Sunday, November 29, 2020

Spiritual Myopia

'The habit of living for the applause of our fellow men in religious things is deadly to the religious affections and life, which in their very nature are Godward and must look upwards only to Him.' B.B. Warfield

When one becomes detached from outside, objective truth…. 

A slow drift of decay begins and you find yourself in a small whirlpool of illegitimate concepts. 

Notions, self centered comparisons, judgements, and reflections pull your eyes to the center. 

The circle becomes tighter as others are collected in your spinning skepticism. 

 The rush of waters refreshes you as you spin faster. 

Your discourse with your company provides laughter and support. 

Your swirling whirlpool is in fast current but that is of no concern. 

Your companions make you laugh which drowns out the shouts coming from the shore. 

 A rope passes through the group. 

As it is tossed back and forth… it is unraveled and rejected as meaningless. 

No one casts an outward glance. 

 No challenges or questions changes the direction or slows the current….. 

Any possibility of reality is inside your rapidly spinning pool of deductions, words, agreements, disagreements. 

You lock arms in solid support of final judgement. 

There is unity within your mind and within the group. 

Cheering and singing ensues! 

 Yet despite pleading and shouting…. 

Despite numerous attempts to reach out hands, and limbs, and lifelines…. 

Your whirlpool of perception finally drops off in The Waterfall of Reality….

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

The Phoenix: AKA (The Twit is Still Tweeting)

update 12/30

“Speak what you think now in hard words, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict everything you said to-day.” Emerson

I 'raptured' out of twitter for a few weeks, taking on the moniker- Harpazo (grk to seize often translated rapture)

While praying about it.... I sooner felt like retreat... almost like the kid who got licked and took his ball home a quitter.

So... I'm back- I do have to be more disciplined in time- but I need to participate and encourage good things and stand up to the SJW bullies when I need to. 

I also have to have more courage... I often back out of a fight because I don't want to reflect badly on my employer... I still don't- but I am expressing my views... no one else!

So... disregard everything below...... but I keep it for the record....

 original content 11/24/20

“In the fall the war was always there, but we did not go to it anymore.” 
Ernest Hemingway, In Another Country

It has been a mild fall, I'm barely in a sweatshirt here right before Thanksgiving. Normally, the time change inflicts physical and psychological discomfort-  not only of darkness, but in dampness and north winds as well. Alabama winters aren't very inspiring.

But the sun is out and the sky has a brilliant columbian hue which is energizing, especially through my prescription Costa's. The winter blues, more nuanced in my mid 50's, haven't overtaken me yet. So this is actually a healthy time to write and even a healthier time to make my decisions more solid.

I have SO MUCH to be thankful for. My knee feels great. Covid had jacked it up to the point that I was convinced that knee replacement surgery would come sooner rather than later... but the intense pain left me as quickly as it came on. And after reading a medical journal about it, though we don't know much about this virus-weapon, I can testify that it has a special affinity for arthritic joints!

Because my knee is good, and I see more clearly, and the weather is just right... I will get in a brisk walk today, just before the sun sets... and I will be of a better state of mind to count continuous blessings... which are innumerable. 

But I am compelled, before doing so, to attempt to articulate my reasons for leaving twitter on Dec. 31.

And in doing so, I hope to make clear that I am not judging the service, nor anyone who continues to enjoy/use it, nor do I think that my leaving the twitterverse will have any measurable impact on the continuation of the service.....

The most interesting part of this post, is that I was close to making this decision years ago, but twitter increased the number of characters from 140 to 280, and I felt like I could say more and stay in the stream of culture and do my best to express a world and life view that is increasingly fading from public discourse. I started a twitter account in March of 2011 and will end it permanently on Dec. 31, 2020.

SO why?

I have been fascinated by those who have contacted me since I pinned the tweet about the decision who are thinking about the same thing.

First, this isn't really that big of a deal. I will still be 'tweeting' through the school athletics account, but it will be strictly information... re-tweeting articles, schedules, etc.

I will still keep my facebook account, instagram, and I have a parler account... but I don't think I will be going there much at all.

Though I am completely aware that ALL social media accounts are run by algorithms that use me as a product for their profit, I became acutely aware that twitter has become bolder and colder about what content they choose to tip the balance for and I recognized that I was already listed as incompatible with their world view. According to their norms, media elite will label me "insane and full of hate".

In some ways, I have to admire their HONESTY in the process... I'm continuing on Facebook who  PRETENDS to be fair. I also have a chance on FB to at least have MORE room/space to accurately clarify and appeal....and my 'network' on facebook is more open to verification- I see real people.

The biggest loss to my twitter feed is the GREAT network of high school coaches I have come to follow... but alas, I was addicted to your likes and approval as well. And I truly enjoyed the weekly sarcasm of the #oakislandcursers... will miss you guys as well!

Current State of Affairs..... NOT the Primary Reason for Leaving

The latest amalgamation of social media engineering is brilliantly vile and sinister. We tend to think of Marxism as a war of governments... no, it is a war of ideas.  Marxists want a global revolution where the economic and social constructs are completely eradicated and a new world order arises. There are Marxists out there, who don't even know they are Marxists....

The latest attack has been very effective.... the cancel culture and wide dissemination of identity politics has created the best environment for a global reset more than ever before in history.

Once you can create a multi-verse of oppressors and the oppressed... then the fronts of cultural wars are too numerous to effectively fight. It takes unity of mind and courageous souls to fight for a cause- you have to be willing to sacrifice to win... and a single sacrifice usually signals a retreat. I'm concerned the church has gotten distracted in the confusion and have chosen the wrong battlefield.

It saddens me to think that we have lost a major battle in the arena of epistemology... the justification of knowledge.

Back in 2004, I was introduced to the writings of John Frame. It took quite a while for me to 'catch up' to him, but before long, I was ready to tackle his book, "The Doctrine of the Knowledge of God". Page by page, I was undone and re-formed by the fact that humans must DEMAND powerful tools and methods by which we set the 'rules' of the justification of knowledge. This is the battle field that God Himself has enshrined by which obstacles to faith a removed by the processes of scientific investigation and logical discourse.

In this area, the Bible flourishes.... because you can't have a better theory for the existence of logic, law, language, love and liberty except through the lens of the historical Judeo-Christian worldview. People of faith INVENTED the mechanisms of science and philosophy... "in the beginning was the LOGOS" !

But something wicked took place in the secular and liberal academies.... rule changes, definition changes, and thought police took real human pain and elevated experience over evidence, emotion over reason, and 'applauded' savage cancel culture attacks, declaring that they were more authentic than civil discourse. I also understand, that this has always been an excuse to try to live 'unhindered' before the God of conscience and moral law (1 Peter 4).

So for 15 years, I have been trying to flesh out a way BACK to reasoned responses..."being ready to give a defense to anyone who asks".... only now to be told that my insistence to the formal rules of debate are invalid because they are inherently built on systematic racism of which I cannot refute... this systematic change has left me weaponless in the face of an army of insults and assault.

Time to change tactics....

By the way, there are many who misunderstand this by saying that I BELIEVED I could 'debate the way to faith' and that was never true... nor my intent. Apologetics is merely an attempt to remove obstacles..... only the Holy Spirit can engender true faith... and God will bring those to Himself without any effort on my part. My contending for Him is because I love Him and know that others who come to love Him will regret any time they spent outside of knowing Him! I want others to experience the freedom and love He lavishly pours out in grace and mercy!

So I have getting throttled, 'censored', and pounded by the enemies of evangelical Christianity. They have been successful in making me seemingly irrelevant to the conversation and my 'SERIOUS' tweets are trivial at best. The dominion of darkness continues the victory lap in Babylon (and will so until judgement day).

But that is no reason to leave..... not at all... in the end...

I am leaving because twitter hooked me.... I became a tweeter thinking I could offer myself as a source of inspiration and entertainment to my (millions) of followers LOL... a very high and grotesque view of myself... but instead, I became the proverbial rat in the cocaine test... consistently refreshing my feed to see what people thought of me... what was the next cool thing to know...

My wife began the conviction process, the Lord soon followed up with 'The Social Dilemma", and then twitter 'woke me up' when it started lecturing me about what to believe and not believe about very flat statements made in 280 characters or less.

I was having more interaction with my feed than I was with real human beings. Twitter avatars are single issue bomb throwers... human beings are more beautiful and complex.

Again, I have no qualms with anyone who wants to stay... 

But twitter has advanced the erosion of truth,  judgement by identity, and justice by mob rule. I can't lend myself to that erosion.

I also can't continue to be held captive in a world of likes... where I care more about what people think... than what God says.

My objective in 2021 is to spend more time with REAL people and continue to share and live out the gospel of Jesus Christ.

My final statement on this subject....

Psalm 34:1–8

[1] I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
[2] My soul makes its boast in the LORD;
let the humble hear and be glad.
[3] Oh, magnify the LORD with me,
and let us exalt his name together!
[4] I sought the LORD, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
[5] Those who look to him are radiant,
and their faces shall never be ashamed.
[6] This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him
and saved him out of all his troubles.
[7] The angel of the LORD encamps
around those who fear him, and delivers them.
[8] Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good!
Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! (ESV)

Monday, November 16, 2020

One Great Football Season 2020

I don't know if I have the right words to express how proud I am of the 2020 Briarwood Lions football team! There were plenty of tears last Friday night... not because we lost, but because it was over. The emotions are in direct proportion to the amount of work and love that dominated this team.

I want to start with the leadership of head coach, Matthew Forester. In two seasons, Coach Forester has implemented one of the best systems I have ever had the privilege to know and work with. The integration of offensive and defensive terminology has elevated our football IQ and made everything from Hudl analysis to game communication easier and improved. It would be impossible to explain ALL of the improvements- but our practice schedule, strength and conditioning schedule, game planning, equipment inventory, young player development, college coach communication, player meetings, drill and skill development have all been greatly enhanced in his two years as the head coach. To top it off, our coaches and players love him and are willing to follow his lead.

This joy of this season is directly attributed to our seniors. This group is one of the great competitive classes in school history. They have done it in multiple sports as well. I was never concerned in any game this season about our ability to 'put the ball down and play' regardless of the opponent or circumstances. They practiced hard and cared for one another... especially the young guys. They had fun, but also were extremely physical on the field. They battled each other so hard in practice, that the games seemed easy.

I could not think of a better team to handle the challenges of a Covid season and moving up to 6A. They expressed a gratitude to play and they played each week like it would be their last.

The BCS community is also a joy to be a part of. It takes extreme effort and sacrifice for a football team to get through an entire season. The ARMY of volunteers and parents who worked with enthusiasm and projected a positive spirit worked wonders! I could write pages about all of the help we had.

It was our best performance ever in 6A competition... and a season I will never forget!

I do have a very brief comment about each game- things I never want to forget. 

BCS 28- Ft Payne 20

The opening night jitters- the fact that we were playing with Covid protocols was a blessing- the band in the end zone dodging the pre-game kicks- the sound of the Ft Payne kicker when he hit the ball! My favorite image is Luke Reebals signaling TD on the opening kick-off when their kicker kicked it through the goal post. That right there showed me that this team was going to be fun!

Spain Park 21- BCS 14 

Loved the opening half- we took it to them. Tyler Waugh had the first of many explosive plays that night. Really important game to teach us how different it was going to be playing up and how disciplined we were going to have to be.

BCS 20- Chelsea 3

Always good to beat your rival. Some big pass plays that night showed what a great job our receivers were doing in improving. We were also developing a physical prowess that would become a trademark all season. Brooks Donnely showed that he was back from his ACL injury the year before.

BCS 43- Woodlawn 0

The opening image before the game with players from both teams holding flags was very emotional for me. For some reason, the jet sweep by Sawyer Tindall for a long TD was a highlight for me.

BCS 28- Huffman 16

Was such a big time win- Huffman was loaded and was confident they could beat us! The hitting in that game was mortal combat! Coach Kerley calling Big O to the boundary and Luke Reebal's run on that play in the 4th quarter was a huge play. Also grinding out the clock in our heavy set was really nice.

James Clemmens 41- BCS 21.

Our never say die fight was impressive. We made big strides in our passing game that night. A big part of that was watching our guys rally around and encourage our soph QB as he worked through some mistakes early. We never fell apart as a team!

BCS 42- Shades Valley 19.

Great team effort that night! To get down early and then storm from behind was impressive. We never panicked and poured it on late. Luke Reebals has a great night behind a big effort by our offensive line. I especially noted that Eli Steadman showed great leadership that night and played really well!

Mountain Brook 17- BCS 0

My toughest week- being out with Covid. Our defense played outstanding... but we know we did not play our best. The score was not indicative of the game. 

BCS 28- Homewood 6.

Big time defense and big plays from Nic Dicen. Winning on their field is always special.

BCS 42- Corner 7

Dominating performance by every group. Of course I will never forget getting the lights on as Corner rolled into the parking lot.

BCS 31- Hartselle 17

Being down 14-3 at the half. These seniors were not going to be denied! Tyler Waugh put on one of the great single performances I have ever seen! Big Ride's pre-game speech was amazing! All the speeches were terrific.

Oxford 35- BCS 14

Tough way to go out. Watching Parker Hutson's pick 6 in the 3rd was symbolic of his never say die effort all season. Our guys battled valiantly.

Again- I am leaving so much out. Our JV and freshman team was a joy to coach!

I want to say thanks to my QB group... what a great group to coach every week. CV was impressive each week and he improved every week.

As a competitor, I am worn flat out... but soon will be ready to pick up and figure out how to get better soon!