Two more massacres.
In Case You Were Wondering….
When my friend told his son that he and his wife were coming to Savannah for a visit last week, my friend’s son (who is VERY interested in politics) said this to his dad: “So, I guess Doug’s a flaming liberal now, huh?”
After getting up off the floor, Ray (who knows me very well) explained, “Uhh, no, Doug is not a liberal. He’s just anti-Trump.”
I’m not sure I could have said it any better. Not that I won’t try, mind you…. 🤦♂️🤪
I used to be a proud member of the Religious Right. Card-carrying.
Now, I just want to be a follower of Jesus Christ.
Don’t get me wrong; I don’t think the religious right is always on the wrong side of an issue. The liberal left isn’t either. Even a broken clock is right twice a day.
I hate politics. Not that politics isn’t important; I just think…it’s a necessary evil. Making deals with the devil (whoever the other side is) may be necessary to pass important legislation…but, it might cost you something valuable down the line, if you’re not careful.
Like, your ethics. Or, your integrity. Or, your soul. What I’m saying is, it better be important. REAL important.
I’ve pretty much already sold my soul…to Jesus. Not a church, or a religion, or a denomination. Or, a movement, or a political party. Jesus Christ. The Man. The God-Man. Son of God.
For those of you who don’t share my faith in Him as Deity, and Savior…I hope you do understand that His teachings — the things that He said — are not in agreement with the white supremacist agenda being promoted by many who call themselves Christians. In fact, any kind of racism, nationalism, or anti-immigrant ideology is NOT part of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. ANYONE who says (preaches) otherwise is spreading a false gospel.
*Side note: He (Jesus) wasn’t a “white” man. He wasn’t a “Christian”. He didn’t come to start a new religion. And, (🤦♂️) He wasn’t an American. 😳🤪🤷🏻♂️ He was a middle-eastern Jew. And, an illegal immigrant. A fugitive. (In my opinion, the best source for understanding Jesus is to read about Him. May I suggest a book by John Ortberg, “Who Is This Man?”)
I’m not going to talk about politics here today. Or, immigration policy. (For the record, I KNOW that I’m not smart enough to figure out what the “perfect” immigration policy would be.) Or, the recent mass shootings in El Paso or Dayton. Or, what might have been the inspiration for that kind of murderous hate.
What I will continue to write about is the need for us to do our best to love EVERYONE around us, regardless of our differences… racially, politically, culturally. Or, if they believe differently than we do.
And, I will continue to write and talk about the importance — the absolute necessity — of “speaking truth to power”, and holding our leadership accountable. That’s NOT un-Christ-like. That’s exactly WHAT He did, even as The Cross loomed in front of Him.
Jesus NEVER advocated violence against others. He modeled reaching out, and building relationships with “the others”.
I’m fully aware of my humanity, and my imperfections. I know that I’m wrong sometimes. But, I’m trying to do my best to follow His teaching, and His example. If that makes me a “flaming liberal”, then I’ll buy the t-shirt, and wear it proudly. For Him.
I love you all. ❤️🙏
I Smell A Rat, Alright
President Trump is right: Elijah Cummings should clean up Baltimore…by kicking one of the biggest slumlords of rat-infested apartments in the city out of town.
That would be Jared Kushner, the President’s son-in-law, and a member of the administration.
I’m not EVEN exaggerating. It’s true.
Just when I thought the stench of corruption, hypocrisy, and gutter-level vitriol couldn’t get any more nauseating, the Spewer-In-Chief outdid himself. Again.
Oh, the vicious Twitter attack on Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md) on Saturday wasn’t surprising at all, considering the President’s track record of going after anyone who dares to take sides against His Lowness. But, when he went full-regurgitate mode on a historic American city, saying it was “…a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess… No human being would want to live there…”, the alarm bells started ringing.
The good people of Baltimore seem to be taking exception to the description that the current President offered of their beloved hometown.
The Baltimore Sun reacted swiftly, running a passionate editorial defending the city, under the headline “Better To Have A Few Rats Than To Be One”. It’s a pretty informative read.
The defense was not limited to the locals. Reaction to the President’s twitter attack produced rebukes all across the nation, and around the world. It seems that most of the planet still hasn’t gotten used to an American President who doesn’t know how to act like one.
Of course, by now we know that no amount of shaming, rebukes and negative reaction will have any kind of sobering effect on President Trump. So, not surprisingly, he reloaded and took aim again on Sunday morning.
While Rep. Cummings was sitting in church (literally), the darling of the white, evangelical church crowd fired away from somewhere in the White House: “Dems always play the race card when they are unable to win with facts. Shame!”
Oh, how presidential.
Speaking of facts, here’s a couple that the President is unaware of, evidently.
*Baltimore is the home of Johns Hopkins Hospital, one of the nation’s most respected.
*The median income in the district is ABOVE the national average.
Baltimore is an old city. And, like every metro area, it has it’s share of problems. But, it’s also a proud city, and a resilient one. It’s citizens care about it. They love it. It’s their HOME. They shouldn’t have to listen to their President trash it, and drag it through the mud.
But, as usual, he’s not interested in actual facts. He prefers the alternative brand. When you and I were in kindergarten, our teacher would have called that “a lie”.
The ironies here are especially rich. A Washington Post story reveals that the President’s son-in-law is one of the problems the city needs to deal with: he owns more than a dozen apartment complexes (totaling thousands of apartments) in Baltimore County, and has been cited for hundreds of code violations, including maggots, mold problems, and — you guessed it — mouse infestation.
Yes, Mr. President, I DO smell a rat. Indeed.
I am so completely done being continually embarrassed by the behavior of a PRESIDENT who lies as a form of recreation. He also claims to love our country, but he’s NEVER served it. In fact, he lied to avoid serving in Vietnam, and now mocks and disrespects American heroes like John McCain and Robert Mueller, who did serve. He resents their service…their heroism. He’s currently fabricating a story about working alongside first responders at 9/11. There’s no evidence to suggest that there’s any truth to it.
He attacks civil rights icons, and insults any geographical area that he sees as a threat, inventing vulgar, playground nicknames for people and places.
This is our President???
Abraham Lincoln was a great President, and a Republican. Ronald Reagan was a Republican. John McCain was a Republican.
I’m a Republican. Lifelong, second generation. I’m also an evangelical Christian. I’m not leaving, and I’m not going to shut up. I won’t be intimidated, or shamed into silence, in the face of a bully, would-be autocrat, or his devoted followers.
I want my party back. I want my country back.
The Path of Judas, the Zealot
Once upon a time…long ago…in a place far, far away…there were twelve unlikely men who dropped everything to follow an itinerant rabbi named Jesus, who was from Nazareth.
One of the twelve was a guy named Judas. With good reason, throughout subsequent history, he has been the most notorious…the most reviled…the most disgraced of all the disciples. But…
At one time, he followed Jesus. Like the other eleven, he answered the call.
He watched, and saw…as Jesus embraced the unclean, granted respect and dignity to women, healed the sick — asking nothing in return, and even broke bread with known sinners, and some of the traitorous Jews who had joined forces with the hated Romans.
He listened, and heard…as Jesus spoke to the multitudes, and talked about love and joy, generosity and grace, forgiveness and faith, mercy and peace.
He witnessed the miracles! Water turned into wine. Lepers, the sick, and the crippled: HEALED! Walking on water. The fearsome forces of nature turned at the sound of his voice. Food multiplied, so that thousands could eat.
The dead…raised back to life again.
It was all pretty heady stuff, actually.
Are you with me, so far?
But, he was part of a group who resented the Romans. That resentment grew into hatred. That hatred consumed him, like a raging fire.
At some point, either he decided — or someone convinced him — that Jesus wasn’t moving fast enough. Or, that Jesus’ plan needed some modifications.
He convinced himself that he could do something to achieve greatness for his country…and himself.
He was determined to Make Israel Great Again.
Judas didn’t realize that when he quit following Jesus’ plan…he quit following Jesus. Or, maybe he did realize it. In the grand scheme of things, I don’t know that it matters.
The great tragedy of Judas — my opinion here — is that at one point, he was exactly where he needed to be. But, then, the Temptor lured him away from the truth, with a deceptive lie. It sounded good. It promised a happy ending. Just like in the Garden — with Adam & Eve — the Temptor made it sound like the logical thing to do. By the time Judas figured out his mistake, the price had become more than he could bear.
Sin is like that. It always promises more than it delivers. It always takes you farther than you ever planned to go.
Racism is sin. And, nationalism isn’t the way of Jesus. It wasn’t in Israel, then, and it’s not in America today.
If we follow any other gospel — any other leader — we are rushing down the path to ruin.
I love you all. ❤️🙏
The Legend of Lumber & Lightning
When my parents dropped me off in Springfield, Missouri, for my freshman year of Bible college, I had no car, very little money, and a couple of friends.
And, my ball glove. So…
After dorm move-in and registration — with no classes until the next week — I did what I figured any fervent Bible college student would do: I wandered down to the softball field (with my glove), where I found five other “disciples” who were studying for the ministry by playing “500” (a game of one guy hitting flies & grounders, while everybody else competes to see who can earn 500 points by fielding more balls than everyone else). Probably because they felt sorry for me, they were nice enough to invite me to join in.
Over the next day or two, we returned to the field to resume playing. As the numbers gradually increased, we may have had enough for a pickup game. I actually don’t remember. What I do remember is that at some point, one of the five — it may have been Billy Gadd — mentioned that they were going to enter a team in the intramural softball league, and asked me if I was interested in playing with them. It was an easy answer.
Gadd, Billy Ellis, Don Dickinson, Ron Crawford, and David Applegate were all from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and, of course, Pirates fans. They named the team “Lumber & Lightning”. And that, my friends, is where and how the legend began.
When I graduated from college four years later (people used to do that), there were a number of people on campus who knew me fairly well who just assumed that I was from Pittsburgh, because I was part of the infamous “Pittsburgh gang”.
I’ve never been closer than 300 miles from Pittsburgh.
I had no way of knowing that — when I walked down to the softball field that day — I had stumbled into the middle of an extraordinary group — a community, really — of young people.
We were all basically about the same age, but, to me, they all seemed so…. Okay, I’ll just say it: they were more mature, cooler, smarter, and wiser than me. Maybe that’s why they accepted me.
Over the next four years, we had a TON of fun, both on and off the softball field, and didn’t even get kicked out of Bible college. Well, some of us, anyhow….😜
Lumber & Lightning existed for all four years that we were there, and it really was special. We were dominant, and, well…legendary. At least, in my mind. We were champions. (See pictures.)
It’s not an easy task to adequately express how much of an impact those guys, and the entire Pittsburgh gang, had on me. I found myself especially drawn to Billy Gadd, Billy Ellis & Don “Scoops” Dickinson. We had many similar interests…. Okay, okay: it was sports. 🤦♂️ And, girls, of course. 🤷🏻♂️
But, they were also very serious about their pursuit of God, and His plan for their lives. I needed that influence in my life. I don’t think they have any idea how much their friendship meant to me, and I don’t know if I ever actually thanked them for that, and all the other stuff.
I’m planning to correct that oversight.
I mentioned earlier that I’ve never been to Pittsburgh. Because of everything that I’ve already shared (and a lot more, as well), going to the Steel City has always been on my “list”, if you know what I mean.
Well, it’s actually happening: Lumber & Lightning is having a 40-year reunion. That’s right: a college intramural softball team. 🤷🏻♂️Makes perfect sense, right? (And Momma said I would never grow up! 🙄)
Friday night through Sunday afternoon. About 20 of us. We’re meeting at Billy & Teresa Ellis’ home Friday night,and going to a Pirates game Saturday, then church on Sunday. Billy Gadd is coming from California. I’m flying out of Savannah in the morning, and will be in Pittsburgh tomorrow afternoon.
I’m like a kid going to Disneyland. Over-the-moon excited. Seriously. And, since I might chicken out, and not have the guts to say it to them in person, I thought I would say it here, so that it’s on the record, you know…
So, to everyone from the Pittsburgh gang, and to all the guys who ever played for Lumber & Lightning:
I love you guys. Thanks for everything. Can’t wait to see you again. It’s been too long.
And, of course, I love you all. ❤️🙏
— Doug “The Bug”, July 18, 2019
When I was a kid growing up in Versailles, Missouri, my favorite time of year was Summer.
When You Least Expect It
Long Story Short…Oh, Who Am I Kidding? I Have No Idea How To Make ANY Story Short….🤦♂️
I worked late yesterday, mostly because we had a customer coming in today (from China) to examine their inventory, and I wanted to make sure everything was as it’s supposed to be in the warehouse. 🤷🏻♂️
It’s REALLY hot AND humid in Savannah right now. Were you aware of that? When I was ready to leave at about 7:00pm, I was soaked to the point that I could smell MYSELF. It was not a pleasant odor. 😖😷
And, I was tired. Brain-almost-dead tired.
Since I had a couple of stops to make before I got home, I changed out of my work clothes, which include work boots, into some walking shorts, a clean shirt (yes, fresh underwear, too 🙄), and my favorite pair of flip flops. Splashed some cool water on my head, shoulders, etc. (🤷🏻♂️), and may or may not have emptied half a can of Axe spray onto myself to try to hide my actual aroma. TMI, I know.
So, on my way out the warehouse door, in the process of pushing the door open with my foot — because my hands were full, carrying my boots & dirty, sweaty clothes, among other things — I “blew out my flip-flop”. (No, I didn’t step on a pop top.) Seriously.
I had no other shoes in the truck. I’m not putting my other clothes back on (🤮), and I’m NOT wearing boots with shorts…although our youngest son tried to make that a thing for several years when he was in elementary school.
Hobble in from the parking lot on my “flat tire” to the shoe section. Flip flops. $10.00. Looks like my old ones. Bingo. Wait. What? Another pair, marked down to 5 bucks. Okay, I can afford to buy 2 pairs of flip flops at WalMart for a total of 15 bucks plus tax. I’m a Warehouse Manager. 😎
Go to the self checkout. Long line. Pray for patience. Line not moving very fast. At all. Give up on prayer. 🤬
Finally get to the actual checkout.
Scan first pair. Screen says, “No cash. Credit/debit card only.”
No problem. Wait… 🤦♂️ Remember: wallet is still in work pants, in truck. In parking lot. 🤯 All I have is cash. Long line behind me. 🤯🤬 Every kind of thought except anything that might be Jesus-related. Just being honest.
As I’m getting ready to tell the “attendant” that I need to go to my car to get my debit card (😩), I hear a guy’s voice behind me say, “Your card is in your car?”
I turn around. Young African-American with dreadlocks down his back already has his card out, as I’m saying, “Yeah.” He’s smiling as he says, “I gotcha,” and slides his card into the keypad.
I tried to protest. Too late.
I tried to pay him back with cash.
He just smiled, and said, “Nah. I gotcha. Have a good one, man.”
And, everything changed. The entire universe. Even WalMart. (Well, for a minute or two….)
This morning, I thought, “I wish I had taken his picture”, because I would have made him Facebook-famous today.
I can’t wait to change somebody else’s universe like that. I want to be like THAT guy. I don’t even know his name, but…I think he looked kinda like Jesus….
Have you changed anybody’s universe lately?
I love you all. ❤️🙏
Stuff Dad Taught Me
My dad taught me a LOT of things.
He taught me that you can pray ANYWHERE, ANYTIME: driving, gardening, hunting, moving rocks (one of my favorites…not!). He taught me how to play baseball, including how to pitch, and bat left-handed, so that I could be a switch-hitter. He was the best defensive first baseman I ever played with. He taught me how to be polite, and love people. He taught me how to discipline your sons (ouch), but love them unconditionally, even when they were wrong.
He was a pastor, but he loved physical labor more than any human being I ever met, especially if it involved building a church. One of his pet phrases that my brother, Bob, and I hated the most was, “While we’re resting, why don’t we go….”, which would involve something even more physically taxing than what we were “resting” from. He loved telling jokes more than anyone I ever knew, and yes, there were times we wished he wouldn’t. (“Did I ever tell you the one about….” “YES!!” It didn’t stop him.)
He’s in a nursing home now. Today, I’ll tell him that I love him, and sing for him a little. Hopefully, he’ll be able to respond with, “I love you, too, son.” Even if he can’t, I’ll know, because that’s…Dad.
Maybe the greatest thing I can say about my dad is that he was a man of complete integrity. He ALWAYS lived what he preached, and he never carried a secret agenda. In John 1:47 (KJV), “Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, ‘Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!'”
Except for the fact that he was Irish, I think He might say the same thing about my dad, Sam McGarity.
(From Father’s Day, 2013; Dad passed away on May 8, 2015)
A couple of thoughts for the week…
First, this is what Jesus said: “Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.” (Luke 6:35-36, NLT)
Second, this is how we compartmentalize (excuse)…
*except people who think abortion is wrong
*except people who support abortion on demand
*except people who are gay
*except people who think homosexuality is a sin
*except the rich
*except those who want to tax the rich
**What’s your excuse? What’s MY excuse? Maybe we just need to remove that verse, and pretend that Jesus didn’t say it. Yes, THAT Jesus. Jesus Christ.
Maybe we should just forget that not only did Jesus say it, He MODELED it. He DID it. From a cross.
So, yeah, I think He was pretty serious about it.
So…how about if you, and I, try a little harder. Okay, a lot harder. How about if you and I make a commitment to loving those who are…hard to love…on the “other side”…probably not going to love us back.
Or, we could just forget about it, and everyone keep doing what we’re doing. Because that’s working so well….😢
Have a great week, everyone! I love you all. ❤️🙏
*From May 27
One of my uncles was wounded — somewhere in Germany; Friday the 13th of April, 1944 — during WWII. Two others served during the Korean Conflict.
I have a good friend, from my hometown in Missouri, who watched several of his buddies die in Vietnam. He escaped death, but not the tormenting memories.
There are many names that come to my mind of men and women — still young — who have served, and are still serving, in various parts of the world…keeping watch over us. Over me. Risking it all to help protect our freedom. Yours, and mine.
I wish I could look each one in the eye today, and say, simply, “Thank you.” What else CAN you say?
But…today is actually not about them. Today is Memorial Day.
Today, I’m thinking about the young men who went ashore on Normandy…and didn’t make it. To stop a madman bent on ruling the world.
I’m thinking about the kids — Darrell’s friends — who died in a jungle on the other side of the world…scared, isolated from their families, hoping for a way out that didn’t come. It was a controversial war, but they died fighting for their country. Our country.
I’m thinking about the men and women — Americans, of every color, race, religion…it doesn’t matter — who have died in various parts of the Middle East since the towers came down on 9/11/2001.
I hate politics. I really do. Maybe it’s a necessary evil. Maybe it doesn’t have to be evil. I don’t know.
What I do know is necessary is that in this world we need men & women who are willing to protect our freedom, no matter what the risks are…no matter what the costs. I’m thankful for those brave people.
I’m grateful for the ones —the ultimate heroes — who died for our country. They deserve to be remembered. I’m thinking about them. I hope you are, too. ❤️😢🙏
I love you all.