Category Archives: Society

Lives In Isolation: Reflections on the Coronavirus

With all the Coronavirus hub-bub these days everywhere, I was recently asked about a social media post citing the Bible verse from 2 Chronicles where God punished the sins of Israel through plagues, locusts, etc. These calamities were all in an attempt to bring God’s people to repentance. No, I don’t buy the idea that it’s God’s plan to use the Coronavirus as a catalyst for worldwide repentance. Just in the same way that I don’t believe it is God’s will for us to watch Cancer ravish the lives of our loved ones.

We do live in a world that is detached from God, a “war-zone” if you will.  It is a world of physical disease and diseases of the soul such as greed.  In this war-zone, we are now in the midst of another pandemic, the likes of which seems to emerge once every one hundred years or so.  So rather than view the current pandemic as a global call to repent, I see it rather as another symptom resulting from our detachment from God.  The virus is a part of this world that is not of our Lord, but rather a byproduct of our fallen condition.   For inspiration during these challenging times, I opt to examine other people throughout our collective human experience that have lived lives in isolation.

In all of this I like to remember the historical and biblical characters who lived their lives in much worse isolation.   As my wife was cleaning her closet on day two, she came across the “Diary of Anne Frank.”  What an appropriate person to reexamine during our current time period.   Anne was 13 when she was forced into hiding.  Our situation pales in comparison.  She couldn’t go outside, or open the window for fresh air.  She often had to remain silent for periods of time.  Yet she endured and even found moments of happiness and some satisfaction in an unreasonable living situation.

On to the Bible. Noah, now there is a fella with some cramped living arrangements. Not only was he limited to interactions with a small group of family members, he was sharing the space with a whole bunch of animals. Basically, this lucky fellow found himself in a floating zoo for 40 days and 40 nights. The smell must have been magnificent.

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse than Noah, there is Jonah.  Yes, Jonah’s duration was much shorter than Noah and Anne Frank (3 days and 3 nights) But how uncomfortable must he have been to be in the mouth of a “big fish?”  If I had to pick one of these, I don’t which one I would choose to suffer through, but I will say I would rather endure our current dilemma, no doubt about it.

Finally there is Jesus.  He went to the desert in isolation really only accompanied by Satan, not exactly great company.   Our Lord spent 40 days without food or human contact.  So now, not only was he not talking to anyone, Satan was there to tempt Jesus while he was physically weak, not once but three times.  The temptations seem to resemble a morbid type of teasing….starving, well here is some food to alleviate your suffering.  Only the Son of God could suffer and overcome such tremendous isolation and temptation.

Our current crisis will pass, it is not unique to the human experience.  For strength I will continue to consider those before me that have traveled a similar road, while praying to Our Lord Jesus, and of course repenting every day just in case ūüôā

-Got any other examples?  Feel free to comment….


Malcolm X


Malcolm X


February is Black History Month and I would be remiss if I did not take the opportunity to publicly acknowledge my all-time favorite civil rights leader. ¬†I really got to know who Malcolm X was from Alex Haley‚Äôs biography and later the movie which was based on the book and directed by Spike Lee. ¬†Being a younger male testosterone fueled football player, I felt as if I could identify with Malcolm‚Äôs more aggressive approach to Civil Rights when compared to the more peaceful Satyagraha methods championed by Dr. Martin Luther King. ¬†But what I really came to appreciate was the transformation of Malcolm X. ¬†I really enjoy testimonies about the transformation of the human character and that is what you have with Malcolm X. ¬†Malcolm’s persona changed significantly over the course of his life. ¬†He was a burglar, then a prisoner, then a devout Muslim who preached separatism before finally converting to someone who recognized the beauty in all races while preaching racial reconciliation. ¬†Often times we remember the fiery rhetoric of Malcolm X but frequently forget that his message had changed at the time of his tragic assassination. ¬†


Malcolm had converted to Islam during his time in prison and when he was released he quickly rose through the ranks to become one of the leaders of the Nation of Islam movement here in the United States. Malcolm’s first transformation was from a burglar to a devout Muslim leader preaching an extreme approach to Civil Rights.  His second transformation occurred when he took his pilgrimage to Mecca where he prayed alongside Muslims of many different races.  He then realized that racial harmony was in fact possible.


The human character is a fascinating thing. ¬†We need to remember that we can grow, change, and become enlightened as we continue to live our lives while interacting with many different people. ¬†This is what some psychologists call the ‚Äúgrowth mindset.‚ÄĚ ¬†That is what happened to Malcolm. ¬†His story is a powerful testimony to the power of love which can change all of us for the better. ¬†So for the month of February, I like to continuously remember Malcolm X ¬†not only for his fiery message and outstanding rhetoric, but for the transformation of his spirit, which ultimately led to him to understand that racial reconciliation was possible.


Identity Crisis: Reflections and Recommendations for the Republican Party


In our two party system both parties attempt to build a constituent base that provides them with blocks of voters in an attempt to build a constituency that will carry them to victory in local, state and national elections. ¬† The Republican Party dominated not only my hometown and state growing up but really the entire region. ¬†While both parties may have expert political scientists recommending that their respective party move further left or right; I would like to see the Republican Party maintain the ideals I grew up to know while moving more toward the center. ¬† Of course I am no expert political scientist, this is simply my attempt to reflect on the Republican Party’s constituent base while recommending some bold policy changes moving forward.

I grew up in a western state in the beautiful Rocky Mountains.  The Rocky Mountain west encouraged a culture of independence. We were driving at a young age (15-16) and with that freedom came road trips, camping trips, and other outdoor excursions without the direct supervision of adults.   All this being said, it was this atmosphere and culture of independence that seemed to also dominate our local politics. The Republican Party nurtured this sense of independence in the west largely through land and gun rights.

In many western states, zoning laws are more relaxed as are the gun laws. ¬†For example, I bought my first pistol (legally of course) a¬† .45 caliber; at a place called Rocky Mountain Sports and Liquor.¬† This was a gun and liquor store which included a drive up window for convenient service. ¬†How’s that for relaxed zoning and gun laws?

People living in the west also have a strong connection to the land as a privately owned and managed entity to be protected from the ever invasive feds. ¬†The land also has a sacred connection for many western natives due to the natural beauty of its landscape while also serving as a source for hunting and fishing. ¬†The Republican Party (G.O.P.) stood for low taxes, private ownership, and local jurisdiction in regards to land policy while staunchly supporting the second amendment. ¬†As far as land was concerned; some western landowners contested the federal government’s right to regulate and own the land. ¬†The feds own anywhere from 25%-65% of the land in western states¬†which can lend itself to increased tension with the locals. ¬†In essence, the feds are really the landlords in much of the area. ¬†The G.O.P. did a great job of gathering western constituents based on protecting gun rights while representing the “independent” landowner against the ever encroaching federal government. ¬†After all it was this bloated federal government that could be blamed for land and wildlife mismanagement in addition to increasing firearm restrictions. ¬†Specifically the blame could be directed toward the EPA, ¬†the Department of the Interior, the Department of Agriculture and of course what blame game would be complete without the A.T.F. ¬†Now this might be some of my western sympathies shining through, but not all of this blame was unfounded and that is why Randy Weaver won his lawsuit against the federal government and let us not forget Waco, Texas.

Another important part of the G.O.P constituency, included religious social conservatives. ¬†Where I grew up this group was largely based on higher Mormon populations and other Evangelical groups. ¬†These social conservatives and specifically the Evangelicals, are a vital part of a nationwide base for the G.O.P . ¬†The party had successfully targeted social issues of importance to the Evangelicals such as abortion and gay marriage. ¬† This G.O.P. recipe spelled dominance in the west and ultimately had a national impact culminating in the election of George W. Bush and his VP Dick Cheney (Wyoming). ¬†George being your Born Again Christian while Cheney represented those western ideals. ¬†It was clearly evident how important these Evangelicals were once again in 2004. ¬†Part of Karl Rove’s strategy as Bush’s campaign manager, was to appeal to the base and of course that meant courting Evangelicals. ¬† The Evangelicals in return, turned out to not only vote, but volunteered during the campaign. ¬†This group overwhelming supported Bush in his reelection.

The rest of the Republican base then includes a pro-business element or what I call economically conservative voters; these are your free market advocate Wall Street types, the millionaires, small business owners and some financially conscientious middle class people looking to reduce their tax burden.  These are the groups of Republicans that I have gotten to know while being out here on the east coast.   In contrast to many social conservatives (Evangelicals etc.) this group is perfectly fine with gays getting married as long as that gay married couple pays their taxes and those taxes are low.  The Bush/Cheney combination and to a certain extent even the Trump ticket, appealed to these Republican voters because the party continued to endorse tax cuts, and less business regulation. In addition to this group then, the national base of the G.O.P. finishes off with a sprinkling of self-identified Libertarian folks which have a stronger presence in the west.

Now that I have established what I have seen as the G.O.P’s base of supporters, ¬†I believe the party now needs to reevaluate their political platform. ¬†Moving into the future, it is within the best of interest of the party to prioritize equal rights while simultaneously protecting the rights of churches and religious institutions. ¬†This recommendation is a bit more radical than what it seems on the surface and risks losing a portion of their recent historical base.

The G.O.P. should not oppose gay marriage nor gay adoption.  The party should move forward as an equal legal rights party.  In support of gay marriage; Why not approach it from an economically conservative vantage point?  No matter which way you slice it, increasing the number of marriages ultimately increases the number of financially stable families even with the divorce rate etc.  More financially stable families means more families could be in the pool for adoptions which theoretically then means less people being dependent on the state for welfare or other services over the course of their lives.  The first form of welfare is really the family unit. The sociological viewpoint of the family being the cornerstone to a stable society is true.  While the G.O.P. endorses the importance of the family, they should not attempt to specifically define a marriage or a family.  This platform position would definitely rock the Evangelical boat no doubt about it.  However, the bigger war for the Evangelical crowd and all socially conservative folks for that matter, will be protecting their right to practice their principles freely.

The G.O.P. currently endorses protecting religious institutions and their non-profit status. ¬†Within their platform, the party also endorses religious institutions still receiving federal funding because of the important role they play in providing services for local communities even if they object to certain federal mandates. ¬†The party’s position on Religious Liberty needs to continue and this should help to maintain some of the Evangelical vote and other socially conservative voters like practicing Catholics and Mormons. ¬† While abortion and gay marriage were at the forefront of the so called “culture war” the current battleground issue is to protect the rights of religious institutions pertaining to mandated services. ¬†For example, Catholic hospitals should not be mandated to provide abortions and birth control. ¬†Their federal funding should not be compromised because of their religious objections. These hospitals still have a tremendous value to the communities they serve and because of that, they should still receive federal funding. ¬†These types of legal issues are now front and center and will quickly be replacing gay marriage and abortion as viable voter concerns.

In all of this, I would like to say the Republican Party would benefit not from abandoning the culture war, but redefining the terms by protecting the right of religious institutions to practice their principles.  The decisions made in Roe v. Wade and Obergefell v. Hodges are not going anywhere.  The march of Western civilization is socially becoming more liberal.  On these issues, the G.O.P. needs to continue to be the party of smaller government while recommitting to their ideals of personal liberty but personal liberty and equality for all.  At the end of the day, smaller governments are not in your bedroom.  If the party continues with an unchanged platform they may find themselves on the wrong side of history while losing elections.


Link to an article on political alignment that I found interesting:

Link to the political cartoon artwork I used for my image:

*The statements made in this blog do not necessarily reflect my personal or religious views but are simply statements on what I believe is the best path forward for the Republican Party in maintaining political relevance.




If everyone is super…then no one is.

The Incredibles


Having a younger daughter basically means that my wife and I have seen every animated-cartoon movie known to man. ¬†Honestly, we even find ourselves only quoting animated movie lines in adult conversations which can be embarrassing. ¬†Of course, I will now quote yet another cartoon movie, because the line really resonated with me. ¬†The movie was The Incredibles and the line was from a scene where the villain, as all villains do, took the time to let Mr. Incredible know the details of his evil plan. ¬†His plan was to make everyone a ‚ÄúSuper Hero‚ÄĚ with his gadgets and gizmos and in doing so, once everyone became ‚ÄúSuper‚ÄĚ then nobody would be ‚ÄúSuper‚ÄĚ.

I will ¬†now attempt to connect this animated gem on a personal and professional level. My daughter used to be in a baton twirling group. ¬†Yes, I admit I was also surprised to learn that ‚Äúbaton twirling‚ÄĚ was still a thing. ¬†Apparently, it is actually a ‚Äúthing‚ÄĚ that comes with an opportunity to earn scholarship money for college‚Ķ.wow‚Ķ.who knew? ¬†Anyway, I remember her big competition of the year and all the parents with their camera phones, the girls with their glitzy outfits, and the loud music that initiated the routine on the gym floor. ¬†Then suddenly in the corner of the gym, there it was; ¬†a big table which proudly supported hundreds of trophies. ¬†At the end of the day each participant was of course awarded a gigantic trophy for simply being a part of the program.

While it is always great to be a part of a program, it is being an outstanding, or exceptional part of the program that we should distinguish.  Participation trophies, while attempting to foster self-esteem often do the opposite. Many kids themselves are aware that these trophies do not distinguish a notable honor or performance.

That brings me to self-esteem. ¬†All of us as parents, guardians, grandparents, teachers, whatever our role may be, want to see our children as confident people in who they are and their abilities. ¬†¬†What we need to do is build what I like to call ‚Äúauthentic confidence‚ÄĚ because self-esteem is fleeting. ¬†Even as adults there are days where we are really on top of our game, we have most if not all the answers, and people look to us for guidance. ¬†Then there are those days where we may feel a bit drained, unsure if we even deserve our position or title, as if we don‚Äôt have the answers or the skill set to move forward. ¬†My point is simple, our self esteem may fluctuate with the days and possibly even the hour, but our authentic confidence will always remain because it is built with integrity, honesty, and hard work. In other words, our authentic confidence has been earned and with our perseverance, we can handle the natural fluctuations of self-esteem.

When we decide to only recognize the average or everyone that participates, we are really doing a disservice to those who have invested extra time, worked harder, or those that may be just exceptionally gifted. ¬†Don‚Äôt get me wrong, participating in sports, clubs, activities, whatever it may be has tremendous value and should be recognized, but not everyone is the club president, the M.V.P. ¬†or on the Honor Roll because after all; if everyone is ‚ÄúSuper‚ÄĚ ¬†then no one is.