2015 Challenge: Week 46 Looking Down


I didn’t spend enough energy this week planning out my shot. This was tonight’s road trip dinner…from above. 

Pray for them and and defend ourselves from their evil

Author’s addition after writing this post.

I started writing this post a day or so ago. Generally, I get an idea and I flow out the first draft in one sitting. And the bulk of this post I DID write on that day. But sometimes I sit on a post, or take my time editing the larger ideas. Grammatical editing happens last. Today is I think the second day I’ve been sitting on this post. Interestingly, I’ve continued my normal flow of social media interactions, and am starting to be lambasted, mostly privately, for what appears to be my anti-refugee stance. For my thoroughly conservative friends, I get support. For my Christian friends, there is a sense of negativity in rejecting the poor and destitute. For my liberal friends, they’re either mature enough to chat politely and disagree, or they hid me a long time ago. :-)

Unfortunately, many forget that we don’t represent ourselves wholly or in a balanced way, online. We tend to emphasize the issue de jour, and or just don’t communicate with balance. I for one, am not so anti-refugee as it appears. Yet, I share more memes and articles that make me look as though I am. I’m hoping this post will help clear some of that up. But the issues of the day are so very complicated and diverse. The ISIS crisis, Syrian “refugee” crisis, the current political race for our next US President are huge issues right now. And they overlap. I’ll leave this preface with the notion that we don’t have to be so polarized on these issues, and we can love the downtrodden, yet want to be protective and safe in our dealings with them.

Friends, I think I have failed to effectively communicate a balanced approach to the most pressing issue of the day; ISIS.

Listen, you know I am passionate about my worldview, my support for individual liberty, firearms, etc. Often, I get into flow of posting and sharing content that is a little out of balance. During this heightened political landscape, one can expect that we’ll all see and post a little more, supporting our candidates and parties. I’m ok with that. It’s the ebbing and flowing of what’s important right now.

The same is true for current issues surrounding Islamic Terrorists. ISIS. This somewhat headless organization is doing the most evil things to people all over the world. They’ve clearly taken advantage of the Syrian refugee crisis, flooding into Europe, by sneaking in along with real hurting people.

I wish I had the energy to collect all the videos and articles highlighting how they’re sneaking in. I know of a video from Germany where arriving “refugees” are rejecting the food they’re given FOR FREE, demanding other things to eat. There are videos of “refugees” demanding women to please them. And at some point we end up seeing them grab a woman for the purposes of gang raping her right there in the street.

These are not refugees. I pray for them. I pray for justice. Their deserved earthly consequences could contrast with their after death treatment, but that is God’s judgement and under His sovereignty.

As nations, we must be nations of laws. Those laws should be enforced. Sometimes, the consequences for ones violation of the laws of their country can be severe. That doesn’t mean that God won’t deal with differently. But again, that is under His sovereignty.

But more than that, evil must be contained and stopped. Often, the only way to stop that evil from advancing and continuing, is to do it RIGHT NOW! That’s where military powers. Law enforcement, and armed citizens (in free countries) come into the picture. This is what is meant when you see phrases like “the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun.” This terrorism in Europe is already here in North America, and we cannot stop it. Look at what’s happened in Paris, France. Here’s a few links to even the non-terrorists and their rioting and ungratefulness.

I’ve laid it out. I’ve fanned the flames of fear and motivated us to understand we’re not safe and should get prepared. I’ve established that we are at a dramatic shift in our world. I actually believe that the bulk of Europe is in the midst of and already shifting, away from it’s historically Christian-ish worldview. I believe we will see great European cathedrals converted into Mosques in less than a decade. We may even see the Pope in Rome move his Holy See to a new location, outside of Europe. The landscape is shifting, and it’s too late to stop. I think we’ll see great efforts to make that change here in North America, but I believe that we will fend it off. I don’t think it’s politically and socially too late here. Could you imagine seeing American’s in the role of “refugee” fleeing elsewhere? I believe it’s one of the core characteristics of being an American. We don’t flee, we resist. I think we’ll have a massive refugee crisis of our own, as traditionally European people groups come here en masse like we’ve seen before. Canada will see it too. Spanish-speaking illegals will become the lease of our worries, as their jobs quickly get taken up by the influx of Europeans. Who knows, maybe the next Holy See will be in North or South America? Not a Catholic, so doesn’t matter to me.

Enough with the future.

Yet as a Christian, I’m compelled to not just head some out of context warnings, but to obey the various commands of my Lord. Look, I’m no works-based Christian. I don’t DO things to be saved or maintain a state of being saved. My salvation comes from the Lord. I respond to His salvation by seeking to become more like Christ. It’s a response to His having died on the cross to atone for my sin, all of it.

“O LORD, God of vengeance,
O God of vengeance, shine forth!
Rise up, O judge of the earth;
repay to the proud what they deserve!
O LORD, how long shall the wicked,
how long shall the wicked exult?
Psalms 94:1-3

I do believe that God will separate the wheat from the chaff, and even use Western powers to earthly punish, opening the door for an eternal punishment for more than just the evil ISIS, jihadists, and terrorists. For all who live their life of sin, rejecting the pull of the Holy Spirit to be saved. I’m not seeking a theological debate surrounding punishment, earthly or eternally. Nor do I want to enter much of any debate with this post. I’m writing this to lay out what I hope to be an explanation of and show a balance towards my stances on these issues of the day.

Time to shift a little. If I see a vagrant, aka a homeless person, clearly in need, shall I not give them a buck to help them take a step forward? But what if they’ll just use it to get some more Everclear or another 40? Is that up to me? Shouldn’t I just obey the Lord and let they needy chose to sin with my handout? I don’t know the answer, but I lean towards, let them chose to sin or not. In my line of work, I’m pretty sure if we’re in Santa Barbara County, I already know them by name, and where they hide their can opener and their single pocket knife, having probably given them 10’s if not 100’s of putdown searches. But with that knowledge, there are steps I can take to help them out, and not set them up for failure. I can toss a handful of canned goods in my truck, and when faced with the opportunity to give them something of a blessing, why not just give them a couple of canned goods? They’ll be grateful, and I can obey God’s direction to be helpful to the needy. (Author’s addition: It’s interesting, a friend sent me a piece of Scripture, as a part of a public rebuke, and I only wish that he’d had know of this post, or I had finished it when I wrote it.)

For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

Matthew 25:35-40

But this “refugee” crisis is much more than the simple discussion about giving something to a single destitute person in your community. It’s SO MUCH bigger, and complex. First off I will state, there is no way I could support a blanket, “Accept them all without making a real effort to filter out those we know are bad guys and/or evil”. I do not believe that the Lord’s call the feed, clothe, and generally care for those in need includes opening yourself up to danger or evil. Today’s American Christians have the local collective funds and resources to be helpful and even collectively set up their own small scale refugee camps, and we could even reroute resources intended for other church projects, fulfilling God’s calling, without having to bring them into our homes. And yet, we could still set up locally managed programs that DO accept individuals and/or families into our homes. But I’m telling you, it would have to be done with great care into the management of who these people are, and they shall be vetted to a certain extent. That’s just good stewardship and prudent use of the resources the Lord has blessed us. Interestingly, some of us might actually have to set aside our obsessions and family addictions, in order for these things to happen. Maybe turn off the 30 sports channels we must subscribe to so that we never miss a game? My family doesn’t have a dish or cable, so we don’t have that. But we sure do play a lot of Xbox. Our coffee press is a lot cheaper than a plugged in coffee maker or even a daily Starbucks. These little things might actually go far if we stepped up with our local church and set up a Gratuitous Fund, whose purpose would be to pay for a temporary steel building in our church’s parking lot or on an unused grassy area, We could build it out for 3-4 families, with a communal kitchen. Then take in that many families from the incoming VETTED refugee community, and help them get on their feet. We could commit to house and feed them for a given period of time, as they move towards establishing themselves.

I am not against this. I am not against even trying to help a few families at a time, and later discovering that one or more of them gave into their evil and sinful desire to cause harm. If we had set up a program that placed the responsibility of the vetting on the government, the rest is up to God’s sovereignty. And I do believe in the sovereignty of the Lord! Even as far as I’ve stated accepting a bad outcome from an honorable effort to provide care.

Look, I love God. He has brought me through so very much. I trust Him. He has backed up His claims to provide care and comfort. He reigns over all. And one day, every created being will be unable to deny His existence and mastery over all of creation. I also believe that God calls me, as a godly man, husband, father, male leader within my local church body, and deacon, to be vigilant and wise.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

1 Peter 5:6-8

Those who truly believe in the Doctrines of Grace, aka the Gospel, should be praying for all involved. Pray for the President. Pray for the leaders of the European countries, right now under siege. AND PRAY FOR THE REFUGEES! Pray for the ISIS terrorists! Pray for wisdom with the leaders. Pray for those in actual need, that they don’t become pawns in the mix. Pray for justice, repentance, and salvation of them all, including ISIS and the other terrorists. Pray for those who have lost loved ones and were injured. And pray for those who have yet to be injured or murdered.

I will continue to use the skills of my profession to be alert when I enter a restaurant or business establishment. Us sheepdogs tend to bob our heads left to right a few times, looking for potential threats. Does that mean I don’t trust God to protect me? Nope, He is protecting me, by having given me the training to be aware. I will continue to use the rights granted to me to remain armed when permitted and be prepared to defend myself and others if the need arises. I’ll also lock my front door, because I care to protect my wife and children from anyone with unauthorized access to our home.

Do I think the current efforts some states are making, to ban Syrian “refugees” from entering their states are wrong or right? I think, with the current system established by our President and the executive branch, committing to welcome such massive numbers with what is clearly a passive vetting, I say good for them. Those states are saying, “Woah! Let’s make sure that these arriving refugees are not ISIS and/or other sorts of terrorists.” The FBI is saying that the flow out paces their ability to vet them. So, Barry should take a step back and let the professionals dictate the speed of arrivals. That’s not going to happen, and terrorists will get in. It’s probably already happened. We’ll get attacked and murdered, but no one will hold him accountable. That’s our system right now. Barry does what he wants. We can’t avoid it for the next year. But the 10th Amendment dictates that states have the right to govern themselves as they see fit, unless the US Constitution gives the authority on said issue to the federal government. So, these states will try to stop the influx, but they won’t succeed because Barry doesn’t care about the Constitution. So be it.

That doesn’t change our calling. It doesn’t change my faith.

You should know, as I look back at my leukemia journey, and I’ve said this before, I would not have it any other way. I would gladly walk this path again, knowing it has been God’s will for me to carry this burden, and weather this storm. I am becoming a better man because of this journey.

I will stand firm, ready to protect and defend my home, my family, my community, and my freedoms. All the while knowing that God’s sovereignty is supreme, and every situation and outcome is dictated by Him.

For further reading that I believe supports my points, but does so in a much better way…




Why did he post that?

Friends, family, and followers…

It has come to my attention that you do not all believe the same as I do on issues like doctrine, politics, worldview, and even faith in God at all.

This is not striking or alarming to me. For those who could not or would not seek an understanding of our differences, or simply don’t want to be friends with people with whom they disagree, they chose to unfriend or just hide me. I’ve done the same with a few. But I’m not scared away from people with whom I disagree, when we can disagree with a politeness that is quite rare today.

I find that every once in a while I feel compelled to remind y’all that I mean no harm.

On issues like politics, which really is just applied worldview, I’ve always been very clear. I am a single-issue voter. I sum my political philosophy as a supporter of individual liberty. The gist is this, as an individual each American has the right to live, the right to have their life defended and protected, and the right to defend and protect themselves, when they are old enough.

Applied, this means I am staunch supporter of life, from conception. And this means that the 2nd Amendment IS the foremost of our civil rights. None of our other civil rights can be protected, defended, or enforced, without the power to actually use the tools necessary to defend them. And that means the 2nd Amendment. I do not believe the government has the right to know what I have, nor should they inhibit my ability to freely purchase, own and possess all forms of modern personal firearms. I can go farther down that road, but I won’t this time. Feel free to ask me in the comments for specifics, if you feel so compelled. I will answer all polite questions.

On issues of faith, I’ve found a pretty decent balance, I believe, with the bulk of my friends on FB. I have other Christian friends from denominations and doctrinal backgrounds with whom we disagree…strongly. But under the umbrella of Christianity, we don’t treat each other like Shiite’s and Sunnies. More often than not, we agree to disagree. But also, a large portion of us simply agree on the most core of issues, but disagree on other interpretation.

I also am friends with Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, claimed atheists, agnostics, Catholics, and Jews. And I’m sure I have at least one Muslim friend.

What’s the point of all this? Well, it’s my blog and I like to write about stuff that interests me. But I think I provide a point of view that challenges some and unfortunately upsets others.

But the big deal isn’t that my pro-gun meme share, or a pro Ben Carson share is going up because I’m trying to change your mind. I’m posting that stuff to remind those who ARE on my team, if you will, that they are not alone. I’m reminding them that they have political, social, philosophical, and doctrinal allies.

I’m what other Christian’s might call Reformed, or a Calvinist. I post serious doctrinal memes and not so serious pro-Calvinist memes, or quotes, etc. That is so that my Calvinist friends can be reminded, we are not alone.

Yesterday, I shared a meme-like text picture. A sister in Christ had had her limit of my war-mongering (my word choice), and posted a lengthy rebuke in the comments. I actually have very little problem with what she was trying to highlight. My only issue was that since we have shared life, I feel she’s obligated to confront me in a more personal way. I ended up responding poorly, and there were no more comments from anyone. I’m pretty sure I slammed the gavel.

After some thought, and an appropriate rebuke from my mom, I removed both comments. Then I sent a more private and direct communique with her. In person or on the phone it’ll be so much easier for her to express herself, and for me to hear her out, and possibly explain.

A little more background…
My “rules” are, if I post it on my wall, I control the flow of the debate, etc. And I don’t debate much at all on FB anymore. Why? Because changed ideas come from shared life conversations, not debates on FB.

That doesn’t mean that we can disagree, or you can’t probe for an explanation of what or why I believe or was trying to say. That happens often.

My “rules” also mean that if I post something on your wall, you have full control of how it goes. You don’t like it, that’s fine. If you want to chat, we might. I don’t debate anymore. But if you delete it outright, I’m fine with that. If I want to understand why, I’ll shoot you a message seeking understanding. But it’s your wall. You decide.

This has been a fairly normal kind of etiquette on FB since before non .edu peeps were permitted. Sorta.

So, let’s summarize. If you don’t like what I post, you have several options. Unfriend me, hide me, or simply ignore me, comment politely in a way that is appropriate for a quasi-public forum, or send me some sort of private message to discuss it more, especially if you’re offended by what I posted.

“So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13 ESV)

That is as much a reminder for you as it is for me. I must seek to be loving, in my interactions, in real life and online. But it’s also a reminder to you, this is what I want you to expect from me. And if you don’t get it, feel to talk to me about it…in a more private manner than commenting on a post.


Shopping the gun buyback


Listen up real gun peeps. I have a complex question that must be pondered before answered.

First, I’ll establish that behind enemy lines, here in Kalifornia, all guns must be sold through an FFL.


In many states, not KA, wise gun purchasers take cash to “government buyback programs”, and shop the line. Obviously this is done in free states where one can legally buy a gun from another person, no questions asked.

If I chose to try the same thing here in Kalifornia, I’d need to shop the line with an FFL at my side? Yes, does that makes sense. He/She could fill out the paperwork from the seller, and then myself and my FFL could retire to his/her shop to finish up my end of the paperwork and background checks on me?






Veteran’s Day

Medal of Honor recipient, Kyle Carpenter.

Medal of Honor recipient, Kyle Carpenter.

So many of us feel such gratitude towards the veterans we meet and read about. The Medal of Honor winner, Kyle Carpenter (no relationship) comes to mind.

Of course I’m also reminded of the late great Chris Kyle, and the ever inspiring Marcus Lutrell.

Chris Kyle, prior to his untimely death, on the left. Marcus Lutrell on the right.

Chris Kyle, prior to his untimely death, on the left. Marcus Lutrell on the right.

There’s so many high level vets, with great stories to be retold for generations to come. But we all have stories of family and friends who served in their own way. Vets who dropped into Normandy. And vets who drove up the beaches after it was secured. Vets who volunteered for missions they can’t talk about, in Vietnam. And vets who were drafted and manned a post for their whole tour. These men, and now women, deserve our honor and respect. Their sacrifices have continued to make America great. Briefly, I want to turn you on to one of the best injured veteran organizations I’ve come across. I’ve had the blessing of attending SHOTshow for the last 3 years, and met with several veteran organizations to fill the gaps and care well for our vets. Two in particular are top notch.

  • Wishes for Warriors – 100% of their proceeds go to injured vets. One of the few organizations I’ve actually donated.
  • AmericanSnipers.org – These guys support our sniper community, retired, injured, and deployed. They help out with gear and support that help bridge the gap between what the DOD provides, and what they actually need. The only other veteran organizations I’ve donated.

I make every attempt to tell identifiable vets my gratefulness for their service. Living near an Air Force Base, I get that opportunity often. I grew up in Ventura County, watching my parents extend their gratefulness towards the massive amount of US Navy vets in that community.

Geoff preparing to drive his AAV. #BusDriver

Geoff preparing to drive his AAV. #BusDriver

Today, I want to honor one particular veteran, my cousin Geoff. He joined the USMC not too far from graduating from high school. Then served his first enlistment as an Assault Amphibious Vehicle (AAV) driver. Those guys deliver Marines from ship to shore, and beyond. When deployed, they’re often a part of the Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU). I can’t add too much, but Geoff was blessed with the opportunity to stand guard atop the USS Cole after it was attacked by Islamic extremists. After his enlistment, and having spent so much time in the San Diego area, he eventually migrated back to the area, away from Ventura County, where the bulk of our immediate family resides. This was hard for some, as traditions evolve, and families aren’t the best and vocalizing their desires. But I hold his bravery to move away in high regard because it almost gave Deanna and I permission to do the same. We left the VC for northern Santa Barbara County not too long later. He broke the mold that gave us the freedom to do the same.

Not too long after his move, he took advantage of his working community to re-enlist, in the reserve Marine Corps. He not continues to progress and serve in the US Marines. He’s no longer stuck in amphibious buses, but working in a training role that suits his professional career and benefits the USMC quite well.

A more recent photo of Geoff and his wonderful wife.

A more recent photo of Geoff and his wonderful wife.

I’m super proud of his commitments and the following through of service to his fellow man and woman. Today, I hope he understands and feels the tremendous honor and respect I have for him and his fellow service members.

Happy Veteran’s Day!

One more, for good measure. R. Lee Ermey and my cousin Geoff.

One more, for good measure. R. Lee Ermey and my cousin Geoff.