fuel for the race.
“Remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose’…” Isaiah 46:9-10 (ESV)
Painting by: My father-in-law, the late Bob Niles. The Cimarron River, Oklahoma.
“The falling leaves drift by the window. The autumn leaves of red and gold…And soon I’ll hear old winter’s song. But I miss you most of all, my darling, when autumn leaves start to fall.” – “Autumn Leaves” – recorded by many, including Nat King Cole. English lyric version written by: Johnny Mercer – Capitol Records, with music for the English by: Joseph Kosma. (Adopted from a French song, “Les Feuilles Mortes”, French lyrics composed by: Jacques Prevert.)
To say, the majority of our Texas trees are just now releasing their leaves, will be comical to my friends and family to the north. Yes, Texas trees turn late in the year when so many are bare in points north on the map. Although I love my Texas, I do wish the foliage was as brilliant as they are elsewhere. However, I’ll take what we can get.
In the immediate neighborhood, I enjoy the tree across the street from my front porch the most.
(Pictures from my phone never do the colors justice. Don’t ya hate that?)
Here in north-central Texas, grab your camera while you have the time. The leaves turn and drop really quickly. In no time at all, they are on the ground, ready for the rake.
God’s artistry is, well…simply divine, so to speak. Where I live, He paints the leaves in mid-late November in various golds, yellows and maroons, depending upon the species. The nutrients dry-up, choking-off the green chloroplasts in the leaves, while dashing them with hues only a painter could conjure on canvas. Then, by mid December, the Season-Holder sends the winds to do their job. Yet, there are exceptions in Texas. Not every tree belongs around Dallas/Ft Worth.
In my neighbor’s backyard, just on the other side of the fence, is a rather tall exotic tree, native of Indonesia with large leaves. It looms mainly over our garage, driveway, and side-yard. Misbehaving, due to not realizing its no longer in Indonesia, it sheds its leaves overnight if the winds can muster-up moving a flag. When it does, we wake up to shin deep leaves in the driveway.
Wednesday, during prep for Thanksgiving at our house, as we were expecting a few family members, I tackled the job of raking the platter-sized leaves from the driveway. Don’t get me wrong, I needed the exercise, but it was a lengthy activity without a leaf blower. We have a compost pile in the far corner of our backyard. Seeing how many leaves there were, as well as the ginormous size of each, I knew full well it would fill the designated compost section. And I was right.
I must admit, the little boy came out in me as I enjoyed hearing the loud crunching sound beneath my shoes. After awhile, it wasn’t such a novelty any longer. It took many trips from the driveway, across the front lawn, around the side of the house, across the backyard, down to the back forty to the compost pile. There they rested, all dead, in the falling-leaf cemetery. Sad, isn’t it? All unwanted, as if they were no longer needed, no longer pleasing to the eye, or of any shading value.
Yesterday, being the day after our Thanksgiving holiday here in the U.S., I visited my oldest uncle. My precious, Uncle Bob is my mom’s eldest brother. At 79 years old, he is in the 2nd stage of Alzheimer’s. I’m old enough now to have seen the dreaded disease a few times in my family, going back a few generations. My mom’s other brother has dementia, on the foothills of the big “A”, as well. In fact, my mom wonders if she is experiencing some early warning signs herself.
My visit was mainly with his wife, my Aunt Ellen, and her son, Bobby Jr. I watched my uncle, a man I have admired since I was a toddler, an intelligent man of mechanical and electrical engineering, sit in his recliner while playing with a blanket like an 18 month old child. There’s no question concerning his inability to recognize me, and that was okay. Through the years I learned how to interact with other family members who have suffered from this “long-goodbye” disease. He shook my hand with a nice grip, smiled, and told me he felt good, after I had told him he looked good. It won’t be too much longer when he will not interact at all. How I wish I could wrap my magical arms around him, holding the progression back from changing him any further. Yet, it’s not the nature of the monster to obey our commands.
Too often a society will see the diseased, or dying, as throw-away items. Many years ago, my dad told me he had stopped seeing about his mother, overtaken by Alzheimer’s. When I inquired about his remark, he said, “Well, she’s not the same mother I once knew. She is no longer useful to me.” I froze. It’s astonishing. Some 34 years have flown by since I heard his explanation and it still astounds me to this very day. For him, even though sorrow was involved, she was a throw-away item to him.
Allow me to be sarcastic for a moment, with a pinch of anger.
You have seen some “throw-aways”, I’m sure. For some, it might be the guy at the Thanksgiving table who only makes minimum wage Or it’s the guy at the table who is of wealth. For others, it might be the single-mom, working 10 hour shifts as a waitress at a diner, with a pencil behind her ear. When leaving the eatery, after tipping her as little as possible, it’s common to be approached by a homeless man in the parking lot. After a well rehearsed sob story, he asks for bus fare, when it’s probably a scam to purchase another bottle of cheap Scotch. Is it possible there is a neighbor with a heavy accent from another part of the world, or another part of the state? There might be a co-worker who has a brother, stricken with AIDS, who is no longer claimed as family. Maybe it has to do with a few hundred people living in the low-rent apartments from the other side of the tracks, not to mention anyone who resides in a mobile home from a trailer park. It may simply be an individual with an obnoxious nervous tic. Lately, it seems, the “throw-away” nearby is an outspoken Democrat or Republican, and certainly anyone under a red cap who attends political rallies full of cheering presidential fans. Where does the list stop? Seriously. Do we stop with the elderly, the babies, the ill, the poor, the odd, the mentally handicapped, the black, the brown, the red, the Asian, the blue-eyed, the brown-eyed, the blind, the atheist, the person of faith, the vegetarians??? Before you know it, there are thoughts, coming from those without blemish or issues, surrounding the “raking-up” of these “throw-away” segments of citizenry, appointed for the societal compost where they can pile-up and wither away together. After all, they are no longer pleasing to the eye, no longer useful or needed. They are usually noticed when they get in our way of sight, or too loud under our shoes. Hum, where have we seen that before?
“Behold, all souls are mine; the soul of the father, as well as the soul of the son is mine…” – God – Ezekiel 18:4 (ESV)
The truth is, we ALL fall down, one way or the other. The universal truth is, we ALL fall short of perfection, the perfect standard. You know it, and I know it. The eternal caliper is immovable, uncompromising, and righteous. Honestly, which one of us can ever measure-up? Only one did, and He wasn’t you or me.
In God’s undying outreach of love toward us “throw-aways”, GRACE (unearned favor) is offered. It’s an offer from the spout of fuel for the race.
2 Peter 3:9New American Standard Bible (NASB)
9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.
“I’m so tired but I can’t sleep. Standing on the edge of something much too deep. It’s funny how we feel so much but we cannot say a word. We are screaming inside, but we can’t be heard. I will remember you. Will you remember me? Don’t let your life pass you by. Weep not for the memories.” – (1993) Recorded By: Sarah McLachlan, Composers: Sarah McLachlan, Seamus Michael Egan, L. Merenda David.
Try to wrap your arms around this hypothetical. You come home, greeted by your family, from a long hard day at work. Suddenly, without warning, several armed soldiers knock down your front door, carrying you and your family away as they torch your house. You march down the street under armed threat, with a bayonet at your back, to a dark path ahead. Why? Because you are of a certain ethnic community. Soon, your spouse, your grandmother, your son and daughters are torn away from you by force, at a train depot, as your loved ones scream your name, reaching out into the air for you. You see your family shoved like cattle into a crammed train car. The large sliding door slamming shut with an ominous clang that seems to echo for decades to come. They are never heard from again. If you’re like me, it is almost impossible to imagine.
How can one say, “Happy Yom Hashoah!”? How does one go to a Holocaust museum in the United States this past week and shout out, “Happy Holocaust Remembrance Day!”? The short answer is, you don’t. As soon as the words are released from your mouth into the air, you tend to get chills. If not, you may be one of the ones listed below.
A new survey was released, by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, showing a troubling truth in our society. The poll shows 41% (One statistic says 66%) of Americans don’t know what Auschwitz was about, including two-thirds of Millennials which had not even heard of the Holocaust. Furthermore, 41% of Millennials thought only 2 million, or fewer, Jews were murdered during the Holocaust.
Some might not recall who the Maccabees were before the first century, and that is understandable to the average Gentile. Even so, if you ask Siri to show you info on the Maccabees, she first brings up the British rock band, which formed in 2004, with the same title, NOT the Maccabee revolt resulting in the celebration of the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah. How sad. My point is, the Holocaust was ONLY 74-79 years ago. What a travesty for today’s culture, university curriculum and public education system. The sheer ignorance of the Holocaust tells the tale. It seems the world and its manipulators have a gigantic eraser and are willing to use it. (And they wonder why home schooling and private schools are gaining ground.)
The first children’s book my mom allowed me to choose and purchase (I believe I was in 4th grade) was about a French schoolhouse full of Jewish children, who hid in a cave when a Nazi patrol raided the school. It was a stirring true story where the author drew the young reader into knowing the Jewish kids by name, their favorite toys and personalities. Like a great wordsmith, the author helped me understand these Jewish kids were just like me in so many ways, with similar interests, with the love of school, recess and playtime. That was my very first introduction to the insanity of Nazi Germany.
The second week of April is a solemn week set aside to remember the 6 million Jews who were mercilessly slaughtered by the Nazis in WWII. Make no mistake, these were not Jewish soldiers with tanks, jets and platoons. The 6 million Jews were women, children, babies, men, poor, rich, young and old, healthy, unhealthy, all with Jewish DNA.
I am a Gentile with many Jewish friends. Some can tell you the names of relatives they lost in the Holocaust. One of my best friends lost an entire branch of his family in Europe at the hands of the misguided Nazis. My ex-wife’s German mother lived in Nazi Germany as a little girl. She lived near a death camp just on the outskirts of her village. Her parents, as well as the other adults in this village, lived with the stench of death in the air. They saw the ashes, ashes that once were store owners, musicians, artists, bakers, nurses, doctors, 1st graders and teachers, floating down from the camp smokestacks, resting like snow on the car windshields and rooftops. Yet, most citizens claim they knew nothing. Most claim they had no idea what was happening to all their Jewish neighbors behind the camp gates. Certainly, it very well could’ve been true for some, but not all. Shame is heavy. Guilt is even heavier. Most testify they were following the Fuhrer’s lead for a coming euphoric Germany. In my ex-wife’s case, her great-uncle served in the SS as an interpreter. Yet, the family stated they knew nothing.
As I remembered the world’s loss from the 1940s, I also wept for joy for the scores of courageous accounts the Holocaust survivors have told the nations. Certain Jewish individuals, as well as selective Gentiles, exercised nothing short of heroic acts that made a difference in saving countless lives. Their accounts are worth the research with many being the subjects of award-winning books and movies. To mention one, Janusz Korczak, the Polish-Jewish educator and orphanage director, who protected the Jewish children in his care from the Nazi invasion. He shielded them at every turn with wit, creativity, humor and misdirection. At the orphanage’s highest population, 150 children were under his umbrella. He kept their spirits up in the deadly face of the brutality around them. In fact, as he and the orphans under his wing were marched to the loaded train cars for transportation to the death camp, he was given the choice to safely stay in Poland, if he would sign a document claiming himself to be Gentile. But, when he was told, by the German officer in charge, the children were to be exterminated, he refused to sign, staying with the orphans all the way to the gas chambers. There’s also the pockets of brave Jewish resistance scattered throughout Europe: Anne Frank’s family and their Gentile caregivers, Schindler and his list, Corrie Ten Boom and so many more to remember, to cherish. Of course, hard to watch documentaries on the years of the Holocaust, with authentic horrific film footage, are also highly recommended. But, be prepared for the senseless, cruel executions, putrid piles of bodies and mass graves.
Today, there is a raging danger being ignored by our own society. Hitler began by using fake news to demonize a community of people. He began to paint a false picture of who they were and what they were. It was repeated, this twisted disgusting false view, over and over again, complete with distorted tales, photos and artwork, until the masses began to believe the Nazi narrative. A mass delusion took hold, growing like cancer. Soon, Germans were hating their Jewish neighbors, resulting in harsh words and slurs, as a beginning. The Jewish voice was suddenly silenced in the public square, along with free Jewish press being destroyed. Businesses, owned by Jewish families, were marked on the windows with the Star of David, identifying them as a sub-human race. Armbands and sown patches of a yellow Star of David were forced on their clothing for easy identification. Abandonment, robbery, torture, starvation and death followed the craze. It takes a strong stomach to hear the details of what was done to these innocent citizens. All that to say, when a group of people decide they are superior to another group of people, that is the launch of nightmares to come, if left to fester. In fact, it is the genesis of becoming inhuman. It’s truly a lack of humanity to turn a blind eye to suffering and brutality. We are not immune to this pattern. I fear we have yet to learn.
Lest we forget.
“…We remember what happens when hate takes hold of the human heart and turns it to stone; what happens when victims cry for help and there is no one listening; what happens when humanity fails to recognize that those who are not in our image are none the less in God’s image…” – Yom Hashoah Prayer – Rabbi Lord Sacks – April 4, 2013
While running on fuel for the race, you can’t help but shout….Never again!
Ezekiel didn’t understand what the valley full of bones meant, but God knew we would, thousands of years after the writings below.
“The hand of the Lord was on me, and He brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. He asked me, ‘Son of man, can these bones live?’ I said, ‘Sovereign Lord, you alone know.'” – Ezekiel 37:1-3 (NIV)
Now, 5 Million Jews live in Israel.In anticipation of May 14, 2018, Israel Independence Day, the friends of Israel look forward to the 70th anniversary of Israel of becoming a nation on their ancient soil. A feat no other nation that has been scattered, shredded, enslaved, beaten and almost annihilated over the last 2,000 years can claim.
“Ebony and ivory live together in perfect harmony. Side by side on my piano keyboard, oh Lord, why don’t we?” – Paul McCartney from “Tug Of War” project in April, 1982. Guest artist, Stevie Wonder. (Parlophone and Columbia labels)
Did I catch you singing the line? Come on, admit it. Unless you were away from the radio in 1982, you know the giant hooks in this ear-candy song from Sir Paul, with a little help from his friend, Stevie Wonder. Stevie isn’t his friend because Stevie is white or black. Stevie is his friend because Stevie and Paul respect and love one another. Where am I going with that bold statement? Stay with me and allow me to surprise you.
When I started this blog a few short days ago, I swore I would not write about politics, and I will not start today. (There’s plenty out there for your selected pleasure.) So, fear not! No political pundit rhetoric here, but I reserve the right to speak eternal truths. It takes a strong person to read on at this point. Are you up for it?
There was a little boy about three or four years old who lived with his mom and her parents in Greenville, Texas, about an hour east of Dallas. On Saturday mornings, during commercial breaks on Bugs Bunny, his blue eyes grew larger as he found himself peering out the living room French door. For him it was more than a weekend ritual for one reason and one reason only. Usually before lunchtime, an elderly weathered African-American with old hard leather lace-up shoes would walk up the street dragging an old lawnmower. His name was Mr. Amos. (No one really knew if it was his first name or his surname.) He was easy to spot. He had a red rag hanging out the back pocket of his worn-out pants. When the song, “Mr. Bojangles” hit the airwaves in 1971, the lyrics would remind that young kid very much of Mr. Amos from years prior. Unlike Mr. Bojangles, Mr. Amos wasn’t a homeless nomad roaming the country. He lived in the neighborhood, although he was a man of poverty. He took great pride in his work. He would come to the door to let the grandmother of the boy know he was there and ready to get started. He was always welcomed with a smile and a handshake. He was hard-working, kind and honest. Generally, after he wrapped up the front yard, before he made his way to the backyard, the little lad would ask his grandmother for a cold bottle of Dr. Pepper right out of the fridge. She expected the request because she once gave the little munchkin the idea. She would pop the bottle-top open handing him the chilled bottleneck. With an enormous grin on his face that would make a dentist proud, he would run out the door straight up to the sweaty old man and say, “Hi, Mr. Amos! Here’s your Dr. Pepper.” Without hesitation, the elderly man put it to his mouth and pointed the bottom toward the hot sun for a marathon swig. The young boy’s jaw would drop every time as he watched in amazement Mr. Amos chugging down the entire bottle of Dr. Pepper without taking a breath. Afterwards he wiped his mouth on his sleeve, handed the empty bottle back to the tot and say, with a hardy rough voice like Louis Armstrong, “Ahhhhh, that’s my boy!” The boy would giggle and run back inside to hand the empty bottle back to his grandmother. Still in awe he would shout out, “Grandmother, he did it again! He drank the whole thing!” For a brief moment the little one thought it cool that the old wrinkled man felt akin to him. After all, he did say, “MY boy”. There is an uncertainty just how many years went on as Mr. Amos aged, sucking down Dr. Peppers as the growing boy looked on. As always, Mr. Amos would receive a nice sum in cash for his work and off he went to his next yard.
One day, while Mr. Amos was mowing the lawn, his adult son and daughter-in-law suddenly drove up and parked in the driveway. There would be shouting between the old man and his son as if it were an ongoing feud. The boy hurried to the nearest window to hear what he could hear as his grandparents went to the door to see what the disturbance was all about. The young lad heard the son raising his voice about how he shouldn’t be mowing lawns at his age. Mr. Amos pushed back as he defended his valuable work ethic. When the son seemed to come to the end of his case and point, he made a snide comment concerning working for these “white folk” and how he was being “used” by the “white folk”. Nothing could be further from the truth. Mr. Amos was respected and appreciated by the family. He did solid work and was paid well for it. Yet, his son was reflecting a racial issue of that time, being in the mid 1960s. I’m sorry to say, he was using the race card to pull him back home, against his will. The grandfather of the house slipped Mr. Amos some cash and told him it would be best to go with his son and work out their differences at home. He was never seen again.
I loved Mr. Amos. Did I know he was black, a different color than me? Sure, I did. In fact, I would intentionally touch or shake his hand just to see if the color would rub off onto mine. He brought me a bit of joy on Saturday mornings. I loved serving him those Dr. Peppers, too. Why? It’s simple. He loved Dr. Pepper and I knew it. I wanted to share something I had that produced a big smile. Although I could see he was a different color than me, it mattered not through my lens of innocence. It was the man I cared for.
A few years later I watched a Star Trek episode in January of 1969 entitled, “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield”. (Google this one) If you’re a 1960s Star Trek fan, you’ll recall it. Without going into great plot detail, I will give you a snippet of story-line. It had to do with the hatred of two mutually belligerent aliens on a distant planet. They shared the same planet, the same air, but despised one another because they were trained to have disgust for the other from generations gone by. The prejudice manifested itself in mindless violence. The two men were from one species, but from different ethnic bloodlines. The difference? Both were the same at first glance. Half of the face was black, the other half was white. However, one had white skin on the right side while the other man had white skin on the left side. DONE! That’s it! One was subservient to the other because of that tiny, molecular contrast. (You may have noticed, like Rod Serling, often Star Trek’s creator, Gene Roddenberry would carve-out social issues of the day in the scripts.)
Then came my 7th grade year. I was often found in the middle of racially charged fights at my junior high school in Sherman, Texas. Interestingly enough, I was friendly to everyone, but I was white and that made me a target. White attacking black and black attacking white. The national civil rights disputes and riots were still lingering, and busing students for desegregation purposes had begun. That atmosphere was so far removed from my relationship with Mr. Amos. It confused and saddened me. Memories of the verbal battle I heard from my grandparent’s window flooded my mind. The bigotry was a vile hatred that blocked out honor, respect and love.
Fast forward to August 12th, this past Saturday morning in the streets of Charlottesville, VA, once again two factions from the same planet, who could take blood transfusions from one another, replayed the old Star Trek episode in a very real, organized, and damaging slant. You’ve seen the news, I won’t relive it here blow-by-blow. What I will spew out is my “hatred” for the evil that fathers such darkness. Yes, I used the word, “evil”, as if it were a reality, because it is. To neglect its existence is to surely become its constant victim.
No matter if you are black or white, BLM member or card-carrying KKK associate, Jew or Gentile, Christian or Muslim, if you bring a weapon, shield and helmet to a protest rally, you are coming to shed blood. Enough said!
White supremacy doctrine follows the director and producer, the event promoter of such rallies…the ancient Fallen One Himself, the original Divider, a master at the chessboard with humanity as the pawns. It’s not a political movement, or an organization to preserve the history of southern states. It’s hatred 101. It’s putrid sewage stains without true removal. It goes way back to Cain and Abel in Genesis. Neo-Nazis, KKK, Skinheads and the like, are all condemned with a platform of a cursed notion poisoning the very soil of the earth. In fact, the same goes for civil lawlessness, destruction and violence from any race or school of thought.
Yesterday, my daughter decided to educate herself on the white supremacists. She looked up a couple of websites and got an eyeful. The lewdness from their creed describes the degradation of women. She read if a woman can not reproduce, she should be removed and exterminated. Woman was created to serve man and be pregnant, etc. Among other outrageous atrocities, it mentions, “the Jewish problem”.
I always wondered what happened to old Mr. Amos and how much longer he lived. He was a kind soul. I am sure he lived long enough to understand that racism is here to stay, in fact, within his own house. I’m certain with aging eyes he saw racism will not ebb away like erosion because of the so called, “evolution” of humanity. Nor will you.
The one thing the white supremacists were right about. THEY HAVE A JEWISH PROBLEM! THE KING OF THE JEWS WILL BE THEIR ULTIMATE JUDGE! That gives this adopted Jew, fuel for the race.
“Before Him will be gathered all the nations, and He will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And He will place the sheep on His right, but the goats on His left…” -Jesus, from Matthew 25:32-33 (ESV)