Yes, We Failed

tfp.2015.07.03.new.wine.magazine

In my previous post I made the bold declaration that we evangelicals have failed. For that statement I was challenged by an old and dear, and highly respected friend. So here, today, I intend to defend that statement. “Yes, We Failed.” Please indulge me.

In that post I mentioned briefly a Christian group that I was involved with for a twelve-year stretch (1973-1985). It was known under several names, among them The Discipleship Movement, The Shepherding Movement, and The Covenant Church Movement.

There were many positive elements of this movement within the Charismatic/Evangelical community in America during that time period. Unfortunately there were also many bad things that happened. Sadly, pastoral authority was often abused and misused, and many people suffered wounds, some of them very deep. Marriages were destroyed. The faith of some was shipwrecked.

Fortunately for me, and for our little band in Northern Virginia, we escaped, for the most part, the really, really bad stuff. For that I am very grateful.

Well, as the saying goes, “You don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater.” I haven’t.

There is much more to this story. You can Google “Shepherding Movement” and you’ll find all kinds of stuff, most of it negative. And I’ll be telling much more about my personal involvement with this movement in a several episode arc in my podcast project, NightWatch. The episodes are already in the can as I continue to build my collection for kickoff.

Anyway, the image above is a cover from the September, 1977 issue of the magazine published monthly by the leaders of this movement. The magazine was called New Wine. You can see the title of the month—Lawlessness. It’s a pretty heady title. But these were the kinds of themes that our leaders taught us about.

Let’s leap from 1977 to 2015. Thirty-eight years. In one sense, the theme of the New Wine issue shown on this page, pretty much sums up the state of our nation today.

OK, that’s some background. In my previous post I rattled off a litany of Biblical topics that are, for the most part, no longer being taught in America’s evangelical churches. If you don’t remember them or you didn’t read my previous post, go back and take a look. These Biblical topics are, in my view, musts for every serious Christian.

Two-hundred and twenty eight years ago, in the summer of 1787, our founders crafted our U.S. Constitution in Philadelphia. As the convention was wrapping up, Benjamin Franklin stepped out onto the cobblestone street. He was approached by a woman who asked him a question.

“Dr. Franklin, what have you given us?” came the query.

“A republic Madam, if you can keep it,” came the reply.

We have not. However, we did keep it for a good number of decades. Our founders, the crafters of this document, this Constitution, made it very, very clear that this new republic could only work if the people for whom it was created remained a moral and religious people. Here are some direct quotes from them regarding this necessity:

  • John Adams: “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
  • John Adams: “It is the duty of the clergy to accommodate their discourses to the times, to preach against such sins as are most prevalent, and recommend such virtues as are most wanted. For example,—if exorbitant ambition and venality are predominant, ought they not to warn their hearers against those vices? If public spirit is much wanted, should they not inculcate this great virtue? If the rights and duties of Christian magistrates and subjects are disputed, should they not explain them, show their nature, ends, limitations, and restrictions, …”
  • James Madison: “To suppose that any form of government will secure liberty or happiness without any virtue in the people, is a chimerical (unrealistic, fanciful) idea.”
  • Thomas Jefferson: “When virtue is banished, ambition invades the minds of those who are disposed to receive it, and avarice possesses the whole community.”
  • George Washington: “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim tribute to patriotism who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness–these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens … reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principles.”
  • Benjamin Franklin: “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become more corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.”
  • Patrick Henry: “… Virtue, morality, and religion. This is the armor, my friend, and this alone that renders us invincible. These are the tactics we should study. If we lose these, we are conquered, fallen indeed . . . so long as our manners and principles remain sound, there is no danger.”

Are we not today seeing the consequences of neglecting this high call and responsibility?

Before some of you say what I have so often heard when I try and tell this story in some form, please allow me to just say it for you and let’s get this never-ending mantra part of this exercise out of the way. Here goes:

Yes, Benjamin Franklin was likely a Deist. John Adams was a Unitarian. Thomas Jefferson cut out parts of the New Testament he didn’t like and he, too, was probably a Deist. George Washington was probably a Deist too …

Blah, blah blah. I am so sick of hearing people tell me this. Like I don’t know. So I decided to beat them to the punch and just say it myself. Thanks. I feel better now.

And you know what? I don’t care. It doesn’t matter to me. Whether the founders named above were actual Christians or not, their ideas were shaped greatly by the Bible. And that is what counts as far as I’m concerned because it is the ideas, the truths, the principles that matter, not whether the people were actually Christians. Biblical ideas. Put into play. In all arenas of culture. This is what made America great. Not whether George Washington was actually a born again Christian, or not. Why is this so hard for some people to understand? So, for those of you who might have been inclined to offer those comments in the comment section on Facebook, I’ve taken care of it for you.

tfp.2015.07.03.BKH-5708If you would like to learn what matters to me on this topic, and get a better handle on what I am trying to communicate about the Christian character of early America, may I suggest a book? Get The Christian Life and Character of the Civil Institutions of the United States. It was written by Benjamin Franklin Morris and published in 1864. In it, Morris provides a detailed account of the many, many civil institutions and leaders in our land who were shaped and molded and guided by Christian ideas and beliefs.

For generations, the Church in America pretty much kept up her part of the bargain. Not only was the Church invited to the table in governmental affairs, the Church often sat at the head of that table. For generations, the Church did her job in America and kept Americans in a relatively moral frame of mind. Not that all was wonderful. Some of us held slaves. We fought a civil war. We broke treaties with native Americans. So we certainly were not perfect.

But neither were we as lawless and morally bankrupt as we are today.

So, if as I have postulated in my title above that we have failed, how did we fail? To answer that question, we must go back to the mission statement:

“Go therefore andmake disciples ofall nations,baptizing theminthe name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching themto observe all thatI have commanded you. And behold,I am with you always, tothe end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20

We did just that for decades in America. Again, not perfectly, not without problems, not without failures. But even as I was growing up in the ‘50’s and ‘60’s, America could be considered, relatively speaking, a nation of moral and religious people. Not all were born again Christians. Not all were saved. Not all were regular churchgoers. Nor were all moral and religious. But for the most part, Americans were generally people of decent character.

Marriages and families held together. People generally agreed on what was right and what was wrong and tried their best to follow the ten commandments even though they knew they were sinners. Churches were not necessarily vibrant and exciting, but they still held sway and influence in communities and in people’s lives. People in government held outwardly to the standards and mores of the Christian way of life and didn’t shrink back from quoting from the Bible from time to time.

Even if things were relatively dead on the inside (and we’re still talking about my growing up years, here), the outward practices still reflected Christian ideals. Call it a residue from generations past. It was still a part of our lives, and even in her fading decades, the Church in America still exercised a fair degree of influence.

Now, jump ahead to the present. Godless, socialist ideologues control just about every institution in America, wielding their vain, secular, anti-God philosophies and trampling upon Christianity and Christian ideas.

  • Who controls Washington? Godless, socialist ideologues.
  • Who controls Washington’s bureaucracies? Godless, socialist ideologues.
  • Who controls public education? Godless, socialist ideologues.
  • Who controls institutions of higher learning? Godless, socialist ideologues.
  • Who controls the news media? Godless, socialist ideologues.
  • Who exercises the greatest influence on pop culture? Godless, socialist ideologues.
  • Who controls big business? Vain, morally bereft, soulless manipulators.

Yeah … I’m generalizing. There are, of course, exceptions.

Let’s recap:

  • “A republic if you can keep it.”
  • “Only for a moral, religious and virtuous people.”
  • “Make disciples of nations.”

 

  • Our republic is pretty much in shambles.
  • Virtue, morality, and true religion have, in a large way, fled the scene.
  • The godless socialists now hold the seats of power and continue to disciple our nation.

Yes Church, we have failed. The evidence is right before our eyes. Obama isn’t the problem. The Democrats aren’t the problem. The wayward Republicans aren’t the problem.

We, Church, are the problem.

We had it. We had America. We counseled presidents and congressmen. We held many positions across the land in the judiciary. We sat at just about every table where important decisions were made. We ran a good number of the universities. We shaped the minds of Americans. Bibles could be found in almost every American home. We discipled the nation. We led. We were venerated.

And we lost it. America has slipped into depravity, from bottom to top. The Church no longer casts a vision or leads the way. We are now the tail on someone else’s dog, reduced to reacting to the decisions and actions of others. If that isn’t failure, I don’t know what is.

Allow me to clarify with one last point. Again, yes, I am speaking in generalities. Not all in our time, or over the last fifty or seventy-five years (however you’re counting) have failed. Many have been faithful to the call to make disciples and teach and preach the whole counsel of God. Just not enough of us to keep our country from marching blindly towards hell.

Why am I being so direct, so negative, so bold with my observations? Because if America is ever to return as the land of liberty, it can only begin with the Church taking stock of herself, and getting herself back into the mission laid out by our Lord – making disciples of nations. And if America does not return as the land of liberty, then what will become of our children and grandchildren? What will we have left them? A wasteland.

I have debated internally whether or not the tone of this article is too harsh, and whether perhaps I should soften it. I decided no. Consider this the extreme swing of the pendulum, meant to pull some toward the center.

Please DO NOT post your comments on this blog post. Comments are not monitored here. Please post them on the Facebook page where this article appears.

House Divided

tfp.2015.07.02.cross rainbow flagIt has been almost a year since I last posted on my Famished Patriot blog. Since then, I have been working feverishly as I develop my new podcasting project called NightWatch. I have also been sharing many of my thoughts directly on Facebook

I decided to post some thoughts on my blog tonight, for the first time in a long time, because I wanted to be one step removed from Facebook. This posting is directed primarily to my conservative evangelical friends who are, like me, troubled by the swell of support for the gay and lesbian lifestyle within the Christian community.

If you are a Catholic Christian with the same sentiments—and I have many friends who are—my intent here is not to exclude you from this conversation. It’s just that I can make no claim to understanding the dynamics of this conversation and struggle within your community, and that I am certainly not qualified to speak into that part of the body of Christ. However, my Catholic friends are certainly more than welcome to chime in.

I do believe however, with a good measure of confidence, that I can and should speak into my own, splintered evangelical community.

In the mid 1980’s, let’s say thirty years ago, I began to discover a concept known as Worldview. More specifically, I came to understand that God had provided, through His written Word—the Holy Scriptures—and through many teachings of the Church down through the centuries, a complete framework for life and living. It is called by many the Judeo-Christian Worldview.

Furthermore, in recent months, I have also begun to realize that my twelve years in the Discipleship Movement, or the Shepherding Movement, or the Covenant Church Movement (1973-1985), whatever you want to call it, represent a profound, foundational Biblical deposit in my life. Despite the many negative and unfortunate things that happened within that large community/movement, my mind and heart were fed by some of the most gifted and anointed Bible teachers of my generation. What these men gave to me, more than anything and despite their mistakes, was a vision and a measure of understanding of the kingdom of God. I’ll leave it there and if you wish to investigate that story on your own, go ahead.

Anyway, as a result of these great gifts from God, and with what I believe to be a relatively firm foundation beneath me, I observe the current situation within the evangelical community today, and find myself grieving deeply. Of course I grieve over what I consider the very wrong turn our nation has just taken, but I grieve even more deeply over the moral, spiritual, and intellectual deficiency of so many within evangelicalism today.

Allow me for just a moment to step back almost 42 years into the past. It is September, 1973. My wife Sally and I stood at the altar exchanging our wedding vows. It was my 22nd birthday (Yes I got married on my birthday and I never forget my anniversary!). Standing there, Sally and I both understood the concept of covenant love. We knew that our feelings for one other were secondary to our choice to love one another, sacrificially, for life. We knew that divorce would not be an option. We knew that our dependency would be on God for His grace to carry us through. How did we know this at such a young age? Our church leaders taught us, pounded it into us actually, and I am so thankful they did! Forty-two years later, our commitment and covenant love are stronger than ever.

That my friends, is love, true love, love in the Christian sense, love in the kingdom of God sense, and love in the covenant sense. And I can take absolutely no credit for it because it began and it will end with God.

In recent days, on Facebook primarily, I have read the rantings and diatribes and blusterings of mouthy, childish, juvenile Christians blathering on about how the rainbow flag represents the love of Christ, and how people like me are ignorant and hateful and vicious and despicable because we wish to deprive those within the homosexual and lesbian community the pursuit of their true loves. Oh how heartfelt these gushing, sentimental, romanticized, Hollywood-fed soliloquies must sound to these trumpeters of a new understanding of Christ’s love! But oh how bankrupt these idealized monologues actually are.

And you know what, as much as I grieve over what I see, I grieve even more deeply over the fact that my own generation failed the generation coming up behind us (this group is primarily the younger generation, though not all – there are many stunted older Christians as well).

This is my generation’s mess. We created it. Our parents and grandparents (God bless or rest their souls) played their role in this decline as well.

We failed to preach the kingdom of God. We miscarried the lessons of covenant. We neglected teachings on obedience. We allowed the New Testament to be separated from the Old. We marginalized the Ten Commandments. We failed to explore the nature and character of God. We overvalued God’s grace and mercy and undervalued His righteousness and judgment. We played down the cross as a way of life, and the cost of true discipleship.

We declined opportunity to engage in the public square. We taught (or by neglect to teach implied) that culture belongs to the devil. We largely, though not completely, abandoned our children to the leftist, brainwashing mills of public education. We sent our children off to universities headed by godless socialists. We fed ourselves on pop culture. We valued relevancy more than Truth. We pursued our “feel good” experiences with God more than the teachings of His Word. We neglected the cultivation of our own minds with sound Biblical doctrine. We became fat and happy Americans and tuned out the hard words of Scripture.

I’m on my own rant. We failed, people.

Now I’m generalizing of course. I’m looking out across the whole spectrum of evangelicalism. Some have held up their parts very well. Some have done better than others. Many have utterly missed the whole point of Jesus, the gospel, and Christianity altogether.

This is no time to judge the weak, mentally infirm, underdeveloped members of our Christian community. We will not be able to snatch them away from the path of deception and destruction they have chosen until we ourselves can recognize and come to grips with our own failures.

This is on us. It’s time to take a good, hard look in the mirror. I’m looking at myself, and not happy with what I see. I could, and should, have done more.

By the way, if some of my tone here seems harsh to you, it is done intentionally to provoke. If you’ll note, I am turning the spotlight on us, not them.

Please DO NOT post your comments to this blog. They are not monitored. If you do have comments, please post them on my Facebook posting of this blog installment.

NightWatch–Some Samplings

map.mic.coverMany of you have been quite patient with me as I have continued to promote my work in progress, the NightWatch Podcast. I am so grateful for all of the kind words I have received and the many messages of encouragement.

It is taking me a good bit longer to develop and produce these podcasts than I had anticipated. Therefore, it only seemed fair that I should at minimum reveal just a little bit more of my product in process. I offer a small gift, from me to you.

And so here you will find several samples of full length podcasts pulled from my growing collection. I have several strands of stories going. And here, I am providing at least one from each group. I have also uploaded, for lack of a better term, a “bonus” podcast that is a good bit longer than the others. You can read about it, and the others, below.

A quick overview of my basic vision, and the reasoning behind why I have decided to go with sound instead of just words on a screen. Approx. 4-½ minutes in length.

AMERICA’S STORY (As I Understand It)

We take a quick tour of America, from her earliest days to the meeting of the Union Pacific and the Central Pacific Railroads. The sweeping landscape upon which the American story has been told. Approx. 4 minutes in length.

The year was 1962. I was eleven years old. I began climbing a tall spindly tree in order to get a glimpse of the Cleveland city skyline. I reached the top. I saw the skyline. I lingered a while and savored my view. I can still see the seared image in my mind. I had arrived at a vantage point and beheld a panorama. Understanding history can help us do that too. Approx. 4-½ minutes in length.

MY STORY

I call myself The Famished Patriot. I am constantly hungry to learn more and more about America’s history. In this episode, I begin telling the story of God’s providential planting of the love-of-country seed in my youthful heart. Approx. 4-½ minutes in length.

THE STORYTELLER

I am introducing you to several fictional characters from a novel I had the privilege of co-authoring, The book is titled Bloodlines. This episode introduces the podcast subscriber to Eli McDonald, the single offspring of Will and Nikitchecame McDonald – Will a wily frontiersman, and Nikitchecame (Nikki), a Shawnee Princess. A powerful “word” was spoken over Will and Nikki’s parents at their wedding, by the soon-to-be Shawnee leader, Tecumseh. The “word” takes on a life of its own in Eli’s life as he struggles to understand who he is and what God has called him to do. Approx. 5 minutes in length.

BONUS PODCAST

Ride with me as I travel through a thunderstorm from Leesburg, VA to my home in Manassas. As the thunder rumbles off in the distance, I muse aloud about Virginia’s rich landscape and several of her highways, each named after a famous Virginian. Approx. 13 minutes in length.

 

NOTE: Please do not make comments on my blog. The comments are not monitored. I would love to hear your thoughts. Please comment on The NightWatch-Podcast Facebook PageAnd please click the “LIKE” button if you haven’t already done so!

The Night Watch Podcast

map.mic.cover

The Famished Patriot is developing a new project. I call it The NightWatch Podcast. It will be a collection of short 3-4 minute audio podcasts in which I will tell about my love of God and my love of country. I will also be discussing many of the things I have learned over the last thirty years of studying America’s Christian history.

As I prepare, I am uploading weekly, short, sixty-second audio promo clips where I provide just a little tease about what I am working on. I will post them here as they are uploaded.

This Old Guitar No. 13

1978-Song for a Father

Well it’s time for another addition to This Old Guitar. Long past time actually.

Song for a Father, written thirty-six years ago in 1978, originally began out of my own thoughts and concerns about the decline of fatherhood in our country. At the time, I was a member of a small Christian worship band and we elected to take my basic structure of an incomplete song and work it into a tribute to one of our pastors who had “fathered” many of us in the Lord. This version is just me and my “old” guitar recorded on my computer at home about ten years ago.

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This Old Guitar No. 12

1977—Serenade

Once again, a long gap between postings in This Old Guitar.

Serenade, written in 1977, is a song of worship to the Lord. It is short, sweet, and to the point.

Oh Lord, how good, and how wonderful
To be sitting in your presence
And enjoying You
Repeat

Let me serenade You
For You Lord are my King
Let me serenade You
Your praises I will sing, Hallelujah!

It came in one of those quiet moments, sitting in God’s presence, enjoying His fellowship.

This is not the best rendition of the song. Back in the late 1970’s I was part of a small Christian band called Family. Serenade is one of my songs that made it into in our repertoire, along a few others that I will be sharing.

I still have several reel-to-reel tapes of our many songs—almost all original—and about twenty five years ago I transferred the best of them to a cassette tape. I also still have the cassette tape … somewhere. Serenade is on that tape and one day I will find it and convert all of the songs to the MP3 format. Of course by then, the MP3 will have probably gone the way of the reel-to-reel tape.

Chesterton’s Shipwreck

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What follows is a republication from a post on my old At Home Thinking blog. It was originally published on April 10, 2006.

………….

I have been thinking about how our personal understanding and knowledge of God comes together. It seems that it mostly arrives in a haphazard fashion. Generally, we do not take a systematic approach to learning about Him. And oftentimes our understanding is incorrect. A friend of mine recently acknowledged that 20% of his theology is likely incorrect. He’s just not sure which 20%.

G.K. Chesterton was one of the greatest thinkers and writers of the 20th century, and one not trumpeted nearly enough. It is said that his work, The Everlasting Man, played a role in the conversion of a young C. S. Lewis. His work Orthodoxy is lauded as one of the great religious classics. And there are many other noteworthy works that flowed from his pen.

Chesterton once observed that our walk through life is much like stumbling upon a shipwreck. Strewn about in front of us, in chaos and disarray, are both worthless debris and precious treasures. Hidden somewhere in the mess is a story. Examining the pieces one by one, we can find a small amount of meaning. But when the pieces are re-assembled, reconstructing the essence of the original and revealing the whole, we begin to see the plan and the purpose that existed from the inception.

Our life in Christ is much like this, with understanding coming to us in tiny bits and pieces. It is up to us, with the aid of God’s Word and the Holy Spirit, to assemble the many seemingly disconnected parts, and begin to reconstruct them into a cohesive whole. When we do, we experience the proverbial “aha” each time a little more of God’s purpose and plan come more clearly into focus.

Who among us would attempt to build a house without a set of plans? Who among us would begin ordering materials for a construction project without a detailed list of the items needed? Only the most foolhardy. And yet many of us live out our Christian lives just this way.
"Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true." Acts 17:11 NIV

In this passage, Luke lauds the Bereans. He associates their pursuit of Scriptural purity with noble character. They did not blindly accept the words of Paul, but rather poured over the Holy Scriptures to determine if Paul’s teachings were based in the truth. The Bereans set the standard for all Christians who have followed. They believed the Holy Scriptures to be the authoritative Word of God, the filter through which all ideas are to be sifted.

As God’s children, we need to become critical thinkers, learning to sift through ideas, comparing them to the truths of Scripture, and finalizing our own, firm set of convictions. If we are extremely fortunate, life in Christ becomes a series of revelations, epiphanies, and quickenings of understanding. But if we are inattentive, self-centered, and unenergetic in our pursuit of God, we may end up at the end of our days with the components of our lives like Chesterton’s proverbial shipwreck—still strewn about.

To learn more about G.K. Chesterton, visit The American Chesterton Society.

Or visit G.K. Chesterton’s Works on the Web to read Chesterton’s writings.

Enter the Story

tfp.2014.06.06.d.day.image007Yesterday we commemorated the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion of Normandy. Code named Operation Overlord, the successful Allied effort to establish a beachhead on the shores of France, this monumental day was the first step in the long slog toward taking Berlin in our quest to defeat Nazi Germany.

This critical moment in world history involved not only the American soldiers who stormed ashore at beaches named Utah and Omaha, but also the brave American paratroopers of the 82nd and 101st Airborne who jumped out of perfectly good airplanes under enemy fire in the still dark early morning hours of June 6, 1944. And we must not forget the valiant efforts of hundreds of thousands of other, everyday Americans who supported these brave warriors behind the scenes in a myriad of ways.

In this worldwide conflagration, we did not stand alone. Our most loyal ally, Great Britain, had been fighting this war for several years before we Americans fully entered the fray. My purpose here is not to discount the efforts of the British, the Canadian, the Australian or any other allied warrior who spent their blood, their toil, their sweat and their tears. My purpose here, as an American, is to tap this inspiring story of millions of Americans who gave themselves willingly to defend liberty. My hope is that I might inspire today’s generations of Americans. For we too are called, in our own way, to stand and fight for freedom.

The American heroes and heroines of the WWII generation entered the story. We can take a lesson from them.

Today, we early 21st Century Americans likewise fight for liberty. Yet ours is a war of a different kind. I write not of the War on Terror, the conflict in Afghanistan, or our recent engagement in Iraq. These are real wars against real flesh and blood enemies who seek our demise and destruction. They want to fill our hearts and minds with terror. But my focus here today is not on this ruthless enemy.

The conflict of which I speak, the struggle in which we find ourselves engaged today, is the defense of our own lives against the treacheries coming out of our own, out-of-control national government. All three branches have become detached from the core principles of our nation’s founding, often ignoring our Constitution’s Bill of Rights. And what may be even more threatening is the massive bureaucracy in Washington which now moves unchecked into every nook and cranny of our lives, telling us what to drive, what kinds of light bulbs we must buy, and now, even what we should eat.

Underneath this fearsome foe of big government lays a seedbed of co-conspirators in our primary and secondary schools, our colleges and universities, and in our entertainment industry and news media, who wish for us to stop thinking on our own. And many of us have.

Meanwhile, most of our church pulpits remain silent about this war of worldviews going on right under our noses. Ours is a war fought on the battleground of ideas, where worldviews collide, where hearts and minds are the contended-for ground. Should we not be contending for this ground? We attend our Sunday services, read and study our Bibles, enjoy our morning devotionals, and then send our children off to the university-mills, which with factory-like clockwork, regularly crank out mind-numbed, brainwashed products. Fortunately, not all are as weak and unprepared for the assault on their souls as are most. Some survive to join us, the protagonists in this story. The vast majority are simply taken out of the story altogether, reduced to mere outside, unengaged observers of the story, but not participants in it. And some are won over and become warriors, now standing against us as fresh, newly recruited antagonists in the story.

tfp.2014.06.07.ab1e4ff4e2adaadfec9135565b8b3c2cAlthough we do not yet face the same fears of shed blood, loss of limbs, or even loss of life as did our ancestors and those who fight on foreign fields today, we yet contend for the same American liberty. Yet sadly, unlike those in the days of our parents and grandparents, Americans of our generation slumber. Awash in things, we are numbed by our possessions and our pleasures. As our country is systematically subdued, and our founding principles are methodically undermined by twisted, malevolent ideologues, we go about our everyday routines, either oblivious or unconcerned.

Yet underneath it all, there exists in many of the slumbering, a hidden, yet to be quickened, yearning for meaning, for purpose. I recently viewed a short, but well produced video that I found to be quite poignant. It is about a young man’s discovery of life’s meaning beyond the emptiness of his own “selfie” generation. Please take a few minutes to watch.

My Mom’s Motorcycle: My Rode Reel.

“I was concerned with having something. They were concerned with giving something.” Douglas Gautrad

Consider now this simple invitation. Like this young man, take some time to reflect on those in your own personal history. Perhaps you have a family member or a friend of a family member from another generation who spent their life pursuing an heroic purpose. Perhaps you have a hero from history from which you draw inspiration. Perhaps you have decided that you simply want to begin living for something bigger than yourself.

Ponder. Reflect. Consider.

How might you “enter the story?”

48 Years—This Old Guitar No. 11

1975—The Way Up is the Way Down

1977—It’s So Easy to Worship the Lord

Please read below before you listen to these songs!

As I noted in my very first This Old Guitar post (March 29, 2013), I received my first guitar on my 14th birthday in 1965. Within a couple of years I began writing songs. I also noted in that same post that I have catalogued 138 songs born of my own creativity or developed in collaboration with friends and family members.

I am posting only a selection of these 138 songs, in part because some of them are not really worthy of public display, and perhaps more importantly, because many of my tunes have not yet been recorded. Going through my song file folder I just now counted 42 recorded songs. That leaves 96 songs of mine, still unrecorded. A number of these unrecorded tunes are, in my humble opinion, among my best works.

In today’s installment, I am providing two short songs. The first song is a mere sixty-four seconds in length, the second just a bit longer at eighty-eight seconds. Neither song is among my best, and for that I apologize. However, I have posted them both because they emerge from an era of my life that might be counted among some of my best years.

Although I began playing guitar in the fall of 1965, it was not until the spring of 1968 that I began my walk with Christ. I was thus wed to music for 2-1/2 years before I became betrothed to my Savior. And it did not take long for my music to become focused on my Lord. In the summer of 1969 I first began to sing publicly in praise of my Savior, and to play some of my own works. By the early 1970’s I was regularly leading worship in small groups. By the mid-1970’s I was a church worship leader. And by 1984, one of my songs was published by Integrity Music. That song will soon be published in This Old Guitar No. 14. During that stretch I wrote or co-wrote a number of worship songs. Unfortunately, just a handful of them will be posted on This Old Guitar because only a few have been recorded. The two posted today, unquestionably among the weakest, are published only because they are recorded. I wish I had a some better examples from that period to share with you.

The Way Up is the Way Down, crafted in 1975, is actually song no. 40 on my list of 138. And It’s So Easy to Worship the Lord falls in at number 43. So, number 11 (and 12) are really numbers 40 and 43. These two, sadly, are the poorest representation of my song-writing capabilities that I will be publishing on This Old Guitar. But I share them here because, as I noted above, they are among the few recordings I have from that significant stage of my song-writing life.

Don’t judge me!