"The nations shall know that I am the Lord,” says the Lord God, “when I am hallowed in you before their eyes." ~ Ezekiel 36:23

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

why do I need an AR-15?

Why do I "need" an Ar-15?  That's an interesting question that has been posed to me several times in the past two weeks, so let me respond here, and hopefully put this question to rest.

Why do I "need" an Ar-15?  I don't "need" an AR-15.  I "want" an AR-15.

Why do other folks "need" the things they own (motorcycles, golf clubs, boats, luxury homes, fancy cameras, canvases and paints, books, giant televisions, jewelry, art, expensive cars, monster gaming computers, giant trucks, lake front property, tats, etc.)?  Other than certain cases, none of them "need" any of these items; they "want" them.  These things bring fun, excitement, personal fulfillment, relaxation, sense of accomplishment, stress reduction, yada yada, etc.!  People "want" the things they want, for their own
personal reasons, and they are welcome to them, at least as far as I'm concerned.

So let's ask the honest question, why do I "want" an AR-15?

I enjoy shooting.  It brings me fun, excitement, personal fulfillment, relaxation, sense of accomplishment, stress reduction, yada yada, etc..  I don't hunt, I shoot paper targets.  I love putting those tiny holes in pieces of paper, cardboard, cans, 2x4s, etc.  It is the thing that makes me happy.  It relaxes me, gives me an opportunity for skill improvement and accomplishment, can be shared with friends and family (most of my circle shoots).  I look forward to shooting, read about shooting, research shooting, take classes on shooting, talk about shooting; shooting is my hobby.  I use shooting as a way of helping others by teaching safety classes.  I have used my firearms skills, and may again in the future, to protect myself and others.  When I do take my AR-15 out of the safety cabinet, I take it to the range and have big fun.

The AR-15 is an excellent shooting platform.  It is a high quality, well built (in most cases), reliable, safe, easily maintained and repaired, easily customized, economical (in most cases) firearm.  Millions of Americans "want" and own AR-15s for the same reasons. 

 How about the  "why do you need an AR-15 to hunt?" question.  An AR-15 is a perfectly viable, and widely used, hunting rifle.  Millions of Americans hunt with these rifles as it is an accurate, well performing rifle, and is highly adaptable to numerous hunting types.  The calibers and ammunition choices are wide and appropriate for hunting most small to medium sized game, and some large game as well.

The ARMALITE RIFLE 15 (not "assault rifle", or "automatic rifle", or "army rifle") is a proven, effective, valued and treasured semi-automatic civilian sporting firearm.

I "wanted" an AR-15, I got an AR-15, and I value my AR-15.  "Need" has nothing to do with the equation.  Along with millions of other firearms owners, most of whom are NOT members of the NRA (although I wish they were) I enjoy my shooting past time.  It puts a smile on my face, doesn't hurt anyone, can protect me and others if needed, and gives me a venue for self improvement and relaxation.  Some folks like yard sales, antiquing, and metal detecting; I like gun shows.  Much like golf, softball, boating, macrame, bike riding, jogging, photography, mudding, gaming, swimming, skiing, sky diving, scuba diving, painting, and reading, shooting makes my day.  I don't get many days of shooting, but range day makes it!

If you're curious, I invite you to join me for a range day, or encourage you to ask one of your gun owner friends to take you out and see for your self what shooting an AR-15 is like.  You may like it, you may not, but at least you'll have an experienced, informed opinion of what an AR-15 actually is, and what it is not.

See ya at the range!

Sunday, February 11, 2018

not your everday news ...

"Fake News"!

That's a term bandied about with minimal discrimination, and becoming more prevalent targeting the more well known news sources as the online blogs rush to report with seeming minimal concern over factual content and verified accounting, Not necessarily a one sided venture,  political parties, interested financial factions (Soros, Bloomberg, Koch, etc.), and countless organizations use the media and its pundits, either gullibly or willingly, to influence public thought and opinion, rather than providing "news".  American journalism's once noble mission to gather and report facts forgotten, swallowed by a cesspool of dis-information, deceit, fabrications, and distortions foisted upon a willingly naive general public.

I enjoy casting about the world of ideas, and come across a variety of sources, some far from mainstream, that might offer a different view, a wandering perspective, a random validation or a new distortion of events reported daily.  Stepping away for a moment from CBSFOX, NBC, and ABC, Here a few you might enjoy or entertain as well, perhaps validating your own concepts, or possibly inflaming you to new heights, in no particular order:

Arkansas Times
The Patriot Post
World News Network
Channel News Asia
The Nation
The Texas Tribune
BBC News
Black Christian News
Mondo Times
The Sun
Chuck Baldwin
The Huffington Post
Worthy News
CBC News
Al Jazeera

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

security between the pews

A friend asked recently for some advice on putting together a security plan for a small local church.  While I am certainly no expert on security, I have had some experience and a bit of training in keeping people safe, and in situational awareness, and am all too happy to help.    We all have a need for heightened awareness in our current troubling times.  Danger can, and does, come from every direction and from a dizzying array of personalities, and we would be foolish to entertain the thought that "It can't happen to us."; it can, and it might.  Violence may reach us wherever we are in an ever shrinking, demoralized, chaotic, and disjointed world that, more and more, reflects an individualized thinking, breaking rapidly away from the comforting past-normal of community and unity.  For many of us, "church" is a last remaining refuge of common thought, purpose and fellowship.  We have a need, and a desire, to look out for each other.

"For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."  2 Timothy 1:7 KJV

Several recent articles lead us to the inescapable conclusion that focusing on the safety and security in a church environment is a need, not a luxury.

Christianity Today highlights some of the needs facing the church in America today in  Church Security: How Do We Keep Our Churches Safe in a World Where Evil Is Present?

CNN focuses on the trend for churches to focus on training for an armed response in Security becomes a top priority for churches after Texas Massacre.

Lifeway gives us The Balance between Security and Worship at Church.

I've noted a few resources on the web that I think bear reading and exploring, for anyone, because we're all in this together.

Full Armor Church states "Our material is designed to help churches organize and operate security based ministry programs and educate their volunteers and staff on church safety protocols. Our resource kits provide valuable information, church forms, response guides, training PowerPoints, child safety guides, instructor’s guides, and fully customizable policy manuals.  We are committed to the cause of keeping churches safe and guarding the integrity and work of the Body of Christ within our communities. As part of that mission, we have promised to keep our prices affordable for ministries of all sizes."

Sheepdog Church Security offers a comprehensive array of both free and affordable paid training resources.  Reading through their training chapters will provide a wealth of insight into the need for critical thinking about security for worshipers.

Smart Church Management sends up 8 Tips to Tighten Church Security.

Brotherhood Mutual highlights a few guidelines on preparation for Church Safety and Security.

NOCSSM  "is a national organization of churches across the United States. We provide our members with educational resources to help them in their security efforts. Resources include our web site which includes written policy and procedure templates, best practices for church security and training videos from some of our national conference sessions of special interest to church security teams".

more to come

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

A bigger role

The recent violent weather affecting the United States, the Caribbean, Mexico, Bangladesh, and other global communities make clear that the human condition is so much bigger than any one of us, and that the brotherhood of man includes each and all of us.

Our individual worlds pale with in comparison to the combined needs of the world as a whole.  Our personal issues reflect a microcosmic perspective, one that each of us would do well to consider in the scope of global need.

As one man, I can do some things to affect good and good will toward my earthbound brothers and sisters.  I can give, I can lend a hand, I can reach out in time of need.

As a human community, we can do much, much more, together enjoined.

But before the hand reaches, the feet move forward, the purse reduces, we must each search our hearts, for compassion, mercy, kindness, peace, patience, gentleness, and self control.

With the right leaning heart, we'll find a way to ease the burden of others, and in kind, ease our own.

By nature, I am a selfish, self absorbed man; this is a daily struggle,  But, by consideration and by practice, I can be generous.  By a daily reflection, a purposeful act of seeing beyond myself, I can step out of my individual space and begin to make a difference beyond my four walls, both real and virtual.

At my age, at any age, change is difficult, but possible and a tangible, reachable goal.  It simply takes the will to want to see through the eyes of others.  It takes practice, and for me, it takes the real Love of God.

I believe, in each of us, there exists a place in our heart where love and mercy reside.  For some that place shines brightly through, for others it abides deeply recessed.  For each of us, it may flicker on and off as the wind.

Today, the world hurts, wet, cold, hungering for mercy, for shelter, for a bit of sunshine and hope.

Today, you can make a difference in the life of some who hurt.

Many of us are blessed beyond measure, others not as much, some with nothing but the breath in their lungs.

Today, if my message finds you, reach inside and discover or re-discover your heart.  If you have not contributed lately to alleviate the suffering of others, do so now, before another hour passes.

Set aside any malingering disjointed attitudes and preconceptions about your world, and enjoy a new or revisited role for yourself and for your family, that of a giver.  It is a contagious attitude that not only changes your world, it changes you.

Friday, September 08, 2017

I Pledge Allegiance

As a Sunday School teacher at Wayside Chapel, I began every class with a prayer and The Pledge of Allegiance To The United States.  I talked to my students regularly about our country and their role in it.  If we're not purposefully teaching our children about citizenship and allegiance, they'll not learn it.

It is shameful when any public institution denies, denigrates, or in other ways turn from the flag, our symbol of unity.  If this simple, yet profound symbol, doesn't serve as the visual glue that binds, as the one thing we can all agree on, what then will?  Our own Civil War, that so many want to hide from site and mind, an inescapable fact of history,  should serve as our greatest reminder of the possibilities that present themselves when we turn away from the American Flag, when we deny our common bond.  The horror that is now in the south that is Harvey, has served to demonstrate the might and heart of an American people united for a common cause.

I'm proud to be an American citizen and continue to believe that The United States is the greatest nation on earth.  The reason so many risk everything to come here from other countries is freedom and opportunity to live the life of their dreams.

Together we are strong, divided we are weak and ineffective.

Stand your ground for your beliefs, but let your mind be guided toward unity, not division.  If you protest, let your actions be firm, but peaceful.  These are your fellow Americans that you face in protest.  They have the same American right to their beliefs, as you do yours.  Shouting down a fellow American, visiting violence upon him because you disagree, is never the right thing to do.  Hatred always causes division, hatred is the face of evil, the one thing we should all be united to overcome.

The one thing we all must join to defend is the American right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  If not that, then why are we here, and where shall we go?i

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

The flag of the United States of America flys as the symbol of that "self-evident", long  may she wave.

Friday, September 01, 2017

Erasing history

All things considered, I think I'll go ahead and survive the great water and gas shortages of San Antonio 2017.

In other news, the San Antonio City Council removed a monument of The Confederate Soldier under cover of darkness last night from Travis Park.  It's sad to see the folks who are supposed to be working for the betterment of San Antonio  reacting to a minor issue, spending taxpayer dollars, to get a bit of personal glory.  A minor controversy existed until our Mayor and Council expanded it.

This monument to the southern soldier does not glorify slavery, the Confederacy, or the rebellion.  It marks a place in history, of a time that our nation endured, passed through, and recovered from.  It gave pause for consideration and contemplation.

The South is a wonderful place, filled with a rich history, some good, some bad.  Our history makes us who we are and gives us a roadmap of improvement and positive change, where needed, for the future.

The causes and justification for the American Civil War of 1861 have been and will always be discussed and debated by those who view history with interest, and it would be wonderful if our educational institutions would teach history as fact instead of fiction.  We learn from our mistakes, but when the lessons omit the facts, the realities, we learn nothing.

Jan taught our children the truth (plug for homeschooling) and allowed them the opportunity to consider and develop their own opinions based on that truth.

Revisionist and erased history serves no one faithfully, and denigrates us as a people.

I encourage you to pick up a history book, preferably one written before the sixties (you can almost always find them in Library book sales ) and read a historical account of America not twisted by social frenzy.

I have to scratch my hairless head when I encounter those who claim to be offended at the mere sight of a historical marker.  I shake that same hairless head in sadness for them.  Life is far too short to spend it in destructive thought.

Our past, unchanging and unyielding, marks the passage of time.  Our energy will be better spent on thoughts of self, group, and community improvement.

Our nation needs healing, not continued divisiveness.  Tearing down history serves no one.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017


To say that I'm disappointed would be an understatement.  NEISD, our home for Rachel's high school career, has caved in to social media bias and are removing another vestige of history.

When educational institutions use their erasers on history, we all lose.  It's bad enough that revisionist history might be taught to our children, when, instead of using history as a lesson for future change, they just blot it out.

How will future generations learn to avoid the mistakes of the past, when the past history of our nation is not even presented to them, when simple discussion becomes "racist", when our predecessors become stamped as "evil"?  What false narrative will be given to our children and grand children twenty years from now when they aren't even presented with the opportunity to ask, "Who was that guy and what mark did he make on our nation?"?

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."  George Santayana

The current wave of the destruction and removal of historical monuments amid the social frenzy inspired by our national media and various intolerant groups and politicians is disturbing and I cringe to think of the inspired ignorance that our future generations will endure.

Do these names and monuments glorify our slave owning past?  I say, to most of us, they do not.  They mark the passage of our nations turbulent history and give pause to question.  When these markers are erased, the questions will not be asked.

That so many, and I suspect that it is a marginal number, are "offended" by a statue, by a name, by a reference, is, to me, proof of ignorance, blind hatred , and a callous disregard for the truth.

In my own past, I have done "evil" acts.  Will my future generations blot me out, or will they use my failures as lessons, catalysts for positive change and avoidance of "evil" in their own lives?  I hope the latter holds true, but I have endured the label of "bigot" too many times from my own family, when simply stating my opinions on various issues.

Did America condone the slavery of human beings in the past?  Yes, she did.  Will the caterwauling of our citizenry change that inescapable fact?  No, it will not.

The irony of the current movement to erase the past is magnificent in its volume.  Giving in to the hate speech and actions of groups like Antifa, BLM, KKK,  divisionist politicians,  and the proliferation of "sound bite" journalism, continues to give rise to violence and the separatism that divided our country in 1861.

I cry that our nation must endure another civil war if we, as a people, continue on this course.  I will likely be gone before it happens, but I call out the possible inevitable, that if we continue to give in to hate, regardless of its source, we surely will fall as a nation, a nation founded on the very unity that so many seek to destroy.  My grandchildren will likely endure it, because we give in to it.

That's a lesson from our turbulent past.

Friday, February 03, 2017

Fractured America

We've got a new President, Donald J. Trump.

He defeated Hilary Clinton, the Democrat candidate by a fairly wide margin in the Electoral College, though losing the popular vote, mainly due to California voters.

The results clearly indicate the existent continuing need for the Electoral College, preventing few highly populated areas from deciding the election.

The country is divided on the results.

On the Left, liberals and independents, the opinion of many is that Donald Trump, a former liberal Democrat and non-politician, has far too many personal, and perhaps hidden agendas, that do not resonate with their thought processes and personal fears.  I can see that.

Donald Trump, a hugely successful business man, speaks his mind, without political filters.

In many ways he is "Joe Public".  His method of unfiltered speech is like "bar talk", the kind of outspoken and free expression that tends to energize listeners.  He is saying aloud to the public what he thinks.  While many of his ideas inflame, others sooth and resonate with a huge portion of America.

He is fed up with the governmental mentality, an out of touch power mad group in Washington that just do not represent the average American, and haven't in decades.

Enough is enough, and America responded by electing this loud, outspoken, brash, frequently rude and crude, businessman to the seat of power.  Many who voted for him are not pleased with him personally, myself included, but we've had enough of a Governing body that simply does not represent the Constitutional foundation in this country.

Our Presidents, especially Obama, have littered history with a disdain for the general public, primarily focused on representing only a closed circle of ideas and supporters.

We are on the verge of civil war in this nation, something that has been building and brewing during  the Presidencies of G.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.  We, the general public have not been represented by a Senate and Congress that have become  fixated on maintaining personal power, while communicating a false bigotry across the spectrum of ideas.  Intolerance, bigotry, racism, and a promotion of hatred across ideologies has become the norm, perhaps finally personalized in the "reign" of Obama.  His Presidency was divisive, and he promoted the separation of the lines between liberals and conservatives with frequent derision of anyone who did not follow his narrow view of how this country should be managed.  I think he was a close to a dictator as we have seen, and the conservative representatives in the Senate and Congress cowered to his penmanship and left the country divided.

In my opinion, we were one Supreme Court Justice away from a bloody revolution.  Had Obama, or an elected Clinton,  been able to fill the vacant open seat with a liberal in the Court, we would likely had erupted in armed revolution within a decade of probable suppression of the Constitution and freedom in America.

Now, withe a nation severely divided on ideologies, not only conservative and liberal, but many independents who have neither side that represents the new media morality in America.  The Media, largely liberal, have become storytellers, not fact reporters, and the public is overwhelmed with a media narrative that loudly misrepresents events, and we have few avenues, perhaps none, the we can turn to for truth.  A generation is poised to take power in America that has a fractured version of reality, brain fed by a 4 inch screen, picking and choosing which "facts" they cling to.  They are lost, confused, and shouting to be heard.  I dig it, I'm not happy either.

more to come

Sunday, February 14, 2016

look beyond the screen

Not everything is as it appears in a small screen view of the world.  A world view based on social media reflections tends to leave out the most important information available to you.

One of my greatest regrets in this life is that I never took the time to talk to my Dad.  I learned more about my father from his writings than I did from talking to him.  He was an amazing man, with a world of life experience that I missed learning.  He saw life from a perspective that I will never match or taste.  His feet moved across boundaries that no longer exist and his hands touched a world forgotten.  I cry over the missed opportunity to hear his stories in my ears.  I know now, too late, that my own world would have been greatly enriched, had I taken the time to know him.

I spent my youth running from him and his "restrictions", never taking the time to understand him.  My youth was foolish and unchecked by reason.

Don't make the same mistake.

Talk to those with real life experience and listen to their exposition of the years and encounters they had, both the good and the bad.  Every life around you is a treasure trove of wisdom and folly, lightness and dark, vision through another person's eyes and ears.

My character would have been molded and shaped by him in so many positive ways, had I but taken the time to listen.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Things to say

I have a lot to say, mostly to my children, as time marches on.  They're not with me often, and my sphere of influence with them is rapidly closing, or so it seems.

In 62 years I've accumulated considerable experience in this world and desperately need to pass it on.

Life, the world, politics, businesses, God, family, all manner of personal relationships, the list is enormous, and "wisdom" must not be self contained.  That's what parents are for, leadership.

I don't always get it right, though I try.

My social presence is large, but largely ignored, and this should provide the opportunity to speak up and speak out, if they'll pay heed. It's time to wrap it all up.

Girls, if you're watching, listen, consider, and freely discuss with me and your Mom, your friends, and your community,

I love you, not only with earthly love, but increasingly with the love of God.