Thoughts and Prayers…

Don’t stop thinking. Direct your thoughts toward, “How can I help?” If even the loved one, co-worker, neighbor, who is scared or hurting or fed up. Can I listen? Can I bring comfort? Can I sit with you?

That won’t stop the next killer. But it might make the ones around us know they matter. Just a little?

Don’t stop praying. In fact – START praying! I’m willing to bet many who offer “thoughts and prayers”, did just that. Three whole words, typed out, or copied and pasted. That’s it…

Maybe we should pray. For real. For bondage to be broken for so many who are held captive to fear, hatred, shame, discord, pain, loss – all the things this world and the devil have to offer. All the things Jesus came to set us free from.

Start praying. You don’t have to tell me. Just pray for me? And I can for you?

And if you see no value in praying, ok. I understand, really I do. I can’t expect you to understand. But I pray for you, even more. Cause I love you, and thought of you held captive by all the world and the devil have to offer, breaks my heart…

So tell me – how can I help? Thoughts and prayers don’t help end the slaughter. Our government won’t help. Facebook fights don’t help – and I bet you agree, they do more harm than good, at least in our raw, emotional state. So tell me – what can I do for you? Right now? I probably don’t have anything real and tangible to offer the families of the victims (short of money – I can do that). But what do YOU need? Right now?

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2017 – My Year In Music

Wow!  I put out a lot of stuff this year.  Here is a bit of a rundown of things I did in 2017.

2017-03-The Great Thought Thinker Joe Pyeweed
The Great Thought Thinker (Joe Pyeweed)
.  I was blessed to get to work with the ultra-talented Joe Pyeweed again, on the Great Thought Thinker.  You are blessed to be able to hear it right here.

cassette-1
Old Dogs
.  I spent some time re-working and re-recording old songs from my old band, The Moondogs.  I did about 8 or 9 songs, and whittled that down to an EP.  You can listen to it here.

A couple cool things about this one:  First, I did a cover of Kiss’ “Tears Are Falling”.  That’s pretty cool in itself.  But two, I put this out on cassette.  And three – I put this out on 8-track!  Yes, 8-track, and yes, you do want one.  You can get yours here if you want to spend your Xmas scratch.  The 8-track actually has a few extra songs (the ones that did not make the EP, but were still fun), and some special things to even out each of the four sections.

2017-16-i must become less REMASTERED
i must become less (REMASTERED).  
So I made this record in 2015, with a lot of help from dear friends.  I was super proud of it.  It was one of the first ones I did using Cakewalks’ Sonar again (I was a longtime Cakewalk user, switched to a digital console device – but went back because of ease and flexibility that Sonar gave me).  It was also the first one where I submitted my songs to people to help “edit”, or really co-write.  Really, my dear friends Nathan and Joan Boyer did the, “This doesn’t flow, that’s not proper english” with my songs.  It was super helpful, and a lot of fun!

But after a couple years, I wished the mix was better.  But I was too lazy to go and fix.  So I called my dear friend Tony Preston, and he was gracious enough to make my “ok” mix sound amazing!  Give it a listen here!

And as an added bonus – here is a special remix of the song “Show Me Your Glory“…

2017-17-3000...
3000…  
This song was written from the perspective of one of the 3,000 nameless children who are aborted every single day.  I wasn’t interested in politicizing this issue of abortion.  But it really is either an issue of the rights of the mother, if that child is not a human being, or the rights of the child in her, if we are talking about a human being.  Science tells us we are dealing with a human being.  We all know this.  Why do we deny it?  So I wrote the song, to try and further that conversation.  You can listen here.  And every stream of it, I donate to to an organization called New Life Family Services, specifically to a program called “Conquerors”. This program is designed to minister to women who are hurting, due to a past abortion. You can read about them here:

www.nlfs.org/services/conquerors/

2017-25-The Only Childs
The Only Childs.
  Man, this was fun!  I got together with my dear friends Tony Preston and Alex Sutherland to try and write some songs.  Tony was a longtime bandmate – he was in The Moondogs with me for years.  He and I started a band called OnceBlind.  Alex joined OnceBlind when Tony left, and he and I ended that band.  So I thought, why not us three try and do a special “OnceBlind” project.  We changed courses a couple times, and ended up with this nice little EP.  We used Tom Carlon and Steven J. Parenteau, who were the bassist and drummer in The Moondogs, as our rhythm section.  And Tom’s daughter Anna lended her amazing voice to one of the songs.  It was really cool and fun!  We’re hoping to do a show or two in 2018, to have a little fun playing these songs.  You can listen to it here for now.

Future-2-If I Could Leave This Place
If I Could Leave This Place.
  This record, was a culmination of songwriting throughout 2017.  It started with a request from my nephew, who was in the Marines at the time.  “Can you write me a song?  Make it a Country song.”  I did not make it a country song, but I did in fact write him a song.

Then I started writing songs for other loved ones.  I put together a dozen or so, and put this record together.  It’s probably my favorite record, mainly because it’s so personal.  I hope you enjoy it as well!  Give it a listen.

Some notables:

  • I hired out musicians from Nashville for one song.  Actually I ended up using them on two versions of the song.  Pretty cool!
  • I did a Beatle cover, which is scary.  But it turned out alright.
  • I did a cover of one of my dear friend’s songs.  Jeromy Darling is a gifted songwriter.  When I couldn’t pull out a true worship song (they all sounded cheesy, like the stuff you hear on the radio), I asked if I could use one he had already written.  He’s a lovely human being, and of course said yes.  My friend Anna (Tom’s daughter) sang with me on it, which sounds amazingly, hauntingly beautiful.
  • I hired out pedal steel and dobro from a guy in England, named Toby Wilson.  Super talented!  If you need any work, he’s your man.

Whew!  And if that wasn’t enough, I recorded some backing tracks for a few friends on their songs, and I put out a couple singles to end the year, “You Are Beautiful” and “You Will Find Him On A Mercy Seat“.  Both will be on my upcoming release – yes, I have a new release in the works…  I just can’t stop…  Which brings me to 2018 plans:

  • I’m still working on my double-double album.  Two double-albums, each will be somewhere between 15 and 30 songs long.  A concept album, based on the Bible.  Think of it as a non-theologian writing and arranging songs around the books of the Bible.  One will be all old testament, and one all new.  I started this in the spring of 2016, and I still have a long way to go.  But it’s chugging along!  Hopefully done by end of 2018, God-willing.
  • This new record of mine, should be out by spring.  I just need a couple more parts added, then mix it.  I kinda dig it.  It’s a lot more “simple” in nature than my last.  It’s also a bit more dark.
  • I have a few songs slated for another EP, that will probably rear it’s head in 2018.  Hoping to do these songs with some dear friends.
  • I plan to do a few shows throughout the year.  Time-permitting, more than I have in the past couple years.
  • Maybe start working on a new Only Childs record?  We’ll see.
  • I am working with Alex Sutherland on his solo debut.  It’s going to be primarily a country record.  I’m super stoked for this one!
  • Lastly, I’m hoping to try and get some work as a producer, helping people make the best record, song, demo, whatever, they can.  We’ll see how this goes.  If you are someone who could use some help, hit me up!

Suffice it to say, 2018 should be musically pretty similar to 2017 for me.

Here’s to a wonderful 2018 for you, and may God bless you abundantly!

T.

The Songs

old-dogs-cover

Old Dogs

I made this EP as a sort of “tribute” to my friends who played with me in the Moondogs for many years.  Steve Parenteau, Derek Kosch, Tony Preston, Tom Carlon.  We did a lot of shows, made a lot of crappy records – we had a lot of fun.

We did a reunion show last summer, which would have also been 20 years.  Crazy…  It got me thinking, I’d like to re-do some of those older songs.  So – I did!  Here is a rundown.

Burning Bridges – This is really a mish-mash of riffs from various Moondog songs, put into a new song.  I didn’t want to just recreate what we created 20 years ago.  So I opted for something new out of the old.  I like how this song turned out, it has a cool groove.

“Burning Bridges” is not meant to “cut ties with those who are not like me”.  It’s more cutting ties with the temptation to fall into sin.  “I’m a wrecking ball on sin”, applies to my life only – I don’t see myself “wrecking sin” in others’ lives, I think Jesus does that just fine.  🙂  BUT if this song can serve as an encouragement to others, wonderful!

She Don’t Know – I always loved this song, though I’m not sure we ever played it live.  I was trying to reproduce “Somebody’s Baby” by Jackson Browne.  I didn’t really get it 20 years ago, and I didn’t really try to get it this time around.  But I like how this rendition turned out.

Tears Are Falling – Yes, the Kiss song.  This song has nothing to do with my old band.  Although Steve and I did play “Heaven’s On Fire” in our high school band (and horribly).  I put it on, because I thought it fit the tone of the record.  I was listening to this while running, and the thought came to me, “What if Crowded House did this song?”  So I tried to record it with that in mind.  I did keep part of Bruce Kulick’s guitar solo (the only part I could play).  But it’s definitely different than the Kiss version.  I’d like to get them a copy, because Kiss is the reason I ever picked up a guitar.

Cry In Vain – Another song we never played live in the Moondogs.  Not necessarily my favorite.  I can’t recall why I chose this one to re-do?  But I kinda like how it turned out.  Musically, it flows better than it did 20 years ago.  And lyrically, it’s a bit different.  It used to be a song about relational hopelessness.  I changed a few words, and it became a song about hope.  So I like how it turned out.  And I’m getting more into playing the Fender Rhodes on my songs.  Some day maybe I’ll get good at it.

How You Hurt Me – I wanted to write a Rick Springfield song with this one.  It’s a fun song.  We did play this one a lot in the Moondogs.  It was a fun one to play, especially as it explodes at the end.

It’s really kind of a dumb rock song.  I’m ok with that, really.  Rock and roll can be dumb from time to time.  We all need to be silly from time to time.

As I mentioned in my last post, you can get this record on cassette!  And soon on 8-track as well!  Both versions will get you a digital copy – or you can just buy the download if you prefer.

And there is always itunes, Spotify, Amazon, whatever you prefer.

I give the money I make away, because I like to and someone else can use that money.  This time around, I chose an organization called “To Write Love On Her Arms”.  They are a wonderful organization, their mission being:

To Write Love on Her Arms is a non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide. TWLOHA exists to encourage, inform, inspire, and also to invest directly into treatment and recovery.

EVERYONE knows someone who struggles with depression or addiction, and/or might even be that person.  While I know money thrown at a problem doesn’t just fix the problem – money given to people who want to fix the problem is never a bad thing.  And my heart’s desire is for people to know they MATTER.  God cares for His children, loves His people.  I want them to know that.  I want YOU to know that.  More than anything, I want you to KNOW that.

If you feel so inclined, you could give to TWLOHA directly.

I really hope you like the record.  There will be more…  🙂

Old Dogs

Look, I’m Just Gonna Make Records…

Yes, I just put a record out in October.  And the one before that, in June.  And a few songs here and there.  AND I am working on another record as we speak.  I’m just going to do that.  It doesn’t matter, because I’m not doing this for a living, I just like to write songs, and make records.  I like how records of old told stories.  I am trying to do that, in some way.

Soooo – I have one out TODAY!  It’s called “Old Dogs”. It was originally going to be a collection of old songs written in the time I was in a band called the Moondogs.  And it mostly is still that.  But I added a cover of Kiss’ “Tears Are Falling”, because I loved that song as a kid, and because – well just because.  🙂

old-dogs-cover

5 songs.  Out today.  I also have it available on CASSETTE TAPE today!

cassette-1

Because why not?  If you have a tape deck in your car, or maybe on your boom box in the garage, why the heck not right?

You can just head on over here to make your purchase.  You’ll see options for cassette, and – yes – 8-track too!  I’m still waiting on the pressing for the 8-tracks, but they will come.  And if you are so inclined, buy one of those too!

A purchase of either tape will get you a digital download as well.  So you can put it on your phone, tablet, PC, iwatch, Google Glass, what have you.  And if you don’t like tapes – first of all what is wrong with you?  – but secondly, you can just buy the digital download here.  Scroll toward the bottom, and you’ll see the digital download.

Of course, there is itunes, Amazon, Spotify and the like.  You can buy or stream to your heart’s content.

I give the money I make away, because I like to and someone else can use that money.  This time around, I chose an organization called “To Write Love On Her Arms”.  They are a wonderful organization, their mission being:

To Write Love on Her Arms is a non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide. TWLOHA exists to encourage, inform, inspire, and also to invest directly into treatment and recovery.

EVERYONE knows someone who struggles with depression or addiction, and/or might even be that person.  While I know money thrown at a problem doesn’t just fix the problem – money given to people who want to fix the problem is never a bad thing.  And my heart’s desire is for people to know they MATTER.  God cares for His children, loves His people.  I want them to know that.  I want YOU to know that.  More than anything, I want you to KNOW that.

If you feel so inclined, you could give to TWLOHA directly.

So, that is my new record!  I hope you enjoy!  OH!  And I made a video!  Well – sort of… I did submit it to the Bon Jovi opening band contest.  Who knows maybe I’ll win.  But short of that, you can watch that here.

Thanks dear ones, and I’ll see you soon.

Love,

T.

Celebrities, Our Worldview, and Jesus

There have been a few things that our celebrities have said and done, of late, that has brought on much ado in the social media realm.  QBs taking a knee, actors lamenting our president-elect, celebs pleading with our electoral college to “vote their conscience”.  We as a people have either celebrated them or lambasted them for their public displays.  I’ve read often how these people have a responsibility to us, how they shouldn’t do or say these things, or shouldn’t be allowed to.  Huh?  Wha???

Sorry to say, but it’s their platform, not ours.  They can say or do anything within the law.  Sure, there might be consequences for their action.  People have been fired, etc.  But they won’t be going to jail for it.  At least not in our country.  At least not today.

And I am fascinated at how we as a people REACT to it!  We want them to shut up and just do what we pay them to say or do.  But we didn’t buy THEM.  We bought their services, their entertainment.  I may not agree with them – I very often don’t – but let ’em say and do what they are going to say and do.  It’s ok, really it is, if your favorite actor doesn’t agree with you on everything, or really – anything.  It’s ok if they do or say something stupid – that’s not a reflection of you.

I also find it fascinating, how we will use a celeb as “social media leverage”.  I’m guilty of this myself.  Sure, if Bono says something that resonates with me, often in a way much more eloquent than I could even think, I’m all about that.  I will probably re-post.  As will so many others.

Same goes for our celebrities opinions on Trump, Clinton. Obama, Planned Parenthood, gun control, bathrooms, on and on.  It’s as if someone I like says something I agree with, now I MUST be right!  And we’ll take that and turn it into a meme, so everyone can throw it around.  Sorta like when the cool guy says something cool that put the other guy in his place.  And we are the little weenie behind them, saying, “Yeah, take THAT!”

And what about what celebs think and say of Jesus?

So often we might hear about how Jesus was a good teacher, a pacifist, almost a zen Buddhist.  Not much different than so many of us, who don’t know Him personally.  Described in impersonal terms.  Described often in positive ways, but rarely or never with a deep reverence.  Described almost never as the One True God…

An example, although a bit older, is this.  In his post, John Fugelsang describes a Jesus that seems to threaten the Jesus many Christians claim to know.  Maybe for some.  I don’t know.

But what I do know is Mr. Fugelsang, like so many others who have shared these or similar thoughts, never referred to Jesus as God.  He describes Jesus, as if He was just a man, in history, like any other.  And I don’t know John, maybe that’s what he thinks?  If so – I’m sorry to say John Fugelsang, you do not know Jesus.  I could argue that from some of your descriptions – but my point isn’t to refute your descriptions or correct your misconceptions of Jesus.  But if you don’t think Jesus is God, you simply do not know Him…  And that is so sad…

So, given all this celeb opinion talk of late, I thought I’d spend some time re-posting some comments that Jesus Himself, the ultimate celebrity, made about Himself.  These are but a handful, there are so many more.  And there are so many descriptions of Jesus in the Gospels.  But these are a small handful of descriptions of Jesus, in His own words.

“I am the way and the truth and the life.” (John 14:6)

“I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” (John 6:35)

“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” (Revelation 22:13)

“Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” (John 8:58)

The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”

Then Jesus declared, “I, the One speaking to you—I am He.”  (John 4:25-26)

So these are just a few.  There are so many more.  I encourage you to read them for yourself.  I encourage you to get to know this God, who so loved YOU, that He gave His very life as a ransom for yours.  I don’t want you to read about, hear about, some hippie Jesus who may have said some nice things to say, who “never cared about the small stuff”, who “did not judge”.

Nor do I want you to be buried with a Jesus who tells you, “You must clean up your act”, or, “You aren’t good enough”, or, “Try harder”, or, “You know better”.  He did not say that.

I want you to know the Jesus who said He came to set the captives free,  who said He did not come to condemn the world, but to save it through Him, who says He has loved you with an everlasting love

We’ll likely be enthralled, or appalled, by the next celebrity speech, or tweet, or action.  It’s kinda what we do.  But the more we fix our eyes on the One True God, who He is, what He says, maybe – just maybe – the less we’ll focus on our worldly idols.

 

 

My So Called Political Life

This  certainly has been an interesting year, from the perspective of politics.  Anyone can agree on that, whether they are excited for the election, or even just ready for it to be done.

It’s also interesting to me, in that my daughter can vote for the United States president, for the first time in her life.  I remember this being a little exciting for me actually.  I think for her, it’s kinda stressful given the choices that have been shoved into her face.

All this got me thinking, and I started to document my political memories.  Now mind you, this is my list, not by any means a history of politics in America.  Some of this is my perception of goings on, and could very well be not only my opinion, but factually wrong.  This is also coming from someone who has been relatively disinterested in politics, throughout my life.  So don’t be disappointed when I don’t go on and on about some local politician who changed my life, or you don’t find the answer to the red pill/blue pill question.  🙂

OK, here goes.

  • My first memory is walking to the school bus for kindergarten, listening to my brother’s friends arguing over who was better, Ford or Carter.  I “think” they may have had a mock election in my brother’s class, so it was a thing for them.  And, from how I recall (If this memory is even a real one), it was more about who was cooler.  Like “my guy is gonna beat your guy”, type of thing.  Like one might do this year if they are a Vikings fan.  I think many rejoiced over Carter winning.  I thought Ford had a cooler name.  I mean – it was a car, for the love!
    • Disclaimer, I’m going to look up to insure it WAS Ford vs. Carter in 1976.  I think so?  But I really, really don’t recall, and I wanted to be honest here that my memory is cloudy from back when I was five, so I just typed it out even if this is wrong.
  • I remember my grandma Kay and my great grandma complaining about Jimmy Carter, it seemed a lot.  Not ALL the time.  But for a moment.  Could have been around the election, I can’t recall specific details or timing.  But I gathered they did not like him.
  • President Carter liked peanuts.  Who doesn’t like peanuts?
  • I recall a bit of an uproar over Ronald Reagan, because he’d been divorced and remarried, and he wasn’t Catholic.  My grandma and great grandma complained about him a lot too, if memory serves.  I have no idea what their political affiliation was – I never asked.
  • I remember asking my mom who she was going to vote for.  She wouldn’t tell me.
  • I wanted Carter to win so badly in 1980.  I have no idea why?  I was a little bummed when he didn’t.  Kinda like our local sports teams, they always let you down…  (Not a prediction, Vikings fans!  But not necessarily not a prediction either?)
  • I remember thinking the President was our version of a king.  My teacher corrected me, making sure I understood a president does not have that kind of power – nor should they.
  • I remember it was a big deal when President Reagan got shot…  Kinda scary.  We watched the news stuff in school.  I was glad he pulled through.
  • Robin Williams did a hilarious Ronald Reagan skit on SNL, where he was meek and timid and gentle around guests – but when they left, he was a notorious warlord looking to take over the world.  I laughed.
  • Phil Hartman did a pretty good Reagan too.  I laughed some more.  “Well….”
  • I remember asking my mom who she was going to vote for again in 1984.  She wouldn’t tell me…
  • I remember my then boss (female, mind you) making jokes about voting for “bush” or “dukakus” (spelling?).  I turned 18 like a week after the election, so I did not care who won.  But I thought the inappropriate, immature jokes from my boss were kinda funny.
  • I asked my mom again, in ’88 – she still wouldn’t tell me…
  • Potatoe…
  • I was able to vote for a president in 1992!  And for a moment I really thought about voting Ross Perot.  But he bailed out, then came back, I thought he was flaky.  So I voted for the cool guy, who played saxophone on Arseneo Hall.  I mean – Bill Clinton was just plain COOL.  Who wouldn’t want a president you can related to?
  • My MOTHER still would not tell me who she would vote for, even though I was willing to tell HER who I was going to vote for.  MAN, she just won’t budge!
  • Paul Wellstone was a hero among many of my friends.  I didn’t know much about him – I still don’t – but he’s a hero to many even today.
  • I voted for President Clinton again i 1996.  It was cool to be on the winning team, and I still thought he was cool.  And Phil Hartman and the other SNL guy (His name is escaping me at the moment) both did incredible Bill Clinton impersonations.  Made for great tv.
  • I have no idea who my mom voted for…  I don’t even know if I asked her…
  • I don’t recall WHEN the whole Monica Lewinski thing came out?  I actually defended Bill Clinton, not because I thought what he did was ok – because I thought that’s what ALL politicians did.  So why were they so quick to crucify President Clinton for something they themselves were doing?
    • I was lovingly but aggressively corrected by a friend’s very liberal mother – “HE LIED TO US.  HE SHOULD NOT BE PRESIDENT”.  It took me back, and I remember thinking, “Yeah are we supposed to expect more from those in office?  Probably…”
  • Jesse Ventura, a professional wrestler, ran for governor of Minnesota.  This caught my attention, because I WATCHED him as a kid, every Sunday morning.  I hated him.  He was an arrogant jerk.  But y0u know what?  He was a jerk in politics too.  BUT – he was the first person who I thought wasn’t telling me what I wanted to hear.  He made sense on many issues, even if I didn’t agree with him.  So I voted for him.
  • No idea if my mother voted for Ventura…
  • I remember I did NOT want George W to win.  But he did.  After a ton of recalls, busted chads, etc.  I gave up on it, long before the Democrats did…
  • I have NO IDEA what my mom thought about any of that…  Don’t ask…
  • Then 911 happened….  My perspective on President Bush changed drastically after that.  That man handled that situation, and led us as a country, beautifully.  Sure, other men would have done the same.  I think incredible moments bring out the best in us.  And it seemed that way with President Bush in 2001.
  • I voted for President Bush in 2004.
  • I read a very funny book on politics by Jon Stewart, in 2004 or ’05.  I really enjoyed it.  It made me think that politics are maybe a bit of a joke, and politicians as well.  But then, it was relatively easy for me to come to that conclusion, having really not cared much about politics up to that point.
  • I gave my life to Christ in 2007.  This has nothing to do with politics.  But it was definitely more life-changing than ANY political event.
  • In 2008, there was a promise of “hope”, and “change” going against a very respectable war hero and a potentially insane running mate.
  • I remember an evangelist writing about the “hope” that many were putting in Obama.  It was pivotal for me, because he talked about Jesus, and how so many wanted Him to be the political savior that He was never meant to be (at least not in that moment in history).  Christ’s purpose was to save us in a way that no politician ever can.  Including even Barak Obama.
  • I remember talk about Obama being the first black president.  He ran against Hillary Clinton, who could have been the first female president, for the Democratic nomination.  Some were THRILLED that we might have a first black president.  Some were – not so thrilled…
  • I remember I did not care about the election, or any of the hoopla building up to it.  Because my dad was dying of cancer.  We as a family were pretty wrapped up in all that.  I didn’t even vote.  I was heading to the nursing home my father was staying in, as he rapidly declined, on election day.
  • My father died November 7th, 2008…  I think three days after Barak Obama was elected president.
  • I remember thinking that President Obama brought out the worst in people.  Let me be clear – not HIM, or his presidency.  Just the fact that we had a black president, something completely new to us, which should be a momentous occasion, also brought about ugliness in people.  There were some who really, really hated that idea. And their ugliness showed.  There were also some who just did not like what President Obama, a Democratic liberal president, stood and fought for.  And they were accused of being racist.  Just because President Obama was black.  It’s not fair to judge a man by his skin color – whether that be in a negative way, or running to his defense.  But many, many, many did…  And still do…
  • President Obama is very cool.  Cooler for sure than Bill Clinton was.  And Michelle Obama is equally cool.
  • I remember a lot of talk, and argument, over healthcare.  Of course, everyone should be treated medically, as needed.  But I couldn’t understand why the federal government was responsible for this. I was (and still am) very ignorant to how things work, or should work, in our world.  A friend pointed out, when I described the pretty decent care my uninsured father was given, was because he was in Minnesota, and that other states did not offer that to people in need.  “Why don’t other states just figure that out individually”, I thought.  Why try and do some gargantuan thing, that the federal government will likely mess up anyway?  I doubted, and still doubt, that those who needed help would actually get it from our government.
  • For the first time in my life, I thought we as the church needed to start stepping up.  Not POLITICALLY.  But in a way, to help our neighbor, that might over time make our neighbor become less reliant, dependent, a slave to, the government.  But what does that look like?  I still don’t know.  But not having the answer does not take away the responsibility we have as the body of Christ.
  • I remember thinking that many who cried out about political injustices, and how wrong democrats were – some of my conservative christian friends – seemed to put more care into what is going on in our country politically, our government, with our “christian rights” and all that crap, than they did in the eternal fate of so many.  I mean – people who weren’t conservative, were “them”, to some. It was all a bit discouraging…
  • I remember being thoroughly disgusted in 2012, when I found out that in Minnesota it was CONSERVATIVES who wanted to vote on whether or not homosexuals should be able to legally marry.  We’re not talking about being married in a Christian church, a muslim mosque, etc.  We’re talking about marriage, and the “rights” that have been afforded married couples by our government.  A yes vote meant you were against gay marriage.  I vowed I would not vote Yes.  I could not vote No, based on the framing of the question (“Marriage is defined as a union between one man and one woman”, or something like that).  But a non-vote was a “No” vote.  I thought, “GOOD.  Screw them.  Why are we voting on something like this anyway?  And why is the government in the business of marriage at all??”  Puke in mouth..
  • I remember considering whether I wanted to vote Republican.  I did not think I could vote Democrat.  Life mattered to me. And Democrats, while often noble in their desires, want to fix things, try and help people, by taking money from others.  That money, if well-used, could probably help others.  But it’s involuntary.  When you consider how many millions upon millions of dollars were raised by texting a number to help those afflicted by earthquakes in Haiti – VOLUNTARILY – and how many volunteers came forward to help those in New Orleans and other places – we as a people CAN and MUST do whatever it takes to help, VOLUNTARILY.  Taking it or forcing it against ones will, will not work.  PLUS, the government will just squander that money anyway.  So – I cannot vote Democrat.
  • Add to that – I for the first time in my life, was considering voting on the pro-life/pro-choice topic.  Not because I thought a President would abolish Roe V. Wade (I still doubt they actually will, or actually care – another topic I think should not be relegated to politics, but should be openly discussed, even argued over).  Because I did not want my tax dollars to pay for someone to kill their child.  That is something they would have to live with, the rest of their life.  I did not want to be part of it.  If you disagree – see my point above about how much money can be raised voluntarily.  Raise the money, don’t take it from others.
  • I remember thinking for the first time since 1992 about voting 3rd party for a president.  And in 1992, I didn’t really know that 3rd party was such a “taboo thing”.  I started hearing more and more about “wasting your vote”.  I still think that is a ridiculous fear tactic.
  • I remember reading about how Billy Graham, or Franklin Graham (can’t recall which one), apparently removed “Mormons” from their list of cults, as they were going to endorse Mitt Romney.  I found, and find that odd, even today.
  • I did wrestle with the notion of voting for a Mormon.  In the end, I voted on the issues, not the man’s faith.  I’d NEVER voted based on one’s faith in the past – why start now?
  • I ended up voting Romney.  I ended up voting based on the pro-life issue, and my desire to keep the federal government from taking money from people against their will, to fund abortions.
  • I did however cave on the marriage vote…  That is not my proudest moment.  Remember, I was adamant I was going to not vote on that.  I was not coerced, guilted,or threatened outwardly.  Those I did discuss with, understood my stance, whether they agreed or not.  I voted “yes”, however, because the question was worded in how one recognizes marriage, that the bible recognizes it as a union between one man and one woman (again, something to that end).  I voted based on that, even though this to me really had nothing to do with what someone should have legal right to do. Even though the No’s won, and a year or two later gay marriage became legal throughout the country, I still voted against my conscience…  The first time, right or wrong, I EVER voted in a way that made me feel dirty.  And – the last time..
  • Some time after the 2012 elections, some time in the last four years, I started to hear more and more this term “christian nation”.  It may have been before 2012?  But it’s really been THE THING as of late.  Now – keep in mind, this is my perception.  This could have been a thing my entire life.  But I was oblivious to it.
    • I wish I were still…
  • I remember being extremely embarrassed over the entire “birther movement” thing.  Those involved, should apologize to President Obama, and his family.  I don’t think it needs to be public.  But if you were a “birther”, you may want to consider writing him and his family a letter…  I’m not saying you have to.  I’m not trying to shame you.  I would do it, if I were one of them.
    • Which makes me think I should write a letter to someone, about my stupid marriage equality vote in 2012…
  • I remember hearing about Donald Trump throwing his hat in the ring, to run for president.  No way, he’ll ever get the nom  but if he did, he can’t be bought by lobbyists.  That’s a plus.  And he calls it like it is.  I may not like everything he says, I don’t like what I know of his character, and he’s goofy (“You’re fired” anyone?).  But he’s not your typical politician.  Sort of like Ventura?
    • That changed quickly.  And I kept being more and more surprised he’s still in the race!  But no way he’s going to get the nom.
    • And then he did…
  • On the other side, we had the Bern.  Bernie Sanders is full of piss and vinegar.  Bernie Sanders has more energy than my four year old grandson.  Bernie Sanders has a history of passionately fighting for what he believes in.  I wonder, is he similar to what Paul Wellstone, why he was so beloved?
    • Bernie Sanders is the first presidential candidate that was unapologetic about his lack of “religious affiliation”.  Which for me, was actually refreshing.  I don’t know why?  I don’t particularly care (I worked through that, with Romney in 2012, and recall I simply never paid attention to that prior)?  But, while I won’t pretend to know that every candidate was less than honest, when you get the stock answer, “Well, I grew up in the church.  And my faith – you know – um, my FAITH, it means everything to me.  It guides my life.  But I assure you, I will not let my faith dictate policy…  Unless, um – unless of course you want me to?”  – or some stock answer that somehow pleases both sides, but might be not so genuine.  Why bother?  And why ask the question.  Bernie Sanders blew that up, and that question may just disappear, or at least the need to try and answer it in a way that wins people over.  Who knows.  I liked it.
    • But Bernie was not for me.  I’m not a socialist.  I LOVE that we can and should help our neighbor.  That is biblical.  Giving to those in need, is biblical.  But not TAKING from someone else to give to someone in need – even someone stupidly rich.  That’s not biblical.  That’s what socialism is.  That’s what wealth redistribution is.  It’s involuntarily “sharing”.  It’s like Robinhood.  It’s – theft.  I don’t think someone like Bernie Sanders thinks it is theft. I think some might, if they were honest.  But I do truly think he believes in what he’s fighting for.  He’s just – wrong.  And wrong for me.
  • So we’re where we are today.  With the two major party candidates we have.  And a handful of 3rd party candidates that are interesting to me, and many others.  I will be very curious to see how this year plays out.  But I’ll sleep well on election night, and the night after, God-willing.

One thing from all of this, that I learned.  From my lovely mother.  I’m not telling you who I’m voting for.  🙂

WE WANT A KING!!!

Did you know that legend has it George Washington turned down kingship in the US of A?  I’d never heard that until very recently.  Now, I say legend, because as I do some “googling”on the topic, I find differing assertions as to whether this was or was not true.  I was not there.  It may not have happened.  Someone smarter than I can prove it’s truth or falsehood.

But legend has it the people (Or some people, or a person…) wanted George Washington to be our king, as we declared our independence.  But our first president turned that down.  Again, someone smarter than I…

I bring it up however, because I find it fascinating that someone would deny this kind of authority, this kind of power.

And I find it fascinating, that we as a people, would WANT to return to the power structure we suffered and died to get away from, we fought so hard to be independent of.  I guess we do what we know?  “Everyone else is doing it”?

When I was in elementary school, I recall being corrected by one of my teachers, as I thought our president was basically our king.  She told me that is not how American government works, that he is not a king.  He’s a servant.  He’s a leader, sure, in a sense.  But that we are not under rule of a king, as other nations are.  This was part of what made us great (Sorry – I know those very words might stir up emotions, good or bad, for some in these times).

So – why do we want a king so badly now?  Why do we look at President Obama as our hope?  Or Hillary Clinton, or Donald Trump, or whomever you may want as your “savior” in office?  Why do we want to be like the other nations, so badly?

Why do we forget, WE HAVE A KING.  His name is Jesus.  He rules with an iron scepter (a strong, unbreakable dominion).  It’s not a matter of when this will come to be.  It already is.  JESUS IS LORD.  And – THERE IS FREEDOM in His kingdom!  Christ came to set you free!  You think that was so you can just be put back into bondage?  My dear friend, what has religion taught you?  That’s not what He’s done…

“The Spirit of YAHWEH is on Me,
    because He has anointed Me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent Me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
    and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free” (Luke 4:18)

But we just… try so hard to reject this, and return to – what we know…

We do what we know.  And that makes me sad…

 All the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah.  They said to him, “You are old, and your sons do not follow your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have.”

But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to YAHWEH.  And YAHWEH told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected Me as their King.  As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking Me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you.  Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will claim as his rights.”

Samuel told all the words of YAHWEH to the people who were asking him for a king.  He said, “This is what the king who will reign over you will claim as his rights: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots.  Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots.  He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers.  He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants.  He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants.  Your male and female servants and the best of your cattle and donkeys he will take for his own use.  He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves.  When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.”

But the people refused to listen to Samuel. “No!” they said. “We want a king over us.  Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles.”

When Samuel heard all that the people said, he repeated it before YAHWEH.  God answered, “Listen to them and give them a king.”