Monday, August 31, 2009

Living in a Vacuum

I love living in the Ozarks! The climate is moderate through all four seasons. The landscape is beautiful with hills, rivers, lakes and beautiful skies. The people are pretty down-to-earth folks (though not necessarily pretty folks) that (for the most part) love their families, their country and their God (although I'm not really sure what order to put those in). If I were to pick a downside of living in the Ozarks, it would have to be the lack of diversity. We are a pretty pale section of the American population. Of course, there are many that would argue that this is a good thing...I disagree. It gives us a pretty narrow view of others and breeds all kinds of prejudice and misunderstandings of other races, nationalities, religious beliefs and cultures.

I grew up in a small town that was (and still is) a lot like Ozark. In all of the years that I lived there, there weren't more than a few African-American families that moved into town...and they never stayed for long. We had plenty of families with Mexican backgrounds...but that wasn't the same (or as bad) as being black. All in all, my sixties childhood was spent with white kids, white families in a white town.

I am surprised (and thankful) that I have had to overcome as few prejudices as I have. Hopefully, my kids will have even fewer.

That is a challenge when you consider that our part of the Midwest is pretty much white, middle class America, located in the middle of the Bible belt. Although we are taught to love our fellow man (friends and enemies alike) in the Bible, it is easier to deal with what we don't know by maintaining a defensive posture and expecting the worst from people than by opening our minds and hearts to a different way of thinking, acting or living. The hispanic population here is pretty invisible (by their choice). The Asian population is growing and the African-American population is still considered a suspicious minority.

There is a part of me that has difficulty with the changes that are politically correct--African/American vs. black, Asian vs. oriental, Hispanic or Latino vs. Mexican or other Latino Cultures. But I really need to make those changes because I don't want to unknowingly offend someone. It should be our goal to learn about and understand the cultures that are living around us and not to speak about them out of our ignorance and hatred.

There are certainly cultures that have evolved with (and value) a purity in their race or culture. That is not the case in the United States. We are a country of immigrants. We are a blend of cultures. We have many different religious beliefs. We are a nation with many different backgrounds and origins...including the Native Americans that were here before the rest of us. We are far from a pure race. But we are Americans. I believe that our differences are part of what makes us the greatest nation on Earth. (Yes, I still believe that we are the greatest.) The people of the United States are free to come and go as they please. We travel from state to state, leave the country for vacation and business and have very few restrictions. If we want to move to another country, no one will stop you.

Though we have overcome many of the prejudices that have caused problems in the past, we still cling to others. If you are gay or Muslim (or a Democrat), you can expect to be hated in the Ozarks. Some still cling to racial prejudices (and hatred) that is very unbecoming for those that claim to be upstanding Christian citizens. In many communities, it is still the "good ol' boy" network that rules. I am often surprised by the prejudicial garbage that I still hear coming from otherwise decent people. Perhaps it is a result of living in the vacuum of the Ozarks.

I hope that as my kids grow up and expand their worlds, that they will learn about other cultures and beliefs. I hope that they will make friends and experience foods and traditions from others as well as sharing their own heritage, traditions and beliefs. I think that there is more than enough hatred in the world. It's time for us to share some love...or at least some tolerance.

John <><

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

MWT Fail

In spite of the success at the first two Maintenance Wakefulness Tests (MWT), today's test was a failure. The tech monitoring the test told me that I fell asleep for just over two minutes during the second test period. I don't recall dozing off, but that's what the test showed.

They tell me I have to wait a week before I can test again so I'll be off of the boards for another week. Sacre Bleu!

My sick leave balance is pretty low so I'll have to take advantage of my manager's generosity and spend a few days doing administrative stuff. Tomorrow I'll spend my day of sick leave and make the trip to St. Louis with some buddies from church and we'll take in some Cardinal baseball, the obligatory ball park dog, a few White Castles and the after ballgame trip to Ted Drewe's. The problem with only having four tickets is choosing just three friends. I think my pastor's disappointed that he missed the cut...maybe next time.

Anyways, I'm looking forward to a great day.

John <><

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Real Trick

After viewing yesterday's post about a young man using a magician to help with his marriage proposal, I was thinking to myself--"The real trick isn't the proposal--it's keeping the marriage together."

For as long as I can remember, the failure rate for marriages has been around 50%. Half of all marriages end in divorce. It doesn't seem to matter if you get married in a church or at the court house. It doesn't seem to matter if you are younger or older. About half of the time marraiges end in divorce.

The reasons vary--money, infidelity, career moves, family problems (in-laws), etc. But the reasons for divorce are often overcome by couples that find a way to stay together. I imagine that if half of marriages end in divorce, there are many more that are void of love but the couples stay married because of kids, religious beliefs, traditions or not wanting to admit failure and suffer the shame they would feel before their families and friends.

So what's the trick? Is there a secret to a successful marriage? How do you know that you want to spend the rest of your life with that one person? Do we still think of marriage as a life long commitment? And if not...well how do you know when it's over? How do you reach the decision that I'm not going to love you anymore? How can somebody knowingly do something that will hurt the person that they've committed to love forever? And how can the offended person choose not to forgive the person that they've loved--faults and all--to this point?

How can one person just walk away and leave another person totally devastated? It would be so cool if I could tell you that putting God at the center of your marriage is the answer. But there are people that don't believe in God that have successful marriages and there are very religious people that can't seem to keep it together.

What is the secret?

In a couple of weeks, Chris and I will hit the 28 year mark. One might wonder why we ever fell in love to begin with. I love baseball, she doesn't like any sports. She's a handwashing neat freak, I'm a slob. She watches Jon and Kate + eight and The Duggers, I watch NCIS and CSI. We are as different as night and day. If I think about it too much, it scares me. In another year Hannah will graduate from high school and we will face the empty nest...another critical (and often final) moment in the life of a marriage.

I know that one might think--twenty-eight years seems like a pretty successful run. But what if we don't make it to thirty-eight? Can you say that we had a successful marriage for 30+ years and then...? Is it really a success if you don't take it all the way?

Sure, I could tell you how the street magician amazed the audience and helped the young man pull off a very memorable proposal...but I would rather tell you how they might beat the odds and enjoy a lifetime of loving one another.

What's your secret?

John <><

Wow! I just noticed that this is post #400! Thanks for reading!

Monday, August 24, 2009

A New Magic Gig

Hey, I've got a new retirement option. Check out this video.

John <>

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A Great Deal

Sunday evening the Cardinals ended a six game homestand. As a promotional deal, they offered a limited number of Outfield Loge Seats at a discount--$6 off for each win of the homestand. Since they won 5 of the 6 games the $34 seats went on sale at 9 am this morning for just $4 each. They were only available online and each buyer was limited to 4 tickets. The tickets are for the series with the Houston Astros on the 25th-27th.

I did manage to score 4 tickets in the section next to Big Mac Land for the afternoon game on Thursday. I can't wait. There are not a lot of things that I enjoy more than an afternoon at the ballpark with friends.

Go Cardinals!

John <><

Monday, August 17, 2009

Get Some Sleep--You're Grounded

Well there is a new development in the continuing saga of an airtraffic controller with sleep apnea.

Since the "wakefulness test" that I recently took didn't include a stimulant screen test (including caffeine) I have to retake it. Also, my 4 hours and 11 minute per night average of using my CPAP (Continuous Positive Air Pressure) machine is not "aeromedically acceptable" according to Central Region Flight Surgeon, Dr. Wilson.

I tried to explain to him that I don't usually sleep more than 4-6 hours per night and that when working mid shifts, I basically sacrifice a night's sleep to get back on a normal schedule. I gave him an example from this past week:

Wednesday night bedtime about midnight.
Thursday--up at 4 am, work 5:30 am to 1:30 pm. Late in the evening, I took an hour long nap then went back to work at 10:30 pm.
Friday--get off work from the mid shift at 6:30 am. Once home I chill for a bit in front of the TV, have a bowl of cereal and a cup of coffee. I doze off on the sofa and miss 45 minutes of the movie that was on. Then I'm on the computer for a little bit before taking a shower. After that it's out the door to get gas for the lawn mower. I mow the lawn, work in the yard tearing out some overgrown landscaping and finish my day pretty much the same way everybody else does--dinner with the family, watch the Cardinals win another baseball game, read for a bit, play on the computer and a slightly earlier than usual bedtime of around midnight.

Having pretty much missed a night's sleep, I slept until 7 am on Saturday morning. I had a morning meeting with the American Christian Writers and a pretty normal kind of day. We met some friends for dinner and they came over to the house until about 10 pm. Then I watched some UFC fights with Aaron until a little after 11 pm.

I worked for one of the other controllers on Sunday morning from midnight until 8 am. When I got home, I showered, changed and went to church. After church, we went out for lunch and then came home and watched the Cardinal's ballgame until they went into a rain delay after 7 innings. I slept from 4 pm to 6 pm and was up a few minutes before company arrived for dinner.
I will say that I went to bed early Sunday night--about 10:30 and slept until 7 this morning.

Now if you total the sleep from Wednesday night through Sunday night/Monday morning (five nights) it comes out to less than 24 hours...and that's counting the 8.5 hours from Sunday night. If you throw out the 8.5 hours (since that woiuld be a "normal" night's sleep), you have about 15 hours in four nights. Truthfully, I just don't sleep that much. Besides, if 4 hours of sleep is not "aeromedically acceptable," I would think that most controllers across the country would need to use sick leave for all of the 8-10 hour turns that we do on a weekly basis.

The end result is that I'm medically disqualified until I retake the wakefulness test with the stimulant screen (including caffeine--which is stupid since you can drink coffee, tea or colas at work).

While all of this might bring comfort to the flying public (yes, the FAA is really concerned about your safety...either that or they're just covering their legal butts), the sad truth is that far too many controllers refuse to seek medical help for this dangerous illness because of all of the hoops you have to jump through once you have a medical diagnosis and are receiving treatment.

But don't worry. I'm used to this kind of's all a part of working for the federal government.

John <><

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sorting Out the Trash & Guilty as Charged

Late last night I was taking some time to delete the abundance of old e-mails that have accumulated in my inbox. (Because of the ridiculous amount of storage on G-mail, this isn't really necessary.)

However in doing so I ran across an e-mail from a couple of weeks ago that really nailed me. I subscribe to the postings from James Emery White on Serious Times. This one is titled Of Bitter Blogs. You'll quickly see why the second part of my title today is Guilty as Charged. Isn't it odd--the things that we think we can say because we have the inside scoop on how God feels about a given people group or situation?

At first glance, this may seem like another post that is directed at others--it is not. It is a post that hit me...hard. The human part of me wants to say that I am justified in sharing my feelings on my blog. Freedom of Speech--right? But if one were to apply the once popular WWJD (What would Jesus do?), some how I think that I would have a very difficult time debating with Jesus the merits of my post. The Bible teaches things that are quite different from our human instincts. Things like--loving our enemies, giving our coat as well as our shirt, going farther than the law requires, respecting authority, having the attitude of a servant.

I know that I have (on more than one occasion) said that I need to quit blogging about politics. I think that I'll make the commitment to quit blogging in a hateful or hurtful manner--no matter what the topic is. That way I can freely express myself--I'll just have to choose my words more carefully.

John <><

Saturday, August 15, 2009

"The pen is mightier than the sword." Edward Bulwer-Lytton

I just returned from the board meeting of the American Christian Writer's (Ozarks Chapter). One of the ladies attended a summer conference in St. Louis and made a report on the conference. One of the speakers used PAC as a personal reminder when it comes to writing and submitting for publication. PAC stands for prayer and confidence--prayerfully write, submit with confidence. I think that is a good thing to use when posting to Out of My Hat, too. It certainly would have saved having to swallow some bitter words this past week.

It doesn't mean that I have to suppress my feelings or opinions. It does mean that there are ways to share them without being mean-spirited. As my blogging buddy Mike has pointed out--"You cannot unsay a cruel word."

A few days ago, my brother posted a link on his Facebook that is to the blog of fairly well known evangelical author/preacher/teacher Brian McLaren. Mr . McLaren is obviously way better at expressing his concerns than I am. His Open Letter to Christian Conservatives in the US, on Health Care is the kind of stuff that I wish I would have said. I hope that you will take the time to read this post. One of the more striking statements addressing his concerns of the modern Christian conservatives is this one:

As a result, I sometimes think that Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, Glenn Beck, and Fox News may now influence many conservative Evangelicals, Charismatics, and Catholics even more than Billy Graham, Rick Warren, T.D. Jakes, Pope Benedict, or even the four gospels.

The entire post is very well written and expresses his concerns and opinions in a manner that allows for differences and keeps from tearing down our friends and brothers in Christ Jesus. In the end, I'd have to say that Mr. McLaren puts into practice that prayer discipline before writing his blog.

I'll try to do the same. It is difficult to get these size 10 1/2D nasty feet out of my mouth.

John <><

Friday, August 14, 2009

Eating Crow

It occurs to me that I have been pretty harsh on some people. In particular the sender of the e-mail that was the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back. To be fair, I need to say that I just sent a note of apology. I took on the very role that I was offended by and realized that I needed to reconcile the situation.

My bad.

Here's my note:

As I have reread my response to your last e-mail, I realize that it was extremely harsh. In fact, it took on the very tone that would offend me if I had been the one receiving it. I hope that you will accept that I have allowed your particular letter to be the point at which I decided that enough was enough. By itself (and it should have been received that way), it was nothing to get upset about. Unfortunately, I was letting other incidents amplify this one and that was very wrong of me.

Please accept my sincere apology. I really do believe that we need to find common ground with others that we might share the Gospel of Salvation. It is a shame that we often lose sight of our mission as Christians and focus on our rights as Americans. As Americans we enjoy freedom of speech. But the Bible cautions us that with the tongue we can hurt and destroy others. I suppose that the same goes for the pen--or electronic equivalent.


Lashing Out

I've been getting angry lately. And I've managed to suppress it on many occasions, but at other times I feel like I've lashed out at people. The cause of this irritation?...What else? Politics and the ever popular politically accepted lies, deceit, and hatred that come from otherwise decent people.

At lunch the other day, I heard somebody say that they asked a Democrat, "Do you think it's right to kill babies?" This of course implies that all Democrats think that it is right to kill babies. The conversation seemed to be primarily between two people that were at the same table as I was so I didn't say anything (although I probably could have).

A second incident came in the form of an e-mail that was forwarded to me (and several others). This is the text:

Mark your calendar - This Sunday on Fox
Sean Hannity, of Hannity & Colmes

Fox news, is going to air a very important documentary about Barack Obama, Sunday night at 8:00 PM central / 9 PM eastern.
He stated on the air this evening that no one in the news media was willing to do this.
Hannity is going back to Obama's earlier days, showing even then his ties to radical professors, friends,
spiritual advisers, etc., he stated this evening that he will show in detail his ties to Rev.. Wright for 20+ yrs.

How he was participating with this man, and not for the reasons he states!

He has uncovered more of Obama's radical leaders and we will see things that no one in the media is willing to put out there.

This will be a night that you will learn more about Obama than ever before.

Hannity is very passionate about this program and asked that everyone please, please watch~~
Please pass this on to everyone you know. Democrat or Republican, you can learn from this. It is critical for our country."

You can watch it if you want, but I really do believe that the program is more about ratings than about truth.

Anyways, I was a bit offended by the assumption that I would be interested in this and also un happy that another well meaning person has decided that I'm a good candidate for receiving their favorite e-mail forwards (yes, they received it from someone else that forwarded it to them!). Snopes usually deters chronic forwarders, apparently not enough in their case. So I wrote asking to be removed from their e-mail list. My letter will probably get me in trouble.

This was my response:

Please take me off of your e-mail list. I am not a blind follower of the radical conservatives that think that every democrat is going to hell. Like it or not, Barack Obama is the President of the United States. The continuous gossip, lies, and hatred that is being spread by non-Christian conservatives and endorsed by Christian conservatives that should know the Biblical command to respect those in authority over us (Nero was the Emperor of Rome when Paul wrote this) needs to come to an end.

I'm sure that the spin on the events of our President's past will be more than enough to generate great ratings for the Fox News Network. In the end, that's really all that it is about...not about truth--about ratings.

As for me, I chose not to be a part of the hatred; not to be a part of the gossip; and not to be a part of the belief that every democrat is evil. (By the way, Billy Graham is a democrat.) I do chose to pray for wisdom and protection for my President and all of our leaders.

You would be very surprised to know the number of Born-again religious conservatives that have not bought into the Republican Party's propaganda that if you are a Christian, you must vote Republican. I, for one, voted for Barack Obama.

Another incident involved pieces of flair sent on Facebook. It came under the category nobama.
It said something like--Hitler made great speeches, too.

Really? You want to compare our President to Hitler? Some how I find that incredibly naive and ridiculous. I'm sure that Jews around the world would be offended at the comparison and I really don't know what the point of such a statement might be. I know that it wouldn't be to incite hate...this was from a Christian and a church member. (BTW, the other incidents were also from Christians.)

Sadly, it was not even two weeks ago that I blogged about this great sermon at our church. Our memories appear to be pretty short. The words from an old song are ringing through my head right now:

Go ahead and hate your neighbor,
Go ahead and cheat a friend.
Do it in the name of Heaven,
You can justify it in the end.
There won't be any trumpets blowing
Come the judgement day,
On the bloody morning after....
One tin soldier rides away.

If you remember the end of the story told in this song, after the great battle for the mountain treasure, the valley people found that this was the treasure...Peace on Earth.

Brothers and Sisters, we are fighting the wrong battle. Paul wrote that our battle is not against flesh and blood, but it is a great spiritual battle. I want to encourage you to set aside the differences of politics, culture, social status, etc. and join together to reach out to others and share the great love of our God. We ought not use the battle armor fighting against each other. It was meant for a far greater purpose.

John <><

BTW, for better or worse, thanks to my friend and fellow controller/fellow blogger/fellow searcher of truth, Paul Cox, my posts to Out of My Hat now automatically appear in my Facebook notes. Thanks Paul (I think!).

Monday, August 10, 2009

On This Day

The Logos Bible Study software that I use from Libronix includes a daily reading called On This Day. As you might guess, it features stories from history that happened on the current date. While they are all interesting (to me), I felt like sharing this one. It was foretold by Jesus and happened decades after His death.

The Fall of Jerusalem

August 10

Jesus warned of a time when Herod’s beautiful temple would be destroyed, but the disciples could hardly believe him. The temple was arguably the most magnificent structure in the world, and its glow in the setting sun seemed as eternal as Jerusalem itself.

But a generation later Jewish zealots revolted against Rome. The rebellion began at the fortress of Masada then spread throughout Judea and Galilee. Romans were slaughtered, Jewish defenders battled bravely, and Emperor Nero sent General Vespasian to quell the uprising.

When Nero died, the general left for Rome, placing his son Titus in charge of the 80,000 troops. The siege began in April, 70, immediately after the Passover when Jerusalem was filled with strangers. Within city walls, the Jews splintered into various factions, fighting each other at the very time they needed solidarity. Food supplies ran out and the population began dying from starvation. The high priest’s wife, accustomed to living in luxury, begged for crumbs like a street urchin. Captured Jews were crucified at a rate of 500 a day, crosses encircling the city. Daily temple sacrifices ceased July 17, all hands being needed for defense.

The Romans, using catapults and battering rams, finally broke through the walls. The Jews streamed into the temple. Titus had reportedly wanted to spare the edifice, but his soldiers would not be restrained. A firebrand was hurled through the golden gate and exploded like a bomb. The temple became an ocean of fire. It was August 10, 70, the same day of the year, it was said, in which Solomon’s earlier temple had been destroyed by Babylon.

This, and the subsequent fall of Masada, extinguished Israel as a nation until its rebirth in the twentieth century. Most Christians had fled Jerusalem before its final hour, but the city’s destruction remains a defining event in Christian history. It further severed the young church from its Jewish roots, making it a global entity distinct from Israel and destined to develop its own identity among the Gentiles, bearing a message for all the world.

Morgan, R. J. 2000, c1997. On this day : 265 amazing and inspiring stories about saints, martyrs & heroes (electronic ed.) . Thomas Nelson Publishers: Nashville

John <><

As he was leaving the temple, one of his disciples said to him, "Look, Teacher! What massive stones! What magnificent buildings!"

"Do you see all these great buildings?" replied Jesus. "Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down." Mark 1:1-2

Sunday, August 09, 2009

A Grand Day

It was a baseball day...not real baseball, Kansas City Royals Baseball. (OK, that was kinda mean, but Royals fans understand.) I was really glad to see that Greinke was pitching for the Royals. He got off to a rocky start but really settled down after the Royals put a couple of runs on the scoreboard and seemed to get stronger as the game went on.

The Royals managed an uncharacteristic 17 hits and won the game (also uncharacteristic). Even while we were watching the Royals' game, we were keeping an eye on the scoreboard and the Cardinal game in Pittsburgh. So we knew when Albert came up with the bases loaded.

Even though Albert was 0 for... the day and had left a couple of runners on base, you just don't pitch to this guy with the bases jammed. Give up the one run and walk him! Take your chances with the next guy...even if it is Matt Holliday. For the record, I'd like to see them pitch to Albert. But I don't understand why they do. Albert Pujols is batting .800 this season when the bases are loaded. He is 8 for 10 with 5 (count 'em...5) grand slams and 27 RBIs.

So Adam Wainwright got his 13th win and the Cardinals are looking for the sweep today.

On the way to Kansas City, we stopped at Perry Foster's BBQ in Warrensburg. Perry Foster's doesn't have a website of their own but there are plenty of comments about the food. Just Google Perry Foster's BBQ and read a few of the comments. Aaron was impressed...and full--and the boy can eat a lot of food! The place gets my recommendation. If you are ever in the area, it's worth the time to stop in. I'm looking forward to the fall revival in Holden MO because I know that I'll have at least one meal at Perry Foster's!

This afternoon will be spent with the Hopedale Baptist Church family at our summer picnic. Good folks. I'm looking forward to it.

Have a great week!

John <><

Saturday, August 08, 2009

No News

I've realized that I've posted much less frequently this summer. I also know that a part of that is that I just haven't felt much like writing. However the biggest factor is deciding not to write about bad news, downer, negative rants. With much debate in Congress about healthcare reform and how to stimulate the economy, there has certainly been plenty to write about. Truthfully, I've even stayed away from much of the newscasts lately. Things in my little circle of life are not that bad. In fact, things are going pretty well.

Not perfect...but pretty well. You remember the car breakdown from a few weeks back, right? I may have mentioned no raise for three years, the Cubs were ahead of the Cardinals for a few days last week, ...anyways, you get the idea. I am finding it easier to stay focused on what's good around me.

The Bbile instructs us to focus on the good things. It really helps to keep my mood better, my attitude towards other better, my everyday demeanor...better. I am a much better person when there are no negatives pressuring my thoughts. I've been doing much better in my Bible reading as well. This has also helped to keep me focused on the right things.

Today I just want to ask you...Where is your focus? Are you thinking of good things or stressing over bad things. Are you focused on the differences between people or learning to see the things that bind us together? Do you let other people's negative attitude bring you down?

Guard your heart, guard your attitude. I've learned that it's better if I just avoid some people.

I hope that today finds you well. If you're a little down or stressing over matters, find a release. I don't mind allowing my friends a place to vent. We all need a little help from time to time. Hopefully, we all like to help one another from time to time.

If you're up...give somebody a hand. If you're feeling a little down, reach out...find a helping hand. (my e-mail and phn # is in my bio info)

Take care,

Friday, August 07, 2009

Taco Bell

Taco Bell is a place where Chris and the kids go when I am not with them. I know that it sounds strange to hear that there is a food (or food like-item) that I don't like...but there you have it.

In any case, I felt compelled to share this video with all of the the misguided folks that actually like to eat at the faux restaurant that is Taco Bell.

Taco Bell's New Green Menu Takes No Ingredients From Nature

John <><

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Pinch-hit Homerun

One of the downsides of being a preacher at Hopedale Baptist Church is that there are a number of well qualified preachers to fill the pulpit when Pastor Terry takes some time off. It seems that there are fewer opportunities to get to preach at Hopedale and anybody that feels the call to preach looks forward to each chance to do what God has called us to do.

Today, one of our newer people stepped in and did a great job. Dennis Williams and his family recently moved to Ozark from Denver CO. Dennis pastored a church there and met Pastor Terry a few years ago when Hopedale sent a team Denver to do some summer mission work.

Dennis' message came from the Book of Jonah. The Book of Jonah is about God's love for a people that Jonah didn't like. God sent Jonah to them to warn them of their wrongdoing and the nation repented and God spared them the destruction that would have been theirs if they had chosen to continue in their sinful ways. Jonah was upset that God had turned from his wrath and spared the city.

Today, we often have our own judgments about who God loves and who He doesn't. We chose to believe that God doesn't love Muslims, or God doesn't love Democrats, or God doesn't love homosexuals. If God doesn't love them, then it's okay for us not to love them. The problem with that thinking is that God does love them. His desire is that they would repent and turn toward Him. We have no more right to wish God's judgment on people now than Jonah had to wish for the destruction of Nineveh.

All-in-all, I'd have to say that Dennis went deep and hit one out of the park. I'll never think of Jonah as a fish story again. I will always remember that is about looking at others through God's eyes--with love and a hope for repentance and redemption.

John <><