Sunday, June 27, 2021

Trust Issues


Who/what do we trust? Why? For how long? Even if we find out we've been lied to. Even if what we trust causes anarchy and chaos that threatens to destroy us.

All it takes, apparently, for humans, in this modern age of all things delusional, to pay attention to, believe, give credence to, have faith in (worship), and, ultimately, thereby grant considerable power over us, is essentially whatever we want to accept our redefining of what goodness is. How many times have you heard the argument, "A good God would never allow _______ (fill in the blank)."

Apparently we, in all our great modernity, know better than God what good is. 

In short, it comes down to God replacement with the more easily acceptable god of human good. Since the bar is way lower now it's therefore way easier to reach and then we can collectively feel good about our goodness without having to stand for something unpopular, that requires considerably more integrity, as God defines/requires it.

Apparently, humans prefer to see life through rose colored glasses. Either that or we are just plain dumb. There's an old saying - we can't know what we don't know, but I could add, we can't know what we don't want to know either.

We put too much trust in icons, symbols, high-minded sounding words. Credentials. How many open-minded kids sit in a classroom and automatically assume that the one teaching them is telling the truth and not just spewing out personal bias?

Have you ever read/seen reporting on something you absolutely know is untrue? Did you feel helpless because everyone else bought into the false narrative because the iconic source is not challengeable?

Have you ever had a bad/incompetent doctor, dentist, lawyer? Ever been at the mercy of a badly compromised judge? Ever had to deal with a power mad self righteous HOA president?

Have you ever been fact-checked or censored on social media for speaking an easily proven truth?

Do you really believe someone who has compromised his/her way to stardom/celebrity status or political position has the most reliable opinion on - anything? 

How many Christians trust that the man in the pulpit, who makes millions of dollars off the business of preaching, music albums, and/or books, is an uncompromised disciple of Christ?

Try reading the label on the cereal you've been eating since you were a kid.

How many businesses and charities, started decades ago with great and noble ideals, the names, slogans and trademarks of which are familiar to nearly everyone on the planet, have been taken over by not so good people? How can you know if you don't know how to pay attention to the devil in the details? 

Where is discernment? Whatever happened to think-for-yourself?

How many agencies and charities whose names trigger warm fuzzy trust, are now simply tools of sinister money/power hungry social manipulators?

Even when we know the truth, the con artists, miscreants and liars still get away with their scams because - why? We allow it. How many people have fallen for and continue to think a total stranger in another country has miraculously found their email and wants to give them millions of dollars? Because it sounds so good?

We prefer our bubble of good and therefore hold tight to our excuses and let the con artists succeed in scamming us with untruth. The only way I can explain this is to conclude most people either desperately want to believe that no one lies, or perhaps they can't bare to believe they were suckered and bought into a lie because it just sounded so good so they now can't let go of the lie and admit they were wrong. 

Or maybe lies and lying are systemic now. There's a new familiar word - systemic.

This, then, on a much larger scale is how so called 'experts' are allowed to steer the ship. We blindly trust credentials and titles and long established trademarks rather than ask questions with common sense. Or, more importantly, we have no idea (or care?) what their true agendas are in the here and now and therefore where they are leading us toward tomorrow.

Maybe we are too busy living our lives so we just prefer to trust without verifying. We blindly depend on the good sounding rhetoric and then ignore what they do behind closed doors imagining that it doesn't really matter anyway. We get out of it what we want - if we believe the lie - we get to feel good and righteous.

Are we simply gullible or finally, at last, completely dumbed down? And, more importantly, where do we go from here? Up? Or further down? How far down is down? 

My mother used an old saying on me when I was making dumb choices, "If everyone was jumping out a ten story window would you jump too?"

Here's another old saying - if you want to know the truth of a thing, start by following the money.

I could add - the love of 'feeling good' leads many astray as well.

For Him,


1 Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil: which some reaching after have been led astray from the faith, and have pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

Saturday, June 19, 2021

My Father's Voice - A Repost


Over the years that I have been blogging, I have posted numerous tributes to fatherhood in general and my father specifically. Though there are many other things I could say, I think the post of June 18, 2016 probably summed up the best of what I could present to represent the man who did his best from sunup to sundown, every day of his life. 

Because he passed in 1979 my two youngest kids have limited memories of him and my grands never knew their great grandfather so I am compelled to keep my memory of him alive - for them.

So, I repost it here. 


High on a shelf in the darkest corner of the basement, an obsolete audio playing device rests beneath a light blanket of dust. It exists, instead of being dismantled or buried in a landfill, because there is another box on another shelf in the same basement that holds an assortment of 8-track tapes, most of which are collections from forgotten music artists but a couple are homemade recordings. 

One, in particular, is the keeper of my father’s voice. 

My dad delighted in making tapes with his recorder. One day he decided to introduce his five year old granddaughter and two year old grandson to the joys of hearing their own voices. He interviewed them and coaxed each to perform songs of their choice. They tried out knock knock jokes on each other as the magnetic tape captured the silliness and giggles. He reenacted a joke from his favorite TV show - ‘Doc, it hurts when I do that! Well then don’t do that!’ Heeeee Haw! 

Sometimes I think about that tape. I wonder if I were to make the effort to clean the player, hook it to speakers and electricity - would it work? Would I be able to hear again my dad’s voice?  Or would it be too damaged by the ravages of time? The not knowing keeps the dust undisturbed on the 8-track player. If it didn’t work, I think the disappointment would be too high a price. 

And so I choose to simply remember. My brain, at least the long term memory part, recalls that moment even better than a strip of plastic. I can still hear his voice quite clearly in my head. 

I also can hear him reading the Sunday funnies to me. I can hear him teaching me how to drive a nail straight and true, or soap a screw to make it sink into wood easier. I can hear him teaching me the Lord’s Prayer and unlocking the mysteries of fractions and seeing creativity as something without staid and static boundaries.

When I can’t hear him I can see him, in my mind’s eye, doing right. I can remember he was honest, hard-working and honorable. He provided for his family, he took pride in his home. I’m sure life wasn’t always easy and sometimes a challenge but I never heard him complain. He taught me more by simply doing it, not saying it. 

I didn't realize, until I took this memory trip, that, in ways difficult to explain, it has been my father’s voice that has always held me accountable. All these years. Locked on the continuous playing synapse in my brain is the reverberation of a standard, a non-expiring, never vintage, holds-true-always, fundamental truth. Everything that is determinedly decent begins with the voice of reason and obedience to a higher authority. 

When you respect and admire your Father you hope to hear, “Well done, good and faithful...”

For Him,


Sunday, June 6, 2021

Anatomy of a Psychopath


For a number of years, I have been collecting stories of people who have been victimized by others that seem to have no conscience. The goal was to publish the work but after awhile I discovered, first, it was so depressing it was starting to sink me, and second, as new stories came in, I saw no hope for ending it. That there are so many stories seemed to make it an overwhelming, untenable task. 

Lately as I have witnessed what seems to me to be a growing crisis of mental illness, I am thinking about dusting off the manuscript and finishing it. Here is a synopsis:

If you have never brushed up against or had to defend yourself from the wiles of a psychopath, good for you. Nowadays, it seems that mental illness is a type of new normal so those who have escaped the experience are now in the minority.

For those who have yet to be exposed to the unique and frustrating life-altering encounter, let me give you the basic signs to pay attention to. Gender is not a defining point, both men and women can be psychopaths, but I will use the male pronoun as a generic reference to keep it simple.

First, the most common trait can be identified as narcissism. He is always right, in his own eyes, because of his self-aggrandizing nature. There are many types of narcissists in varying degrees but not all narcissists are identifiable as ASPD - Anti-Social Personality Disorder, which is a category that makes up the majority of the un-fixable psychopaths among us.  

ASPDs are a unique combination of those who can function within the boundaries of society, albeit often wrecking havoc in many lives, then walking away without looking back, and then never being held accountable. These rarely are diagnosed because they are adroit at hiding their mental disorder, for one, and also because the world is generally too naive and easily scammed. The conundrum being most people do not want to live as suspicious paranoid naysayers so they are easy marks for con men and psychopaths.

These, then, could be recognized by their complete lack of empathy, except that because they can see how others behave, they can mimic the emotion of caring so that they seem to actually care but it's just a ruse. They don't know how to care. Dr. Robert Hare describes this as knowing the lyrics but not the music.

The second most commonly recognizable trait is clever lying. An ASPD believes his own lies so he can convince anyone of just about anything. He lies boldly so that others are taken off guard. The response will often be, "That must be true because who would claim such a thing?" 

But because he is a bold liar, he can convince you to ignore what he said yesterday and believe what he says today and what is the matter with you if you don't?

He is a master of blame shift and is skilled at passive-aggressive manipulations. He is well-practiced at accusing his mark of doing exactly what he has been doing and the mark is once again caught off guard and questions their own sanity. I've often thought, having read commentary and speaking with victims that they are shell-shocked to discover they were scammed but tend to cling to not blaming the doer because it reflects badly on them and makes them seem foolish. I have to conclude this is a residual effect of the ASPDs demon-like influence on the vulnerability of the human psyche.

So often we are too trusting because most of us live by the Golden Rule of treating others as we wish to be treated. ASPDs know how to use this to their advantage. Even after a victim is somehow freed from the devices of a psychopath, they will still doubt what happened and wonder if what happened to them was actually their own fault. 

Many books have been written about psychopathy but Dr. Robert Hare's book Without Conscience-The Disturbing World of The Psychopaths Among Us is the ultimate authoritative word and, in fact, launched a bullet point list of common behaviors that has become the standard in the profession of psychiatry. 

I think it should be required reading in High School. 

They are indeed among us. Having read this book then doing a decade of research on the subject and reading/editing the stories of so many victims, I can surely see serious correlation with those who now hold political power over us. 

How scary is that? Fore warned is fore armed.

For Him,


If you have a story you wish to be told, you can submit to - I do not use real names. I do not purchase stories and I cannot promise a story submitted will be used. 

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Smart vs Wise


In 2006, one year and several titles completed in my then newest venture of being a POD publisher, I accepted an invitation to exhibit at a Christian Book Fair. I had no idea what to expect, except I admit I optimistically thought I would sell books. Experience being the best of teachers I learned it was more about networking with other publishers and distributors than selling. 

Took me quite awhile to recover the investment but, just as has often been the case in my peculiar and singular spiritual walk, the cost was irrelevant measured against the outstanding moment and revelation that likely would not have happened had I not attended. It has remained with me long past the existence of Faithful Publishing. 

On the second day in, I was standing in front of my booth, observing how others were so easily engaging passers by and attendants as I, not being skilled in salesmanship, seemed to be invisible. An older woman ambled by. We smiled and nodded at each other. She stopped and picked up a book on display and we began a light conversation. I don't recall all that we said to each other except for one thing that changed forever how I seek wisdom.

I do recall we were talking about good life quotes and how they seem to be seeds that, when planted and nurtured, grow healthy attitudes and goals. I think she had noticed a quote on a page of one of the books. 

I do not deny that I love quotes and always have. I recognize smart words that inspire one to rise to higher thinking and thus purposeful living. Until then I didn't care where they came from. Good words are good words, right? 

And then she said the simplest yet one of the most profound comments I have ever heard. 

"I do love good sounding quotes but I do also pay attention to who says them. Wisdom is not the same as being smart. You can be smart and educated and hold endowed titles out the wazoo and not be the least bit wise, especially spiritually. So, I try to get my good words from the teachings of the One I choose to believe is the ultimate Wise person, Jesus."

So, that was like a direct hit to my chest. From that point forward, I could see with new eyes. It's pretty easy to recognize a truth, even if you are blind in other ways, but now when I seek, I'm discerning between what is just smart or wise. I am not questing from a worldly perspective. When I read the quotes of old philosophers and modern men and women who have been elevated to a type of sainthood, because they were smart enough to see a bigger reality, I grant them that they are smart. I also acknowledge that no one owns truth but the Originator. It exists to be seen by anyone who wishes to know. Some very not so wise people have had their names attached to quotes that seem quite true but when you look deeper into their lives you wonder why they didn't live like they spoke.

Now, when I am in search of wisdom, those ideals and concepts that require deeper understanding than the human mind can grasp, I am more inclined to pay attention to those who see with a different kind of vision. I pay attention to the fruit of their lives. Are they speaking worldly truth that is currently smart or Godly truth that is eternally wise? If I had to point to examples I'd start with career politicians and celebrities or 'Christian' leaders who are nothing more than smart humanists.

Risking presenting a POV that can be taken wrongly, I will add that it is my personal experience that it is not possible to understand God with human intellect, great learning and smarts, and/or a litany of credentials. And most certainly not with science. The only way to understand the life changing power of faith is via a hungry open spirit that grasps, without over thinking, that not only is there a God but that He is in charge and in no way thwarted by evil. You can't get there with reason though. It is something else that takes one beyond being smart to being wise. 

What I know, have lived personally, and witnessed happening in others, is profound clarity that cannot be explained with words, once the spirit can see what the eyes cannot. The key that unlocks this conundrum is a willingness to let go of the importance of self. All the good words, the inspirational quotes and uplifting concepts in the universe are useless, not because they are not smart but because they do not get to the root of the plant where the life begins.

I learned from a stranger that when seeking good words to inspire and live by, there are two ways to go - one is a path that requires commitment to a higher truth that is seated in perpetual wisdom. The other is a compromise with that which is earthbound and only smart until a new thought replaces it.

For Him,