God raised me in a religious tradition that was not like the one I knew growing up, which I would describe as the moral equivalent of keeping a lucky rabbit’s foot in one’s pocket, pulling it out only to rub it for assistance when needed.  Too many men in my father’s generation were that way, compartmentalizing religion to the corners of their existence, only letting enough of it out to convince others that you were the real deal.  Then you could continue in your path of self-interest, carving out your own little kingdom which you would control as lord and master, letting very little of God’s control touch your life, nor letting much of His illuminating light of Truth shine in, because this might compel a real religious experience of submission, spiritual growth, and compassion for others.  No, many men of that generation and our own have it all figured out.  They are the “experts” and don’t need anybody’s help, certainly not God’s, unless God will do things their way, remaining within the parameters that they set for Him.  So, they continue in this path, not growing, not bothering to consult with God except in emergencies.  It’s an experience without a real relationship with God, it is devoid of humility, it is highly controllable, and it is bereft of truth.  I’m thankful to God that He taught me a better, humbler path, walking with Him in light and truth, talking with Him daily, and yielding to His control on all things. 

There was a legalistic strain of Christianity that was pervasive in the South for a long time.  It was not real Christianity, but it passed for the real thing.  I know that slavery and Jim Crow were not consistent with Christianity, but many people tried to make the connection.  This is what happens when you compartmentalize your religion, not letting it into all areas of your life.  This legalistic, feudal system of morality was in all areas of life and even seeped into the home as well, putting the family into strata and ranking with the high emperor at the top of the system being the father who was to be indulged and served and given his special place to sit, given the first cut of the food, etc.   Now don’t get me wrong, a man coming into his house at the end of the day after having worked very hard in demanding physical labor might need a little extra meat and a little extra kindness to soothe the wounds of the day.  Moreover, we should give honor to our leaders who are responsible for good order, welfare, and peace, but this feudal system in the Old South with the husband as “king of the castle” was pure legalism.  

There was absolutely no Christian morality in it, and no love of our Christ in it.  I know because I lived with that system growing up, and I vowed to do things differently when I raised a family, which I have done with smashing success.  No surprise there, though.  If you do things God’s way, you end up with so many blessings.  God helped me to dare to be different in so many ways in my life, cutting a unique path, so many times going down roads that others tried to divert me from or to warn me away from, but I always followed God, listening intently to that “still, small voice,” which showed me the way so many times through very rocky, dark, and even evil places such as my tour in Iraq.  He has literally led me through the “valley of the shadow of death.”  I have truly come to understand that verse in the 23d Psalm in light of my experiences in and after my deployment, suffering as I have with the same internal wounds that so many countless of our veterans suffer from, have suffered from throughout history, and continue to suffer from to this day.  But God is good, and He is so much bigger than any problem we might face in life.

I pray that you will know Him personally today through His son Jesus, and that you will be guided by Him in your daily life so that you will experience the abundant life that He wants for you.



05/13/2014 3:30am

nice blog .


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    I'm a retired soldier, having spent 23 years of my life serving our country, actually 30 years when you count the reserve and National Guard time as well.  I believe in servant leaders, following the example of our Lord, and I believe in giving back to the troops once one has attained a certain status or level of success in life.  But I also believe in fighting back against corruption and incompetence wherever you find it if it hurts people.  Our national values were worth dying for.  They are also worth living for.  A man or woman can actually live a life by these principles of humility, service, love, duty, and honor, and have a significant impact on the world around them...if you have the dedication to see it through. 


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