Monday, January 27, 2014

Regarding Presidential Executive Privilege

Quoting from today’s NT Times piece by Reporter John Harwood, “If you score him by intent and things he has proposed, he’d (President Obama) get pretty good marks,” said David Wessel, director of the Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy at the Brookings Institution. “If you were grading him on results, which is what matters to the next generation, he would get a much poorer grade.”

Without doubt, the American democratic system is broken. Like professional sports, gambling, and numerous other issues, the political will to provide equality of opportunity for every person in every segment of life is sidelined by the infusion of money and personal interests to be purchased for the Almighty Dollar.

As it was in the days of Jesus, so is it today. Pharisaic interests (the orthodox religious of his day) focus their efforts on maintaining an institution that supports traditions and interpretations at the expense of truth as experienced by the people. In return, the Pharisees provided a form of religion that had little or no transformative power, but it kept their temples open and their institutional machine running.

The Sadducees of Jesus' day were those wealthy business and liberal religious interests that supported Rome and played cozy with Rome to protect their self-interests, which did not go beyond the borders of this world (Sadducees did not believe in immortality). They rationalized their compromising with Rome’s Legions as being in the best interests of national security and peace, although they didn’t “give a damn” about the poor and the enslaved that greatly outnumbered their up-and-out crowd.

I saw something in the intellect and ethic of young Barack Obama that I thought offered political potential--hope. I found him echoing many issues (not all by any means) that I supported. I gave him broad support right up to this day, much to the chagrin of some friends and professional peers. And when the CBS Evening News tells me my President says he will use Executive Powers, if necessary in his economic push, to bring some relief to the unemployed, the most vulnerable, et al; I say, “Go for it, Man; and God bless you!”

Yes, I've heard him accused of dictatorial powers. I know this decision will be politicized, polarized, and terrorized by politicians who can't keep their hands in their own pockets even in a Polar Vortex. Mr. Obama will be accused of every un-American piece of black crepe history his accusers can think of. One black commentator already insinuated Obama deserved hanging. So; let the rank and file scream Hitlerism, Russian Socialism, red or pink, or demonic; I call their attitudinal behavior the ultimate of atheistic humanism. It is a survival of the fittest, that determination to go to any length necessary to protect their turf.

On the other hand, the President could acquiesce to the status quo; he could be satisfied that he has accumulated enough coin of his own and he need not concern himself with the poor, the vulnerable, and those otherwise ignored by the system. There was an abundance of that in Jesus day, among both the Pharisees and the Sadducees. The President could listen to those who entangle the political system in debate over this or that issue and ignore/neglect the importance of the economic issue. Neither he nor Congress need worry about their economics, or health care, or public security, or ... ad infinitum.

YET, let the President support an issue that involves decided ethical and moral issues; or, let him stand up and declare himself in support of a huge portion of our populace has great personal stakes in this matter; or, let him dare to stick his neck out, or put his head on the chopping block and agree to support an issue with strong biblical/Christian overtones …DAMN the Traitor! For whatever reason - too drastic a “Change!”

Giving (Zakat) is the third of five pillars of Islam, along with giving testimony of the one true God, fasting, praying, and pilgrimaging. Muslims are required to give a percentage of their assets and many give based on need and out of compassion. Does not the Bible declare it better to give than to receive? Listen to the words of Jesus, who based his own testimony on teaching only the words of the one true God. Most prominent among Jesus’ teachings:
1) LOVE God supremely;
2) Doing this calls for LOVING your neighbor as yourself;
3) When most vulnerable, Jesus told his 12-disciples, LOVE ONE ANOTHER, for in this way the world will know you are my disciples. Elsewhere He is quoted …
4)  Then He will answer them, saying, "Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ And these will go away into ever- lasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life” (Matthew 25:45-46 NKJV).

From Warner’s World,
I salute the president for putting himself on the sacrificial altar by standing for a growing segment of humanity the majority no longer willingly shares life with ... contrary to the Scriptures I am . . .

Thursday, January 23, 2014

That Rugged Individualism We So Love

I grew up viewing myself as rather independent; in general, something of a loner. Our culture highly values this politic of rugged, frontier individualism. We admire self-made individuals who stand on the peak of success, and we press to the front of the line to purchase their best-selling autobiographies. The very idea of playing Lone Ranger makes our blood pump with ecstasy as we romanticize wild-west living notion of being fortified by a sturdy don’t-need-anybody individualism.

Ayn Rand, the Russian-born atheist, stands at the altar as today’s High Priestess of this cult of individualism. Her philosophy suggests she has little good to say about religion. Her 1964 Playboy interview, posted on the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights website, quotes her conclusion that religious faith is “a negation of human reason” and charity lacks virtue. If any civilization is to survive, Rand insisted, “it is the morality of altruism that men have to reject” (italics addded/

Like you, I admire the achievements of singularly achieving individuals. Both in the church and out, we lift their examples from everyday life and exalt them for their stellar achievements. Especially inspiring is the story of Edmund Hillary, but his achievement reveals a truth we seldom hear, and most never hear the true story.

“Truth in Advertising” should demand that we tell the truth of the matter; for the great truth is that Hillary’s conquest of Everest was not the conquest of a single man. As one author described it, the conquest of Mount Everest was a feat of modern management. It became the cooperative effort of a team of committed participants that conquered via their community.

It all began with Hillary and his Sherpa guide, Nergay. It became their story as they mobilized and coordinated a dozen climbers, 35 Sherpa  guides, 350 partners, and 3,600 pounds of equipment and supplies.
Whether you are Mormon politician Mitt Romney, U. S. President Barack Obama, CEO Pandit of Citibank Corporation, or the much-admired Edmund Hillary, successful living remains primarily a community event. President Obama can do little without the cooperation of the Congress. Chairman Pandit of Citibank Corporation can do little without his faithful core of managers, administrators, and employees. Even Sir Edmund could not stand on Mount Everest without the coordinated efforts of his dozens of guides, his numerous and varied partners, and tons of equipment and supplies.

Think what you will, but the conclusion of the matter is that without our time-consuming social networks, the rugged individualism that we so fervently worship, however self-made we may believe we are, we remain merely mythic gods suffering from delusional self-adulation. John Donne said it best in the classic summary for which we most remember him, which I have freely paraphrased: no man is an island unto himself; rather, we are all fragments of a piece of that continent called humanity.

Donne was only saying in his unique way what Jesus had already said when he instructed his disciples to love their neighbors as themselves Truth is; you can’t keep company with Jesus for long without developing better relationships with your neighbors, or even your enemies.

From Warner’s World, I am 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

An Authentic Christian Witness Among Muslims

Millions of Muslims are waiting to hear an authentic Christian witness,” concludes Fouad Masri on his Indianapolis website. With that in mind, I suggest exploring some ideas of Carl Medearis, the catalytic Christian peace-maker for Christian-Muslim relationshipss. Current global events suggest nothing could be of greater importance. In terms of Christian missions, I see nothing currently that is more challenging.

I am currently re-reading/studying the book: Muslims, Christians , and Jesus, by (you guessed it) Carl Medearis (Bethany House/2008). Medearis actively promotes and builds understanding relationships between Christians and Muslims. While I would like to further explore his ideas for sharing Jesus, I offer another thread today.

mcj_products_Carl MedearisI was first challenged about 1980 when my friend Roland Gani, an Egyptian Christian, shared his perspectives with the church I served. Gani gave me a new appreciation of a Palestinian perspective on Israeli-Palestinian politics. Since then, I have read—pursued--other resources. Only recently, I engaged in an intensely interesting and challenging conversation with a local medical doctor--a devout Egyptian Muslim.

I am not at all surprised when Carl Medearis suggests there is “so much fear of the unknown Islamic faith that all Muslims are often blamed for the violence of the few.” Medearis refers to the 1953 CIA overthrow of the Iranian president and establishing the power of the Shah of Iran. The West saw this as a balance of power to offset Russian aggression but Iranian Shi’ites saw it as an unwelcome intrusion of Western influence in the last remaining Shi’a Islamic nation.

Khomeini overthrew the Shah, stormed the Embassy and shattered American stabilization. We viewed that as absolute hostility. Iranian Shi’ites saw it as recovering their nation and rejecting western influence. We now know Western Power helped establish Saddam Hussein in power (again a balance of power) and we helped empower Afghan freedom fighters (aka Osama bin Ladin) (again maintaining those political powers of the West vs the East—US vs Russia).

Lacking space to fully discuss this, I offer these observations: (1) Western influences often created their own relational problems; (2) Muslims often become confused and self-conflicted political pawns used mostly for the advantage of the powers that be; (3) Infidels inhabit sacred areas of Muslim society; sometimes to help, sometimes to hinder; and (4) through it all, Muslims see an intentional, even if misunderstood, undying loyalty on the part of the West (U.S.) to the nation state of Israel (which only further complicates it all by perhaps taking it too far).

American Christians need to beware of western diplomacy and politics. Moreover, we need greater sensitivity to what we do share in common with the Muslim world. Writing in God Almighty (p. 8), Lester Fleenor (deceased Egyptian Church of God Minister) acknowledges, “Allah is simply the Arabic word for God; it is used by Arabic-speaking Christians as well as by Muslims. Allah is not the Muslim God per se”, although each differs at several major points. Fleenor further suggested that persons claiming faith as Christians but promoting materialism, selfishness, and immorality are themselves living and promoting a wrong concept of God (p. 12).

Muslims and Christians, being monotheists, each believe there is but one God and each believes God is sovereign. Muslims believe in the five pillars that define them as Muslims: The Testimony, The Fast, Giving, Prayer, and The Pilgrimmage. Christians believe in some form of each of these, although with varying degrees of emphasis.

Medearis finds “there is a growing number of Muslims around the world who maintain their cultural identity as ‘Muslim’ but choose to align themselves with the spiritual and moral teachings of Jesus, becoming his disciples while becoming what [the word] ‘Muslim’ truly means: submitted to God” (p134).

May we not regard a different approach as either ignorant or simplistic; nor do I want to challenge the right of an Israeli state. However, I agree with Medearis when he protests: “I do not hold a side when it comes to geopolitical distinctions, and I do not believe that any person has the right to bomb, shoot, burn, or defile the people and/or presence of another culture in order to gain religious or political dominance. War is always a tragedy. Surely no one who bears the name of Christ would consider calling for the destruction of Muslims, since it would seem contrary to so much of what Jesus commanded” (p. 127/italic for emphasis).

From Warner’s World:
An authentic Christian witness begins with the summary Jesus gave of The Law and Gospel: love God supremely and love your neighbor as yourself—especially if you live next door to a Muslim …

I am

Friday, January 17, 2014

The Missional Meaning of the Cross

Saul of Tarsus became deeply entrenched in the teachings of Gamaliel, a  Master Teacherin Israel. As such, young Saul of Tarsus remained thoroughly radicalized to teaching the one true God. He was deeply rooted in the fundamentals of his Hebrew faith. Committed heart, soul, mind, and body, pleasing God became Saul’s Pearl of Great Price!

Saul's naturally choleric temperament drove him to drink deeply from life's cup when others merely sipped. Competitors quickly fell short of Saul’s passion to live life as a “Pharisee of Pharisees.”

Impetuous and hot-tempered, this self-sufficient radical threw down a gauntlet, drew a line in the sand, and became the first century defender of Jewish monotheism. He quenched his thirst by initiating a one-man crusade of defending The Almighty. Saul’s Mission Statement focused his intention on destroying the followers of this prophet called Jesus.

En route to Damascus, this fire-breathing exponent of Jewish Legalism experienced a life-changing encounter. Saul discovered in an unexpected moment that life was much bigger than his provincial values and beliefs. This Jesus that he sought to destroy, could not be looked upon as mere humanity “according to the flesh.”

With the foundations of his belief system destroyed by his Damascus road encounter, Saul soon found himself an ambassador for Christ, because “God was in Christ, reconciling us to Himself,” (2 Corinthians 5:16; Romans 1:16-18).  

 Saul of Tarsus experienced a  resurrection that empowered him to live a new life as the Apostle Paul. “And I, “said Jesus, “if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself” (John 12:32 NASV).  The message of the cross was that death came to Jesus, “that men … should cease to live for themselves,” and “live for him who for their sake died and was raised to life” (2 Corinthians 5:15 NEB).

Saul, the Hellenist Jew with a Pharisee’s pedigree as long as his arm, experienced a metamorphosis when he encountered Jesus. Saul’s encounter on the Damascus Road humbled the arrogant Pharisee and transformed him into a humble disciple of  Jesus, a follower of Christ. Thus Saul the Tarsus terrorist became Paul, Apostle of Christ to the Gentiles.        

The message of the cross empowered Saul to disengage from racism, culturalism, and creedalism, and be metamorphosed (transformed) into Paul, the zealous Christian Apostle.

Through the power of the cross experience, God empowered Jesus to overcome sin and death by means of the resurrection. It was the power of the cross that enabled Christ‘s disciples to live like Christ, becoming “little Christ’s.”       He consequently confessed, “For through the Law I died to the Law, that I might live to God.” Thus, he reasoned, “I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me” (Galatians 2:19-20, NASV).                 

Through the message of the cross Saul discovered the powered to become Paul, the visionary Apostle, a missionary of hope for the human potential. Saul went into his spiritual cocoon a sinful worm; Paul came out a grace-full butterfly, enjoying
G od’s
R ichest
A t
C hrist‘s
E xpense.
            From then on, Paul regarded no person from a worldly or human point of view. Rather; he saw the cross of Christ as a divine invitation given to all:

            Beneath the cross of Jesus [I] gladly take my stand  . . .
            The very dying form of One Who suffered there for me;
            And from my smitten heart with tears, Two wonders I confess--
            The wonders of His glorious love And my unworthiness.
--Elizabeth C. Clephane, 1872

The church, concluded Dietrich Bonhoeffer, is “our hope for the present and the future.” Bonhoeffer followed in the wake of the Ancient Fathers who agreed, “God [is] our Father, the Church our Mother, Jesus Christ our Lord, [and] that is our Faith.  Amen.”

            1 Mary Bosanquet, The Life And Death of Dietrich Bonhoeffer.  (New York:  Harper & Row, Publishers, 1968), p. 65.

This is at Warner's World

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Cross: Symbol of Christianity

As a follower of Jesus, I often wear a cross hung around my neck. More than a piece of decorative jewelry, I wear the cross as a symbol of my faith. Most often, I wear a small,plain wooden cross and it is the one that I prefer. The other is a larger metal cross, similiar to those worn by members of the Priesthood, but I dislike its gaudiness. 

Jesus died on a Roman cross, between two thieves. One thief saw nothing in Jesus in which to believe. He died, angrily cursing his ill-fated luck. The second thief saw something in Jesus that brought him at least an outside glimmer of hope that filled him with at least of a new possibility in paradise. Through the cross, the second thief died peacefully in his new-found hope--filled with anticipation.
By believing in Jesus, that second thief discovered a truth experienced many years later by John H. Finley. Finley described what he saw in Jesus:

Sought by the greatest and the least as a friend,
He gave himself, unsparing, to the end;
He even kept death waiting at the door,
Till he could do a friend one kindness more.

In the cross, Jesus communicated a divine and all-powerful love described as the ultimate of friendship. “The cross is the proof,” concluded William Barclay, “that there is no length to which God will refuse to go in order to win men’s hearts. Love offers the most powerful medium of reconciliation that can be found, the final proof of a loving God.”

Suggests Barclay, a love like that demands an answering love. A love like that is not to be worn lightly or to merely decorate one's clothing. A love like that prompts one to sing:

Savior, thy dying love Thou gavest me, 
Nor should I aught with-hold Dear Lord, from thee: 
In love my sould would bow, My heart fulfill its vow, 
Some off'ring bring thee now, Something for thee.

From Warner's World, I am

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Needed: Attitude Adjustment

I grew up in small-town America with a small-town mindset, but after six decades in ministry I found I never discovered that authentic “rural America.” As I slowly transitioned from small-town kid to urban professional, my children grew up informed by an information age I could reject but not ignore.
Technologically, I still feel vulnerable; yet, I love being the family patriarch and accept that honor with whatever dignity it offers. I would not trade my ineptitude simply to avoid the occasional discomforts. Thus, I claw and scramble up the cliffs of seeming impossibility to retain whatever digital dignity I can achieve to keep pace with my “wired” grandsons.

My small town heritage gave me a comfortable place to live, but I enjoyed the expanded contours of urban living. An eventual return to the limited contours of small-town life allowed me to again enjoy the perks of anytime parking and immediate window service at the Post Office most hours of the day. Retiring, however, to a mid-size community on the I-94 Corridor, I saw the roots of a former life disappearing.

Consequently, I stand in line frequently for some service I desire. I miss the fringe benefits of the smaller community, but I am very aware that technology no longer allows any of us to live unaware of the other half of the world; rural farmers are as tightly wired as urban bankers.

This holds huge implications for the Church of God in Michigan, especially those of us who live in one of the great American megalopolises--the I-94 corridor from Windsor, Ontario to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and points beyond. This asphalt jungle includes Chicago, Milwaukee, Detroit, Sarnia, and portions of Lakes Michigan, Huron, and Erie.

This represents more than twenty-percent of North America’s population. It includes a large black population, a growing Hispanic community, and the largest Arabic-Islamic concentration outside of the Middle East. It offers prime opportunities for explosive expansion and a few of our churches have benefited greatly. It also offers the option of disappearing into the muck of mediocrity and unless one focuses on becoming intentional, one need only do nothing to succeed at failure.

Many congregations enjoy new facilities, improved programming, and good public acceptance, but these are not biblical means for measuring congregational growth. Growing budgets and busy calendars suggest they never had it so good, but the material successes of these congregations has lulled them to sleep, leaving them vegetating in a non-growth mode of survival-existence and flat-line growth.

Other congregations have lived impoverished for so long that their improved financial base only lulls them into deeper sleep. One congregation relocated from a quiet neighborhood to a major thoroughfare. They built a versatile non-traditional barrier-free facility, but they never felt the sting of disappointment at not reaching their unchurched neighbors. Truthfully, they never had it so good!

God blessed a church with the opportunity of developing an expanded campus that would enable them to make a huge social impact. Their promised potential, however, remains an undeveloped acreage as they pay the taxes by leasing it to a corn farmer. Without vision, they  “do church” as always. Too many congregations across America remain comfortable in their accepted patterns and practices; they are respectful of the restless urgency of the few, but they have no will to change. They never had it so good.

Although the gospel does not change, our children grow up in a different culture than we did. To impact that culture, we must experience an attitude adjustment. To avoid a horse and buggy mindset, we must intentionally adapt to a culture that takes advantage of the new technologies, understands urban methodologies, and present a gospel message that communicates in contemporary language.

The mission of the church is to introduce people to Jesus. God does not call us to simply attend preaching services, resource committees, and enjoy the material blessings of our sometimes exclusive Christian Club. Our culture is so lost it sees no need of the church; yet Jesus invites us to worship, work, and witness, to win the lost at any cost. He calls us to become His people on mission in ministry, nothing more, nothing less. 

The Church is God’s people living as Jesus lived from Sunday morning through Saturday night, loving God supremely, loving others as ourselves. Our “power of being” comes through “his” suffering. First-century Christians not only out-thought their cultural counterparts, they out-lived them, and out-died them.

When we trust him sufficiently, we will be transformed by the renewing of our minds, and will discover new thoughts that transform our old ways. Such attitude adjustments will bring behavioral changes that renew, reform, and transform us. Nothing short of such a transformation can empower us to communicate with this postmodern culture with something God can bless.

J. B. Toews issued a strong protest against the corrupt forms of Christianity he found in his denomination. He found no corresponding “biblical theology of change” and concluded “urban culture today has more affinity with the pluralism and paganism of Athens than with the homogeneous religious heritage of Jerusalem” (Pilgrimage of Faith/1993/210). 

At Warner’s World, I wonder: are we even open to an attitude adjustment? Do we dare develop biblical measures for determining our congregational health? Will we re-evaluate our ministry programs in the light of God’s mission in the world? If not, how can we pray as Jesus prayed, “not my will but thine be done”?

I am

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Thanks, Jack!

Jack emigrated north with his family that included an older sister and brother, moving out of the poverty of the Arkansas Delta to begin a new life in southwest Michigan. His Facebook information claims him for the class of 1948 at South Haven, MS high school. I know there is such a town in far north MS but I know also that Jack spent most of his life in South Haven, MI.

It was in the southwest MI community that a quite-young Jack met-and-married my baby sister Naomi. I was long gone from home as the eldest child and only son, having ventured off to college prematurely. I spent a short hitch in the Air Force, and was in Bible College in Portland, OR, so I only got tidbits of the re-lationship and the story.

I think I became aware of Jack around the time he ran the Gulf Gas Station on Broadway. I know he and Naomi later journeyed to Crown Point, IN and married, much to the chagrin of my German father, who saw himself as the master and protector of his family and required an obeisance that today would be considered abusive. He had Jack detained by the police and the marriage annulled. That was how my wife and I ended up with Naomi in our custody for the next year.

Tommie and I were already old timers, married four years, and I guess we were trustworthy. We were sympathetic to her cause and she spent a good year with us in Oregon, while I went to school. At the end of that year, she returned, and as agreed earlier, she and Jack married and went about their business of being newly weds.

Over the next half-century Jack proved his worth over and over. Dad repented of his foolhardiness and made peace with son-in-law and daughter who stayed in the community and lived quite respectably, raising two sons, Wes and Tom, and daughter Susie. I lived away during those years but was aware of the days when the Ramsey boys made names for themselves with the Rams football team. Memory tells me I was present for Susie’s high school graduation.

Wes went on to matriculate from Central Michigan where he was a star wrestler. A devoted educator, he worked in the Ionia area until his retirement. Tom took a different direction in Vo-Ed and spent his life in corporate management with skills resembling his granddad but far surpassing him—perhaps more like his own dad who had excellent mechanical skills and spent many years operating, repairing and maintaining heavy equipment as well as in over-the-road trucking. Jack’s death leaves a grieving family in his wake.

I confess it came as quite a shock to me when I received a Christmas card yesterday from a dead man. The belated also delivered a note from Jack telling me of his recent hospital bout, his diagnosis of mass in his lung as cancerous, and of his soon transfer to oncology to further determine his options. It has been some years since they cracked Jack’s chest and did open heart surgery following his severe coronary. Somewhere during that period of time, I no longer remember; Jack had a near death experience that brought him a new and fresh awareness of God.

Jack became a changed man—transformed as we sometimes say—and he was that. While he did not follow the ways of his Baptist family, or of his Church of God in-laws; he became a man of deep, abiding, and growing faith. That faith, and the support of his family, held him firm up to the moment of his eternal departure.

My friendship with Jack of the past fifty-plus yeas suddenly took on new demensions when I received an email informing me that the morning following my deceased father’s birthday, Jack awoke, told Naomi he loved her, and expired on the spot. Later in the day I received a message from my sturdy, stalwart nephew Wes to “call Naomi” asap.

Saturday, the family will memorialize Jack at the church where he served as a founding Elder for however many years. What I will remember, probably more than anything else, was a trip I made from Mississippi to Michigan with my family and a couple of church kids. We were en route to our annual Church Convention and I got a tank of bad gas.

I limped that Pontiac Catalina to Michigan stopping periodically to blow out the filter, unable to escape the repeated chug-downs, and unable to afford road repairs.We were all thoroughly exhausted and disgusted by the time we arrived. Of course, I sought the wisdom of Jack and we put the car into his home repair shop on old Blue Star Hwy.

Ever the thoughtful mechanic, Step by step, Jack carefully checked everything that needed checking. How-ever, the end result was total removal and clean-out of the gas tank. It was a difficult,exhaustive, and expensive job, but he did it for his preacher brother-in-law. In later years, it was my privilege to fly from California to South Haven and officiate the wedding of my eldest nephew Wes, and red-headed Diane, both of whom are now retired from teaching careers.

Making peace with Jack’s sudden and unexpected departure brings the reconciliation of many memories of a good man made better by the transforming powers of his personal friendship with the One we call Jesus. For me, this is further affirmation of the wisdom of that Christian Apostle who wrote: “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody. Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men who have no hope” (I Thess. 4:11-13 NIV).

From Warner’s World, I am; he left this a better place for having been here and that is about as good as any of us can do.