Archive for November, 2021


November 27, 2021

Martin Luther asked, “What will you do in the mundane days of faithfulness?” Octogenerian debut author Jean Neu tells you what she did, in the most engaging fashion, in her memoir, It Won’t Rain Always: Seasons of a Blessed Life. By the time you have finished the book you will have chosen another adjective besides “mundane.” If the Big John’s of church history–John Calvin, John Owen, and Jonathan Edwards–could write with the simplicity, brevity and clarity of Jean Neu they would all have an even wider readership. I finished the book (171 pages) before I saw the sun the morning after I downloaded it from Amazon. It is read-out-loud-to-your-spouse and laugh-aloud funny…and gripping. Such is her humble and unassuming writing style that her laugh lines sneak up on you, making them even funnier. But her story is deadly serious. She’s lived through more hard rain in her life than most (to wit, thrice-widowed) and conveys not a hint of “Why me, Lord?” Perhaps it is because she has seen the hand of God directly in her life more than most. Life’s lapidary has polished her Christian witness to a fine shine.

It’s been said that for the writing to be good the reader must be able to feel the pressure of the soul behind the words. In It Won’t Rain Always you will feel the pressure of Jean Neu’s soul from cover to cover. Hers is a soul sold out to the Lord. She has instilled her faith in her children and she wants to witness same to you, too. I think she succeeded masterfully! Go to her book at Amazon, click on “look inside,” and decide for yourself. This is the kind of book that you would give as a gift, especially at Christmas time.

“But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15).

See you in church.


November 25, 2021
The Lord has done great things for us; we are glad. Psalm 126:3

Why me, Lord? What did I ever do to deserve Karen Sue?  Loving her’s been easier than anything I’ll ever do!

Fifty-five years ago today a hayseed 2nd Lt. in the USAF married up…way up–the General’s daughter. In spite of innumerable provocations since, she has never pulled rank on me! 

We were not equally yoked in a far more important way–she was not a Christian (and I was a poor one), though we made our vows in a Christian Chapel at Ent Air Force Base, Colorado Springs. But our Sovereign God was gracious through many dangers, toils and snares. The day our son was baptized, so was she with our first-born in her arms, in a profoundly moving sacrament in the base chapel at RAF Lakenheath, England, “…in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” That same Triune God has been our foundation, our rock in all our days. Amazing, amazing grace!


November 24, 2021

I am most thankful for Grace Bible Presbyterian Church.

Thanksgiving Day 2021 finds true christians in America in a state of shaken optimism, not as to our destiny– that is the blessed assurance of Biblical hope–but as to our journey there.  We find ourselves increasingly marginalized and ostracized in a culture where self has triumphed over God as the ultimate arbiter of truth. The majority view today is that your truth and my truth are equally ultimate and  we both deserve respectability … unless my truth is Christianity. The supernatural foundation of our worldview is ridiculed, even considered subversive, and increasingly subject to incarceration merely for mouthing our deeply held beliefs in the public square.  “Hate speech” and “thought crimes” are now applied to verbalized Holy Writ. The alienation is so complete that we have no mutually agreed starting point to have a constructive dialog with a wider culture that obstinately refuses to consider the possibility that there is such a thing as God, or anything beyond the horizon of this earthly life. The gender dysphoric and their enablers claim we are the mentally ill ones. We have indeed become “Strangers in a Strange Land.” (Archbishop Charles Chaput) Can a republic founded on Christian principles endure if those principles “appear false and meaningless or superstitious to many of the leading minds that now shape our political imagination?”  John Adams  and Alexis de Toqueville didn’t think so.

There is more than a whiff of despair in the air. John McArthur says this is God’s judgment as proclaimed in Romans One. Alexander Solzhenitsyn said in 1983 that the Apocalypse is here and we have learned to like it!  I wonder what he’d say today.

Whether it be God’s judgment or the commencement of the  end-times of Revelation, true Christians know the gates of hell will not prevail against the church of Almighty God. We know that in every age of God’s judgment He has preserved a remnant.  We know that He is sovereign over every detail of his creation. There is not an errant atom anywhere, and He is working His plan according to his unbreakable promise. And we know that such knowledge is not of our own sheer deductive brilliance, but is a gracious gift of a Sovereign God who has given us eyes to see (John 3:3).

Do you belong to and actively participate as you are able in a gospel preaching church that has not yielded an inch on biblical sexual morality, the sacred order of Christianity, and the inerrancy of God’s Word?  Do you enjoy fellowship with a loving church family that comes alongside as you strive to model for the world and your own flesh and blood what joy in the Lord looks like for despised sojourners in a world against us? By God’s grace my wife and I do! If your  answer is yes, your church is likewise a mighty fortress in a strange land!  This Thanksgiving Day come dance with King David in our parade before the ark of the covenant of His amazing grace!  We have so much to be thankful for.  His kingdom is coming. His will is being done.  His goodness and mercy are with us all our days, and a glorious everlasting inheritance awaits.

“And though this world, with devils filled,
should threaten to undo us,
we will not fear, for God has willed
his truth to triumph through us.”
— Martin Luther


November 21, 2021

There is no better time than the unencumbered days of codgerhood to enjoy the life of the mind (TV doesn’t count). I’m currently stretching mine to the limit reading Carl Trueman’s, The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self. It’s an exploration and analysis of the cause (the sexual revolution) of our cultural train wreck by “a thinker and writer of impressive lucidity.”  It’s  a good thing, ’cause the subject is deep. In the foreward, Rod Dreher, one of my favorite contemporary writers who pointed me to the book, quotes Nobel laureate Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn:

“Today’s world has reached a state which, if it had been described to preceding centuries, would have called forth the cry: ‘This is the Apocalypse!’ Yet we have grown used to this kind of world; we even feel at home in it.”

In this amazing age for the mind, my hand can hold not only the ebook I’m reading but the world’s largest research library.  I went in search of context for that jolting  quote and found it in Solzhenitsyn’s acceptance speech at the 1983 Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion–pure gold!  He proclaimed the causes of the Russian Gulag of the last century and what was happening in America in 1983 were one and the same: “Men have forgotten God.” The man was as prescient as an Old Testament prophet. He saw things in America then that sadly are only now, 38 years later, intuitively obvious to the most casual conservative Christian observer. It’s a 10 minute read in its entirety (below), if you don’t stop regularly to catch your breath and ponder the profundity of his prose … and you will. It’s wonderful worship prep for this Lord’s Day. It might even drive you to your knees before you leave for church.

“And if you forget the Lord your God and go after other gods and serve them and worship them, I solemnly warn you today that you shall surely perish” (Deuteronomy 8:19).

See you in church.

Godlessness: the First Step to the Gulag – The Templeton Address, 1983
by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

More than half a century ago, while I was still a child, I recall hearing a number of older people offer the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia: Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened. Since then I have spent well-nigh fifty years working on the history of our Revolution; in the process I have read hundreds of books, collected hundreds of personal testimonies, and have already contributed eight volumes of my own toward the effort of clearing away the rubble left by that upheaval. But if I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible the main cause of the ruinous Revolution that swallowed up some sixty million of our people, I could not put it more accurately than to repeat: Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.

What is more, the events of the Russian Revolution can only be understood now, at the end of the century, against the background of what has since occurred in the rest of the world. What emerges here is a process of universal significance. And if I were called upon to identify briefly the principal trait of the entire twentieth century, here too, I would be unable to find anything more precise and pithy than to repeat once again: Men have forgotten God.

The failings of human consciousness, deprived of its divine dimension, have been a determining factor in all the major crimes of this century. The first of these was World War I, and much of our present predicament can be traced back to it. It was a war (the memory of which seems to be fading) when Europe, bursting with health and abundance, fell into a rage of self-mutilation which could not but sap its strength for a century or more, and perhaps forever. The only possible explanation for this war is a mental eclipse among the leaders of Europe due to their lost awareness of a Supreme Power above them. Only a godless embitterment could have moved ostensibly Christian states to employ poison gas, a weapon so obviously beyond the limits of humanity.

The same kind of defect, the flaw of a consciousness lacking all divine dimension, was manifested after World War II when the West yielded to the satanic temptation of the “nuclear umbrella.” It was equivalent to saying: Let’s cast off worries, let’s free the younger generation from their duties and obligations, let’s make no effort to defend ourselves, to say nothing of defending others-let’s stop our ears to the groans emanating from the East, and let us live instead in the pursuit of happiness. If danger should threaten us, we shall be protected by the nuclear bomb; if not, then let the world burn in Hell for all we care. The pitifully helpless state to which the contemporary West has sunk is in large measure due to this fatal error: the belief that the defense of peace depends not on stout hearts and steadfast men, but solely on the nuclear bomb…

Today’s world has reached a stage which, if it had been described to preceding centuries, would have called forth the cry: “This is the Apocalypse!”

Yet we have grown used to this kind of world; we even feel at home in it.

Dostoevsky warned that “great events could come upon us and catch us intellectually unprepared.” This is precisely what has happened. And he predicted that “the world will be saved only after it has been possessed by the demon of evil.” Whether it really will be saved we shall have to wait and see: this will depend on our conscience, on our spiritual lucidity, on our individual and combined efforts in the face of catastrophic circumstances. But it has already come to pass that the demon of evil, like a whirlwind, triumphantly circles all five continents of the earth…

In its past, Russia did know a time when the social ideal was not fame, or riches, or material success, but a pious way of life. Russia was then steeped in an Orthodox Christianity which remained true to the Church of the first centuries. The Orthodoxy of that time knew how to safeguard its people under the yoke of a foreign occupation that lasted more than two centuries, while at the same time fending off iniquitous blows from the swords of Western crusaders. During those centuries the Orthodox faith in our country became part of the very pattern of thought and the personality of our people, the forms of daily life, the work calendar, the priorities in every undertaking, the organization of the week and of the year. Faith was the shaping and unifying force of the nation.

But in the 17th century Russian Orthodoxy was gravely weakened by an internal schism. In the 18th, the country was shaken by Peter’s forcibly imposed transformations, which favored the economy, the state, and the military at the expense of the religious spirit and national life. And along with this lopsided Petrine enlightenment, Russia felt the first whiff of secularism; its subtle poisons permeated the educated classes in the course of the 19th century and opened the path to Marxism. By the time of the Revolution, faith had virtually disappeared in Russian educated circles; and amongst the uneducated, its health was threatened.

It was Dostoevsky, once again, who drew from the French Revolution and its seeming hatred of the Church the lesson that “revolution must necessarily begin with atheism.” That is absolutely true. But the world had never before known a godlessness as organized, militarized, and tenaciously malevolent as that practiced by Marxism. Within the philosophical system of Marx and Lenin, and at the heart of their psychology, hatred of God is the principal driving force, more fundamental than all their political and economic pretensions. Militant atheism is not merely incidental or marginal to Communist policy; it is not a side effect, but the central pivot.

The 1920’s in the USSR witnessed an uninterrupted procession of victims and martyrs amongst the Orthodox clergy. Two metropolitans were shot, one of whom, Veniamin of Petrograd, had been elected by the popular vote of his diocese. Patriarch Tikhon himself passed through the hands of the Cheka-GPU and then died under suspicious circumstances. Scores of archbishops and bishops perished. Tens of thousands of priests, monks, and nuns, pressured by the Chekists to renounce the Word of God, were tortured, shot in cellars, sent to camps, exiled to the desolate tundra of the far North, or turned out into the streets in their old age without food or shelter. All these Christian martyrs went unswervingly to their deaths for the faith; instances of apostasy were few and far between. For tens of millions of laymen access to the Church was blocked, and they were forbidden to bring up their children in the Faith: religious parents were wrenched from their children and thrown into prison, while the children were turned from the faith by threats and lies…

For a short period of time, when he needed to gather strength for the struggle against Hitler, Stalin cynically adopted a friendly posture toward the Church. This deceptive game, continued in later years by Brezhnev with the help of showcase publications and other window dressing, has unfortunately tended to be taken at its face value in the West. Yet the tenacity with which hatred of religion is rooted in Communism may be judged by the example of their most liberal leader, Khrushchev: for though he undertook a number of significant steps to extend freedom, Khrushchev simultaneously rekindled the frenzied Leninist obsession with destroying religion.

But there is something they did not expect: that in a land where churches have been leveled, where a triumphant atheism has rampaged uncontrolled for two-thirds of a century, where the clergy is utterly humiliated and deprived of all independence, where what remains of the Church as an institution is tolerated only for the sake of propaganda directed at the West, where even today people are sent to the labor camps for their faith, and where, within the camps themselves, those who gather to pray at Easter are clapped in punishment cells–they could not suppose that beneath this Communist steamroller the Christian tradition would survive in Russia. It is true that millions of our countrymen have been corrupted and spiritually devastated by an officially imposed atheism, yet there remain many millions of believers: it is only external pressures that keep them from speaking out, but, as is always the case in times of persecution and suffering, the awareness of God in my country has attained great acuteness and profundity.

It is here that we see the dawn of hope: for no matter how formidably Communism bristles with tanks and rockets, no matter what successes it attains in seizing the planet, it is doomed never to vanquish Christianity.

The West has yet to experience a Communist invasion; religion here remains free. But the West’s own historical evolution has been such that today it too is experiencing a drying up of religious consciousness. It too has witnessed racking schisms, bloody religious wars, and rancor, to say nothing of the tide of secularism that, from the late Middle Ages onward, has progressively inundated the West. This gradual sapping of strength from within is a threat to faith that is perhaps even more dangerous than any attempt to assault religion violently from without.

Imperceptibly, through decades of gradual erosion, the meaning of life in the West has ceased to be seen as anything more lofty than the “pursuit of happiness, “a goal that has even been solemnly guaranteed by constitutions. The concepts of good and evil have been ridiculed for several centuries; banished from common use, they have been replaced by political or class considerations of short lived value. It has become embarrassing to state that evil makes its home in the individual human heart before it enters a political system. Yet it is not considered shameful to make dally concessions to an integral evil. Judging by the continuing landslide of concessions made before the eyes of our very own generation, the West is ineluctably slipping toward the abyss. Western societies are losing more and more of their religious essence as they thoughtlessly yield up their younger generation to atheism. If a blasphemous film about Jesus is shown throughout the United States, reputedly one of the most religious countries in the world, or a major newspaper publishes a shameless caricature of the Virgin Mary, what further evidence of godlessness does one need? When external rights are completely unrestricted, why should one make an inner effort to restrain oneself from ignoble acts?

Or why should one refrain from burning hatred, whatever its basis–race, class, or ideology? Such hatred is in fact corroding many hearts today. Atheist teachers in the West are bringing up a younger generation in a spirit of hatred of their own society. Amid all the vituperation we forget that the defects of capitalism represent the basic flaws of human nature, allowed unlimited freedom together with the various human rights; we forget that under Communism (and Communism is breathing down the neck of all moderate forms of socialism, which are unstable) the identical flaws run riot in any person with the least degree of authority; while everyone else under that system does indeed attain “equality”–the equality of destitute slaves. This eager fanning of the flames of hatred is becoming the mark of today’s free world. Indeed, the broader the personal freedoms are, the higher the level of prosperity or even of abundance–the more vehement, paradoxically, does this blind hatred become. The contemporary developed West thus demonstrates by its own example that human salvation can be found neither in the profusion of material goods nor in merely making money.

This deliberately nurtured hatred then spreads to all that is alive, to life itself, to the world with its colors, sounds, and shapes, to the human body. The embittered art of the twentieth century is perishing as a result of this ugly hate, for art is fruitless without love. In the East art has collapsed because it has been knocked down and trampled upon, but in the West the fall has been voluntary, a decline into a contrived and pretentious quest where the artist, instead of attempting to reveal the divine plan, tries to put himself in the place of God.

Here again we witness the single outcome of a worldwide process, with East and West yielding the same results, and once again for the same reason: Men have forgotten God.

With such global events looming over us like mountains, nay, like entire mountain ranges, it may seem incongruous and inappropriate to recall that the primary key to our being or non-being resides in each individual human heart, in the heart’s preference for specific good or evil. Yet this remains true even today, and it is, in fact, the most reliable key we have. The social theories that promised so much have demonstrated their bankruptcy, leaving us at a dead end. The free people of the West could reasonably have been expected to realize that they are beset · by numerous freely nurtured falsehoods, and not to allow lies to be foisted upon them so easily. All attempts to find a way out of the plight of today’s world are fruitless unless we redirect our consciousness, in repentance, to the Creator of all: without this, no exit will be illumined, and we shall seek it in vain. The resources we have set aside for ourselves are too impoverished for the task. We must first recognize the horror perpetrated not by some outside force, not by class or national enemies, but within each of us individually, and within every society. This is especially true of a free and highly developed society, for here in particular we have surely brought everything upon ourselves, of our own free will. We ourselves, in our daily unthinking selfishness, are pulling tight that noose…

Our life consists not in the pursuit of material success but in the quest for worthy spiritual growth. Our entire earthly existence is but a transitional stage in the movement toward something higher, and we must not stumble and fall, nor must we linger fruitlessly on one rung of the ladder. Material laws alone do not explain our life or give it direction. The laws of physics and physiology will never reveal the indisputable manner in which the Creator constantly, day in and day out, participates in the life of each of us, unfailingly granting us the energy of existence; when this assistance leaves us, we die. And in the life of our entire planet, the Divine Spirit surely moves with no less force: this we must grasp in our dark and terrible hour.

To the ill-considered hopes of the last two centuries, which have reduced us to insignificance and brought us to the brink of nuclear and non-nuclear death, we can propose only a determined quest for the warm hand of God, which we have so rashly and self-confidently spurned. Only in this way can our eyes be opened to the errors of this unfortunate twentieth century and our bands be directed to setting them right. There is nothing else to cling to in the landslide: the combined vision of all the thinkers of the Enlightenment amounts to nothing.

Our five continents are caught in a whirlwind. But it is during trials such as these that the highest gifts of the human spirit are manifested. If we perish and lose this world, the fault will be ours alone.

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, “Godlessness: the First Step to the Gulag”. Templeton Prize Lecture, 10 May 1983 (London).


November 14, 2021

I recently finished a 2-year Read Through The Bible Plan (683 days, to be exact) entirely on an app on my cell phone, of all things. (What will they think of next?) I think that’s pretty avant-garde for an old codger, if I do say so myself. I’m so proud of my piety… I had to overcome a lot of biases and presuppositions to make the leap of faith. Of course it didn’t–still doesn’t–feel right. How do you hold a cell phone reverently? How can you read God’s Holy Word on the same page that all manner of unholiness and filth can appear?  Some might call that sacrilegious. Well, I’ve managed to keep the filth off my electronic page, and I try to limit the unholy news of the world.  If Jesus could dine with unholy publicans and sinners, can’t I let Him speak to me through His Word appearing among the unholy electronic detritus of this fallen world?  I suspect there was a similar controversy when the Bible went from handwritten scrolls to typeset books. Bottom line, I tried it and I am hooked. My regular Bible does not fit in the side pocket of my blue jeans and go everywhere with me. My app can read The Bible to me as I read it, or in lieu of my reading it, which opens up great chunks of time when God can communicate with me through His Word.  With my Bluetooth hearing aids paired with my phone I am the only one who hears Him. Through a separate open note-taking app I can talk back to my Bible app and it can record my words. That is huge for an inveterate note taker. It gives me lots of reading plans to choose from. There are also a variety of other devotional options you may choose from. I’m using the YouVersion Bible app and it’s as user friendly as any computer challenged codger could ask for. Here is some eye-popping copy from its homepage:

“The Bible is alive…something incredible is happening…
[This app is] installed on over 500 million unique electronic devices worldwide…Our generous partners make it possible for us to offer 2,062 Bible versions in 1,372 languages for free, and without advertising.” 

Obviously I’m a little late to this app game, but the Holy Spirit of the living God dwells in my heart and now His Holy Word in its entirety resides in my pocket! Why not light your path with the Light of the World?

“Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life’” (John 8:12).

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105).

See you in church

YouVersion Bible App


November 12, 2021

This Vets Day was like Christmas for this old winged warrior. I started the day with a worshipful walk in the park. The Master Artist’s glorious fall finale, turned fluorescent by bright sunshine, peaked on Veterans Day this year. God speaks most clearly and beautifully in autumn, for His glory and our great joy. My bride and I were fed a gourmet lunch by dear church friends, I got loved on by 100 of my contemporary geriatrics just for witnessing to God’s grace in my fighter pilot life, got a free meal at a local restaurant, free ice cream at my favorite ice cream joint, and picked up a free haircut card at my favorite barbershop. Warriors don’t make a lot of money, but I marveled at the fact THEY paid ME to dance the wild blue with that supersonic angel, and the gifts from grateful taxpayers and citizens are so sweet!  All the kind words and expressions of appreciation are so faith-renewing in the face of relentless bizarre bad news and godless headline-grabbing hate-mongering. Our God still reigns and He is still being merciful to  post-Christian America, and His remnant will always prevail, a goodly number of whom I have lovingly interacted with in the last 24 hours.

“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8)?

A thankful hand salute to all who made my day.


November 11, 2021

1969. It’s a dark and stormy night in a tropical war zone half-a-planet away from your agrarian roots. You’re flying a single-seat F-100 just coming off a target on the Ho Chi Minh Trail after tangling with triple-A spitting fire in your face. Adrenaline, that amazing manifestation of God’s grace that keeps the body functioning in times of high stress, is still surging through your veins, staving off physical and mental exhaustion. You are so sweat-drenched that you’re eyeballs burn and your boots feel like flooded waders as your feet work the rudder pedals. It’s dark as the inside of a cow as you streak through the post-midnight sky at 6 miles/minute. There are no external visual clues as to your spatial orientation. Intermittent lightning flashes and turbulence and all that jinking in the cross hairs of the enemy have made the gyros in your inner ears unreliable. You dare not trust them to tell you which way is up. There is no autopilot and the jet cannot be trimmed up hands off. Your bladder is bursting but you are far too busy to do anything about it. You are at bingo fuel (minimum to return to base) over unfriendly territory and you’re a long way from home. You have no choice but to resist all other bodily sensations and trust your burning eyes scanning a cluttered panel of  dimly glowing dials and gauges to keep you alive to fight another day. Don’t tell me there is no God!

“If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me” ( Psalm 139:8–10).

Veterans Day, 2021. Life is simpler now. If it’s a dark and stormy night I don’t even go out. If it’s after midnight I’ve long been in bed and the bathroom is mere steps away. I now get around at a sedate subsonic pace, day VFR only. My combat radius is substantially reduced and  I can still find my way home. I haven’t experienced the terror/exhilaration of being shot at and missed in over half a century, praise the Lord. To borrow from Bunyan, if this isn’t Beulah Land it sure is close. It has been an uncommon life uncommonly blessed and I’m one uncommonly contented codger.

“The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance” (Psalm 16:6).

I have no lingering trauma, but I live with indelible memories of man’s inhumanity to man, some of it wrought by my own hand at the point of the spear for an interminable year. The dominant memory is of God’s amazing grace in my life over the killing fields of a noble cause lost. I have learned first-hand to have zero faith in man, even less in government, but total faith in our Sovereign God. His hand has been on me from the moment I was conceived (Psalm 149:5), and never more felt than in combat. By His grace I was one of a dedicated band of brothers, the ablest aviators our country could produce, who, with a generation of patriots on the ground, did our duty for God and country in The Charge of the Light Brigade writ large in Vietnam.

On this day to honor living veterans, I speak for my brothers-in-arms who cannot. Honor their charge, America. T’is a nobler thing to die for one’s country in defeat than in victory when the cause is just. Would that our political leadership was worthy of the warriors. 58,000 souls on The Wall–let not their glory fade.

“Greater love hath no man…”


November 9, 2021

My friend, Larry Acosta, is a WW II veteran of the Battle of Manila, which saw by far the worst urban fighting in the Pacific theater, resulting in massive loss of life and utter destruction of the city. He came ashore in the Philippines (at age 19) in 1944  with General Douglas MacArthur.  He was NCOIC of a tank company in the Korean War–both wars with the 1st Cavalry Division, one of the most decorated divisions in the US Army.  He’s one of a dwindling group of American heroes who will never be matched. Thank you, Lord, for putting my brother-in-Christ, Larry Acosta, in my life.  Happy Veterans Day, Chief!

Dear friends, if you wish to leave a short thank-you note to Larry in the comments below, he doesn’t mess with such frivolities as internet blogs, but I will personally make sure he sees this one on Veterans Day (Nov. 11).  I can speak for my brother-in-arms and all living vets:  He will appreciate it so much more than flowers on his grave on Memorial Day.


November 6, 2021

I just read Live Not by Lies: A Manual for Christian Dissidents, a recent best seller by Rod Dreher. I cannot recall reading a more important book (after the Bible, of course). I feel like I am a little closer to understanding what’s going on in this insane world and it’s pretty disturbing. One reviewer wrote, “Live Not By Lies will cement Rod Dreher’s reputation as the most important Christian thinker of our age.” Dreher borrowed the title from an essay published by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn on the day he was exiled from the USSR after a lifetime of persecution. The parallels in the societal circumstances of both literary masterpieces are sobering in the extreme. Dreher calls the current American version “rising soft totalitarianism” versus the Soviet “hard totalitarianism,” but the core of the problem is identical: It is spiritual, not political. Dreher makes his case immediately in his introduction to the book with a quote from the great Nobel Prize winner:

“There is always this fallacious belief: ‘It would not be the same here; here such things are impossible.’ Alas, all the evil of the twentieth century is possible everywhere on earth.” — Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

“A manual for Christian dissidents” is a timely subtitle, because that is who all true Christians are now in this age of hate, what George Orwell called a “hideous ecstasy.” This book is a Christian survival guide for our tumultuous times.

Herewith a few pithy quotes:

“A time of painful testing, even persecution, is coming. Lukewarm or shallow Christians will not come through with their faith intact. If you are not rock solid in your commitment to traditional Christianity, then the world will break you.”

“What is happening here? A progressive and profoundly anti-Christian militancy is steadily overtaking society.”

 “Totalitarianism is essentially the politicization of everything…. Today’s totalitarianism demands allegiance to a set of progressive beliefs, many of which are incompatible with logic—certainly with Christianity. Arguments with these zealots are about as productive as theological disputation with a synod of Taliban divines.”

 “There is a difference between a dictatorship and totalitarianism. Dictatorship can make life hard for you, but they don’t want to devour your soul. Totalitarian regimes are seeking your souls.”

Dreher quotes Rev. Richard Wurmbrand, who spent fourteen years in the communist prisons of Romania for his faith, author of the book, Tortured For Christ, and co-founder of Voice of the Martyrs magazine. There are two kinds of Christians: “…those who sincerely believe in God and those who, just as sincerely, believe that they believe. You can tell them apart by their actions in decisive moments.”

The decisive moment has arrived for many Christians today and is very near for many more. Jobs and livelihoods hang in the balance. As I write this there is an employment crisis across all sectors of the economy, public and private, over a so-called vaccine mandate and religious exemptions to it.  Are you ready? Your children? Your grandchildren?

“The culture war is largely over and we lost…Now our mission is to build the underground resistance.”

Christian, Read. This. Book.

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil” (Ephesians 6:10–11).

See you in church.

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