Thursday, June 18, 2020

Rebellion is as the Sin of Witchcraft

Greetings, internet friends and neighbors, and to those family members who have stumbled upon this post: we are yet holding on.

"For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft" (I Sam 15:23a, KJV)

I almost always prefer the New American Standard Bible (NASB), since it was the version I bought, and began studying, upon becoming an adult believer in 1973. 

Sometimes, I have found the transparency of the New International Version (NIV) to reveal a previously hidden truth. I liked this feature so much, I even wrote a song  in praise of this translation, to the tune of the Beach Boys' "Little GTO."*

Every once in a while, though, I revert to my very first Bible, the King James Version (KJV), when a particular verse seems to be hard-wired into my brain. And this morning, when I read that three men, loosely affiliated with a movement known as "Boogaloo Boys," were arrested for planning to firebomb power stations in Las Vegas, King James is what I heard in my head. 
I believe it's because "witchcraft" has a greater punch for me than "divination," the word used in the more recent translations. 

This last is part of a tangle of a few different threads in my recent thinking.

First. Prior to reading the news article this morning, the last thread was prompted by a rabbit trail conversation I was a part of, at a Georgia law seminar I attended last night. The topic was the issues surrounding the use of deadly force. primarily by civilians, but also touching lightly on the use of force by police. One of the other attendees had been a college classmate of former Georgia governor Roy Barnes, and upon hearing that the presenter was a Cobb County lawyer, asked if he knew him.
(The answer was yes; they were neighbors; they all called him "Uncle Roy.")
If you aren't a long-term Georgia resident, it's not likely that you have heard of Roy Barnes. If you have, it's likely due to his actions in getting the Confederate battle flag emblem removed from the Georgia state flag in January 2001. In a nutshell: in six days, he got legislation pushed through both the House and the Senate changing the flag, and the opponents were taken by surprise. 
It cost him re-election, BUT: further significant conflict was avoided. In my opinion, Roy Barnes exemplifies the example of self-sacrifice for the common good. If you want to hear some details, try this article here

Second.  I discovered several years ago that snug-fitting T-shirts were no longer the effective fashion statement that they were when I weighed 165 pounds. Hawaiian shirts, though; that appealed to my love of the bizarre, as well as providing comfort for my expanding belly. I peaked at 305 pounds! I've lost around 50 since then, and am slowly creeping downward, but the loose fit of those shirts is still something I appreciate. Furthermore, loose shirts really make the "concealed" part of "concealed carry" work for me. I do not like the association of these shirts with terrorists. 

Third. Like many of you, I took an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. In my case, the occasion was taken upon my enlistment in the U. S. Army on September 7, 1972. It still applies. Although most of the talk I've heard over the past couple of decades has been about defending our Second Amendment rights, it is the First Amendment that I see being challenged now. Specifically, it is the RIGHT of the people to peaceably assemble. The protests, whether you agree with them or not, fall into that category. The challenges are coming from at least two sides: those in authority, who react in fear and oppression; and those who are using a protest venue to launch violent and tumultuous attacks on people and property. Whether those latter are opportunistic thugs, or agent provocateurs, I do not know. I hope that will be revealed, and as soon as possible. Depicted here is a peaceable protest of remarkable beauty; it is also RE-MAKE-ABLE beauty, as this can serve as a pattern for future events. 

Fourth.  The Fulton County DA charged a former Atlanta police officer with 11 felony counts, including felony murder. An official with the Atlanta chapter of the N.A.A.C.P. called this decision bold and courageous, but at the same time wondered why similar charges had not been filed in a half-dozen similar cases since 2015; these came during times when the DA was not fighting for re-election. 
And it's possible that the cops are responding by staging an informal job action, although news on this is hard to come by. If the link at the beginning of this sentence is dead,  you might need to try Google.

I think that a citizen has the right to go about their business/recreation without being hassled, and without fear of being treated more harshly than the situation calls for.

I think that police should be accountable for criminal actions, but should NOT fear being criminally prosecuted for political advantage of elected officials.

And that's all I have to say about that.

Peace be on your household.

*For those of you who are curious, the first verse of this song, performed at a summer evening service at my home church in Woodstock, GA, around 1994:
Well, Little NIV, you know you read so fine,
From Genesis to Revelations, you really blow my mind.
When I look into your pages, it really drives me wi-i-ild,
I'm gonna take it down, open it, read the book,

Thursday, June 11, 2020

His Duty As A Trooper

I didn't write this post. 
(It seems I am mostly still not able to write. I'm trying to figure that out, but if you have been wondering? Well, I'm wondering as well.)
This post was written by Richard Holman, a 27 year-old second-generation member of the Georgia State Patrol. I cannot speak highly enough of his parents, who I have known since 1991. In fact, I'm not even going to try, except to say that if you lived next door to them, or had the privilege of working with them, you would call yourself blessed, just as I do.

August 2017: 
New graduate Richard is issued the same badge number
his father Lee had, when he served.

I was nearly overwhelmed with pride, when I read Richard's reflections on his duty as a member of the GSP, and as a man, during the unrest in Atlanta in the recent past. These are his words, verbatim, which you may also find on his May 31 entry on his Facebook page.

I’ve been pondering the “right” way to put this, but if I keep thinking about it then it’ll never be said. The more I grow the more I am able to clearly formulate my own opinions and feeling about the world. I’ve felt a hard press on my heart this week to share these thoughts, and I’ve ignored too many calls from God to not share this one.

First of all, hi I’m Richard. I am In law enforcement, and I am proud of the job I do everyday and the department I serve. I love to serve my wife, my church, my friends, my family, and my community. My mission goes beyond getting bad folks off the roads. I strive to dig into my community to bridge a gap that for far too long has been left void. A large part of my job includes listening to people. When I encounter someone I’ve always found that listening to them is a fantastic way to start that conversation. I know what I have to say to people, so I want to know what they have to say to me. I can’t change the past, and I can’t change someone’s perspective. I CAN listen to understand perspective, and pray I leave a better footprint.

With that said, the pain that is being expressed in these gatherings is felt. The tears have been seen. Your chants are being heard. It is my obligation as a good man to support and listen to the protest. It is my duty as a Trooper to bridge that gap. I’m speaking out against any man or woman in law enforcement that does not believe that it is our duty to truly serve with love and compassion for each and every person. I have unregrettably apologized to people for the way they have been treated by other law enforcement officers in the past, and will continue to do so.

For the last 3 days. I have been in Atlanta. There have been numerous protest with meaning and real passion with real missions taking place. I value your expressions and your mission. I have had conversations with people where I did nothing but listen, and ask more questioned to gain a new perspective. I did this because I needed to understand the best I can. My duty as a Trooper and my obligation as a human is to defend your protest. If harm comes to you I will defend you, and I have seen you defend those on duty. We should begin to value each other as God values us. For me that starts with listening.

There are many coming that do not have a real cry. They do not have any words that add value or express pain. They have a mission to cause pain, and to divide even deeper. These are the wolves. They’ve swept into a meaningful expression, and stole the mission from millions of people. I want those that are protesting to know that I see that. I see that your agenda is to bridge the gap just like me. And I will defend you in these streets as the wolves are trying to tear apart what you’ve so desperately needed to say. I love you all, and I’m always here for you.
Even if you don't know Richard personally; even if you don't have the privilege of living in the Great State of Georgia; if you care about the future of the relationship between law enforcement and civilians, then this should make you proud. This should give you hope. As long as there are men and women who understand their mission the way that Richard Holman does, then the LEO side of the equation will work. It's up to the rest of us to take care of the civilian side.

Peace be on your household.