Category Archives: community

A Different Perspective

The following is a response to a news story I saw on Facebook. I wanted to share it here, too.


Web capture from my computer. Source: Daunte Wright: Doting dad, basketball player, shot & killed by officer (news4jax.com)

First, it is tragic that a young man with a son was killed. It was also tragic that someone who put her life on the line in a very difficult position accidentally shot a young man and killed him. He is dead, but her life is forever changed, if not in danger.

What frustrates me, and why I am taking the time to write this, is that there are not only two sides to the story, two people whose lives are forever altered, and a child who is now an orphan, but the side where the media consistently perpetuates a narrative that the shooting victim was loved and model citizen, while the officer who pulled the trigger was a racist, trigger-happy, cold-blooded, murderer worth of the death penalty.

For example, the photo shows Daunte smiling, holding his cute little boy. The article is full of glowing recollections. Yet what happened? As he was standing there beside the car, he decided to take the route of a fool and violently resist arrest! He didn’t think wisely. He didn’t consider all the consequences. He didn’t fall back on the wisdom offered by one of his mentors. No, he wrestled himself away from officers and attempted attempted to flee the scene!

Had he accomplished his intentions and fled in his car, would that have ended any better? Other innocents could have been hurt or killed in the chase, not to mention other lives changed forever by his recklessness, and he would have even more likely been subject to deadly force.

On a side note, have you ever been inside a large jail or federal prison? I have! Many, many times. I have been in multiple jails, from Florida to Kentucky, and State and Federal prisons in Tennessee and Kentucky. And do you have any idea what I saw – besides a lot of self-described wrongfully-accused? I saw a great, great number of African-Americans. I saw every color of human skin, but I also saw a disproportionate number of black men (and women). Why is that important? How is that relevant?

They were not dead – they had not been killed by police, only arrested. Think very slowly about that. Think. Let’s use our logic, folks. If the narrative of the news media and BLM and Alexandria Ocasio Cortez was true – i.e., police are out to kill black men – then why are our jails and prisons full of living, breathing black men? Doesn’t fit the narrative, does it?

If you watch enough television and movies, you will see police shoot more people in one episode than most departments shoot in a year, or ten. Believe it or not, I have never met a “Dirty Harry” type cop. Of all the ones I’ve met and worked with, including my late father and the entire Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office in Tennessee, even though one could have existed, I’ve never, NEVER met a man or woman who wanted to kill anybody.

As hard as it is for many to believe, many police officers and deputies go their entire careers without ever discharging their service weapon!

I know I run the risk of being criticized for writing this, but too few people are standing up against the lie that all police are evil, over-funded, racist hitmen/hitwomen. I feel it’s my obligation to bring the discussion back to the center. Yes, there are always two sides to every story, and then there’s the truth.

Simply put, Daunte Wright, regardless his past crimes or outstanding warrants against him, would be alive today if he had not wrestled away from the officer detaining him and attempted to flee in his vehicle. He could have had his day in court, but now all he gets is a funeral for his poor decisions.

My prayer is for the media, Hollywood, and the race-baiting ambulance chasers in politics to shut up, go away, or simply just REPORT the news, not create it!

Let the communities of real, caring people from all races come and work together, as they so often try, yet are divided by false narratives and manipulated information. And if we would stop making everything a race issue that’s not, black and white followers of Jesus Christ could come together as the family of God and show the world how loving one’s neighbor can heal our country.

You are welcome to share this, and I welcome any respectful comment or dialogue. God bless you all, God be with the Wright family in their time of loss, and may the officer involved be shown grace.

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Filed under community, current events

Some Places Never Leave You, Even After You Leave Them

This a view from Edwards Point, the mountain bluff above where I grew up and the pinnacle of every hiking trip I made as a kid.

This is the Tennessee River Gorge. Just across the river is Elder Mountain, where my grandfather hid from revenuers.

To the right is Prentice Cooper Game Reserve. The Cumberland Trail weaves its way through there, down from the top of the mountain, down across the creek, then up to where this scene depicts.

I grew up in the community of Suck Creek. Just out of view, just below the rock bluff, the creek would feed the river. Up until a hundred or so years ago, during hard rain the creek and the river would create a powerful whirlpool capable of pulling small boats under and stopping paddle wheelers.

It was only after a system of dams were built along the Tennessee River (operated by TVA), that the river was tamed enough for safe navigation.

This is also where my Cherokee ancestors on my paternal grandmother’s side resided. They were the ones who actually attacked the early settlers of Nashville when their boats were stuck in the “suck.”

The mountains and the river will always be in my blood. The peaceful drift of the water. The fresh air of old-growth forests. The legends and unforgettable scary bedtime stories from the old-timers.

Unfortunately, much has changed over the last decade. Much of where I spent my childhood and teen years are unrecognizable. Time has exacted a heavy toll from both progress and neglect. And where there was family land that outsiders feared to visit, now there’s million-dollar homes where outsiders moved to “preserve” the beauty.

Yet, I still remember. I still dream. I still imagine. That will never change. Time will only make the memories sweeter and the stories even better.

I may have left, but it’s never left me.

View from Edward’s Point, Signal Mountain, TN

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Filed under community, Family, History, nature, old age, maturity

He’ll Listen to the Science

Lately, it’s been both a jab and a stinging response, the punchline of President Trump’s that’s become sort of a campaign slogan for Joe Biden: “He’ll listen to the science.”

Trump’s point is that Biden will make decisions based on bad science from bad scientists; Biden’s point is that Trump doesn’t care about scientific facts.

In my opinion, neither their arguments are going to make much of a difference right now. However, there’s a much more disturbing truth to the statement that, if Biden really does “listen to the science,” could potentially lead us down a very dark and sinister path.

Which Science?

To be fair to President Trump, it’s not that he doesn’t listen to science, it’s that he listens to the science he believes.

Stop for a moment and think about what is really meant when we use the word science. Science is NOT truth. Science is NOT immutable. Science is NOT determined by consensus (or vote). Scientific data CAN be interpreted differently.

When a person says he will listen to science, what exactly does that mean? Let us not forget the facts of “science” have often changed. Consider this tiny list of examples:

  • The coming ice age
  • The earth is flat
  • Piltdown Man
  • The benefits of smoking
  • Bloodletting

So, it’s certainly forgivable and understandable for the President to question certain scientists and listen to others. What proof does Biden have that his scientific advisors are infallible?

The More Serious Question

But what really scares me is that Joe Biden says that yes, he WILL listen to science. And based on what I’ve already heard and read, if current science (or should I say, “scientists”) believe it or promote it, then that’s all ol’ Joe needs. Listening means acquiescing.

Therefore, even if the “science” proves valid, what of the ethics? What of the morality? That’s the serious question.

Already it’s been announced that – because of science – Biden will make all sports and restrooms accessible to transgender and gender-fluid students. Because of science, abortion will be allowed far beyond any previous limitations. And based on the scientific advisors around him, Biden will more than likely impose a national mask mandate and mandatory shutdowns.

Disturbing? Yes! Because if all it takes to enact public policy is the consensus of politically motivated scientists, then what is out of the question? What moral or ethical line is out of bounds?

What freedoms are on the chopping block?

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Filed under America, community, Culture Wars, politics, the future

Did Death Come Calling? Start Deleting

This is probably going to be the most morbid thing I’ve written in a while, but people expect the unexpected from my writing.

When was the last time you scrolled through the contacts on your cell phone in search of a name, then all of a sudden stumbled across a person’s name who died years ago? To be honest, every time I look for someone in my contact list it happens.

But why are those names and phone numbers still in our phones? Why is it, if you’re anything like me, we find it hard to delete them?

Honestly, what do you need a phone number for if the person is dead? Have you given any thought to what might happen should someone get that number and accidently call you while your either driving or alone in a dark room at night? All of a sudden the face of a dead friend pops up on your screen as that special ring tone blares out, “Ah, Ah, Ah, Ah staying alive, staying alive!”

So, here’s a challenge that I’m going to make for all of us: If death came calling, and they answered, delete their number.

But when you do, how about let me know in the comments how many names you wound up deleting!

Creepy, isn’t it?

Update: I found 16 names. I can only bring myself to delete a few. I think, for me, it’s that I don’t want to forget.

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Filed under community, General Observations

Five Years Later: Are We STILL Strong? (Remembering terror in Chattanooga)

Five years ago, today, a man drove around in his convertible Mustang and shot up my hometown. His goal was to kill as many servicemen as possible, so first he drove by the recruiting office on Lee Highway and unleashed a hail of bullets into the glass-fronted building. The “No Weapons” sticker applied to both serviceman and citizen alike, so no one was able to stop him before he drove off.

Photo credit: The Telegraph, UK

I stood here and wept as I took this picture. Note the green marks where spent shell casings lay.

The next place he went to was the Marine Corp/Navy Reserve training facility on Amnicola Highway, right between the community college so many of us have attended (where my youngest daughter will attend this year) and the riverfront bike trails and pavilions so many of us have enjoyed.

There the Muslim terrorist – for that is what he was, and that is what he intended on being – once again began firing on unarmed Marines and sailors with his high-powered semi-automatic rifle. At least one Marine had unofficially brought his personal sidearm with him that day and tried to stop the terrorist, but to no avail. Before long four Marines lay dead.

(Left to Right) Sgt. Carson Holmquist, Staff Sgt. David Wyatt, Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan, and Lance Cpl. Squire K. Wells

A Navy sailor would later succumb to his wounds.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Randall Smith

The local police in Chattanooga sped to the location where the terrorist was committing murder and engaged him with their own weapons.

Bullets from the conflict left holes in buildings as far away as the Coca-Cola offices across the highway and not even in view of the firefight. But before long, the self-proclaimed jihadist lay dead, too.

But Chattanooga survived.

Within the hour my city was the focus of world-wide attention. Terrorism had come to the South, and it was worth noting.

But what was also worth noting was the righteous indignation of our citizens, and the flickering flames that dared the enemy of freedom to fan us into a raging fire! We were shocked by what happened, but we were far from terrorized; we Tennesseans aren’t the type to retreat from a fight!

It wasn’t long before the first American flags started appearing at the two places where gunfire was exchanged.

In no time there were hundreds, and then there were thousands. Flags and mementos too numerable to count turned into defiant monuments to those who died protecting our freedom.

Tents were erected to shelter the thousands upon thousands of flags, letters, and memorabilia from the weather.

It wasn’t long before black, white, and every other color and faith united arm-in-arm as family, as Chattanoogans… as Americans.

In short, terror didn’t have it’s desired effect; it had the opposite!

……………………..

Skip forward 5 years. What happened to the unity?

Unfortunately, we are now divided more than ever. What the terrorist couldn’t do with his guns, politicians and the media, with weapons of jealousy, anger, lies, and hate, are succeeding.

Racism and accusations of racism, the erasing of our history by those with no understanding of history, and constant fear and suspicion over the spread of a virus are shattering our Union. Unconquerable from without, we are being destroyed from within.

Chattanooga, are you still strong?

Then let us come together once again as Americans, or else the “fallen five” will have fallen in vain.

#Noogastrong, #Chattanoogastrong

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Observations from a Middle-Georgia Pastorate: “Visitation”

This is the view from my windshield as I was leaving the home of a church member.

Honestly, I miss the internet speeds of Gig City (Chattanooga), but you can have the traffic and the hustle.

This is where I belong, now.

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Filed under America, Bethlehem Baptist Church, Church, community, ministry, nature, places

Time to Exercise My 1st Amendment Right: I Will Tell You What I Believe

Unacceptable Fear

This morning, after I typed the name of the title and the heading just above, I took the picture you see: that of my laptop, a “Keep America Great” hat, and a painting called “Blue Tears” (one I did in honor of fallen police officers – just those who died in the line of duty by gunfire last year).

On this day, the day we celebrate the birth of this great nation, The United States of America, I decided to lay all my patriotic cards on the table, and then some. Hence, the picture of a pro-Trump (and pro-America) hat, along with an artistic statement of support for Law Enforcement (Police).

Unfortunately, because of the incredible threats of intimidation and backlash, along with the literal danger of physical harm, I have never posted a picture of this hat. But today, because I do not want to live in shame or fear, I will claim my right to tell you exactly what I believe with regard to this country.

Fear is unacceptable. Silence in the face of intimidation is cowardice.

What I Believe About . . .

Jesus

He was a literal, historic figure who was God incarnate, yet with a human nature. After being born of a virgin, He lived a sinless life as the “second Adam” and Lamb of God who would be crucified for the sins of mankind.  He is alive, today, after resurrecting from the dead in accordance with prophesy and His own promises. According to John 14:6, there is no other way to eternal life than through Him: the historically verifiable person who walked the shores of Galilee 2000 years ago and shed His own blood as a ransom and for an atonement that no other man past, present, or future could accomplish.

The cross of Christ is the answer for every problem in the world today. The gospel is the most important message we can share with every man, woman, boy, and girl in the world. And it is this gospel of Jesus Christ, as displayed in the inerrant, infallible Word of God, which is the same “good news” to every culture, every tribe, and ever person on earth, regardless of color or country.

But beyond that…

Police

There are far more good cops that bad ones. More people die every day from medical malpractice than all police acts of violence combined. Anyone marching in the streets calling for the end of hospitals? Every man and woman who put on an the uniform and shield (badge) deserve respect and honor until they do something to deserve otherwise. I #backtheblue.

Defunding Police.

I personally think this is one of the most ignorant and stupid suggestions of all time. Those who support this idea are about as bright and mature as the 4-year-old who thinks he’d be better off on his own without parents to keep him out of the cookie jar.

Black Lives Matter

Of course they do! And, to make it clear, I understand that for many what this means is that “black lives matter, TOO,” just as much as everyone else.

But when it comes to the Black Lives Matter organization founded by self-proclaimed “radicals” Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi, I believe it is an anti-American, anti-nuclear family, danger to American and Western society, particularly the very freedoms every color of American fought and died for. I also believe the whole premise of this organization is built on the false narrative of “systematic and institutionally-sanctioned racism.”

President Donald J. Trump 

I didn’t vote for him in the primary election – I voted for Ted Cruz. However, I did vote for him over Hillary Clinton in the general election. Faced with the choice between what each promised they would do if elected, I knew I could not support Clinton.

President Donald Trump is NOT the greatest danger to American civilization and the safety of the world. For that honor all you need to do is look at those who topple monuments to historic figures who fought against slavery while supposedly protesting those who supported slavery.

Uninformed fools will cut off the very branch of the tree that supports them.

Hating 45 (Trump Derangement Syndrome)

Let’s be honest, folks. If you hate President Trump, it’s probably because you are either pro-abortion, hate any restriction to your sexual autonomy, want to silence any religious voice who disagrees with your sexual proclivities, or you simply believe the constant twisting by the main-stream media and radical-left celebrities who fear their sexual autonomy might be limited.  On the other hand, maybe you were so invested in electing the first woman president that the shock of losing broke your brain.

Grand Funerals

Being buried in a Bronze Promethean casket from Batesville ($24,000 min.) doesn’t make you a good person or erase the fact that poor decisions can have catastrophic consequences.

Confederate Monuments

Ironically, those who call for the removal of these monument are supported by the very Democrat party to which those who supported segregation and racism belonged. If they insist on tearing down Confederate monuments, then they should certainly include Democrat icons such as Pres. Franklin Delano Roosevelt (who interned Japanese Americans in camps), Pres. Lyndon B. Johnson (who used the n-word more often than “Jesus Christ”), and Sen. Robert C. Byrd (form Exalted Cyclops of the Ku Klux Klan).

But truth be told, it’s not about racism or trying to erase a painful past; it’s about erasing and eradicating who we are as a nation and replacing it with something radical, oppressive, atheistic, and Marxist.

Racism

How do I define racism? Well, I believe racism is the belief that one particular “race” is either superior or inferior to another. What racism is NOT is the preference of one ethnic culture over another. It is NOT racist to be inclined to the characteristics of one ethnicity over another. Racial profiling is NOT racist if it is based on statistics, especially when the overall benefit to the profiling will positively affect every ethnicity.

Racism is sinful, unbiblical, and an affront to the very nature of our Creator God. Having “prejudices” for or against particular cultural norms is NOT being racist; it’s showing preference. However, you can be a racist and be prejudiced at the same time, but it should not be assumed that one is automatically a racist if he/she has certain prejudices. For example, I married a white woman because I am white and preferred (had a prejudice toward) women who have the same skin color and cultural customs as myself. That was not a “racist” choice.

It is NOT racist to note our physical differences, either. Just as long as our physical differences are not used as an argument to suggest that one “race” is inherently better than another. God has designed each of us, and there is nothing wrong with acknowledging the fact that we are not all physically the same. It is wrong, however, to suggest that one color of human should be subjugated to another, for we are ALL equal before God.

Gun Violence and Guns

The old adage is still true: “Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.” Anti-gun laws (which are in opposition to our 2nd amendment to the Constitution) do nothing to change the heart that pulls the trigger. That same heart can thrust a blade or swing a club.

“When was America ever great?”

When it acknowledged the right you have to publicly ask a stupid and uninformed question without fear of government retribution.

“America, America, God shed His grace on thee! And crown thy good with brotherhood, from sea to shining sea.”

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Filed under America, community, Culture Wars, current events, politics

Observations from a Middle-Georgia Pastorate: Atlanta, Oh Atlanta

As I sit here in my study late this Saturday evening, I can’t help but think how good it is to be south of Atlanta right now!

Oh, I could have waited to drive in tonight instead of last night, and I would have not only hit the typical Atlanta traffic, but I would have run into a bunch of … there’s a lot of descriptors I’d like to use … blocking I-75.

Atlanta, what are you going to do? Your Mayor just fired a police officer who was only doing what he was trained – and justified – to do. Your Mayor just told every police officer that no matter what, it’s OK for YOU to be shot, stabbed, or seriously wounded by a criminal, but God help you if you defend yourself or the general public!

How do you plan to recruit new officers to replace the ones who are going to quit?

Are you going to hand over law enforcement to the ones who are blocking the interstate?

People are, as I type this, going flipping insane!

And, still, some of you think these times are just another walk in the revolutionary park.

“But know this: Hard times will come in the last days.

    • For people will be lovers of self (“Don’t you insult me, or I’ll kill you!”),
    • lovers of money (“I don’t care how much the country goes in debt, I want my stimulus!),
    • boastful (Look at what I stole!),
    • proud (I can do whatever I want, and you can’t stop me!),
    • demeaning (Joy Behar, all history revisionists and disgracers of monuments, Lady Antebellum),
    • disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, (Do I really have to go into detail for all these? It’s too depressing.)
    • irreconcilable (No Justice, No Peace!),
    • slanderers (the news media 24/7),
    • without self-control, brutal, without love for what is good (“Hey, let’s burn everything!),
    • traitors (Seriously, how many other countries could you get away with this and not end up with immediate and terminal lead poisoning?),
    • reckless (Do any of these protesters have any idea what they are bringing about?),
    • conceited (“I went to an expensive, liberal, private university with Communist professors, so I know better than you, even though I’ve never worked a day in my life.),
    • lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God (“‘Thou shalt not steal’ doesn’t apply to me, only the cops who try to take the things I stole away from me.”),
    • holding to the form of godliness but denying its power (Al Sharpton, Jessie Jackson, Joel Osteen, every minister of any denomination that votes for abortion, performs same-sex marriages, and approves of children having sex changes). Avoid these people. ” – 2 Timothy 3:1-5 CSB

I love being in a middle-Georgia small town where people can still use Jesus’ name in public, but, unfortunately, crap runs downhill, so what’s happening in Atlanta (and other places) will eventually make its way here.

Until then, well, I’ll keep doing what I’m doing … preaching, teaching, and equipping.

“All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. ” – 2 Timothy 3:16-17 CSB

We’ve got to maintain some sanity somewhere.

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Filed under America, community, current events, General Observations, politics

Racial Reconciliation: It Starts Like This – With Jesus

Today I had a beautiful and powerful conversation with a fellow pastor and fellow TBS (Temple Baptist Seminary) grad, Rev. Kenneth E. Ware of New Sholar Avenue Baptist Church, Chattanooga.

Below is a link to the conversation we had.

Your comments are welcome.

 

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Filed under America, baptist, Bethlehem Baptist Church, Christian Unity, Christianity, community, current events, Jesus

Statements, Services, and Studies: A Whole Day’s Worth

It is Sunday evening in Georgia,

and all I can say is that I’m glad I’m not in Atlanta. However, I’ve got a daughter, a son-in-law, and a granddaughter in Charleston, SC, and it’s bad there, too.

Honestly, I’m furious and sickened by the senseless thuggery and domestic terrorism that’s spreading havoc across the country. There’s no excuse for it. None.

Well, I’ve written about the subject of the protests and riots, already. So, what I’m going to do tonight is share the video that was my day.

The first video is from Facebook. I hope you can view it. I went live this morning before the scheduled morning service that had been recorded earlier.

The second video is of the service prerecorded for airing at 11 a.m. Unfortunately, I got the date wrong! 😩

The last video is from tonight where I was live from Augusta, GA. Even though it was originally on Facebook Live, I uploaded it to YouTube.  In this study I taught from Acts 9 while sitting in a hotel lobby.

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Filed under Bethlehem Baptist Church, Bible Study, Christian Maturity, Christianity, Church, community, current events, Preaching, Selah