Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Pope: Pastoral? Political?

As a lifetime Protestant with strong Third Reformation (Anabaptist) heritage, I reject the governance practices (polity) of the Vatican Church State, as well as that of the State Church of Luther. I do support separation of Church and State and thank my Anabaptist forebearers for paving the way for the Free Church in America.

Having said that; I support the Pastoral Ministry of this Vatican Pope (Francis) and the moral authority with which he speaks. He is speaking to these very universal and humanitarian issues, although he is not my Papa. I am reading with considerable amusement the repetitious declarations of the News Media, and even some of my Protestant peers who need to update their Church History. The Media speaks regularly regarding the Pope departing from his pastoral corner and fearlessly jumps into (not avoiding) the political. With all due respect for separation of Church and State; and I do separate them, I find the Media reflecting a common misperception of the Media, as well as of others.

When referencing Emigration, Climate Control, et al; the Pope is (1) reflecting our American Founders political choice of Freedom OF RELIGION (including a free church) and not freedom FROM RELIGION. That Free Church and freedom OF religion  rather than FROM religion allowed Roger Williams to be a non-conformist in a Puritan culture and resolved other problems in founding Catholic Maryland. It allows The A-THEIST to live outside of religion if s/he so chooses but it does not  give him/her the right to arbitrarily deprive others of religion as the a-theist is prone to do in that predatory secular culture.

(2) The Pope is reflecting a pastoral issue! In my eight decades there has never been a time when treating others like we want to be treated was not a Christian teaching. While some people attempt to confine such issues as climate control, emigration, et al, to politics, these have  been humanitarian issues of Christian Stewardship since before I was born (the week Lindbergh flew his plane to Paris J). I grant you, the Church has allowed others to re-define its message and say what is pastoral and what is simply political, but that does not mean it has always been that way, nor does it mean it is biblical and confined to politics.It is a universal, humanitarian issue that is of significant importance to people's health and well-being, beyond any financial considerations.

Paraphrasing Jesus, he said we will be known by the fruits we produce. He specifically told his disciples they would be known by their love for one another and he strongly taught that if we follow him we will love one another and be known by that love (John 13:34). Elsewhere, he gave the example of the good Samaritan in Luke 10. In that instance, the command Jesus gave to the Lawyer  to go and do likewise (v. 37) might just as well have been spoken of one American and one Muslim. The Jews and mixed Samaritans hated each other just that badly.

From Warner’s World, I join those who hope and pray Pope Francis will lead America back to the altars of prayer and devotion, and the faith on which our American culture is built.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

A Confession of Faith

In E. Stanley Jones autobiography he recalled being in an evangelistic series in Columbia, S.C. back in the thirties.  Those were days of hard core segregation and relationships were sensitive. “I was on the side of human rights,” Jones remembered, “for I was bound in every man’s bondage. I could only be free in every man’s freedom…”

Jones felt that he should say something that evening, but freely admitted he “didn’t want to do so. So I put it off till the last minute, hoping I could be excused.” Later, as he entered the pulpit, he admitted “the inner voice said, ‘You’ve got to.’ So I hurriedly wrote out a note and before I spoke I read it to the audience.” Following is what he wrote:

      Before I give my address, I am reading an obituary notice which will           come as a shock to the friends of the deceased: Democracy died today         in the city of Columbia when American citizens were denied the right to       vote because of the color of their skins. For those who have eyes to see,       the ballot box will henceforth be draped in mourning.’ Shall we pray.”

One verse of Jones’s Song of Ascent is his “Christian Confession of Faith,” There was but one way according to E. Stanley Jones, God's Way, and his faith in God affected every facet of his life, as attested by his experience in Columbia, S. C. that evening, and as attested by his many books, which include The Way (1946 Devotional). As you read his testimonial, consider how your faith should influence every facet of your life:

“The Christian way is not an alien way; it is … the natural way to live  ... I am made in my inner
structure and outer relationships by Christ and for Christ; and when I find him, I find myself.

“And I find my brother. I find how to live as an individual and as a member of society. I am made for Christ as the eye is made for light. I can no more live without him than the eye can live without light.

“ … ‘Without him (Christ) was not anything made that was made ‘(John 1:3); ‘trough whom he (Christ) created all orders of existence’ (Heb. 1:3 NEB). Here are … John, Paul, and the author of Hebrews—saying … that all things, visible and invisible, in heaven and on earth, have been made by Christ and for Christ.

“If this means anything, it means I am structured by Christ and for Christ; in my makeup, it means I am made for him. The church has apparently never taken these passages seriously. It has quoted Augustine’s saying: ‘O God, thou hast made us for thyself, and we are restless until we rest in thee.’

“But these passages are more specific … When I live in him, by him, and for him, I live; if I live some other way, I tend to go to pieces—I perish. I may hold together in the pressures of a semi-Christian environment in a semblance of living, but … I am under the law of decay.

“ … I am destined by my makeup to be a Christian. I may live against that destiny, for I am still free; but … I get hurt—physically, spiritually, mentally, socially … I don’t know how to live. If I live in him, I do know how to live—this is the Way. Dogmatic? No, proved fact …”

Friday, September 18, 2015

Witnessing to Life in Christ

In early October 1996, I spent a weekend at a Kairos Retreat in the Carson City, MI prison. We were an interdenominational group of Christian men involved in the Upper Room Movement and we were meeting with a group of prison residents in the Number Two Prison facility at Carson City .  Among the visitors was an older retired UMC Minister by the name of Clarence Hutchens. Clarence had a relationship with Asbury College and Seminary that went back many, many years.

After Clarence discovered my affection for E. Stanley Jones, he mailed me a copy of Jones’s autobiography, A Song of Ascents. I had learned of it, yearned greatly to read it, and Clarence sent me a copy, or his copy, with his signature in it. This many years later, I am deeply indebted to this elder brother in ministry. Thank you, Clarence! It is one of the numerous books that I will not part with until I take my leave from this earth and enter the corridors of the celestial.

With that word, I share  “Witnessing to Life in Christ” according to E. Stanley Jones. This is but one of the many lessons from life Jones learned in his lifetime of walking with Jesus Christ as both Savior from the lostness of humanity on its own and as Lord of life.  

               “When you find Christ and His Kingdom, you find yourself. I can only testify:

               Bound to Him and His kingdom I walk the earth free; low at His feet I stand straight
               before   everything and everybody.

               I have served Him these seventy years but I have never made asacrifice for Him.  Sacrifice?
               The sacrifice would be to tear from my heart this wonderful ,increasingly wonderful, thing
               He brought me when I entered His kingdom.

               When my left hand begins to shake, as it has begun to shake at eighty-seven, precursor of
                the final shaking to the dust of my mortal body,  I smile and say;

               ‘But I belong to an unshaken kingdom, and to an unchanging person, so shake on, you will
               shake me into immortality.

               And when the final shaking comes, falsely called death, but which I know to be only an                anesthetic which God gives when He changes bodies, I know this final shaking will only do
               what it did to Paul in prison:

               Loosed his fetters and bade him go to an awaiting home where love and joy abound.
Dr. E. Stanley Jones

*This was the word I shared with my father late in his life. He died the last day of 1990, three days shy of 85 (I have now passed him by some 3.5 years) …

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Good or God?


That is the question John Bevere asks in his 2015 publication published by Messenger International, the publication arm of Bevere ministries. Why is good without God not good enough? Bevere seeks to understand and clarify this question.

Bevere is a new writer-speaker to me so I received this new publication rather cautiously, although it came with high praise after my son heard him speak in Minneapolis, I assume at Substance, a megachurch ministry led by Peter Haas. Having repeatedly encountered this possibility through contacts with numerous social justice groups, I was captivated with the concept that good is not good enough without God. It is a question that deserves consideration in lieu of so much social conflict round about us, with so many taking up social justice causes, there being so much civil unrest, racial tension, political stress, ad infinitum.

The author began with a clear attempt at discerning both good and evil. I found his scriptural reference in Hebrews 5:11-12, 14 (NLT) full of suggestive thought: ”But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” That made sense to me and seemed pretty orthodox.

It wasn’t until chapter four that he suddenly challenged me by making a distinction in the ministry of Jesus, emphasizing a difference between the Lordship and Jesus the Savior (48-49). Here, as elsewhere, he made good use of the marriage relationship to clarify the walk of the Christian with Jesus as Savior and Lord. He clarified this way (49): “I have sometimes referred to Lisa as my ‘little gourmet chef.’ I may have called her this a dozen or so times through our marriage, but more properly, in the past thirty years I’ve referred to her thousands of times as my wife. Why? Because that declares the position she holds in my life. The other title conveys a benefit I’ve received from her being my wife.”

Continuing: “Just because Lisa cooks for me doesn’t mean I belong to her. When I was single … she made me an amazing meal. That didn’t give us a lasting relationship. It was the covenant I made to forsake all other girls and give my heart solely to her as husband that solidified our marriage relationship.” Forgiveness of sin via Jesus the Savior is not quite the same thing as submitting to His lordship, ownership and rule in our lives.  

I thought of the professed Christians I have known who accepted the forgiveness of sins while utterly rejecting the notion that he influence our lives in daily and public behavior. Accepting one without the other is like my marrying my wife but reserving the right to spend one day, or other specified time, having  a fling with other women, or with a specific other person – a marriage relationship that does not build!

Chapter nine deals with a word with which I grew up in my Faith tradition – “holiness.” I was also familiar with his reference (Hebrews 12:14) but the translation was very contemporary (NLT): “Work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord.” Coming from a tradition nurtured by the Holiness Movement, I found Bevere’s writing very different in language, but very authentic, clear, biblical and life applicable. He described a religious experience, with which I was very familiar, but it came in language that was very contemporary and non-traditional, yet I could not possibly misunderstand or disagree with it.

I was forthrightly surprised at the author’s candidness in writing. There is a common criticism abroad that suggests pastors/churches dilute their message in order to acquire their large listening audience. On page 153 Bevere described a devotional moment he experienced when finding himself directed to read from Revelation 3:2, which offers this frank declaration: “Wake up! Strengthen what little remains, for even what is left is almost dead. I find that your actions do not meet the requirements of my God” (NLT). I confess to being more than a little surprised at his frankness in writing; I had to admit he was simply telling it like it is, without gloss or spin. Yes, I liked that quality in his writing.
Bevere speaks to our contemporary society, a culture that has a huge religious tilt, but remains a culture steeped in myopic narcissism, anti-authoritarianism, and the lawlessness of libertarian politics. Would I recommend your reading it? NOT if you want to stay the same as you were when you started reading; John Maxwell does recommend the book, and I know many of my peers revere him.

Most of all: give some serious consideration to the concept that just maybe good without God is NOT GOOD ENOUGH. This is Warner’s World and I am

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Laying hold of the Greatness of God

Pastor Jeff began a new sermon series this morning on who God is. Perhaps I should confess that whenever I find pastors these days proliferating their ongoing series of sermons, I always find myself wondering who I am hearing  - Pastor, or John Maxwell, or Bill Hybels, or Max Lucado, or . . .

I can’t say I never borrowed a sermon I heard preached or lifted from a book, but I generally edited the outline so as to make it my sermon without putting up quote marks. So, this conversation is probably one-sided and unfair. I find Jeff an excellent teaching pastor, Whatever it is worth, Plato the Greek Philosopher, also left us a small jewel of wisdom worthy of the ages, when he concluded that “The life which is unexamined is not worth living.”  

It could be reasonably claimed that our information age is the most psychologized, analyzed, and criticized (critiqued) of any age in modern history. However, over indulgence and preoccupation, with self-examination, can make life more difficult. I would even go so far as to suggest that life without examination most surely leaves life with an inadequate sense of meaning.

Various theorists are committed to selling the general public on the idea of unlimited human achievement and self-directed living. That fits into the mindset of most secularists and humanists, for our formerly Christianized culture is rapidly turning rabidly secularist, humanist, and democratic.

Such persons argue that we have no limits, that we can change our lives, and that we are only held back by the limitations of our own belief system. On one hand, numerous new-age thinkers promise us we can be in total control of our own destinies. Some few will confess, however, that despite the best efforts at our being TAed, TMed, Rolfed, assertiveness –trained, consciousness-raised, and blissed out, they frequently find living more difficult than ever.  

A while back, I read a small volume of sermons entitled A Glory In It All. Written by John Knox in 1985 and published by Word at Waco, it contained the post-eighty reflections of a man wanting to live-out his remaining days with as much intention as possible. Knox recalled the biblical story of the Rich Young Ruler meeting Jesus and concluded, “We all come to life running and eager; too often we limp out of it sorrowful and disillusioned.”

Sooner or later, most of us will, like Knox, encounter the fact that we will never achieve the dreams of our youth. A few fall short of expectations. Others experience disappointment with their achievements. As a youth, I envisioned a certain level of greatness. Decades later, I find myself a well-seasoned senior, and the years continue piling high on life’s beach at high tide during a storm. As the waves continue rolling in with unrelenting frequency, I find myself forced more and more to accept the limitations of both my human abilities and the inevitability of my pending mortality.

Experiencing that truth, suggests Knox, is one of the “most serious crises of our lives,” yet out of it comes new opportunities. Seldom does crisis ever enter our lives without bringing with it a positive opportunity  for discovering a new and better possibility. These come as gifts from God.
Rather than waiting until life is about to conclude; they come throughout life bringing equal opportunity to each and every individual, freely and without discrimination. They come offering all of the “greatness” of God that our hearts can possibly hold.

Thus, Sidney Lanier’s verse in “The Marshes of Glynn” becomes highly suggestive and meaningfully expressive for me when he writes,
     As the marsh hen secretly builds on the watery sod,
     Behold I will build me a nest on the greatness of God.  
     I will fly in the greatness of God as the marsh-hen flies
     In the freedom that fills all the space ‘twixt the marsh and the skies.
     By so many roots as the marsh-hen sends in the sod
     I will heartily lay me ahold on the greatness of God.

But, back to Pastor Jeff’s sermon on the God Who Is. Remember when God called Moses at the burning bush? Remember what Moses heard when he demanded to know who was calling him? God said, “I am who I am!” - I am is Alpha and the Omega, beginning and end ...  

When Moses learned who was calling, he discovered who he was: not just another Hebrew slave baby headed for extinction, he was the Hebrew Prince that a mother’s faith led into the House of Pharoah where he would grow up and become the Messiah of the Exodus.

In laying “ahold of the greatness of God” we discover the truth of life thyat is stuffed full with the abundance and greatness of The God Who Is. . .

I am


Monday, September 7, 2015

"I Am a Child of God"

Occupational health-care conferees, mostly doctors and nurses, hastily negotiated their way through the crowded facilities at the San Francisco Convention Center. Immersed in this swirling mass of humanity stood a tiny five-foot three-inch mother fulfilling her deepest joy as traveling companion to her middle-aged daughter, an Occupational Health-Care Specialist (COHN-S) from the Midwest.

While daughter filled her days with bell to bell conferences, Mother stood in lines, collected available print-outs, picked up freebie’s, prepared refreshment breaks and arranged for restful solitude on breaks. She inspected favorite meal sites, pre-arranged meals with proper diets that allowed for pleasurable escape moments. In general she helped maximize the daylight-to-dusk melee of classes, convention sights, display booths, and tourist specialties.

Two-thousand miles from home, mother and daughter quietly and efficiently absorbed conferences, classes, casual encounters, hand-outs, and “giveaways,” intentionally seasoned with sprinkling of tourism tossed in, but this was hardly new to this female combination;  they had been a bonded twosome almost from the premature birth, the mother’s first live birth after five pregnancies.

“Mama” still remembers when the head nurse of that neonatal unit informed her rather candidly that she need not get too attached to that baby because “you’ll never raise her!” That had launched a long journey in which this mother had committed herself to THE ALMIGHTY if he would but enable her to raise her baby; she would do whatever she needed to do and she had kept her word with diligence.

Decades later, she had faithfully reared the two children God gave her; she had diligently and patiently nurtured her often critically ill asthmatic  first-born into her adult years. Now, they were enjoying some of the more pleasant benefits side of their long relationship as she accompanied  her daughter-nurse to medical conferences in such tourist towns as Boston, New Orleans, and San Francisco. 

In San Francisco, not far from where she and her pastor husband had formerly pastored a church, she found herself amid a swirl of unknown humanity. It came as a huge surprise to her when someone walked up from behind her and laid a discreet arm on her shoulder. Turning her head, she found herself staring eyeball to eyeball with a stranger she had never met, although she knew full well who he was.

She had observed him passing through the crowd numerous times. One could hardly miss him with his entourage trailing close behind. She recognized him from reading his books and seeing him in the news repeatedly. Only this time, the gentle, soft-spoken, handsome black man stood momentarily parked, silently and physically blocking the forward movement of this small-statured Irish Cherokee from Oklahoma.

Looking directly into the eyes of the little lady with whom he had exchanged glances of acknowledgement several times during the day from a distance, the noted Neurosurgeon spoke softly and very privately said, “I’m glad I’m one of God’s children; aren’t you?”

With eyes locked momentarily, each soundlessly acknowledged and affirmed the other. It was one of those holy moments Christians occasionally experience, when two strangers otherwise unknown to each other, recognize that they share a common bond in that spirit world in which each knows they are standing in the presence of the ULTIMATE SPIRITUAL PRESENCE who  inhabits all of God’s children.

Ever sensitive to the Creator who calls us to give Him our supreme devotion and to share with others the devotion and respect we would like for ourselves; she later described to me something of her fleeting encounter with Dr. Ben Carson, a spiritual giant many recognize as a man of deep faith.

Dr. Ben Carson, the neurosurgeon, the man with the “Gifted Hands”, once a ghetto kid in Detroit, MI, has now retired from Johns Hopkins and turned his attention to the internal problems of our nation. He is making a serious bid for the office of President of the United States. I don’t know if I will vote for him, for I frequently disagree with some of his political solutions, but I watch and admire him as the news media follows him. 

One thing I do know, while I sincerely respect a few others on the political spectrum, there is no other single individual on our presidential horizon whose personal integrity and Christian character I would trust more than Dr. Ben Carson. Issues will bring variety of opinion and differing views, but those are not always what is most important, for if you can trust an individual, you can generally live with the differences of opinion that happen quite naturally.

A little-known song writer took heart from Paul’s suggestion that “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God” (Romans 8:16). Encouraged, that writer took pen in hand and began writing:
            Praise the Lord! My heart with His love is beaming,
                        I am a child of God;
            Heaven’s golden light over me is streaming,
                        I am a child of God
            Let a holy life tell the gospel story,
                        I am a child of God;
            How He fills the soul with His grace and glory,
                        I am a child of God.
                                                            Barney E. Warren/A Child of God/Worship His Majesty/Gaither Music Co./1987/p. 557. 
Events like this do not happen to my wife every day but I have learned across several decades that she has a certain sensitivity (discernment, if you will) that makes experiences like this not common place, but not out of the ordinary either. It is not at all unusual for two Christians to be strangers in a crowd and find each other as fellow disciples of Jesus. There is a knitting of spirits!

How much better it would be if only our world could rediscover the rich love and rewarding respect that comes with sharing life with God as children of God. Perhaps then our world could find its way out of the deep morass of distrust, disrespect, and disillusionment, in which it finds itself. From Warner’s World, I am

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Agents of Peace or Agents of War?

Abraham Lincoln became sixteenth president as an agent of peace, but he confronted a nation separated south from north. "One of them would make war rather than let the nation survive,” concluded Lincoln, “and the other would accept war rather than let it perish” (Abraham Lincoln, 2nd Inaugural Address, 4 March 1865).  Thus, the war came!

That war crippled America, scarring its national body for generations to come. It resulted in 418,206 killed and another 362,130 citizens wounded. Half a century later, American politics had become so corrupted that adding pre-emptive strikes to our diplomatic arsenal only transformed American soldiers into foreign invaders.

War is expensive! By any measure, it is excessive, even wasteful! Iraq cost more than 4,400 American deaths. Thousands more were wounded. The 2007 surge added 30,000 additional troops to Iraqi collateral damages--70-76,000 killed (Washington Post, 8-21-07), He paid for it by putting it on our national credit card.

When unveiling America’s new military-industrial phenomenon in 1961, President Eisenhower cautioned us regarding grave implications of the “immense military establishment and a large arms industry.” Ike accepted it, but agreed it was “new in the American experience, a total influence – economic, political, even spiritual.” (Emphasis added). 

He cautioned us to “guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence . . . sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex” (emphasis added). He admitted the potentially disastrous rise of misplaced power, and rightfully feared it. He further insisted we must never let this endanger our liberties or democratic processes (emphasis added).

From the first, America’s founders gave civilian controls precedence over military powers. Eisenhower warned, take nothing for granted; “only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together. . .” (2 Eisenhower's “Farewell Address to the Nation,” January 17, 1961).

 Decades later, diplomatic efforts stumble in darkened corridors of the War Department while Congress marches meekly to the economic ambivalence of the Pentagon. Arms manufacturers “lobby” hard for jobs in the “growth industry” that now includes an unseen army of unaccountable para-military sub-contractors earning prime profit from weapons of destruction.

Should journalists dare to define the philosophical struggles between diplomacy and defense, few would dare to march by the peacemaker’s drumbeat (Stephen Glain, State Vs Defense. New York: Crown Publishers, 2011).

The teachings of Jesus no longer offer relevance to our national debate; therefore Christians ought to withdraw quietly from public dialogue, privatize personal faith, and allow diplomacy to wear its military uniform.
If it is true that the Christian message of the cross no longer has relevance, let us delete John Wesley from the Internet of human history. Wesley defined himself homo unius libri--“a man of one book.” He proclaimed that book “the sum of all religion,” which he asserted “is laid down in eight particulars, and he described the Sermon on the Mount as an aggregate total of the New Testament message” (The Works of John Wesley, Vol. V, p. 251).

Jesus challenged humanity to forgive as God forgives (Mt. 6:12, 14; 18:32; Eph. 4:32; Col. 3:13. Jesus used the cross to interpret God’s indiscriminate love ( Mt. 5:43-48; Luke 6:32-36). Christian discipleship challenges us to integrate personal beliefs and behaviors with actions and attitudes, which Pastor James Leslie Sparks calls “transformation.” Jesus intended for people to negotiate win-win solutions for everyone and eliminate the win-lose system of human relationships.

“Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth,” concluded Saint Paul. “It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres ... And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love ( I Corinthians 13:8, 13, NIV).

Martin Luther King led the Civil Rights Movement by challenging followers to “meet the forces of hate with the power of [Christ-like] love.” Addressing “white brothers all over the South,” King declared, “we will match your capacity to inflict suffering with our capacity to endure suffering … Bomb our homes and we will still love you ... We will so appeal to your heart and conscience that we will win you in the process (Marshall Frady, Martin Luther King, Jr. New York: Penguin Putnam, Inc., 2002, p. 5).

 During the Cold War, members of one local congregation began worshipping above a former missile silo. Seeing potential opportunity, they built their new facility on top the Titan II ICBM site. Solid with concrete, the once destructive missile site became a new symbol of hope for converting swords and missiles into plowshares and worship into peacemaking.

Pastor, Stewart Elson, called it a fitting closure to Cold War and described it as “hope for a world falling prey to its own worst self”. He thought ending the Cold War and dismantling the nuclear defense system a superpower exercise of control, forever hampered by human frailties and political gaming.

Author John Bernbaum called Jesus the consummate peacemaker. He believed the Church of Jesus Christ, by virtue of its multinational character, “should by definition be an agent for world peace!” (John A. Bernbaum,  Perspectives on Peacemaking. Glendale, CA: Regal Books, 1984, p. 254).

Whereas Old Testament Scripture begins with humanity created in the image of God, New Testament Scripture reveals Jesus inviting all humanity to further experience the love of God, and ultimately to share God’s gift of reconciliation and indwelling peace (I John 1:5-7; 3:1-3,  et al).

From Warner’s World, 
this is walkingwithwarner, – wondering: 
agent of peace? agent of war? 
Which are you?        

Friday, August 28, 2015

Think Peace, Not War

In 1861, Town Line, New York seceded from the Union. They raised the Stars and Bars of the Confederacy over their local blacksmith’s shop and remained the site of the original secession for the next eighty-five years. Although the Civil War officially ended April 3, 1865, Town Line voters waited until 1946 to return to the Union, doing so at that late date in spite of the twenty-three voters still opposing the measure.

They corrected their earlier exit from the Union on January 24, 1946, but only after proving that change does not come easily, for there are always a few who would rather fight than switch. War, however, is by its very nature cruel, inhumane, wasteful and destructive. It breeds violence and anti-social behavior. Most often, wars reflect failed diplomacy, and America has never won a war that it did not finalize through diplomatic means that spelled out the victory. Such is the nature of war!
Waging war in Iraq required a strong military presence of our “peace-keepers” using aggressive hostile actions. American tax payers were spending two billion dollars a day on a war President Bush reported as “won,” although the Bush staff originally projected it would cost a mere $100-200 million (which he put on our credit card).

This “fight now, pay later” policy paid compound interest with more than four-four hundred dead Americans, plus multiplied thousands of others injured (Later figures were higher). Another 150,000 American children suffered from broken homes, having military parents in Iraq, and epidemic numbers of military families found themselves in varying stages of brokenness and divorce.

Additional collateral costs included the loss of Iraq’s national infrastructure and a citizenry that currently finds itself suffering from ongoing terrorism, a broken government, and a religious civil war, not to mention the fact that Suddam Hussain’s military forces have restructured as IS.

Before his death, Senator Ted Kennedy estimated that what we were spending for  one day in Iraq (emphasis added) would dramatically improve our homeland security in numerous ways, and he named the following:

* improve the communications gap in 40 small cities, 34 mid-sized cities, or six large cities, and            allow federal, state and local first responders to talk to each other.
* provide four million households with emergency readiness kits,
* add 4,000 additional Border Patrol Agents,
* provide 1,285 explosive trace detection portals for airport screening,
* purchase 750 fire trucks for improving local emergency response capabilities,
* employ 4,700 fire fighters, 4,000 police patrol officers, or 6,800 paramedics and                                  Emergency Medical personnel for a year,
* provide 6,000 local law enforcement agencies with bomb-detecting robots,,
* provide 9,400 port container inspection units, or provide 4,700 detectors for dangerous 
Since Iraq, we transferred our troops to Afghanistan and spent untold fortunes

Now I realize that any nation of any consequence provides some form of National Defense—a Department of Defense at minimum). I once posed the question as to why no nation had yet to establish a Peace Department as a worthy endeavor? A bit of research revealed that we do have a Peace Department, Granted, it does not have Cabinet status, but I followed its progress long enough to determine that it supported the war-oriented politics of our government.

The poet Longfellow once theorized that if we could read the secret history of our enemies, we just might find in each man’s life enough sorrow and suffering to disarm most of our hostilities, and I rather believe that. However, history traces a long vapor trail of wars and rumors of war. Hostility and violence virtually insist on a confrontational “I win you lose” mentality.

Sooner or later such thinking eliminates all hopes of peace - unless one is capable of “thinking outside the box” of normal thought patterns and converts the patriotic hubris of National selfishess into an unheard of mentality of actively waging peace.

Peace requires alternatives to war, violence, hatred and hostility. It requires high levels of optimism, faith , and the risk of trust. Peace commends reconciliation as the preferred choice between war and peace, and worth the risk. War demands spoils and it is the spoils of war that most often create the vehicle for the next war.

Peace steps backs-and-away from confrontation and offers cooperation, complementation, and conflict resolution as the preferable solution. Peace asks how can both sides profit from the conflict at hand. An example of this might well be the Iran Peace Treaty, currently suffering from political hubris from both sides of the political aisle

When Paul met Jesus on the Damascus Road, it literally transformed Paul’s life. He suddenly discovered that broken relationships can experience peace through reconciliation, and each can gain from the experience. As a result, Paul challenged audiences everywhere he went to accept God’s higher authority and value a world filled with individual people for whom Jesus died.

As Christ’s emissary, the Apostle Paul faced citizens of a global community that needed a model for building intentional friendships for the purpose of healing multitudes of broken relationships (Eph. 4:1, 7, 26; John 3:16). Peace comes by being reconciled, first to God, then to one another. God commissions us to introduce peaceful negotiations into hostile environments (2 Cor. 5:16-21).

We become his personal Ambassadors as individuals; our purpose becomes giving “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests” (Luke 2:14, NIV). As we learn to relate individually, we can learn to relate as global nations.

Paul’s conclusion to the matter announced, “as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Romans 12:18, NIV). Minimal research reveals that Paul did not stray from the teachings of Jesus and one does not go far with Jesus before discovering that we are to love [even] our enemies and think peace, not war.

From Warner’s World, this is

The Kingdom of Peace

Saul of Tarsus became a Christ-follower at a time when good without God was not good enough. Following Jesus was like swimming upstream, easier said than done. In becoming the Christian Apostle to the Gentiles, Saul entered a global demolition derby dominated by warfare for and against Rome, and racial strife of every demographic imaginable. Special-interests polluted the landscape and undermined individual and community interests at all levels.

As a new Christian, Paul was now a Christ-follower rather than the disciple of any particular religious system, Christian or otherwise. He sought to convert people to his new-found faith by inviting people to repent of their personal sins and confess the failures of their culture or religious system by accepting a new sovereignty under Jesus, God’s Messiah (Eph. 4:1, 7, 26).

Saul had admittedly terrorized people in the name of God before he was himself rescued from the tyranny of his Judaic legalism. Following his dramatic Damascus Road encounter however, Saul, as Paul, now viewed all of humanity through the eyes of the “God, who made the world and everything in it,” rather than “from a worldly point of view” (Acts 17:24 NKJV; 2 Corinthians 5:16, NIV, emphasis added).

His encounter with Jesus redefined his views on humanity, causing him to add a new dimension of the divine to his life. Transitioning from the inside out, Paul turned inside out and about face; he became a truly converted man. As such, Paul became a roving Ambassador for Jesus Christ.

Sensing a special commission from God, Paul committed the remainder of his life to proclaiming God’s eternal Kingdom of peace (2 Corinthians 5:16-21), and Paul spent his life taking his story where it had not been before. By the time of his death, his epitaph could easily have read, “as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Romans 12:18).

Typical of Paul, when he first introduced the message of Jesus into Athens with its Pantheon of gods and goddesses, he acknowledged their traditional beliefs and tailored his message accordingly. Only after establishing common ground with his audience did he share his new resurrection perspectives and reflect on how God lives, moves about, and resides, or has his being, in all of humanity (Acts 17).

Of course, the sophisticated Athenians rejected Paul’s resurrection message; they tossed it aside as a wild herring. However, rather than reacting and become defensive with his teaching, Paul intentionally elected to trust the Spirit of God to further guide them into the truth and sustain him as he moved on to Ephesus.

Avoiding debating cultural issues, Paul refused to vent ill will toward those who opposed him and moved on like a prophet of old, leaving them in God’s hands. Meanwhile, he leaned hard on the mediation of God’s Spirit, maintaining the good will of the people as much as possible.

When we view one another through our naturally human eyes, we tend to sort out and divide people according to our natural biases and our demographics of difference. Jesus, on the other hand, commissions his disciples to love in ways that unify differences, forgives the wrongs done to us, and reconciles the fractured relationships (Matthew 28:19-20).

While our Lord continually invites us to become peacemakers, we find ourselves confronting wars, rumors of wars, and struggling relationships.  And when we find that we have nothing else to give, he reminds us we can at least offer the stranger in our midst a cup of cold water in Jesus’ Name.

One June evening I encountered a black man at a church convention. Without stopping, he nodded and greeted me with “May the peace of God be with you, my brother” That word of “Shalom” from James Earl Massey prompted me to re-consider the words Jesus spoke to His disciples, when he said: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you” (John 14:27, NIV).

We were two men simply passing each other in a sea of people. We each carried our own cargo of freight. We reflected differing ethnicities. Each of us was part of a bigger world that could easily assimilate us into in its turbulence, terrorism, broken lives, fragile relationships, and social advocacy. What we shared, however, was that peace of which Jesus spoke when he instructed his disciples “Do not let your hearts be troubled and … afraid.”
An early songwriter described this peace as an ode to joy that he could not otherwise express. It became a theme that fortified his life and remained “sweet to his memory.” Envisioning this “Kingdom of Peace” Barney Warren took pen in hand and announced,

               ‘Tis a kingdom of peace, it is reigning within,
                              It shall ever increase in my soul;
               We possess it right here when He saves from all sin,
                              And ‘twill last while the ages shall roll.1

               1 “The Kingdom of Peace” Barney E. Warren. Worship the Lord, Hymnal of the Church of God. Anderson, IN: Warner Press, Inc., 1989, p. 481.


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Eternal Tuning Fork

Author Lloyd Douglas enjoyed visiting an old violin teacher who lived in rather shabby circumstances, but who always had a word of good news. One morning Douglas stopped by to visit briefly with his friend. “Well,” he asked, “what’s the good news today?”

The old man put down his violin, walked over to a tuning fork suspended from a silk cord and struck it sharply with a padded mallet. “There’s the good news for today. That, my friend, was an A. It was an A all day yesterday. It will be an A all day tomorrow, next week, and for a thousand years.

I was midway through our Vacation Samaritan work camp in Baja, Mexico. We were working in a rural village without benefit of either electric lights or running water. Finding that I had some free time, I walked the sandy mile to the Pacific beach where I washed my grit-filled dirty hair in the salty surf. Feeling restored, I walked leisurely back to camp, where I could look in the mirror.

One look in the mirror revealed hair blown in all directions. My once-clean Tee shirt had turned to the color of sand, transformed by the blowing dust. Grey-black blotches of beard marked my face and my skin was the color of baked beans. There was not much way I could make me look like the man my church knew back home, but at home I had the convenience of showers, shampoos, and freshly laundered wash-n-wears.

“That is just how many people feel about themselves and all the circumstantial things they would like to forget. How nice—if they could just wipe it all clean and start over!”

I’ve been in a funk this week. Yet, when I stop and reflect on the opportunities that the challenges of these days offer, I have to pause and once more give thanks for the faithfulness of God. His faithfulness is even more true than the A-note sounded on the tuning fork by the old music teacher.

God is still God. He has been there all the time and he will be this live long day. He will still be the same tomorrow, and next week, or next year, for however long you and I need to get ourselves cleaned up, our hair washed, and our faces scrubbed. And, if a new change of clothes doesn’t do, and you need an internal cleansing, he’ll do a heart transformation on you as well.
M. W. Runyan, the poet, found in God the Eternal Tuning Fork and he came up with these words; join me in singing this old and familiar hymn:

Great is thy faithfulness, O God my Father,
There is no shadow of turning with thee;
Thou changest not, thy compassions they fail not;
As thou hast been thou forever wilt be.
Great is thy faithfulness,
Great is thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed thy hand hath provided—
Great is thy faithfulness, Lord unto me!

From Warner’s World, this  is

Friday, August 14, 2015

Harry the Cop

Race relations are in hard times. Unfortunately, the average cop in America finds the times equally difficult. Having had an Officer in our family for fifteen years, I am not unaware of the pitfalls of police work and the difficulties of working with anything and everything American society throws at them. Working on an unpublished manuscript, I came across a man who brings back some wonderful memories of people by whom I have been blessed. This man just happens to be a good cop.

He has a place among my finest memories that come from a Sunday in the early-1990s. Harry and Bonita worshiped with us from IL. Bonita was an accomplished instrumentalist and by this time, Harry was a veteran Police Officer. On this day, they led us in very meaningful moments of worship by singing a lovely duet as a prelude to my sermon.

Following that service, while we visited among ourselves, I suddenly missed Harry. Simultaneously, I sensed something very special, but very private as my peripheral vision caught a glimpse of this veteran cop quietly kneeling, almost unseen--quite unobtrusively. He was in solitary prayer at the far west end of the Altar Rail his family had helped dedicate earlier in 1989.


I still see this gentle man , returning in his retirement years to the roots of his childhood, reaffirming the precious priorities that anchored his long career in law enforcement. For me: it became a special moment--sacred and defining. I saw a man I highly esteemed, bowed in private encounter listening to the hush of The Almighty.

I felt like an intruder to an intimate conversation between two long-familiar friends, but it provided one of those redefining moments in a panoramic sweep of history experienced by his whole clan.

Harry raised his boys in the Christian faith, as his preacher-father had hoped to do, had he lived. Harry’s granddad first served as a Methodist circuit rider in West Virginia and later his daddy and granddaddy became early pioneers in the Church of God Reformation Movement, sometimes called Saints, even come-outers.

As a longtime friend of the family, I knew some of the commitments Harry and his siblings pursued throughout their lives. I knew that from early childhood in the tightly knit South side neighborhood of Three Rivers, MI--pre-1925 into the early 90’s--God and faith had been a vital part of their daily lives.

When Harry died in February 2003, Kalamazoo Gazette reporter, Dave Person, characterized him as a “man of faith, patriarch of his family and public servant,” a man who “stood tall.” Harry left the Kalamazoo Police Department in 1963 to become Chief of Police in Elk Grove IL. He served seventeen years. Later, headed training programs for the Illinois State Police, and ended his career as police chief in Worth, IL.


When the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police, of which Harry was a former president, announced Harry’s death on January 29, 2003, he began with this declaration, “The great Harry Jenkins has passed away.”

I agreed with son Jim when he commented later, “One line I heard a lot when I was growing up was that if I was half the man my dad was I’d be a good man.” Young James was/is a good man. His character and integrity I would trust anywhere. His four stalwart sons had his imprint indelibly stamped upon them. He was a good man who spent his early life as a preacher’s kid, much of his early vocational life as an ordinary cop, and the remainder of it as a leader among his law-enforcement peers. He was a role model for his sons and all who knew him.

But then Harry had a good role model. Harry’s father was at the time of his premature death the bi-vocational pastor of the Three Rivers, MI Church of God, James E. Jenkins. When he died in 1925 he was in a co-pastor relationship with a man who became much better known than he was, a young black man named Ray Jackson--Dr. Raymond S. Jackson. Dr. Jackson was the finest of preacher-orators in early Church of God life.

I have lived my long life as a member of several communities, coast to coast. My many encounters with Police Departments across the country have been varied, professional, and reassuring. Harry Jenkins contributed two law enforcement men from among his talented sons, as well as one of the most prolific Christian authors ever, and a West African missionary translator for Wycliffe.

Harry reminds me of all the fine officers I have encountered around the country. None stands taller than Harry and most are people just like the rest of us, serving with commitment and integrity and faith. They have a tough, thankless job and among the people they have to deal with are people who are self-centered, lawless, and pushing the envelope. That sometimes requires the use of force. They deserve our full support in restoring honesty, integrity, and character back into our culture that suffers badly from a character crunch. We have laws so that we can live compatibly with one another, so let's all work together for the common good and stop harassing the very people who are trying to protect us. 

From Warner’s World, I am

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Church-family History

I returned home just this evening from a 3-week emergency journey to Kentucky, caring for family members. I returned via Anderson, Indiana where I stayed over with Dale and Cheryl Stultz and participated in the Friday-Saturday event of the Church of God Historical Society.

This group has over 300 members and fulfills some important functions but enjoys little recognition from the church at large. It lacks serious standing with Church of God Ministries, yet it is one of the important groups working in Church of God (Anderson) life. How so? Among other things, the Society keeps us aware of our historical perspectives (roots, vision, message) at a time when the church is floundering at the national level and trying to rediscover its biblical purpose.

Robert Reardon played a large part in the founding of the Society after Dale Stultz made some discoveries relative to Barney Warren, the Church of God’s original song writer. Barney composed many of the early hymns and collaborated with D. S. Warner/J.C. Fisher in producing our earliest hymnals et al. Dale Stultz discovered the Barney Warren cabin that now resides on East 5th Street in Anderson after President Reardon used his pen to find funds for Dale’s bringing the cabin from Springfield, Ohio to Anderson.

As Doug Welch tells it (loosely translated), Boss Reardon said to Professor (employee) Welch of the Seminary, “We need a historical society and YOU ARE the Secretary-Treasure.” Dale Stultz eventually became Vice-President and Church Historian and Seminary-Teacher Strege served as president. They funded the Memorial Stone of the unmarked C. W. Naylor grave and engineered bringing the Warren Cabin to Anderson and the Society was in business, loosely speaking.

All the while, Dale Stultz has used his multiple skills in the recovery of many and varied artifacts in becoming the most knowledgeable person among us regarding our history, our beginnings, and our family stories. He has without doubt the largest computerized photographic collection in the Movement and is continually adding new items to his collection and to the University Archives, with whom he works closely.

While Strege gave little visible support, Stultz and Welch produced THE BOOK OF NOAH, OLD MAIN, and THE GOSPEL TRUMPET YEARS. This project cost over $70,000, costing Dale some sweat since it went on his Credit Card, but the books are paid for and many are circulating about in the church today. 

THE BOOK OF NOAH details daily life in the Grand Junction Publishing House between 1887-1898, when they relocated from Grand Junction, MI to Moundsville, WVA. OLD MAIN describes the evolution of Anderson University as it is today, first begun as the Anderson Bible Training School in 1917, a department within the Gospel Trumpet Company. THE GOSPEL TRUMPET YEARS shows the journey taken by the Gospel Trumpet magazine produced first by D. S. Warner, beginning in 1880 in Rome City, Indiana and journeying through Indianapolis, IN; Cardington and Bucyrus, OH; Williamston and Grand Junction, MI; Moundsville, WVA and Anderson, IN until it changed its name in 1961 to ‘Vital Christianity”.

Some call this a revisionist history but it does give us a much less romantic and a more accurate detailing (than A. L. Byers BIRTH OF A REFORMATION) of our early years. The Church of God Movement goes on and we continue recording history as we pursue God’s vision for his people, but the magazine ceased publication the week of September 16, 1996.

When you don’t know where you come from, you are not likely to discover where you’re going. This can be said of most organizations and it can be said of us. We are struggling to wrap itself around its global message, but we are finding ourselves as we learn better how to fulfill our purpose. We are doing better than ever before, in some ways and more poorly in other ways. We have some soul searching yet to do and it may well be that we need to have another “Gethsemane” as Doug Oldham once sung about so beautifully. Such experiences are painful but purposeful.

As the Movement now exists, our Anderson, IN headquarters base has been restructured from a well-established series of serving Agencies and crunched into a single autocratic “Agency” called Church of God Ministries led by a leader dubbed by some as the Jim Lyons Show. This Agency Office seems to be on its way “out of Anderson” and God only knows where it will go. Support for it seems lacking on every hand making some wonder if this is to be another “one-term President” like certain politicians hoped to do to Barack Obama.

The members of the Historical Society love God. They are members because they love our message and our mission as God’s people on mission around the world. Members share the varying opinions of the church at large, but they are committed to being his people, pursuing his mission, and using their resources to accurately record how all of this comes about.

I salute Dr. Gary Agee the new General Assembly Historian and Chairman of the Society, as well as the other officers. This I know: I nursed as an infant from a bottle of milk filled with Reformation teachings at Grand Junction. My birth came but 32 years after the death of D. S. Warner (12-18-95) and  after almost 65 years of Church ministry, had I to do it all over again, I most certainly would!  Yet, I could not have done it without my mentors, Gray, Linn, et company.

Alabama Pastor Loren Sutton said it so eloquently at our closing event Saturday evening, and I certainly agree. We have a message but it does not belong to us; it belongs to our Spiritual Director, the Lord Jesus Christ. It remains for us to be faithful to Him …
on behalf of our church family and those who follow us … I am

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Stranger at the Door

Knock, Knock, Knock. Loudly--even insistently--it sounded again!
Knock! Knock! Knock! “Does someone expect me to stop my Daily Devotions just to open the door?” I wondered as I continued with my meditation.

Again, the rapping came … knock, knock, knock!
Feeling more than a little put upon, I stood up and started for the door. Seeing a stranger standing there, coatless and dripping in the rain, I invited him in.

“Come in” I invited half-heartedly. He looked kinda shabby; fact is. He looked a little unkept--but he moved with an air of importance.  I stepped back and motioned for him to enter, although I felt a little uneasy about being alone with a stranger.

“Come out and see our neighborhood with me,” he responded. Looking me straight in the eye, he insisted, “come out and walk our streets. Share with me the pain and toil.”

“Ah, sir,” I remonstrated; “do not take me to your shame. Leave the wrong behind you. Come in and forget.”

Glancing away from my comfortable home and looking back down the slushy, pot-holed street, he gestured with a droop of the shoulder: “I can’t forget my friends, he said. My children, they are all out here. We need to wash, but we do not know how. Come and wash our feet.

“But, you don’t understand,” I whispered. “Look at my schedule! My calendar is full. See the neat lines boxing in the events stacked event on event. My life is evenly divided into an endless series of events that keep me busy here.”

Spinning around, he looked long and hard as if examining the street. Then, he pointed to a house down on the corner. “Who lives there?” he demanded.

“Why, Mr. & Mrs. Little Worth, I informed him. “They’re no good. They never come to church.”

“Do you know the hell they live in?” He queried. “Do you know about his constant drinking? Of her unfaithfulness, trying to get his attention? Do you know of their young son’s stealing to get their attention? Of their teenage son in jail?”

“Yes, I know,” I sighed wearily. “Everybody knows. Most any of us would help them out … if … only they would just straighten up.”

“But,” pleaded the tasteless looking man, “they need you to go to them and love them and share their problems.”

“Me?” I exploded! “Why me?”
Where are the Welfare case-workers?
Is there no one available from the Substance Abuse Council?
Where are the Law Enforcement people?”

The man turned, stared at me … and … slowly started down the steps. I closed the door as quickly as possible and leaned against it--quietly. But then, from somewhere, I heard it. I could not be sure where the sound issued forth from, but there came those words, I‘d read them many times: “When did we see you hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister to you?”

Then, he answered them, saying, “Inasmuch as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me.”

Adapted for Warner’s World by

Sunday, July 12, 2015

What Did I Do?

The April 1973 issue of “Reader’s Digest” reported alcohol problems raining misery and ruin upon thousands of young lives, allegedly permeating every level of society (April 1973). J. L. Collier reported a “New Drug Menace” that some still dodge with a shrug of the shoulder.  Marketing strategies continue to bless industrial products that inflate health costs prompting representatives of the Distilled Spirits Council to conclude, “Advertising does not change behavior.”  If you’re going to drink, they suggest, “we want you to use our brand.”

Beverage producers package their alcoholic products in slick wrap that subtly-but-falsely implies emotional, financial, and sexual success. This highly profitable product pays splendid dividends for marketers while destroying young lives, whole families, and vast fortunes. Super Bowl competition for best ad of the year pays huge bundles of money to purchase scant minutes of commercial time, all the while insisting their ads do nothing to influence the personal behavior of customers purchasing their product.

When one District Legislator discovered one-third of all traffic victims in his state resulted from drinking while driving, he concluded it was a serious problem that needed “a strong solution.” Sixty thousand drivers in his state were arrested while under the influence. Among his constituent were 500-600 citizens that fell victim to a drinking driver. An additional 44,000 drivers had three-or-more DWI violations. That, concluded this legislator, is why “I sponsored legislation to make our drunk driving laws tougher.”

This public official did what he could do. So, what can we do? Here are four steps that will help each of us in in creating a safer driving environment.

1. Admit that alcohol is a drug problem. It is the number one problem because so many think it is too lite to make any difference. However, alcohol is a depressant and that very first drink reduces the inhibitions, lowers one’s awareness, and paves the way for an unintended down-hill slide.

2.  Educate yourself. Locate your local Substance Abuse Council and find abundant information free of charge. The National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information  (SAMHSA) offers a wide range of information (information only) at 1-800-729-6686 24 hour Toll Free Voice Mail … website:

3. Network with others! This is not a  situation you solve by yourself. Join others  in protecting our youth and in downsizing the amount of advertising that that falsely targets young drivers.

4. Give the right message at home. The most powerful advertisement for alcohol often sits at your kitchen table, or sleeps it off in your bedroom.

While a majority of Americans admit to drinking alcoholic beverage, most think that tragedy happens only to others. The reality is that none of us is immune to the effects of a problem drinker in the family.  At least 75,000,000 American family members are affected by a family member who is a problem drinker. Consider the young pastor who left his church office to enjoy a noon lunch with his waiting wife. This thirty-two-year-old graduate of the University of Kentucky cranked up his motorcycle and headed home.

A drinking driver failed to stop at a stop sign and overran the cyclist. The homebound-pastor died instantly in the intersection. The accident victim left behind him a whole string of victims that resulted from drinking while driving. He left behind a grieving congregation that had been robbed of their spiritual leader. He unintentionally left a broken-hearted widow, with whom he planned to spend the remainder of his life. Moreover, he left three fatherless boys--eight, six, and fifteen months, forced to grow to adulthood without the counsel and friendship of the most important man in their lives.

When meeting tragedy, we often ask, “Why didn’t somebody do something?” The better question that few people will ask is, “What did I do?” From Warner’s World, this is (one of the 75,000,000 with a problem drinker in the family).